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The Notch is still Pretty Wild

March 18th, 2011 · No Comments · News

The announcement of the Public Meeting about the Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area – Draft Unit Management Plan didn’t really catch my interest until I had a look at the documents. The thing that’s notable is the lack of anything.

The DEC’s Unit Management Plans are a huge source of information about the various places in the NYS Forest Preserve. Particularly the maps.

Relatively remote, few access points, currently one main-trail, and few “facilities”. Plus, they’re not really planning on doing much else in the future. Check it out (Large Image):

Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area Map

ALBANY, NY — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today announced the release of the draft unit management plan (UMP) for the Hoffman Notch Wilderness. The unit consists of 38,500 acres in the Towns of North Hudson, Minerva and Schroon Lake in Essex County.

“The release of the draft unit management plan for the Hoffman Notch Wilderness is another significant milestone in our efforts to improve public access and ensure the protection of the Adirondacks for future generations,” Commissioner Martens said. “The public’s participation has been extremely valuable throughout the planning process to date, providing the Department with important information and recommendations incorporated into the draft plan.”

A public meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26, at the Town of Schroon Town Hall in Schroon Lake. The meeting will provide the public with an opportunity to learn more on the proposed management actions in the draft UMP and to provide comment on the proposals. DEC will accept comments on the draft UMP until May 13, 2011. The meeting facility is wheelchair accessible. Please provide any requests for specific accommodation to 518-623-1200 at least two weeks in advance.

The Town of Schroon Town Hall is located at 15 Leland Avenue in Schroon Lake.

  • From the North: Take the Northway (I-87) south to Exit 28. Turn left onto Route 74 and then right onto Route 9 South at the blinking traffic light. Follow Route 9/Main Street south for 2.4 miles and turn left onto Leland Avenue. The Town Hall is on left a few hundred feet from the intersection.
  • From the South: Take the Northway (I-87) north to Exit 27. Turn right onto South Schroon Road, follow 0.1 mile to T-intersection and then turn left onto Route 9 North. Follow Route 9 north for 4.5 miles (Route 9 becomes Main Street) and turn right onto Leland Avenue. The Town Hall is on left a few hundred feet from the intersection.

The Hoffman Notch Wilderness, southern Essex County, is situated near the communities of Newcomb, North Hudson, Schroon Lake, Minerva and Olmstedville. The unit is generally bounded on the north by the Boreas Road, on the east by the Adirondack Northway, on the south by Hoffman Road, and on the west by the boundary of Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest.

The Hoffman Notch Wilderness offers many recreational opportunities, including but not limited to hiking, cross country skiing, camping, canoeing, hunting, trapping and fishing. With over 18 miles of marked trails available, the public can easily reach a variety of natural attractions such as Hoffman Notch and Mt. Severance, as well as popular fishing locations at Bailey Pond or Big Pond. Other scattered water bodies providing additional recreational uses include Big Marsh, North Pond, Sand Pond, and Marion Pond.

Recommended management actions in the draft UMP include:

  • Designate and sign the herd path south of Big Pond as a DEC trail connected to the Big Pond Trail to create a loop hiking and cross country skiing trail system from Hoffman Road and connected to Loch Muller road.
  • Construct foot bridges over Hoffman Notch Brook near north end of Hoffman Notch Trail and over East Branch on the Big Pond Trail.
  • Reroute 1/4 mile portion of Hoffman Notch Trail north of Big Marsh to west side of Hoffman Notch Brook.
  • Construct an improved parking lot along the Blue Ridge Road to serve as the northern trailhead for the Hoffman Notch Trail.
  • Designate two primitive tent sites on Big Pond.

A UMP must be completed before significant new recreational facilities, such as trails, lean-tos, or parking areas, can be constructed. The plan includes an analysis of the natural features of the area and the ability of the land to accommodate public use. The planning process is designed to cover all environmental considerations for the unit and forms the basis for all proposed management activities for a five-year time period.

UMPs are required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan for each unit of State land in the Adirondack Park. The plans integrate the goals and objectives of the Master Plan, related legislation, and resource and visitor use information into a single document.

The draft UMP will be available for public review beginning next week at DEC headquarters in Albany, DEC Region 5 headquarters in Ray Brook and the DEC Region 5 office in Warrensburg. CDs of the plan will be available at these same locations, as well as the offices for the Towns of North Hudson, Minerva and Schroon Lake, and the Schroon Lake Public Library. The complete document is available here: Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area – Draft Unit Management Plan.

Public comments will be accepted until May 13, 2011, and may be sent to Ben Thomas, Senior Forester, NYSDEC, 232 Golf Course Road, Warrensburg, NY 12885 or emailed to

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