A few weeks ago, I went to Crane Pond Road to take photos for a story that will run in the next issue of the Adirondack Explorer.
The dirt lane became a cause celebre two decades ago when the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) tried to close it.
The road penetrates nearly two miles into the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area, ending at Crane Pond. Yet the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan forbids motorized use in Wilderness Areas.
When DEC placed boulders across the road at the Wilderness boundary in 1989, masked men removed them. Members of Earth First later set up tents to block the road and were confronted by local residents. The Warrensburg town supervisor threw a punch at one of the environmentalists, and footage of the encounter ended up on 60 Minutes.
Crane Pond Road was quiet on the day of my visit, but there were still reminders of the old battle. An American flag hung from a tree near the state-land boundary. I also spotted a rock with some spray-painted red letters. I scraped off the moss to reveal what they said: “Adirondack Homeland.”
On the road to Crane Pond, I saw three parked pickup trucks, including one that made it all the way to the pond.
John Sheehan of the Adirondack Council contends that DEC is obligated by state law to close the road. However, a DEC spokesman indicated that the agency has no plans to do so.
This appears to be one battle that the locals won.
Photo of “Adirondack Homeland” boulder by Phil Brown