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Paul Smiths College Conservation Easement

NOTE: A downloadable map of the Paul Smiths College Conservation Easement Lands is under development, a link to the map will be found here when the map is completed.

Additional Mapping Resources

Maps depiciting location of Paul Smiths College Conservation Easement Lands in the Adirondack Park

The 7,700-acre Paul Smiths College Conservation Easement Lands comprised of nine parcels owned by Paul Smiths College in south-central Franklin County. The easement lands are located in the Towns of Brighton, Harrietstown and Santa Clara, near the hamlets of Paul Smiths, Gabriels and Lake Clear.

There are some restrictions for public access and recreation on the conservation easement lands which are described in the Rules and Regulation section below.

Be aware that the Paul Smiths College Conservation Easement Lands are privately owned, and are actively timber production. Public access and recreation is allowed with restrictions. Users of these lands must:

  • Not travel beyond any closed gates with motorized vehicles (whether locked or not)
  • Park in designated parking areas only - don't block gates or roadways
  • Expect to see logging trucks, skidders and other logging activity

Forest Preserve Lands vs Conservation Easement Lands

There are different requirements for recreating on the conservation easement lands and the adjacent (or nearby) forest preserve lands. Users must be aware of which lands they are recreating on and the rules and regulations that apply. The maps depict the type of land and their boundaries. The boundaries of forest preserve lands are signed. Do not trespass on private lands that are not part of the conservation easement.

Recreation

The forests, mountains, ponds and streams of the Paul Smiths Conservation Easement Lands offer numerous opportunities for recreational pleasure, nature appreciation and an escape from the urban world. Public recreational uses allowed on the easement parcels include hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, trapping, snowshoeing, ski touring, birding, nature study, canoeing, kayaking, rowing, picnicking and swimming.

Individual parcels, or portions of parcels, may be closed to public use periodically as needed for safety and administrative reasons. Contact the DEC Lands & Forests Office in Ray Brook at (518)897-1291 to learn which parcels may be closed to public use. Map of the Paul Smiths College Conservation Easement Lands.

Visitors to the Paul Smiths College Conservation Easement Lands should be properly prepared and equipped for a remote, wildlands experience. Visitors should expect to assume a high degree of responsibility for their own welfare and for environmentally sound use of the area. Know safe hiking practices, camping and hiking rules, how to avoid getting lost (191 kb PDF), state land use regulation and current trail conditions.

Use the links in the right column to obtain important information for recreating on these lands.

Report back country emergencies, such as lost or injured hikers, and wildland fires to the DEC Emergency Dispatch at 518-891-0235.

Hiking

The 3.4 mile Red Dot Trail system is 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 Pond. Lean-tos, wooden benches and views of Osgood Pond are some the amenities of the Red Doty Trail system. The system can be accessed at the DEC Osgood Pond Fishing and Waterway Access Site on White Pine Road

The 0.4 mile Purple Dot trail is a canoe carry that connects the North Bay of Upper St. Regis Lake to Lower St. Regis Lake. The logging roads and skid trails provide easy access to many areas of the easement.

Be prepared before going into the woods and know what to do if you get lost in the woods.

Camping

Downtown Lean-to on Lower St. Regis Lake
Downtown Lean-to on Lower St. Regis Lake

Currently, no designated tent campsites exist on the easement properties. Camping is permitted at five lean-tos on the Tongue Easement along Lower St. Regs Lake and three lean-tos on the Osgood Easement on the south shore of Osgood Pond. It is recommended that campers carry a tent in case the lean-tos are full.

Tent camping on the easement parcels is permitted in compliance with rules for camping on state lands. Camping is prohibited within 150 feet of any road, trail, spring, stream, pond or other body of water. Respect other campers by keeping noise to a minimum and keeping your site clean.

A DEC camping permit is required if there are 10 or more persons in your group. Regardless of group size, all persons camping at one location more than three consecutive nights must possess a camping permit. These are issued by area Forest Rangers free of charge on a first-come first-served basis.

While nuisance black bears are not a big problem in this unit, overnight campers are encouraged to store all food, toiletries and garbage in bear-resistant canisters.

Observe all campfire safety practices. Use only dead and down wood. Don't leave garbage in the fire pit.

Better yet, carry a portable stove. Stoves heat more quickly, are easier to clean and do not leave blackened rocks and partially burned firewood. They are useful in wet rainy weather.

FIREWOOD ALERT - DON'T MOVE FIREWOOD!

A new regulation is now in effect that prohibits the import of firewood into New York unless it has been treated to kill pests. The new regulation also limits the transportation of untreated firewood to less than 50 miles from its source.

Bringing your firewood with you? Most people don't realize they move bugs along with their firewood. You could be spreading diseases or insects that can quickly kill large numbers of trees. Our forests are at risk from the transport of firewood infested with tree killers.

Here's how you can help STOP THE SPREAD of these pests:

  • Leave firewood at home-do not transport it to campgrounds or parks.
  • Only purchase firewood that has been harvested in New York State or treated for pests.
  • Burn all firewood brought to the campsite.

See Frequently Asked Questions for more information on firewood regulation.

Paddling

Church Pond Waterway Access Site
Church Pond Waterway Access Site

A number of waters are favorable for flatwater canoeing or kayaking. Any of the waterway access sites on Church Pond, Osgood Pond and Jones Pond - the latter two are a located on adjacent forest preserve lands - allow paddlers to obtain access to all three waters and Jones Pond Outlet. Motorboats may be present on Jones Pond and Osgood Pond.

A waterway access site along the Keese Mills Road, across from the Black and Long Pond Parking Area and 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 by a public boat launch site, maintained by the Town of Harrietstown at the southern end of Upper St. Regis Lake. It is just a short paddle from this boat launch site to the carry to Bear Pond in the St. Regis Canoe Area.

Paddlers should be aware that the shorelines of the large waters bodies of the St. Regis Chain of Lakes are mostly private lands with a considerable number of private homes and vacation homes. Also motorboats, some of significant size and horsepower, use these waters.

The portion of the Lower St. Regis Lake between the dam and the open waters of the main lake sees less motor boat use. However, paddlers should concede the marked channel to motorboats and allow them to pass safely.

Boating

Motorboats are not allowed on the smaller bodies of water found within the easement lands. However, 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.

Osgood Pond Waterway Access Site
Osgood Pond Waterway Access Site

Car tops boats with small motors can also access the St. Regis Chain of Lakes by using the waterway access site on Keese Mills Road. Car top boats may access Osgood Pond using the waterway access site off of the White Pond Road. Jones Pond and Jones Pond Outlet may be accessed using the waterway access site on the state lands on the north of the pond and east of the Jones Pond Road.

Many canoes and kayaks use these waters. Boaters must slow to 5 mph when passing canoes, kayaks, sailboats, anchored boats or boats engaged in fishing.

Information on boating regulations and safety can be found on the Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation web site using the link in the right column.

PREVENT THE INTRODUCTION AND SPREAD OF AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES

  • INSPECT your fishing and boating equipment and remove all mud, plants and other organisms that might be clinging to it.
  • DRY your fishing and boating equipment before using it on another body of water.
  • CLEAN your fishing and boating equipment if it cannot be dried before its use in another body of water.

More information on how you can avoid spreading aquatic invasive species.

Fishing

The easement lands are open to fishing unless specifically closed for safety or administrative reasons. Fish species present in the waters on and bordering the easement lands include: brook trout, brown bullhead, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and northern pike.

Church Pond contains largemouth bass, northern pike, and yellow perch.

Osgood Pond is considered an excellent fishery for largemouth bass and northern pike. It has car top boat launch with limited parking off of the White Pine Road. Osgood Pond is also a popular ice fishing water.

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 brook trout.

Anglers should check the current fresh water fishing regulations for and know the statewide regulation and the regulations pertaining to specific waters.

Hunting & Trapping

The Paul Smiths College Conservation Easement Lands are open to hunting and trapping unless specifically closed for safety or administrative reasons. Game and fur bearer species present on the easement lands include black bear, beaver, bobcat, coyote, white-tailed deer, fisher, red and grey fox, squirrel, snowshoe hare, waterfowl, ruffed grouse, woodcock birds, and wild turkey.

Much of the interior of the conservation easement lands may be accessed using old roads and skid trails. See the section titled Recreational Facilities below for more information on access.

Follow all hunting safety guidelines, be prepared before going into the woods and know what to do if you get lost in the woods.

All hunters and trappers much comply with all applicable State laws and regulation.

Biking

The public use of bicycles is not currently permitted. When a recreation management plan for the area is completed then bicycles may be allowed on designated routes.

Skiing & Snowshoeing

Skiing and snowshoeing is allowed on all of the trails and access roadways. The Jackrabbit Cross Country Ski Trail crosses through the easement lands.

Be prepared before going into the woods and know what to do if you get lost in the woods.

Snowmobiling

A number of snowmobile trails cross the conservation easement lands including the C7 and the connector trail between the C7 trail and C7B trail.

Recreational Facilities

Five lean-tos are located on the property. There is a waterway access site on Church Pond and two others on nearby forest preserve lands that provide access to the many of the waters and lands of the conservation easement. There are a number of parking lots and roadways that can be used to access the conservation easement lands as described below.

Sugar Bush Parcel: This parcel is located north of State Route 86 and is accessed via the White Pine Road on the west and the Jones Pond Road on the east. Several logging roads and skid trails provide internal access to the parcel.

Johnson Mountain, Airport and Creighton Parcels: The Johnson Mountain and Creighton Parcels are located along State Route 30 south of Paul Smiths College. A public parking area is available at a designated area approximately 0.5 miles south of the point where the St. Regis Carry Road intersects with State Route 30. The Creighton parcel is north of the Johnson Mountain parcel.

Hunt Road, an improved road that serves as the boundary between the two parcels, provides interior access to Johnson Mountain and Creighton parcels, and the Airport Easement parcels to the east. The Hunt Road's intersection with Route 30 is located approximately 2 miles south of Paul Smiths College. Logging roads, skid trails and improved roads provide further access to the interior of these parcels.

Osgood Parcel: This parcel is located north of State Route 86 and east of State Route 30. Primary access is either directly from Route 86 via Church Pond or on a section of the Jackrabbit Cross Country Ski Trail. Numerous old roads and informal trails provide additional access opportunities.

Tongue and Campus 4 Parcels: These parcels are located south of Keese Mills Road. Public parking for the Tongue Parcel is available at the DEC St. Regis Mountain Trailhead. Access to the interior of the parcel is available using the 0.4 mile Purple Dot trail and the Tongue Road. The Tongue Parcel can also be accessed by boat from Lower and Upper St. Regis Lakes.

The Campus 4 Parcel is small and isolated and is located approximately 1 mile west of the DEC St. Regis Mountain Trailhead Parking Area. No formal public access routes have been open or designated on this parcel. A section of the St. Regis River flows through the parcel.

Gabriels Parcels: These parcels are located south of State Route 86 just west of the hamlet of Gabriels. Numerous old roads and skid trails provide access to the interior of the parcels.

Easy Street Parcels: This parcel is located east of the Jones Pond Road. A section of the Jackrabbit Cross Country Ski Trail runs through this parcel and numerous old roads and informal trails provide additional access opportunities.

Neighboring DEC Lands & Facilities

Debar Mountain Wild Forest

Saranac Lake Wild Forest

St. Regis Canoe Area

Field Notes

Lower St. Regis Lake Near Outlet
Lower St. Regis Lake Near Outlet

The topography encountered on the easement properties is that of low-rolling hills and land formations that were heavily influenced by glaciation. Several glacial eskers and kettle moraines are found in the area. Upland areas are typically forested with northern hardwood species such as maple, beech and birch. Wetlands and other poorly drained areas support spruce-fir, alder and cedar as the primary overstory vegetation. Johnson Mountain is the highest elevation on the easement properties at 2,178 feet.

Some of the easement parcels have access to one or more of the following major water resources; the St Regis River, Lower St. Regis Lake, Spit Fire Lake and the North Bay of Upper St. Regis Lake. The PSC easement parcels also include several smaller water resources that include; Church Pond, Osgood Pond, Cooler Pond, Marvin Pond, Jones Pond Outlet, Rickerson Brook and Fay Brook and an unnamed stream on the Sugarbush parcel. Multiple major wetlands are found throughout all the parcels.

Fish and Wildlife

A variety of fish and wildlife species are found across or adjacent to the easement parcels and in streams and water bodies.

A partial list of wildlife species includes: black bear, beaver, bobcat, coyote, white-tailed deer, fisher, red and grey fox, snowshoe hare, moose, a wide variety of fur bearers, waterfowl, upland birds, wild turkey, numerous amphibian, reptile and insect species and a multitude of song birds.

Fish species present include: brook trout, brown bullhead, red belly dace, white suckers, brassy minnow, creek chub, pearl dace, small and largemouth bass and Northern Pike.

Rules and Regulations

The public must abide by all state land use regulations when recreating on the forest preserve or conservation easement lands open to the public, including these common state land use rules.

Except where marked by a "Camp Here" disk, camping is prohibited within 150 feet of roads, trails, lakes, ponds, streams or other bodies of water.

Stays of more than three nights in one place or camping groups of more than nine people require a permit from the New York State Forest Ranger responsible for the area.

Use pit privies where they are provided. If none are available, dispose of human waste by digging a hole 6 - 8 inches deep at least 150 feet from water or campsites. Cover with leaves and soil.

Do not use soap to wash yourself, clothing or dishes within 150 feet of water.

Drinking and cooking water should be boiled for 5 minutes, treated with purifying tablets or filtered through a filtration device to prevent instances of giardia infection.

Fires should be built in existing fire pits, if provided. Use only dead and down wood for fires.

Extinguish fires until they are cold to the touch. Camp stoves are safer and cleaner.

Carry out what you carry in. Practice "leave no trace" camping and hiking.

Carry an approved flotation device for each person aboard all watercraft.

Public use of motorized vehicles on easement lands is prohibited unless specifically designated.

DEC Forest Rangers are primarily responsible for search and rescue, wild land fire suppression and enforcing state land use laws and regulations. DEC Environmental Conservation Officers are primarily responsible for enforcing hunting, fishing, trapping and pollution laws and regulation. Both are state law enforcement officers and, as such, can and do enforce all state laws.

Driving Directions

From Potsdam and points west: Follow Route 11B east to Nicholville. Turn right onto State Route 458. Follow 458 approximately 23 miles to its intersection with State Route 30.Turn right onto State Route 30 and travel approximately 8 miles south to Paul Smiths College.

From Massena and points north: From Massena take State Route 37 south to Malone. From Malone take State Route 30 south for 32 miles to Paul Smiths College.

From Saranac Lake and points south: From Saranac Lake, follow State Route 86 north to its intersection with State Route 30 at Paul Smiths College.

From Plattsburgh and points east: Follow State Route 3 west until you pass Merrills Corners near Loon Lake. Turn right onto County Route 60 going toward Onchiota. Pass through Onchiota and Rainbow Lake; turn right onto Jones Pond Road (County Route 31) and follow it to its intersection with State Route 86. Turn right on 86 and follow it to its intersection with State Route 30 at Paul Smiths College.

Other Sources of Information

Adirondack Regional Tourism Council and Franklin County Tourism can both provide information about recreating in this area and other amenities. Use the links provided near the bottom of the right column to access their websites.

Numerous guide books are available with information on the lands and waters in this area. These can be purchased at most outdoor equipment retailers, bookstores, and on-line booksellers.

The DEC State Land Interactive Mapper can be used to print maps showing state lands, trails and facilities for this area or any location within New York State. There are also excellent printed maps and computer map programs from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), National Geographic and other sources. These are sold in outdoor retail shops, bookstores and on the internet. Use the USGS Maps link in the right column to order their maps online.

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.

History

During the period from 1986 through 1998, the State of New York acquired conservation easements on the properties for the purpose of limiting their use and development while providing specified public recreation opportunities and permitting compatible use of the property by the landowner.

Management

DEC is currently developing a recreation management plan for Paul Smiths College Conservation Easement. The plan will be made available once it is completed. If you are interested in participating in the public input process for any of these plans, e-mail DEC using the link at the bottom of the right column.

Recreation Management Plans are intended to assess the recreational resources present within a Conservation Easement, identify opportunities for recreational use and consider the ability of the resources and ecosystems to accommodate public use. Recreation Management Plans are developed by DEC in accordance with the terms of the conservation easement agreement and in cooperation with the landowner.

Important Phone Numbers

Forest Fire, Search and Rescue: (518) 891-0235 (24 hours a day) or dial 911

State Land Regulation/Backcountry Law Enforcement: (518) 897-1300

Environmental Law Enforcement: (518) 897-1326

Turn in Poachers and Polluters: 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332) - call the TIPPs hotline to report any environmental violations or report it online.


More about Paul Smiths College Conservation Easement: