Capital District Kayakers Message Board › Essex Chain Lakes-AP Story

Essex Chain Lakes-AP Story

Mary E.
Schenectady, NY
Hi paddlers,
I'm a member of this meetup group and also a writer for The Associated Press. I'm writing a story about the state's management plans for the Essex Chain lakes near Newcomb, which are now open for paddling and camping.
I'd like to get some opinions from paddlers on the following:
_ To launch, you have to carry your boat a quarter-mile from the designated parking lot. Most of the way, you're on a smooth gravel road. Is that too far to carry? They could have made the parking lot much closer.
_ To camp, you need to get a permit (for free) in advance. You can get it by calling or visiting the Adirondack Interpretive Center in Newcomb. Do you have any problems with this plan?
_ No campfires are allowed. DEC says campfires cause too much damage because of people gathering wood and burning trash. But for me, a campfire is one of the joys of camping. How do you feel about this?
If you'd like to be quoted in my story, please email me at or call me at 458-7821 (the AP office). I'd like to finish it this afternoon, if possible.
Thanks, and happy paddling!
Mary Esch
Hornbeck paddler from Scotia
user 60129592
Catskill, NY
Post #: 24
Mary, a quarter mile is pretty far when you have a heavier boat n gear to camp out in. If not making the parking lot closer (only to get filled up), how about a drop off/pick up designated area,would that be an option?
Permits may allow them to keep a paper trail of how many people use the area, but what if it's a last minute get-a-way?
Fires are a main source for camping, cooking n enjoying.. What about the cooler night?
My opinions, just seen this n hope it helps
Nanci L.
Albany, NY
Post #: 13
FOR MOST KAYAKERS – ¼ mi is not too far to carry your boat. I have wheels for my kayak, and if the route is fairly level gravel, it would be no problem. For campers, they would have to carry their gear too – again, likely not a burden for most. I have some mobility issues (which is why I kayak rather than hike), but still see this positively. The other thing is that from the lake, folks who are there to enjoy the natural beauty will not see a parking lot or clear cut area that is unnatural.

There are so many areas in the country, including most backcountry areas run by the National Parks Service, where campers/hikers/boaters need a permit. It is a way of limiting numbers so pristine areas aren’t trampled. It is also a system of checks and balances, always knowing which site campers are registered in makes searching for “lost” people easier. (Hope that doesn’t happen too soon.) Not everyone signs the registers. Usually permits are issued on a first-come, first-serve basis. Sometimes that may require making a reservation months ahead!

I am an instructor in principles of outdoor ethics called Leave No Trace. This is a set of ideals that will help preserve our natural spaces and make them available for future generations. One of the seven principles is to minimize use and impact of fires. Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. If fires are permitted, always use an established fire ring. Collect only sticks no more than 2” in diameter. Do not even take branches from downed, DEAD trees. And yes, campfires are great to sit around and ponder the meaning of life…or sing and tell stories…if this is necessary, stay in a state park where fires are allowed and approved. Or try gathering around a candle lantern. People throw trash that doesn’t burn in fires, they leave it there without cleaning the fire pit and scattering the cooled ashes. When this kind of thing happens repeatedly over time, our “pristine” areas become less so. And while we’re at it, let’s not forget if you pack it in, pack it out!

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