This is not another viewpoint on the Essex Chain, but a story from the past. In 1897 the state announced its intent to acquire two Totten and Crossfield townships located near Indian Lake; and like the modern Finch Pruyn acquisition that was recently consummated, this one was hailed as a landmark purchase full of benefits to the state. Then its flaws became exposed. More than simply sparking a debate over which land use would best benefit the local economy, this purchase directly impacted dozens of families—and it took more than two decades to resolve most of the issues. Some aspects of the purchase remain legal anomalies today. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘Indian River’
Three college students have studied the various issues pertaining to classification and come up with their own recommendation: designate the tract Wild Forest with special restrictions.
The students—Azaria Bower, Kayla Bartheleme, and Erin Ulcickas—collaborated on the project this fall during their semester at the Newcomb campus of the State University College of Environmental Science and Forestry. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting at its Headquarters in Ray Brook on Thursday, August 8 and Friday August 9, 2013. At the top of its agenda will be deliberations on the classification of newly acquired state lands. These new Forest Preserve lands are located in the Towns of Minerva and Newcomb, in Essex County, and Indian Lake, Hamilton County, including the Essex Chain Lakes, Indian River and OK Slip Falls parcels. The meeting will be webcast live (streaming details and the full agenda are below).
The APA will also welcome two new Board members. In June, the New York State Senate confirmed Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s nominations of Karen Feldman and Daniel Wilt. The Senate also re-confirmed the Governor’s nomination of Leilani Crafts Ulrich to serve as Chairwoman of the Adirondack Park Agency. Leilani Crafts Ulrich was the first woman to serve as Chair of the Adirondack Park Agency when Governor Cuomo nominated her for this distinction in November 2011. » Continue Reading.
Like many readers of the Adirondack Almanack, I have been closely following the public meetings, discussions, editorials, and position statements concerning the land use proposals for the former Finch-Pruyn lands encompassing the Essex Chain of Lakes and the Upper Hudson River. I do have my favored position, as does everyone who loves and appreciates the Adirondacks. But my intent here is to talk about the “near losses”. That is to say the geographic area of our concern, over the many years, would have been very different, if a few politicians, and engineers had their way.
Of course a near loss would have been if the State of New York had not purchased the land from the Nature Conservancy. Another near loss would have been if the Nature Conservancy had not purchased the property form the Finch-Pruyn Paper Company in the first place. The citizens of New York State could have lost it all.
But there was another potential loss, in the mid-to-late 1960’s that would have mooted all of the present discussions. There was a plan to dam the Upper Hudson in order to supply water and hydro-electric power to the parched, urban, metropolitan area of New York City. » Continue Reading.
The 15-mile flat-water canoe race, dubbed the Adirondack Challenge, may be the cause for all the commotion happening around Indian Lake and beyond, but it is the full two weeks of daily events that are bringing people from far and wide to these quiet Central Adirondack hamlets.
Indian Lake’s Adirondack Challenge consists only partly of Governor Cuomo’s Invitational Whitewater Race for state and local elected officials. The other component is the Flat Water Race, organized by MAC’s Canoe, for professional and amateur four-person teams competing for a cash purse. Preregistration closed Mondy for the July 21st race starting from the NYSDEC Indian Lake Island Campground boat launch. » Continue Reading.
New Yorkers have recently come into ownership of nine more miles of the Upper Hudson River and adjoining lakes and tributaries to the west amounting to about 20,000 acres. In addition to the incredible ecological variety and richness, the public has also gained new, strategic points from which canoeists and rafters can exit the river before the truly big rapids begin at Cedar Ledges below the confluence with the Indian River.
In early July I went to see one of those exit points and the new canoe carry at the former outer Gooley Club north of Indian Lake, once leased by Finch, Pruyn. I then walked further down the Chain Lakes Road to see what the Gooley Club structure looks like. It is apparently eligible for listing on the State or National Register. Then, I walked further north on the former logging road to see what I could see. » Continue Reading.
Adirondack 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.
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.
Rory Fay, 37, of North Creek admitted he was drunk when he and the client, Tamara Blake, 53, of Columbus, Ohio, fell out of the raft on the morning of September 27. Blake’s boyfriend stayed in the raft and paddled to shore. Fay also managed to get to shore. Blake’s body was found five miles downstream in the Hudson River.
Fay, who worked for Hudson River Rafting Company, pleaded guilty in November to criminally negligent homicide, a felony, as well as two misdemeanors, driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. » Continue Reading.
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.
Pat Cunningham, the owner of Hudson River Rafting Company, had been indicted on two misdemeanor reckless-endangerment charges stemming from separate incidents in August 2010. One of the charges was dismissed because the witnesses did not want to testify, according to Marsha Purdue, the county’s district attorney. » Continue Reading.
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.
The owner of the Hudson River Rafting Company said today he couldn’t comment on a fatal accident on the Indian River last week other than to assert that he did not know if the employee guiding the raft was intoxicated.
“We had no idea he was drunk,” Pat Cunningham said, “and I don’t know all that happened.”
State Police say the guide, Rory Fay of North Creek, was indeed intoxicated when he undertook the whitewater trip last Thursday morning. They arrested him on a charge of criminally negligent homicide, a class E felony. » Continue Reading.
The West Canada Lake Wilderness deserves our respect. It is the second-largest officially designated Wilderness Area in the Adirondack Park (after the High Peaks Wilderness). As such, it’s a place where you can wander for days without seeing another soul.
This magnificent region encompasses 171,308 acres, with elevations ranging from 1,390 to 3,899 feet (on Snowy Mountain). It boasts 163 lakes and ponds and is the source of three major rivers (Indian River, Cedar River, and, naturally, West Canada Creek). The Northville-Placid Trail cuts through the heart of tract. All told, there are sixty-seven miles of trails and sixteen lean-tos.
Here’s another fact: its name makes no sense.
There is no West Canada Lake. Presumably, the tract’s name is an errant reference to the West Canada Lakes (plural). These three neighbors, West Lake, Mud Lake, and South Lake, are the source of West Canada Creek.
The West Canada Lakes are clearly labeled on topographical maps, including the old one shown above.
So what must be done to correct this mistake?
Keith McKeever, spokesman for the Adirondack Park Agency, said the APA would have to amend the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. This is a long, costly process that would require public hearings, the approval of the APA board, and the governor’s signature.
Something tells me the governor has other priorities. However, it’s fairly common for the APA to amend the plan for more substantial reasons, and McKeever said a change in the name of the West Canada Lake Wilderness could piggyback on other amendments.
I hope the APA cares enough to correct the name. Frankly, I would think they would jump at the chance to make a decision that doesn’t result in a lawsuit or ignite a brouhaha.
Incidentally, for those interested in toponyms, McKeever passed along this excerpt from David Beetle’s book The West Canada Creek: “The West Canada Creek got its name from being the western boundary of Sir William Johnson’s Royal Land Grant, and because the Iroquois word for village is ‘Kanata’ or Canada.”
Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.
A summer day. The road to the Moose River Plains from Limekiln Lake is free of traffic this morning, the sun’s rays have not yet turned the evening dew to dust. As I drive down the shaded road I think about the work of local people from Inlet who dug and placed sand on these roads to give the heavy logging trucks enough traction on the steep sections.
Dick Payne, former Inlet Police Chief, left me memorable impressions of working the Plains in the “old days.” Since 1964 when the Gould Paper Company sold this land to the people of the State, the land is Forest Preserve. As the cicadas begin to whine from the trees, I try to remember another group who hiked in via the Red River valley to discover what was at risk from the Higley and Panther Mountain Dams on the South Branch of the Moose River. » Continue Reading.