The post Boy Scout years

The prior page focused on the deterioration and eventual demolition of the Cokendall Lodge, but that was not the only change following the sale of the property to New York State.

As mentioned, the state ran a Youth Conservation Corps camp for one summer than let the property sit idle without a caretaker or any sort of security. The vandals that wreaked havoc on the lodge did the same to the rest of the buildings, including the former Trading Post and a fish hatchery that was located just downstream of the dam. Everything of value was ripped out and the buildings suffered extensive damage.

Bill Throop explores the ruins of the Trading Post (1988)

Bill Throop explores the ruins of the Trading Post (1988)

In 1997, the state added Alder Lake to a local hiking system, with a new lean-to built close to the lake to shelter hikers from the frequent storms experienced in the Catskills. The new lean-to is a good addition, for hikers can no longer take refuge in the Trading Post. The building is completely gone. In 1988, all that remained was the concrete slab and fireplace seen here. There were signs of a fire, though, with charred pieces of roof shingles and bits of wood laying about. I have been told that the building accidentally burned down when some hunters were camping there, but have also been told it was caused by vandals, and in a third story, was supposedly burned down by the local fire department in a training exercise to help remove it for the state. In any case the loss of the building was a shame, for it could have been a great value to the state park system. By 1998, the slab had gone as well. I'm not sure when the fish hatchery was demolished but it is long gone these days, with a few bits of the foundation all that remains.

Happily all of the news about Alder Lake is not negative. The local trail system has been expanded and the lake is now a popular spot for those enjoying hikes in the area. There are 7-9 campsites available for use on a first-come, first-served basis, and there are trout out in the lake, with a limit of three per day. All of the camping and fishing regulations can readily be found online.

At some point the dam that was there during the Boy Scout days was replaced with a more elaborate structure, with an additional $500,000 spent by the county in 2014 to better prepare the area for possible future floods. The entrance road has been improved and there is now a small parking lot for those that drive in. The route is barely marked, though, so you may get lost at first - please watch for the "No Trespassing" signs on adjacent properties. The last few times I have been there a portable toilet has been available, but you may want to bring paper...

Picnic area in front of the lodge ruins (2009)

Picnic area in front of the lodge ruins (2009)

A panorama view of Alder Lake from the dam (2009)

A panorama view of Alder Lake from the dam (2009)

Wildflowers near the old Trading Post site (2009)

Wildflowers near the old Trading Post site (2009)

Alder Lake is a wonderful spot to visit, and if you get there at the right time of year there are plenty of wild raspberries to munch on as you roam around. There's a beautiful variety of wildflowers throughout the spring and summer, and the fall foliage can be spectacular. Treat yourself to a visit!

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