Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Great Camp Sagamore updates resources for its historic trail network

By Jen Maguder, Great Camp Sagamore’s Program Director

Big Slope BridgeIn mid-May, seasonal staffers Lily Whiteman and Charles Sykes returned to work remotely for Great Camp Sagamore. Their positions are supported by the Payroll Protection Program, introduced by the federal government to encourage workforce retention and hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lily and Charles are helping to upgrade our online resources for visitors to the Historic Great Camps Special Management Area (HGCSMA).

It’s a long title, so we’re calling Lily and Charles’ work the “trails project” for now.

If you have driven down Sagamore Road in the past few years, you may have noticed the “Entering Historic Great Camps Special Management Area” sign before reaching Great Camp Sagamore’s gate. This region, within the Blue Ridge Wilderness and Moose River Plains Wild Forest areas, has received a unique designation due to its proximity to Sagamore and Camp Uncas, both National Historic Landmarks*. This designation recognizes the cultural importance of the camps and the need to make distinctive management decisions for the surrounding state land.

Breath-taking views, idyllic trout pools, giant pines, well-maintained foot trails, and historic areas and structures associated with the camps* can be found in the HGCSMA. It’s a wonderful place to savor the Adirondack environment, far removed from heavy hiker density. Paddlers can launch on Sagamore Lake where they’ll explore wooded shorelines and mountain views with no motorboat traffic. Hikers and mountain bikers can reach the shore of remote and stunning Mohegan Lake via a new trail in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest. Both short jaunts and long loops are available to hikers in the HGCSMA, especially with a map, a trail lunch, and a little imagination!

It’s a hidden treasure that will become more accessible thanks to Lily and Charles’ work. For now, the existing HGCSMA trail map is available here on our website. Keep on the look-out for interpretive guides and educational materials that will become available on the website as Charles and Lily make progress.

We are all being encouraged to stay at home and recreate locally to slow the spread of COVID-19. Please remember, the trails in the HGCSMA will still be here when it is safer to travel. The anticipation will only make the visit more exciting when you get here!

*Please note that these structures are more than 100 years old and severely dilapidated. For your own safety, please do not attempt to go inside. 

*While Sagamore and Uncas are both National Historic Landmarks, they are owned privately and trespassing is not permitted. If you would like to visit Great Camp Sagamore, come for a historic tour or register for an overnight stay in 2021. Camp Uncas is not accessible to the general public. The trails of the HGCSMA are free to use, but please respect gates and signs that direct hikers away from the camps’ properties.

Photo: Big Slope Trail in the Great Camp Sagamore Special Management Area/Adirondack Almanack archive

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The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional guest essays from Adirondack residents, visitors, and those with an interest in the Adirondack Park. Submissions should be directed to Almanack editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com

2 Responses

  1. Willa Scantlebury says:

    How about mentioning, Scouts Point, off Old Uncas Rd? That’s a great camping spot with a new thunderbox! (I helped clear it, this time last year.) I have photos too.

  2. Robert Engel says:

    Wait, what?, there’s decent hiking outside of the High Peaks?

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