On Tuesday, November 22, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the gate on the access road leading to the Bog River Dam, also known as Lows Lower Dam, will be closed starting Dec. 6, to allow for construction to maintain the dam. The road will remain closed through the 2023 field season. All vehicles must be removed from the access road to dam and parking area near the dam by 12 p.m. Dec. 6.
The project is necessary to bring the dam into compliance with New York State dam safety regulations. Construction activities will affect recreational users of the Horseshoe Lake, Hitchins Pond, and Lows Lake areas, including the cartop boat launch and parking area at the Lower Dam. The river access and parking area at Lows Lower Dam, located near the end of State Highway 421, will be closed beginning Dec. 6, and the road will remain closed for the duration of the construction project. Construction activities may take place seven days per week and are expected to last at least through the 2023 field season.
The public is encouraged to seek alternative paddling destinations during the construction project. Alternative destinations for wilderness paddling and camping include Round Lake, Little Tupper Lake, Lake Lila, the St. Regis Canoe Area, and the Essex Chain of Lakes. There are additional destinations throughout the Adirondacks for paddling associated with day use and non-wilderness camping. DEC’s paddling and places to go webpages feature information for those seeking alternative destinations.
Opportunities for recreational users set on accessing Hitchens Pond and/or Lows Lake during the construction period are limited, but include:
- The Horseshoe Lake Outlet is located off the Otter Brook Road, approximately 0.4-miles past the Lower Dam Road. This channel is very narrow, flows through dense alders, and contains many beaver dams. This route is not recommended during low water conditions. Two campsites, located at Horseshoe Lake will be temporarily closed to allow users of this route a place to park. There is no roadside parking available near the launch site along the Otter Brook Road. The Horseshoe Lake Outlet enters the Bog River between the Lows Lower Dam launch site and Hitchens Pond.
- The Upper Dam Road is located on the left through a closed gate, off the Otter Brook Road, approximately 0.9-miles past the Remsen-Lake Placid Railroad crossing by Horseshoe Lake. Boats can be carried for about 2.5-miles on the relatively flat road to reach Lows Upper Dam. There is room for about 10 vehicles to park at nearby campsites or by the gate near the Otter Brook Road. Otherwise users can park at Horseshoe Lake. Access to the gate must not be blocked.
- Other portages provide access to Lows Lake, but are challenging-the 3.5-mile Oswegatchie River Canoe Carry, from the Oswegatchie River above High Falls, and the 4.4-mile Cranberry Lake Grass Pond Trail, from Chair Rock Flow in Cranberry Lake. These routes are very difficult and not recommended except for highly experienced wilderness paddlers with a lengthy time commitment.
For any questions or concerns, contact Henry Dedrick, Supervising Forester at the DEC’s Potsdam sub-office at (315)-265-3090.