Sunday, October 8, 2023

Northern Forest Canoe Trail Volunteers Upgrade Historic Portage and Campsites

SARANAC LAKE, NY — The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) has completed critical restoration of the historic Indian Carry portage connecting Stony Creek Ponds and Upper Saranac Lake, enhancing safety for users and protecting against environmental degradation.

The work was carried out this summer by the NFCT’s professional stewardship crew — which includes a stewardship director, a field coordinator and three paid interns — with support from local volunteers. The NFCT coordinated with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as it implemented this project.

Over the course of several days, the NFCT work crew built and installed a new foot bridge along Indian Carry and made additional improvements to the portage, including trail hardening using stone turnpike along a particularly wet section. This measure will help protect against erosion.

Upper Saranac new dock – photo courtesy of NFCT

“Indian Carry is an essential portage route on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail,” said NFCT Stewardship Director Noah Pollock. “This trail connects the Raquette River watershed to the Saranac River watershed, making it an essential passage for thru-paddlers, day trippers and other users. The old bridge, which we replaced, was rotting, creating an unsafe situation for people passing through.”

The NFCT also implemented enhancements to five campsites in and around Upper Saranac Lake. Work included rebuilding a rotting dock, replacing dilapidated privies and pruning access trails. “Upper Saranac Lake has long been a popular recreational destination, but DEC’s capacity to complete routine maintenance at these remote sites is limited,” Pollock noted. “In this region, the NFCT and volunteers play an important role in helping to maintain campsite infrastructure so it can provide a quality recreation experience.”

As the only dedicated water trail crew in the Northeast, the NFCT’s stewardship crew specializes in projects at the interface of land and water, including campsites, portage trails and access points. To learn more about the NFCT’s stewardship work, contact Noah Pollock at or visit

Indian Carry, photo courtesy of NFCT

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One Response

  1. Michael Sinclair says:

    Great article. Thanks for writing it and many thanks to those who did the actual work.

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