DEC proposes put-ins along upper Hudson

Opalescent River
Brian Mann paddles the Opalescent River, a tributary of the Hudson. Photo by Phil Brown

Soon after the state purchased the MacIntyre East Tract, Brian Mann and I explored it by paddling the Hudson and the Opalescent rivers. We launched our canoes beneath a bridge over the Hudson and took out at a spot where the river abuts the Tahawus Road.

From the bridge we paddled down the Hudson through Sanford Lake (a widening of the river) for a mile to the confluence with the Opalescent. We then went up the Opalescent, enjoying a great view of Allen Mountain, one of the remotest of the High Peaks. After lunch, we drifted back down the Hudson and continued our journey, eventually taking out at a steep bank.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation plans to make this trip easier for the paddling public.

Canoe map
Proposed parking areas for paddlers. NYSDEC map.

In a draft amendment to the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest management plan, DEC is proposing to create three parking areas for paddlers, with put-ins and take-outs.

One put-in would be on the southwest shore of Sanford Lake. DEC plans to create a five-car parking area along Tahawus Road and a short trail leading to the put-in.

A second put-in would be on the Hudson just below the confluence with the Opalescent River. This is where the East River Road, a logging road, crosses the Hudson on its way to easement lands. DEC plans to construct a five-car parking area.

Below the East River Road bridge, the Hudson pulls away from the Tahawus Road, giving paddlers a taste of the wild. Eventually, it returns to the road. DEC plans to build a take-out with a five-car parking area.

The accompanying map shows the locations of the parking areas.

Note that the highway bridge where Brian and I launched our canoes is not shown. It is a big farther north, out of range. I assume DEC chose not to create a launch at the highway bridge because the adjacent land is privately owned.

The facilities proposed by DEC would allow for a variety of paddling trips. For the longest, you could put in at Sanford Lake, canoe down the Hudson and up the Opalescent, and then continue on the Hudson to the southern take-out. This is a shorter version of the trip Brian and I did.

For a short end-to-end trip, you could paddle from Sanford Lake to East River Road, perhaps poking up the Opalescent. Another option would be to put in at East River Road and do a round trip up the Opalescent.

As noted in earlier stories, the Adirondack Park Agency will discuss the draft amendment this week and is expected to schedule public hearings.

Click here to read my account of my trip with Brian.

Click here to listen to Brian’s “audio postcard” on North Country Public Radio.

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About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

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