INDIAN LAKE - Thanks to a creative state-local partnership, the Moose River Plains Road, which provides access to one of the largest blocks of remote lands in the Adirondack Park will be open to motor vehicles this summer, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) commissioner Pete Grannis announced today.
"The Moose River Plains Road will be open for 2010, thanks to the willingness of local communities to help and the quick reaction of DEC crews to make it happen," Grannis said. "Together, we've forged a solution that will benefit the anglers, birders, hunters, hikers, mountain bikers and others who make the Plains a popular destination - as well as the businesses in Indian Lake and Inlet that depend on tourists."
DEC worked with local officials from Inlet, Indian Lake and Hamilton County, as well as state legislators, to cover maintenance duties and costs for the season. The Moose River Plains includes more than 40 miles of dirt roads, approximately 170 primitive campsites and 50,000 acres of wild forest in the central and southwestern sections of the park. DEC had previously announced that this road would not be opened in 2010 because the state's historic fiscal crisis had limited agency maintenance funds. Instead, local communities will assist by providing gasoline, trucks, materials and law-enforcement personnel to help cover operational needs.
State and local crews began clearing the road last week and opened in on Friday - in time for the Memorial Day weekend. However, roads south of the "Big T" junction (Otter Brook and Indian Lake roads) will remain closed.
"Commissioner Grannis and the DEC staff moved heaven and earth to coordinate this effort and get us to a point where the road can be opened this weekend - which not something we thought could be done," said Bill Farber, who serves as Morehouse town supervisor and chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors.
"This is a great example of local and state officials coming together, working cooperatively and achieving a positive result," said state Senator Betty Little. "It's the kind of teamwork that is so important during this time of fiscal crisis."
Grannis and his staff understood what was at stake. Losing the economic activity generated by the thousands of hikers, campers, sportsmen, mountain bikers and other tourists who visit the Moose River Plains would have dealt a severe financial blow to Hamilton County communities.
The Moose River Plains Wild Forest is bounded on the north by the Pigeon Lakes Wilderness Area, Raquette Lake and the Blue Ridge Wilderness; on the east and the south by the West Canada Lakes Wilderness and the private lands of the Adirondack League Club; and on the west by the Fulton Chain Lakes and State Route 28. It includes the Red River, the South Branch of the Moose River and the 675-acre Cedar River Flow.
The Moose River Plains Wild Forest offers many year-round recreational opportunities, including hiking, skiing, mountain biking, snowmobiling, canoeing, hunting, fishing, horseback riding and primitive camping. Miles of marked trails and numerous lakes and ponds make this area an ideal destination for recreationists with varied interests and abilities.