Adiron Paddler On The Marion River Carry Mike Lynch

Historic Adirondack Marion River Canoe Trail Preserved

NEW YORK, NY — January 8, 2013 — The Open Space Institute announced today the acquisition of 295 acres in the Hamilton County towns of Arietta and Indian Lake in the central Adirondack Park. The parcel, which was acquired by the Open Space Conservancy, OSI’s land acquisition affiliate, had drawn headlines in recent years after the owner announced plans to build several homes along Utowana Lake.  

For more than a century, paddlers traveling between Utowana and Raquette lakes have used a trail on the property known as the Marion River Carry—a portage around rapids in the Marion River to Utowana Lake. 

Development along the tract could have limited that access, and when word spread about the possibility it drew fierce opposition from nearby residents and outdoor enthusiasts. However, OSI’s acquisition today ensures that the canoe carry, as well as hundreds of acres of pristine Adirondack forest, will remain available to the public. 

“The potential for development made the Marion River Carry a higher, more immediate priority for conservation,” said OSI President and CEO Kim Elliman. “With this acquisition, we can now guarantee the continued availability of this historic and important public recreational resource.”

In 1899, William West Durant built a rail line along the canoe carry, which, at 1,320 yards, was the shortest standard-gauge railroad line in the United States. Operating until 1929, the railroad carried tourist passengers between steamboats and to a country club Durant had built in the Blue Mountain Lake area. 

Since that time, the Canoe Carry has served as an important link in one of the Adiron¬dack Park’s most popular canoe routes.  It is also an often-used offshoot of the historic Northern Forest Canoe Trail, which runs for 740 miles from Old Forge, NY to Fort Kent, ME.  

Although it has been privately owned, landowners have traditionally permitted the public to use the Marion River Carry. However, recognizing it as a hugely important public recreation resource, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation listed the prop¬erty as a priority acquisition in its 2009 NYS Open Space Plan.

Located in the central Adirondack Park, near the town of Blue Mountain Lake, the newly acquired property includes approximately 280 acres of forest lands, 3 acres of the Marion River and 14.5 acres of Utowana Lake frontage. 

The Marion River is a 4.5-mile river that connects Blue Mountain Lake to Raquette Lake via Utowana Lake and Eagle Lake. New York State has classified the Marion River as a Scenic River. 

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