The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released the Final Sacandaga Block Conservation Easement Lands Recreation Management Plan (RMP) that identifies management initiatives to increase public access for recreational use on 6,147 acres of easement lands divided between seven tracts in the southern Adirondacks.
In June 2007, Finch, Pruyn and Company, Inc. sold 161,000 acres of land to The Nature Conservancy, which in turn sold the 92,035-acres to Upper Hudson Woodlands ATP and a Conservation Easement to the State of New York in March 2009. The Sacandaga Block Tracts consists of 6,147 acres of those lands in seven tracts:
• Jackson Summit Road West Tract and Dennie Road Tract in the town of Mayfield, Fulton County;
• Hohler Road Tract and Benson Road Tract in the town of Bleeker, Fulton County;
• Gordon’s Creek Tract and Johnny Cake Lake Tract in the town of Edinburg, Saratoga County; and
• Lake Desolation Road Tract in the town of Greenfield, Saratoga County, just outside of Adirondack Park.
Upper Hudson Woodlands ATP actively manages the lands for timber and leases much of the land to private outdoor recreation enthusiasts.
The easement on these private lands includes specific rights for public access and recreation. The RMP is designed to manage and facilitate public recreational use on these lands as defined by the easement.
Public access and recreation is confined to the trails and other recreational infrastructure described in the RMP. Use outside of the designated trails, parking areas, and other infrastructure or use other than the types described is considered trespassing. The RMP identifies the following public access and recreational opportunities:
• Dennie Road Tract: Approximately seven miles of groomed cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. A parking area and associated kiosk with trail information and a map. Use will be limited to winter-time skiing and snowshoeing.
• Jackson Summit West Tract: Approximately three miles of trails including a snowmobile trail to the top of Bernhardt Mountain and a non-motorized trail to Lynus Vly on adjacent Forest Preserve lands for fishing. Ice fishing is allowed on Lynus Vly in the winter. The trail is closed to public during the northern zone regular big game hunting season.
• Hohler Road Tract: A shorter alternative snowmobile trail linking the communities of Peck’s Lake, Caroga, and Mayfield.
• Benson Road Tract: Permanent snowmobile access on a community connector trail linking the Town of Caroga Lake and Mayfield; the continuation of a motor vehicle route through the parcel, improving access to Forest Preserve lands; and a northern route and parking will provide improved motor vehicle access to West Stony Creek and nearby Forest Preserve lands.
• Gordon’s Creek, Johnny Cake Lake and Lake Desolation Road Tracts: Continue the use of previously existing community connector snowmobile trails which are currently maintained and groomed by local snowmobiling clubs.
Public ATV use is prohibited on all the tracts. However, the landowner and their lessees are permitted to use ATVs. Public hunting is prohibited on all the tracts except for the Lake Desolation Tract. Public fishing is prohibited with the exception of Lynus Vly on the Jackson Summit West Tract and Archer Vly on the Lake Desolation Tract.
Full, non-motorized public recreational rights are available on the Lake Desolation Tract. A hand launch, two trails, and four primitive tent sites have been developed on Archer Vly. The hand launch and parking area are located on Plank Road off Lake Desolation Road.
Canoes, kayaks, and boats with electric motors may use the launch. The trails are open to hikers, bikers, horseback riders, skiers, and snowshoers. Two tent sites may be accessed from the parking area via the trail along the western shore, the other two sites may only be accessed by water.
The complete Final Sacandaga Block Conservation Easement Lands RMP is available for viewing and downloading on DEC’s website.