Adirondack Directory - Wilderness

Misty Day at Little Tupper Lake photographed by Dave Waite

William C. Whitney Area

As edited by IAATAP from the full 2004 DEC management report (click here for full report)

44°00′05″N 74°38′52″W

 

The William C. Whitney Area consist of 14,780 acres in the town of Long Lake in Hamilton County.   This area is situated between the communities of Tupper Lake, Long Lake and Raquette Lake, but rests entirely in Long Lake, and has 11 bodies of water.   It also includes the complex formerly known as Whitney Headquarters (approximately 80 acres with buildings) and Camp Bliss acquired in 1998 (55 acres) by the Nature Conservancy.  The highest elevation is Antediluvian mountain at 2,297' and most of the topography is rolling hills.  For higher summit areas, view our Directory of the 46'ers.  

Tidbits of History tell us that William Collins Whitney purchased 68,000 acres in 1897 to create the privately owned Whitney Park. After Whitney's death in 1904, his family retained ownership of the tract until in 1997, the family sold a portion of the property to state.  The area is named for William C. Whitney, an American political leader and financier.   By the 1800's, lumberman had reached the central Adirondacks and then settlers followed.  Settlers had to be very self-reliant and living off the land.  The Native Americans and early settlers used the canoe routes for much of their transportation.  Attempts by the settlers at mining and agriculture were unsuccessful; and today the resources are tourism, wood product industries and recreation.  

The Whitney Area suffered a major forest fire in 1908 and much of the northwest quarters of the Park was burned.   In 1923, the Whitney headquarters building as constructed to house lumberjacks.  The softwoods were drive down Bog River to Raquette Pond to meet the railway; and hardwoods were skidded by horse to the trucks to be taken to Tupper Lake.  The NY Central Railway built into Whitney Park in 1935, and road systems started.  The railways were only operational a few years and ceased in 1939.   Completion of paved roads (Route 30) finished in 1955.  The Whitney still have private holdings in Whitney Area of 170 acres with 5,100 of shoreline on Tupper Lake and a camp on the point with 59 acres and 7,710' of shoreline.  Please be respectful of their private lands, as well as the International paper Company lands.  IP leases to hunting clubs and private individuals and a portion of Shingle Shanty Brook and Lilypad Pond traverses their land.  Contact them directly for permits.   Private property owners may take legal action if the public enters their property.

 

Camping

 

 

 

 

 

Primitive Tent Sites

Camping at large is permitted 150' of any road, trail, spring, stream, pond or body of water.  Please, all campsites shall be restored to its natural state and all evidence removed.  "Pack it out" please.

Please subscribe to the "Leave-No-Trace TM" program.   Portable gas stoves are preferred for the environment.  Those broken limbs may make a nice fire; but they also house insects for the local aviary population.   Other common sense rules:  *  no glass containers (except necessary for prescribed medicines).  * no motorized equipment,  * no use of soap or detergent in any body of water.  * import of firewood into NY unless it has been treated to kill pest  * no the use of audio devices which is audible outside the immediate area of the campsite.  * dispose of food scraps.  * respect the signage for others.    IAATAP maintains a full directory of Camping, to explore nearby camping areas, click here.

Titbits:  DEC regulation requires that groups of ten or more persons camping on state land obtain a permit from a forest ranger. DEC policy prohibits issuing group camping permits to groups wanting to camp on forest preserve lands in the Adirondacks that are classified as wilderness, primitive or canoe area. This policy was developed to protect natural resources, the primeval character of the area and exceptional wilderness experiences for all recreationists, and follows Leave No Trace practices. Except for the eastern High Peaks Wilderness, Pharaoh Lake Wilderness and the William C. Whitney Wilderness, where the group size is 8, camping groups in wilderness, primitive and canoe area lands are limited to 9 people or less.

 

Birding

 

According to the NY Breeding Bird Atlas, 126 species are believed to breed within the Whitney Area.   One unusual site is the Round Lake Wetlands which is home to three uncommon sedges and has an extensive wetland region of sedge meadow, shallow marsh, red spruce-balsam fir swamp, poor fen and boreal acid bog.  Several species of boreal birds species (spruce grouse, Wilson’s warbler Cape May warbler, bay breasted warbler, three-toed woodpecker yellowbellied flycatcher) have been reported as breeding the Area.  A terrific area for birding, but also please be respectful of the plant life. 

 

The Adirondacks is rich in bird life.  Visit our Adirondack Bird Directory when you have time.  By the NY State's Unit Management Plan, the following species are under study, we have summarized their findings.  Pictures and links provided by Wikipedia.    The endangered birds in the William C. Whitney Area Wilderness are listed below.   Other aviary species confined to the Adirondacks and are undisturbed in the Whitney Area are:  Northern Rave, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Mourning Warbler, Rusty Blackbird, and Evening Grosbeak.

 

 

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

 

Bald Eagle - Picture credits to Wikipedia

 

The bald eagle is currently listed as a threatened species by the federal government and New York. Buckhorn Mountain is believed to have been a center of eagle activity prior to 1970, although no nest sites had been confirmed. Bald eagles are sensitive to human disturbance; so if you are fortunate to see one, please "Do Not Disturb".

 

 

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

 

Peregrine Falcon - Picture credits to Wikipedia

 

In 1974 New York initiated a program to reintroduce the Peregrine Falcon in the state. Peregrines were successfully hacked in the Adirondack Park with the release of the first birds in 1981. It is possible that Peregrines are utilizing the mountain cliffs for nesting.  Three basic requirements nesting Peregrine Falcons include open country for hunting, sufficient food resources of avian species, and steep, rocky cliff faces for nesting. The falcons typically nest 50 to 200 feet off the ground near bodies of water. Nesting sites for Peregrines usually include a partially-vegetated ledge large enough for it young to move about. The nest is a well-rounded shape that is sometimes lined with grass, usually sheltered by an overhang. Sometimes Peregrines may nest in old Common Raven nests.   Human disturbance of a breeding pair may result in nest abandonment!  "DO NOT DISTURB" please!  Climbers, not it is illegal to climb during their breeding season, and breeders will attack.   To report a falcon signings please contact NYSDEC Region 5, Bureau of Wildlife, P.O. Box 296, Ray Brook, New York 12977, 518-897-1291.

 

 

Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis)

 

Indiana Bat - Picture credits to Wikipedia

 

The Indiana Bat is an endangered species and may reside in the Siamese Wilderness but not confirmed. The DEC is searching existing caves throughout NY and three caves along the borders of the Adirondacks have found indicating of wintering Indiana bats. During spring, Indiana bats disperse from their winter hibernacula, some traveling hundreds of miles. Females congregate in nursery colonies, only a handful of which have ever been discovered. Nursery colonies have been located along the banks of streams or lakes in forested habitat, under the loose bark of dead trees, and contained from 50-100 females. In August or early September, Indiana bats congregate at the entrance of selected caves or mines where mating occurs. Indiana bats spend the winter months in secluded caves or mines which average 37 - 43 degrees F.

 

 

Osprey (Pandion haliates)

 

Osprey - Picture credits to Wikipedia

 

The American Osprey is of special concern. Osprey breed near large bodies of water where there is abundant fish populations. Numerous sightings are within the Adirondack. Osprey construct their nest in tall dead tress, but also use rocky ledges, sand dunes, artificial platforms, and utility pole cross arms for a tall advantage point. The power company has started to built Osprey poles because they often select power poles causing issues when moving their youth from the endangerment of the power lines.

 

 

 

Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)

 

Red Shoulder Hawk - Picture credits to Wikipedia

 

The Red-shouldered Hawk is listed as species of special concern and believed to exist in the Siamese Pond Wilderness.. Red-shouldered hawks breed in moist hardwood, forested wetlands, bottomlands and the wooded margins of wetlands, and sometimes close to cultivated fields. They like cool, moist, lowland forests with tall trees for nesting.

 

Spruce Grouse (Dendragapus canadensis)

In the Adirondacks, the rare Spruce Grouse prefers boreal acid bog forest with immature or uneven‐aged spruce‐fir habitat. Mosses, lichens, and small shrubs provide nesting and foraging ground cover in areas where the forest canopy is less dense. They earned the term "fool hen" for their behaviors of saying hidden until only feet away and then they go into flight.

 

Common Loon (Gavia immer)

 

Common Loon - Picture credits to WikipediaThe Common Loon is a species of special concern and are located through out the Adirondacks  They use small and large freshwater lakes in open and densely forested areas for breeding and nest on lakes (mostly less habited lakes). The Loons will use little shallow coves for nesting which are constructed on the ground at the water’s edge on sand or rock, wherever to avoided predators.  Small islands are their favorite or small peninsular.  They have a beautiful call - click:  Common Loon - Cornell Lab of Ornithology.   Sand Pond has been designated as important habitat for the Loon.  Please do not disturb.

 

 

Wild Species of Concern

 

 

Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)

 

SpottedSalamander.jpgThe Spotted Salamander have two rows of yelloish orange spots that run along the back side.  They make their home in hardwood forest area and spend most of its time below the surface, under leaves or burrows; and use nearby ponds for breeding in the Spring.  They have poison glands around their back and neck, to release as protection against their predators.  This toxin is harmless to humans.  They are nocturnal hunters.

 

 

 

 

Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)

The wood turtle is found in well oxygenated  good quality streams with sandy-pebbly substrates that are deep enough so that they do not freeze during hibernation Ideal habitat includes dense alder swamp and forested wetland habitat bordering the streams where the turtles can bask and have protection from predators.  Wood turtles forge for fungi and vegetation.  Wood turtles select both slopes and level sandy open areas for nest sites. They are listed as species of interest because of the long maturity rate (15 years) and high hatchling mortality.

 

 

Moose (Alces alces)

Although Moose have become more populated in the Adirondacks, they have not been confirmed in the Siamese Pond Wilderness. Moose will select habitat that is most abundant and highest quality forage. Typical patterns in moose habitat selection during the summer include the use of open upland and aquatic areas in early summer followed by the use of canopy areas that provide higher quality forage in the fall, near lakes, ponds and streams where they can forage for plants and get relief from high temperatures in insects. After the fall rut and into winter, moose use open areas again where the highest woods exists.

 

 

Boating

                    Click photos to enlarge.   Photo's by Dave Waite, follow Dave's Writing Contributions (click here)

 

The William C. Whitney Area as been referred to b canoeists as "The Crown Jewel".  There is an extensive and historic system of navigable lakes and streams which are accessible by canoe or non-motorized boats.

 

Canoe Carry Trails,  a total proposed

1.4 miles are being constructed and the designation and marking of carry trails will keep the public on these suitable routes and prevent numerous undesired herd paths if no facility was provided.

 

  • Mark + 200 foot carry trail around bridge and rapids - Rock Pond Outlet

  • Mark carry trail to Bum Pond after ownership of Camp Bliss

  • Mark carry trail to Shingle Shanty Brook. 

Canoe Carry Trail (yellow markers)

.7 miles  From the northern shoreline of Lilypad Pond to Shingle Shanty Brook. This short carry on an existing trail will provide the public an opportunity to access Lake Lila while avoiding problems and navigation rights issues over the Brandreth lease on IP lands in the vicinity of Mud Pond.

 

Lessees on the IP lands surrounding Round Lake will be able to access Little Tupper Lake by boat.  These visitors will need to comply with the interim prohibitions on use of motorized vessels in the area.  The owners, residential lessees, and non-paying personal guests of Camp Francis and Camp on the Point will retain the right to harvest some trout on Little Tupper Lake.  Note:  Prevailing wind sometimes can kick up large waves on Little Tupper. 

 

The owners or residential lessees of Camp Francis and Camp on the Point and non-paying guests will retain the right to use boats with outboard motors of 40 horsepower or less on Little Tupper Lake. No more than two such boats shall be allowed for each parcel.

 

Fishing

 

The William C. Whitney Area has 12 ponded bodies of water:  Little Tupper Lake (avg. depth of 20' w/max 42" and 1.400 acres), Round Lake, Salmon Lake, Rock Pond (282 acres), Charley Pond (private), Lake Lila (1,400 acres),  Hardigan Pond, Bum Pond, Doctors Pond, Louie Pond and one unnamed pond.   Whitney Area has two watersheds being:  Raquette River and Black River.    

 

Little Tupper Lake, Rock Pond and Bum Pond are the only bodies of water to harbor a unique strain of brook trout, though smaller  (12-15").  Catch and release are in effect for brook trout.    Doctor Pond, Louis Pond and Antediluvian Pond are not known to support trout population but consist of Creek Chub, Pumpkinseed and White Suckers.  

 

Private owners in the past have introduced predatory or competing non-native fish to the area such as smallmouth bass, northern pike, rainbow smelt, Golden Shiners and yellow perch.   Golden Shiners are non-native and can impact trout population.

 

Lake Lila

There are four Black River Watersheds which are tributary to Salmon Lake and the outlet of Hardigan Pond.   Beaver activity have made canoeing between ponds difficult.   The network of these tributaries have moved the yellow perch into Lilypad and Mud Pond, and probably Frank Pond and Harigan Pond.  Bass are part of the network now and any trout fisheries are of low quality.   Lilypad Pond harbors yellow perch, pumpkinseed, brown bullhead, white suckers, creek chub, common shiner and golden shiner and is dependant on migrates from Salmon Lake and Lake Lila.     Lake Lila supports smallmouth bass and lake trout.  (see right, photographed by D. Waite)

 

Canoe Carry Trails (Total proposed - 1.4 miles) 

The designation and marking of carry trails will keep the public on these suitable routes and prevent numerous undesired herd paths if no facility was provided.  To enhance canoeing opportunities the following trails will be designated and maintained:

  • Mark + 200 foot carry trail around bridge and rapids - Rock Pond Outlet

  • Mark carry trail to Bum Pond after ownership of Camp Bliss

  • Mark carry trail to Shingle Shanty Brook. 

Canoe Carry Trail (yellow markers)

.7 miles From the northern shoreline of Lilypad Pond to Shingle Shanty Brook. This short carry on an existing trail will provide the public an opportunity to access Lake Lila while avoiding problems and navigation rights issues over the Brandreth lease on IP lands in the vicinity of Mud Pond.

 

Visit our Fishing Directory for more 'fishy' information.

 

Horse Trails

New York Codes Rules and Regulations (“NYCRR”) §190.8(n) authorizes the use of state owned lands by horses and equestrians.  However, the use of horses on designated foot trails is prohibited unless the trail is also specifically designated as a horse trail. Horse trails in a Wilderness area to: “those that can be developed by conversion of appropriate abandoned roads, snowmobile trails, or state truck trails.”  While Six Mountain is too steep for equestrian travel,  many of our regions are.  Consult your DEC trail map.  Visit our Adirondack Horseback Directory for other areas.

 

Mark horse trail to Little Tupper Lake South shore Trail (yellow horse markers) - 4.0 miles  

A marked trail will be developed starting at the Sabbatis Road parking area, continuing along Route 10 and 10A for 1.5 miles to the trail intersection with the Stony Pond Road. The horse trail starts along this woods road and ends approximately four miles from the public highway at two separate camping areas.  Provide tie up rails. Modify gate to allow easy horse access.

 

Horse Trail (Road-1.5 mi., trail mileage-4.0 mi.)  

Past experience indicates that while use of horses without a developed trail is possible, rider satisfaction and safety can be sacrificed. Terrain constraints, brush, obstacles, and other factors limit the ability to easily ride through the woods. Horse trails are generally not compatible with pedestrian hiking. Although horse trails may follow foot trails for short distances, it is preferable that they be developed as separate distinct facilities, utilizing as much as possible areas not presently used by the hiker to any extent.  Horseback riders will have to use a portion of road also used by automobiles before accessing the marked trail along the south side of Little Tupper Lake. It was decided not to have parking at the Route 10A trail inter-section due to possible conflicts with other users wanting to park to access the east end of the lake. Horse use is not allowed on the Burn Road during this interim period due to safety concerns over conflict with log trucks, and other large motor vehicle use associated with the Frenchman’s Mine.

 

Horseback riders will have to use a portion of road also used by automobiles before accessing the marked trail along the south side of Little Tupper Lake. It was decided not to have parking at the Route 10A trail intersection due to possible conflicts with other users wanting to park to access the east end of the lake. Horse use is not allowed on the Burn Road during this interim period due to safety concerns over conflict with log trucks, and other large motor vehicle use associated with the Frenchman’s Mine operation

 

Mark horse trail to Little Tupper Lake South Shore Trail (yellow horse markers)

4.0 miles A marked trail will be developed starting at the Sabbatis Road parking area, continuing along Route 10 and 10A for 1.5 miles to the trail intersection with the Stony Pond Road. The horse trail starts along this woods road and ends approximately four miles from the public highway at two separate camping areas. Provide tie up rails. Modify gate to allow easy horse access. 

 

Hunting

Hunters enjoy pack & paddling into the region for weeks of hunting.  The heavy logging activity has changed the character of the wildlife species with a reduction in deer wintering areas as they have been forced to search for cover areas.   However, white-tailed deer and black bear are the big game species for the hunters.  Other larger mammals that inhibit this region are:  beaver, river otter, fisher, coyote, bobcat, raccoon, red fox, gray fox, pine marten, muskrat, striped skunk, porcupine, and snowshoe hare.  The smaller mammals include short-tailed and long-tailed weasel, mink, eastern chipmunk, red squirrel and gray squirrel.

Trapping is not permitted in the Little Tupper Lake (Whitney) Headquarters area.

 

Hiking Trails

 

The backcountry acreage is enormous and the Adirondacks has the largest trail system in the nation with more than 2,000 miles.  Enjoy the glory of hiking the Adirondacks, nature's solitude, unbroken forest, lakes and mountains and take the path less taken.  Click here for the DEC "Lost in the Woods" brochure.  Focus on your senses.  Visit our Adirondack Hiking Guide

 

The DEC trail classification system is outlined in the Forest Preserve Policy Manual. This classification system recognizes four trail classifications as outlined below:

 

 

Class 1:

Trail Distinguishable: Minimal biological or physical impacts, slight loss of vegetation and/or minimal disturbance of organic litter

Class 2:

Some Impacts: Tail obvious, slight loss of vegetation cover and/or organic litter pulverized in primary use areas, muddy spots or tree roots, or water action evident.

Class 3:

Moderate Impacts: Vegetation cover and/or organic littler pulverized within the center of the tread, exposed rocks and trees or small mud holes, but little evidence of widening beyond the maintained width of the trail.

Class 4:

Extensive Impacts: Near complete or total loss of vegetation cover and organic litter, rocks or tree roots exposed and roots damaged, or ruts more than 20cm (7.8 inches) deep, or widening caused by muddy areas or water action consistently.

Class 5:

Very Extensive Impacts: Trail to bedrock or other substrate, or tree roots badly damaged, or some ruts more than 50 cm (19.5 inches) deep or large areas (over 50%) of bank erosion, or mud holes so extensive that the trail is outside of its maintained width.

     

Marked Trails

NYSDEC Foot Trail Disk

Most trails are marked with color coded disks affixed to trees as shown (see left). Trail guides and maps correspond to these markers. Trail register boxes are generally located near major access points and parking areas. Although most state-maintained trails are marked, hikers are encouraged to consult topographical maps or other guides when planning to venture into the backcountry.

The Whitney Areas is accessible with 4 miles of public roads (County Routes 10/Sabattis Road and 10A/Circle Road) with an extensive network of wood roads internally with foot entry.  Waterway access from Little Tupper Lake and waterways such as Shingle Shanty Brook and Rock Pond Outlet area available.  Severe wind damaged happened in 1995 and has effected Hardigan and Bum Ponds, as well as some areas near Little Tupper Lake.  Use caution.

 

One unusual site is the Round Lake Wetlands which is home to three uncommon sedges and has an extensive wetland region of sedge meadow, shallow marsh, red spruce-balsam fir swamp, poor fen and boreal acid bog.   A terrific area for birding, but also please be respectful of the plant life.  Other Natural Features include sand beaches and islands on Little Tupper Lake, waterfalls of Tourey Falls, and Antediluvian Mountain provides a good view point of the interior and adjoining areas.   The ponds are quite picturesque.

 

Mark foot trail to Rock Pond - Rock Pond Trail (blue markers) - 2.8 miles

Trail begins on the Burn Road approximately 5.7 miles

 

Mark foot trail to Lillypad/Little Salmon Lake:  Lilypad Pond Trail (red markers) - 8.2 miles

This trail begins at the Burn Road parking area on the Sabattis Road. The trail proceeds in a westerly direction and ends at Lilypad Pond.

 

Mark foot trail to Hardigan Pond Hardigan Pond Trail (yellow markers) - 1.5 miles 

This spur trail begins on the Rock Pond trail approximately .5 miles south of Frenchman’s Mine.  The trail proceeds southwesterly eventually turning onto an old railroad grade just before Hardigan Pond. 

 

Camp Bliss Trail (yellow markers) -1.0 miles

Trail begins on the Burn Road approximately 4.7 miles west of the Sabattis Road. The trail proceeds in a southeasterly direction passing by the eastern edge of Bum Pond and eventually reaching Little Tupper Lake.

 

Your pet dog also enjoy a nice day hike, but do remember to pick up after them, and an encountered with a dog off lease can result in a lawsuit and fines.  Dogs may not be left unattended, and must have proof of a valid rabies inoculation.  Hunting dogs (with license number) are except from the lease rules during hunting season.

 

Follow those have gone before:

Titbits: Motorized Equipment in Wilderness, Primitive and Canoe Areas: DEC has adopted a regulation prohibiting the use of motorized equipment in lands classified as wilderness, primitive or canoe. Public use of small personal electronic or mechanical devices such as cameras, radios or GPS receivers are not affected by this new regulation.

 

 

Biking

Bicycles are profited in the Whitney Wilderness area; but bicycles can be ridden on Sabattis Route (Country Route 10) to the old train station site and also along Lake Lila Road to the parking lot)

 

Skiing & Snowshoeing

 

Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are allowed on ALL trails in the Whitney Wilderness.  However, please be prepared.   Click here for the DEC "Lost in the Woods" brochure.

 

Facilities 

 

The Whitney area includes approximately 20 miles of packed gravel roads.   The roads are marked with foot or horse trail markers, and leads to several interior waters (the largest being 281 acre Rock Pond.  These roads are closed to motorize vehicles, but well suited for mobility impaired for use of wheelchairs. 

 

       Parking Areas

  • Burn Road Trailhead (approximately 10 cars)

  • Horseback Riders a parking area a quarter of a mile east of the Headquarters (approx. 3 car/trailers)

    

References

Adirondack Mountain Club

 

Lake George

518-668-4447

Forest Fire - Search and Rescue     518-891-0235 or 911
State Land Regulation/Backcountry Law Enforcement     518-897-1300
Environmental Law Enforcement     518-897-1326
Poacher & Polluter Reporting online     1-800-TIPP DEC
State Lands Interactive Map (SLIM)      

 

Wilderness Reports

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 *  DISCLOSURE:  "In and Around the Adirondack Park" is not affiliated with any of the above information, businesses, organizations or events, nor can we  vouch for the quality,  and is NOT responsible for the actions of the above parties.  This is brought as a public service message only.   We publish your works (professional or amateur free).  Before going out in the Wilderness, please study your route and learn how to be prepared!