A draft plan for the Essex Chain Lakes Complex produced by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) calls for major back-country development in some of the most unique lands in the Adirondack Park, only recently acquired by the people of New York.
The plan for the Essex Chain Lakes Complex, located in the towns of Minerva, Newcomb, and Indian Lake, includes a snowmobile trail that would cross the Hudson River on the Polaris Bridge and the Cedar River on a newly constructed bridge; extensive mountain biking and equestrian trail networks; new ski trails, carry trails, and lean-tos; and expanded road access and parking areas. The proposal also seeks to maintain the Outer Gooley Club’s farmhouse building.
The plan for the Complex includes Unit Management Plans for the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area and the Pine Lake Primitive Area, and amendments to the Unit Management Plans for the Blue Mountain and Vanderwacker Mountain Wild Forests. The plan also includes River Area Management Plans for the Hudson and Cedar Rivers, as required by the Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers Act, and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
The Complex contains 18 water bodies totaling 785 acres, ranging in size from the three-acre Chub Pond to the 216-acre Third Lake. Ten miles of the Hudson River on the eastern boundary and four miles of the Cedar River in the southern section are of special interest to paddlers. There are currently 32 designated primitive tent sites in the Complex, 11 can only be accessed by paddling. Two campsites on First Lake and one on Pine Lake are reserved for customers of private float plane companies.
The draft Plan/DEIS is available on the DEC website here.
DEC is accepting public comments on the plan until July 27, 2015. Public hearings are scheduled for Tuesday, July 7, at 7 pm in the auditorium of the Newcomb Central School, and on Thursday, July 9 at 7 pm at the Indian Lake Theater.
Public comments should be sent by July 27 to Corrie O’Dea, Senior Forester, NYSDEC Lands & Forests, 232 Golf Course Road, Warrensburg, NY 12885 or via email to R5.UMP@dec.ny.gov.
Map provided by DEC.