NY opens Essex Chain Lakes

11,600 acres of land, water

— The interim plan administered by DEC allows the public to access these lands prior to the final classification of the lands and completion of a unit management plan (UMP).

For a map of the Essex Chain Lakes tract, go to http://www.governor.ny.gov/assets/documents/Essex-chain-access.pdf.

Outdoor recreational activities available to the public on these newly-opened lands include hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and horse trail riding on the many miles of former woods roads; hunting, trapping and bushwhacking on the surrounding lands; and fishing and paddling on the Essex Chain Lakes and other waters on the tract. When combined with the more than 10,000 acres along the Hudson and Cedar Rivers opened to the public this past spring, the area provides a wealth of outdoor recreation opportunities.

Motor vehicle access is open on the Cornell Road on the adjacent conservation easement lands and on the Boots to Cornell Road on the forest preserve lands. Cars and trucks are allowed to drive on Cornell Road from the end of the Woods Road to a gate on the Boots to Cornell Road. A parking area at the location allows access to Deer Pond.

Paddlers are able to portage their canoes and kayaks about a quarter mile from the parking lot to Deer Pond. They can then paddle across Deer Pond to the landing for a half-mile portage to a put-in site on Third Lake. Paddlers can travel by water to explore First, Second, Fourth, Fifth and Seventh Lakes of the Essex Chain.

The public may only access the lands for day-use activities under the interim plan; overnight camping is prohibited at this time. Public motorized watercraft and floatplanes will not be permitted on any waterbody during the interim period.

Signs will direct the public to the open roads and parking areas, and gates have been installed on side roads to direct public motor vehicles to the Essex Chain Lakes tract and prevent trespass onto adjacent easement land. In addition, kiosks will provide maps, area regulations and information about the leaseholders’ privileges.

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