A motor tour of the Sable Highlands
By Phil Brown
In earlier articles for the Explorer, I wrote about exploring the Sable Highlands by bike, on foot and in a canoe. It’s additionally potential to get pleasure from these little-visited easement lands within the consolation of your automobile.
Two good logging roads—the D&H Street and Piney Ridge Street—reduce by way of the inside of the Sable Highlands. They’re related by Wolf Pond Street, a dust thoroughfare maintained by the city of Bellmont. Thus, it’s potential to drive from one finish of the Sable Highlands to the opposite.
The motor tour from the Standish Street to Franklin County Route 26 (which runs previous Loon Lake) is a couple of dozen miles. If you wish to do it this 12 months, you’d higher act quickly. Piney Ridge Street closes for the season on September 26. Additionally, it’s finest to not take the drive in early spring, when Wolf Pond Street will be muddy.
If the roads are dry, you possibly can drive the household automobile on them, however you need to go gradual and train warning. Maintain an eye fixed out for rocks, mud, sand and puddles. Keep in mind that, underneath the phrases of the conservation easement, you aren’t allowed to park alongside both the D&H Street or Piney Ridge Street.
In 2008, New York State paid $10.8 million for conservation easements on 84,000 acres of economic forest generally known as the Sable Highlands within the northern Adirondacks. The deal lets logging proceed, however it additionally permits public recreation in 14 “public use areas,” totaling 21,100 acres, and on “linear recreation corridors” connecting them. The state to date has did not implement a lot of its plan. This spring, the Adirondack Explorer spent many days exploring the Sable Highlands on foot, by automobile, and on a mountain bike. That is one in a collection of articles meant to open a window on a land partly owned by the general public however hardly ever seen.
From Standish Street, drive west on Piney Ridge Street. At 2.9 miles, as you go a clearing, you get a great view of peaks mendacity to the northwest. In one other mile or so, you come to a four-way intersection generally known as Center Kilns, the place Wolf Pond Street crosses Piney Ridge Street.
That is probably the most scenic spot on the tour. Flip left onto Wolf Pond Street and pull over to soak up the views. From the junction, you possibly can gaze northwest throughout a wetland towards West Mountain, Ragged Lake Mountain and different peaks. Flip round to get pleasure from views of Norton Peak, Haystack Mountain and Wolf Pond Mountain.
Piney Ridge Street continues straight in good situation, however once I took the driving tour this summer season, an indication warned that the remainder of the highway was “at the moment closed to all motorized use.” And so I took Wolf Pond Street as an alternative. It’s narrower and rougher than Piney Ridge Street however satisfactory when dry.
In 1.6 miles, Wolf Pond Street meets up once more with Piney Ridge Street. Proceed straight at this T-intersection. In lower than a mile extra, the highway crosses the Salmon River, which rises within the close by Elbow Vary and flows north to the St. Lawrence.
Simply past the river you’ll go a lately logged tract earlier than coming to a junction with the D&H Street. Flip left and drive down the tree-lined hall for about 5 miles to Fishhole Pond. There’s a public parking space right here, so be at liberty to cease, take a stroll and soak within the views of the pond, the Elbow Vary, Catamount and Loon Lake Mountain.
You’re virtually finished. Proceed down the D&H Street for 1.25 miles and take a proper. In a couple of minutes you’ll hit County 26. Not together with stops, the tour ought to take not more than an hour. It’s a great introduction to the Sable Highlands. In case you like what you see, you would possibly return to do the journey on a mountain bike.
DIRECTIONS: From NY 3 in Clayburg, drive north on Standish Street (County 1) for 7.8 miles to Piney Ridge Street on the left. If you attain County 26, flip left to return to NY 3 in 6.2 miles.