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Saratogan Filly
11-16-2004, 04:04 PM
I posted a thread on this on another forum and just thought that the more exporsure the better:

My father has been to Duck Hole many times through different ways over the last few years and absolutely loves making it a regular haunt. I finally made my first trek there this Labor Day weekend via Henderson Lake, canoeing and portaging.

Through his interest, I've followed the OSI purchase of the Henderson/Tahawus Tract and the story surrounding. He has talked several times with various park rangers and Adirondack enthusiasts about the condition of the dam at Duck Hole, as did I on this trip when we encountered a ranger on the Henderson portage. The consenus seems to be that the State has no plans of repairing or replacing the dam in its weakening condition, due to the Forever Wild Legislation. If/when this dam goes, it will leave the surrounding area-which is now a breath-taking lake & trail heads leading to many focal destinations- a barren swamp.

Having seen his mesmeration for the location, and now having seen it myself, fully understanding why he has been so captured by it, it blows my mind that the dam would be allowed to go. It seems illogical with the effort that the OSI put into this transaction, and now with the marketing of the Henderson avenue to the location for hiking, canoeing, skiing, etc. that something so fundamental to this end would be allowed to go.

Does anyone have any information on the dam restoration/preservation or who would be the contacts to be a squeaky wheel to to make this happen?

Thank you for your comments and input!

Peakbagr
11-16-2004, 04:45 PM
I used to have Kris Alberga's email address but can't locate it. He's the DEC Ranger in charge up in the High Peaks area. Give the DEC office in Ray Brook a call and ask for him and his email address. He is really knowledgeable and if anyone would know, Kris will.
Can you let the Board know so we might assist with the tourniquet?

Thanks

TCD
11-16-2004, 04:58 PM
I agree strongly that the Dam should not be allowed to fail. I also frequent Duck Hole.

I think it's unfortunate that the bridge was already allowed to fail. It was very authentic and scenic, reminiscent of times when we knew how to manage wilderness, rather than simply destroy anything manmade.

Rick
11-16-2004, 05:45 PM
I read of the bridge being gone on the ADK forum and was pretty surprised about it. That was my absolute favorite place to be in the early/mid 90's.
If that dam goes, will be a marsh and mosquito haven?. Heck I was dismayed when they burned the Ranger Station at Shattucks Clearing.

Waumbek
11-16-2004, 05:51 PM
Was the Duck Hole bridge that wonderfully wonky board bridge? I backpacked the NPT in '00 and remember that beautiful place, which I hope to return to.

TCD
11-16-2004, 06:54 PM
I recently read another discussion wherein a structure not having been destroyed yet was being used as an excuse not to protect the surrounding land. The land can be protected, regardless of one structure. Holding the protection of an enormous parcel of land hostage, to force the destruction of a relatively tiny artifact, is simply blackmail.

Peakbagr
11-16-2004, 08:16 PM
This was the EXACT same argument that the ADK was taking on the Mt Adams tower until some folks here started applying pressure on the club. ADK Executive Director, Neil Woodworth stepped up to the plate and the Mt Adams tower was granted an exception to the plan. I would suspect that the same would be needed here.

Lest you think there is something bad afoot with preservationist viewpoint:
They see any exception chinks in the armor of the Wildness portion of the NYS forever wild as precedents for snowmobiles, ATVs, mountain bikes, etc to futher weaken it. They believe in and have done a great job protecting our wilderness, but sometimes need to leaven their views with some realpolitik.

quietwind
11-16-2004, 08:23 PM
Here is the contact for the DEC Commissioner. Posted on another forum by the moderator. Perhaps if they get enough emails or snail mails something can be done to save the dam at Duck Hole

http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/about/emailform.html


Erin M. Crotty
Commissioner
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 122331011
Tel:5184028540
Fax:5184029016

Wildernessphoto
11-16-2004, 08:47 PM
Hi one and all,
We're thinking the only way this problem is going to get fixed is if we all pull together and apply pressure. Here's the link to the thread on the adkforum.

http://www.adkforum.com/showthread.php?t=1434

If you could check out the links, and send an email to Commissioner Erin Crotty, and Senator Elizabeth OC. Little, it would go a long way to keep Duck Hole from disappearing.

Let's make some noise! :p

Thanks!
-Gary-

TCD
11-16-2004, 09:18 PM
Peakbagr,

Interestingly, Pete Fish just propounded the same argument ("one exception prevnets the protection of the entire parcel") to advocate the destruction of the Hurricane Fire Tower, in a letter in the recent ADK Mag.

I was surprised and disappointed to see that. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Pete, but I have to disagree here. I enjoy seeing the tower on the skyline of Hurricane, and I enjoy seeing it up close when I'm up there. I don't think it takes anything away from the Wilderness (uh, Primitive Area). It would be a real shame to destroy something like that, just to keep a bunch of lawyers from using it as a precedent. Next, we'll be tearing down the trail markers and signs (it's been proposed...).

My opinion has been that there's plenty of wilderness, or solitude, or whatever it is that the latest person is complaining about, waiting 100 feet off the trail.

I agree. Let's apply some pressure to save Duck Hole!

TCD

TCD
11-16-2004, 09:43 PM
Text of email I sent to the Commissioner:

"Dear Commissioner Crotty,

I have read in some web forums recently that there is discussion of letting the Dam which impounds Duck Hole deteriorate, and not replacing it, in the interest of a strict definition of "Wilderness."

Duck Hole, as I'm sure you know, is a scenic and popular pond along the Northville Placid trail, about ten miles South of Lake Placid. The Northville Placid trail and its surrounding network of wilderness trails is a landmark attraction of New York's jewel, the Adirondack Park. This destination, along with others, attracts many visitors from out of State, and is part of what sets our unique wilderness apart from many others in the Northeast.

I have visited Duck Hole often, reaching it by the 7 mile hike from the nearest trailhead. I thought it was unfortunate when the bridge at Duck Hole was destroyed, turning what once was a scenic historical artifact into a hollow shell. If the Dam is allowed to be destroyed also, the result will be very unattractive. A once scenic pond will be turned into a stinking, mosquito ridden mud flat. Needless to say, this would not be a welcoming site for our State's visitors.

I understand that one factor in this decision is the "purist" approach to wilderness. Another factor is the fear that the presence of any manmade artifact, no matter how rustic, can be used by devious lawyers and courts to erode the protection of the wilderness. The first argument is specious at best, and probably elitist. There is ample wilderness between the trails. Trying to force "wilderness" at a scenic and popular destination is absurd. The second argument is more problematic, given the unfortunate litigious nature of our society. However, I maintain that there must be alternate ways defend the land against damage, without resorting to destroying much of what makes it attractive in the first place.

Please consider this, and other opinions which I'm sure you will receive on the subject, in any decision regarding the fate of the Duck Hole Dam. Thank you.

Tom DuBois"

Warren
11-17-2004, 07:15 AM
Does anybody have any ideas as to what the cost is to the DEC to maintain the dam? Or what it would cost to maintain the status quo at Duck Hole? The high peaks area is in real need of additional funding for trail maintenance, I'm not sure where I would want to see funds go, more Rangers to enforce the upcoming bear can rule (though in high use areas current coverage appears to be good) or to improving the current trails. If maintaining a dam at Duck Hole means building a new one that's pricey.

I looked into the accessibility of paddling to Duck Hole last summer up Cold River. The impression from the guide book was that low water and blowdown made it an impossible trip. Has anyone looked at how the lack of the dam would change Cold River in this regard?

A quick search of the High Peaks management plan does slate the Duck hole dam for a study to determine de-watering it or improving it's current condition. The report also mentions the choice to de-water Flowed Lands. That happened before my time in the High Peaks, can anyone chime in as to how Flowed Lands changed after the dam was de-watered?

I'm very curious if the recommended study was ever done and what effect restoring wetlands would have on wildlife in the area.

Saratogan Filly
11-17-2004, 11:39 AM
Thank you everyone for the comments, interest and contacts! I'll be sending some letters and will keep you all posted on responses and such.

One thing that comes to mind is the Mt. Marcy dam replacement:

http://alavigne.homeip.net/newHomePage/Outdoors/FeatureReports/Adirondacks/MarcyDam/index.jsp

I would think that this would be of similar circumstances, it falls under "forever wild", if it were allowed to go without being replaced would have similar consequenses to what we're discussing with Duck Hole and is just as traffic heavy. Why one and not the other?

Wildernessphoto
12-05-2004, 11:29 PM
I received a letter from Lawrence Nashett Regional Supervisor of Natural Resources for the DEC. on the Duck Hole dam

I've posted some information from his letter, and some pictures on ADKForum.
Here's the link:
http://www.adkforum.com/showthread.php?p=15851#post15851

I appreciate the help and support as we work together to try and save this beautiful place.
Thanks!
-Gary-

TCD
12-06-2004, 09:23 AM
I got the same letter. Apparently, it's a form letter.

rdl
12-06-2004, 12:39 PM
I realize I'm chiming in rather late on this subject, but to maybe reinforce or echo what some others have said -- when the Duck Hole dam eventually is breached is that necessarily a bad thing ?

No dam at Duck Hole would result in the following:
Higher water level in the Cold River -- could I canoe up the Cold River further than I can today ? Possibly. In my mind that's a good thing.

Return the water flow in the Adk drainage to it's natural state(pre-dam). Nationwide there is a movement to remove dams from many reservoirs/rivers -- I can't say how the creation of the Duck Hole dam affected native species, but there could be benefits to returning to it's natural setting.

Will changing the appearance of Duck Hole to something maybe similar to Flowed Lands be a bad thing ? I have stayed at the Flowed Lands lean-to many times looking out over Flowed Lands with Mt Colden in the background and have a hard time thinking of a more beautiful setting.

I've been to Duck Hole many times and find it a wonderful place, when the dam is breached and there's a lower water level, that won't change for me.

stoopid
06-03-2005, 02:21 AM
www.saveduckhole.com

Site has been created to help centralize our efforts.

rondak46
06-03-2005, 09:12 AM
While I would like to see the dam preserved I think it is counterproductive to argue that Nature cannot reclaim and make the area beautiful again. Any arguments that are weak, or subjective (e.g. Swamps are ugly) are a step back after two steps foreword.

Mike

Grumpy
06-03-2005, 09:23 AM
While I would like to see the dam preserved I think it is counterproductive to argue that Nature cannot reclaim and make the area beautiful again. Any arguments that are weak, or subjective (e.g. Swamps are ugly) are a step back after two steps foreword.

I pretty much agree with that. It seems to me that one of the better arguments for preserving the Duck Hole dam (and its bridge) is that the structure is a real, authentic part of the Adirondack Region's history. It has, in truth, become a part of the "natural" scene and scheme in that particular spot. Such things are worth preserving, not willy-nilly but on a selective basis, and this is a prime candidate for such selective treatment.

G.

Peakbagr
06-03-2005, 09:32 AM
I've only camped there in the winter, but its a great spot. I can only imagine how nice it must be there in the fall.
Yes, letting nature reclaim itself is usually a good idea. There are special spots, though, where a combination of history and man's hand have created something unique.
A breached dam still leaves it a nice spot. But then it wouldn't it look like so many other places similar to it in the Adirondacks? Boggy, like some of the beaver-dammed flows that come and go with the breaching of beaverdams?
The loons would surely disappear as would their haunting sounds. So would the reflection of the peaks or autumn leaves in the the pond.

Like the tower on Mt Adams, Duck Hole is unique for its natural history and beauty. And also like Mt Adams, just a few voices publicizing the issue can turn things around and save it.
Just my thoughts.

PB

lumberzac
06-03-2005, 10:46 AM
Well stated Grumpy. The historic aspect is probably going to be the best way to preserve the dam. The current dam, as I understand, was built by the CCC in the 1930s. Im not sure how well this will fly but maybe there could be a push to try and get the dam on the historic register. If successful, this could add protection to the dam legally as well as help in getting grant money to restore the structure.

Form a friends group, similar to many of the fire towers and other historic sites within the Adirondack Park. Show the DEC, that there is a group of people willing to fund restoration work to the dam as well as provide volunteers. If the DEC sees that there is interest in saving the dam and they dont have to fully fund and provide all of the staff to save it, it is more likely that there position will change.

Warren
06-03-2005, 01:08 PM
I would agree that the historical approach is the best reason to preserve the dam. That said, shouldn't a real biologist/ expert be consulted as to the benefit of having a wetland restored? Such open lands are rare in that area (to my knowledge).

I do have fond memories of Duck hole, saw the largest King of all Frogs there sunny himself at the foot of the dam.

TCD
06-03-2005, 01:56 PM
A couple points:

There is a pretty substantial wetland/meadow along the trail towards the Sewards, a couple miles west of Duck Hole. Also, small Hunter Pond and a neighboring unnamed swamp a couple miles towards Upper works from Duck Hole are teeming with wildlife. Also, there are some good sized wet meadows along Roaring Brook on it's way into Duck Hole. So while there are a lot of ponds (like Henderson, Preston and DH), there are also quite a lot of wetlands.

I agree with several posters who say that the historical aspect is the best channel. (Although in the end, it will come down to $, like everything else in Albany.)

I went to the Save Duck Hole site. Folks at Save Duck Hole should be careful of the facts in their presentation; the two pictures depicting:

"Duck Hole in 2000" "Duck Hole in 2005"

"In the above photos you can see the deterioration of the dam in just the last 5 years."

imply that the change (disappearance of the bridge) happened simply through "deterioration." While the bridge had in fact deteriorated, the fact is that it's gone because it was ripped out by DEC.

Whether you feel that the bridge should be restored, or whether you feel that the dam should be removed, it's only money and politics that will make it happen. Don't expect anything to happen fast. Look at the simple bridge over John's Brook. How many years has that been pending repair? My understanding is that it is a petty interagency squabble that is keeping that from getting done.

Wildernessphoto
06-03-2005, 11:32 PM
We were in to Duck Hole over Memorial Day weekend. Here's some shots for those who have never been there. This is MacNaughton Monday Morning across Duck Hole.

Wildernessphoto
06-03-2005, 11:35 PM
Here's the sunset on Saturday evening:

Frosty
06-04-2005, 12:07 AM
Either it's wild or it isn't.

Building and constructing shouldn't be allowed. It isn't elitist or paranoid. Nature is good enough as it is. Let it be.

One person wants to reconstuct a dam, another wants to build a resort.

Both look at the constructing as an improvement on nature. The only difference is the entirely personal opinion as to which is prettier: a man-made lake or a man-made resort.

In my opinion, the lake wins hands down, but what makes my opinion better than the resort group? Why just a dam for Duck Hole? Why not other dams other places?

Either it is wild or it isn't. If you want land to be wild and for nature to rule, good. If you want to make improvements on nature, fine. But don'e expect everyone's idea of what is an improvement to match yours.

Grumpy
06-04-2005, 07:56 AM
. . . don't expect everyone's idea of what is an improvement to match yours.

Excellent point, wherever you stand on the question.

G.

Wildernessphoto
06-05-2005, 10:12 PM
Either it's wild or it isn't.

Building and constructing shouldn't be allowed. It isn't elitist or paranoid. Nature is good enough as it is. Let it be.

One person wants to reconstuct a dam, another wants to build a resort.

Both look at the constructing as an improvement on nature. The only difference is the entirely personal opinion as to which is prettier: a man-made lake or a man-made resort.

In my opinion, the lake wins hands down, but what makes my opinion better than the resort group? Why just a dam for Duck Hole? Why not other dams other places?

Either it is wild or it isn't. If you want land to be wild and for nature to rule, good. If you want to make improvements on nature, fine. But don'e expect everyone's idea of what is an improvement to match yours.

There's 2 main issues with maintaining Duck Hole from a legal aspect. One is the States responsibility to protect and maintain shorelines under article 14 section 4 of the state constitution:

http://www.adirondack-park.net/history/article14-text.html

Sec. 4. The policy of the state shall be to conserve and
protect its natural resources and scenic beauty and encourage the
development and improvement of its agricultural lands for the
production of food and other agricultural products. The
legislature, in implementing this policy, shall include adequate
provision for the abatement of air and water pollution and of
excessive and unnecessary noise, the protection of agricultural
lands, wetlands and shorelines, and the development and
regulation of water resources. The legislature shall further
provide for the acquisition of lands and waters, including
improvements thereon and any interest therein, outside the forest
preserve counties, and the dedication of properties so acquired
or now owned, which because of their natural beauty, wilderness
character, or geological, ecological or historical significance,
shall be preserved and administered for the use and enjoyment of
the people. Properties so dedicated shall constitute the state
nature and historical preserve and they shall not be taken or
otherwise disposed of except by law enacted by two successive
regular sessions of the legislature.

Also the APA recognizes these dams as conforming structures to be maintained.
http://www.adirondack-park.net/history/political/apa.html

"Man has affected wilderness areas the least out of any of the other six classifications, and therefore wilderness areas have the most restrictions placed upon their use. The only conforming "structures and improvements" are lean-tos, privies, existing dams, and foot trails and their respective bridges and signboards. Ranger cabins, aside from the Lake Colden outpost, are non-conforming, and should be removed."

The APA understands that these dams need to be maintained and considers them "Conforming Structures" that can be maintained and improved in a wilderness area.

What it boils down to is not the law(forever wild legislation), or the dam not being a conforming structure(APA)... but money. The State is picking and choosing what it's going to maintain and what it's going to let go despite it's legal obligations under the constitution.

I believe the State needs to replace this dam as part of its obligation under the law.

Saratogan Filly
06-07-2005, 08:39 AM
Are beavers trainable? :D

Wildernessphoto
06-07-2005, 04:22 PM
Just bald ones... :D

stoopid
05-19-2006, 02:19 PM
Backcountry Heritage Association (http://www.backcountryheritage.com) has been formed to spearhead projects like restoring Duck Hole Dam. Anyone interested in helping with causes such as this are encouraged to drop us an email through the site and we'll be in contact to let you know when projects come up. We're also incorporating and will be listed as a not-for-profit with New York, so we can do fund raising activites and be eligible for some of the available grant money. If we can get the cash together for the DEC maybe things can move forward.

Petmac
06-07-2006, 04:13 PM
Let the dam crumble I say. The Adirondacks are famous for there lack of dams. That lake needs to be back in its original state (before the dam was even built). What we have there now is dam, or should I say a silt trap that has been collecting sediment run off from all the tributaries since the dam was built. All this sediment has settled on the floor of the lake and against the wall of the dam blocking and stopping invertebracy and habitat and feeding. Any fishing folk know that joy of stalking a Brook Trout as it fights the current of a free river for a position in the shade of a near shore vegetated area. Its the natural cycle, no were in the cycle should a dam stop the progress of the aquatic world. It does not take a degree in hydrology to know that an undammed lake, river, or stream is far healthier then a dammed one. At duck hole there are no real stakeholders, except for that people that believe they should see a lake every time they come in viewing distance of it. Aesthetics is not a good enough reason to keep this contraption in working order. Think of the Aquatic life people not just the human, and what the human thinks is pretty. LET YOUR RIVERS RUN FREE!!!!!

In fact I was glad to hear that Marcy Dam is now out. Go to hear if you ask me. Let the native Brook Trout back up stream and let the slit flow down and become evenly dispersed over time. No one is going to benefit from the rebuilding of the dams. The Dacks are full of water; we dont need to build catchments for it. There is no valleys or towns right below each damn that are in fear of flooding each year. There are no privet resorts that use the lake to drive their clientele around in boats. Damn the dams. Why do you want them? If it is for the bridge to cross the bodies of water, then we can build you a bridge that does no hold back water.


simply
peter

Tom Rankin
06-07-2006, 05:34 PM
In fact I was glad to hear that Marcy Dam is now out.Please elaborate...

Petmac
06-07-2006, 10:21 PM
sorry maybe i sould have said: In fact I was glad to hear that Marcy Dam is going out and braking down.

simply
peter

lumberzac
06-08-2006, 07:45 AM
sorry maybe i sould have said: In fact I was glad to hear that Marcy Dam is going out and braking down.

simply
peter

Actually, Marcy Dam was repaired last year after the breach.

Tom Rankin
06-08-2006, 08:54 AM
Actually, Marcy Dam was repaired last year after the breach.Yes, the above discussion lead me to believe it had developed a new problem. And since it's made partly of wood, it almost certainly will eventually have more problems.

As someone already said, it's ok for it to revert to a natural area, but a lot of people rely on the bridge there.