The logging road to Madawaska Flow and Quebec Brook, waterways acquired by the state in 1998, is closed to the public, the Adirondack Explorer has learned.
I intended to drive to Madawaska on Sunday to take photos for a paddling guidebook and was surprised to find the gate locked. A sign indicated that the road was closed on June 4 and that public access was prohibited.
The road provides the only motorized access to Madawaska Flow, the centerpiece of a 5,800-acre tract known as the Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area. The area is used by birders, paddlers, and hunters.
Dave Winchell, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said a private landowner, Winston Towers, closed the road but did not give a reason other than to say the land will soon be put on the market.
DEC has conservation easements with public-access rights on the timberlands bordering Madawaska (known as the Santa Clara Tract), but the beginning of the road crosses non-easement lands.
“DEC is actively seeking a solution to this issue and seeks to reestablish public access to Madawaska Pond in the near future,” Winchell said, adding that the agency considers this a priority.
Normally, visitors reach Madawaska by driving nine miles over a dirt road that traverses commercial timberlands. The road starts on Route 458 in the town of Duane.
“The road is the only public-access road to the Santa Clara Easement Lands and Madawaska Flow,” Winchell said. “DEC has a public access right of way in another location, but there is no road; it would have had to been built.”
It’s possible to reach Madawaska Flow by paddling upstream on Quebec Brook from Blue Mountain Road, but travelers must carry around rapids.