Director Archive


Oct 1, 2018

Tom Ortmeyer

The Adirondack Park Agency’s comment period for the long awaited Grass River Wild Forest UMP has ended, and the agency will apparently consider their ruling in the near future. While there is controversy on some sections of the UMP, I would like to focus a bit on some of the non-controversial parts that will provide new recreation opportunities for us.

The UMP covers the state owned Lampson Falls Parcel and Tooley Pond Tract, which are likely the best known parcels covered in this UMP. The UMP also covers several other state owned parcels as well as significant conservation easements that connect these.

One that I am particularly interested in is the proposed Palmer Hill Loop Trail. This starts from the existing Grass River Trail, below Lampson Falls. The proposed trail continues north from the old bridge site, and when complete will go to the North Branch—from there, an upstream trail will go to Harper Falls, and downstream will take you to the confluence of the North and Main branches of the river. On a recent trip (see Backtracks for details), we explored a part of the southern part of the proposed trail, and found it to be scenic but difficult going. While primarily listed for mountain biking, I believe this trail when completed will become a premier full day hike right in our back yards.

On the Tooley Pond Road, the action that I find most interesting is the proposed interpretive loop trail at Twin Falls, with footbridge access across the old millrace there. Both parking and trails will also be improved at all of the South Branch waterfalls along the road. It is possible that there will be Adopt-A-Natural Resource agreements along Tooley Pond Road as well as elsewhere in the unit.

There are a number of additional initiatives that are designed to improve access for recreation. In particular, improved access to Cranberry Pond and Leonard Pond, and to the Stone Dam Parcel are included in the plan.

The plan also includes significant conservation and management components. In summary, the approval of the Grass River Wild Forest UMP be followed by implementation of the plan, which in turn will provide us with some new and interesting places to explore.