‘Myth’ of quiet Adirondacks challenged by environmental group
Saturday, June 8, 2013 - 4:26 pm

Protect the Adirondacks has released a report on “The Myth of Quiet, Motor-free Waters in the Adirondack Park,” which analyzes public use of the 200 largest lakes and ponds in the Adirondack Park.

The study found that there are relatively few opportunities for motor-free experiences on the biggest, most accessible Adirondack bodies of water.

“The Adirondack Park is held up as the great wilderness area in the eastern United States. It’s the place where people come for a wilderness experience and to enjoy the great outdoors,” said Chuck Clusen, chair of Protect the Adirondacks.

“One great myth about the wild Adirondack Park is that there is an abundance of motor-free lakes and ponds. In fact, the park faces a scarcity of quiet waters where one can paddle a canoe or kayak without interruption from motorboats, jet skis, floatplanes, and other types of motorized watercraft,” Clusen said.

Of the 200 largest lakes and ponds in the Adirondack Park, the majority provide abundant opportunities for motorized watercraft but scant opportunity for quiet, motor-free waters, Protect the Adirondacks staffers said.

“Across the Adirondack Park there are few genuine opportunities for motor-free boating on a big lake or pond. In the top 100 biggest lakes in the Adirondack Park, just five lakes stand out as lakes without motorboats, jetskis, and floatplanes; Lows Lake, Little Tupper Lake, Round Lake, Lake Lila, and St. Regis Pond. These lakes are all managed as motor-free waterbodies as parts of the Forest Preserve,” said Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks.

Of the 100 biggest lakes in the Adirondack Park, 77 are open to motorized boating and floatplanes, 13 are privately owned and provide no public access, and just 8 are motor-free.

This means that currently more than 75 percent of the park’s biggest lakes are open for motorized activity while only eight percent offer the motor-free option, and just five percent are easily accessible for a motor-free experience.

Two lakes in the top 100 are currently being purchased by the state for addition to the Forest Preserve, after which the type of allowable public use will be determined through a public review process.

For those who desire greater motor-free opportunities, the numbers improve slightly in an analysis of the 200 biggest lakes in the Adirondack Park. 115, or 57 percent, of the park’s 200 biggest lakes are open for motorized uses; 54, or 27.5 percent, are privately owned; and 29, or 14.5 percent, are open and motorless.

However, of these 29 motor-free lakes, just 17, or 9 percent, are easily accessible without long carries.

“The demand is high for motor-free experiences, but the supply is low. This needs to change. The public deserves greater opportunities for motor-free waters across the Adirondack Park,” said Bauer.

The report is available at www.protectadks.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Motor-free-Waters-Report-....