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Old 05-15-2020, 07:48 PM   #1
Dayjon
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Question Boreas River/Moose Pond Rd. Primitive Campsites

I was wondering if anyone has information about these three primitive campsites in the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest Area:

Boreas River/28N Campsite #1 & #2
Moose Pond Rd. Campsite #1

This is a solid tool available on the NYS DEC website with various layers you can add, I'm sure many of you already use it, allowing me to see these primitive campsites, seemingly just off 28N:
https://gisservices.dec.ny.gov/gis/dil/index.html?REC

Does anyone know how far off the road they are? Is parking along the roadside legal? Are these campsites even still in existence?
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Old 05-15-2020, 08:17 PM   #2
DSettahr
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The campsites on 28N where the Boreas River crosses are fairly obvious- they have well built stone fireplaces. I believe you can drive right up to them, although from what I remember, you have to drive right through the middle of site #1 to get to site #2... sort of makes site #1 not the greatest site as you could have vehicle traffic in and out through your site as the occupants of site #2 come and go. Both are really more RV/trailer camper sites from what I recall, with well-impacted gravel/sand surfaces. Not really spots I'd be particularly enthusiastic about tent camping at.

For years, neither of the Boreas River sites had a "Camp Here" disc which was frustrating (but unfortunately not atypical) as it was never 100% clear if they were meant to be legal, designated sites or not. I think the last time I stopped in there they both had "Camp Here" discs, though.

I haven't really spent too much time poking around on the Moose Pond Club Road, but the designated roadside sites are pretty obvious from what I remember driving back in there to climb Vanderwhacker Mountain. I believe most of them you can drive onto the site, although there may be 1 or 2 that you need to park alongside the road and walk in. From what I recall driving by, all of the sites either have an obvious numbered sign and/or "Camp Here" disc so it's pretty clear where the legal, designated tent sites are.

The DEC's publicly available information about tent sites is good but not great. A lot of sites are missing.
Some of the information is also pretty out of date and as you note, just because a tent site is shown on that site doesn't necessarily mean it still exists. IMO, it's best to take the information on that page with a grain of salt, and seek independent verification where possible (which is exactly what you're doing so good job!).

Case in point: If you turn on both the tent site and lean-to layers and browse to Marcy Dam, not a single tent site is shown... but there's actually something like 15+ tent sites there. 5 lean-tos are shown at Marcy Dam, which hasn't been the case for at least a few years- there's only 3 lean-tos at Marcy Dam currently. The fact that the official information for one of the most popular backcountry camping destinations in NY State (if not the single most popular camping destination in the state) is so incredibly inaccurate is telling.
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Old 05-15-2020, 09:56 PM   #3
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Both of those sites along the Boreas were still active the last time MDB and I paddled the Boreas two years ago.
I have a couple pics that sort of show the site closer to Rt 28N...hopefully, you can extrapolate from the little bit that's in the background. The site farther back is quite large, I think there's more than one fireplace.

As far as the site on Moose Pond Club Rd, it's also still there. In fact, I muscled a 32 ft motorhome to that site in late October many years ago. No pics, though, sorry.

FWIW, I drive past there a few times a season, and rarely see the sites occupied, I imagine the proximity to the road keeps most folks away.




Last edited by stripperguy; 05-16-2020 at 11:56 AM..
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Old 05-17-2020, 05:49 PM   #4
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Wonderful! Thank you for the information. The pictures are very helpful as well!
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Old 05-17-2020, 06:00 PM   #5
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FWIW, a bit of a historical context on the Boreas sites: I think there used to be 1 or 2 lean-tos at the Boreas River sites off of 28N (decades ago, not recently). Roadside lean-tos used to be a thing in the Adirondacks back in the early half of the 20th century- you'd drive right up and park your car next to the lean-to and camp in it. As cars became more ubiquitous in the second half of the century, and the roads better maintained (and better traveled), roadside lean-tos became problematic- they were frequent party spots and they were often also trashed. Over time, some of the roads were closed to public motor vehicle traffic, which helped solve the overuse and abuse issue. In other instances, such as the Boreas River, the lean-tos were removed (if they didn't burn down due to vandalism first).
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:01 AM   #6
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"Cheney Pond Road and Moose Pond Club Road are open but should be used by high clearance vehicles only as there are some minor washouts from the Halloween storm. (5/15)"

https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9199.html
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Old 05-18-2020, 01:58 PM   #7
Dayjon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
FWIW, a bit of a historical context on the Boreas sites: I think there used to be 1 or 2 lean-tos at the Boreas River sites off of 28N (decades ago, not recently). Roadside lean-tos used to be a thing in the Adirondacks back in the early half of the 20th century- you'd drive right up and park your car next to the lean-to and camp in it. As cars became more ubiquitous in the second half of the century, and the roads better maintained (and better traveled), roadside lean-tos became problematic- they were frequent party spots and they were often also trashed. Over time, some of the roads were closed to public motor vehicle traffic, which helped solve the overuse and abuse issue. In other instances, such as the Boreas River, the lean-tos were removed (if they didn't burn down due to vandalism first).
It's quite a shame that has happened, and I imagine it is similar throughout the country. It would be convenient to be able to explore recreational areas throughout the country (especially the ADKs), and have that as an option. I wonder how much of that is also the result of areas not making tourist dollars from people staying in motels, BnBs, hostels, etc.
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