Trail to OK Slip Falls opens

INDIAN LAKE – A new, 3-mile trail to one of the highest falls in the Adirondacks officially opened to the public Sunday.

The new trail to OK Slip Falls in the Hudson Gorge Wilderness was one of several recreational opportunities that was highlighted during Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Adirondack Challenge Sunday and in a press release from the state Department of Environmental Conservation Monday.

The DEC also announced that Lake Abanakee Dam will received funding to be upgraded and that horse trails will be developed in Essex and Hamilton counties.

OK Slip Falls’ 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.

In August of 2012, Cuomo announced a five-year agreement under which New York state would acquire 69,000 acres of land from The Nature Conservancy, which bought 161,000 acres from former Finch, Pruyn Co. in 2007.

The state purchased most of the lands in the Essex Chain Tract in 2012 and the lands around the confluence of the Hudson and Indian rivers in 2013.

The parking area for the OK Slip Falls 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.

Upgrades to Lake Abanakee Dam

The town of Indian Lake will receive $750,000 to repair and upgrade the Lake Abanakee Dam on the Indian River, which would bring the dam into compliance with state dam safety regulations. The upgrade would allow continued water releases from the dam for rafters who paddle down the Indian River into the Hudson River. The rafting component of the Adirondack Challenge was held on this section of the Indian River.

The rafting industry depends on the water releases from Lake Abanakee to ensure the water levels needed to raft the Hudson River throughout the summer season.

Equestrian network

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

-A horse washing station.

The 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 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.