HOW TO GET THERE
Papish Pond Multiple Use Area
Beach Rd. Cincinnatus, NY
Tucked away in the southeastern corner of Cortland County is Papish Pond. Often considered a part of Gee Brook State Forest, as they are so nearby one another, Papish Pond Multiple Use Area is located just 6 miles outside the town of Cincinnatus. The pond and surrounding forest are open to the public at no charge. The hand launch is located directly off of Beach Road. There are no amenities on the premises, so be sure to practice Leave No Trace principles. The DEC asks that you properly disinfect your boat before and after to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. DEC Procedures To Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Papish Pond is the only public body of water in Cortland County that remains entirely undeveloped. It is a 38-acre pond boasting 1.1 miles of wild shoreline. With a maximum depth of only 16 feet, its warm waters provide an excellent incubator for the verdant aquatic garden. Gas motors are forbidden on Papish Pond, making its calm waters perfect for the kayaking and paddle boarding enthusiast. While Papish Pond is not stocked, recent DEC surveys show bluegills and black crappies were the most abundant panfish observed and exhibited good to excellent condition, as most were of preferred size or larger. They also found largemouth bass and chain pickerel.
In the cool of the morning, I launched my kayak into a carpet of yellow and white water lilies and pointed my bow directly south, towards the open water on the far side of the pond. The rising sun poured golden ripples against the black waters as I slowly paddled, a haunting barred owl call echoing over me. Through Papish is a small pond; its pristine shores drew me out today. Not a house, dock, or beach in sight. Just one perfect mile of wild shoreline, and I had it all to myself. Periodically I'd hear a splash and quickly swivel my head, only to catch ripples. Lazily drifting in the pond's center, I watched as damsel flies rested on my paddle. I scanned the forest to see if I could spot what was rustling in the leaves. As I leaned forward, peering into the dark undergrowth, a pair of Canadain Geese took flight overhead, their honks making me nearly jump out of my boat!
Laughing, I finished making my way to the southern shore and marveled at all the wildflowers. Daisys, elderflowers, cattails, milkweed, and pickerel weed sway hypnotically in the breeze. There is a faint footpath here leading down to a shady fishing spot. The west side of the pond is littered with stumps and driftwood, enticing me to explore. Hoping to find turtles, instead, I discovered a small beaver lodge. Giving it a wide berth, I begin paddling back to the launch. It's then I spotted a colossal bever lodge, on the northernmost end of the pond, big enough to be a small island! I was so entranced with the lilies when I began my paddle I never looked over my shoulder to see it. Erring on the side of caution, I decided it was best to leave that end of the pond unexplored. Even forging the far banks of the north end of Papish Pond, I still managed to paddle more than a mile in my wandering, zig-zag route.
If you are someone who enjoys a peaceful paddle, full of lily pads and wildlife, surrounded by forest and meadow, Papish Pond is just the spot. Bring a picnic for a perfect afternoon.
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