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Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement

Madawaska Pond/Quebec Brook Primitive Area, Deer River Primitive Area, and Debar Mountain Wild Forest (in part)

Map showing location of Santa Clara Tract in the Adirondack Park

hikingfire towerpaddlingboatingprimitive campingfishinghuntingtrappingbikingsnowmobilingcross-country skiingsnowshoeingaccessibleparkinghand launchboat launchicon key

Alert: Effective July 1, Madawaska Road between Madawaska Pond from State Route 458 is once again open to public use by motor vehicle and bicycles, the road provides access to Madwaska Pond, Quebec Brook and the thousands of acres of surrounding forest preserve and conservation easement lands. The entrance to the road is on the southern side of State Route 458, 1.25 miles west of the intersection with State Route 30. Currently there is no sign to identify the road.

The 72,000-acre Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement is part of the conservation easement lands of the Adirondacks. The tract is comprised of several large neighboring parcels located in the northwestern Adirondacks. A total of 26,594 acres of Adirondack Forest Preserve lands are associated with the easement including the 6,036-acre Madawaska Pond/Quebec Brook Primitive Area, the 1,871-acre Deer River Primitive Area, and 16,543 acres in four parcels of the Debar Mountain Wild Forest west of State Route 30.

The area is a mix of gently rolling hills and low mountains dominated by glacial formations, terraces and eskers. There are three major river drainages: the St. Regis River, the East Branch St. Regis River and the Deer River. There are numerous other streams, ponds, bogs and wetland areas, giving the area a wild, boreal character. The river corridors range from meandering broad streams to narrow rock-filled channels with dangerous rapids and falls.

Many roads on these lands are not open for public motor vehicle access. Please stay on designated roads when traveling by motor vehicle. The former railroad corridor west of Madawaska Pond is privately owned and cannot be legally crossed by the public.

The easement lands are privately owned and logged. Expect to see logging trucks, skidders, and other logging activity. Certain access roads may be closed when logging operations are active.

More than 100 privately-leased camps are scattered throughout the Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement. The public is prohibited from entering the camps and one-acre of land around the camp. Please respect the rights of the landowner and their lessees.

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.

Featured Activities

Hiking

hiking

General information on hiking includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

There are several hikes in this area which provide scenic overviews of natural land and water features. All the roads within the Santa Clara Tract are open to hiking.

The Pinnacle Trailhead (1,840 feet) provides access to a 0.7-mile trail which ascends 325 feet to the top of The Pinnacle. An open ledge near the top provides views of the Santa Clara Flow.

The Azure Mountain Trailhead (2,518 feet) provides access to a 1.0-mile trail that climbs 944 feet to the summit of the mountain. The summit provides views of the mountains, forests and waters to the south. The cab of the fire tower on the summit is open to the public and provides 360 degree views.

The Everton Falls Trailhead provides parking and access to the 1.0-mile loop trail on lands owned by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). This is a self-guided nature trail which is part of TNC's Everton Falls Preserve (leaves DEC's website). Guides can be found in the trail register.

Fire Tower

fire tower

General information on fire towers includes historic and current uses of fire towers and links to other locations with fire towers.

The 35-foot tall Aeromotor LS-40 fire tower on the summit of Azure Mountain was built in 1918. The fire tower was staffed by an observer until 1978 to watch for and report fires in the surrounding forests. The fire tower can be accessed by a 1.0-mile trail that climbs 944 feet from the trailhead. The cab is open to the public.

In 2002, DEC, the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program and volunteers from Azure Mountain Friends (leaves DEC website) repaired the fire tower. Volunteers from Azure Mountain Friends continue to assist DEC in maintaining the fire tower, the trail and the trailhead; protecting summit vegetation; and educating the public on the mountain's human history and natural features. They provide interpreters on the summit on weekends and holidays during the spring, summer, and fall.

Paddling

paddling

General information on paddling includes safety tips with links to rules & regulations and lists of DEC boat launches by county.

Paddlers have the opportunity to pass through a number of Adirondack habitats on a variety of water conditions.

Flatwater paddles are available on Madawaska Pond, Deer River Flow, Santa Clara Flow and sections of the Middle and East Branches of the St. Regis River. Whitewater sections with varying levels of difficulty can be found on the Deer River, St. Regis River and East Branch St. Regis River.

Nine miles of flatwater paddling is available on a section of the East Branch St. Regis River which can be accessed from two hand launches. Paddlers putting in at the Vanderwalker Road Hand Launch can use the short carry from the parking area to the river. Paddlers can travel upstream or downstream with 4 miles of paddling available in each direction.

More ambitious paddlers can put in at the Everton Falls Hand Launch to take an 18-mile round trip paddle heading upstream and returning with the current. Less ambitious paddlers can put in at either launch and paddle around as much or as little as they desire. Groups can park a car at each launch site and paddle between them. People using the Everton Falls Hand Launch can enjoy the namesake scenic falls or take a hike on the nearby nature trails. See the hiking section for more information.

The Middle Branch St. Regis River provides nearly 25 miles of mostly flatwater paddling and some sections of moving water, whitewater and rapids. Paddlers should watch carefully for carry trail markers for portages around rapids. Beginner paddlers should only paddle the flatwater sections.

A 12-mile meandering flatwater section can be accessed using the Indian Rock Hand Launch after a 0.6-mile carry from the parking area along Blue Mountain Road. The flatwater section stretches 10 miles upstream and 2 miles downstream from the launch site.

Paddlers can continue 5 miles downstream from the flatwater section to the Four Mile Road Hand Launch. This section drops more than 150 feet in elevation over its course and contains a number of whitewater and moving water sections. There are 4 marked carries around rapids before reaching the lower launch site.

A 3-mile flatwater section can also be accessed directly from the Four Mile Road Hand Launch. After a 0.6-mile carry, paddlers can continue on the river approximately 2.5 miles downstream to the Santa Clara Flow.

The Santa Clara Flow Boat Launch lies 3 miles further near the dam at the northern end of the flow. The boat launch is shallow and should only be used by canoes, kayaks, and other car-top boats, or small trailered boats. Paddlers can put in at the boat launch and paddle 5.6 miles upstream on the 248-acre Santa Clara Flow and up the St. Regis River to the first rapids.

The Clark's Landing Hand Launch can be used to paddle the 408-acre Deer River Flow.

The Madwaska Pond Hand Launch site provides access to the picturesque 228-acre Madwaska Pond and more than 2 miles of Quebec Brook above the pond to the boundary between Forest Preserve lands and private lands.

Boating

boating

General information on boating includes safety tips with links to rules & regulations and lists of DEC boat launches by county.

The Santa Clara Flow Boat Launch provides access for car-top and small trailered boats to the 248-acre Santa Clara Flow and portions of the St. Regis River upstream. Due to the configuration of the launch site, the shallow water of the flow and the size of the flow, motors with 10 horsepower or less are recommended.

Camping

primitive camping

General information on backcountry camping includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

There are 18 designated primitive tent sites located in the area associated with the Santa Clara Tract. All are primarily accessible from the water.

  • Seven tent sites are located on the St. Regis River - three between Indian Rock and the Iron Bridge and four between the Four Mile Access Road and the Santa Clara Bridge.
  • Seven tent sites are located on the East Branch St. Regis River between the Vanderwalker Road Hand Launch and the juncture of the East Branch St. Regis River and St. Regis River. Two of these are located near the Vanderwalker Road Hand Launch.
  • Long Pond Campsite on Long Pond next to the St. Regis River is located at the end of Trim Road off of County Route 14.
  • Two campsites are located near the Clarks Landing Hand Launch on the Deer River Flow.
  • Azure Mountain Campsite is located along the Azure Mountain Trail at the location of the former fire tower observer's cabin, less than half a mile from the trailhead.

Campers who prefer more amenities can camp at DEC's nearby Meacham Lake Campground and the Town of Waverly's St. Regis Falls Campground (leaves DEC website).

Fishing

fishing

General information on fishing includes fishing tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations.

Many of the tributaries of the Deer River, St. Regis River, East Branch St. Regis River and Quebec Brook contain wild populations of small brook trout. Some brook trout also inhabit the main rivers near the mouths of tributaries and in spring holes.

The Middle Branch St. Regis River is stocked with brown trout and rainbow trout downstream of the community of St. Regis Falls.

Deer River is stocked with brown trout from Dickinson Center to the Reynoldston Road.

Northern pike are common in the deeper pools of the St. Regis River and Santa Clara Flow.

Smallmouth bass occupy rockier sections of the East Branch St. Regis River.

Panfish, yellow perch and brown bullhead can be found in Madawaska Pond and Santa Clara Flow.

Deer River Flow contains northern pike, smallmouth bass, brown bullhead, yellow perch and panfish.

Anglers can use the same access locations as those used by paddlers and boaters to access these waters.

The Quebec Brook Parking Area provides access to a 1.2-mile trail along Quebec Brook.

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.

Hunting and Trapping

hunting trapping

General Information on hunting and general information on trapping includes how-to and safety tips with links to seasons, rules & regulations.

Big game hunting, small game hunting and trapping are allowed on the conservation easement lands in accordance with state laws and regulations. Hunting and trapping are not allowed on the posted one-acre areas around the leased camps.

More than 100 privately-leased camps are scattered throughout the Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement. The public is prohibited from entering the camps and one-acre of land around the camp. Please respect the rights of the landowner and their lessees.

Hunters may park and access the lands using the same access points as hikers. Hunters may also park in informal roadside parking areas found throughout the road system provided they are not blocking roads or gates.

Biking

biking

General information on mountain biking includes how-to and safety tips with links to rules & regulations.

Biking is allowed on any roads open to public use.

Madawaska Road provides a nearly 12-mile round trip bike ride to scenic Madawaska Pond and back. The road includes climbs totaling 650 feet and descents of totaling 540 feet across that distance.

Snowmobiling

snowmobiling

General information on snowmobiling includes how-to and safety tips and links to rules & regulations.

The C8 snowmobile corridor connects Santa Clara and Meacham Lake.

The S82 snowmobile trail connects S72 snowmobile trail to the C8 corridor.

Snowmobiling is permitted on designated corridors and trails only. Snowmobile routes may change annually to avoid timber harvesting operations.

Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing

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 skiing and snowshoeing are permitted on all hiking trails and roads.

Madawaska Road provides a nearly 12-mile round trip bike ride to scenic Madawaska Pond and back. The road includes climbs totaling 650 feet and descents of totaling 540 feet across that distance.

People skiing or snowshoeing on designated snowmobile trails should be aware of snowmobiles and move to the side to let them pass.

Wildlife

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. Over 50 species of mammals and hundreds of species of birds inhabit or pass through the Adirondacks at one time of the year or another. The Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area contains a large connecting patch of high quality habitat for the state endangered spruce grouse.

Accessible fishing site by bridge
One of two accessible fishing sites

Accessible Recreation

accessible

General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access.

A 7.7-mile route for 4-wheel drive trucks for people with a Motorized Access Permit for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD) starts near the end of Brown Tract Road [(44.5780°N, 74.5619°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)]

. Most of the route is on a parcel in St. Lawrence County. It consists of a loop and a spur that provides access to fishing opportunities for people with disabilities between June 1 and August 31. You must be a MAPPWD permit holder to use the road.

Two accessible fishing sites which provide shoreline fishing access have been developed on the spur of the MAPPWD route. One site is located at the crossing over Stony Brook and the second site is located at the crossing over Weller Pond Outlet. Areas adjacent to the stream crossings have been upgraded to a smooth stable surface with edge protection, suitable for use with a mobility device. Each resurfaced area is large enough to provide space for one vehicle.

See Santa Clara Tract MAPPWD Route Map and the Santa Clara Tract Easement Map at the top of this page for the location of the MAPPWD route and the two fishing access sites.

Directions

All coordinates provided are in decimal degrees using NAD83/WGS84 datum.

Parking Areas and Trailheads

  • Azure Mountain Trailhead Parking Area is located at the end of short access road on the west side of Blue Mountain Road. (44.5377°N, 74.4851°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Pinnacle Trailhead Parking Area is located at the end of the 1.5-mile dirt road off the north side of State Route 458. (44.6476°N, 74.4417°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Everton Falls Trailhead Parking Area is located on the north side of Red Tavern Road (County Route 14). (44.6712°N, 74.4245°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Fishing Access Sites

  • Quebec Brook Parking Area is located on the east side of Blue Mountain Road at the Quebec Brook crossing. (44.5148°N, 74.4457°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Stony Brook Crossing Accessible Fishing Site is located on the spur of the MAPPWD Route. (44.5574°N, 74.6028°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Weller Pond Outlet Crossing Accessible Fishing Site is located on the spur of the MAPPWD Route. (44.5467°N, 74.6054°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)

Boat and Hand Launches

  • Santa Clara Flow Boat Launch is located off Dexter Road in the hamlet of Santa Clara. (44.6306°N, 74.4533°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Madawaska Pond Parking Area is located near the end of the 6.0 mile Madawaska Road off of State Route 458 (44.5217°N, 74.3782°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Everton Falls Trailhead Parking Area is located on the north side of Red Tavern Road (County Route 14)and the hand launch is across the road. (44.6712°N, 74.4245°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Vanderwalker Road Parking Area is located at the end of Vanderwalker Road (a rough, seasonal road off the north side of State Route 458) keep to the right shortly after you enter the road. The East Branch St. Regis Hand Launch site is at the end of 0.4 mile portage trail from the parking area. (44.6375°N, 74.3992°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Four Mile Road Hand Launch Parking Area is located at the end of Four Mile Road (a rough, seasonal road off the east side of Blue Mountain Road). (44.5559°N, 74.4719°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Indian Rock Hand Launch Parking is located off the west side of Blue Mountain Road; there is a 0.6 mile carry to the hand launch. (44.4995°N, 74.4262°W) Google Maps (leaves DEC website)
  • Clark's Landing Hand Launch Parking Area is located off the Cold Brook Road immediately off State Route 30. (44.6331°N, 74.2800°W) Google Maps (leaves 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.

All users of Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands and the associated Forest Preserve lands must follow all State Land Use Regulations and should follow all Outdoor Safety Practices for the safety of the user and protection of the resource.

Be aware that the Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands are privately owned; actively timbered and leased camps are present. Public access and recreation is allowed with restrictions. Public users of these lands must:

  • Only travel on roads and corridors designated open to the public.
  • 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.
  • Be aware that much of these lands are leased to private sports groups that have access rights that the public does not have - please respect the rights of the lessees.
  • 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 to each. 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.

How We Manage the Santa Clara Conservation Easement

DEC is developing a recreation management plan which will describe the management activities for public recreation on these lands.

Nearby State Lands, Facilities, Amenities & Other Information

State Lands and Facilities

Gas can be found in the nearby communities of St. Regis Falls and Saranac Lake.
Food and other supplies can be found in the nearby community of Saranac Lake.
Dining opportunities can be found in the nearby community of Saranac Lake.
Lodging can be found in the nearby communities of Santa Clara, St. Regis Falls and Saranac Lake.

Adirondack Regional Tourism Council (leaves DEC website) and Franklin County Tourism (leaves DEC website) can provide information about other recreation, attractions and amenities in this area.

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.


More about Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement: