Stewardship projects improve access to Franklin, Union Falls | News, Sports, Jobs

A volunteer hangs up a sign that says Union Falls Pond. (Photo provided – North Forest Canoe Trail)

FRANKLIN – The Northern Forest Canoe Trail, or NFCT, has completed a series of stewardship projects designed to improve access to Franklin Falls and Union Falls ponds and mitigate negative environmental impacts on the two water bodies.

“These projects are the latest in a long line of NFCT work in this area,” said Noah Pollock, chief steward of NFCT. “Franklin Pond and Union Falls are two gems along the Saranac River – they don’t see the same crowds or traffic as other Adirondack lakes, but they are just as beautiful.

“Our team has been working to formalize access to the north end of Franklin Falls Pond that has long been used by paddlers to access the lake,” Pollock added. “It was a steep and eroded bank that caused people to access the water from a variety of different places, which created a lot of impacts on the shoreline vegetation. We built a set of 8ft wide wooden stairs that are attractive and easy to use, and installed rocks at other informal access points to discourage use.

The work was carried out on property managed by Brookfield Renewable, which also manages the nearby Franklin Falls Dam. Brookfield, a longtime NFCT partner, funded the project.

“This project was the perfect opportunity to review the recreational needs of the area. We are very pleased to continue working with the NFCT to improve and preserve these incredible waterways,” said Mark Luciano, Director of Stakeholder Relations for Brookfield Renewable.

At Union Falls Pond, the NFCT stewardship team developed a new campsite with an access trail, washrooms, camping areas and a fire ring; the toilet was moved from a closed site and required two canoes to move it. This work was done in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

“Before that, there were only two campsites on Union Falls Pond,” said Pollock. “This site had been approved in the most recent unit management plan, but had not been built. We worked with DEC to create and implement a plan for the new site. As several campsites in this area had been closed to comply with campsite spacing requirements, this was a chance to rebuild some capacity and it opens up more exploration opportunities for users.

The NFCT stewardship team of five professional staff members received support from several local volunteers for this work. To learn more about the NFCT Stewardship Program, contact Noah Pollock at [email protected] or visit

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