Local News

August 27, 2013

Creating Wilderness boundaries


And Indian Lake maintains that the existing Gooley farmhouse, built in the 19th century, is eligible for addition to the New York State Register of Historic Places. That structure, too, is situated deep inside the Essex Chain Lakes Tract. If land under it is classified Wilderness, the building would have to be removed.


Despite “non-conforming” access rights, a coalition of environmental groups wants Essex Chain Lakes kept free from motorized traffic.

In a joint press statement endorsed by nine separate groups, Adirondack Mountain Club Executive Director Neil F. Woodworth reported a “4-to-1 ratio of (public hearing) comments” sought to make the Essex Chain of Lakes “motor-free.” 

Woodworth said this ratio “demonstrates that prospective users comprehend that the fragile ecology and fishery of these 10 small lakes and ponds would be exposed to invasive species, overuse and the loss of remoteness and quiet if floatplanes, motorboats and all-terrain vehicles are permitted.”


Of the eight land-use plans developed by APA, environmentalists widely support option 1A, which would establish a Wild Forest region north of the Essex Chain Lakes, terminating at their northern shores, where Wilderness would begin.

Inside Wilderness, the lakes would not be opened for motorized access.

In an interview Friday, Adirondack Council Executive Director Willie Janeway said Wilderness classification would not limit public access.

But, he said, where APA puts the Wilderness boundaries is critical.

“The key question appears to be where the Wilderness boundary will be located. Will it be limited to the Hudson Gorge? Or will it include the Essex Chain Lakes, protecting them in perpetuity? 

“We believe the Wilderness on the lakes will be the best for the economic value to towns and to the ecological value of the Adirondacks.”

The towns see value from a different angle.

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