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Old 01-31-2016, 06:14 PM   #1
madison
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Boat Access only lean-to's on 7th, 8th, Raquette Lakes

The search for summer paddling destinations continues...

Although I have been in the general area many times, I have never visited 7th, 8th, or Raquette Lakes. I know they all have State campgrounds, but my maps show lean-to's/campsites that do not appear to be part of the campground. Is that accurate? Would these sites be first come-first serve, like the ones on Cranberry or Little Tupper? Specifically I am curious about the lean-to's on northern shore and island on Seventh Lake, the ones on the western shore and small island on Eighth Lake, and the lean-to's on Big Island on Raquette Lake, as well as the ones in Beaver Bay. Does anyone have firsthand knowledge of these?

Also, any thoughts on development and motor boat activity on these lakes? Cranberry Lake is a favorite paddling destination of mine and I find the motor boat and development level there acceptable, although I wouldn't want much more than that.

I may end up at one of the places I usually go to- namely Cranberry, Little Tupper, or one of the ponds in Saranac Wild Forest or St Regis area. Those places never disappoint, but this year I have been thinking I'd like to try somewhere new. If anyone has a suggestion it would be greatly appreciated. Quiet, somewhat remote sites, and good bass fishing are what I am looking for.
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Old 01-31-2016, 06:37 PM   #2
Wldrns
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None of those mentioned are part to the state campgrounds. Treat them the same as any other lean-tos, first come, first serve, up to capacity limit. I wouldn't consider any of them as "remote". Eighth Lake is probably the least motorboated, simply because it is the smallest by far of the three lakes. Depending on the day, expect potentially lots of boats on Raquette, and is often windy with large waves. The lean-to near the eastern end 7th, although 3/4 mile across the lake is within easy view of the large often busy boat launch on Rte 28. I've never stayed at any of them, but I have paddled by them all many dozens of times during canoe races and multiple other expeditions, and I see they are all very popular and frequently occupied.
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Old 01-31-2016, 07:20 PM   #3
DSettahr
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I know that the lean-to on the island on 8th Lake is slated to be removed by the DEC due to overuse and abuse. It may or may not still be there.
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Old 01-31-2016, 07:42 PM   #4
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Racquette is actually a nice lake but it can be a real bear if the wind or weather kicks up. There can also be quite a bit of boat traffic and you may or may not like the tour boat, the Durant. However, it has a great deal of shoreline and there are places on the lake with very nice camp sites. The fishing is very good and for some reason you don't see the maniacal jet ski rodeos and insane boat behavior on Racquette that makes the Fulton Lakes such a nightmare.
It's worth doing once so that you can decide for yourself. I prefer to come in to it from Blue Mountain Lake.
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:03 PM   #5
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In 2014 I stayed at the lean-to on the island in 8th lake and picked up a bunch of trash while I was there which I hauled to the campground and the DEC attendant was kind enough to take it for me. It is a nice spot, although as DSettahr said it is rather heavily impacted. It is not at all of a wilderness experience since it is within easy earshot of 28. The LT on the shore by that island had a number of frolicking mice in it so I didn't stay. I used to stop (before I had a canoe) at 7th Lake when I was bicycling through on my way to or from points further east since it was about 90+ miles from home and a good place to spend the night. Since there is no parking at the end of 7th Lake Rd it was not as crowded as it might have been,, though again it was heavily impacted. I never stayed in the LTs on 7th but always camped back in the woods away from the lake. In 2012 or 13 I saw a new sign that said Camping By Permit Only at the beginning of the 7th Lake trail. As I recall it gave the DEC number. I stayed there that night because I got in as it was about dusk but I haven't been back since. I would not recommend 7th or 8th as a destination but they're nice stopovers if you're passing through the area and need a quick in and out for overnight. I've never been on Raquette so I don't know about it.
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Old 02-02-2016, 11:02 AM   #6
Rich Lockwood
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Cranberry Lake

I have found the motorboats on Cranberry lake to be the most considerate of all the motor lakes I have paddled. Maybe it's because of the high percentage of state/wilderness shoreline or possibly the demographics of the boaters, but they are great. Once when paddling there with my scout troop, they got more spread out than they were supposed to and a motor boat who couldn't get far enough away simply stopped until we got past.
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Old 02-02-2016, 01:52 PM   #7
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Plan on paddling the main parts of Cranberry, or Raquette before or after winds are blowing. Cranberry because of depth and openness and Raquette because of how it lies, especially that north part, can kick up waves even an experienced paddler in a fully loaded canoe will respect and thus avoid/wait out. Just one rogue wave over the side will change everything! Especially if you have to paddle across the wind. Plan to paddle early in the morning (best) or later in the evening, when the winds die down.

This is the same for any medium to large body of water... anywhere.
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Old 02-02-2016, 02:39 PM   #8
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To add to what has already been posted, I did some trail work on the portage trails along the Fulton Chain/Raquette River corridor (upstream of Long Lake) when I worked for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail in 2010/2011. We would frequently use one of the lean-tos as a base of operations to camp at as there was usually one located close to our work sites. Every Friday afternoon, we would have a constant stream of people arriving at the lean-tos, either by foot or by boat, looking for an open lean-to to camp at.

You're really only going to find "quiet" on 7th and 8th lakes in the summer if you go mid-week, I think.
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Old 02-02-2016, 04:45 PM   #9
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I didn't see anyone mention this yet so as to the shelters around Beaver Bay in Raquette Lake, they too are available on a first come, first serve basis. Depending on the map you're looking at there is a small peninsula that comes into that general bay area. The lean-tos are to the left side of the peninsula. I haven't been there in a long time but traditionally there were 3 shelters off that bay. Years ago they were popular with the RL Girl's Camp as overnight locations for their campers. They would send out a staff person in a motor boat to "reserve" the sites but after a few conversations, and the fact that we weren't listening to his threats, we didn't have any issues. I'm not saying they still do this but it's something to be aware of.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

snapper

PS - Unless something has happened, the only lean-tos on Raquette Lake that cost anything are the ones located at Tioga Point. The rest are free with the first come, first serve proviso.
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