TUPPER LAKE - A major boating access point on the Raquette River will be rehabilitated this fall, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced Thursday.
The boat launch, often referred to as the "Crusher," is located east of the village of Tupper Lake on state routes 3 and 30 in the town of Harrietstown. It will be fixed in mid-September.
The boat launch is the end point for the second day of the Adirondack Classic Canoe race, known as the the "90 Miler." This year, that second day is scheduled to be Saturday, Sept. 12. Work will begin a few days after the race and is expected to be completed in spring of 2010. The boat launch will be closed while the work is under way.
This announcement will likely be celebrated by sportsmen, paddlers and Harrietstown and Franklin County elected officials who have petitioned the DEC to fix the Crusher.
"We've been pushing for it for several years, and I'm very grateful to the DEC for getting this," said Franklin County Legislator Paul Maroun of Tupper Lake. "I wish it would have been done earlier, but it's great that they are going to do it."
The DEC is asking hunters who plan to hunt lands around the river during big-game season to seek alternate river-access points such as Axton Landing on the Coreys Road.
At the Crusher, all of the vertical timber at the site will be replaced with hand-placed native stone. The stonework will fit into the final grade, and native vegetation will be planted to provide the function and appearance of a natural shoreline.
A site to launch canoes, kayaks and car-top boats will be developed along the shoreline at the opposite end of the parking lot from the boat ramp. Except for the entrance from the state highway and the area surrounding the comfort station, all of the entrance roadway and parking areas will be gravel surfaces.
The existing launch ramp will be replaced with a single-lane concrete launch ramp with floating docks on one side. The launch ramp will be constructed to have a four-foot depth at low water. This will allow boats to float off their trailers and prevent shoaling from power loading boats, according to the DEC.
The floating docks will allow the launching and retrieving of boats to occur more quickly and safely. The aluminum-framed docks will be covered with a wood fascia and wood decking and attached to a concrete abutment above the ordinary high-water mark.
A number of features are included to make the site accessible to people of all abilities. An accessible bathroom, designated accessible parking sites, a hardened pathway from the parking lot to the ramp and the floating docks are designed to be used by people with disabilities.
"The rehabilitated boat launch will be safer and easier to use, including features that allow universal access, and the design is more environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing," Region 5 Director Betsy Lowe said in a press release.
Maroun said there had been concern the DEC would put off fixing the Crusher because of the state's anticipated purchase of the Follensby Park property, across the river. There is speculation that if the state purchases this property from The Nature Conservancy, which bought it last year from longtime owner John McCormick, it would classify it as wilderness and ban motorized access from below the Crusher to Raquette Falls, thus making a motorized boat launch from the Crusher unnecessary.
But Maroun said it was the right move for the state to not wait for a purchase that he said he hopes never happens.
"Even if they do purchase enough land along that corridor to ban motorized vehicles from Follensby bridge up to Raquette Falls, we still need to have a launch that's safe, that's attractive and that makes tourists want to come back to the area," Maroun said. "I couldn't be happier that this came out this afternoon."
Contact Mike Lynch at (518) 891-2600 ext. 28 or firstname.lastname@example.org.