The 127,135-acre Black River Wild Forest is located within the southwestern foothills of the Adirondack Forest Preserve and offers a variety of recreational opportunities, from snowmobiling near the adjacent communities of Old Forge and Otter Lake, to hiking on foot trails in remote areas.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) Board approved amendments to the Black River Wild Forest, the Cranberry Lake Boat Launch and the Lake George Beach and Battlefield Unit Management Plans at its June 2018 Board meeting.
A local wilderness advocacy organization is expressing concerns about road definitions in a pending management plan that could have implications around the Adirondack Park.
Adirondack Wilderness Advocates (AWA) says that DEC’s plan for new trails and parking facilities the Black River Wild Forest likely does not conform with State Land Master Plan guidance, and part of the reason is a recent snowmobile decision that went against Protect the Adirondacks in 2017. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is accepting public comment for a proposed amendment to the Black River Wild Forest Unit Management Plan. According to an announcement sent by DEC:
“The primary purpose of this UMP amendment is to classify snowmobile trails to conform to the trail classification system and guidelines set forth in the Management Guidance for Snowmobile Trail Siting, Construction, and Maintenance on Forest Preserve Lands in the Adirondack Park.” » Continue Reading.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation is seeking public comments on a proposal to create new snowmobile, hiking, and ski trails in the Black River Wild Forest.
The main goal is to improve snowmobile connections between communities in the southwestern Adirondacks by building new trails and reclassifying existing trails. At the same time, DEC plans to close to snowmobiling some trails in the interior of the Forest Preserve.
Overall, the mileage of snowmobile trails in the Black River Wild Forest would decrease to 60.1 from 67.5 miles—a net loss of 7.4 miles. Yet DEC says the plan will make it easier and safer for snowmobilers to travel from Woodgate to Old Forge and from McKeever to Nobleboro.
After 10 years of planning, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has approved the Adirondack Park Trail Plan for the North Country National Scenic Trail (NC-NST), effective October 10.
The plan routes the projected 4,600-mile National Scenic Trail through the middle of the Adirondack Park. The NC-NST traverses the northern tier of the United States between Crown Point State Historic Site on Lake Champlain and Lake Sakakawea State Park on the Missouri River in North Dakota. About 2,700 miles of the trail have been completed so far. Within the Adirondack Park, the trail is expected to be about 158 miles long when complete, between Forestport in Oneida County and Crown Point. » Continue Reading.
A few years ago I wrote a story for the Adirondack Explorer about a trail run to Gull Lake in the Black River Wild Forest near Woodgate. My outing began on a muddy mess of a road passable only by jeeps and pickup trucks.
This year, the state Department of Environmental Conservation repaired two miles of the road, smoothing it out, laying down gravel, and installing new culverts. I was able to drive my Honda Fit (not a high-clearance vehicle) the full two miles with no problem.
Chub Pond lean-to 1 is unlike any other lean-to on the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
I recently visited this spot in the Black River Wild Forest while surveying trail damage from ATVs. I had heard that this lean-to was being used as a private camp and using Google Earth I could see a chimney and skylights in the lean-to roof and a large cleared area. When I reached the site, it was even worse than I expected. » Continue Reading.
On August 29th, I visited the Gull Lake and Chub Pond trails in the Black River Wild Forest. I photographed all sorts of trail and wetland damage from All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) use on these trails. ATVs are not allowed on these trails, but the Black River Wild Forest area has a history of illegal ATV use, and I thought that the damage to these trails reflected more of the same.
I had received reports about ATV damage in this part of the Forest Preserve earlier this year. The previous week I had spent time in the Ferris Lake Wild Forest inventorying trail damage from ATVs and photographing ATV side-routes around various barrier gates put up by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). It appeared that the damage to the Chub Pond and Gull Lake trails was also caused by illegal trespass. The usual telltale signs of illegal trespass and recreational riding were evident. » Continue Reading.
Land classification battles are a common feature of new Forest Preserve acquisitions in the Adirondack Park these days, with the Essex Chain of Lakes property being a prime example. Typically, the disagreement boils down to Wild Forest versus Wilderness, the two most common land classifications in the Adirondacks. While Wilderness remains the more restrictive, Wild Forests are supposed to maintain a wild character despite the presence of dirt roads, snowmobile trails, etc. Unfortunately, this wild character seems to be slowly fading away in many cases, making room for increasing (and often illegal) human uses.
According to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, Wilderness are areas dominated by natural forces, where the Earth and its communities of life remain relatively untrammeled by man, while Wild Forests allow for a greater impact from humans, supposedly due to their lack of remoteness and ability to absorb the impact from such activity. The subjectivity of these definitions allows for a great deal of interpretation though. Often the classification of a new area appears mainly political, with the appeasement of certain user groups sublimating all other considerations. » Continue Reading.
What follows is an e-mail recently sent by Paul Delucia, of Lean2Rescue, one of several volunteer organizations who work to build and maintain facilities in the Adirondack Park’s backcountry.
Rarely do we get a chance to rescue a lean-to before the damage is done.
On Thanksgiving, Hilary Moynihan (ADK lean-to adopter coordinator) and I were notified that somebody had chopped down a tree at the Gull Lake lean-to (Black River Wild Forest). Sadly, it was live spruce tree (about 60 ft tall) left hanging precariously in a smaller cherry tree. It threatened both the lean-to and anybody that might visit it. I sent out a broadcast to all that might be in the Woodgate / Old Forge Area on a moment’s notice. By Saturday, a crew of eight from Lean2Rescue arrived with nearly 150 lbs of equipment (ropes, climbing gear, saws), and a tree climber (me). After about an hour, the tree was safely down and the lean-to standing unharmed. » Continue Reading.
Bushwhacking, or off-trail hiking, requires many skills, acquired over many years. Few people begin their backcountry career as a bushwhacker, i.e. bushwhackers are not born, they evolve.
Typically, one commences as a mere hiker, transitions to a backpacker as the desire to travel farther afield gains hold, and, if the skills, temperament and desire form the correct concoction, finally becomes a bushwhacker. At least, that is how I got started. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Almanack is a public forum dedicated to promoting and discussing current events, history, arts, nature and outdoor recreation and other topics of interest to the Adirondacks and its communities
We publish commentary and opinion pieces from voluntary contributors, as well as news updates and event notices from area organizations. Contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The information, views and opinions expressed by these various authors are not necessarily those of the Adirondack Almanack or its publisher, the Adirondack Explorer.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to editor Melissa Hart.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.
Recent Almanack Comments