FRANKLIN — A 2.8-mile trail to the fire tower on the summit of Loon Lake Mountain in the northern Adirondacks is complete and open to the public.
The new trail includes a parking area and trailhead on the west side of County Route 26 in the Town of Franklin in Franklin County, about 4.7 miles north of the hamlet of Loon Lake.
The trailhead and the lower portion of the trail are on the Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands, while the upper portion is on Forest Preserve lands in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest.
The State Department of Environmental Conservation “is committed to providing greater access to the many natural and man-made features found on the Forest Preserve and conservation easement lands we manage,” DEC Regional Director Robert Stegemann said in a press release.
The trail rises more than 1,600 feet from the trailhead to the 2,264-foot summit of Loon Lake Mountain. The open bedrock summit provides views of Lyon Mountain, Whiteface Mountain, the High Peaks Wilderness Area, Debar Mountain and other nearby summits.
The Loon Lake Fire Tower is a 35-foot Aermotor tower that was originally erected in 1917. It was rebuilt in 1928 after being blown over by hurricane-force winds in the winter of 1927-28.
The tower, listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places, is not open to the public at present, and the bottom set of stair risers has been removed to discourage the public from climbing the tower or accessing the cab, the release said.
The trail, trailhead and parking were constructed this past summer by DEC Region 5 operations crews and members of the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program.
The facilities could not have been provided without the cooperation of the owner of the conservation easement lands, Lyme Timber Company of Hanover, N.H., the release said.
The Town of Franklin Highway Department will plow the parking area in the winter to allow access to the trail, surrounding Forest Preserve and conservation easement lands by winter recreation enthusiasts for activities such as hiking, hunting, trapping, skiing and snowshoeing.
The Loon Lake Mountain trailhead/parking area is located about 7.8 miles north of County Route 26’s intersection with State Route 3, which is about 16 miles east of Saranac Lake.
Campers using either of the two campsites on the Plumadore-Inman Public Use Area on the east side of County Route 26 in the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands are encouraged to use the new Loon Lake Mountain trailhead/parking area.
Download a map of the trail and surrounding area at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/93584.html.