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NY opens Essex Chain Lakes

11,600 acres of land, water

— Gov. Andrew Cuomo Tuesday, Oct. 1 announced that for the first time in more than 100 years, access to approximately 11,600 acres of lands and waters on the Essex Chain Lakes tract in the center of the Adirondacks is now open to the public for outdoor recreation. Under an interim plan administered by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the public can access these lands beginning today, Oct. 1.

“The Essex Chain Lakes and the property that we acquired from Finch Pruyn are magnificent natural resources that New York’s residents and visitors can now enjoy for the first time in more than a century,” Cuomo said. “Under this initial plan, we can attract tourists and generate much-needed economic activity in the region while at the same time balancing the needs of the communities in the Park and protecting the property for generations to come. This autumn, I encourage the public to explore this undiscovered and incredible part of the Adirondacks.”

“Governor Cuomo is committed to creating new opportunities for outdoor recreation and tourism, and this interim plan will provide access to these scenic lands and waters,” DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens said. “The natural resources on the Essex Chain Lakes Tract offer abundant opportunities for active and passive recreation and this plan will allow New Yorkers and tourists to enjoy these lands, which will also benefit the regional economy.”

In August of 2012, Governor Cuomo announced that New York State had signed an agreement with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to acquire 69,000 acres of land, formerly owned by the Finch Pruyn Paper Company, over the course of five years. Three major tracts of land have been secured under this acquisition to date: the Essex Chain of Lakes, the Indian River tract, and the OK Slip Falls tract. With the opening of additional public access to the Essex Chain Lakes tract, approximately 22,000 acres of forest preserve lands formerly owned by Finch Pruyn are now accessible to the public, providing a premier destination for outdoor recreation.

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