The Upper Saranac Foundation recently shared news on the state Adirondack Park Agency’s approval of the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Saranac Lake Wild Forest Unit Management Plan. Just under half of Upper Saranac Lake’s shoreline and the vast majority of our watershed is state-owned and within the Saranac Lake Wild Forest. The plan calls for sweeping changes to public lands around the Upper Saranac watershed, and includes proposals on everything from changing public access to relocating campsites and trails.
So how will the plan affect you?
Below is a summary of impacts the Unit Management Plan will have on the Upper Saranac Watershed:
- A comprehensive study of the lakes and ponds will be conducted by the DEC to determine each waterbody’s capacity to withstand various uses.
- The DEC will develop and implement a comprehensive monitoring program that monitors use of water bodies to measure and determine carrying capacity for better long-term planning.
- The Bartlett Carry canoe carry will be routed off the road.
- The Dunlap Road, off of Forest Home Road will be open for passenger vehicles as far as where Hatchery Brook enters Upper Saranac Lake for those with disabilities. Two accessible primitive tent sites will be constructed along the road.
- A new parking lot for access to Ampersand Mountain and Middle Saranac Lake will be constructed.
- The large parking area off State Route 30 near the intersection with State Route 3 will be reduced in size and the remaining area will be returned to a natural state.
- The parking area along Floodwood Road at the railroad crossing will be expanded to hold 30 more vehicles.
- The Hole Pond access road and parking lot will be improved to hold 14 cars with an added vegetated buffer between the parking area and the pond. The water access site will be relocated for better accessibility but will not allow trailered boat access.
- The Follensby Clear Pond (north) parking area will be improved with an added vegetated buffer between the parking area.
- The parking at Middle Pond will be improved to accommodate two vehicles
- Access at Follensby Clear Pond (north), Lake Clear Outlet, and Polliwog Pond would not allow the floating of boats off trailers but would allow the pushing or lifting of boats from trailers directly into the water.
- Vehicle access at East Pine Pond, Floodwood Pond, Hoel Pond, Indian Carry, Middle Pond, South Creek, and Follensby Clear Pond (south) will be blocked a distance from the water’s edge and boats must be carried to the water.
- A waterway access site with parking for three cars will be constructed at Lake Clear Outlet along the Forest Home Road. Boats using this site will be allowed a maximum motor size of 15 horsepower.
- The parking area at Polliwog Pond will be improved and relocated. A new seven car parking area will use one of the primitive tent sites that is being closed. The maximum horsepower of motors allowed to use this access site will be 15 horsepower. Launching trailered boats at this location will be prohibited.
- Motor boats will be limited to 15 horsepower or less on East Pine, Follensby Clear, Middle, Green, Horseshoe, and Polliwog Ponds.
- There will be significant changes to camping sites, some of which include:
- Closing seven sites and build six new ones along the Floodwood road
- Closing 17 sites on Follensby Clear Pond (including the lean-to site) and building seven new sites
- Closing three of four roadside site at Hoel Pond
- Close two sites and building five new sites on Upper Saranac Lake.
- In addition to the above campsite changes, 15 primitive tent sites will be designated for group camping.
- To replace the number of roadside sites being closed, additional sites will be made on along the Forest Home Road and State Route 30.
- The trail from Rollins Pond Campground to Deer and Lead ponds will be closed.
- A section of the carry between Saginaw Bay on USL to Weller Pond will be rerouted.
- Several mountain bike loop trails will be built off Old Wawbeek Road, near Tupper Lake.
- A trail will be built to connect Rollins Pond Campground to the Remsen to Lake Placid Travel Corridor.
- The Lead Pond, Horseshoe Pond, Rat Pond, Otter Hollow, and Old Wawbeek snowmobile trails will be closed. Snowmobile trails to Heaven’s Pond and the Little Square Pond trail will remain opened.