One of tropical storm Irene’s biggest body blows was to trails and infrastructure in the High Peaks backcountry. The storm blew out dams at Marcy Dam and Duck Hole.
No decision has been made yet about replacing the Marcy Dam structure, but DEC officials told the Adirondack Explorer on Wednesday that Duck Hole won’t be replaced.
DEC spokeswoman Lisa King said today that the department has no plans to repair the dam.
“At this time, DEC does not anticipate the repair or replacement of the Duck Hole dam in the High Peaks Wilderness Area,” she told the Explorer in an e-mail. “By leaving it as is, the affected backcountry in this area can return to a more natural state. This is in keeping with DEC’s responsibilities for care, custody and control of Forest Preserve lands under the state constitution.”
The department’s guidelines for dams in the Forest Preserve favor removing dams in Wilderness Areas “when they become unsafe or are otherwise in need of replacement, reconstruction and/or rehabilitation.” Nonetheless, such dams may be rehabilitated to preserve fish and wildlife habitat, protect scenic vistas, or maintain a waterway’s navigability, among other purposes.
Spokesmen for the environmental groups Adirondack Council and Adirondack Wild said they opposed rebuilding the dam.
“It’s deep in the wilderness,” remarked David Gibson of Adirondack Wild. “It’s just as much a wilderness experience after Irene as it was before Irene.”
So what do you think? A good think to leave the spot in its wild state, as shaped by Irene? Or is the loss of an iconic backcountry pond unacceptable?