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Facilities at Campsites?

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  • Facilities at Campsites?

    I'm planning a canoe camping trip next year to the Nine Carries area (I think).

    I've been going to Canada but want to see about the Adirondacks.
    Where I have been going in Canada the designated campsites have a privy (thunderbox), fire-ring, and sometimes a picnic table.

    From what I have seen online, I'm not expecting a table.

    But am not sure about the privy and or fire-ring.

    What can I expect to find at a designated campsite on a lake such as St Regis Pond?

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Fire pit, sometimes a thunderbox or privy, not always though.

    Lean-to sites often have tables.

    Have fun, make sure you have a trowel in case you stay at a site with no pit privy.


    • #3
      I would not expect picnic tables. I'm sure there's 1 or 2 out there in the St. Regis Canoe Area, but in these cases they were carried in by a member of the public and assembled through a good-will gesture. The state does not provide picnic tables at backcountry tent sites.

      Every designated site will have a fire pit. Some of the more popular sites may be pretty well-picked over with regards to dead and downed wood, however.

      Regarding privies- I believe the most of the St. Regis Canoe Area sites will have them but I would not necessarily expect every single site to have one. Some sites still have outhouses, but the state has been slowly replacing outhouses with box toilets (thunderboxes as you've encountered elsewhere) as the outhouses have lived out their lifespans. If the site doesn't have any kind of toilet, just dig your own hole, well away from the campsite and the shoreline (at least 200 feet from either is best).

      Since it sounds like this may be your first visit to the ADKs: Make sure you're aware of the "150 foot rule," as it's generally pretty strictly enforced in the ADKs. Basically it says that within 150 feet of any road, trail, or water body, camping is generally permitted only at designated sites and lean-tos. Designated sites are marked with a yellow plastic disc that says "Camp Here" and has a picture of a tipi on it. Fortunately, there's tons of designated sites across the St. Regis Canoe Area and it's not hard to find information on where they are. (I highly recommend the maps from Paddlesports Press if you don't already own one. Both the Paddler's Map North and the St. Regis Canoe Area maps cover this area.)

      Tents are not permitted inside of, or adjacent to lean-tos- so if a tent is necessary- pick a designated tent site. (Bug nets are permitted inside a lean-to provided that you're not taking up more space than you'd reasonably need for yourself.) The expectation with lean-tos also is that they are open to everyone until they are full- so if you snag a lean-to, be prepared to share.

      The St. Regis Canoe Area is gorgeous but it can be popular. In addition to weekend trippers, it's a very popular destination for summer camp groups mid-week in July and August- so even mid-week visits during this timeframe can see you encountering quite a few other groups out and about. The water bodies closer to the access points will tend to be busier- both Long Pond and St. Regis Pond do fill up with crowds- but deeper (and more portages) into the interior of the area, the quieter it tends to be. I'd look to Fish Pond, Little Long Pond, and the vicinity for the most solitude if that's your thing.

      The portage trails aren't too bad but a few of them can be on the longer side.


      • #4
        Typical site on Long Pond:

        I believe that had a thunderbox heading straight back in the direction of the photo.


        • #5
          Check carefully before you give up on the privy. I a bit embarrassed to say that last year I was at a site where I'd dug catholes for 3 previous visits, and finally realized there *is* a privy -- just waaay down a long path. Unlike many sites, there was no disk or sign indicating where to go for it.


          • #6
            Many misguided installations have been done. A couple years ago I was searching for the privy at Avalanche Camp. Hiked the "privy trail" for what seemed like forever. (And I don't mind hiking long distances.) Finally gave up, went 150' off trail and used a cat hole. Never found the privy. Some of the folks that are laying out and building this stuff are dumb. If you want people to use something, let them find it. If I didn't use that privy, no one will.


            • #7
              I wonder if in some instances it has to do where you can feasibly dig a deep hole.

              One of the best thunderboxes I've used was up along a steep hillside at Hitchins Pond. I'm not sure, in terms of runoff and ground seepage it was the best site, but it gave me a commanding position of authority.

              I'll also mention, in that pic I posted above, I slept through one of the worst storms I ever have, and I thought for sure that dead snag on the left was going to come down on me.


              • #8
                How about those nice little 5 gal. buckets with a toilet seat attached. They are hard to find, always seem to be behind a tree


                • #9

                  I took a pass on this one.


                  • #10
                    Here's a look at the campsite on St Regis at the NE corner, very near the carry to Green Pond. Not the best of spots, but nice sunsets, even when it's raining.

                    And if you walk a ways from the shore, you'll find this.


                    • #11
                      Thanks for all your input and suggestions.....I do appreciate it.

                      Looking forward to a trip!