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Essex Chain Lakes Management Complex Draft Plan

This Essex Chain Complex Plan (Complex Plan) enables the Department to provide for appropriate public access within the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area (ECLPA), the Pine Lakes Primitive Area (PLPA) and portions of the Blue Mountain Wild Forest (BMWF) and the Vanderwacker Mountain Wild Forest (VMWF.) The management actions outlined in the Complex Plan are specific to what is being called the Essex Chain Lakes Management Complex (Complex Area.) These management actions will serve protect natural resources through a series of protective measures and administrative and management practices as well as set the stage for how these areas will be accessed and used by the public into the future. The Essex Chain Lakes Complex is located in the Central Adirondacks in the towns of Minerva and Newcomb in Essex County, and the town of Indian Lake in Hamilton County. The Complex includes the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area, the Pine Lake Primitive Area and portions of the Blue Mountain and Vanderwacker Mountain Wild Forests.

Key Proposals in the Draft Plan

  • Establishing a system of trails for biking and equestrian use;
  • Extending the Upper Hudson Ski Loop to the Ord Road and ultimately to the Town of Newcomb;
  • Designating routes for public motor vehicle access, including parking;
  • Designating administrative access routes throughout the Complex to allow for the maintenance of bridges and trails;
  • Establishing a community connection, multiple use, trail which connects Indian Lake to Minerva;
  • Construction of a bridge over the Cedar River to provide a route for four season recreation including hiking, biking, horse riding, snowmobiling, cross country skiing and snowshoeing;
  • Providing access for persons with disabilities to a tent site and waterway access between 4th and 5th lake and designated campsites along the Cornell Road, Camp Six Road and Chain Lakes Road (South);
  • Enhancing paddling opportunities, including providing additional canoe carries between the Chain of Lakes and along the Hudson River;
  • Designation of additional camping opportunities including the placement of Lean-To's within the Complex area;
  • Managing continued floatplane use at designated tent sites on First and Pine Lakes;
  • Maintaining 2.5 miles of public motor vehicle roads for access and camping during big game hunting season; and
  • A proposal to maintain the historic farmhouse at the Outer Gooley and evaluate potential, future administrative uses until a final disposition for the structure is determined

Public Comment Opportunities

Public hearings on the Draft Plan will be held on Tuesday, July 7 at 7:00 pm in the auditorium of the Newcomb Central School, 5535 Route 28N, Newcomb, NY, and on Thursday, July 9 at 7:00 pm at the Indian Lake Theater on Main Street, Indian Lake, NY. The Department will also be accepting written comments until July 27, 2015. Please submit comments to:

Corrie O'Dea, Forester
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
232 Golf Course Road
Warrensburg, NY 12885
Email Region5 UMP

Download the Draft Plan

Essex Chain Lakes Management Complex Draft Plan - PDF (13.6 MB) - This is a large document and may be slow to download. As an alternative you may download specific sections using the links below.

Sections for Easier Downloading

Final Scope

This Scoping Document is intended to define the scope of information to be included in the DEIS, to be prepared in accordance with the New York State Environmental Conservation Law [ECL § 8-0101 et seq.], and its implementing regulations found in Part 617 of Title 6 of the Official Codes, Rules and Regulations (6 NYCRR Part 617).

Download the Final Scope

Final Scope for the Essex Chain Lakes Plan/EIS - PDF (145 KB)

2014 Stewardship Plan

In order to facilitate appropriate public access and natural resource protection of the ECLMC prior to the release of a full UMP, the Department released a Stewardship Plan authorizing the implementation of certain recreational uses and facilities. These include the creation of primitive tent sites, designation of equestrian trails and facilities, seasonal hunting access on portions of the Chain Lakes Road South and Camp Six Road, designation of parking at the Outer Gooley, and motorized access to the "tube" (between Fourth and Fifth Lakes) for people with disabilities.

2015 Amendment - Designation Bicycle Trails

The Stewardship Plan was amended in July 2015 to allow for bicycle use on designated routes within the Complex Area. The following changes were made to the Plan:

  • Addition of a description of administrative roads within the Complex Area
  • The designation of a subset of the administrative roads as open for bicycle use
  • Minor editorial changes

Download the Stewardship Plan (as amended, July 2015)

Essex Chain Lakes Management Complex Stewardship Plan - PDF (1.43 MB)


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