About Tom French

Tom French splits his time between the Adirondacks and the Thousand Islands from his home in Potsdam. More information about his writing can be found at Tom-French.net.

Reader Interactions


  1. Frank S. says

    Hi Tom,
    I did the same trip a few years back and ended up clearing the small stuff from the portage before carrying our canoes. I went back in the spring of 2020 and did the portage in reverse and cleared the big blow down up to the tributary crossing where the remains of an old bridge once spanned the stream. A new bridge is definitely need here, especially in the spring when the water is very high and crossing with gear is dangerous. I wish DEC would put some effort into this section of the Middle Branch as well as the flat water section above the Blue Mountain Rd bridge. The portages and noted tent sites both need work.

    • Tom French says

      Hello Frank — Thanks for reading the article. I think you may be referring to Downey Brook? Thanks for your efforts at clearing the blowdown — very much appreciated by me!

      Some friends and I checked out the flatwater above the Blue Mountain Road when it first became accessible over 20 years ago. We may have been one of the first to camp at one of the designated sites. Phil Brown wrote about this section a couple of years ago (https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/stories/three-champion-paddling-trips). We also traveled up the Quebec Brook from the St. Regis to the road — I don’t recommend it : ) I hope to reexplore the section next summer to compare it to my recollection. I’ve heard that some of the access points have changed since it was first opened up.

  2. Paul says

    I thought these easement and FP acquisitions were supposed to be so popular and great for the local economies? It sounds like almost nobody uses them and the state doesn’t maintain any of it. What a scam!

    • Tom French says

      Hello Paul — Thanks for reading the article. Despite it’s disused state, I, for one, am glad for the access to this wilderness. Much of the Santa Clara Tract truly is wild, which is part of the experience.

      Of all the canoe trips I’ve had with my daughter, this one is her favorite. She’d like to do it again. The put-in may be overgrown, but it’s close to the parking area and the portage is clean enough.

      It would be nice to see a little more care put into this particular section, and I hope the state allocates more resources to the DEC in the Adirondacks in general. With increased traffic to the Adirondacks and the resulting “rescues” that seem almost daily, I’m sure having enough staff to take care of every remote access and trail is challenging.

  3. Trent Kominoski says

    I’ve done this trip several times over the past 10 years with last year being the most recent. The put in is definitely getting over grown. I’ve even come from the south and taken out at the put in….. very hard to find from the river….. without a GPS pin it’s almost impossible.

    • Tom French says

      Hello Trent — Thanks for reading the article. Your comments made me laugh. I’m not sure anyone could find the Four Mile Road Hand Launch from the south or the north! Kudos to you for doing so! First, you had to find the point bar (a bit downriver from some rapids), and then the actual launch (no flagging along the oxbow, though perhaps one could spot something through the trees in the woods). Thanks again.

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