Road to Boreas opened
Parking areas, water access completed in some locations
NORTH HUDSON — After about a year of construction, Gulf Brook Road — which provides access to the interior of the Boreas Ponds Tract — is now open to the public. And a wide variety of users are taking advantage of it.
The state bought the Boreas Ponds Tract from the Nature Conservancy in 2016, and while the lands have been open to the public since then, Gulf Brook Road needed to be upgraded before vehicle access could be permitted. For most of last year and this summer, the road was only open on weekends, as state Department of Environmental Conservation crews worked during the week.
But on Friday, Sept. 6, the DEC announced that the road was open to the new Four Corners parking area, which is about a mile from Boreas Ponds. The water access at LaBier Flow has also been revamped, meaning paddlers can cut the canoe carry to Boreas Ponds in half.
The road itself is largely gravel and stone dust, with some bits of dirt mixed in. It is about a lane-and-a-half wide, meaning cars can pass each other in opposite directions as long as each one yields some.
On Monday, a wide variety of users were taking advantage of the fall weather and easier access. About 10 boats plied the water of Boreas Ponds — the name is plural even though damming has made the once-distinct ponds a single body of water. Other people were hiking, and a couple of women had ridden mountain bikes from near Blue Ridge Road. There were also horse hoof tracks visible in the dirt all the way to Boreas Ponds.
Paddlers can use a new access point on LaBier Flow, which is a dammed part of the Boreas River. The access has room for a couple of cars to unload, and a packed gravel walkway down to the water. There is also a wooden handrail that leads nearly to the water’s edge. After unloading, cars can be moved about a tenth of a mile farther on to the Four Corners parking lot.
That new parking area has room for 15 cars with numbered spots, plus two handicap spots and room for a few vehicles with trailers. There is a handicap-accessible outhouse there as well, one of several new bathroom facilities.
Going a mile up the Boreas Road, which is currently gated and closed to public vehicles, leads to another new parking area that should open next year. This parking area will be open by permit only and is just a tenth of a mile from the put-in on Boreas Pond, at the dam.
Of the roughly 20,000-acre tract, about 11,000 acres were added to the High Peaks Wilderness Area after classification by the state Adirondack Park Agency last year. Nine thousand acres were classified as wild forest, including the length of Gulf Brook Road and a buffer on each side of the lane.
Read more about paddling LaBier Flow and Boreas Pond on this coming Saturday’s Outdoors page.