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St. Lawrence Foothills Management Unit

The St. Lawrence Foothills planning unit consists of 13 state forests and 1 Conservation Easement. The unit is located in a broad area in central St. Lawrence County, generally south and east of Canton and Potsdam, west of Hopkinton, and northeast of Edwards. The state forests cover 16,491 acres, located in the towns of Colton, Hopkinton, Parishville, Pierrepont, Potsdam, and Russell. The Niagara Mohawk (NiMo) Conservation Easement - South Colton Parcel totals 1,716 acres located in the towns of Colton and Parishville, southeast of High Flats State Forest. These areas are not in the Adirondack Park, although several properties border the Adirondack Park.

How to Provide Input into the Management of this Unit

A public meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 8 in the cafeteria of the Colton-Pierrepont Central High School, 4921 NY-56, Colton, NY. The school is wheelchair accessible. Please provide any requests for specific accommodation in advance to DEC at 315-265-3090.

During the first hour of the session, the public will have the opportunity to meet individually with DEC staff in an informal setting. This will be followed by a presentation about the unit and conclude with a chance to make comments and propose ideas about the UMP in front of the group regarding the management of this unit. Public comments from this meeting will assist DEC in the development of the UMP.

The purpose of the meeting is to provide information to attendees about the Unit, discuss its past history and use, current ecology and current public uses such as forest management practices and recreational uses, and to exchange ideas with the public about. DEC is seeking the public's input in helping to establish short and long-range goals and objectives for management of these lands within the St. Lawrence Foothills Unit.

Public input gathered at this meeting, along with feedback received by other means including data collected during forest inventories, data and information from past management activities and recreational use data will be used to develop the St. Lawrence Foothills UMP. The UMP will guide management actions for the Unit to help achieve the goals of providing healthy, sustainable and biologically diverse forest ecosystems.

Any person or group who would like to provide input or comments on the future management of this unit or have questions about the unit or the planning process can contact Forester Tony Sparacino by mail at NYSDEC, 6739 US Highway 11, Potsdam, NY, 13676; by e-mail at; or by telephone at 315-265-3090.

The following properties are included in this unit:

Catherineville State Forest - 1,623 acres

Crary Mills State Forest - 587 acres

Degrasse State Forest - 1,180 acres

Downerville State Forest - 1,443 acres

Glenmeal State Forest - 826 acres

High Flats State Forest - 1,995 acres

Orebed Creek State Forest - 791 acres

Silver Hill State Forest - 783 acres

Snow Bowl State Forest - 797 acres

Taylor Creek State Forest - 1,860 acres

West Parishville State Forest - 792 acres

Whippoorwill Corners State Forest - 1,281 acres

Whiskey Flats State Forest - 2,533 acres

Niagara Mohawk Conservation Easement - South Colton Parcel - 1,716 acres

Plumb Brook in Winter

The St. Lawrence Foothills Unit spans two very different eco-regions. The northern portion of the unit is located in the broad St. Lawrence - Champlain Valley eco-region which drains into the St. Lawrence River. The topography is very flat with large wetland complexes spread across the landscape. The southernmost portion of the unit falls within the Northern Appalachian - Acadian eco-region, which contains more mountainous topography and boreal vegetation such as balsam fir and red spruce.

The State Forests in this unit are managed for a variety of uses including timber management, watershed protection, recreation, and wildlife habitat.

This unit is distinguished by its wetlands, softwood plantations and public usage. Water resources such as open and shrub wetlands, as well as trout streams such as the Grass River and Plumb Brook, provide ecological diversity as well as significant wildlife habitat. Softwood plantings begun by the Civilian Conservation Corps over 70 years ago are evidenced by the 3,000 plus acres of quality pine, spruce, and larch that are now present. These plantations together with mixed natural forests, have long been an active source of products for the timber industry. The size of this unit, diversity of habitat and accessibility provide for exceptional recreational opportunities including hunting, fishing, camping, horseback riding, hiking, skiing, canoeing, mountain biking, rock climbing, and snowmobiling.

There is one Conservation Easement property included in this management unit. Conservation Easements are legal agreements entered into by a landowner and state or local government, or a non-profit land trust. Easement documents identify the open space values being protected, and clearly describe the restrictions being placed on a property. The primary function of an easement is to limit or eliminate future development and undesirable land uses on a property, while allowing for continued private ownership and traditional management. Some conservation easements allow public recreational access to the protected property and some do not; either way the public benefits by the substantial environmental protection achieved.

The unit contains snowmobile trails in addition to some designated New York State Snowmobile Corridor Trails.