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Capsized canoers didn’t have permit

July 27, 2012
By MIKE LYNCH - Outdoors Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - A group of paddlers that capsized in Middle Saranac Lake on July 17 didn't have one of the permits required for a such a large group traveling in the Adirondack backcountry, according to state Department of Environmental Conservation spokesman Dave Winchell.

The group of roughly 30 people should have had a temporary revocable permit, Winchell told the Enterprise in an email.

"This regulation is fairly new and not well known," Winchell wrote. "We will not be ticketing this group, but we will educate them that a TRP is needed for future trips that include more than 20 people."

The group was from Vovcha Tropa, a children's camp in East Chatham owned by Plast, the Ukrainian equivalent of the Boy Scouts of America. Vovcha Tropa also had another group of roughly 30 paddlers on the water during the same period. The second group was scheduled to camp on Oseetah Lake Tuesday night but were pulled off out of the woods after the other group had to be rescued.

A representative of Vovcha Tropa told the Enterprise after the accident that the kids who attend the camp are from the Tri-State area: New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The majority of the group's 15 canoes capsized in the late afternoon of July 17 due to strong winds from severe storms rolling through the area. After capsizing, the group members were able to get to a nearby shore. They were later rescued by the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department and at least one forest ranger. A few of the campers were treated for minor injuries.

Winchell said the purpose of the TRP is mainly to regulate competitive sports events and large events of more than 100 people on state lands. Groups between 20 and 50 receive a expedited TRP so the DEC can monitor the usage and its impacts.

"A group of this size can get an expedited TRP which requires no fees or proof of insurance," Winchell said.

The group didn't need a camping permit, which is required for groups of 10 or more on the Forest Preserve, because they were planning to spend the night at five reserved sites on Middle Saranac Lake, which is part of the Saranac Lake Islands Campground, run by the DEC.



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