RAY BROOK — Public use of new state land is up for Adirondack Park Agency review this week.
Four parcels of former Finch, Pruyn & Co. land around upper reaches of the Hudson, Cedar and Indian Rivers are being classified under the State Land Master Plan.
In a “preferred alternative” — one of five possible scenarios — APA staff are looking to designate some of the former Finch, Pruyn property as Wilderness, conjoining it with existing Hudson Gorge lands to the south.
The Hudson Gorge would be reclassified in the process, changed from Primitive to the more restrictive Wilderness use, encompassing the newly acquired OK Slip Falls parcel.
A northernmost swath of the 18,230-acre Essex Chain Lakes parcel would be set aside as Primitive, meaning no motorized boat access to most of the area’s lakes and ponds.
A large eastern section of Essex Chain land would be recombined with existing Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest. And a large western section would be melded to Blue Mountain Wild Forest.
A thin boundary of Unclassified land in the preferred alternative connects all four quadrants, which are centered loosely on the confluence of the Indian and Hudson rivers.
The Unclassified border would divide northern Primitive from southern Wilderness regions and connect Wild Forest regions east and west, giving gradual entry to backcountry wild lands.
The unique Unclassified border accounts for easements on existing roads, linking the towns of Indian Lake, Newcomb and Minerva.
In an interview Monday with the Press-Republican, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said APA’s proposed progression from Wild Forest to Primitive to Wilderness lends itself to access.
“This kind of stacks up how you transition from settled to wilderness areas,” he said.
“The experience of people coming into the Park is: You don’t go from the edge of civilization to wilderness. There were several high-level goals the governor (Andrew Cuomo) articulated when we bought the property.