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Old 10-22-2006, 09:00 PM   #1
emilylacantante
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Question History of Cedar Lakes Dam

Does anyone have information on the history and future of the dam at the north end of Cedar Lakes? I went backpacking along the Northville-Placid trail in September in the stayed in lean-to #3 there. I read in the lean-to journal about the possible destruction of the dam holding up Cedar Lakes, which I learned was built for logging years ago, but has come into disrepair. Since then I have become really interested in the history and future of Cedar Lakes, but can't seem to find any information on it! Any leads?
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Old 10-22-2006, 10:23 PM   #2
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Hello Emily and welcome to the forum.

The current dam was built in 1904. Cedar lakes used to be 3 separate lakes(really two lakes and a marsh). The dam raised the water levels to turn the 3 lakes into one. The first dam at the site was bult for logging.

As far as the future, there isn't any plans to repair the dam as is deteriorates. Last time I was in there the dam wasn't looking too good
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Old 10-23-2006, 08:54 AM   #3
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You may want to read "Adirondack French Louie, Early Life in the North Woods"
by Harvey Dunham. (here) Louie was a trapper/hermit that lived in the area during the time that loggers moved in and the dam was built. I recall a part in the book where Louie is lamenting over the rising waters of the Cedar Lakes.
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Old 10-23-2006, 12:59 PM   #4
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1903 map

1954 map

Not too much of a diffference between the two.
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Old 10-23-2006, 05:32 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info. I might be able to get my hands on a copy of the French Louie book... Interesting to see the maps from 1903 and 1954... If the dam broke, how much do you think it would affect the landscape? I guess the water level of all the lakes would go down. In reflection on the possibility of rebuilding the dam-- it's interesting to think about what is "wilderness"... do we have the right or responsibility to rebuild the dam? Then again, it's such a wonderful location for recreation, plus to preserve the current "wilderness" rebuilding the dam would be necessary... Yet, which time frame do you choose and say "this is wilderness" and preserve it? I go back and forth.
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Old 10-23-2006, 07:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emilylacantante View Post
Thanks for the info. I might be able to get my hands on a copy of the French Louie book... Interesting to see the maps from 1903 and 1954... If the dam broke, how much do you think it would affect the landscape? I guess the water level of all the lakes would go down. In reflection on the possibility of rebuilding the dam-- it's interesting to think about what is "wilderness"... do we have the right or responsibility to rebuild the dam? Then again, it's such a wonderful location for recreation, plus to preserve the current "wilderness" rebuilding the dam would be necessary... Yet, which time frame do you choose and say "this is wilderness" and preserve it? I go back and forth.
I think what needs to be addressed any time we talk about "wilderness", and reverting to how it used to be, there is a consideration that has to be made.

Let's assume that a lumber company builds a dam back in the early 1900's. They disrupt an ecosystem and often cause the lost of wildlife or flora as a result.

years later, the lumber company is no longer floating the logs, but the dam remains. As a result, a new wildlife dependent ecosystem is created. Now the lake behind the dam has fish, and often wetlands. As a result waterfowl, and other species of wildlife, large and small are dependent on the dam.

So, years later do we again destroy an ecosystem and the flora and fauna it supports, solely to return it to the state it was before the dam was built? Not just the lake, but much of the area upstream & downstream will now be altered, once again destroying an ecosystem that is supporting wildlife. If we do that, we are repeating the damage that was done 100 years ago.

The truth is that we can't make it what is was 100 years ago by again altering what we altered then. So, we should do what is necessary to maintain the current ecosystem.

In the cases where the man made changes do not support wildlife, then by all means, let it revert.

So, it's a case by case choice and the only contributing factor should be if the current ecosystem supports wildlife.

Change should not be for the sake of change. Change should be based on if it is going to impact a healthy, thriving ecosystem that supports wildlife.
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Old 10-23-2006, 08:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emilylacantante View Post
Thanks for the info. I might be able to get my hands on a copy of the French Louie book... Interesting to see the maps from 1903 and 1954... If the dam broke, how much do you think it would affect the landscape? I guess the water level of all the lakes would go down. In reflection on the possibility of rebuilding the dam-- it's interesting to think about what is "wilderness"... do we have the right or responsibility to rebuild the dam? Then again, it's such a wonderful location for recreation, plus to preserve the current "wilderness" rebuilding the dam would be necessary... Yet, which time frame do you choose and say "this is wilderness" and preserve it? I go back and forth.
Hi Emily, and welcome!

You may or not be aware of the discussion that has been going on regarding dam deterioration - specifically Duck Hole. Many people approach these issues from different perspectives: ecology ("ecosystems"), beauty, recreation, money. When one says "on a case by case basis" there could be different reasons for preservation, or allowing it to deteriorate. Many are unclear as to the distinction apparently being made between Duck Hole and Marcy Dam, and why the DEC decided to repair M. D. but not D. H. Redhawk makes a good point on this thread.

The following might be of interest:

http://www.saveduckhole.com/
http://www.adkforum.com/showthread.php?t=1434
http://www.adkforum.com/showthread.p...ight=Marcy+Dam
http://www.eany.org/reports/endangered_agencyII.html
http://www.ecostudies.org/

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Old 07-14-2012, 12:41 PM   #8
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Cedar Lakes Dam in 2012

Interesting to read this post from 6 years ago. I've just returned from a trip to the area and was curious about the plans for for this dam. Clearly the level of the the lake has gone down recently, but not sure how long ago.

The dam itself does not seem to be doing much to raise the level of the lake any more...
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Old 07-14-2012, 01:12 PM   #9
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The level of Cedar Lakes had been low for at least 10 years. There are no plans to rebuild. NYS has decided to let it return to nature.

The dam holds back only a few feet of water. Beavers would do a better job! According to the 1980 edition of the NP guide, (Wadsworth, ADK) the dam was rebuilt by DEC in 1967.

There are still loons and I hear the fishing is still good.

Last edited by dundee; 07-16-2012 at 01:26 PM.. Reason: addition
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:04 PM   #10
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Here's a view of the dock at len to #3 from last July

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