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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 Niagra 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.

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

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

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.

How to Provide Input into the Management of this Unit

The St. Lawrence Foothills Unit Management Plan is a continuation of the former Colton UMP, but the unit has been expanded to include 5 additional state forests in the town of Russell that were not included in the former Colton unit. The UMP process consists of several steps: create detailed maps of the unit; inventory the wildlife and natural resources found on the unit; map the current infrastructure and proposed new facilities; and plan future management actions and public use.

Currently the DEC is planning an official request for input for development of this UMP and public meeting in early 2015. Any individual or group who would like to provide comments on the future management of this unit can contact Forester Aaron Graves at NYSDEC, 6739 US Highway 11, Potsdam, NY, 13676 or e-mail : Region 6 UMP mail box .