On September 25, 2015 The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the approval of the Adirondack Park Trail Plan for the North Country National Scenic Trail.
The plan routes the National Scenic Trail through the Adirondack Park and incorporates the North Country NST into the state’s Adirondack trail system. Approval of the plan will be effective on October 10.
Bruce Matthews, Executive Director for the North Country Trail Association said, “New York State’s Adirondack Park has long been viewed by the North Country Trail community as one of the Trail’s crown jewels. Its wilderness areas, rugged and mountainous terrain, deep northwoods character and pristine nature makes hiking in the Adirondack Park a unique experience for North Country Trail users.
We’ve been trying to obtain final approval for an approved route for well over ten years, and now we finally have one. New Yorkers cherish and protect their Adirondacks, which includes a “Forever Wild” clause in the state constitution. Through the efforts and perseverance of Mary Coffin and her team of scouting and GPSing volunteers, the National Park Service, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Adirondack Park Agency have finally arrived at agreement on the route, which we’ll be able to begin marking this fall.”
What you will see in the Adirondacks
There’s no way to ever offer enough thanks to Mary Coffin and a crew of volunteers who have tirelessly scouted, bushwhacked, and trekked through the area with GPS units to evaluate potential routes. No one knows this new route better than Mary.
She explains what you will see when you hike across this scenic area:
“The route crosses five Wild Forests and four Wilderness Areas in the central Adirondacks and spans 158 miles from North Lake Road via the Stone Dam Lake Trail to Crown Point State Historic Site on Lake Champlain. The next step is to make sure the routes are included in the nine Unit Management Plans (UMP) or amendments to existing UMPs. At the very least we will now be permitted to place NCNST signage at trail heads of existing trails which comprise about 50% of the route.
The route offers the foot traveler some of the best scenery characteristic of the Adirondacks and a national scenic trail and the typical Adirondack ambience and wilderness experience. One can plan long distance hikes and backpacks or family day trips. Adirondack communities can provide lodging, camping, food and gas to support hikers. People who walk any part of the Adirondack route can expect to see many lakes, ponds, bogs, beaver ponds, streams and deciduous and coniferous forests, glacial erratic boulders, rocky cliffs, mountains and spectacular views.
Despite the frustrations and patience and persistence required over the years, it has all been fun and challenging except for writing reports for the DEC after each excursion. And it is all outdoors in beautiful serene surroundings, so I have enjoyed it and will continue to do so as we add amendments to each UMP for the units. I believe three of the nine units include a specific NCNST route so we will start in the field with those. We will flag at first and finally construct an environmentally friendly trail in this special area.”
DEC Acting Commissioner Marc Gerstman said, “The trail will provide opportunities for families looking for day hikes as well as a route for experienced backpackers looking for a multi-state, long distance challenge.”
- Black River Wild Forest
- West Canada Lake Wilderness
- Moose River Plains Wild Forest
- Jessup River Wild Forest
- Siamese Ponds Wilderness
- Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest
- Hoffman Notch Wilderness
- Hammond Pond Wild Forest
More Great Hiking in New York
Within New York State, many sections of the North Country NST already exist. The Trail enters the state in Allegany State Park, where it then overlaps with the Finger Lakes Trail for 460 miles. With the completion of the Adirondack Park Trail Plan, sections of existing trail within the Park can now be marked and maintained as the North Country NST, further eliminating gaps within the Trail.
The plan approves using approximately 81 miles of existing foot trail and constructing 39 miles of new trail within the park. It is estimated that 27 miles of temporary connections along roads will be initially used to make connections along this route. Within the Adirondack Park, the North Country NST will be approximately 158 total miles in length when complete, stretching from the Hamlet of Forestport in Oneida County to the Hamlet of Crown Point on the shore of Lake Champlain.
The North Country Trail Association appreciates the support of Governor Cuomo, the DEC, and New York representatives.
Senator Hugh T. Farley:
“The plan’s approval marks an important step in the development of this ambitious trail. New York’s participation in the North Country National Scenic Trail should help attract more visitors to the State and to the Adirondack region. It will also provide additional recreational opportunities for New Yorkers.”
Senator Betty Little:
“We want more people coming to the Adirondacks, not only for the obvious tourism benefit, but for the mental wellness benefit which one cannot put a price on. You can drive through the Adirondacks and see its beauty, but to walk through, to hike the mountains, is truly a unique and unforgettable experience. You break away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reacquaint with simply being. I am very pleased to join Governor Cuomo and others in making this announcement and look forward to seeing the trail system develop.”
State Assemblyman Marc Butler:
“I am extremely excited about the continued opportunity that DEC is offering people from all over the world to further enjoy the immense beauty of the Adirondacks. The rerouting section of the Northville-Lake Placid Trail connects the many small villages and communities to the vast wonders of the Forest Preserve. Economic Development, recreation, and appreciation for what lies just outside our doorway is enhanced by the DEC as they act as Stewards of this great land. This section of the Northville-Lake Placid Trail was successfully executed after much work by the DEC and the Adirondack Mountain Club. Working together, they made this celebration possible.”
Bill Farabee, Chairman, Essex County Board of Supervisors:
“Essex County and Crown Point is the eastern terminus of the NCST. This trail and the promotion of it will bring increased attention and interest by visitors to our region. We appreciate Governor Cuomo’s support to develop this trail through and near our communities, as he is doing on many initiatives throughout the Park. This trail will be one more big reason for hikers and tourists from many states to visit this region and Essex County as a premier tourism destination.”
Bill Farber, Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Chairman:
“The NCST is a grand effort to connect tourists and hikers from many states throughout the country to our fantastic natural resources and communities. Governor Cuomo’s support of this trail is one more effort that does this at a national scale. We appreciate the Governor’s support for this initiative and the many others that are helping so many enjoy our park and enable our communities to capture the value the Adirondack Park offers us. His support of this effort along with others such as exploring opportunities with the Great South Woods and development of a Hut to Hut system linking communities and wilderness helps strengthen this region and has it stand out as a tourist destination. That’s good for the enjoyment of tourists, and the vibrancy of our communities that results from that.”
Neil F. Woodworth, Executive Director of the Adirondack Mountain Club:
“The Adirondack Mountain Club strongly supports the routing, layout and trail construction of the North Country National Scenic Trail, one of the premier long distance hiking and backpacking trails in America. This famed trail will benefit many communities in the Adirondack Park. ADK is proud that many of its members helped scout and map the location of this valuable west to east route across the Adirondack Park. ADK is ready to help construct those sections of hiking trail that need to be created.”
For more information on the route maps and to view the full plan, visit DEC’s website.
Thank you to all our volunteers and donors who make efforts like this possible. Together, we are providing a world-class hiking experience.
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*All photos courtesy of Mary Coffin.