The response from these entries has been great. Thank you to everyone who has commented, emailed, and telephoned. Keep the comments coming.
As a result of these blog posts I ended up having a meeting with a representative of the Barkeater Trail Alliance (BETA) today to compare their proposal for trails and what my suggestions are. It was gratifying if not surprising to see how similar they are.
I also attended an unrelated meeting that brought up a topic that is very germane to my suggested trails. The meeting was about rock climbing and the practice of bolting or putting in permanent protection on rock climbing routes in Wilderness Areas. I asked some of the veteran rock climbers if they consider whether they are in a Wilderness Area or Wild Forest Area when they make a decision to place a bolt. The response was "no" but they do consider whether they are close to the road or in a more remote setting. I asked the state representatives in attendance if the State Land Master Plan can make that type of differentiation within a specific land classification and I got, what I thought was, a fascinating response. The individual said that the state is exploring the recognition and application of what is called the Wilderness Recreation Opportunity Spectrum. (WROS) The simplest explanation of the WROS is that it recognizes that there is a range of wilderness from not so wild (an example might be the Giant Mountain Wilderness Area along the route 73 Chapel Pond corridor) to the extremely wild. (In the Adirondacks that might be exemplified by the Cold River region in the High Peaks Wilderness Area) The meeting’s discussion focused on rock climbing bolts but I asked that if it applied to rock climbing bolts might it also recognize that mountain biking could be appropriate in wilderness areas along the periphery of wilderness areas given that the definition of Wilderness limits motorized uses but does not specifically limit mechanized uses. I did not get an outright “no.”
The conversation is relevant to these blog entries because I will be recommending some trails within Wilderness Areas (including yesterday’s and today's) that I think would be appropriate for mountain biking because they are on the periphery of the Wilderness Area. I thought the discussion opened a tiny window to the potential of opening certain regions of certain Wilderness Areas to activities such as mountain biking. I think it is something that should be lobbied for in the High Peaks and McKenzie Wilderness Areas around the Village of Saranac Lake.
Trail #2 - Moose Pond Trail
In a future post I will show how we can interconnect this trail with the others I am proposing.
2. Moose Pond Trail
From the Route 3 trailhead north of the village to Moose Pond and then around Moose Pond.
Most activities - Easy
Mountain Biking -Moderate
The trail from Route 3 to the pond exists. This trail in the McKenzie Wilderness should be made accessible by all but snowmobiles. (would need regulatory change to get bicycles)