Adirondacks State Park
The Stillwater Reservoir, located in the western Adirondacks, offers a multitude of recreational possibilities. They include remote wilderness camping, shoreline camping, canoeing, boating, fishing, hunting, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. The area receives considerable use during each of the four seasons.
Located in northern Herkimer County, the Stillwater Reservoir Boat Launch Site and Forest Ranger Headquarters can be reached by traveling easterly from Lowville or northerly from the Old Forge-Eagle Bay area.
To reach the Reservoir from Lowville, turn easterly off Route 12 in the center of the village onto River Street. After a short distance, River Street becomes the Number Four Road, which is followed 5.0 miles to the hamlet of Bushes Landing. At this point the Number Four Road turns to the left and continues 9 miles to the hamlet of the same name. At Number Four, turn right on the Stillwater Road which you will follow 8.6 miles to the Reservoir.
To reach the Reservoir from Eagle Bay, turn north off of Route 28 in the center of the hamlet onto Big Moose Road. At a point 6.5 miles from Eagle Bay; turn left at what is called the Glenmore Corner. In another 1.5 miles, the hamlet of Big Moose is reached. Here the macadam road ends, and a gravel road continues for another 10.0 miles to the Stillwater Road. At this point a right turn leads to the boat launch and the Forst Ranger Headquarters.
Designated Camping Sites
During recent years, the increase in popularity of the Stillwater Reservoir generated a serious threat to the environment due to heavy overuse. Many sites could no longer withstand the heavy camping pressure. Island and shoreline sites suffered from both soil compaction and vegetation destruction. Water quality was of continuing concern with large numbers of people camping too close to the water. The remote atmosphere once experienced here had been lost due to increased popularity and over-crowding during the peak seasons.
In an effort to alleviate some of the problems and preserve remote camping opportunities, campers are now required to use only designated sites, along the shoreline or to camp at least 150 feet inland from high watermark. The high watermark is generally that point where the sand beaches end and the forested or vegetative area begins. There are 46 such designated sites, which allow for a maximum of 361 campers. Camping possibilities here have not been reduced, but rather redistributed in an effort to minimize any adverse impact on the reservoir, while ensuring a quality experience.
Other Camping Possibilities
Camping beyond the 150-foot perimeter remains relatively unrestricted, except for Five Ponds Wilderness. That is, persons may use any site or open area for camping, provided it is more than 150 feet from the high watermark.
Surrounding the Stillwater Reservoir, there are two major areas: the Pepperbox and Five Ponds Wilderness areas and the Independence River Wild Forest.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication