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Entries from October 30th, 2013

DEC Police Investigation Leads to Weapons & Drug Arrests for Two Fulton County Men

October 30th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoOn October 24, 2013, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Police and New York State Police arrested two Fulton County men on a dozen different charges, including two felony weapons and drug charges.



After an investigation, Environmental Conservation Police charged Todd M. Harwood, 35, of Gloversville, NY, with five misdemeanors – three counts of illegally killing a deer and one count each of possessing a pistol while muzzleloader hunting and exceeding the bag limit for deer. Harwood also was charged with three violations of hunting deer over bait.

Environmental Conservation Police sought assistance in their investigation from New York State Police. This resulted in a felony criminal possession of a weapon charge against Harwood.

The State Police part of the investigation also resulted in Steven D. Olsen 34, of Gloversville, NY, being arrested and charged with a felony for criminal possession of marijuana and two misdemeanors – unlawful possession of a large capacity ammunition clip and illegally growing marijuana.

Harwood faces maximum penalties for all charges of $15,750 in fines and up to seven years in jail.

Olsen faces maximum penalties for all charges of$7,000 in fines and up to seven years in jail.

Harwood and Olsen were arraigned in the Town of Mayfield Criminal Court and remanded to the Fulton County Jail in lieu of bail.

Bail was set for Harwood at $7,500 cash or $15,000 bond. Bail was set for Olsen at $6,000 cash or $12,000 bond.

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DEC Region 5 Forest Ranger September 2013 Search and Rescue Report

October 29th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoClinton County
Town of Black Brook, Taylor Pond Wild Forest
On Friday, September 6, at approximately 3:40 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a group of hikers that were lost near the DEC Taylor Pond Campground. Karen Moore, 66, Cathie Choauvin, 68, and Bonnie Myers, 64, all of Saranac, NY, had left the campground intending to hike the 14 mile Taylor Pond Loop trail. Approximately halfway through their hike, the wet and marshy trail conditions forced the three women into the woods where they became disoriented and realized they were lost. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded with a boat and after discussing plans on the phone with the women, met them at a location on the shore of the Taylor Pond and transported them back to the campground. Know the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Clinton County, Town of Chazy, Private Land
On Monday, September 16, at approximately 6:44 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from State Police requesting assistance in locating an individual. Helen Scales, 85, from West Chazy, NY, was last seen at 3:45 pm walking along State Route 22 toward a wooded lot. Five DEC Forest Rangers and members of the Chazy and West Chazy Volunteer Fire Departments responded and began a grid search of the area. Mrs. Scales was found in good condition approximately 1/4 of a mile from where she was last seen. She was evacuated via UTV due to shortness of breath and hypothermia and then transported to Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh for further evaluation and treatment. Contact DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 to report lost and injured people in the backcountry.



Essex County
Town of Schroon, Pharaoh Lake Wilderness
On Friday, August 30, at approximately 3:57 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Warren County 911 reporting a hiker with a broken leg at a lean-to on Pharaoh Lake. Donna Ryan, 53, of Clifton Park, NY, was walking down the trail when she slipped on a wet surface and rolled her leg, resulting in a severe unstable lower leg injury. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and splinted Ms. Ryan’s leg. A helicopter from State Police Aviation Unit responded with three additional DEC Forest Rangers. Two of the Forest Rangers were hoisted down to the site by the Forest Ranger operating the hoist mechanisms. The Forest Rangers placed Ms. Ryan in a harness and hoisted up to the helicopter. She was flow to a nearby landing zone in Chester managed by the Chester Volunteer Fire Department. Ms. Ryan was transferred to a North Warren EMS ambulance at 7:39 pm and transported to Glen Falls Hospital for further evaluation and treatment. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of Keene, High Peaks Wilderness
On Sunday, September 1, at approximately 6:18 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a hiker in need of assistance on Algonquin Mountain. Aleck Wu, 21, of Toronto, Ontario was descending the mountain when started having difficulty hiking due to a pre-existing knee condition. A DEC Forest Ranger and an Assistant Forest Ranger responded and found Mr. Wu to be very dehydrated but still mobile. He was provided water and then escorted back to the Adirondack Loj. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness
On Sunday, September 8, at approximately 3:42 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report from the DEC Johns Brook Caretaker of a hiker with a broken ankle on Lower Wolf Jaw. Sarah Houde, 33, of Ballston Spa, NY had been hiking Benny Brook Slide with her husband when the accident occurred. He hiked to the Johns Brook Loj to seek assistance. The DEC Caretaker accompanied the husband back to Ms. Houde to assess her condition and splinted her leg. A Forest Ranger was dispatched to the location as well, and while a second Forest Ranger accompanied the State Police Aviation Unit helicopter as the hoist operator. Ms. Houde was hoisted up to the helicopter and flown to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid for further evaluation and treatment. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of Elizabethtown, Giant Mountain Wilderness
On Sunday, September 8, at approximately 1:45 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report of an injured hiker on Bald Peak. Morgan Raith, 19, of Middlebury, VT, had slipped injuring her ankle and was unable to bear any weight on it. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and met Ms. Raith on the trail. The Forest Ranger along with members of Ms.Raith’s hiking group carried her out to the trailhead. Ms. Raith then returned to Vermont to seek medical attention on her own. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of St Armand, McKenzie Mountain Wilderness
On Monday, September 9, at approximately 5:23 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting two hikers in need of assistance. Jay Marchetti, 56, and Susan Marchetti, 55, both of Rainbow Lake, NY, were stranded in a swampy section of the Moose Pond area for over 3 hours and were unable to return without assistance. A DEC Forest Ranger responded with a canoe and quickly located the Marchettis in good condition. He rescued the pair from the wetland and brought them across Moose Pond by canoe where they were returned to their vehicle. Know the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness
On Monday, September 9, at approximately 4:30 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from two hikers that were lost and in need of assistance. Steven Allen, 49, of Mississauga, Ontario and Carmen Dragoste, 49, of Oakville, Ontario, had attempted to hike to Avalanche Pass from the Loj but became lost. A DEC Forest Ranger responded along with the DEC Marcy Dam Caretaker. Phone coordinates showed the subjects in the Pelkey Basin of Phelps Mountain. The Forest Ranger and Caretaker hiked in that direction while yelling for the two hikers without and response. DEC Dispatch contacted the Ms. Dragoste and Mr. Allen and requested they yell. The Forest Ranger was able to hear them yelling and used is compass to mark their location. The hikers were located near the summit of Phelps Mountain in good condition. After rehydrating, they were assisted back to Marcy Dam and then transported by UTV back to their vehicle. Know the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Be prepared to spend the night in the woods carry extra water, food and a shelter.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness
On Thursday, September 12, at approximately 10:29 am, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report of an overdue hiker. Douglas Courtney, 57, of Somerville, ME, left a detailed hiking itinerary with family members stating that he would be out of the woods and in Saratoga Springs on Tuesday, September 10, but the family had not heard from him. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded to the South Meadows parking area and located Mr. Courtney’s vehicle. The Forest Rangers began searching the trails. At 4:00 pm, Mr. Courtney contacted Ray Brook Dispatch from the Adk Loj and stated that he had intentionally deviated from his original hiking plan and extended his trip by two days to continue doing day hikes from Marcy Dam. At no time had Mr. Courtney been lost or injured. Always inform someone of your itinerary. Inform them as soon as possible if you change your itinerary.

Town of Keene, Hurricane Mountain Wilderness
On Monday, September 16, 2013 at approximately 5:20 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call transferred from Essex Co 911 reporting a lost hiker. Phillip Ratner, 70, of Oakdale, NY, was lost off the trail between Little Crow Mountain and Big Crow Mountains. A forecast of below freezing temperatures and Mr. Ratner’s stated health issues provided a sense of urgency to the response. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and located Mr. Ratner in good condition near the summit of Big Crow at 6:10pm. He was escorted back to the trailhead without any further issues. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Town of North Elba, McKenzie Mountain Wilderness
On Wednesday, September 25, at approximately 3:50 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting two lost hikers on Whiteface Mountain. Stephen Bressett, 54, of Malone, NY and Patrick Dailey, 50, of Vero Beach, FL, had been following a trail from the Whiteface Mountain Memorial Highway but were now lost. Essex County 911 was able to obtain coordinates from their cell phone call. A DEC Forest Ranger responded by boat to Whiteface Landing and hiked up to the two men. They were both located in good health about halfway up to the summit and 0.2 mile off trail. At 7:00 pm Mr. Bressett and Mr. Daily were escorted back to the boat and eventually returned to their vehicle in the parking area near the summit of Whiteface Mountain. Know the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness
On Friday, September 20, 2013 at approximately 4:31 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured hiker. Greg Elling, 51, of Ovid, NY, had injured his leg and was unable to move. A DEC Forest Ranger responded driving a UTV to the Marcy Dam and hiking from there. He located Mr. Elling 0.5 mile from Marcy Dam. The Forest Ranger assisted Mr. Elling down the trail to the UTV. He then transported the Mr. Elling back to his vehicle who then then sought further medical attention on his own. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness
On Saturday, September 21, at approximately 1:52 pm, a DEC Assistance Forest Ranger was notified by a passing hiker of an injured hiker just above the Phelps Junction on the VanHoevenberg Trail to Mt. Marcy. Robert Pierce, 75, of Rochester, NY, twisted his left ankle while hiking but was still slowly making his way down the trail. The Assistant Forest Ranger hiked to Mr. Pierce’s location, assessed and wrapped the injury. A DEC Forest Ranger and an additional Assistant Forest Ranger responded to assist. Mr. Pierce was assisted down to Marcy Dam and then provided transportation via UTV to his vehicle. He sought further medical treatment on his own. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness
On Saturday, September 21, at approximately 8:00 pm, a DEC Interior Caretaker was notified of an injured hiker on the VanHoevenberg Trail. Paule Lettourneau, 45, of Laval, Quebec, was hiking down Mt. Marcy when she twisted her knee. Other members of her hiking party assisted in helping her down the trail. The DEC Caretaker and an Assistant Forest Ranger responded to Ms. Lettourneau’s location and continued to assist her down to Marcy Dam. Ms. Lettourneau was provided transportation via UTV back to her vehicle where she decided to seek further medical treatment on her own. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of Newcomb, High Peaks Wilderness
On Friday, September 27, at 2:15 pm, a DEC Interior Caretaker was notified of an injured hiker in need of assistance. Kathleen Cudmore-Bokan, 40, of West Charlton, NY, dislocated her knee on Cliff Mountain. Her husband reset her knee and wrapped it in a bandage. The DEC Caretaker assisted the couple to the high water bridge and notified the DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook. One DEC Forest Ranger responded with a UTV and gave the couple a ride back to their vehicle. Ms. Cudmore-Bokan chose to seek further medical treatment on her own. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness
On Saturday, September 28, at approximately 5:41 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report of an injured hiker. Michael Perlowski, 25, of Plattsburgh, NY, had dislocated his knee while hiking on the Avalanche Pass Trail. A DEC Forest Ranger and two DEC Interior Caretakers responded to Mr. Perlowski’s location. After assessing his injury, Mr.Perlowski was assisted down to Marcy Dam and then provided transportation via UTV out to his vehicle. He decided to seek further medical attention on his own. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Franklin County
Town of Harrietstown, Saranac Lake Wild Forest
On Tuesday, September 24, at approximately 3:40 pm, an on duty DEC Forest Ranger overheard radio traffic reporting an overturned canoe on Middle Saranac Lake. The DEC Forest Ranger responded to the scene along with Saranac Lake Fire Department. Gerald Zumchak, 68, and Susan Zumchak, 66, both of Syracuse, NY, were canoeing and were caught by the wind and capsized their canoe. With the help of their son they made it to the shore, but Mr. Zumchak was very cold and unable to get back in the canoe. Saranac Lake Fire Department brought the Mr. & Mrs. Zumchak out to Saranac Lake Rescue who transported Mr.Zumchak to AMC Saranac for further evaluation. Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) when paddling.

Warren County
Town of Johnsburg, Wilcox Lake Wild Forest
On Sunday, September 1, at approximately 4:42 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a hiker with an ankle injury. William Keck, 55, of Wading River, NY, was descending Crane Mountain when he slipped on the steep terrain and felt a snap in his ankle. Eight DEC Forest Rangers responded. Mr. Keck’s injury was assessed and splinted. He was hoisted up to a State Police Aviation Helicopter and flown to a nearby landing zone. There Mr. Keck was transferred to Johnsburg Rescue for transport. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.

Town of Bolton, Lake George Wild Forest
On Sunday, September 1, at approximately 7:15 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a lost hiker. Mary Scanlon, 49, of Cicero, NY, was descending Cat Mountain when she became lost on the trail system and had no light or map with her. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded, located Ms. Scanlon and escorted her back to her vehicle. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Always carry a headlamp or flashlight and extra batteries.

Town of Bolton, Lake George Wild Forest
On Saturday, September 21, at approximately 7:45 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting hikers that were in need of assistance. Jeff Clark, 57, Janeellen Clark, 57 and Katherine Clark, 23, all of Ballston Spa, NY, had hiked to the summit of Cat Mountain at 2:30 pm. They decided to take the ‘Blue Trail’ to the summit of Thomas Mountain based on information obtained from the internet. When they reached Thomas Mountain it was dark and they had no headlamps or flashlights for the return trip. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded, located the Clark family and assisted them back to their vehicle. Always carry a headlamp or flashlight and extra batteries.

Town of Johnsburg, Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area
On Sunday, September 29, at approximately 5:23 pm, DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report of a missing hiker. Carolyn Reynerd, 79, of Poughkeepsie, NY, was with a geology group hiking to an old garnet mine from Garnet Hill Lodge. She became separated from the main group and missed a turnoff at approximately 12:00pm. Three DEC Forest Rangers, a DEC Assistant Forest Ranger and Warren County Deputies responded to the search. At 7:15pm, Ms. Reynerd was located on steep ledges 0.25 mile from Garnet Hill Lodge. The Forest Rangers put Ms. Reynerd in a harness and lowered her down to level ground. She was assisted out and assessed by Johnsburg EMS. Ms. Reynerd declined any further treatment. Stay together when hiking in groups and know the location of all group members at all times.

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Lake Sturgeon Restoration Continues in North Country

October 18th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoLake sturgeon will again be stocked in North Country waters as part of a restoration program for this threatened fish species, according to Judy Drabicki, Region 6 Director for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). This restoration effort is made possible in collaboration with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe (SRMT), the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).



On October 22, more than 10,000 fingerlings (four month old, 5- to 8-inch long fish) will be released into the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries. Approximately 7,000 lake sturgeon will be stocked in the St. Lawrence River in Ogdensburg at the Greenbelt boat launch off Riverside Ave. The Salmon River, St. Regis River, and Raquette River will receive a portion of the remaining fingerlings, continuing the St. Lawrence River tributary stocking program, which has been ongoing for several years.

The lake sturgeon is one of New York’s largest freshwater fish.

Under the restoration program, eggs were collected from mature fish at the New York Power Authority St Lawrence River Power Dam in Massena this spring. After fertilizing, the eggs were transported to the USFWS fish hatchery in Genoa, Wisconsin, and the hatched fish were nourished until they were large enough to be stocked back into the wild. Some of the fertilized eggs were taken to the DEC Oneida Hatchery for hatching, raising and release into other NY waters.

‘This magnificent fish species was classified as threatened in New York State nearly 40 years ago, but stocking continues to help reverse population declines that occurred earlier this century,” Drabicki said. “Previous stocking efforts in tributaries like these in St. Lawrence County have demonstrated success, with dozens of sturgeon ranging up to 48 inches being observed and some having reached maturity, when they are ready to spawn.”

Lake SturgeonDavid Stilwell of the USFWS said “One of the Service’s goals is to work towards fully functional and sustainable landscapes. This multi-agency effort to reintroduce lake sturgeon to New York rivers brings us one step closer to restoring the natural heritage of New York waterways. We look forward to working together in partnership on future projects in the St. Lawrence River tributaries.”

Lake sturgeon once flourished in waters along New York’s northern border and provided large commercial harvests near Buffalo. In 1885, harvests totaled 1,800 tons. Prior to the decline in the sturgeon populating, these large fish inhabited all areas of New York’s border waters on the west, north and northeast regions of the state, including Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, Lake Champlain and in several St. Lawrence River tributaries up to 60 miles upstream.

Activities to increase lake sturgeon populations include: protection from harvest, hatchery rearing, planning, habitat improvement, stocking of fingerlings, and outreach and education. In order to cover all these activities, DEC is cooperating with our federal partners and the SRMT and NYPA. USFWS and USGS focus on raising the small fish in hatcheries and evaluating their survival and growth toward maturity then everyone is involved in communicating to the public about our efforts and how to protect the fish. The USFWS – New York Field Office helps support the lake sturgeon restoration program through funding provided from the Fish Enhancement, Mitigation, and Research Fund, a settlement reached with the New York Power Authority for the relicensing of the St. Lawrence Power Project.

The additional sturgeon reared at the DEC hatchery at Oneida Lake were stocked in the Genesee River downstream of Rochester and into Cayuga Lake in early October.

Hatchery fingerlings are produced for bodies of water chosen as having the best prospects for restoration. One of the signs of program success has been experienced with mature fish being seen in spawning locations in Oneida Lake and the Oswegatchie River, when they are ready to spawn. In addition, small fish have been collected from Oneida Lake that were naturally spawned.

Inquiries about this threatened fish restoration program and other similar projects can be directed to DEC, Bureau of Fisheries in Watertown, at (315) 785-2263. Additional information on lake sturgeon can be found on DEC’s website at: Lake Sturgeon Fact Sheet.

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DEC Issues Draft Unit Management Plans for Firetower Historic Areas

October 16th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

DEC accepts comments on Draft Unit Management Plans until November 15

NYSDEC LogoThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released the draft unit management plans (UMPs) for the Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area and the Saint Regis Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area, Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The UMPs contain management proposals for the fire observation towers located on the summit of Hurricane Mountain in the Town of Keene, Essex County, and the summit of Saint Regis Mountain in the Town of Santa Clara, Franklin County. If approved and implemented, the UMPs would result in increased tourism opportunities in Essex and Franklin counties.

“As Governor Cuomo continues his commitment to spur tourism, the release of these draft unit management plans is another step in ensuring these historically significant resources will be enjoyed for many generations to come,” Commissioner Martens said. “Throughout the 20th century, fire towers played a critical role in the protection of New York State’s natural resources, and resuming maintenance of these structures for educational purposes will attract travelers and provide the public a better appreciation of that legacy.”

The Hurricane Mountain fire tower was discontinued for use as a fire observation station in 1979, and the Saint Regis Mountain fire tower was shut down in 1990. Both structures have been closed to the public ever since. The UMPs propose to restore the two fire towers to a condition that will accommodate full public access of the structures and include interpretive materials related to the towers’ history.

UMPs for each unit of State land in the Adirondack Park are required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, which was amended in 2010 to create the two new Historic Areas. Previously, the summit of Hurricane Mountain was part of the Hurricane Mountain Primitive (now Wilderness) Area, and the summit of Saint Regis Mountain was part of the Saint Regis Canoe Area.

The plans are available for public review at DEC headquarters in Albany (625 Broadway) and DEC Region 5 headquarters in Ray Brook (1115 State Route 86). CDs of the plan will be available at these same locations, as well as the offices for the Town of Santa Clara in Franklin County and the Town of Keene in Essex County. The Hurricane UMP may be viewed or downloaded at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/78001.html and the Saint Regis UMP may be viewed or downloaded at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/78006.html.

DEC will accept comments on the draft UMPs today through November 15. Comments may be sent to Josh Clague, Natural Resources Planner, DEC, 625 Broadway – 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-4254 or emailed to lfadk@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

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DEC Opens Trail to Loon Lake Mountain Fire Tower

October 10th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoA 2.8-mile trail to the fire tower on the summit of Loon Lake Mountain in the northern Adirondacks is complete and open to the public, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Robert Stegemann announced today.

“DEC is committed to providing greater access to the many natural and man-made features found on the forest preserve and conservation easement lands we manage,” said Director Stegemann.

The new trail includes a parking area and trailhead on the west side of County Route 26 in the Town of Franklin in Franklin County, approximately 4.7 miles north of the hamlet of Loon Lake. The trailhead and the lower portion of the trail are on the Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands (CEL), while the upper portion is on forest preserve lands in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest.

The trail rises more than 1,600 feet from the trailhead to the 2,264-foot summit of Loon Lake Mountain. The open bedrock summit provides views of Lyon Mountain, Whiteface Mountain, the High Peaks Wilderness Area, Debar Mountain and other nearby summits.

The Loon Lake Fire Tower is a 35-foot Aermotor tower that was originally erected in 1917. It was rebuilt in 1928 after being blown over by hurricane force winds in the winter of 1927-28. The fire tower is listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places. Presently the fire tower is not open to the public and the bottom set of stair risers has been removed to discourage the public from climbing the tower or accessing the cab.

The trail, trailhead and parking were constructed this past summer by DEC Region 5 Operations crews and members of the Student Conservation Association (SCA) Adirondack Program. The facilities could not have been provided without the cooperation of the owner of the conservation easement lands, Lyme Timber Company of Hanover, New Hampshire.

The Town of Franklin Highway Department will plow the parking area in the winter to allow access to the trail and surrounding forest preserve and conservation easement lands by winter recreation enthusiasts for activities like hiking, hunting, trapping, skiing and snowshoeing.

The Loon Lake Mountain trailhead/parking area is located on County Route 26, approximately 7.8 miles north of its intersection with State Route 3 which is approximately 16 miles east of Saranac Lake.

Campers using either of the two campsites on the Plumadore-Inman Public Use Area on the east side of County Route 26 in the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands are encouraged to use the new Loon Lake Mountain trailhead/parking area.

Food and gas can be found in the nearby communities of Vermontville, Bloomingdale, Gabriels and Redford. The closest available lodging opportunities are available in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, and a wide variety of developed and primitive camping opportunities are available in-season within a 20-mile radius of the trailhead.

A map of the trail and surrounding area can be viewed and downloaded from the DEC website at Loon Lake Mountain Trail Map.

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DEC Opens Access to New Recreational Opportunities on the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands

October 7th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoA number of new facilities and access opportunities on the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands (CEL) in Franklin and Clinton counties are now available for public use, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.

“DEC is committed to providing abundant, year-round outdoor recreation opportunities on the forest preserve, state forest and conservation easement lands,” said Commissioner Martens. “The new facilities will enhance public use and enjoyment of the conservation easement lands in western Clinton and eastern Franklin counties and will be available for the upcoming fall foliage, hunting and trapping seasons.”

28,000 acres of lands

Access to new recreation opportunities on Sable Highlands CEL further expands Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative, which has improved recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions.

Sable Highlands - Locator MapUnder Governor Cuomo’s direction, DEC has been working intensely to enhance access to state-managed lands across the state. Their efforts include recently opening 11,600 acres of lands and waters in the Essex Chain Lakes tract in the center of the Adirondacks for the public to enjoy outdoor recreation. This is part of an agreement for the state to acquire 69,000 acres of land formerly owned by the Finch Pruyn Paper Company over five years. Three major tracts of land have been secured under this acquisition to date: the Essex Chain of Lakes, the Indian River tract, and the OK Slip Falls tract.

Conservation easements are used to protect a variety of important natural resources and landscape values, such as water quality, wildlife habitat, sensitive ecosystems, wetlands, scenic areas, agricultural land, working forests and historic sites. The primary function of an easement is to limit or eliminate future development and undesirable land uses on a property, while allowing for continued private ownership and traditional management. Some conservation easements, like the Sable Highlands CEL, allow public access to the protected property.

Sable Highlands - Public Use AreasDEC and its partners have constructed new parking lots, opened some Linear Recreational Corridors (LRC) roadways for motorized use and installed informational kiosks that provide access and enhance the usage of specific public use areas (PUA) in the Sable Highlands CEL. Linear Recreation Corridors are roads and trails on the property that travel through private lease areas as a means to provide ingress and egress to and from PUAs. The LRCs will have posted signs and be managed in a manner that best facilitates public access while ensuring that public use has a minimal effect on private club members’ enjoyment of their posting leases.

Recent logging activities and the abundance of water resources provide high quality game habitat sought by hunters and trappers. The forest consists mainly of hardwood tree species that will be changing colors, which will offer opportunities for pleasant nature viewing walks, biking or leisurely drives during the fall foliage season.

Figure 8 Public Use Area
A new 6-vehicle parking area has been constructed on the Blair Kilns Road in the Town of Bellmont, Franklin County, providing access for recreational users to 3,900-acre Figure 8 PUA.

Cold Brook Public Use Area
A new 6-vehicle parking area has been constructed on the Standish Road in the Town of Saranac, Clinton County, providing access for recreational users to the 2,500-acre Cold Brook PUA.

Informational kiosks and register boxes at each parking area provide information for people using these lands. Access beyond the parking areas is by foot or mountain bike only. DEC plans to provide additional opportunities for public motorized access in the future.

D&H Road Linear Recreation Corridor
The 6.5-mile D&H Road is open to motor vehicles and mountain bikes during the summer and fall. It will be closed in the winter and during mud season. The road can be used year round by hikers, skiers and snowshoers as conditions warrant. The road connects Franklin County Route 26 near the hamlet of Loon Lake in the Town of Franklin with the Wolf Pond Road just east of the hamlet of Mountain View in the Town of Bellmont.

The road is for motorized thru-traffic only as there are no parking areas or pull-offs along the road. The 3,900-acre Plumadore-Inman PUA abuts the road on the west along much of the road. The public should be aware that a number of private landowners and privately licensed recreation clubs have exclusive use on other properties along the road. Trespassing on those lands is prohibited.

Barnes Pond Road Linear Recreation Corridor
The 3.9- mile Barnes Pond Road is open to motor vehicles during the fall hunting seasons. It is recommended that only high clearance SUVs and trucks use the road. The road can be accessed from a parking area on the True Brook Road in the Town of Saranac, Clinton County.

Hunters and others can use the road to access the 3,700-acre Barnes Pond PUA. Wheeled camping equipment up to 20 feet in length, such as pop-up campers, truck campers and tow-behind camper trailers, can be used at six fully accessible designated campsites along the road. At this time, motor vehicle use on the road is allowed from October 4 through the end of the Northern Zone Big Game Rifle Season only, weather and road conditions permitting.

DEC Region 5 operations staff and members of the Student Conservation Association (SCA) Adirondack Program worked for more than three years to construct the facilities. Construction would not have been possible without the cooperation and assistance of the landowner, The Forestland Group of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

The new facilities complement a number of existing facilities and improvements previously constructed on the property by DEC, including:

  • Fishhole Pond Fishing Access Site – Town of Franklin, Franklin County
  • Grass Pond Fishing Access Site – Town of Franklin, Franklin County
  • Two designated campsites, accessible by the public on foot or by mountain bike, in the 3,900-acre Plumadore-Inman PUA- Town of Franklin, Franklin County
  • One designated campsite and a parking area with an informational kiosk, enhancing access to the 415-acre Saranac River PUA- Town of Franklin, Franklin County

DEC forest rangers and environmental conservation officers will conduct regular patrols of these locations and nearby conservation easement lands to educating users, enforce environmental laws and regulations and ensure the proper and safe use of the area.

Parking areas and access points are marked with DEC signs, informational kiosks, maps and public recreation usage guidelines specific to each PUA.

Food and gas for those using the Sable Highlands CEL can be easily found in the nearby communities of Vermontville, Brainardsville and Mountain View in Franklin County and Redford, Saranac, Merrill and Dannemora in Clinton County. The closest available lodging opportunities are available in Saranac Lake, Malone and Plattsburgh, while a wide variety of developed and primitive camping opportunities and seasonal rental properties are available in-season within a 25-mile radius of the PUAs.

More information, including descriptions of the PUAs and LRCs, directions, usage guidelines and maps can be found on the DEC Sable Highlands CEL webpage at Sable Highlands Conservation Easement or by contacting the DEC Division of Lands and Forests Region 5 office at (518) 897-1291.

The Sable Highlands CEL include more than 28,000 acres of lands distributed over 14 PUAs, all of which are open and available for public access and recreation in accordance with the April 2009 Interim Recreation Management Plan (IRMP). More than 56,000 acres of the Sable Highlands CEL is leased by the landowner to hunting, fishing and recreation clubs for their exclusive private use.

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Beautiful Adirondacks

October 4th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack Life

Without doubt, one of the best vids of the season. (via kurtvon.com)

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