Cranberry Lake is your launching point for dozens of outdoor recreational opportunities. Memories are made here, in the boat, on the trail, in the campsite. From fishing, paddling, hiking, camping and hunting, the southwestern part of St. Lawrence County is an outdoorsman's paradise.
Three of the major state land holdings in the region are the Cranberry Lake Wild Forest, Five Ponds Wilderness and the Grass River Area.
On Cranberry Lake, take off in a power boat, rowboat, kayak or canoe. The Oswegatchie River provides a canoe trip of approximately 16 miles starting at Inlet. For the more adventurous, a canoe carry of 3.5 miles offers the canoeist an additional unique opportunity to enjoy over 14.5 miles of unencumbered scenic waters on the Bog River Flow.
(Enterprise file photo —?Mike Lynch)
There is great fishing in the area for bass, trout and panfish.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) Cranberry Lake Campground offers a great base for hiking the numerous trails in the area, according to the DEC Web site (www.dec.state.ny.gov). Two foot trails leave the campground. The 2.4-mile Bear Mountain Trail is a loop trail which offers a challenging climb and scenic vistas to the novice hiker. The campground trail provides access to a 17.4-mile loop trail system which is well maintained for casual hiking.
About 2 miles west of the hamlet of Cranberry Lake is the Peavine Swamp Ski Trail System, which is used by hikers to view a relatively untouched forest. The Five Ponds Wilderness Area has over 50 miles of foot trails, which are generally more challenging.
The Cranberry Lake area is one of the largest remote areas remaining in the state. There has been only a minimum of civilized encroachment on the lake itself and just to the south lie thousands of acres of unbroken forest lands.
Originally, the lake was about half its present size, but in 1867 a log crib dam was completed at Cranberry Lake village to control the flow of the river and improve navigation. The present concrete dam was built in 1916.
Five Ponds Wilderness
The Five Ponds Wilderness (FPW) is located in the towns of Fine and Clifton in St. Lawrence County, the town of Webb in Herkimer County and the town of Long Lake in Hamilton County. It is bounded on the north by Cranberry Lake, a portion of the Oswegatchie River, the road leading to Inlet and private lands; on the east by the Colton town line and private lands in the vicinity of Gull Lake, a road leading to Gull Lake and the Remsen to Lake Placid railroad; on the south by Stillwater Reservoir; on the southwest by the Wilderness Lakes Primitive Area and on the west by private land and lands classified as wild forest.
The terrain is low, rolling and interspersed with many small ponds. Swamp areas and small brooks are numerous. The forest cover varies from pole-size hardwoods in the sections that were heavily logged and burned more than 40 years ago to virgin pine and spruce stands. This is one of the few locations in the northeastern United States where stands of virgin timber can be found.
Grass River Area
The Grass River Area is made up of several Forest Preserve parcels that are collectively called the Grass River Wild Forest and the Long Pond and Champion-Tooley Pond Tract Conservation easements, all in St Lawrence County. Located in the northwest corner of the Adirondack Park, these three areas represent approximately 54,000 acres of Forest Preserve lands and easements located in the Towns of Clare, Clifton, Colton and Fine.
The unit is bounded on the west and north by the Adirondack Park Blue Line, on the north and east by state Route 56, and on the south by state Route 3 and the Oswegatchie River. Popular natural resource destinations contained in the Wild Forest are Lampson Falls, Stone Dam, Leonard and Church Ponds, and the yet unclassified Tooley Pond lands along the Grass River. The conservation easements in this UMP include Long Pond and Champion-Tooley Pond Tract.
The Grass River Area is located in a lesser traveled corner of the Adirondack Park. Good access to the area affords many recreational opportunities, including, but not limited to, hiking, hunting, trapping and fishing.