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Elm Ridge Wild Forest - Unit Management Plan

The Elm Ridge Wild Forest (WHPWF) consists of 1,355 acres of state Forest Preserve land, and lies at the northernmost edge of the Catskill Forest Preserve in the Greene County Towns of Windham, Durham, and Cairo. The unit contains a 1.5 mile portion of the Escarpment Trail, the 1.1 mile long Elm Ridge Trail, and numerous shorter trails available for multiple uses, including hiking, x-country skiing, and mountain biking. There are two parking areas that serve the unit, one on NYS Route 23 to the northwest and the other at the end of Peck Road to the south.

2008 Catskill Park State Land Master Plan

In August 2008, DEC finalized the revision of the Catskill Park State Land Master Plan (CPSLMP). In the CPSLMP, the Elm Ridge Wild Forest was designated through the re-classification of a portion of the former Windham High Peak Wild Forest. In 1994, a Unit Management Plan (UMP) was completed for the Windham High Peak Wild Forest. You may download the UMP using the link below, or contact us at r4.ump@dec.ny.gov if you have questions or comments about the plan.

1994 Windham High Peak Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (pdf, 113 KB)

2009 Unit Management Plan Amendment

Since the adoption of the 1994 Windham High Peak UMP, the popularity of mountain biking has increased, as has the interest in developing mountain bike trails in the Forest Preserve. While the UMP does identify a 1.9 mile length of trail suitable for designation as a bicycle route, the plan goes on to state that this stretch of trail is too short to act as a stand-alone bicycle trail, and that the designation should be done as part of a larger network of bicycle trails.

A proposal to develop such a system of trails was received in early 2006 from local mountain bike enthusiasts. A decision was made to revise the Windham High Peak Wild Forest UMP after evaluating the proposal and its compatibility with the guidance for developing facilities in Wild Forest areas. A public information meeting was held on May 20, 2006 as a preliminary step for the UMP revision process. After that meeting, the Department decided to treat changes in the Windham High Peak Wild Forest UMP as an amendment rather than a revision.

In addition to mountain bike trail development, this amendment also makes recommendations to address other issues raised at the public information meeting including the need for multi-use trails and additional parking at the Peck Road parking area.

2009 Elm Ridge Wild Forest UMP Amendment (pdf, 2.4 MB).