Essex Chain Lakes Management Complex - Stewardship Plan
In February 2014, Governor Cuomo approved a State land classification package for approximately 42,000 acres, including several tracts recently added to the Forest Preserve. These recently acquired tracts, including the former Essex Chain Lakes and Indian River tracts, were purchased from the Nature Conservancy and formally owned by the Finch Pruyn Company. These newly classified lands now exist as the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area, the Pine Lake Primitive Area and portions of the Blue Mountain Wild Forest. For land management and planning purposes, this area is being defined as the Essex Chain Complex Area.
The Forest Preserve lands within the Complex Area contain a spectacular variety of ecologically significant resources and afford a variety of recreational opportunities as part of a larger recreational landscape in the central Adirondack Park. Since these lands were acquired in the fall of 2013, the influx of visitors reflects a high level of interest by recreation users in the Complex Area.
Public access and use prior to the adoption of a Unit Management Plan (UMP) requires the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to undertake specific actions to guide public use in order to protect the ecological resources within the Complex Area. After acquisition of these lands, public visitation necessitated issuance of an "Interim Access Plan" (issued in September, 2013) which limited public access to protect the resource. This Stewardship Plan supersedes the 2013 Interim Access Plan.