Posts Tagged ‘Essex Chain of Lakes’

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Are New State Land Classifications A Done Deal?

Essex ChainIt sure seems like a done deal.

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) has promulgated seven “alternatives” for public hearing for the official classification of new and existing Forest Preserve lands on the Hudson River and around the Essex Chain Lakes. But these public hearings seem like pure theater because one of the alternatives is the preferred option of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and it sure seems like a sure thing that the APA will end up approving the DEC’s plan.

The DEC’s preferred option is alternative 4b [pdf] in the APA classification package, centered on a “Wild Forest Special Management Area” around the Essex Chain Lakes. The other six alternatives, which include two Wilderness options, one Primitive option, two Canoe options and one other Wild Forest option for the Essex Chain Lakes, are mere props to the DEC’s preferred alternative. These six alternatives were created by the APA staff through the usual process, but in reality they all revolve around the DEC preferred option like planets around the sun. (In the interest of full disclosure Protect the Adirondacks supports alternative 1a.) » Continue Reading.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Hearings On New State Lands to Begin June 12

Essex ChainThe Adirondack Park Agency will kick off on June 12 a series of public hearings on the use and management of 22,500 acres of new state land, including the Essex Chain Lakes and parts of the Hudson River.

After the hearings, the APA will decide how to classify the lands—a decision that will affect how people can recreate and how accessible the lands will be. The state recently bought the former Finch, Pruyn timberlands from the Nature Conservancy.
» Continue Reading.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Finch Lands Public Hearings Planned

Essex Chain and nearby ponds (Photo by Carl Heilman)The Adirondack Park Agency board voted Friday to schedule public hearings on seven options for classifying about 22,500 acres formerly owned by Finch, Pruyn & Company as well as up to 25,300 acres of adjacent Forest Preserve.

The APA has yet to determine the dates and locales, but the hearings likely will take place in June and July in several communities around the state, including hamlets inside the Park.

The agency could vote on a preferred option as early as its August meeting.

The pending classification of the former Finch lands already has sparked disagreement among the Park’s various factions. At stake is the degree of access to the Essex Chain Lakes, a string of connect pond in the interior, and to takeouts on the Hudson River.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Adirondack Wild Seeks ‘Wild Rivers Wilderness’

essexchainAdirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve is proposing newly acquired Forest Preserve in Newcomb and Minerva to be classified Wilderness in honor of one of the Park’s most influential conservation leaders of the 20th century.

The group wants New York State to recognize Paul Schaefer’s historic legacy of protecting the Upper Hudson River by advocating for a Paul Schaefer Wild Rivers Wilderness that is inclusive of the recently acquired Essex Chain of Lakes-Cedar River tract (13,000 acres), Hudson River Stillwater tract (5,000 acres), the Indian River tract (1,400 acres), and the OK Slip Falls tract (2,800 acres).
» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

APA Lays Out Options For New State Lands

Wilderness mapThe staff of the Adirondack Park Agency has proposed seven options for the classification of 22,538 acres of former Finch, Pruyn & Company lands recently acquired by the state, all calling for the creation of a Hudson Gorge Wilderness.

The size of the new Wilderness Area—which would require the reclassification of lands already in the Forest Preserve—would range from 18,829 acres to 45,347 acres, depending on the option.

Under six of the proposals, the Wilderness Area would extend from just south of Newcomb through the Hudson Gorge to just north of the hamlet of North River. Under the other proposal, part of the river corridor would instead be classified a Canoe Area.

Because motorized use is forbidden in Wilderness Areas, local governments often oppose such a classification in favor of Wild Forest, which is less restrictive.  However, Fred Monroe, executive director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, thinks local officials can accept the creation of a Hudson Gorge Wilderness. The battle, he said, is likely to be waged over the classification of the nearby Essex Chain of Lakes and the degree of motorized access to both the Essex Chain and the Hudson. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ex-DEC Official Disagrees With Essex Chain Plan

Essex Chain and nearby ponds (Photo by Carl Heilman)A former top official in the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) says the department’s proposal for managing the Essex Chain of Lakes will jeopardize the region’s natural resources.

In the May/June issue of the Adirondack Explorer, Christopher Amato calls for classifying the Essex Chain as a Canoe Area, a designation that would prohibit the public use of motorboats, floatplanes, and motor vehicles. DEC has proposed classifying the area as Wild Forest, which would permit motorized access.

Amato’s proposal is closer in spirit to proposals by the Adirondack Council and Protect the Adirondacks to classify all or most of the tract as Wilderness. Motorized use is also prohibited in Wilderness Areas. But Amato, who served as DEC’s assistant commissioner for natural resources from 2007 to 2011, contends that the Canoe designation is a better fit.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Debate Continues Over Motors On New State Lands

Essex Chain and nearby ponds (Photo by Carl Heilman)

  Essex Chain (Carl Heilman Photo). 

More than five years after the Nature Conservancy bought all 161,000 acres of Finch, Pruyn & Company’s timberlands, the state has acquired eighteen thousand acres for the Forest Preserve and intends to open up some of the land to the public this spring.

As a result of the state acquisition in December, canoeists and kayakers will be able to paddle south on the Hudson River from Newcomb to a takeout just south of the confluence with the Goodnow River.

Wayne Failing, a longtime fishing and rafting guide, describes the six-mile stretch as a mix of flatwater and mild rapids in a wild setting. “It’s a fabulous section,” he said. “I’ve done the trip many times.” » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Essex Chain of Lakes and the State Land Master Plan

Third Lake, Essex ChainThe Department of Environmental Conservation has recommended that the new Forest Preserve acquisition at the Essex Chain of Lakes be classified Wild Forest, while the Upper Hudson River just to the east become part of a river corridor Wilderness. Several organizations previously submitted ideas for how these landscapes should be classified.

The APA is now charged with preparing classification documents for 18,000-acres comprising the Essex Chain of Lakes, and Upper Hudson tracts. Those classification documents will be subject to the State Environmental Quality Review Act and must involve public hearings and a public comment period. It will prove most interesting to see if APA acts with the independence it has in law, respects the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, and acts contrary to DEC recommendations on the Essex Chain of Lakes. » Continue Reading.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Phil Brown: Mountain Bikes and Wilderness

essex map croppedGenerally, I regard the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan as a sound document, but when it comes to mountain bikes I have some qualms. It seems to pit environmentalists against bikers, and the bikers I know consider themselves environmentalists.

I thought of this while reviewing the state’s proposals for the classification and management of the former Finch, Pruyn & Company lands.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is recommending that bikers be allowed to ride on a network of dirt roads in the Essex Chain of Lakes area and on the access road to the Boreas Ponds Tract (known as Gulf Brook Road). » Continue Reading.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Protect’s Vision for Former Finch Pruyn Lands

Protect Upper Hudson mapProtect the Adirondacks has come up with a vision for the former Finch, Pruyn lands that is at odds with the management plan proposed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Essentially, Protect wants more land classified as Wilderness.

The biggest difference is that Protect wants the Essex Chain of Lakes to be included in a 39,000-acre Upper Hudson Wilderness Area. The Wilderness Area would encompass lands that the state owns or intends to acquire over the next several years, including OK Slip Falls and the Hudson Gorge.

As I reported here this week, DEC proposes to classify the Essex Chain Wild Forest. Given this classification, DEC intends to keep open several interior roads, permit floatplanes to land on Third Lake in the Essex Chain (only during mud season), and allow mountain bikers to ride on a network of dirt roads in the vicinity of the chain—all of which would be banned under a Wilderness designation. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

DEC Plan for Former Finch Lands Unveiled

essex classification map - hi resThe state Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing to classify the Essex Chain of Lakes and the surrounding landscape Wild Forest, a designation that environmental activists contend will allow too much motorized access.

Under DEC’s proposal, 13,000 of the Essex Chain Tract’s 18,000 acres would be classified Wild Forest. It would be called the Essex Chain Canoe Recreation Area. The other 5,000 acres, in the vicinity of the Hudson River, would become part of a Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area. The Wilderness Area would incorporate other lands that the state owns or intends to buy.

The Adirondack Council, Protect the Adirondacks, and the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) all want to see the bulk of the Essex Chain Tract classified Wilderness. (Click here to read about the council’s and Protect’s rival visions for the tract.) The major difference between Wilderness and Wild Forest is that motorized use is forbidden in Wilderness Areas. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stretch of Upper Hudson Will Open This Spring

Essex-Chain-map1Starting this spring, paddlers will be able to travel down the Hudson River from Newcomb and take out on lands newly acquired by the state.

The takeout will be at an iron bridge just downstream from the confluence with the Goodnow River, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. From the town beach in Newcomb it’s roughly seven miles to the mouth of the Goodnow.

The stretch includes several mild rapids. The significance of the takeout is that it will open the Hudson to paddlers who don’t have the skills or inclination to continue downriver through the heavy whitewater of the Hudson Gorge. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Competing Wilderness Proposals

Adirondack Council proposal for Wild Rivers WildernessThe state has yet to purchase the Essex Chain of Lakes, but two environmental organizations already have proposals to establish Wilderness Areas in the region.

This month, Protect the Adirondacks urged the state to create an Upper Hudson Wilderness Area, combining twenty thousand acres of existing Forest Preserve and nineteen thousand acres once owned by Finch, Pruyn & Company—a total of thirty-nine thousand acres.

The Adirondack Council beat Protect to the punch by two decades. In 1990, the council recommended establishing a 72,480-acre Wild Rivers Wilderness if the land became available. Spokesman John Sheehan says the council still stands behind that proposal.
» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New Upper Hudson Wilderness Area Proposed

Protect the Adirondacks has released a proposal calling for the creation of a new 39,000-acre Upper Hudson River Wilderness Area. This proposed new Wilderness Area would be centered on 22 miles of the Upper Hudson River that stretches from the Town of Newcomb to North River and would include over five miles of the Cedar River and four miles of the Indian River as well as dozens of other lakes and ponds.

The new Wilderness Area would be created from roughly 19,000 acres of former Finch Paper lands to be purchased by the State of New York from The Nature Conservancy and 20,000 acres of existing Forest Preserve lands in the Hudson Gorge Primitive Area (17,000 acres) and in the Blue Mountain and Vanderwhacker Wild Forest Areas (3,000 acres). » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Stories About The New State Lands You May Have Missed

One month ago, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York State  will acquire 69,000 acres of the former Finch Pruyn and other Nature Conservancy lands throughout the Adirondacks over the next five years, including such long-sought after tracts as the Essex Chain Lakes, Boreas Ponds, and OK Slip Falls.

The land acquisition is the largest single addition to the Adirondack Forest Preserve in more than a century, opens some lands that have been closed to the public for more than 150 years, and provide new opportunities for remote communities like Newcomb.  Adirondack Almanack contributors have been considering what the new state lands means to our communities, wildlife, economies, and more, in a series of stories about the new lands you may have missed. » Continue Reading.


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