A few years ago, the Explorer published a story by Mark Bowie about a canoe trip on Fall Stream, a tributary of Piseco Lake. Mark did the trip with some volunteers from the Adirondack Mountain Club who were investigating the possibility of adding Fall Stream to the state’s Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers System.
Mark concluded that all or most of Fall Stream should be classified as Scenic. After paddling the river to Fall Lake and Vly Lake last weekend, I heartily agree.
Most of the river lies within the state Forest Preserve, but the put-in and some of the land upstream are owned by the Irondequoit Club. You paddle upstream to Fall Lake and then Vly Lake, winding through beautiful marshes decorated with pickerelweed, cardinal flower, turtlehead, and other flowers. We saw lots of ducks and a few great blue herons.
I can think of three reasons for adding the stream to the Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers System:
1. To give this lovely stream the cachet it deserves.
2. To provide some extra protection against development.
3. To give the state more reason to ban motors from at least part of the stream.
The last would be controversial. Despite beaver dams above Fall Lake, anglers take small motorboats all the way to Vly Lake. On Saturday, we saw three motorboats on the lake. Given the dams and the smallness of the stream, I was rather surprised that they made it that far.
As a compromise, motors could be allowed as far as Fall Lake, which is located about a mile from the put-in. Most of the property in this stretch is private, and the stream is broader. Above Fall Lake, the stream narrows and becomes wilder as it penetrates the interior of the Jessup River Wild Forest.
Directions: From the intersection of NY 8 and NY 30 in Speculator, drive west on NY 8 for nine miles to Old Piseco Road (County 24) on the right. Turn and drive 1.6 miles to the bridge over Fall Stream. The put-in is on the right on the far side of the bridge. Park along the road, being sure not to block the entrance to the put-in.