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For Release: Wednesday, June 18, 2014

DEC Releases Draft Management Plan for Essex Chain Lakes Management Complex

and Draft Community Connector Trail Plan for the Towns of Newcomb, Minerva and North Hudson

Public Comments on Both Plans Will Be Accepted Through July 18

Increased opportunities for outdoor recreation in the central Adirondacks would be available under two proposed plans released today for public review and comment, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced. Comments will be accepted on the Essex Chain Lakes Management Complex Draft Unit Management Plan (Draft UMP) and a Draft Community Connector Multiple-Use Trail Plan (Draft Trail Plan) through July 18.

"The projects described in these two plans will provide a significant increase in outdoor recreational opportunities for the public and economic opportunities for the nearby Adirondack communities," said Commissioner Martens. "Improved access will allow the public to camp, mountain bike, horseback ride, paddle, fish, hunt and snowmobile in a manner that preserves the unique resources of these areas. At the same time, visitors to these areas will be able to enjoy the amenities of the communities that serve as gateways to these lands and waters. Governor Cuomo and DEC are committed to providing quality outdoor recreational experiences on Adirondack Forest Preserve lands and improving the Adirondack economy while continuing to protect the vast and precious natural resources of the region."

The Essex Chain Lakes Management Complex includes the 6,956-acre Essex Chain Primitive Area, the 2,788-acre Pine Lake Primitive Area and a portion of the 42,537-acre Blue Mountain Wild Forest. These lands are located in the Town of Indian Lake in Hamilton County, and towns of Newcomb and Minerva in Essex County.

The Draft UMP proposes to:

  • allow mountain bike use on select roads within the complex that are used by lessees;
  • allow seasonal motorized access to the Chain Lakes Road South and Camp Six Road for big game hunting;
  • construct public parking near Fourth and Fifth Lakes, including parking for persons with disabilities;
  • designate canoe carries; and
  • construct a bridge over the Cedar River for hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and equestrian use.

A portion of the 85,058-acre Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest, located in the towns of Minerva and Newcomb in Essex County, is the focus of the Draft Trail Plan. The Draft Trail Plan also serves as an amendment to the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest UMP, the Camp Santanoni Historic Area UMP, and the Lake Harris Public Campground UMP.

The Draft Trail Plan proposes locations for multiple-use trails between the communities of Newcomb, Minerva and North Hudson, as well as connecting to the recently acquired state lands in the vicinity of the Hudson River. The Draft Trail Plan also proposes the construction of a bridge over Palmer Pond outlet and the designation of campsites in the vicinity of Great Camp Santanoni and the Hudson River near Northwoods Club Road.

Both the Draft UMP and the Draft Trail Plan also serve as the Draft Environmental Impact Statements for the proposed actions in compliance to the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

The Draft UMP is available for viewing and downloading on DEC's website. The Draft Trail Plan is available for viewing and downloading on the DEC website.

Comments on the Draft UMP and Draft Trail Plan may be sent to Josh Clague at NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-4254 or e-mailed to adirondackpark@dec.ny.gov. Comments should include the full name of the Draft UMP and the Draft Trail Plan in the subject line.

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