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January 27, 2013

What's next for Former Finch Lands?

The first leg of New York state’s purchase of the former Finch Pruyn lands was completed this past December when the state paid The Nature Conservancy roughly $12 million dollars for the Essex Chain of Lakes and land along the Hudson River in the central Adirondacks, more than 18,000 acres. Gov.Andrew Cuomo announced last summer that the eventual purchase totaling 69,000 acres would be made incrementally. He also said this area in the towns of Newcomb, Minerva and Indian Lake would go first, and it did.

In recent meetings with sportsmen’s groups and other stakeholders, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Regional Natural Resource Supervisor Tom Martin, who works out of DEC’s Ray Brook office, offered possible future classification and recreational scenarios for these lands. It should be pointed out that these are only ideas, not official proposals, and are just the beginning of the process of figuring out the future for these lands, some of which could open up to the public this Spring.

A Wilderness classification forbids motorized access while a Wild Forest classification allows for some of it, including snowmobiling. In the end classification usually equates to access. Martin’s presentation of DEC’s ideas had something for everyone.

For the Essex Chain of lakes DEC would like to provide small boat access, including for the disabled. Martin says that Cornell Road is a travel route on the northwest end of this tract that currently serves as the border between the fee and easement lands. Already an easement right-of-way and a snowmobile trail, in warm weather the road would provide motorized access to the vicinity of Deer Pond. “We’d get the public within about a quarter of a mile or so,” said Martin of Deer Pond. “We’ll build a parking lot and a carry trail down to Deer, a carry trail from Deer over to Mud (Pond) and then one to Third Lake. In addition to that we (could) allow folks with disabilities to continue on this road to the causeway between Fourth and Fifth Lake.”

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