The central Adirondacks will be welcoming mountain bikers on about 9 miles of existing logging roads in the Essex Chain tract in Newcomb. A broader alternative that would have opened far more of the Adirondacks to bicycles was rejected.
The Essex Chain Lakes complex totals 19,600 acres. There are eight lakes specific to the Essex Chain as well as a number of other ponds and lakes, and the Hudson River runs along the eastern boundary.
In addition, a bridge will be built over the Cedar River to connect the communities of Indian Lake, Long Lake, Minerva, Newcomb and North Hudson, to help create a regional destination. The same bridge could also accommodate a community connector trail between Indian Lake and Minerva. This could help integrate these communities into a larger parkwide snowmobile trail network in the future.
The same amendment that allows for mountain biking will also allow occasional motor vehicle access to maintain bike trails in the Essex tract, as well as allow Cedar River bridge construction to use materials other than traditional logs and rocks.
Environmental groups opposed any form of an amendment that would allow bicycles in primitive areas where the State Land Master Plan prohibits mechanized transport.
“This is a major step backward and is a sharp departure from wilderness
management used since 1972,” said Peter Bauer, executive director of
Protect the Adirondacks, in an Associated Press article published in the Watertown Daily Times.
Local officials favored the amendment as mountain bike access could increase revenue from tourism.
What do you think of the new amendment? For or against?