Croghan Tract Conservation Easement
- Open for recreation: Year-round; please see Specific Rules below for additional restrictions. Please respect posted signs.
- Fee: Free
- Contact Information:
- DEC Region 6 Lowville Sub-Office 315-376-3521 (M-F 8:00-4:45); e-mail (information.R6@dec.ny.gov)
- Backcountry Emergencies: 518-891-0235 or 911(24/7)
- Enforcement Matters: 1-877-457-5680 (24/7)
Location: Towns of Croghan and Watson, Lewis County
- Wildlife Management Unit: 6J
The 13,054-acre Croghan Tract is private property in the Adirondacks with a conservation easement which allows the forests be used for timber production while providing limited public recreation opportunities.
The terrain of the tract is generally rolling, with hardwood forests covering much of the area. Several major streams are located on the tract including, Fish Creek and Roaring Brook.
Timber operations 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. There are a number of private lease camps on the tract. The public is prohibited from entering the camps and one-acre of land around the camp. Easement lands are private property, please respect the rights of the landowner and its lessees.
General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Hikers can enjoy the Main Haul Road, other roads and the snowmobile trails. The Sand Pond Accessible Trailhead is located along the Main Haul Road, though the 800-foot accessible trail and Sand Pond are in the Pepperbox Wilderness.
General information on backcountry camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
There are eight designated primitive campsites. Five drive-up campsites are located along the Main Haul Road (aka Fish Creek Road). There is one designated campsite along each of the following: Jakes Road, Prentice Road and an unnamed tributary of the Soft Maple Reservoir.
General information on paddling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Paddling is a popular activity on Soft Maple Reservoir. The Soft Maple Reservoir Waterway Access Site features a hand launch approximately 20 feet from the parking area, with a steep decent to the water.
Paddlers can carry their canoes and kayaks 800 feet on an accessible trail from the Sand Pond Trailhead to Sand Pond, a picturesque small waterbody in the adjacent Pepperbox Wilderness.
General information on biking includes how-to and safety tips with links to rules & regulations
The gentle terrain, woodlands and a good road and trail system provide a great biking opportunity. Bikers can use Main Haul Road and snowmobile trails for a 10-mile loop that gently ascends and descends less than 500 feet. Bicycles are allowed on all roads and trails on the easement lands but are prohibited from entering Pepperbox Wilderness beyond the end of Jakes Road.
General information on fishing includes fishing tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations
There are several bodies of water which provide fishing opportunities. Brook trout can be found in Fish Creek and Roaring Brook, and smallmouth bass can be found in the Soft Maple Reservoir.
On nearby lands brook trout and brown bullheads are found in Mud Pond, both French Ponds, and Sand Pond. Mud Pond and Sand Pond also contain pumpkinseed.
Help Protect Native Adirondack Fish; populations of brook trout, round whitefish and other native Adirondack fish species have severely declined due to introduced fish.
Hunting and Trapping
Hunting and trapping are allowed subject to applicable seasons, rules and regulations. The main furbearers and game species found on the property include fisher, beaver, red fox, coyote, and whitetail deer.
Hunters and trappers can park in one of the four designated parking areas or in one of the numerous pull-off spots along Main Haul Road. All of the snowmobile trails, roads, roadways and lands can be traveled on foot by hunters and trappers. However, trespass on the 1-acre lots around leased cabins is prohibited.
General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Three Snowmobile Routes - C8, S87, and S85 - pass through the property connecting with the area snowmobile trail network. Snowmobile maps are available from the local snowmobile association. Routes may vary from year to year due to active timber harvests.
Cross-country Skiing & Snowshoeing
General information on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations
Cross country skiers and snowshoers can enjoy miles of roads and trails in the tract. The gentle terrain provides great skiing opportunities for people of all skill levels. The Sand Pond Accessible Trailhead, located along the Main Haul Road, provides access to Sand Pond in the Pepperbox Wilderness.
General information on animals includes links to information about birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and insects that inhabit or migrate through the state.
The Adirondacks contain large tracts of wildlife habitat with some boreal, bog, alpine and other unique habitats. Many birds (Common Loon, Peregrine Falcon) and mammals (Moose, Black Bear) are unique to the Adirondacks or are mainly found here. More than 50 species of mammals and hundreds of species of birds inhabit or pass through the Adirondacks at one time of the year or another.
General information on horseback riding includes safety tips and rules & regulations
Horseback riders can enjoy miles of roads and trails in the tract. The gentle terrain and woodlands provide a great riding opportunity. Several locations along Main Haul Road are suitable to park a horse trailer.
Horses are not permitted on the Sand Pond Trail. Horses are also prohibited from entering the Pepperbox Wilderness beyond the end of Jakes Road.
General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.
Soft Maple Reservoir Waterway Access Site provides an accessible parking space on a hardened lot along Fish Creek.
Sand Pond Accessible Trail: An 800-foot trail suitable for use with mobility devices leads from Main Haul Road to Sand Pond in the Pepperbox Wilderness Area. It passes through a woodland setting, crossing two small wetland areas over an elevated wooden boardwalk as it winds along toward the lake shoreline. There is a lake view available at the end of the trail.
Croghan Tract Conservation Easement has four parking areas to use for accessing the area. All of the parking areas are easily reached by NY Route 812. All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.
NOTE: Access to the lands and waters is via seasonal access roads which are used by snowmobiles in the winter and closed during the spring mud season.
- Soft Maple Reservoir Water Access Site Parking Area is located on the Main Haul Road. (43.921221°N, 75.207037°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
- Sand Pond Access Trail Parking is located on the Main Haul Road. (43.949751°N, 75.165331°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
- South Sand Pond Parking Area is located at the end of Sand Pond Road (43.943008°N, 75.159407°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
- North Sand Pond Parking Area is located at the end of Jakes Road (43.960623°N, 75.153227°W) Google Maps (DEC website)
Rules, Regulations and Outdoor Safety
Practice Leave No Trace principles (Leaves DEC website) when recreating in the Adirondacks to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, minimize impact on the natural resources and avoid conflicts other backcountry users.
There are a number of private lease camps on the tract. Trespass is prohibited on the acre of land around each cabin. Easement lands are private property, please respect the rights of the landowner and its lessees.
- All public access and recreation on this property is subject to the pending Recreation Management Plan.
- Public motor vehicle access to these lands is restricted to access roads signed as open to motor vehicles, or public highways. Access roads may be closed seasonally.
- Snowmobile use is permitted on designated and signed roads and trails.
- Public hunting, fishing and trapping are permitted on both conservation easement and forest preserve lands subject to standard NYS regulations.
- Private lease camps exist on the property. Please respect posted signs.
- Public recreation may not be allowed during timber harvest operations and access roads may be closed seasonally.
- Please do not trespass on adjacent private lands. The boundaries of conservation easement lands are generally marked with yellow paint blazes and signed with conservation easement signage.
How We Manage Croghan Tract Conservation Easement
DEC is developing a recreation management plan which will describe the management activities for public recreation on these lands in accordance with the conservation easement agreement (PDF, 4.9 MB). If you have questions and/or comments about this RMP, please email us (email@example.com.)
Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information
DEC Lands and Facilities
Gas may be found in the nearby communities of Carthage, Croghan, Harrisville, and Lowville.
Food and other supplies can be found in the nearby communities of Carthage, Croghan, Harrisville, and Lowville.
Dining opportunities can be found in the nearby communities of Carthage, Croghan, Harrisville, Lowville.
Lodging may be found in the nearby communities of Carthage, Harrisville, Lowville, Watertown.
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.