getting started. It was 11:05 AM by the time we signed in and started carrying
our lightweight solo canoes the 0.25 miles to Deer Pond. Still waters and no
bugs made ideal conditions for exploring the Chain Lakes.
0.5 miles to Third Lake, paddled into Second Lake and then carried to First Lake. The carry to First is flagged and lightly brushed out, but it has not been cut or developed yet. We paddled the length of the lake then down the outlet as far as the first beaver dam. Wanting to explore the other lakes in the chain we retraced our strokes to Third Lake.
feeling. These lakes have been a special part of their lives for a long time and now that is all changing. For the next five years this group will have lease access to the camp buildings and will be able to use motor boats on Second through Sixth Lakes. The DEC’s Interim Plan allows Club members to use electric motors from July 1st to September 30th and ten hp gas motors from October 1st to the end of the big game hunting season and from ice out until June 30th. As the day went on a few more fishing boats appeared on the water. Another paddler we encountered made a comment about eliminating motorized boats from the tract. I on the other hand did not find the boats to be bothersome. My earliest experiences in the wilds were fishing with my grandfather in boats like these.
lakes Fourth through Seventh. As it was getting later in the day we did not have time to investigate Sixth or Eighth Lakes. We will save those for future trips. The sun was setting as we retracted our route to the Deer Pond carry. We arrived at the parking lot before needing to break out the headlamps. We talked to some mountain bikers at the parking lot and discussed the potential for riding that the logging roads on the tract would provide.
beautiful area. While we were paddling we discussed the classification options currently being decided by the APA. I think we all had preconceived ideas about what classification we would favor. The area certainly is a great addition to the Forest Preserve; many people will enjoy experiencing it. Having seen the
tract first hand has provided me with a much better idea of the recreational use potential available. Given the character of the land I favor a Wild Forest classification over Wilderness. The
road network was constructed for extracting timber and can easily withstand the impact of mountain biking which would be allowed as Wild Forest but not as Wilderness. As far as motor boats, I think the current restrictions that apply to Gooley Club members would work for me. I know that some paddlers would disagree, but the area can certainly withstand this level of use. In addition, the Wild Forest classification would allow appropriate development of accessible facilities for use by people with disabilities.
a chance to explore and discover what the tract has to offer for the people of New York State.