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Entries Tagged as 'wilderness'

Adirondack Rail Controversy

May 23rd, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack Life

Rail or Trail or “First-world Problem”?

All the “very cool, passionate, community-minded people” on both sides seem to have ignored a third-option – Rail-biking.

Richard B. did this back in the 90’s – A Ride on the Adirondack Railway.

Rail-bike at Stillwater Reservoir

Rail-bike at Stillwater Reservoir.
Photo courtesy of: R. Bentley

Non-motorized Re-Use. Leave the tracks. Get rid of the train. A healthy, cost-efficient, and non-polluting activity.

Look what they are doing in

As far as I can tell from my very brief research, Lake Placid, NY to Remsen, NY could be the longest Rail-biking trip in the world. Ride On!

Sweden, Belgium, Austria, UK, and FRANCE!!

Enjoy these Rail-biking videos.

Anyway, don’t do this here – you could get injured or die.
It might be illegal too, you could get arrested.

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Proposed New 39,000 Acre Upper Hudson River Wilderness Area

November 15th, 2012 · No Comments · News

Proposed New 39,000 Acre Upper Hudson River Wilderness Area

(PDF via Protect the Adirondacks!)

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New York State and The Nature Conservancy finalize agreement to conserve 69,000 acres in the Adirondacks

August 6th, 2012 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Nature and people will benefit from the protection of lands and waters in the Upper Hudson River watershed and Adirondack High Peaks.

The Nature ConservancyGovernor Andrew Cuomo and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today joined The Nature Conservancy to celebrate their commitment to a historic conservation project in the Adirondacks. The project, which in its entirety includes the conservation of 161,000 acres, is more than an investment in clean air, clean water and healthy forests for current and future generations: it also bolsters the Adirondack economy.

Today’s announcement sets a path forward for New York State to acquire from The Nature Conservancy over the coming years 69,000 acres of forests with more than 180 miles of rivers and streams, 175 lakes and ponds, and six mountains taller than 2,000 feet —primarily within the watershed of the Upper Hudson River.

The state will acquire the properties over five years for a total purchase price of $47,396,413. The money will come from the state’s dedicated Environmental Protection Fund and the first purchase will be completed in 2012.

“The Nature Conservancy is proud to be working with New York State under the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo and Commissioner Joe Martens to conserve these spectacular lands and waters as part of the publicly owned Forest Preserve. New York is doing more than conserving land and waters, it is investing in the recreation and tourism economy that is so vital to the North Country and its future,” said Bill Ulfelder, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in New York.

All of the property to be transferred to New York State, formerly owned by the Finch, Pruyn & Co, has been closed to the public for more than a century. It will become accessible to all in coming years for hiking, paddling, hunting, fishing and other recreational uses. Some new snowmobile trails will be created as well.

Acquiring these tracts will diversify the local economy by offering communities and businesses certainty as they plan take advantage of the new public access opportunities offered by the Adirondack Forest Preserve. Outdoor recreation contributes $11.3 billion to the state’s economy, each year and supports approximately 130,000 jobs statewide.

“New York State is demonstrating a remarkable commitment to balance and foresight by implementing a conservation plan that meets the needs of local communities, businesses, wildlife, and so many others. Of the project’s 161,000 acres, 94,000 have already been secured for the sustainable production of forest products through a conservation easement. Now, millions of New Yorkers and tourists are eagerly anticipating the state’s acquisitions of new public lands,” said Michael Carr, Adirondack Chapter Director of The Nature Conservancy.

The state’s investment in these marvelous recreation and conservation tracts includes OK Slip Falls, in Indian Lake; Essex Chain of Lakes, in Minerva and Newcomb; wild upper reaches of our state’s longest river, the Hudson, and key tributaries, like the Cedar and Indian Rivers; and Boreas Ponds, at the southern edge of the High Peaks Wilderness, in North Hudson. Further south, in Adirondack Park gateway communities, the state will acquire thousands of acres of forests known for expansive wetlands, cascading streams, and prime moose habitat, and forests a few miles north of Saratoga Springs with nearly 20 miles of mountain biking trails.

“The Boreas Ponds tract could be a big draw for people to hike, fish, hunt, and camp. It is a truly magnificent area that will at some point be open to the public,” said North Hudson Town Supervisor, Ronald Moore.

“In time, a spectacular, wild and previously private recreational destination will be open to all. To hikers, paddlers, hunters and anglers it means new adventures and many more days and nights under the sky. To photographers and naturalists it means an extravaganza of new sights. To outdoor professionals it means welcome new business,” said Elizabeth Lee, a New York State Licensed Guide, referring to the Essex Chain of Lakes Tract in Minerva and Newcomb.

“Mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts spend millions each year pursuing their interests. These newly protected lands will draw many to the Adirondack region for outdoor recreation. Our group looks forward to working with DEC in the future to help preserve, maintain and enhance the natural resources of this forest,” said Steve Godlewski, President of the Saratoga Mountain Bike Association (SMBA), which currently maintains trails for exclusive use by its members on a 540-acre forest in the town of Greenfield. The SMBA has already sent a letter to DEC urging the state to purchase the land and expressing interest in partnership to maintain the forest as a valuable public asset for a variety of recreational uses.

Protecting these Adirondack forests and their vast water resources adds immeasurable value to the region as a major travel and recreation destination. Ten million people already visit the Adirondacks annually, supporting one out of every five jobs in the area, and visitors spend more than $1 billion at local inns, restaurants, convenience stores and outdoor outfitters. The North Country Regional Economic Development Council confirms that the tourism industry is a vital growth sector of the upstate economy.
Some of the properties to be transferred from the Conservancy to New York State will be transferred subject to existing lease agreements. The broad parameters of those agreements and details about public access will be announced as each transaction closes.

For more information: The Heart of the Adirondacks

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Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness Hiking and Camping Rules

April 19th, 2012 · No Comments ·

Here is a summary of the rules and regulations regarding hiking and camping in the most popular area of the Adirondacks – The High Peaks Wilderness.

The High Peaks Wilderness has two zones – Eastern and Western. The Eastern Zone is the most heavily used and has the most restrictive rules.

When in doubt, err on the side of caution. Happy Trails.
High Peaks Wilderness Zones - Map

Courtesy of NYSDEC

Group Size Restrictions

  • Day Use – 15 persons max
  • Overnight Camping – 8 persons max
  • Affiliated Groups – must conform to size restrictions AND must maintain a 1 mile distance of separation at all times

Camping Restrictions

  • Tents, tarps, lean-tos, or temporary structures composed of snow permitted
  • No Camping at any location above 4,000 feet in elevation
  • No Camping above 3,500 feet in elevation but equal to or less than 4,000 feet except at a primitive tent site
  • Tents must be within 15 ft of official camping sign or disk
  • Camping within 150 feet of any trails or water is permitted only at designated sites

Campfire Restrictions

  • Eastern High Peaks Zone – NO CAMPFIRES
  • Western High Peaks Zone – NO CAMPFIRES above 4,000 feet
  • Western High Peaks Zone – Campfires permitted 150 feet from any road, trail, spring, stream, pond or other body of water OR at a primitive tent site or lean-to site


  • Sign-in at ALL trail registers
  • Trailhead ParkingGarden Parking and Hiker Shuttle
  • Eastern High Peaks Zone – requires FREE Self-issued permit. Acquire a permit at each registration facility you encounter and keep the permit for the duration of your stay
  • Eastern High Peaks Zone – requires the use of Bear Resistant Canisters between April 1 – November 30
  • Skis or Snowshoes  – required when there is snow-cover of 8 inches or more
  • No Motorized Equipment or Vehicles
  • Have your pet’s vaccination papers
  • Eastern High Peaks Zone requires pets to be leashed on trails, at primitive tent sites, at lean-to sites, at elevations above 4,000 feet, or areas where the public congregates

Special Rules – Adirondack Mountain Reserve aka Ausable Club

  • Park at the designated lot on Route 73 – St. Huberts
  • No Drop-offs at trailhead/gate (.7 mile from parking)
  • It’s your right to use this Public Easement, sign-in at the gate
  • No Dogs, No Bicycles, No Camping, No Fires
  • No Cell Phone usage in public areas
  • No Hunting, No Fishing, No Boating, No Swimming
  • Stay on the trails, respect No Trespassing signs
  • Don’t even pick the flowers
  • Follow the Rules, they have armed security
  • All other NYS regulations apply

Normally I wouldn’t say, but since you’re reading:

  • Use Common Sense and Be Courteous
  • Use designated tent sites and/or lean-to shelters whenever possible
  • Leave No Trace, more at AFPEP

Please read the regulations, all other inquiries: NYSDEC Region 5

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Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area Forest Cover Types

February 15th, 2012 · No Comments · Miscellania

From the Final Draft Management Plan.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area Forest Cover Type

Download: (PDF 543kb)

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Final Draft Management Plan for Hoffman Notch Wilderness Released

February 15th, 2012 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Plan Identifies Improvements to Public Access and Recreational Opportunities

ALBANY, NY – The release of the Proposed Final Draft of the Hoffman Notch Wilderness Unit Management Plan (UMP) was announced by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) today.

NYSDEC LogoDEC staff will present the Proposed Final UMP to the APA Board at their monthly meeting on February 16. A first reading of the UMP will be presented to the State Land Committee at 1 pm for them to consider the UMP’s compliance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP). A determination of compliance with the SLMP will be made by the APA Board at their monthly meeting in March. APA will accept public comments on SLMP compliance for the proposals contained in the draft UMP. Public comments will be accepted until 12:00 PM on Wednesday, March 7. The final step in the process is approval of the UMP by DEC.

“The release of the final draft unit management plan for the Hoffman Notch Wilderness is another significant milestone in DEC’s efforts to improve public access and ensure the protection of the Adirondacks for future generations,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “Input from the public and local representatives assisted greatly in the development of the plan. If approved, the proposals in the plan will better protect the natural resources of the Hoffman Notch Wilderness, make the wilderness more enjoyable for visitors and become more of an asset to area communities.”

“The Agency eagerly looks forward to hear from all stakeholders regarding Master Plan compliance for this unit management plan,” said APA Chairwoman Leilani Ulrich said. “The Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area is a magnificent place deserving of a well thought out and comprehensive plan. We applaud DEC and APA State Land staff for their efforts in developing this Unit Management Plan. ”

Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area - LocationThe Hoffman Notch Wilderness consists of 38,500 acres of forest preserve lands in the Towns of North Hudson, Minerva and Schroon Lake in southern Essex County. It 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 more than 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.

The UMP proposes to develop an approximately 12.5-mile segment of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST), including 6.6 miles of newly constructed trail, through the southern portion of the Hoffman Notch Wilderness. Associated to the NCNST, the plan also proposes to construct a lean-to near Platt Brook and a primitive campsite on Bailey Pond.

NCNST is a proposed 4,600 mile non-motorized trail system from Lake Sakakawea, ND to Lake Champlain, NY. One of eight federally designated National Scenic Trails, the Adirondack portion of the NCNST will stretch 140 miles and connect with a number of Adirondack communities. More information on the Adirondack portion of the NCNST can be found at:

Additional management actions proposed by DEC in the UMP include:

  • Officially designating the path south of Big Pond as a DEC trail that connects to the Big Pond Trail, creating a hiking and cross country skiing loop trail system between Hoffman Road and Loch Muller Road;
  • Constructing foot bridges over Hoffman Notch Brook near north end of Hoffman Notch Trail and over East Branch on the Big Pond Trail;
  • Rerouting 1/4 mile portion of Hoffman Notch Trail north of Big Marsh to west side of Hoffman Notch Brook;
  • Constructing an approximately 4-mile section of trail on eastern portion of unit connecting Hoffman Road with Route 9 which may also serve as part of the NCNST;
  • Constructing an improved parking area along the Blue Ridge Road to serve as the northern trailhead for the Hoffman Notch Trail;
  • Constructing an improved parking area with signs and trail register along west side of Route 9;
  • Designating two primitive tent sites on Big Pond and one primitive tent site on North Pond; and
  • Improving the accessibility of trails to Bailey Pond and a portion of the Big Pond trail.
  • 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 State Land Master Plan, related legislation, and resource and visitor use information into a single document.

The UMP is available for viewing or downloading from the Adirondack Park Agency website at:

Please address all written comments pertaining to State Land Master Plan compliance to:

Jim Connolly
Deputy Director of Planning
NYS Adirondack Park Agency
P.O. Box 99
Ray Brook, NY 12977

Comments must be received by 12:00 PM on Wednesday, March 7.

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DEC Warns Hikers About Hazardous Conditions

August 31st, 2011 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Many Backcountry Trails in Adirondacks and Catskills Closed Due to Hurricane Irene Impacts

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today issued a warning that unsafe conditions will remain in much of the backcountry of the Adirondacks and Catskills through Labor Day Weekend. Several trail areas are closed or inaccessible due to Hurricane Irene storm damage include flooding, bridge wash outs, trail wash outs and blow down of trees and other debris.

“We are asking the public’s cooperation in coping with the devastating effects from Hurricane Irene,” said Commissioner Martens. “In the interest of public safety, we have closed several backcountry trail areas in the Catskills and Eastern Adirondacks due to extensive damage and hazardous conditions. We encourage the public to check the DEC website for current trail conditions and campground closures before planning their travels this coming holiday weekend.”


Due to the extent of the damage and to ensure public safety, DEC has closed the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness and Dix Mountain Wilderness through Labor Day Weekend and beyond. Over the next several weeks DEC will be evaluating the conditions of all trails in the closed areas, prioritize work to rehabilitate trails and determine what trails may be reopened for public use.

Many mountain areas have been impacted by landslides. Mt. Colden, Trap Dike, Wright Peak, Skylight, Basin, Armstrong, Upper and Lower Wolf Jaws, Dix, Macomb, Giant and Cascade Mountains and many existing slides widened and/or lengthened. The threat of additional slides exists on these and other mountains remains in effect.

Although a full assessment of the recreational infrastructure in all areas of the Adirondacks has not been completed, the following hazards are confirmed:

  • The footbridge over Marcy Dam has washed away and the flush boards have been damaged;
  • Marcy Dam Truck Trail has 4 major washouts;
  • The first bridge on the western end of the Klondike Notch Trail washed downstream to South Meadows Trail;
  • Washouts on the Van Hoevenberg (Mt. Marcy) trail are 1 to 3 ft deep;
  • Along the Avalanche Pass Trail from Marcy Dam, Marcy Brook jumped its banks and caused widespread damage to the trail;
  • One side of the Duck Hole Dam has washed away and the pond has dewatered;
  • Calamity Trail from Lake Colden is impassible south of McMartin Lean-to.

Lesser amounts of damage can be found on Adirondack Forest Preserve lands south and north of these areas. However, hikers and campers should expect to encounter flooding, bridge wash outs, trail wash outs and blow down when entering the backcountry. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. Updated information on trail closures and trail conditions in the Eastern Adirondacks can be found at: Adirondack Trail Information

Areas in the Western Adirondacks are reported in fairly good condition though some flooding and blowdown can be expected. Most DEC campgrounds in the Adirondacks are expected to be open for Labor Day Weekend with many available sites.


Trails in the Catskill backcountry have also been impacted and the public is advised to avoid the backcountry at this time. Due to damage to roads, many trailheads and other access points to the backcountry are inaccessible.


Many DEC Campgrounds in the Adirondacks and the Catskills experienced significant damage from the storm including flooded areas, road destruction, and loss of electric and water service. Despite progress in restoring services, a number of campgrounds may be closed or have limited availability of campsites over Labor Day Weekend.

The following temporary campground closures are in effect:

Catskill Preserve: Mongaup Pond, Kenneth Wilson, Woodland Valley, Bear Spring Mountain, Devils Tombstone (closed until 9/14/2011), and Beaverkill (Closed for remainder of the season).

Adirondack Preserve: Little Sand Point, Poplar Point, Point Comfort, Lake Durant, Ausable Point, Paradox Lake, and Putnam Pond. All other campgrounds are open and operating.

A complete, updated list of closed campgrounds can be found on the DEC website at: Hurricane Irene Safety and Cleanup Information.

The public should be aware that many state and local roads may be inaccessible to travel and access to campground areas could be limited. Those planning to visit the Adirondack or Catskill regions this weekend call ahead or check for road closure information at the Department of Transportation’s webpage:

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