Starting this spring, paddlers will be able to travel down the Hudson River from Newcomb and take out on lands newly acquired by the state.
The best takeout probably will be near the confluence of the Goodnow River, based on my reading of a map released today by the state Department of Environmental Conservation suggests that. From the town beach in Newcomb it’s roughly seven miles to the mouth of the Goodnow.
The stretch includes several mild rapids. The significance of the takeout is that it will open the Hudson to paddlers who don’t have the skills or inclination to continue downriver through the heavy whitewater of the Hudson Gorge.
What’s unknown is whether DEC will keep open a dirt road leading to the confluence. In talks with environmental activists, however, the department has indicated that it will keep the road open, in part because forest rangers want to be able to reach the river for rescues. If the road is closed, paddlers would face a carry of up to three miles.
All told, the state acquired eighteen thousand acres of former Finch, Pruyn & Company land from the Nature Conservancy in December. Most of the land—including the Essex Chain of Lakes, the centerpiece of the tract—is leased to a private hunting club and will not be open to the public until next fall.
As shown in the map above, two swaths of land will be open in the spring. The northern parcel includes the Goodnow River. The southern parcel includes the Cedar River and Pine Lake. Given the lack of trails, access to the southern parcel will be difficult. In theory, one could paddle down the Cedar River from the hamlet of Indian Lake, but I don’t know how navigable it is. Also, once you reached the Hudson, you wouldn’t have a legal takeout, so you’d have to continue through the gorge.
Eventually, the state intends to acquire another tract of former Finch lands that includes a takeout at the confluence of the Indian and Hudson rivers. When this is done, the Cedar River trip will be more practical—assuming it’s practical at all. Also, paddlers will be able to undertake a thirteen-mile trip from the Newcomb town beach.
Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, said the longer Hudson trip and the Essex Chain of Lakes will be major draws once the necessary are acquired. In the meantime, he’s looking forward to paddling the Hudson to the Goodnow. “If that’s open, it’s going to be high on my list to do,” he said.