Hoffman Notch Fishing: Access For All

Don Sage, the President of the Schroon Lake Fish and Game Club, is making a passionate plea to reopen to off road vehicles the old trials leading to the ponds of Bailey, Marion, Big and North.

In a letter to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, published on February 23, Sage says that opening the old roads in the Hoffman Notch area will not only allow sportsmen to have easier access, but will also make the NY DEC compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Hoffman Notch should be more accessible

To The editor:

Re: Hoffman unit access:

As the state Adirondack Park Agency and Department of Environmental Conservation look to expand the use of the Hoffman area, we, the sportsmen, request designated routes to the fishing ponds be opened for off-road vehicles. Roads already exist to these ponds: Bailey, Marion, Big and North. DEC policy of denying boats left at these ponds, forcing anglers to carry in and carry out each day, greatly reduces their time to fish. Early morning and late afternoon fishing will not be allowed as time must be spent lugging prams, rowboats, etc., back and forth, in and out daily. The establishing of a designated corridor following the old town roads for off-road vehicles will allow the anglers to spend more time enjoying their sport.

The Hoffman area is crisscrossed with roads from past settlements and logging. The ponds in this area were favorite fishing places before DEC banned boats being located on state land during the fishing season. This denial of access and discrimination against anglers and sportsmen is unnecessary as roads already exist that are capable of supporting off-road vehicles, especially those trailering-transporting boats in and out of the area. Snowmobile trails cross these lands that connect Schroon Lake to Minerva, North Hudson and Newcomb. The Hoffman area was once considered a candidate for a ski resort to rival Gore and Whiteface. All these past uses show that this area is a perfect fit for a designated route for off-road vehicles to these ponds on existing roads.

Additionally, reopening these roads as a designated corridor will allow the state/DEC to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law is very clear that no discrimination is allowed and that power-driven mobility devices are allowed every place that is open to any one user group (e.g., hikers). Our disabled veterans, handicapped, elderly and others less than physically fit would now have a chance to enjoy the outdoors environment, go fishing or just enjoy nature and the solitude. It would end DEC's discrimination at least in this one area of the state-owned land. DEC compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act is long overdue, especially for our disabled veterans.


Donald Sage, president

Schroon Lake Fish & Game Club Inc.