The 39th annual Adirondack Canoe Classic — the 90–Miler — will take place Sept. 9-11, with nearly 600 paddlers competing in 250 boats.
The race is hosted by the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) with support from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, dozens of businesses, nonprofits and communities, as well as countless volunteers. It takes paddlers on a three-day journey from Old Forge to Saranac Lake — the first 90 miles of the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail.
This event includes a full contingent of solo, tandem, four-person, and eight-person canoes as well as solo and tandem kayaks, one- and two-person guideboats, and stand-up paddle boards.
Race revenue is directed back into stewardship, maintenance and access projects on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and adjacent waterways from Old Forge, NY, to Fort Kent, Maine. Additionally, civic organizations working with the NFCT generate thousands of dollars for local projects during the 90–Miler. The towns of Webb, Long Lake, Inlet, Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake house, feed, outfit and gas up paddlers and their support crews not just for the 90, but for countless paddlers who pass through the Adirondacks.
The 90–Miler community is represented by a large contingent of local participants; more than 50 people are members of the Gold Canoe Club — paddlers who have finished the 90 Miler at least 20 times. While paddlers require strength, skill and stamina, participants range in age from 10 to 80. There will be over 50 students representing several regional colleges and universities paddling this year, and more than 100 first-time 90–Milers.
The best spots for spectators are as follows:
Day 1: The start in Old Forge, 8-9:30 a.m., several locations along state Route 28 including Arrowhead Park in Inlet and the finish line in Blue Mountain Lake.
Day 2: The Route 30 Bridge in Long Lake, from 8:30-10a.m., a hike into Stoney Creek on the Raquette River, and the finish line at the Route 3/30 DEC Fishing Access east of Tupper Lake.
Day 3: The start at 8:30 a.m. at Fish Creek Campground, a hike into Bartlett Carry and the finish line festivities at Riverfront Park on Lake Flower in Saranac Lake.
For more information including a list of participants, boat classifications, frequently asked questions and more, visit northernforestcanoetrail.org/
About the Northern Forest Canoe Trail:
The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a nonprofit organization that maintains and promotes the 740-mile water trail that runs from Old Forge, NY, to Fort Kent, Maine, and connects New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire and Maine. The trail showcases the mix of landscapes and communities currently lining the traditional routes used by Indigenous peoples, settlers and guides. It is the longest in-land water trail in the nation and consists of 23 rivers and streams, 59 lakes and ponds, 45 communities and 65 portages. To learn more, visit northernforestcanoetrail.org.
Photo at top: 90-Miler participants. Photo by Joanne Kennedy.
I love that first photo. It’s obviously taken where Browns Tract Inlet flows into Raquette Lake. Pine Island (aka Harding Island) is just beyond the paddlers with Blue Mountain far in the background. My wife and I canoed from Old Forge to Blue Mountain Lake in 1959 to celebrate our first anniversary. We carried from Eighth Lake along the highway to where we could put in on Browns Tract Inlet. We still remember all the beaver dams, one of which is obvious in this photo.
Radio communications for this event are provided by Amateur Radio volunteer operators. Communications for events like this are excellent practice for actual emergency situations when regular communications systems are overloaded or inoperable. The strength of Amateur (Ham) Radio is that unlike telephones, cell phones, and the Internet, hams are not totally dependent on infrastructure such as phone lines, cell towers, fiber optic lines, or radio systems that rely on central controllers. For more information, please see the emergency communications section of the Northern New York Section website nnyarrl.org/emcomm