Sunday, July 31 was a beautiful day for a hike and a backcountry paddle. After a leisurely morning with multiple cups of coffee at our Fish Creek Pond Campground site on Square Pond (where we had enjoyed a comfortable overnight), Paul Gallery, my colleague in the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) Albany Office, Stan Fronckwicz of ADK’s Long Island Chapter, and I headed out to find the western Deer Pond Loop trailhead off Old Wawbeek road, just east of Tupper Lake, NY. Our plan was to find the shortest hike into the southwestern end of Deer Pond to search at least half of the pond for aquatic invasive species (AIS).

Image 2 Deer Pond Blog-Gate

Our Deer Pond trip was part of ADK’s Backcountry Water Monitors project which is funded by the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC). Although the western entrance was not quite as inviting as the eastern DEC trailhead, we continued on, through an old evergreen plantation with an extremely dense, hiker-eating balsam fir understory . We used backpacks to carry in two NRS packrafts. The trail was easy and interesting, passing several smaller ponds and streams along the way, which would ensure a return visit to search these shores and shallows for invasives.

After a 2 mile hike, and a bit of searching to find a good launch site, we found a spot near
the trail bridge that crosses an inlet stream from a small wild pond. Deer Pond is beautiful with a 65 foot maximum depth. We found Image 5 Deer Pond Blogrelatively few aquatic species in the shallow nearshore areas, but all were native including Waterweed (Elodea canadensis), and Pipewort (Eriocaulon septangulare). Our search in the backcountry ponds and lakes is part of the early detection work of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) to identify aquatic invasive species such as frogbit, water chestnut, and Eurasian water milfoil (see photos here) and report any occurrences through NY iMapInvasives .

The newly updated iMapInvasives Mobile App makes any potential observations of invasive species easy to report so specialists can confirm volunteer identifications through uploaded pictures, and deploy rapid response teams to remove new infestations quickly. After spread prevention measures such as ensuring that watercraft and gear are clean, drained, and dry between uses in different bodies of water, the next most effective strategy against invasive species is early detection and rapid response. Citizen scientists like our volunteers and interested individuals likImage 8 Deer Pond Bloge you, are essential in keeping Adirondack lakes and ponds clean and healthy. You are invited to participate in a species identification and monitoring protocol workshops like the one we held on July 30 at the Heart Lake Program Center to learn how to identify invasive plants and survey lakes and ponds. The workshop prepares volunteers for backcountry monitoring outings like our trip to Deer Pond.

We’ll be heading back to Deer Pond before the end of the season as well as some of the other backcountry ponds and lakes in the Lake Champlain Basin. If you are interested in helping us out and would like to join us on a guided hike to search for aquatic invasive species please let us know by signing up here.

For more information contact: or call 518-449-3870