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Thread: Duck Hole Dam

  1. #1
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    Duck Hole Dam (Adirondacks)

    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!
    Last edited by Saratogan Filly; 11-16-2004 at 04:14 PM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    Wink

    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

  3. #3
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    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.

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    Senior Member Rick's Avatar
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    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.
    Rick

  5. #5
    Senior Member Waumbek's Avatar
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    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.

  6. #6
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    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.

  7. #7
    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    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.

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    DEC Commissioner

    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

  9. #9
    Junior Member Wildernessphoto's Avatar
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    Thanks Folks

    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!

    Thanks!
    -Gary-

  10. #10
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    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

  11. #11
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    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"

  12. #12
    Senior Member Warren's Avatar
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    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.

  13. #13
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    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/newHomePa...yDam/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?

  14. #14
    Junior Member Wildernessphoto's Avatar
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    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.p...5851#post15851

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

  15. #15
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    I got the same letter. Apparently, it's a form letter.

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