BLUE MT. LAKE - The Marion River Carry property here has been sold to the Open Space Institute.
The portage goes around rapids in the Marion River to Utowana Lake. It was part of a property owned by Marion River Carry Railroad Co. Inc., owned in turn by Dean and Donna Pohl of Raquette Lake.
Environmentalists and paddlers were concerned about the future of the Marion River Carry, even though it was part of 432 acres the Pohls had set aside for no development after announcing plans to build several homes along Utowana Lake.
A small portion of the 295 acres sold falls within the Town of Arietta. The bulk of the property is within the Town of Indian Lake.
The Pohls retained a parcel containing a sand and gravel mine as well as access to it. The OSI announced the acquisition in a Jan. 8 press release.
“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.”
William West Durant built a rail line along the canoe carry in 1899. At 1,320 yards, it was the shortest standard gauge railroad line in the United States. Operating until 1929, the railroad carried passengers between steamboats.
Since then the carry has served as an important link in one of the Adirondack Park’s most popular canoe routes. It is also an often-used offshoot of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, which runs for 740 miles from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine.
Although it has been privately owned, landowners have traditionally permitted the public to use the Marion River Carry. However, the New York State Department of Environmental Conserva-tion listed the property as a priority acquisition in its 2009 NYS Open Space Plan.
Located near the hamlet of Blue Mountain Lake, the newly acquired property includes approximately 280 acres of forestlands, three acres of the Marion River and 14.5 acres on Utowana Lake.
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.
The Open Space Institute continues to raise funds for both acquisition and carrying costs associated with the Marion River Carry property. Anyone interested in contributing toward this project can contact Tally Blumberg at (212) 290-8200 ext. 228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.