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Old 08-17-2012, 06:25 PM   #1
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Sugarloaf cliffs part of Finch, Pruyn deal

Rock climbers have much to look forward to after the state buys Sugarloaf Mountain. I'm told the huge cliffs offer some of the best slab climbing in the Adirondacks.

You can read the details here.
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Old 08-23-2012, 08:29 AM   #2
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Sweetness.

In the article comments there is mention that the existing leases might impede access to the slabs. Phil, can you provide anymore information on this?
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Old 08-23-2012, 09:59 AM   #3
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The Nature Conservancy isn't any more welcoming to the public than the previous 100+ years of owners. Why is it that we keep hearing how wonderful this will be for all of us once the state buys it? NC has owned these "treasures" for what, 4 years now? They could allow access to at least some pieces. Just take down the No Trespassing signs. I understand they are honoring the current leases, but it isn't all under lease is it?
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:27 AM   #4
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Climbers, bikers and others need to be involved proactively in this process, or we will get left out of the access. Here's an excerpt from the Nature Conservancy's rules:

"What You Cannot Do - The following activities are not permitted on Conservancy preserves:

•Biking and mountain biking
•Caving
•Ice Skating
•Rock or ice climbing"

We need to watch this process closely, or this type of thinking could get carried over into the eventual UMP.
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Old 08-23-2012, 04:21 PM   #5
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As far as I know, as of right now, the public is allowed no access for any reason to the property in question. If the NC thinks they have to bar the public in order to protect the land, why are they selling to the state?
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Old 08-23-2012, 06:33 PM   #6
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One reason is that that TNC wants to see just what they bought (what forest types, rare plants, terrain, etc.) so they can make a suggestions to the state on how it should be classified, what kind/how many trails should be built, etc.

All this mapping takes time.
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:29 PM   #7
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This is another instance of where an active Adirondack focused climber's advocacy/ stewardship organization would be useful. Unfortunately, no one seems to have the time to spearhead such a group.

I wonder if the Access Fund or the newly enchanced Northeast division of the AAC could help to ensure that climbers are favorably considered in the new UMP.
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:16 PM   #8
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Actually, Sugarloaf is already on state land. The state bought it from International Paper in the 1980s I believe, and it is part of the Blue Ridge Wilderness. This clearly shows on the National Geographic TI maps. It's the foot of the mountain that lies on TNC land, with a leasehold camp between Cedar River Road and the cliff.

I bushwhacked to the summit on Monday and took these photos looking up and down the valley. The lake in the distance is the Cedar River Flow. I began at the new NPT trailhead at Wakely Pond, but I suppose you could also start directly from Cedar River Road near the base of Water Barrel Mountain.

For a small mountain, the vegetation was surprisingly dense. It was not an easy hike! The cliffs are very steep, but even so the woods grow right up to the edge -- and in some spots the woods actually "pour" over the rim. I didn't explore the whole ridge, but I did find two small openings with clear views. I also found a strap looped around a spruce tree where a previous climber had topped off.
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Actually, Sugarloaf is already on state land.
According to the online tax maps for Hamilton County (which you can browse here: http://www.hamcomaps.net/#), the property boundary runs just west of the top of the cliff. (You can zoom in, turn on satellite view, and clearly see the cliff with the property boundaries.) This means the land in front of the cliff *and* the cliff itself are owned by the Nature Conservancy. I think it's pretty clear, but to know for sure, one would have to walk the property and look for boundary markings (if they're even there), or consult the deeds.
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:21 AM   #10
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According to the online tax maps for Hamilton County (which you can browse here: http://www.hamcomaps.net/#), the property boundary runs just west of the top of the cliff. (You can zoom in, turn on satellite view, and clearly see the cliff with the property boundaries.) This means the land in front of the cliff *and* the cliff itself are owned by the Nature Conservancy.
If you look at the available data layers on this website, you will see that several options are available for viewing property lines. The tax parcel layer seems to be the default, but it signifcantly disagrees with the UMP boundary layer, which I'm guessing is derived from the state's GIS database. This gross discrepancy suggests that one or both of the layers are highly unreliable. The UMP layer shows the state land boundary passing through the woods at the foot of the cliff.

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... but to know for sure, one would have to walk the property and look for boundary markings (if they're even there), ...
Isn't this what I did? My post above was from my personal direct observation of field conditions, not the analysis of second-hand information or the expression of an opinion. I climbed to the summit of the mountain and encountered no surveyed boundary lines of any kind along my route, which was a traverse of Water Barrel Mountain from the Wakely Pond trailhead.

I am not stating that there is a legal route to the foot of the cliffs, although it's possible there could be. I am stating that the top of the cliffs is indisputably on state land.
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:47 AM   #11
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I'm not clear on what exactly the "unit management plan" data layer is. The layer you mention follows nearly no tax map boundaries, cuts thought the middle of many parcels, and encompasses a giant area, including nearly all the private parcels along Cedar River Road.

The online help for these layers all have the disclaimer that "This data layer should be used as a general reference and not as a definitive source." These online tools are great to get a general sense of things, but if a boundary is very close to a point of interest, I always opt for field observations and deed descriptions. And even then, deeds sometimes have conflicting boundary descriptions with respect to giant landmarks like cliffs.

Anyway, since you encountered "no surveyed boundary lines of any kind", this suggests that you were either not near the boundary, or the boundary isn't marked.

In either case, does it really matter? We all know for sure that, at some unknown point within the next 4 years, the boundary won't matter, as both parcels will be owned by the state. For rock climbers, this is exciting news.
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Old 10-14-2012, 10:22 AM   #12
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I'm not clear on what exactly the "unit management plan" data layer is. The layer you mention follows nearly no tax map boundaries, cuts thought the middle of many parcels, and encompasses a giant area, including nearly all the private parcels along Cedar River Road.
It shows the area of state land administered as the Blue Ridge Wilderness.

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Anyway, since you encountered "no surveyed boundary lines of any kind", this suggests that you were either not near the boundary, or the boundary isn't marked.
Precisely my point. I was on Sugarloaf Mountain's summit and observed no boundaries, therefore the tax parcel map you are relying on (which shows the state-private boundary crossing the summit) is incorrect. It is highly unlikely that the line would be unmarked in a wooded area. The private side was owned by a logging company, and it would be in their best interest to know where their land ends, as they would be subject to penalties for accidentally logging the forest preserve. Therefore even if the DEC had not recently blazed the line in yellow, FP would've blazed it in red (or whatever method they used) if it had passed across the summit, where I explored. Since I saw no such boundary, experience leads me to believe that the state land maps are likely correct in showing the majority of the mountain within the Forest Preserve.

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In either case, does it really matter?
I was responding to statements that the mountain was private by offering my first-hand observations that at least the top of the cliff, if not more, is in fact already part of the Forest Preserve and legally accessible. But, I've learned my lesson. I will henceforth keep my discoveries to myself, since it is human nature for most people to persist in believing what they want to believe.

I had a great afternoon legally exploring Sugarloaf Mountain last week. Everyone else can wait until 2018 if it makes them feel better. 'Nuff said.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:25 PM   #13
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After the publication of Mellor's first book, the blue one with the screw-post binding, A friend and I hiked in and climbed a couple of exploratory pitches. This was probably 1985, and we were impressed with the rock quality. It had some mossy spots, but was generally pretty clean for untracked ADK slab. I distinctly recall a very mossy left facing corner right off the ground that we considered, before moving father left and wandering around for a couple pitches.

I think we saw a single, hand painted no trespassing sign, black letters on white background. We avoided it, but went around another way where we saw no more signs. Ahhh, youthful exuberance!

There is very good potential for moderate climbs with big runouts, typical Adirondack slabs. If it was bolted, one could climb almost anything. I hope it stays unbolted, personally.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:01 AM   #14
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Bumping this up to link this:

http://www.adkhighpeaks.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=24370

Note the State purchase of Sugarloaf.
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Old 04-22-2014, 06:38 PM   #15
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The state has purchased Sugarloaf as part of Phase 3 of the Finch, Pruyn deal. So it will be open to climbers this season.
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