By Brian Nearing, Times Union, link to original post
For the first time in more than a century, thousands of acres of Adirondack land around the Essex Chain of Lakes is open to the public for hiking, paddling, skiing, fishing and hunting.
Held for years by the Finch Pruyn timber company, the lands were opened for public access Monday under an interim plan by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
In August 2012, the state bought 69,000 acres of former Finch lands from The Nature Conservancy, which had bought it from the timber company. With the opening of the Essex portion, about 22,000 of these acres are open to public recreation, which permits day use, but not overnight camping.
Motor vehicle access to Essex lands is open on Cornell Road and on the Boots to Cornell Road. Cars and trucks are allowed to drive on Cornell Road from Woods Road to a gate on the Boots to Cornell Road. A parking area allows access to Deer Pond.
Paddlers may portage canoes and kayaks about a quarter mile to Deer Pond. From there, a half-mile portage reaches a put-in on Third Lake. Paddlers can travel by water to explore First, Second, Fourth, Fifth and Seventh Lakes of the Essex Chain.
Members of private hunting camps that held leases with Finch retain rights that permit motorized access not available to the public, and also have one-acre exclusive-use envelopes around their camp buildings.
A map of the Essex Chain Lakes tract is available online at http://bit.ly/1fGv8Pf