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New Adirondack lands' proposed public use plans

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By MARY ESCH | AP

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- The Department of Environmental Conservation is taking public comment on recreation plans released Wednesday for new state land in the Newcomb area of the Adirondacks.

Two plans were released for a monthlong comment period. One is a management plan for the Essex Chain Lakes complex in Hamilton and Essex counties, about 90 miles northwest of Albany. It includes parking near Fourth and Fifth lakes near Newcomb, canoe carries, construction of a bridge over the Cedar River, and numerous campsites.

The other plan proposes locations for multiple-use trails for snowmobiling, biking, and other recreational travel between Newcomb, Minerva and North Hudson and connecting to the recently acquired state lands near the Hudson River. Environmental groups had opposed the snowmobile corridor, but local officials pushed hard for it, citing an economic boost snowmobilers bring to the region.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved a state land classification package in February for about 42,000 acres that include the Essex Chain and Indian River tracts purchased from The Nature Conservancy and recently added to the state Forest Preserve. A portion of the Blue Mountain Wild Forest Area was also included in the package covered by the management plan proposed Wednesday.

The region includes pristine lakes and ponds, large wetlands, and scenic stretches of the Cedar and Hudson rivers. Much of it was previously owned by the Finch, Pruyn timber company and leased to private hunting clubs.

The department has already started preparing the area for public recreation, including establishment of 13 primitive tent sites around the Essex Chain Lakes and about 14 other campsites throughout the area. Parking areas and horse trails also have been created.

Access to campsites will require a permit which will be administered in partnership with the Adirondack Interpretive Center in Newcomb.

Department spokeswoman Emily DeSantis said the agency hopes to have the facilities available for reservation in early July. An announcement will be made when they are ready, she said.

See the unit management plans:

http://on.ny.gov/1qtoGji

http://on.ny.gov/1uDz1XF

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