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ADIRONDACK PARK

Spring: ***  Summer: ***  Fall: ***  Winter: ****

         Independent Directions to this Site: Adirondack Park is about 1.5 to 5 hours from Ottawa, depending on which part of it you are visiting. To reach the southern section, take Highway 417 from Ottawa west to Highway 416 (exit 132). Follow 416 SSE 80 km to Highway 401. Turn right onto 401 and go 60 km to exit 661 (bridge to the USA). Follow the signs for the 1000 Islands Bridge and the USA south for 4 km to the border and Interstate 81. (* Note: Remember to have your telescopes, binoculars and cameras registered at Canadian customs before crossing the border. This eliminates any hassles re duty upon reentry.) Follow I81 for 40 km to Watertown and exit 45. Take Highway 12 southeast 85 km to Alder Creek. Turn left or northeast onto # 28 and in 15 km you reach the park boundary. Another 25 km brings you to the Old Forge area.
         To reach the eastern access, take Highway 417 from Ottawa west to Highway 416 (exit 132). Follow 416 SSE 80 km to Highway 401. continue straight on Highway 16 and follow the signs for the bridge to the USA and Ogdensburg about 6 km to the border. (* Note: Remember to have your telescopes, binoculars and cameras registered at Canadian customs before crossing the border. This eliminates any hassles re duty upon reentry.) Continue straight 2 km to Highway 37, then turn right or southwest toward Ogdensburg. Proceed 2 km to the junction of # 68, turn left or east onto it. In 50 km you will reach the park and in 75 km you will reach Highway 3, the main road through the northern half of the park.
Map of Adirondack Park Area
Map of Adirondack Park Area


         To reach the northern access, take Highway 417 from Ottawa east 60 km to Highway 138 (exit 58 to Cornwall). Follow Hwy 138 32 km SSE to Cornwall Centre Road. Turn right or WSW on it to continue on 138, go 0.7 km to Brookdale Avenue. Turn left or SSE on it to continue on 138. Follow Brookdale (138) over Highway 401 and continue straight SSE on it for 4.5 km to the traffic circle. Proceed halfway around it to continue straight on Brookdale and go 0.5 km to the split. Take the righthand lane to the international bridge and drive 1.5 km south across it to the toll booth ($2.25) on Cornwall Island. A further 1.1 km south brings you to the Canadian customs station. (* Note: Remember to have your telescopes, binoculars and cameras registered at Canadian customs before crossing the border. This eliminates any hassles re duty upon reentry.) One kilometre further south on the same road, across the bridge, brings you to the United States customs station on the American side of the St. Lawrence River. Once cleared by customs, you will go 0.4 km SSW to the traffic circle. About 0.5 km around it, take the 3rd exit to the right (for Highway 37 east/north). Follow Hwy 37 for c. 38 km east through Fort Covington to Malone. NY. At the junction of 37 and 30 in Malone, turn right or south onto 30. In 20 km you are in the park. To reach Whiteface Mountain, go 50 km south from Malone on 30 to Paul Smiths, 20 km southeast on 86 to Saranac Lake, 15 km further to Lake Placid and 10 km more to the Whiteface Mountain turnoff, still on 86. Turn right or west and follow the switchbacking road up to the top. Bicknell's Thrush can be seen and heard from the road just below the peak.
         Site Description and Birding Information: Adirondack Park, officially Adirondack State Forest Preserve Park, is a unique amalgam of public and private land, a good percentage of which is set aside as wilderness area. In 1885 a Forest Reserve was established to "be forever kept as wild forest lands". In 1892 the park itself was created. The park is extremely popular in summer and if you plan to stay there in that season, you will need reservations. The ski areas are just as popular in the winter.
         The Adirondack Mountains form a flat-topped, heavily-glaciated dome about 250 km in diameter, approximately 1.6 km above sea level. The park straddles the transition zone between the southern hardwood and the boreal evergreen forests. This is the prime factor leading to the park checklist having 260 species, over half which breed here. Southern deciduous wood species are found here alongside the boreal forest birds. Adirondack Park is probably the easiest place in New England to find many northern species such as Spruce Grouse, Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, Yellow-bellied and Olive-sided Flycatchers, Golden Eagle, Black-backed Woodpecker, both Red & White-winged Crossbill and other northern finches. Abundance of winter finches is dependent on the quality (i.e. quantity) of the cone crops. As this varies considerably from year to year, it is wise to determine the current situation.
         Some of the best areas for birding are Whiteface Mountain (breeding Bicknell's Thrush viewable from roadside), Fred's Bog (Gray Jay, Boreal Chickadee, etc.).
Gray Jay
Gray Jay
         Rarities seen in this locale include: Lewis' Woodpecker.
         A recent 240 page book "Adirondack Birding: 60 Great Places to Find Birds" by John Peterson (of Elizabethtown) and Gary Lee (of Inlet) is available from Lost Pond Press for $20.95. Two of the Adirondack region's most skilled birders drew on decades of experience in selecting the sites for this, the first comprehensive guidebook to birding hot spots in the Adirondacks.
Adirondack Birding: 60 Great Places to Find Birds
Adirondack Birding: 60 Great Places to Find Birds
         For further online information on this site see the Adirondacks Come to Life (Birding), the Adirondack Birds, or the Adirondack Forest Reserve websites.
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Copyright 2000 - 2009     Larry E. Neily
Last update:  October 25, 2009