Contact: Neil Woodworth, (518) 449-3870 or (518) 669-0128
ADK Welcomes News of State Purchase of Essex Chain of Lakes
The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) welcomed news that the state has closed on the purchase of the Essex Chain of Lakes in the central Adirondacks and that most of the 18,294-acre tract will be open to the public by the fall of 2013.
"This is great news for ADK members and for thousands of other hikers and paddlers,” said ADK Executive Director Neil Woodworth. "This purchase will create exciting new outdoor recreation opportunities while bolstering the area’s tourism economy.”
The purchase is part of a state plan, announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in August, to purchase 69,000 acres of Adirondack timberland from The Nature Conservancy over five years. The state paid $12.4 million for the tract and closed on the purchase on Dec. 21, according to an article in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
Under law, the land will become part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. In coming months, the Adirondack Park Agency, in consultation with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, will be deciding how the addition to the Forest Preserve will be classified. ADK will be deeply involved in the public comment process for the classification.
ADK believes that the Essex Chain of Lakes and the Hudson River Gorge should be classified as Wilderness or Canoe, which would provide it with the greatest protection, but a few roads should remain open to provide a single access to the lakes and to provide access to the Hudson River Gorge for safe canoe, kayak and raft takeouts.
"Our plan strikes a balance between environmental protection and public access,” Woodworth said. "We want to protect these spectacular lands and waters, but we also want to provide opportunities for the public to enjoy them.”
The Adirondack Mountain Club, founded in 1922, is the oldest and largest organization dedicated to the protection of the New York State Forest Preserve. ADK is a nonprofit, membership organization that protects the Forest Preserve, state parks and other wild lands and waters through conservation and advocacy, environmental education, responsible recreation and stewardship.