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Old 12-02-2020, 09:16 PM   #1
Crash
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DEC developing Three Lakes Tract Conservation Easement draft RMP

The DEC is seeking input about their plans to develop a Draft Recreation Management Plan for the Three Lakes Conservation Easement. This easement is between the Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness and the Independence River Wild Forest. Comments accepted until January 13, 2021.

For more detail on participating, see the DEC webpage for the Independence River Wild Forest located here (see the Planning and Management section near the end of the webpage):
https://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/58192.html#Planning

This webpage has a link to a copy of the conservation easement. I did not read it in detail but there are 4 waterbodies covered under the easement: Hitchcock Pond, Grass Pond, Moose Pond and Blue Pond. Itís not clear whether there is any public vehicular access, but there are rights for camping, fishing, hiking and paddling.

Iím always looking for new places to paddle and camp. Anybody familiar with the area?

Please consider participating in this if you can contribute!
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Old 12-03-2020, 12:03 AM   #2
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Thanks for sharing this.

It would be really nice to see a longer stretch of maintained trail that traverses this area, providing another connection between the Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness to the south and the Independence River Wild Forest to the north. A quick glance at the trail map shows that in combination with existing trails to the west that also link those two areas, this could open up some interesting options for longer (3-4 day) backpacking loops- a type of opportunity that, for all of the region's vast tracts of public land, the Adirondack Park is currently surprisingly in short supply of.

If you were to include the Otter Creek Horse Trail system further west (and a couple of short road-walking sections), even longer loops would be possible still with the creation of such a trail across this area.

Of course, this also assumes that those already-existing connector trails are even remotely well-maintained to begin with... which is certainly an assumption at best. I've done a few trips into the Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness, but have spent very little time in the Independence River Wild Forest, so I'm genuinely not sure what the current state is of those trails.
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Old 12-03-2020, 06:42 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
A quick glance at the trail map shows that in combination with existing trails to the west that also link those two areas, this could open up some interesting options for longer (3-4 day) backpacking loops- a type of opportunity that, for all of the region's vast tracts of public land, the Adirondack Park is currently surprisingly in short supply of.
.
I completely agree. It can be kind of frustrating to try and put together a good loop involving only one car. All too often the only viable option is to go to the two car, drop off route and enter and leave at a different spot. It especially makes it hard on the solo hiker. I would definitely welcome more multi-day loop options.
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Old 12-03-2020, 11:09 AM   #4
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"Frustrating" exactly describes how it feels to see how little interconnectivity there is between different management units in the Adirondack Park with regards to hiking trails- whether it be loops or even thru-hikes that end at a different location than where they start. You would think that the "largest park in the contiguous United States" would have a lot more opportunities for backpacking trips that go beyond a single weekend. More opportunities for trips ranging from an extended 3-4 day weekend up to a week or more would be great.

One of the nice things about backpacking in Pennsylvania is how many backpacking loop opportunities there are in that state. There's no shortage of options, ranging from smaller loops that can be completed in a single weekend (the 26 mile Old Loggers Path, the 23 mile Pinchot Trail, the 30 mile Thunder Swamp Trail) to loops that can take the better part of a week or more (the 50 mile Chuck Keiper Trail, the 75 Mile Quehanna Trail, the 85 mile Susquehannock Trail System). Even longer loops yet are possible using connector trails that join some of these loop trails together into a single network. (At some point, I'd like to hike the combined Susquehannock Trail System and Black Forest Trails, a loop that is 120+ miles in length!)

I've submitted similar comments through other UMP comment periods, but so far not a single recently finished UMP that I've submitted comments for has even acknowledged the issue, much less laid out steps to try to increase inter-unit connectivity and/or provide for longer-distance opportunities for backpacking.

Yet at the same time, the snowmobile community gets no shortage of resources in comparison to facilitate an incredibly intricate network of interconnected trails across the entire Adirondack Park. This is by no means a dig against the snowmobile community- I think that such an inter-connected network of snowmobile trails also makes sense. I'm just saying that IMO, the hiking community is entitled to the same.

One of my "dream trails" is a loop trail that circumnavigates the entire Adirondack Park. By rough estimate, the length of such a trail would easily be in the vicinity of 500 miles. Connections to both the Northville-Placid Trail and the North Country Trail could facilitate (relatively) shorter loops that would still take several weeks to traverse, for those unable to take several months off to travel the full trail. My original idea for the name was "Adirondack Circuit Trail," or ACT. A friend suggested "Blue Line Trail," or BLT... I hate to admit it, but their name is better.

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Old 12-03-2020, 11:47 AM   #5
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Agreed completely. Interconnected trails for multi-day or multi-week are needed. Lack of them is why the few that do exist get so much pressure (CL-50, NPT, FLL, Haderondah loop...)

edit: and jackson, you and I still need to get together to do some of your BLT and my NPT-w.
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Old 12-03-2020, 11:50 AM   #6
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Interconnected trails for multi-day or multi-week are needed. Lack of them is why the few that do exist get so much pressure (CL-50, NPT, FLL, Haderondah loop...)
NPT West is a great idea!
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Old 12-03-2020, 01:16 PM   #7
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edit: and jackson, you and I still need to get together to do some of your BLT and my NPT-w.
Yeah, I know you and I have both posted thoughts before on the possibility of a longer backpacking trip across the Western Adirondacks. Nobleborro to Stillwater seems doable, largely on trail- but again, how much of that trail is actually maintained at present? (Also gotta keep your fingers crossed that conditions on the South Branch Moose River are conducive to fording. )

A combination of road walking, herd paths, and some bushwhacking could get a hiker further north still, into the Five Ponds Wilderness, and from there it would be possible to continue on to Cranberry Lake.

In any case, the issues surrounding existing maintenance especially are such that some scouting would seem to be essential prior to attempting such a hike.
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Old 12-03-2020, 06:36 PM   #8
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Lack of loop trails has not much concerned me over the years, as very many of my explorations have included off trail bushwhack travel as a necessary portion of the goal. I use trails as a "means to get off trail". I've done so in my home region of the western adirondacks, including the woods around Nobleboro-Piseco, Stillwater-Big Moose, Stillwater-Cranberry, Stillwater-Lows, and North Lake- MRP to name a few. If unable to arrange a ride back from a one-way passage, I simply create my own loop.
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Old 12-04-2020, 09:53 AM   #9
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When hikers start paying trail fees, registration fees and club fees....maybe some money would go for trail work....
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Old 12-04-2020, 12:49 PM   #10
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When [fill in the blank] start paying more fees, then that much more fee money will just disappear into the Albany morass.

(Fixed it for ya.)
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Old 12-04-2020, 05:18 PM   #11
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Yeah, I know you and I have both posted thoughts before on the possibility of a longer backpacking trip across the Western Adirondacks. Nobleborro to Stillwater seems doable, largely on trail- but again, how much of that trail is actually maintained at present? (Also gotta keep your fingers crossed that conditions on the South Branch Moose River are conducive to fording. )

A combination of road walking, herd paths, and some bushwhacking could get a hiker further north still, into the Five Ponds Wilderness, and from there it would be possible to continue on to Cranberry Lake.

In any case, the issues surrounding existing maintenance especially are such that some scouting would seem to be essential prior to attempting such a hike.

Agreed. I have slowly picking away at scouting out a route. So far I have boots on the ground for just over 156 miles of it. Just under 90 miles to go.
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Old 12-05-2020, 09:39 AM   #12
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Reading through the 1990 Easement, there is specific reference to "for a period of thirty (30) years" as an exception regarding a structure and surrounding acreage. I surmise this sunset of this 30-year exception is a main impetus for drafting the RMP.
[for those looking at the easement doc, I am specifically referring to Article 6 on page 13-14]

An interesting item of note: it is prohibited to "deposit.. burning tobacco". So no flicking one's cigarette butt into the woods. Of course this also falls under the prohibition of disposing rubbish. I just found the specific note curious.
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Old 12-05-2020, 10:05 AM   #13
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I sent in my comments: r6.ump@dec.ny.gov

If anyone would like a copy of my comments send me a PM.
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Old 12-05-2020, 01:39 PM   #14
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Agreed. I have slowly picking away at scouting out a route. So far I have boots on the ground for just over 156 miles of it. Just under 90 miles to go.
Would you be willing to publicly share some more of the specifics of our route? Start point, end point, particulars of the route (especially since some of the stretches along the way would seem to be pretty "choose-your-own-adventurey" with a decent number of options...)?
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Old 12-05-2020, 05:31 PM   #15
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Would you be willing to publicly share some more of the specifics of our route? Start point, end point, particulars of the route (especially since some of the stretches along the way would seem to be pretty "choose-your-own-adventurey" with a decent number of options...)?
Definitely a choose your own adventure for the sections. I have been having fun scouting out different routes as weekend (or 3-4 day) trips.

The Sections break down with these general start/end points with approximate/rounded mileages for the trails I mapped out (these change after a scouting trip to reflect specific routes changes)

Lake Placid to Cranberry Lake/5-Ponds (57 miles)
CL-5Ponds to Stillwater Dam (51 miles)
Stillwater to McKeever (45 miles)
McKeever to Nobleboro (34 miles)
Nobleboro to Caroga (40 miles)
Caroga to Northville (31 miles)
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Old 12-11-2020, 09:41 AM   #16
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Oooooh... all this time whenever you said "NPT West" I thought you meant a western version of the NPT but with different start and end points. But you actually mean a trail that connects the same start and end points- Northville and Lake Placid- via a longer, more westernly route. Interesting.

My thoughts (day dreams, really) about the BLT were that it would ideally pass through Northville for resupply... the absence of state land to the east of Northville could force a slightly more northern crossing of Route 30, but there is a sliver of the WLWF that comes down near Northville, with a forested but privately owned ridge that continues pretty much directly down to the village. If permission could be obtained to build a trail along this ridge, then the BLT could pass through downtown Northville, and coincide with the NPT for a bit into the Shaker Mt WF and Silver Lake WA.

Exactly where the BLT would diverge from the NPT would be TBD... one thought that I had was that a divergence before or in Upper Benson would allow the trail to use some existing trail segments via Chase Lake, County Line Lake, etc. But logistically maybe it would be easier to continue on the NPT as far as Rock Lake and the West Branch Sacandaga. Plus Chase Lake in particular is not very remote.

You mention Caroga- I was also thinking that the BLT should cross the summit of Kane Mountain as there will be limited opportunities elsewhere in the southern/western ADKs for views. And from there on up into the Ferris Lake Wild Forest via the existing trails to Spectacle, Dexter Lakes, etc.

As far as the northern sections of the BLT, again my thoughts (day dreams) were to avoid the High Peaks as much as feasible. This probably would not be possible in the Giant Mountain Wilderness due to lack of other state land units to facilitate routing the trail, but at least here the BLT would use the two less-popular approaches to Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge (9N/Owl's Head and the New Russia approaches). (Alternatively, a new section of trail connecting Roaring Brook with Bald Peak would avoid High Peaks summits entirely, but it does seem like if you're going to route the trail that close to a High Peak you might as well just bite the bullet and send it over the top.)

My thoughts were also to use Wilmington as a resupply town, which would be about the closest the trail would get to Lake Placid. But a connector trail between the BLT and the north end of the NPT (between Wilmington and Lake Placid) certainly seems essential. And enough trails exist that this is largely already possible- over Whiteface Mountain and either west around Lake Placid via the SOA trail, or east via Connery Pond and Cobble Hill (a small section of trail would need to be built here but state land already exists to route it across).

A few other hurdles: Building a connection around Tupper Lake (or rather through Tupper Lake for resupply purposes), and also a connection around/through Lake George. There is a notable gap in state land the vicinity of Tupper Lake (and Tupper Lake itself is a bit of an obstacle). I believe there's easement land to the south/east of Tupper Lake across which a trail could be routed, and perhaps it may even could cross the summit of Mt. Morris.

Lake George is a bigger obstacle. The trail could avoid the Lake George area entirely by traversing the Hoffman Notch Wilderness, Vanderwhacker Mountain Wilderness, Hudson Gorge Wilderness, and Siamese Ponds Wilderness instead... but it would at the same time, I think, be neat to have the trail traverse the rugged stretches of both the Tongue Mountain Range and the Black Mountain/Buck Mountain ridgeline... this means getting across Lake George, but it seems like Lake George has a healthy water taxi industry, so this might not be a substantial obstacle at all. This leaves the south end of Lake George, which is also noticeably devoid of state land in the vicinity.
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Old 12-11-2020, 07:40 PM   #17
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We need to camp sometime and shoot the breeze around the campfire about these ideas.

btw, I will hit #100 Sat night.
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Old 12-11-2020, 11:53 PM   #18
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Nice. I'm at #241 as of a couple of weeks ago.
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Old 12-14-2020, 10:09 PM   #19
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I also wish the region had more backpacking loops as the lower elevation areas seem ideal for it. Although, and I could be wrong, maybe all the swamps and larger creeks may be an impediment to a backpacking trail system like PA's. Tough to backpack in the high peaks due to popularity, competition for campsites, not to mention terrain.

There's some good news. The North Country Trail will cross the southern Adirondacks and many miles of new trail will have to be built.
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