Five Streams Unit Managment Plan
The Five Streams Unit Management Plan includes 9,634 acres in the towns of German, McDonough, Pharsalia, Pitcher and Smithville in rural Chenango County. Forests included in the unit are: Five Streams State Forest, Red Brook State Forest and Balsam Swamp State Forest.
The landscape within which the Unit is located is post-agricultural in character, dominated by second growth forest, transitional fields and a network of dendritic streams that form the headwaters of the larger Chenango and Susquehanna drainage basins. Most of the unit is located within the 29 square mile town of German.
The Unit Management Plan defines goals and objectives for conserving biodiversity, enhancing public use and recreation and strengthening community-based forestry. To conserve biodiversity management actions will foster the development of diverse ecological conditions, maintain landscape connectivity and protect 3,048 acres of wetlands, riparian zones, natural areas and steep slopes where timber harvesting, road construction and recreational developments are restricted. Surface disturbance associated with exploration, development and production of natural gas is excluded from 5,229 acres or approximately 54% of the Unit.
Public use and recreation opportunities will be enhanced by improving access at existing recreational facilities and establishing new access at two locations. The public campground, boat launch and day use area at Balsam Pond will be upgraded to improve safety, protect water quality and provide accessibility for people with disabilities. A new regulation is proposed to restrict motors in excess of 25 horsepower from Balsam Pond. At Baker Pond, the dam and emergency spillway will be reconstructed and a parking area will be established to improve access for fishing, wildlife viewing and car to-boating. Access for people with disabilities will be established into the Seymour family site to raise awareness about local cultural history and to provide opportunities for wildlife viewing. A motorized access trail for the mobility impaired will be established on Balsam Swamp State Forest to replace a poorly drained trail on Red Brook State Forest. A kiosk with maps, regulations and other State Forest information will be installed at Balsam Pond campground and along County Rt. 5 at its intersection with Pucker Street.
Community-based forestry is a participatory approach to forest management that seeks to strengthen the relationship between local people and local forest resources. The Plan proposes to advance community based forestry through public programs, increased participation in DEC's Adopt-A-Natural Resource and Cooperative Forest Management programs, and by maintaining a dialogue with local government about State Forest management.