Paul Smiths College Conservation Easement
- Open for Recreation: Year-round. Some sections may be closed to public use periodically for safety and administrative reasons.
- Fee: Free. There is a fee to ski or snowshoe on the Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretive Center (leaving DEC website).
- Contact Information:
- DEC Region 5 Office: 518-897-1200; Info.R5@dec.ny.gov
- Backcountry Emergency (Search, Rescue & Forest Fire): 518-891-0235 (24 hours a day) or dial 911
- State Land Law Enforcement: 518-897-1300
- Fishing, Hunting & Trapping Law Enforcement: 518-897-1326
- Location: Towns of Brighton, Harrietstown and Santa Clara in Franklin County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 5C, 5F and 6F
- Map: Paul Smith's Map (PDF 4.15 MB) || Google Earth || State Lands Interactive Mapper
The 7,700-acre Paul Smith's College Easement is part of the conservation easement lands of the Adirondacks. The numerous parcels of the easement contain forests, mountains, ponds and streams which provide numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation and nature appreciation. The topography of the easement properties was heavily influenced by glaciations and consists of low-rolling hills and land formations. A number of water bodies lie within or border the easement lands. Timber operations do occur on easement lands. Expect to see logging trucks, skidders and other logging activity. Certain access roads may be closed when logging operations are active.
Trail Information for the Northern Adirondacks Region provides general information regarding backcountry and seasonal conditions; specific notices regarding closures and conditions of trails, roads, bridges and other infrastructure; and links to weather, state land use regulations, low impact recreation and more.
Paul Smiths College Tract Parcels
Osgood Tract: This 109-acre tract is located north of State Route 86 and east of State Route 30. The Red Dot Trail System and three lean-tos are located on the parcel. The main access points are the Osgood Pond Hand Launch Site, the Church Pond Hand Launch Site, the Hoffman Road Parking Area on Route 30, the Jackrabbit Cross-Country Ski Trail and several woods roads along State Route 30.
Tongue Tract: This 706-acre tract includes water frontage of three lakes of the St. Regis Chain - Lower St. Regis Lake, Spitfire Lake and Upper St. Regis Lake. The Purple Dot Trail and five lean-tos are located on the parcel. The main access is from the St. Regis Mountain Trailhead Parking Area, the Black Pond Trailhead Parking Area, Keeses Mills Road Hand Launch Site and the Harrietstown Public Boat Launch. Access to the interior of the parcel is available using the 0.4 mile Purple Dot trail and logging roads.
Sugar Bush Tract: This 625-acre tract is located north of State Route 86 between the White Pine Road and the Jones Pond Road. The main access is from roadside parking along the two roads. Several logging roads and skid trails provide internal access to the parcel.
Johnson Mountain Area: This 1,187-acre area actually consists of four contiguous tracts. The area is located east of State Route 30 along the section between in intersection of State Route 86 and Lake Clear Inlet. The main access is from a public parking area along Route 30, Hunt Road, Simkins Road and via the Jack Rabbit Trail off McDermitt Road.
Airport East Tract: This 634-acre tract is located east of the Lake Clear Airport. Sections of Fay Brook and Rickerson Brook flow through the parcel. It is not easily accessible. The main access is from the powerline right-of-way.
Gabriels Tract: This 385-acre tract is located south of State Route 86 just west of the hamlet of Gabriels. Roadside parking is the main means for accessing the tract. Numerous old roads and skid trails provide access to the interior of the parcels.
Easy Street Tract: This 158-acre tract is located between State Route 86 and Jones Pond Road east of the intersection of the two roads. A section of the Jackrabbit Cross-Country Ski Trail runs through this parcel and numerous old roads and informal trails provide additional access opportunities. Roadside parking is the main means for accessing the tract.
Heron Lane Tract: This 251-acre tract is located on the west side of State Route 30, north of Herons Lane (private road) and south of Hoffman Road. The parcel includes shoreline along the outlet of Spitfire Lake. Roadside parking is the main means for accessing the tract.
Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretive Center: (leaving DEC website) This 3,000-acres parcel is not technically part of the easement but it is closely associated with the easement lands and provides a unique outdoor recreation experience.
General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretive Center has 25 miles of trails, including 6 miles of interpretive trails on 3,000 acres of land. The trails weave through woodland and marshland, by ponds, brooks, and bogs. Many of the trails are surfaced for easy walking. Two picnic pavilions are located adjacent to the parking lot. The trail system traverses every habitat type found in the Adirondack Park except alpine vegetation and includes extensive boardwalks through wetland ecosystems. Restrooms are available in the main building during its operational hours.
Jenkins Mountain Trail (2,513 ft.) ascends more than 850 feet across the 4.5 miles from the trailhead on the Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretive Center to the summit of the mountain. The summit provides views to the south and east.
Red Dot Trail System is a 3.4 mile network of trails located between Church Pond and Osgood Pond. It includes a 2.5 mile loop trail and several spur trails. A number of interesting natural and man-made features may be found along the trail system including eskers, glacial ponds, towering white pines and an old canal that connects Church and Osgood Ponds. The trail system may be accessed at the DEC Osgood Pond Hand Launch Site.
Black Pond Trail is 2.3 mile loop around a scenic pond with two lean-tos. Camping is prohibited but the lean-tos are great locations to picnic. The trailhead is located on the Keeses Mill Road.
Long Pond Trail is a 0.5 mile trail connecting the Black Pond Trail and the Jenkins Mountain Trail. The trail passes Long Pond where a lean-to is located on the shore. Camping is prohibited but picnicking is allowed.
Purple Dot Trail is a canoe carry that connects the North Bay of Upper St. Regis Lake to Lower St. Regis Lake.
The numerous logging roads provide hiking opportunities throughout the various tracts. However they are neither marked nor signed.
Church Pond Hand Launch Site
General information on paddling includes how-to and safety tips with links to rules & regulations.
A number of waters are favorable for flatwater canoeing or kayaking.
Hand Launch sites on Church Pond, Osgood Pond and Jones Pond allow paddlers to obtain access to all three waters and Jones Pond Outlet.
Black Pond can be accessed from the Black Pond Hand Launch Site.
The Keeses Mills Road Hand Launch Site above the St. Regis Dam provides paddlers access to the St. Regis Chain of Lakes - Lower St. Regis Lake, Spitfire Lake and Upper St. Regis Lake.
These waters can also be accessed from the Town of Harrietstown Boat Launch Site at the southern end of Upper St. Regis Lake.
Motorboats, some of significant size and horsepower, use all of the waters except Church Pond and Black Pond.
The shorelines of the large water bodies of the St. Regis Chain of Lakes are mostly private lands.
The portion of the Lower St. Regis Lake between the dam and the open waters of the main lake is not used much by motor boats.
Lower St. Regis Lake Near Outlet
General information on fishing includes fishing tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations
Church Pond contains largemouth bass, northern pike, and yellow perch.
Osgood Pond is considered an excellent fishery for largemouth bass and northern pike, and is also a popular ice fishing water.
Black Pond and Long Pond contain native strain brook trout. Bait fishing is prohibited on these waters.
Jones Pond contains large numbers of northern pike and is great ice fishing water for families.
The St. Regis Chain of Lakes - Lower St. Regis Lake, Spit Fire Lake, St. Regis River, North Bay of Upper St. Regis Lake - contain smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, northern pike. Upper St. Regis Lake also contains land-locked salmon and lake trout.
The Rickerson Brook and Fay Brook contain native strain brook trout.
Fishing is prohibited on the waters within the Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretive Center except Black Pond and Long Pond.
Adirondack/Lake Champlain Fishing provides information on fishing in the Adirondacks and links to top fishing waters, stocking lists, public fishing access and waters open to ice fishing listed by county.
Help Protect Native Adirondack Fish: populations of brook trout, round whitefish and other native Adirondack fish species have severely declined due to introduced fish.
Osgood Pond Hand Launch Site
General information on boating includes safety tips with links to rules & regulations and lists of DEC boat launches by county.
Motorboats are allowed on the larger bodies of waters adjacent to the easement lands.
A public boat launch site, maintained by the Town of Harrietstown, at the southern end of Upper St. Regis Lake provides access for trailered boats to the St. Regis Chain of Lakes - Upper St. Regis Lake, Spitfire Lake, Lower St. Regis Lake and the upper reaches of the St. Regis River.
Car-top boats with small motors can also access the St. Regis Chain of Lakes by using the Hand Launch site on Keeses Mills Road.
Car-top boats may access Osgood Pond using the Osgood Pond Hand Launch site off of the White Pond Road.
Jones Pond may be accessed using the Jones Pond Hand Launch site on the state lands on the north of the pond and east of the Jones Pond Road.
Downtown Lean-to on Lower St. Regis Lake
General information on backcountry camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Five lean-tos are located on the Tongue Parcel along Lower St. Regis Lake which can be accessed from the waters of Lower St. Regis Lake and Upper St. Regis Lake's Spring Bay.
Three lean-tos are located on the Osgood Parcel on the south shore of Osgood Pond which can be accessed via the Red Dot Trail System or by water.
There are no designated tent sites on the easement lands.
The easement lands are open to hunting and trapping. A number of different habitat types are present on the lands due to logging activity resulting in a variety of big game and small game species. Waterfowl inhabit the waters within and bordering the easement lands.
There are few forms of hunting in New York State that aren't available on the easement lands. Old roadways and skid trails provide easy access and travel through the lands.
Some areas may be temporarily closed to hunting and trapping for safety or administrative reasons.
Hunting and trapping are prohibited on the lands of the Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretive Center.
General information on watchable wildlife includes tips for viewing wildlife and links to other watchable wildlife locations.
Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretive Center has natural history exhibits and a theater in the main building; six miles of interpretive trails with boardwalks and observation platforms, and a butterfly house in the summer. Restrooms are available in the main building during its operational hours.
Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing
General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Skiing and snowshoeing are allowed on all of the hiking trails and access roadways. Logging roads not being actively used for timber operations are good skiing routes.
Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretive Center charges a fee to snowshoe or ski on the 25 miles of trails. Most of the trails are groomed either for classic skiing or skate skiing. Restrooms are available in the main building during its operational hours. Restrooms are available in the main building during its operational hours.
The Jackrabbit Cross-Country Ski Trail (leaving DEC website) crosses through the easement lands. The trail can be accessed near Osgood Pond, off McDermitt Road and at Lake Clear.
General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.
A number of trails cross the easement lands including the C7 Snowmobile Trail and the connector trail between the C7 Snowmobile Trail and C7B Snowmobile Trail. The C7 trail can be accessed from the Lake Clear area.
Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretive Center has accessible features in its main building including the natural history exhibits, the theater and the restrooms. The picnic pavilions and butterfly house are also accessible.
State Route 30 and State Route 86 are the main access routes to the various tracts of the easement.
All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.
Parking Areas and Trailheads
- Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretive Center is on State Route 30 north of the college. (44.45016°N, 74.25170°W) Google Map (Leaves DEC website)
- Black Pond Trailhead Parking Area is on the Keeses Mill Road. (44.43232°N, 74.29817°W) Google Map (Leaves DEC website)
- St. Regis Mountain Trailhead Parking Area is on the Keeses Mills Road. (44.43324°N, 74.30012°W) Google Map (Leaves DEC website)
- Route 30 Public Parking Area is on State Route 30 north of the intersection with State Route 86, across from the intersection of the Keeses Mill Road. (44.43901°N, 74.25235°W) Google Map (Leaves DEC website)
- Hunt Road is a gated access road on the east side of State Route 30 about 2 mile south of the intersection of State Route 86. (44.41400°N, 74.24779°W) Google Map (Leaves DEC website)
- Simkins Road is a gated access road on the west side of State Route 30 just north of the bridge over the inlet of Lake Clear. (44.38211°N, 74.23790°W) Google Map (Leaves DEC website)
- McDermitt Road Trailhead provides roadside parking in the vicinity of the Jack Rabbit Trail. (44.43658°N, 74.21449°W) Google Map (Leaves DEC website)
- Jones Pond Road provides roadside parking along the stretch bordering the Sugar Bush Parcel. (44.45457°N, 74.19473°W) Google Map (Leaves DEC website)
- White Pine Road provides roadside parking along the stretch bordering the Sugar Bush Parcel. (44.45450°N, 74.21989°W) Google Map (Leaves DEC website)
- Jones Pond Hand Launch Site is located on an access road off Jones Pond Road (44.45661°N, 74.18850°W) Google Map (Leaves DEC website)
- Osgood Pond Hand Launch Site is located on the White Pines Road. (44.44319°N, 74.23838°W) Google Map (Leaves DEC website)
- Church Pond Hand Launch Site is located on Hoffman Road off State Route 86. (44.43956°N, 74.24973°W) Google Map (Leaves DEC website)
- Black Pond Hand Launch is located on the Keeses Mill Road. (44.43232°N, 74.29817°W) Google Map (Leaves DEC website)
- Keeses Mill Road Hand Launch Site is located across from the Black Pond Trailhead Parking Area. (44.43180°N, 74.29845°W) Google Map (Leaves DEC website)
- Harrietstown Boat Launch Site is located on the St. Regis Carry Road off State Route 30. (44.39429°N, 74.26888°W) Google Map (Leaves DEC website)
Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety
Practice Leave No Trace (leaves DEC website) principles when recreating in the Adirondacks to enjoy the outdoors responsibly; minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts with other backcountry users.
The Paul Smith's College Tract Conservation Easement Lands are privately owned lands in active timber production. Rules and regulations for recreating on the conservation easement lands may differ from those for adjacent (or nearby) forest preserve lands. Public access and recreation is allowed with restrictions.
- Public use of motorized vehicles on easement lands is prohibited unless specifically designated.
- Motorized vehicles should not pass any closed gate whether locked or not.
- Do not block gates or roadways.
- Certain access roads may be closed when logging operations are active.
- Do not trespass on private lands that are not part of the conservation easement.
- The use of baitfish is prohibited on Long & Black Ponds and Fay & Rickerson Brooks.
How We Manage
DEC is developing a recreation management plan for the Paul Smith's College Conservation Easement Lands which will describe the management of public recreation on these lands.
Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information
- Debar Mountain Wild Forest
- Saranac Lake Wild Forest
- St. Regis Canoe Area
- Fish Creek Campground
- Rollins Pond Campground
Gas may be found in the nearby communities of Gabriels and Saranac Lake.
Food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Gabriels and Saranac Lake.
Dining opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of Gabriels, Lake Clear, Paul Smiths and Saranac Lake.
Lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Lake Clear and Saranac Lake.
Numerous guide books and maps are available with information on the lands, waters, trails and other recreational facilities in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.
Additional information, outdoor equipment, trip suggestions and guided or self-guided tours may be obtained from outdoor guide and outfitting businesses. Check area chambers of commerce, telephone directories or search the internet for listings.
Consider hiring an outdoor guide if you have little experience or woodland skills. See the NYS Outdoor Guides Association (leaves DEC Website) for information on outdoor guides.