Adirondack Park Petition
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Hudson River Bike Trail

Sign this petition and help create a new Hudson Headwaters Wilderness Area centered on the Hudson River and Essex Chain Lakes

We need to show Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Adirondack Park Agency that there is strong support for a new Wilderness area in the central Adirondack Park. Help make the Essex Chain Lakes motorless!

Petition Map


The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is taking up the issue of formal classification of the first phase of the 65,000 acres of new Forest Preserve lands in the process of being purchased by the State of New York from The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this historic purchase last summer. Lands will be purchased over the next four years. These are lands formerly owned by Finch Paper in Glens Falls. Last December, the state bought the first parcel of 22,000 acres surrounding the Essex Chain Lakes and lands including 7 miles of the Hudson River and 5 miles of the Cedar River. The state will shortly complete the purchases for lands at the confluence of the Indian and Hudson rivers as well as the inholding around OK Slip Pond.

This historic purchase provides a tremendous opportunity to create a new Hudson Headwaters Wilderness Area. This new 40,000-acre Wilderness Area (see map on front) should be fully evaluated as part of the APA’s formal Forest Preserve classification process now underway. We need to show the strong support for Wilderness across New York and beyond for this exciting proposal.

  • 1.This new 40,000-acre Wilderness Area will permanently protect 22 miles of the Hudson River, including the flat water stretch from Newcomb to Indian Lake, where motorboats are currently used, as well as the whitewater rapids of the Hudson Gorge.
  • 2.A Wilderness classification will protect the Essex Chain Lakes as a motorless area, prohibiting motorboats as well as floatplanes. The Essex Chain will be a Wilderness flat water paddling experience like Little Tupper Lake, Lake Lila and Round Lake.
  • 3.There are very few accessible motorless canoeing and camping experiences on large lakes. Most of the large lakes in the Adirondack Park are overrun with all manor of motorized watercraft, from large boats to jet skis to floatplanes. Wilderness classification for the Essex Chain will provide a rare opportunity to solitude and primitive outdoor experiences.
  • 4.The new Hudson Headwaters Wilderness Area will include 22 miles of the Hudson River, five miles of the Cedar River, and three miles of the Indian River.
  • 5.The Hudson Headwaters Wilderness Area offers a balanced approach to management and public access. This Wilderness proposal is accompanied by support for floatplane access just outside the wilderness boundary on 1st Lake and Pine Lake (see map above). We also support disabled access where people with appropriate permits can drive to a special campsite and access the Essex Chain. This balanced proposal supports a variety of recreational opportunities.
  • 6.Wilderness is a land management policy where lands are managed in the future with sharply limited interference and impacts. Largely, with exception of some trails, staging areas, and campsites, Wilderness areas are allowed to revert to wild conditions. Over time signs of human uses will slowly revert to wildlands. Wilderness management will make these lands wilder in the future than they are today.

Sign petition below and take a stand for Wilderness in the Adirondack Park!

Hudson Headwaters
Clockwise from top left: Blue Ledges in the Hudson Gorge, 4th Lake in the Essex Chain, 3rd Lake in the Essex Chain, a flat water stretch of the Hudson River south of Newcomb.

The Threat

Local government leaders and others are calling for motorized uses, including floatplanes, on the Essex Chain Lakes and access for motor vehicles on the roads around the lakes. As part of the state's acquisition, floatplane access was guaranteed on 1st Lake and Pine Lake. There should no additional floatplane access to the other lakes, but they should be managed as Wilderness. Floatplane use will undermine the core values of the Essex Chain. The Essex Chain should be managed like other wilderness destinations such as Little Tupper Lake, Round Lake and Lake Lila.

Wilderness Classification is the Right Choice for the Adirondack Park

The Hudson Headwaters Wilderness is a balanced and appropriate proposal. Of the 160,000 acres of former Finch Paper lands were purchased by The Nature Conservancy, 95,000 acres were sold as conservation easements, where logging will continue in perpetuity. Of the 65,000 acres being sold to New York State for Forest Preserve, the DEC is recommending that 60% be classified as Wild Forest and opened to a variety of motorized uses.

In recent years, land protection by the State of New York has been overwhelmingly conservation easements. New Forest Preserve, such as the 22,000-acre Lyon Mountain tract in Clinton County, have been classified as Wild Forest. Today, there's 1.3 million acres of Forest Preserve classified as Wild Forest, Intensive Use or Historic -- classifications that allow a wide variety of motorized uses. There's 100,000 acres less of motorless Forest Preserve areas as 1.2 million acres are classified as Wilderness, Primitive and Canoe areas.

The creation of a new Hudson Headwaters Wilderness Area will help to bring a better balance to state management of the "forever wild" Forest Preserve.

Privacy Statement

Your information will not be shared with anybody other than New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's office and will not be used for any other purpose than to contact you regarding this petition.

Yes, I support the new Hudson Headwaters Wilderness Area!

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