When planning a paddling trip, it's good to begin early. There's a lot to do, not the least of which is deciding what to take. You'll find a suggested gear list below. First, though, you'll want to know if you'll need a permit.
Happily, permits aren't required in most of the Adirondack North Country, and when they are, they're free from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). When is a permit necessary? Broadly speaking, you'll need a DEC permit if your party numbers more than ten, or if you plan to camp for more than three consecutive nights in one place.
Special regulations apply in the High Peaks Wilderness Area (HPWA), which includes the Adirondack Canoe Route (from Long Lake down the Raquette River to Tupper Lake). If this is where you're headed, stop by the HPWA webpage. You should also read the summary of Adirondack rules and regulations, found right here at the Adirondack North Country Paddler's Guide.
For further information, or to obtain camping permits, contact the regional office for the area you plan to visit.
Region 5 Headquarters
PO Box 296
Ray Brook, New York 12977-0296
Stuart A. Buchanan, Regional Director
NYSDEC Region 6 Headquarters
State Office Building
317 Washington Street
Watertown, New York 13601-3787
Sandra L. LeBarron, Regional Director
Lake George If you're going to be paddling on Lake George, and if your canoe or kayak is 18 feet long or longeror if you'll be using a motoryou'll need to register your boat. For information, contact
The Lake George Park
P.O. Box 749
Fort George Road
Lake George, New York 12845
Can I Drink the Water?
Treat all water before drinking, and treat any water used in cooking, washing dishes, or tooth-brushing, as well. Even water from posted springs should be assumed to be contaminated. Don't blame the beavers! Most contamination problems are created by human activity. Boiling water destroys all infectious microorganisms, but most folks find chemical treatment or microfiltration more convenient. CAUTION Microfiltration alone will not remove viral pathogens, and halogen tablets cannot always be relied on to kill pathogenic cysts. The best approach? Belt-and-suspenders: use both.
OK. You've got your permit squared away and you're ready to make a list of all the gear you'll need on your trip. Here's a checklist to get you started. It does NOT include specialized whitewater, climbing, or rescue gear. Modify it as necessary. Season, personal preferences, group size, and destination will play a role in shaping your ultimate list. Have a great trip!