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).

After the announcement by Governor Cuomo in August 2012 that the state would purchase 69,000 of former Finch Paper lands from The Nature Conservancy for addition to the Forest Preserve, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Adirondack Park Agency (APA) began planning for the classification of these new Forest Preserve lands.

The DEC has stated that the 69,000 acres will be purchased over the next five years. It is expected that the 22,000-acre Essex Chain Lakes tract will the first tract purchased. The purchase is expected to close in early 2013. The DEC has stated that it will move ahead with classification as each tract is purchased.

The new Upper Hudson Wilderness Area would also include much of the new Essex Chain Lakes lands to be acquired by the state within the next few months.

DEC has indicated that it plans to continue floatplane access to 1st and Pine Lakes, on the edge of the proposed new Wilderness Area, according to a statement issued by PROTECT. “PROTECT recognizes the established floatplane use on these lakes and has drawn the Wilderness Area boundary to classify those lakes as Wild Forest,” the organization’s statement said. “PROTECT also recognizes public interest in access to the Essex Chain Lake for canoe camping and has drawn its Wilderness boundary for road access to this area through conservation easement and Wild Forest lands. The northern Wilderness boundary along the Essex Chain Lakes also provides good opportunities for disabled access camp sites and recreational experiences. Wild Forest corridors are also proposed to provide access to the Hudson for launching/take-outs as well as emergency services at the north and south ends. These road corridors will also provide access to lands, especially during hunting season.”

PROTECT also says it believes the new Wilderness Area would enhance Hudson River-Indian River whitewater rafting by managing the Hudson as an integrated resource and by providing improved day use and camping opportunities in the Hudson River Gorge. “An Upper Hudson River Wilderness will protect the whitewater rafting industry over the long-term. This industry has proven to be highly successful as well as sustainable and provides terrific opportunities and wild river experiences for visitors to the Adirondack Park,” Peter Bauer said.

The new Upper Hudson Wilderness Area would be larger than nine other Wilderness Areas in the Adirondack Park.

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com.

21 Responses

  1. Solidago says:

    Nice! But I’m kind of surprised it is less than a third of the new acquisition and they are carving out big chunks for motorized access. Is this the first big proposal under Peter Bauer? Might they be moving in a more cooperative direction?

  2. guest says:


  3. Paul says:

    I am proposing it be the Upper Hudson Wild Forest. I will have my press release ready later today! Seriously, does it matter what these guys propose? Last time I checked it was NYS that classifies Forest Preserve land.

  4. Paul says:

    Also, you can’t classify what you don’t yet own. It sounds like these lands will be getting a lot more use (and probably abuse) no matter how they are classified. But you never know. Some of these other recent acquisitions haven’t attracted too many new users. These lands may be different. I hope that is the case for some of the local towns they are counting on these lands helping them out economically.

  5. guest says:

    There is a fixed number of miles available for vehicular use in the Forest Preserve, and it is maxxed out now. What vehicle trails in other Wild Forest areas do they recommend closing?

    • Paul says:

      What are you talking about? There is a fixed number for snowmobile trails, but I don’t think it is maxed out? Why can’t they have more roads??

      • guest says:

        It’s something like 841.14 miles or roads for vehicular use. They have achieved that limit. They will have to close other roads in order to open new ones.

  6. guest says:

    I shared this with a friend of mine who is familiar with the area. He says this:
    “They have no excuse talking about access to the navigable Hudson waterway as that is and has been forever available by non-state restricted lands from Newcomb and Indian Lake, and the only way the Indian River is raftable is from the bubble Indian Lake charges rafters to let water out of the Lake Abanakee dam. You know there is no road access to the Cedar-Hudson junction and poor rafting if any on the Cedar where accessable from the Round Top road. ”

    For what it’s worth, I’ve WALKED down the Cedar to the Hudson. You can’t float a kayak in most places., and the banks are too steep to egress.

    I think someone ought to have a serious look at the area and stop all this silly daydreaming. The State isn’t getting what they paid for, and they don’t realize it yet.

  7. Moose says:

    Wilderness is best management practice. Dont build anything, Don’t do anything, leave it alone! Why is access the new code for “I want to get there with a motor!”

  8. Big Burly says:

    All this is interesting in that Peter Bauer’s father in law is/was a member of the Gooley Club that leased most of the lands described and for many decades were great stewards of the lands and waters.
    The Cedar River camp was a great place to retire to after a long day of trekking the woods for your deer — food was always better tho’ at the main camp.
    For the public, there will never be those memories when these lands become part of the Forest Preserve.

    • John Warren says:

      “For the public, there will never be those memories” – huh? the public never got to have those memories, only the private members did.

  9. TiSentinel65 says:

    Only when the state releases the proposed Unit Management Plan will the real fighting begin. Protects proposal looks like a real compromise that people could easily support. This seems like a little softening of some of their harder stances, but will probably help their goals in the long run. A maturing of an Adirondack environmental group?….. Say it isn’t so.

  10. Wally Elton says:

    People who don’t think it matters what citizen groups propose don’t understand the history of the Adirondacks or the workings of the democracy in which they live.

  11. Phil says:

    John Warren stated that the public never got to have those memories… what do you think the Gooley Club is made of space aliens. We are the public…we are sometimes made out to be super rich or elite but that is far from the truth. We are Doctors, lawyers and judges but we are also cops, fireman, construction workers, farmers, teachers and whatever occupation that you care to name. The one thing we share is a common love for the outdoors. I worked a long time before I could join and I love bringing my kids up there to be a part of something they normally would not see. The other beauty of a place like that is that once you enter the gate you are none of those things that I mentioned. You are a stand hunter or you like to do drives.. you fly fish or you troll for salmon. You can’t hit the broad side of a barn or you get your deer every year. No one cares what you are on the outside only how you behave on the inside. We have also taken car of that land like it is our very own. There are a lot of ashes spread over that land because so many who have gone before had a deep love for it. So you see Mr Warren we are as much of the public as any one only we have put our money and time in to be able to get those memories.

    • Sven says:

      Nice spin mr smarty pants elietest! I believe you know “Public” in this sense means “all”. Hope you enjoyed you club! Soon it will be part of the public club called the Forest Preserve!

  12. Phil says:

    I guess you are part of the little league generation that got a trophy for just participating. Heaven forbid you actually worked for something. Calling me whatever the word you used is far from accurate. I worked to belong to a place that I thought was great. I did not wait for the state to hand it to me. Since I was part of it I also took care of it. Wait to you see what happens to your public club after the public gets through with it.

  13. Woody says:

    I would be all for keeping the Gooley Club intact if is wasn’t for the crazy “mine mine mine” land possession attitude. In my opinion keeping large tracts private is not right but there is too much money involved now for significant change. It is unfathomably nice to not have to deal with the public/private access issue.

    How to make people have to work for it: close down the roads and keep the motors out. Allow the same flyins for the heck of it. Require people to get in and out under their own power. The farther you get from easy access the less ADK Pig sign you will find. Do some actual forestry management (yeilds logs and deer food) and dump the money back into the conservation fund.

  14. Phil says:

    I really don’t understand the “mine, mine, mine” statement. The Gooley club and other hunting clubs started because it was mutally beneficial for the paper companies and the clubs. The clubs helped with the taxes and upkeep of the land and they got to use the land for the hunting and fishing. They state( taxpayers) is going to buy land they don’t have money for, espcially after Sandy. The state also does not have the resources to take care of the land.

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