The plan covers nearly 50,000 acres of Wild Forest designated “forever wild” Adirondack Forest Preserve land and includes a segment of the interstate North Country Scenic Trail and a controversial boat launch on Eagle Lake on Route 74 west of Ticonderoga.
The Hammond Pond Wild Forest (HPWF) is located in the eastern portion of the Adirondack Park in the Towns of Keene, Elizabethtown, Westport, North Hudson, Moriah, Crown Point, Ticonderoga and Schroon in Essex County. The unit is bounded on the west by the High Peaks and Hoffman Notch Wilderness Areas, on the south by the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area, on the east by the Lake Champlain Valley and on the north by State Route 9N. The unit contains 56 parcels totaling approximately 45,619 acres classified as wild forest. Parts of the unit are adjacent to the recently built Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area.
Hail Mountain is the highest summit within the unit at an elevation of 2,598 feet. Other notable summits in the unit, that have spectacular views and are proposed for trail access include: Bald Peak (2,313 feet), Bloody Mountain (1,879 feet), Harris Hill (2,208 feet) and Split Rock Mountain (1,948 feet). The Belfry Mountain firetower provides a bird’s-eye view of the Lake Champlain valley and the Green Mountains of Vermont.
The HPWF contains 53 ponds and lakes. These waters range in size from unnamed ponds less than 1 acre in size to the 4,100-acre Schroon Lake. The area is best characterized by its wealth of small ponds, many of which feature the native brook trout. There are also three public fishing access sites with parking along Putnam Creek in the Town of Crown Point. These sites provide parking and access to the creek, and are solely designed for fishing use. In addition, the Schroon River offers both coldwater and warmwater fishing opportunities and is currently stocked with brown trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon fry.
The following is a limited list of proposed management actions provided by DEC:
- Phase in recreational uses and access points to waterbodies in a manner to support ongoing efforts to develop and implement carrying capacity guidelines;
- Conduct an assessment of public use of Eagle Lake and its access site prior to implementation of any proposed action alternatives;
- Continue to operate the Port Henry Boat Launch with the Towns of Port Henry and Moriah;
- Design high-quality equestrian trails to complement the newly built Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area. These trails will provide shorter, family-friendly riding opportunities and connect to the longer-distance trails that lead to surrounding units and communities;
- Formally designate a 0.8-mile section of snowmobile trail on lands east of Route 9, between the Schroon River Road and Town of North Hudson (near Frontier Town), as a Class II Community Connector trail;
- Construct a new Schroon River fishing and waterway access site approximately a half-mile north of the North Hudson Town Beach. This facility will include parking for two vehicles along Route 9 and a short access trail from the road to the river;
- Construct a fishing and waterway access site at Deadwater Pond;
- Continue to allow bicycle trail use with an emphasis on connections to longer-distance trail networks;
- Build a section of the North Country National Scenic Trail through the HPWF unit;
- Increase access for persons with disabilities;
- Construct facilities at Split Rock Falls to stop erosion and provide a hardened pathway to safe view point;
- Prioritize public outreach opportunities/strategies to facilitate relocation of high use activity away from the High Peaks/NYS Route 73 highway corridor.
To review the full proposed Unit Management Plan amendment with detailed trail and facility changes, visit APA’s website.
The APA will accept public comments until April 15, 2019 regarding Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan conformance for the proposed management actions. Address all written comments pertaining to conformance to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan to:
Richard Weber III
Deputy Director for Planning
NYS Adirondack Park Agency
P.O. Box 99
Ray Brook, NY 12977
Map of Hammond Pond Wild Forest and Port Henry Boat Launch courtesy Adirondack Atlas.