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St. Lawrence Flatlands Management Unit

The St. Lawrence Flatlands planning unit consists of 10 state forests and 7 detached forest preserve parcels. The unit is located in a broad area encompassing northeastern St. Lawrence County and northwestern Franklin County, generally north of Canton and Potsdam, west of Bombay, and east of Ogdensburg. The state forests are located in the Franklin County towns of Bombay and Moira, and the St. Lawrence County towns of Brasher, Madrid, Norfolk, and Stockholm. The unit also includes 7 widely scattered parcels of Detached Forest Preserve located in the towns of Lisbon, Louisville, Massena, Oswegatchie, and Waddington.

Photgraph of a pond in this state forest

The following state managed properties are included in this unit:

Franklin County:
Bombay State Forest - 2,747 acres

St. Lawrence County:
Brasher State Forest - 19,751 acres
Buckton State Forest - 1,092 acres
Fort Jackson State Forest - 914 acres
Grantville State Forest - 775 acres
Knapp Station State Forest - 1,006 acres
Lost Nation State Forest - 1,907 acres
Raymondville State Forest - 641 acres
Sodom State Forest - 1,426 acres
Southville State Forest - 551 acres
Detached Forest Preserve parcels - 449 acres

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

Also included in this unit are 7 parcels of Detached Forest Preserve, which are properties classified as Forest Preserve but located outside the Catskill or Adirondack Park boundaries. These properties range in size from 3 to 350 acres. They are not managed for timber production and have relatively poor access with no developed trails or facilities, but do provide ample wildlife habitat and watershed protection values. These detached forest preserve parcels were owned by the state before the Adirondack Park was created and were in Forest Preserve counties where forested lands acquired by the state became Forest Preserve lands. Eventually the Adirondack Park Blue Line was established, within which state lands acquired would become Forest Preserve, while outside new acquisitions would become other categories of DEC lands such as state forests or wildlife management areas.

This unit is distinguished by its wetlands, softwood plantations and public usage. Wetlands, which comprise approximately 20 percent of the area provide ecological diversity as well as significant wildlife habitat. Softwood plantings done by the Civilian Conservation Corps over 60 years ago are evidenced by the 6000 plus acres of quality pine and spruce 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 and biking as well as snowmobiling.

How to Provide Input into the Management of this Unit:

The St. Lawrence Flatlands Unit Management Plan (UMP) is a continuation of the former Brasher UMP, but the unit has been expanded to include several other state forests and detached forest preserve parcels not included in the former Brasher 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.

Any person or group who would like to provide input or comments on the future management of this unit can mail Forester Aaron Graves at NYSDEC, 6739 US Highway 11, Potsdam, NY, 13676 or e-mail Region 6 Unit Management Plan . Public comments received before August 31, 2012 can be incorporated into the draft UMP.

Public scoping meetings will be held Wednesday, June 20, 2012 from 6 PM until 9 PM in the St. Lawrence Central High School Auditorium, Brasher Falls and Saturday, June 23, from 9 am until Noon in the Madrid-Waddington Central School Auditorium, Madrid. For the first hour of each session, the public will have the opportunity to meet individually with DEC personnel and make comments regarding the management of this unit. Public comments will also be requested after a draft plan has been prepared and released for public review.