Laugh of the Wild

Viewing Loons in New York

In New York, loons are restricted to the Adirondacks, where Stillwater Reservoir in Herkimer County has between five and sixteen pairs, the highest concentration in the state. Researchers have found that the construction of artificial dams in the Adirondacks, like Stillwater, has greatly benefited nesting loons, even at a time when loon populations have declined significantly in most of the rest of the region.

Stillwater is a popular (perhaps overly popular) recreational lake, especially on weekends when lines of motorboats wait to launch at the west edge. But a system of lakeside campsites around the giant impoundment allows a visitor to escape to a quiet cove where the evening is alive with loonsong. To reach Stillwater from the west, take Route 12/26 North to Lowville; from the light at the 12/26 juncture, go .4 mile and make a right onto River Street, then drive 4.4 miles and turn left at the sign for Stillwater. This is Number Four Road, which leads 14 miles to the hamlet of Number Four; make a right onto Stillwater Road and go another 9 miles to the boat launch area. Half a mile before the launch is a road leading to the right, which skirts the southern edge of the reservoir for about 4 miles.

Coming to Stillwater from the central Adirondacks, take Route 28 to the town of Eagle Lake and turn west onto Big Moose Road. Go 6 miles and turn left at the T-intersection, then go another 2 miles to Big Moose Station. The road becomes dirt for the next 10.5 miles, ending at the junction with Stillwater Road a half-mile from the boat launch.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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