DEC announces increased access in Grass River area

A trio of parcels in St. Lawrence County — including state land and two conservation easements — have new access and recreation plans, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced last week.

The DEC has approved the three plans, which include an expansion of recreational access in the Grass River Wild Forest, as well as the Tooley Pond and Grass River conservation easements. The Grass River Wild Forest unit management plan covers about 14,000 acres of state land in the towns of Clare, Clifton, Colton and Fine. The Tooley Pond Conservation Easement is just shy of 24,000 acres within the towns of Clifton and Clare, while the Grass River Conservation Easement consists of one large 50,262-acre parcel and two smaller parcels (1,122 and 566 acres) in the towns of Clare, Clifton and Colton, the DEC said. The two conservation easements now has an approved recreation management plans.

Grass River Wild Forest

The wild forest UMP includes a number of new trails, including bicycling and hiking trails that will connect the forest with adjacent state land and create trails to several waterfalls along the Grass River.

Numerous campsites will be removed from the forest, and a bridge at Stone Dam will be replaced. The DEC also expects to build a new foot trail to Church Pond in the first year of UMP implementation. Church Pond will get a new parking area, lean-to and pit privy in the second year, while the DEC also plans to build a bike trail that will connect the wild forest to existing trails within the Downerville State Forest.

Year three will see a new interpretive trail and bridge built at Twin Falls while several canoe carries will be improved in year four.

Tooley Pond easement

Conservation easements are privately owned land that share an agreement with the DEC to provide public access. Typically, the land owner gets a break in taxes in exchange for allowing the public onto the land.

The DEC plans to add a campsite and parking area at Gate No. 1 to facilitate rock climbing, add numerous gates at roads, build trails to Sugar Mountain and Randall Hill, increase the amount of mountain biking trails and establish a campsite and boat launch at Allen Pond.

Grass River easement

In the Grass River easement, the DEC plans to add a number of gates and parking areas, and also build an accessible boat launch at Pleasant Lake. The department will also build a number of new campsites along the north and middle branches of the Grass River and at Bear Creek and Blue Mountain Stream. There will also be several new trails within the easement.


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