More than 11,000 acres of Adirondack lands opened for recreational use this week. It’s the first time the lands have been accessible to the public in over 100 years.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the land and waters of the Essex Chain of Lakes tract in the central Adirondacks obtained by the state from the Nature Conservancy had opened. The land will be managed under an interim plan pending final classification by the Department of Environmental Conservation.
Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve Partner Dan Plumley says for the time-being access is non-motorized.
Plumley, who supports a wilderness classification, adds that the primary issue now is monitoring for overuse.
The lands were obtained from Finch Pryn by the Nature Conservancy and then sold to New York State in 2012. Adirondack Nature Conservancy Executive Director Mike Carr agrees that pending classification of the lands, they must be carefully monitored.
Carr describes the opening as the beginning of Forever Wild in the Essex Chain of Lakes area. He says he’s not concerned that opening the lands prior to final classification will impact the process.
Opening the lands should be a boon for the towns and hamlets in the central Adirondacks, according to Town of Newcomb Supervisor George Cannon. He says the economy of five Adirondack towns depend on the final classification of the lands.
Recreational activities allowed on the newly-opened lands include hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing; hunting, and trapping; and fishing and paddling on the Essex Chain Lakes and other waters on the tract.
Calls to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Adirondack Park Agency were not returned in time for this broadcast.