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DEC, Nature Conservancy update Indian Lake Town Board

Dirk Bryant of TNC and Tom Martin of DEC address Indian Lake Town Board meeting on April 8.

Dirk Bryant of TNC and Tom Martin of DEC address Indian Lake Town Board meeting on April 8. Photo by Bill Quinlivan.

— Officials from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) shared center stage at the April 8 meeting of the Indian Lake Town Board.

DEC Region 5 Regional Natural Resource Supervisor Tom Martin and Dirk Bryant, TNC director of conservation programs for the New York state, outlined and updated the Town Board about various projects, including the purchase of 130 acres from TNC by the Northern Frontier Camp. The camp, which has owned 38 acres in the center of the Conservancy’s 2,940-acre OK Slip Falls-Blue Ledges tract since 1993, purchased the adjoining acres from the Conservancy for $452,000.

A key element still to come, however, is the scheduled transfer of the remainder of the surrounding land, 2,800 acres, from the Conservancy to New York state.

“This will allow public access to the beautiful OK Slip Falls and Blue Ledges areas for recreational use while avoiding public/private access conflict,” Martin said.

This access could come as early as mid-summer, according to Martin. Parking information and specific access directions are in the planning stages and will be revealed shortly.

Martin also highlighted some snowmobile trail extensions and improvements that would make it possible for riders to travel from Indian Lake to Newcomb and on to Long Lake, Raquette Lake, Inlet and back to Indian Lake without crossing lake ice.

Finally, Martin and Bryant updated the Town Board on the status of the land classification process for the Essex Chain of Lakes tract. Adirondack Park Agency (APA) staffers are currently developing a package of classification alternatives. This package will go to the APA board sometime around May or June. The Board will then review the package and vote.

The next step will be a series of public hearings. Some will occur within the Park and some outside. Martin encouraged Indian Lake Town Supervisor Brian Wells to reach out to the APA and request one of the hearings to be held in Indian Lake, since the classification of these lands can certainly be expected to have important impacts on the town’s future development and growth.

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