I am writing to express my disappointment with the location of the parking area for the Essex Chain Lakes. It has two bad options:
1. Portage for about a quarter-mile, then down a steep bank, put your canoe in on Deer Pond, paddle two hundred yards across the pond, take out, and portage again for another three-quarters of a mile to the put-in on Third Lake; or
2. Portage around Deer Pond on the existing logging road and go directly to the Third Lake put-in (my choice), which is less trouble but more than a mile of portaging.
I am a seventy-two-year-old man in very good health who still likes to paddle, but portaging a canoe or kayak this distance is exhausting. After portaging in and then paddling all afternoon, the job of dragging a canoe for over a mile back to the parking area was a daunting task. Imagine if I was camping with more gear and had to portage twice.
I have spoken to other seniors who feel the same way. We are an entire generation of paddlers that are being locked out from this area because it is just too difficult to make the long portages. What is maddening is this doesn’t need to be. There is an old logging road that could have been used to give everyone access close to the water. Then young and old alike could use these marvelous new wild areas.
More consideration should be given to making wild areas more accessible. Why invest the money, then exclude seniors from reasonable access?
Tom Hiebel, Ballston Lake
Editor’s note: The state has proposed offering limited parking for the general public on a reservation basis at Fifth Lake, with direct access to Essex Chain waters. It awaits Adirondack Park Agency approval. People with disabilities and a state permit may park there now.