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.

Reader Interactions


  1. Clifford Smalley says

    Hello Phil,
    The Town of Franklin has discussed the status of the Bigelow Road with every board that has been seated in recent memory. The DEC claims responsibility and limits what the Town can do as far as maintaining a right of way yet minimizes it’s response to cleanup and enforcement of dumping refuse. The Town has to Scream in order for the DEC to come over and pick up refuse on state land. Typically once a year. Ten years ago a local Forest Ranger prioritized the Bigelow Road by visiting often. He was transferred and that ended. We know how much territory each Forest Ranger is expected to cover these days so the Bigelow Road is not a DEC priority. In the past, seasonal road closure by the Town has been avoided to allow for recreational access by the infirm, disabled, and young families. Permanent road closure is not an option as the Town receives annual CHIPS money from the County for that mileage
    Most recently (6 years ago) the Towns direction was to encourage recreational use thereby discouraging illegal dumping as witnesses would be present. At the time, State grants were available to encourage small boat water access. The UMP had not been completed for this area (I don’t know if it’s been completed yet) and that effected our desires. The Town highway department prioritized improving the roadbed and spent a good amount of money (more that what CHIPS provides) on materials and manpower. Drainage work and the accompanying adjacent tree cutting in difficult low lying areas was minimized due to this being a corridor through state land. DEC wouldn’t allow ground manipulation outside the RIght of Way. They won’t allow the town to cut trees that have grown large inside the right of way. That limits what the Town can do to maintain the road. At certain times of the year the roadbed is impassible except by 4wd vehicles.
    To further complicate things Franklin County claims responsibility for the bridge over Negro brook. They closed it and rendered it impassible as it could no longer bear the weight of a vehicle. The town spoke with the then Franklin county highway Dept superintendent and he agreed to support decking half of the bridge to allow for pedestrian and snowmobile passage. The local snowmobile club offered to be involved with the construction of the decking. When the County Highway Superintendent left office that behind the scenes agreement evaporated.
    In the case of the Bigelow Road “it takes a Village”, not just a single entity, to make it work. That hasn’t happened yet.
    Sincerely, Clifford Smalley
    Past Town of Franklin Councilman

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