Governor Andrew M. Cuomo anounced funding for multiple projects on Monday, July 21 that will expand and improve outdoor recreational opportunities in the Adirondack Park, including $750,000 to upgrade the Abanakee Dam on the Indian River, which was the site of the Govenor’s Adirondack Challenge in Indian Lake on July 20 to highlight recreational opportunities and promote the region’s tourism industry.
Additionally, the Governor announced $250,000 for the development of new equestrian facilities and trails in Essex and Hamilton Counties that will transform the region into a premier horseback riding destination, as well as the opening of a new hiking trail leading to OK Slip Falls in the Hudson Gorge Wilderness.
“The Adirondack Park is an unparalleled outdoor destination for New Yorkers and visitors, and also a major driver of tourism and economic activity for the surrounding communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “Yesterday we hosted the Adirondack Challenge to draw attention to all that the region has to offer, and today we’re going a step further by expanding and improving the facilities that help to draw travelers from around the globe. The Park’s lakes and forests are the perfect backdrop for hiking, paddling, horseback riding and so many other outdoor activities, and this funding will help local communities realize the full economic potential of these exceptional natural resources.”
The Adirondack Challenge drew hundreds of elected officials, business leaders and tourism industry representatives to the region for a day of outdoor activities designed to highlight the many opportunities available to travelers. As part of the Challenge, Governor Cuomo participated in a whitewater rafting race with Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin.
The towns of Minerva, Newcomb and North Hudson in Essex County and Indian Lake and Long Lake in Hamilton County will receive a total of $250,000 to develop horseback riding facilities in each of their communities. Among the projects being funded are five parking areas for horse trailers in each town, a pole barn with concrete floor and water, a 1,000 gallon holding tank for disposal of gray water and sewage from trailers, two accessible mounting platforms and a horse washing station.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is currently working to identify and designate horse trails in the Essex Chain Lakes Complex that surrounds the five towns. DEC has also proposed constructing a bridge over the Cedar River in the Town of Indian Lake that would allow horses and their riders to access the Essex Chain Lakes Complex from the south.
“The beautiful lands and waters of the Adirondacks offer a range of recreation activities for people of all ages and abilities, and thanks to Governor Cuomo, we continue to create new opportunities for people to enjoy the outdoors,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. “This funding will allow local communities to attract visitors who will have additional opportunities to enjoy the outstanding scenery and breathtaking view in the Adirondacks.”
The 19,200-acre Essex Chain Lakes Complex is part of the newest forest Preserve lands in the Adirondacks. Eighteen water bodies totaling 785 acres, ranging in size from the 3-acre Chub Pond to the 216-acre Third Lake are located in the Complex. The upper stretches of the Hudson River form its eastern boundary and the Cedar River passes through the southern portion of these lands.
Horseback riders will be able to enjoy views of some of the lakes, ponds and rivers, and also the nearby Vanderwhacker Mountain and Fishing Brook Mountain Range.
OK SLIP FALLS TRAIL
A trail to OK Slip Falls in the Hudson Gorge Wilderness was officially opened to the public as part of the Adirondack Challenge. The three-mile hike leads to an overlook that provides a scenic view of the complete falls.
The parking area for the trailhead is located on the south side of Route 28, approximately 7.5 miles east of the community of Indian Lake. The trailhead itself is on the north side of Route 28, 0.2 miles west of the parking area. The trail also provides access to Ross, Whortleberry and Big Bad Luck Ponds. Approximately a half mile up the trail hikers should turn right onto the trail to OK Slip Falls. Follow the trail another 2.5 miles to the overlook on the east side of the OK Slip Gorge.
OK Slip Falls is considered one of the highest falls in the Adirondacks and its waters flow into the Hudson River near the center of the Hudson Gorge. The falls are located on the 2,780-acre OK Slip Falls Tract which the state purchased from The Nature Conservancy in 2013.
These projects build on Governor Cuomo’s efforts to expand outdoor recreation activities to promote tourism and boost regional economies.
In August of 2012, Governor Cuomo announced a five-year agreement under which New York State would acquire 69,000 acres of land from the Nature Conservancy (TNC). The lands had been acquired by TNC as part 161,000-acre land sale by the former Finch Pruyn Company.