News Archive

News

April 1, 2019

Recreation Management Plans

- John Barron

Recently the DEC finalized Recreation Management Plans (RMPs) for Tooley Pond and Grass River Conservation Easements as well as a Unit Management Plan (UMP) for the Grass River Wild Forest unit of the New York State Forest Preserve. These plans cover a total of approximately 90,000 acres in the St Lawrence County towns of Clare, Clifton, Colton, and Fine.

The plans can be viewed at:
Tooley Pond Conservation Easement RMP - www.dec.ny.gov/lands/107674.html
Grass River Conservation Easement RMP - www.dec.ny.gov/lands/107672.html
Grass River Wild Forest UMP - www.dec.ny.gov/lands/22575.html

The Laurentian Chapter has been following the establishment of conservation easements in our chapter’s area with interest for several years. We’ve done trail work in some of them and scouted some parts of them as outing destinations. These new plans should enable a wide range of excellent outdoor trips with much less time and effort than in the past. The time frame for implementation is not always clear, but the results should be worth the wait. We look forward to doing more exploring in these areas.

Tooley Pond Conservation Easement lies behind the Grass River Wild Forest on both sides of the Tooley Pond Road. There are plans to construct a number of campsites and parking lots enabling access to Sugar Mountain and Hay Meadow Mountain (higher but with limited views), a rock climbing cliff not far from Sinclair Falls (lower, but with great views), and other attractions. There will be a new trail to Sugar Mountain and a number of other ski and hiking trails. There will also be improved access to water features including Allen Pond.

Grass River Conservation Easement covers a large area bounded roughly by White Road, CR 27, Tooley Pond Road, SH 3, and SH 56. There are many gravel roads which have been off-limits to motor vehicles. We’ve explored some of these by bicycle in the past, and are impressed with the backcountry area. The RMP indicates that some of these roads will be opened to cars, and small parking lots, a boat launch, and campsites will be constructed. This will enable easy visits to some destinations including Pleasant Lake, the Stone Dam Parcel of Grass River Wild Forest, and Little Blue Mountain which is said to have the best views in St. Lawrence County. There will be good opportunities for hiking, swimming and boating, camping, and mountain biking.

Grass River Wild Forest is large, intricate, disconnected, and spread out. Among the locations it includes or touches are Lampson Falls, Downerville State Forest and Harper Falls, and the Tooley Pond Road and its waterfalls. Plans include clear signs and improved parking at the Tooley Pond Road waterfalls trailheads; improved mountain bike connections between Harper Falls, the trails of Downerville State Forest, and Lampson Falls; a new, wilderness-appropriate bridge across the Grass providing access to the Stone Dam Parcel; new trails around Church Pond; an interpretive loop trail at Twin Falls; canoe carries; cleanup, signage, and more.

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