By PETE KLEIN
Express News Staff
INDIAN LAKE - For the first time in 100 years, the public can explore the Hudson and Cedar rivers within 7,200 acres of new lands added to the Adirondack Forest Preserve early this year.
The lands, in the towns of Indian Lake, Newcomb and Minerva, were acquired from The Nature Conservancy, which bought them from Finch, Pruyn & Co. in 2007.
A temporary access plan has made some of the lands available to the public for the summer and fall. Parking areas, public motor vehicle access, a hiking route to the Cedar River and waterway access sites for non-motorized watercraft have been designated.
The public can access the Hudson River between Newcomb and Indian Lake, the lower reaches of the Cedar River and the lands and ponds south of the Cedar River.
The Interim Access Plan is temporary, allowing the public to enjoy the lands this summer and fall prior to their classification by the Adirondack Park Agency, which will trigger unit management planning.
The Interim Access Plan for the Hudson and Cedar rivers and surrounding lands is available on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's website.
"This is the first step in providing public access to these lands, which may bring additional tourism revenues to our community and the region," says Brian Wells, supervisor of the Town of Indian Lake.
THE FIRST STEP
I decided Sunday, June 30, to see some of these lands for myself.
The first step was to drive down Chain Lakes Road to the parking area. Chain Lakes Road starts on the north side of State Route 28, east of the hamlet of Indian Lake and near the bridge over Lake Abanakee.
The drive to the parking area is almost exactly three miles. Once you get beyond the blacktop make certain to stay to your right and drive slowly.
There are numerous ups and downs and sharp turns on this narrow road that cut your sight of view to zero. So stay right so as not to have an accident with an oncoming vehicle.
From the parking area it is about 0.6 miles to the old Gooley farmhouse, where there is a great view of the Indian River as it nears its conjunction with the Hudson River.
On the day of the hike, a vast meadow of daises stretched from the trail in front of the farmhouse down toward the Indian River, raging and noisy after several days of heavy rain.
ON TO CLEAR POND
A short distance beyond the farmhouse is a trail marker sign reading, "Cedar River 2.9 miles - Clear Pond 1.7 miles." My choice was Clear Pond.
The trail to the next sign pointing left into the woods said Clear Pond was 0.3 miles further.
Finally, I was on what I would call a real trail because up to this point the trail was actually the old Gooley Club Road, an extension of Chain Lake's Road.
This trail has been freshly cut by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and is clearly indicated with yellow trail markers.
The hike in is mostly a gradual ascent until the trail starts to descend as one nears the pond.
My overall hike into Clear Pond of approximately 2.3 miles was well worth the effort. The pond itself is a quiet beauty with a view of Dun Brook Mountain to the northwest.
According to the DEC, the pond contains native lake trout and is stocked with rainbow trout. I presume this is true because I saw fingerlings swimming in the shallow water near shore.
The Cedar River, Pine Lake, Mud Pond, Clear Pond, Corner Pond and surrounding lands can all be accessed from the same parking area at the end of the Chain Lakes Road.
Paddlers can enjoy the flatwater section of the Cedar River above and below the landing. The rapids above and below the flatwater, and the current lack of carries, prevents paddlers from accessing the upper reaches of the Cedar River and the Hudson River from the landing.
Paddlers can also enjoy the four ponds on the forest preserve lands south of the Cedar River.
Anglers can fish the Cedar River for brook and brown trout. In addition to the fishing on Clear Pond, anglers can also fish for stocked brook trout and panfish on Pine Lake. Floatplanes previously restricted to landing on the western portion of Pine Lake can now land anywhere on the lake.
Additional information on the recreational opportunities on these and other nearby forest preserve and conservation easement lands can be found on the DEC Eastern Adirondacks Trail Information web page at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9199.html