Stewardship Projects Enhance Access to Franklin, Union Falls Ponds

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) has completed a series of stewardship projects that improve access to Franklin Falls Pond and Union Falls Pond and mitigate negative environmental impacts to both water bodies.

“These projects are the latest in a long string of work by the NFCT in this area,” said Noah Pollock, NFCT’s stewardship director. “Franklin and Union Falls ponds are two jewels along the Saranac River — they don’t see the same crowds or traffic as other Adirondack lakes, but are equally beautiful.”

“Our crew worked to formalize an access at the northern end of Franklin Falls Pond long used by paddlers to access the lake,” Pollock said. “It was a steep, eroding bank that led folks to access the water from a variety of different places, which created a lot of impacts on the shoreline vegetation. We built an 8-foot-wide set of timber stairs that are attractive and easy to use, and installed rocks at other informal access points to discourage use.”

The work was performed on property managed by Brookfield Renewable, which also manages the nearby Franklin Falls Dam. Brookfield, a long time NFCT partner, provided funding for the project.

“Brookfield Renewable takes great pride in being strong partners with the communities that host our facilities,” said Mark Luciano, stakeholder relations manager for Brookfield Renewable. “This project presented the perfect opportunity to revisit the recreational needs in the surrounding area. We’re very pleased to continue to work with the NFCT to enhance and preserve these incredible waterways.”

At Union Falls Pond, the NFCT’s stewardship crew developed a new campsite with an access trail, privy, campsite pads and a fire ring; the privy was relocated from a closed site and required two canoes to move it. This work was completed in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

“Prior to this, there were only two campsites on Union Falls Pond,” Pollock said. “This site had been approved in the most recent Unit Management Plan, but had not been constructed. We worked with DEC to create and implement a plan for the new site. As several campsites in this area had been shut down to comply with campsite spacing requirements, this was a chance to build back some capacity and it opens more opportunities for users to explore.”

The NFCT’s stewardship team, which consists of five professional staff members, received support from several local volunteers for this work. To learn more about the NFCT’s stewardship program, contact Noah Pollock at [email protected]org.

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