New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the completion of three new bridges in the Essex Chain Lakes Complex in the towns of Newcomb and Minerva, Essex County. The bridges provide safer public motor vehicle access to the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area and sections of the Blue Mountain Wild Forest, and are accessible from the end of mud season to first snowfall.
“The Essex Chain Lakes Complex is a popular destination for paddlers, anglers, and other outdoor enthusiasts,” said Commissioner Seggos. “Part of Governor Cuomo’s statewide Adventure NY initiative to connect New Yorkers with nature, the installation of these bridges provides a safer, more accessible experience for visitors while improving habitat for aquatic wildlife.”
The three bridges, Woody’s Road Bridge, Cornell Road #1 Crossing, and Deer Pond Road Bridge, replace structures originally built by Finch, Pruyn and Company Inc. prior to New York State’s fee and easement acquisition of the former Finch Lands. These new bridges were designed to modern New York State Department of Transportation standards that make the new structures safer for public passenger vehicle traffic and can accommodate use by heavy trucks and equipment associated with timber harvesting and sustainable forest management on nearby conservation easement lands. The total cost for the bridges was approximately $500,000, supported by the Environmental Project Fund.
The design of each new bridge incorporates a natural hydraulic opening that will return the stream channels below to an improved flow condition. The channels had previously been narrowed by abutments from the original bridge construction. Restoring the streams to the natural flow provides environmental benefits in flood plain management, as well as enhanced habitat and connectivity for aquatic wildlife.
The 19,600-acre Essex Chain Lakes Complex is comprised of the lands and waters of the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area, the Pine Lake Primitive Area, and the recently classified portions of the Blue Mountain Wild Forest. Located in the central Adirondacks, the complex contains the eight lakes of the Essex Chain and several other ponds and lakes. The Hudson River forms its eastern boundary, making it a paddler’s paradise.
Under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Adventure NY Initiative, DEC is making strategic investments to expand access to healthy, active outdoor recreation, connect more New Yorkers and visitors to nature and the outdoors, protect natural resources, and boost local economies. This initiative will support the completion of more than 75 projects over the next three years, ranging from improvements to youth camps and environmental education centers to new boat launches, duck blinds, and hiking trails. Read more about the Adventure NY initiative.
DEC manages 4.6 million acres of public lands, including three million acres in the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve, 52 campgrounds, 5 day-use areas, more than 5,000 miles of formal trails, and hundreds of trailheads, boat launches, and fishing piers. Plan your next outdoor adventure at DEC’s website.