The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced improvements to the Meacham Lake Campground in the Adirondack town of Duane, Franklin County, under the State’s Adventure NY initiative to connect more New Yorkers with nature. The improvements, supported by a $1.2 million state investment, include a new accessible boat launch on the eastern shore of Meacham Lake, a parking area, and green infrastructure features.
The boat launch project includes a concrete ramp with floating docks designed for use by people with disabilities; 21 parking spaces for vehicles and boat trailers – including one parking space reserved for people with disabilities; an information kiosk; and landscaping with native plants. The parking lot includes gravel pretreatment filters, a bio retention area and an underground infiltration gallery to manage stormwater and protect the water quality of the lake. The roadway through the campground to the boat launch was repaved.
Boat launch stewards from Paul Smiths College’s Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI), trained by the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, will inspect boats, trailers, fishing gear, and other equipment through Labor Day to prevent aquatic invasive species from being introduced into the lake. DEC has provided AWI $1.4 million of Environmental Protection Fund monies for 53 boat stewards and decontamination operators at 28 sites throughout the Adirondacks during the 2017 boating season.
The improvements will provide an enhanced outdoor experience and make the campground more accessible to all visitors. Meacham Lake (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/71313.html) is located in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest (www.dec.ny.gov/lands/109817.html) and is the source of the East Branch St. Regis River. The large lake is nearly rectangular in shape, and is two miles long, one-mile-wide, and has a surface area of 1,200 acres. The lake has a maximum depth of 80 feet and a mean depth of 36 feet.
Meacham Lake is an angler’s paradise with a two-story fishery which contains splake, northern pike, smallmouth bass, brown trout, lake whitefish, brown bullhead, yellow perch, and sunfish. Northern pike and smallmouth bass are the big fish in the lake. The smallmouth bass can most often be found on the eastern half of the lake between Roaring and Winnebago Brooks. Northern pike are found most abundantly in the southern end of the lake, which is quite weedy. Ice fishing is popular for pike and splake in the two to four-pound range.
The new boat launch replaces an old boat launch located outside the campground along Meacham Road in the northwestern corner of the lake. The location of the boat launch was shallow and caused problems or prevented the launching of all but small boats. The old boat launch will remain open for the launching of canoes, kayaks, and other car top boats free of charge.
Meacham Lake Campground (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/24481.html) is the only development on the lake. Campers are provided with a wide open view of a truly undeveloped area and can often hear loons calling in early morning and late evening. The campground has an activities area complete with Environmental Interpreters, volleyball, horseshoes, a kids playground, and a bathing beach. All types of camping units can be accommodated, from small tents to large recreational vehicles. The west side offers primitive and walk-in sites, while the main campground will accommodate both tents and RVs.
While the campground is open, boaters will need to pay a day use fee of $8.00 to launch their boat, but campers at the campground can launch for free. During the remainder of the boating season boaters can launch their boats for free.