NEWCOMB — For the first time in 100 years, the public can access, for recreational purposes, the Hudson and Cedar rivers within new lands recently added to the Forest Preserve.
Parking areas, public motor-vehicle access, a hiking route to Cedar River and waterway-access sites for non-motorized watercraft are available for public use on the 7,200 acres of land located in the towns of Newcomb, Minerva and Indian Lake.
The Essex Chain of Lakes Tract and the Indian River Tract are part of the former Finch, Pruyn & Co. lands purchased by New York state from the Nature Conservancy.
Signs and kiosks located at the boat launch in Newcomb and on the newly acquired properties provide information about the lands and the paddling and fishing opportunities now open to the public.
A map depicting the land, parking areas, hiking routes and access sites is posted on signs and information kiosks and is also available on the Department of Environmental Conservation website: dec.ny.gov.
“We are looking forward to the many visitors who will come to the area to enjoy this new recreational opportunity and the economic benefits they will bring to our community,” Newcomb Town Supervisor George Canon said in a news release from the Governor’s Office.
Adirondack Park Agency Chairwoman Lani Ulrich said it “truly is a historic land acquisition that will have long-lasting positive impacts on the environment and economy of the Adirondack Park.”
She noted that public hearings will be held to solicit input on proposed state land classifications.
The public access, provided through an Interim Access Plan, is temporary, allowing the public to enjoy the lands this summer and fall before final classification of the lands by the Adirondack Park Agency.
The APA has proposed seven possible land classifications for the Essex Chain Tract and surrounding lands. The proposed classifications and the schedule for public comment can be found on the APA website: apa.ny.gov.
Additional information on recreational opportunities on these and other lands can be found on the DEC Eastern Adirondacks Trail Information web page at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9199.html.