He made the trip to promote a big new $50 million land purchase that will add tens of thousands of acres to the Park's forest preserve.
"It's been the greatest acquisition that the state has made in the Park in over a hundred years," Cuomo said, his paddle resting in his lap.
"I believe this is going to be an asset that we'll leave behind for generations to come to enjoy. It's also going to be a great economic opportunity for the state. We can preserve it but we can also make it accessible for people."
"It is magnificent," Cuomo said. "I don't know if it's peak foliage season, but it's near peak. The colors are just indescribable. You can't really paint this picture. Mother Nature has a better brush. It's just exquisite."
In all, roughly 69,000 acres of land will be added to the forest preserve, including pristine mountain lakes and long stretches of the upper Hudson River.
The trip was also a coup for the Adirondack Nature Conservancy. The green group has moved ambitiously to protect land in the Park, using conservation easements and outright purchases of land for the forest preserve.
Governor Cuomo travels often to the Adirondacks, but on this day he arrived with much of his cabinet in tow, and also brought with him a large contingent of reporters from Albany and New York City.
Asked by downstate reporters why this trip was important, he said "I wanted you to see [this land] personally…I want people all across the state to see this parcel. I want people in New York City to see this parcel."
One challenge for New York state in the future will be managing these lands. Boreas Ponds sit at the end of a seven-mile logging road. Maintenance and upkeep will be expensive and in recent years the Conservation Department has seen deep cuts in budget and staff.
Cuomo said he thinks there will be enough money to make these lands accessible: "Commissioner [Joe] Martens says he feels good about his department's ability to manage this parcel. He's been doing a great job so far, so I have no reason to doubt him.”
This conservation deal comes at a time when Cuomo is preparing to make another big environmental decision on hydrofracking. On Sunday, protestors turned up to urge the governor to reject fracking. Jordan Stark is from Skidmore College. "It's not enough to protect the Adirondaks and to sacrifice other parts of the state," she said, urging the governor to ban fracking in the Marcellus shale region.
Meanwhile, state officials say part of the former Finch timber lands will be purchased by the end of the year, but some parcels — including Boreas Ponds — will be acquired more slowly over the next five years.
Which means that all those paddlers, hikers and hunters will have to wait before setting off on this new stretch of wild water.