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February 11, 2014

Cuomo approves Essex Chain Lakes classification

RAY BROOK — The Essex Chain Lakes property’s new land-use classification — now signed and sealed — will allow more public access.

In December, the Adirondack Park Agency presented Gov. Andrew Cuomo with a complex map allowing varied uses connected by a Wild Forest corridor.

SNOWMOBILE ACCESS

Built largely along a heavily used logging road, the Wild Forest lane connects the Town of Newcomb with Indian Lake and Minerva.

The varied mix of land use allows Primitive, Wild Forest and Wilderness access to some 42,000 acres encompassing a chain of previously inaccessible lakes.

As Primitive, the Essex Chain waterway won’t be open for motorboats. 

But the narrow band of Wild Forest below it creates a sheltered passage for mountain bikes and snowmobiles. 

Final details of the plan, such as boat-launch locations, parking and camping areas, will be mapped out by the State Department of Environmental Conservation as it creates unit management plans.

The land was formerly part of timber holdings owned by the Finch, Pruyn & Co. paper company.

MOMENTUS

Cuomo said this marks a momentous occasion for New York’s history and landscape.

“The addition of thousands of acres of land to the State Forest Preserve is a major step in both protecting and preserving the Adirondack Park for future generations.

“At the same time,” he said in a news release, “this plan enhances the state’s efforts to attract more visitors to the Adirondacks and grow the region’s tourism industry and communities.”

His signatures completes the first portion of a plan to add 69,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn land to the Adirondack Park.

COMMON GROUND

Essex Chain Lakes was part of the large purchase the Nature Conservancy brokered in 2008 with intent to convey to the state.

In 2012, Cuomo announced the process would unfold over five years.

APA Chairwoman Leilani Ulrich said Cuomo’s approval marked an extraordinary moment in Adirondack Park history.

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