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Old 12-21-2012, 12:02 AM   #1
peskypup
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Pharaoh Lake Wilderness UMP

Does anyone have a copy of the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness UMP? It doesn't appear to be on the DEC site, and I emailed them earlier in the week to ask them to send me a copy and haven't heard back...
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:39 AM   #2
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That UMP was written circa 1990, and to my knowledge very few (if any) of the plans from the eighties and early nineties were digitized. There are quite a few plans that aren't available online.
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:21 PM   #3
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They'll probably get back to you, eventually. My experience has been that if you use the public emails on the DEC website, the response time is usually about a month later. I assume it's because all of those public emails probably go to the same person (someone who deals with public affairs or something similar) and needs to get forwarded a bit before it reaches the right person who can respond appropriately. You might try contacting the Warrensburg Office directly, as the Pharaoh Lake WA is managed from there.

As Bill states, it's an older UMP. I believe that it will be up for revision in the near future (as with most of the UMPs, its probably actually overdue for a revision- aren't they supposed to be revised every 5 years? ). I have heard that the DEC has some (very tentative) plans for the area; in particular, some new trails, campsites, and maybe even a few lean-tos in the southwestern portion of the wilderness area. The hope is that by providing more destinations and hiking opportunities (especially loop hikes) in this area, they can draw some use away from Pharaoh Lake (which is a high use destination and is pretty heavily impacted). Obviously, at this point, this is all hearsay, and any new UMP would go through the regular revision and public commenting process before any of these plans became definite.

I do have a copy of the old UMP, but it's an 11 megabyte pdf... far to big to attach to a post. I could try emailing it to you, if you pm'd me your email address.
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:35 AM   #4
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I think I have a paper copy in my box of dusty old UMPs, possibly a collector's item someday. If DEC is planning to reopen this plan, then expect plenty of fireworks. Certain provisions from the original UMP resulted in some of the most colorful moments in Adirondack History. Read Barbara NcMartin's Perspectives on the Adirondacks for the story.
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Old 12-23-2012, 01:41 PM   #5
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Lots of flagging at the beginning of Pharaoh road...here's betting for some new attempts to block access to such roads...
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Old 12-23-2012, 03:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill I. View Post
If DEC is planning to reopen this plan, then expect plenty of fireworks. Certain provisions from the original UMP resulted in some of the most colorful moments in Adirondack History. Read Barbara NcMartin's Perspectives on the Adirondacks for the story.
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Lots of flagging at the beginning of Pharaoh road...here's betting for some new attempts to block access to such roads...
Some flagging at the beginning of this road also...
Try & block this road and watch the fireworks...
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:51 PM   #7
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Thanks folks...

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Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
I do have a copy of the old UMP, but it's an 11 megabyte pdf... far to big to attach to a post. I could try emailing it to you, if you pm'd me your email address.
Thank you! PM sent.

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If DEC is planning to reopen this plan, then expect plenty of fireworks. Certain provisions from the original UMP resulted in some of the most colorful moments in Adirondack History. Read Barbara NcMartin's Perspectives on the Adirondacks for the story.
That book is actually on my Amazon wish list, based on a recommendation I saw in another thread here somewhere along the way. I'm hoping "Santa" was paying attention. We've got a camp just outside of Brant Lake and I'll admit I've become somewhat fascinated with the history of the Pharaoh Lake area.
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Old 12-23-2012, 11:25 PM   #8
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Lots of flagging at the beginning of Pharaoh road...here's betting for some new attempts to block access to such roads...
That flagging I believe is for a parking lot, as there is currently very limited parking there (and the area gets a lot of use- on summer weekends, it's not uncommon to see cars parked pretty far down the road). The DEC/SCA did some work on the trail to Pharaoh Lake this fall, and has a lot more work planned for the next few years- there are some pretty badly washed out sections of that trail, as well as some consistently muddy sections. I would guess that the state plans to keep the road open until at least after the work on the trail is completed, since it will make carrying equipment back there a lot easier for the trail crews.

If I remember correctly, the situations between Pharaoh Lake Road and Crane Pond Road are a little bit different, from a legal perspective. Pharaoh Lake Road is owned by the State, and there is no other authority that has any control over the road. Crane Pond Road, however, is a town-owned road (Schroon Lake owns it, I believe). However, there is a law that says that the state can close a road if it is completely surrounded by state land, as is the case with Crane Pond. I may not be 100% on this, but that's how I remember the specifics of the situation.
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:26 AM   #9
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Crane Pond Road, however, is a town-owned road (Schroon Lake owns it, I believe). However, there is a law that says that the state can close a road if it is completely surrounded by state land, as is the case with Crane Pond. I may not be 100% on this, but that's how I remember the specifics of the situation.
I don't think that's true. How can Schroon lake own state land? The Town of Schroon may have maintained the road to Crane, illegally, but never owned it. This is what I remember about the silly "uprising" there in the early '90's.

I also remember a judge ruling that it was in fact state owned and that the state could close it at any time because it was part of the Wilderness Area.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:27 AM   #10
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Crane Pond Road is already closed, legally speaking ... ergo the controversy that erupted 20 years ago.

If I recall the sequence of events correctly:

DEC barricaded the road with boulders at the state land boundary, a property rights group hauled the bolders away down the Northway to Albany (calling them "stones of shame"), an Earth First! group tried to block the road with a sit-in where the boulders had been, local officials (including Maynard Baker, the Schroon town supervisor at the time) arrived on the sceen to confront the protesters, Baker punches one of the protesters, a cameraman catches the punch and it winds up on national TV.

So when you drive to Crane Pond, you are (technically speaking) driving on a wilderness trail. But after the events described above, DEC backed away from enforcing the closure.
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Old 12-24-2012, 09:42 AM   #11
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...That's also when the local boys erected the flag pole and have kept a bright shiny American Flag hanging from it ever year since. For years there also use to be the Gadsden "Don't Tread On Me" Flag along side it.

I still remember the day my father & I went to Crane hoping to spend another weekend there as we have together so many times before, and when we arrived we saw that the road was blocked with the boulders. We ended up going somewhere else and came back a week later planning to backpack in, and the flags were up and the boulders were moved to the side with the words "Cuomo Sucks" written on the side of them.
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Old 12-24-2012, 10:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill I. View Post
Crane Pond Road is already closed, legally speaking ... ergo the controversy that erupted 20 years ago.

If I recall the sequence of events correctly:

DEC barricaded the road with boulders at the state land boundary, a property rights group hauled the bolders away down the Northway to Albany (calling them "stones of shame"), an Earth First! group tried to block the road with a sit-in where the boulders had been, local officials (including Maynard Baker, the Schroon town supervisor at the time) arrived on the sceen to confront the protesters, Baker punches one of the protesters, a cameraman catches the punch and it winds up on national TV.

So when you drive to Crane Pond, you are (technically speaking) driving on a wilderness trail. But after the events described above, DEC backed away from enforcing the closure.
This is the story I've heard as well. It's the same with Pharaoh Lake Road- that is also "legally" closed, but not being enforced. At present, both roads are pretty much "drive at your own risk," are not being maintained, and are only accessible if you have a high clearance vehicle. Sometimes I've seen low clearance vehicles on those roads, but 99% of the time it's high school kids driving their parents car (and they are always scraping rocks as they go!). Pharaoh Lake Road in particular has a pretty bad washout about halfway down.

With 20 years having passed, it'd be interesting to see if a closure of the roads again resulted in the same responses (I'm sure that some of those who were more heavily involved in the fireworks are quite a bit older now!). The Pharaoh Lake WA has a lot of different types of groups that use the land, though, primarily due to how accessible it is (Pharaoh Lake itself is the most popular backcountry destination in the Adirondacks outside of the High Peaks), and visitor conflicts occur regularly there when those seeking an accessible party spot and those seeking remote solitude meet. (Although, in all honesty, I've encountered far more "problem" groups at Pharaoh Lake than I have at Crane Pond.)

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I don't think that's true. How can Schroon lake own state land? The Town of Schroon may have maintained the road to Crane, illegally, but never owned it. This is what I remember about the silly "uprising" there in the early '90's.

I also remember a judge ruling that it was in fact state owned and that the state could close it at any time because it was part of the Wilderness Area.
The town did own the road ROW, and did legally maintain it, and also took the state to court when the state closed the road. Here's the specifics from the UMP (I had to type this up manually because the PDF is an older scan of a printed/typed document without text formatting) (bold emphasis is mine):

Quote:
Crane Pond Road

The Crane Pond Road has been a management concern since designation as wilderness. The original Adirondack State Master Plan created a primitive area of 2,800 acres north and east of the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness in 1972. Known as the Crane Pond Primitive Area, it contained the 2.1 miles of Crane Pond town road right of way, 2.1 miles of overhead telephone lines, and 3.5 miles of snowmobile trails. The unit was bounded on the north by NYS Route 74 and private lands lying immediately south of that route; on the east by the common boundary between State land and the Pyramid Lake property; on the south by Crane Pond and Crane Pond road; and on the west by the State land boundary.

The Master Plan explicitly stated: "All or part of the area could logically become part of the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness if all or a section of the Crane Pond town road, which now dead ends at Crane Pond some two miles into the area, was closed to motor vehicles".

By 1975, the Department removed the snowmobile trails and telephone lines (side note- if you poke around you can still find some of the telephone poles near Crane Pond -DS), thus making it possible for the Agency to reclassify the unit (except for the town road right of way) to wilderness. The town road right of way was left as a "primitive corridor".

The 1979 edition of the Master Plan once gain addressed the Crane Pond Road situation and went on to say, "Should the level of use of this wilderness area [the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness] result in a continuation of existing management problems and resulting resource degradation, the road corridor should be terminated either at the State Land Boundary at the end of the Alder Meadow Road, or at an intermediate point, such as the Goose Pond trailhead, and the corridor wholly or partially reclassifed to wilderness".

After extensive public debate, the Adirondack Park Agency reclassified the Crane Pond Road from a "primitive corridor" to "wilderness" and included it as part of the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness. This action called for the closure of the Crane Pond Road to motorized vehicles, and was approved by Governor Cuomo in November 1987.

Although the road was under the jurisdiction of the Town of Schroon at the time, the Department was given the legal authority to close the road as per section 212 of the Highway Law, as amended by the Laws of 1988, Chapter 161. This law, approved by the State legislature, reads in part:

"If a highway passes over or through lands wholly owned and occupied by the state, the location of such portion of such highway as passes through such lands may be latered and changed, or the same may be abandoned or the use thereof as a highway discontinued with the consent and approval of the state authority having jurisdiction or control over such lands by an order directing such change in location, abandonment, or discontinuance. Such order shall contain a description of that portion of the highway the location of which has changed, abandoned, or discontinued, and a description of the new location thereof, if any, shall be filed in the office of the state authority having control of such lands. This act shall take effect immediately"

In November 1989, Commissioner Thomas C. Jorling, issued such an order, duly notified the town of Schroon, and had the Crane Pond Road closed to motor vehicle use on of [sic] December 4, 1989. Thereupon, the Town of Schroon petitioned the Essex County Supreme Court, challenging DEC's closure of that portion of the Crane Pond Road within the Forest Preserve to motor vehicles. The court rejected the Town's argument and upheld the Commissioner's order under the terms and conditions of the amended 1988 Highway Law. The Court maintained that the Town's reading of the statue would render it ineffective and would defeat the intent of the legislature. This action was supported by the NYS Court of Appeals, and the Town's motion was denied.
Interestingly enough, the UMP calls for the preservation of the fire tower on Pharaoh Mountain, despite the tower being located within a wilderness area (and this was years before the St. Regis/Hurricane towers debate escalated!). Unfortunately, it was an "environmental group" (possibly the same group that organized the sit-in on Crane Pond Road) that sabotaged the tower, resulting in it's falling over and ultimately being removed by the state. Just think... if the tower had been preserved, it would've set precedence, and we might not have seen such turmoil over the St. Regis and Hurricane towers.

Last edited by DSettahr; 12-24-2012 at 10:16 AM..
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Old 12-24-2012, 12:36 PM   #13
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I hope you're right about the parking lot. I find it odd that there is flagging at the beginning of Crane Road as well though. Thumbs up for the Pharaoh trail work. One of the wettest sections of that trail has been remedied. In terms of driveability, there's really no comparison IMO--Crane is the more forgiving road. I still marvel that the road is maintained after washouts and greatly appreciate it.
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Old 12-24-2012, 01:22 PM   #14
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I find it odd that there is flagging at the beginning of Crane Road as well though.
I was referring to Old Glory.
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Old 12-24-2012, 01:51 PM   #15
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DSettahr, ok, ROW is different than outright ownership. Now I see what direction you were heading.
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:45 PM   #16
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For many years I have been tempted to drive down that road in my subaru outback. I finally attempted it at the beginning of the month and it went fine. Last weekend I tried it again and smashed up my bumper a bit on some ice right at the end of the road. I already had some bumper damage so it wasn't a big deal. I'm curious how it would go with the mud in the summer...
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Old 12-24-2012, 11:22 PM   #17
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You might lose a license plate or something.
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