By Lorraine Duvall

At the APA September 10th meeting when the Board was considering the plan to designate part of the Lows Lake bed and its waters as wilderness, Commissioner Lani Ulrich expressed concern that the move toward wilderness would penalize recreational users who couldn’t reach the area by hiking or paddling. My paddling buddies and I are one example, as we’ve been concerned for years because of our decreasing ability to paddle long distances with a full boat of gear, and to transport gear and boats if there’s a carry.

We still like to immerse ourselves in wilderness settings as we paddle on Adirondack lakes and ponds. We wanted to paddle up the Bog River Flow and camp on Lows Lake so we could explore the remote inlets, ponds, and lakes in the area. We went part way up the River ourselves a few years ago and decided to solicit help this year to go all the way to the Lake. This fall, thanks to a generous donation from PROTECT Board Member Peter Hornbeck of Hornbeck Boats, we were able to hire Adaptive Adventures and PROTECT Associate Josh Wilson to help carry our gear and set up a campsite on the Lake.

On our second day of the trip, paddling from campsite 21 on Lows, we spent a wonderful day on Bog Lake, after a grueling couple of hours crossing Lows and struggling through a marshy area – an 11 mile round trip. The next day’s trip was only seven miles, round trip, to Grass Pond, a lovely pond nestled in the mountains to the East. On our way to Grass Pond floatplanes started flying overhead, making eight sets of landings and takeoffs, from 11:30AM, the beginning of our trip, to 3PM, on our return. I knew about the floatplane issue, never imagining that we would be bombarded with all the noise and disturbance. The ninth set of a landing/takeoff occurred around 6 PM, when we were all relaxing and preparing dinner. That was when one of our party said, “That’s it. I had sympathy for the floatplane operators before this. Now I’m against them landing on Lows.”

A few people who were flown in penalized those of us who invested such personal effort to experience this beautiful pristine environment. There must be better ways to accommodate others who need assistance, including the aging population, like us. We found one way that challenged our abilities, spending less money than if we took a floatplane. And we supported the local economy using only people power, nothing mechanical.

– Lorraine Duvall

A resident of Keene, Lorraine Duvall is a co-chair of Protect the Adirondacks, is active on the town planning board and helped form the newly opened Community Store of Saranac Lake.