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For Release: Thursday, July 2, 2015

DEC: 20 Miles of Bike Trails in the Central Adirondacks to Open to Bicyclists July 4

Nearly 20 miles of administrative roads in the Essex Chain Lakes Complex in the Central Adirondacks will open to bicyclists beginning July 4, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. Allowing bicycling for the first time is part of a continued effort by New York State to promote tourism in the Adirondacks, improve access and expand recreational opportunities in the Essex Chain Lakes Complex.

"These new bicycling opportunities are one of the many ways to enjoy the outdoors with picturesque views of the Essex Chain lakes," said Commissioner Martens. "Through expanded recreational opportunities in these exceptional and scenic lands, the surrounding communities will benefit from an increase in recreational tourism, a key economic driver for the Adirondacks."

DEC has amended the Essex Chain Lakes Complex Stewardship Plan to allow bicyclists and people with disabilities to access designated administrative roads. Commissioner Martens continued, "These biking opportunities add to the outdoor recreation appeal of the Essex Chain lakes, which is already a great destination for paddling, hiking, fishing and hunting. The state's purchase of these former Finch Pruyn lands from The Nature Conservancy has opened public access for a variety of recreational activities by a wide range of users."

The administrative roads open for bicycle use within the Essex Chain Complex (see map in PDF format, 1 MB)are:

  • 8.5 miles of the Chain Lakes Road North from the Goodnow Flow Road to the Cedar River;
  • 3 miles of the Chain Lakes Road South from the Outer Gooley Parking Area to the Cedar River;
  • 2.5 miles of road connecting the Chain Lakes Road North to the Hudson River/Polaris (Iron) Bridge Parking Area;
  • 2.5 miles of road around Deer Pond;
  • .25 miles of the Drake's Mill Road connecting the Chain Lakes Road North to the Hudson River/Polaris (Iron) Bridge Parking Area;
  • 1 mile from the Chain Lakes Road South to Pine Lake; and
  • 0.3 mile from the Chain Lakes Road North to Jackson Pond.

"Cycling is an activity enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities," said Senator Betty Little. "Combined with the beauty and fresh air of the Adirondacks, it becomes an unforgettable experience that surely will draw more tourists to the Essex Chain Complex. The great thing is that these roads exist. There's no need to expend a lot of time, energy and money to create this recreational opportunity. As the chair of the senate tourism committee and representative of the region, I am hopeful this will be a boost the economies of our Central Adirondack towns."

Assemblyman Dan Stec said, "The Essex Chain Lakes properties were acquired by the State in large part to increase public recreational opportunities and spur related economic development in the communities of the Central Adirondacks. I am encouraged to see this vision and promise begin to develop. It is good for these communities and all New Yorkers."

"DEC Commissioner Joe Martens and staff continue to deliver for Adirondack Communities," said Brian Wells, Supervisor of the Town of Indian Lake. "They have made the commitment for these lands to be available for all to recreate on and they continue to work tirelessly towards this goal, and I commend for making this happen for our 2015 tourist season."

Town of Newcomb Supervisor George Cannon said, "The opportunity to ride bikes on the many miles of roads in the Essex Chain Lakes Complex adds another recreational activity for the public on this property. Combined with the many other recreational activities available, biking provides additional economic potential for this magnificent addition to the forest preserve."

Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway said, "Thank you Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Martens for opening some of the roads on the State's new Essex Chain of Lakes property for mountain biking in time for the July 4th weekend. These lands and waters, now open to the public and protected as forever wild, are globally unique, ecologically rich and special. This action is part of protecting the Essex Chain of Lakes as motor-free, helping communities and establishing a snowmobile trail between the Hudson River and the Essex Lakes, while preserving water, land and wildlife for future generations."

Neil F. Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, said, "The Adirondack Mountain Club is pleased to support the approval of mountain bike and cycling use of properly designated state administrative roads in the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area in accordance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan."

The Essex Chain Lakes Road South can be accessed from the nearby community of Indian Lake and the Essex Chain Lakes North and the Deer Pond Parking Area can be accessed from the nearby community of Newcomb. Amenities for visitors to the Essex Chain Lakes Complex may be found in both communities.

In accordance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, DEC can designate administrative roads open for bicycling through the Stewardship Plan until the Draft Essex Chain Lakes Complex Management Plan is finalized. DEC proposes to permanently open these roads and trails to bicycles in the Draft Essex Chain Lakes Complex Management Plan which is currently available for public review and comment. In the interim, these roads will be open to bicycles starting July 4.

The draft plan, which includes a map, may be viewed and downloaded on DEC's website. Public comments should be sent by July 27 to Corrie O'Dea, Forester, NYSDEC Lands and Forests, 232 Golf Course Road, Warrensburg, NY 12885 or e-mailed to

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