As you may remember, several weeks ago I posted initial news on this ongoing access issue, affecting Low’s Lake and some of the commercial seaplane operations. It is very important to unite our combined efforts to help keep Low’s Lake accessible to seaplanes. If you could, print this article a few times and make it available to fellow pilots. Also, if possible, send a link of this article to fellow pilots and seaplane operators. Remember that advocacy issues require an active network and united efforts, streamlined at successful and reasonable options. The Adriondacks are part of our pristine Water Flying Heritage. They need help and they need help now. Thank You! The old article can be found here: https://jasonjamesbaker.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/ny-seaplane-pilots/
Updates, submitted by Bradford Parker:
I wanted to give you and other pilots interested in the Adirondacks, information on what has transpired on the Low’ Lake status. Low’s is slated for closure at the end of 2011.
First- Please ask all pilot’s interested in supporting this initiative (and becoming part of this adhoc “North Country Pilot’s Group” ) to keep Low’s available to float planes, to send their name, address and email address to email@example.com. We would particularly like to hear from the many pilots of all kinds all over the Adirondacks and to the immediate south and other places who were not part of the first contacts. Also we need email addresses for anyone who did sign the initial letters to keep everyone updated.
We will update everyone on any developments. What we would ask, is that if and when a meeting with officials occurs, that each interested pilot or individual stongly consider attending. It would not be necessary that any one individual speaks, but just your presence would be very valuable!
Low’s Lake is the largest true back- country lake available to float plane pilots and represents nearly half of the business of the two remaining commercial float plane operators in the Adirondacks. While there are a few other such back-country water bodies, they are mostly not practical for the average float pilot and offer much smaller usage and land acess opportunies.
In April and May over 30 area pilots signed a letter to the Governor and NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis requesting that Low’s be kept open. Generally speaking it is the environmentalist lobby that wants to close the lake to all but “paddle boaters” This is the term that they use to describe those who use canoes, and kayaks and similiar craft. Even a survey done by DEC a couple of years ago showed that over 50% of those individuals at the lake did not object to float plane use. Yet the environmentalist lobby continues to press that this manmade lake be declared “wilderness” and that float planes be permenantly excluded.
In late May I re- sent the same letter with an attachment to the APA saying that “we ” have received no response.
On June 27, I received a telephone call from a Mr. Kevin Prickett of the Raybrook, NY, Adirondack Park Agency office. He said that a letter form other officials was coming but that he want to meet with “us” this week to describe and discuss the float palne opportunities here in the Adirondacks.
A few days latter a letter from the two gentlemen that our letter (below) is addressed to, arrived.
At this point those who have signed this recent letter (below) are the exifficio board of representatives for this group. The group “North Country Pilots Group” consists of everyone of the 30 plus folks who signed the letter in April and May and anyone who did not have the opportunity to do so but who would like to support our goal of working to keep Low’s Lake available to float plane use.
While we have no inappropriate hopes , we feel that writing and possibly eventually meeting with the officials is the least that “we” in this groupand any others, can do and just maybe something will develop from this.
July 7, 2010
Mr. James E. Connolly, Deputy Director
Adirondack Park Agency
Mr. Robert K. Davies, Director
Division of Lands and Forests
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Albany, NY 12233
Subject: Continued Low’s Lake Air Access
Thank you very much for your letter of reply dated June 28, 2010. In that letter you mentioned the state’s interest in maintaining multiple outdoor opportunities for residents and guests alike. In addition you mentioned the on going process of lands classification and reclassification and adjustment of the SLMP (State Lands Master Plan) process to accommodate those goals.
Your letter also listed some water bodies, some of which might be considered “backcountry,” which we understand are currently open to waterborne aviation. We understand that there are a few backcountry or “near backcountry” lakes as listed in the “Seaplane Pilot’s Landing Directory”(as published by the Seaplane Pilot’s Association -SPA) that are also open to aviation.
We hope that these and others continue to remain available to float plane access. While areas like Maine and Canada provide significant opportunities, New York State was one of the birth places of the flying boat and water based aviation and New Yorker’s have been enthusiastically engaged for over 100 years. The spirit of water based aviation is a long one here which promotes tourism, commerce, innovation, learning, excitement and dreams among young and old alike.
While some of the water bodies as listed in your June 28 letter are accessible to the area’s few highly experienced and professional operators with high performance equipment, they are generally not as accessible to most pilots, including those touring or traveling to the area. They also do not provide the significant shoreline, lake and land access opportunities. We therefore strongly support continued access to Low’s Lake. It is large enough to safely accommodate float planes while not disturbing many and has a shoreline and size that can allow significant adventure and recreational opportunities.
Although Low’s Lake it is a man made structure under a military flight training area, we understand that there have been decisions made to classify it and the area as “Wilderness.” While we disagree and believe that this “finding” is incorrect, we enthusiastically support the enjoyment of the wild canoe routing through the area. We also maintain that float planes are compatible with and do not spoil a wilderness experience but instead make it available to a reasonable scope of individuals. Indeed, here and in other areas, float planes are used to bring canoes and canoeists to “wilderness experiences.” Further, one can be at Low’s Lake for hours or even days without seeing or hearing a float plane. Keeping Low’s open will not change this.
Pilot’s and tourists know about Low’s and the Adirondack backcountry. Whether or not they visit it by float plane, as some do, the fact that Low’s is open to all, enhances the commerce for, the excitement about, and the travel to the North Country. It also promotes the recreational opportunities for the northern flying public. Float flying builds present and future pilots who are better trained and qualified for all types of flying including those for our commercial carriers and our armed forces. The adventure and spirit of backcountry flying inspires and excites our potential future aviators.
Although we believe that Low’s Lake should be open to all, at all times, we would discuss ways to accommodate both positions. For example the lake could be listed as closed to aircraft operations on particular days of the week or on some other appropriate timetable that would still allow reasonable access throughout the season. This information could be published in the SPA Water Landing Directory and made available at their Web site. We believe that together and in joining with the SPA and the AOPA, that an accommodation can and should be made for continued traditional shared access.
We look forward to working together with you and other backcountry stake holders to promote and accommodate the diversity of uses that have been the reason why so many have come to the Adirondacks for generations. Thank you.
For the North Country Pilots Group:
Douglas C. (Cliff) Cockran