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Old 01-06-2019, 10:24 AM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 1
Campsites on Pillsbury Lake?

Other then the lean to is there camping sites on or near Pillsbury Lake? is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2019, 11:41 AM   #2
DSettahr's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 5,082
There are no designated tent sites on Pillsbury Lake.

There is a small established (and somewhat well used) tent site pretty close to the lean-to (nearly adjacent to it, as I recall). However, it's worth pointing out that this is also technically an illegal site- it's not designated and it's within 150 feet of water. Also, the DEC regulations technically prohibit tenting within the vicinity of a lean-to generally- all occupants of lean-to sites are expected to sleep inside of the lean-to.

Given the lack of any feasible alternatives (especially if/when the lean-to is already full to capacity), whether a ranger would have an issue with tents in the site near the Pillsbury Lean-to depends on the specific ranger who catches you doing it. I would guess that it's not likely that they would have a problem with it provided that you're in the well established, existing site (the DEC hasn't really done anything to try to close these sites down) and aren't making a new site that fails to comply with the 150 foot rule. However, please don't interpret my post as implicitly stating that it is OK to use the site. The West Canada Lakes Wilderness is desperately overdue for a Unit Management Plan, and when one is drafted and approved, it will hopefully clarify the legality of these sites (and add designated sites to the area generally, as they are needed).

Assuming you're considering alternatives in the area:

Sampson Lake has two established tent sites that fall into the same category as the above site at Pillsbury- not technically designated, legal sites but they've been in common usage for decades. One is located just west of the lean-to, the other is back up along the French Louie Trail, a few hundred feet east back down the trail from the junction with the side trail to the Sampson Lake lean-to. This second site is a nice one- it's set back away from the water but it's well drained and has a nice stone fire place (this was actually once the lean-to site before the lean-to was moved closer to the lake).

Cedar Lakes has 4 designated tent sites in addition to the 3 lean-tos. These are fully designated, legal sites. The first one is located on the south side of the dam- when approaching the dam from the Perkins Clearing trailhead, you'll reach a y-junction. Right leads to the bridge across the Cedar River below the dam, left leads to the dam itself. Take the path left to the dam, and continue through the clearing on the south side of the dam and along the south shore of Cedar Lakes. The designated tent site is in a clearing about 100-200 feet west of the dam. This is an OK site, it's set back away from the lake and has good privacy.

The second tent site is located on the north shore, between the dam and Cedar Lakes Lean-to #1. This is a nice waterfront site.

The third site is located on the north side of the NPT, across the Beaver Pond outlet from Cedar Lakes Lean-to #2. This is also a nice site, with some nice views of Beaver Pond.

The forth site is located on the west end of Cedar Lakes, a few hundred feet north of the junction with the side trail to Cedar Lakes Lean-to #3, between the NPT and the lake. This is a small but nice site. It's informally referred to as the "Wagon Wheel campsite" as the fire pit is set in the middle of an old metal rim from a wagon wheel.

This map of the Cedar Lakes vicinity shows the locations of the designated tent sites.

In most locations within the West Canada Lakes Wilderness, if you walk uphill and away from water it's not usually super hard to find open hardwood forests where you can camp legally by being at least 150 feet from trail and water.

Last edited by DSettahr; 01-08-2019 at 10:59 PM..
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