Friday, April 28, 2023

High Peaks management meeting in May; Broadalbin beach update

broadalbin beach on a cloudy day

The firm the state Department of Environmental Conservation hired to start a High Peaks visitor use management framework is hosting a public meeting. DEC announced Otak Inc. will present their project’s goals and timeline at 5:30 p.m. on May 9 at the Harrietstown Town Hall Auditorium, 39 Main St., Saranac Lake. Following the presentation, “interactive discussion groups” will meet “to gain an understanding of public interests and concerns,” DEC said.

Otak is holding a meeting in the Catskills, too, to discuss its visitor use management project in the Kaaterskill Clove Area.

“DEC’s sustainable use initiatives require public participation to be successful,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos, in a release. “Listening to public and stakeholder perspectives about the High Peaks and Kaaterskill Clove project areas will provide DEC with the important data to support successful strategies for balancing conservation and public access in these popular Forest Preserve destinations.”

The DEC hired the Portland, Oregon-based firm in March to study visitation to some of the most popular spots in the High Peaks Wilderness Area, including Cascade and the state’s highest mountain, Marcy. The firm has worked with the National Park Service, including Acadia National Park in Maine. The company helped with a transportation and visitor capacity study there, which lead to a vehicle reservation system during sunrises on Cadillac Mountain. The work in the Catskills and Adirondacks is financed by $600,000 earmarked in last year’s environmental protection fund.

DEC and Otak are planning to hold a second round of public meetings and present draft management recommendations next year. In the meantime, comments may be submitted at any time to Otak at

Broadalbin beach update
I drove to Broadalbin last week to check out a closed beach the state Department of Environmental Conservation is planning to revegetate. The DEC wants to close it indefinitely because the town has said it will no longer operate it. With no one to conduct water-quality testing, manage parking and guard swimming areas, it’s not a safe situation, the state has said. But many residents and visitors are distraught that a popular community asset will close for good. The DEC told residents that it does not have enough resources to run the site itself. If someone else were to step up, it’s possible the area’s plans could change and the beach be reopened.

When I drove to the Broadalbin Boat Launch, which is where the beach is, I was struck by the number of signs. There was a sign at every single parking space warning that the spots were for boat trailers only. Driving off to the right, you’ll snake around to where the beach parking used to be. It is closed off by a concrete barrier and bright yellow gate. I noticed trash strewn around the lawn and an illegal fire ring on the beach.

The view was stunning. Great Sacandaga Lake’s waves lapped on the shoreline, and Adirondack mountains stretched endlessly in the distance. But it was also strange to think this sandy shore is manmade—sand was carted in to make a beach here, and now no one wants to manage it. The lake, too, is actually a manmade reservoir built primarily for flood control.

It’s not clear what will happen in this slice of the park. You can read our coverage of the state’s meeting on the beach and boat launch here.

Battery storage update
The Town of Long Lake passed two local laws last week regarding batter storage facilities. Climate Reporter Chloe Bennett attended a public hearing on the local laws, a hearing that turned into a town board vote. We also filed records requests with the town for public comments on the laws. You can read more about that here.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has released new proposals for the Broadalbin Boat Launch, which includes closing a popular beach once run by the town. An illegal fire pit sits on the edge of the waters looking out on Great Sacandaga Lake. Photo by Gwendolyn Craig

This first appeared in Gwen’s weekly “Adirondack Report” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Gwen is the environmental policy reporter for Adirondack Explorer.

6 Responses

  1. Joan Grabe says:

    I do not know what town has decided that operating a beach is a bridge too far for them but I think it is a total shame. In other days it would have been a cool summer job for older high school students or college students to be lifeguards or perhaps work in the snack shack if there was one. A town beach was a great thing. It is a great step backwards to do away with a place of public recreation when there is such public outcry for more hiking and snowmobile trails and access to the wilderness. A swim on a warm summer day ? What could be better ?

  2. Dick Carlson says:

    ANY local non-profit can do a better job than DEC. The Broadalbin interests should form a non-profit just to operate this important resource. The boat launch on Schroon Lake has probably 60 parking spots for vehicles with trailers and like 4 spots for vehicles without trailers. So, when it’s busy, car top boaters get shut out. ECOs have written tickets to vehicles parked in the “trailers only” spots. Make bigger signs, write more tickets – poor solutions when additional overflow parking would solve the problem.

    • Bill Keller says:

      “The DEC wants to close it indefinitely because the town has said it will no longer operate it. With no one to conduct water-quality testing, manage parking and guard swimming areas, it’s not a safe situation, the state has said”. The town owns this one. The town used to take care of the public beach, now it doesn’t for what ever reasons. So easy to trash the DEC for your personal reasons. I’ve never been to a Schroon Lake boat launch but when you use words like, “probably 60 parking spots for vehicles with trailers and like 4 spots for vehicles without trailers.” I wonder if it’s an exaggeration or maybe you got a ticket for parking in the wrong spot.

  3. Regarding Broadalbin Beach:

    Post it as swim at your own risk.
    Parking is first come first served.
    Supply a dumpster and a few port-a-johns.
    Find a group of volunteers to conduct occasional cleanups.
    Post a set of commonsense rules for behavior and hope for the best.

    There are plenty of lakes with public access that people swim in without being directly managed by some governmental agency or town.

  4. Ed says:

    It is amazing going to other states and seeing their common-sense rules such as simply “Swim at your own risk”…Not in nanny state NY where the government must protect people from themselves.

    • JohnL says:

      Agree with your basic thought Ed, however, I would just add that NY State doesn’t care diddly squat if you or I drown or fall off a cliff. They’re protecting themselves against a stupid baseless anticipated lawsuit. We (the great unwashed) are not smart enough to make the decisions necessary to keep our own self (selves?) alive and unhurt, don’t you know.

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