Catskill Park State Land Master Plan
The Catskill Park State Land Master Plan (CPSLMP) classifies Forest Preserve lands within the Catskill Park based on their physical character and capacity to accommodate human use based on five land classifications: wilderness, wild forest, primitive bicycle corridors, intensive use, and administrative. The Plan also designates management units and directs the Department to develop individual unit management plans that guide management activities and public use of those units.
In 2003, the Department released a proposed draft revision to the original 1985 Master Plan for public review and comment. In response to public comments received from the public at that time, the Department revised the proposed draft and released a revised draft for public review in April 2008. Again, in response to public comment, the Department incorporated changes to the plan and the Commissioner of DEC adopted the revised plan in August 2008.
Highlights of the 2008 Revision:
- Creation of the new Primitive Bicycle Corridor land classification. This classification encompasses about 156 acres. The Department proposes the reclassification of four trail corridors (100 feet wide) through existing or proposed new wilderness areas (mostly in Greene County) that would allow the public to use a bicycle, but would otherwise be managed according to wilderness guidelines. These corridors are along old roads and have had historic bicycle use:
- Indian Head Wilderness: Mink Hollow Road (its entire length through the Indian Head Wilderness, 3.2 miles)
- Indian Head Wilderness: Overlook Turnpike from the Overlook Mtn Wild Forest boundary to Platte Clove and Prediger Road (4.5 miles)
- Hunter - Westkill Wilderness: Diamond Notch Road (its entire length through the Hunter - Westkill Wilderness, 3.2 miles).
- Blackhead Range Wilderness: Colgate Lake -Dutcher Notch Trail, an old road (Colgate Lake Wild Forest to Stork's Nest, 2.4 miles).
- In Wild Forests, allow for bicycle use on most roads and trails. This includes roads open to the public, state truck trails, old wood roads, foot trails, snowmobile trails, and horse trails, unless such use is deemed unsuitable through the UMP process. The original draft proposed a positive signage requirement - roads and trails only open if so posted. This change - open unless signed closed - makes it consistent with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.
- Increase the size of the Colgate Wild Forest from 600 acres to 1,495 acres, utilizing the 2,400' contour as the boundary. This will provide increased opportunities for recreation appropriate in Wild Forests, including bicycle use.
- Include Invasive Species Management in the CPSLMP, as the original plan did not contain any reference to this emerging threat. The Department and its new Office of Invasive Species, will work with the Catskill Region Invasive Species Partnership to help identify, and educate the public on invasive species. In addition, the Department may take necessary actions to control exotic invasive species, where there is potential for significant degradation to the native ecosystem. These actions can include mechanical control, biological control, and the use of pesticides, and will require prior notice in the ENB and approval by the Director of the Division of Lands and Forests.
Download the Master Plan
2013 Amendment - Classification of the Big Indian Acquisition
In December of 2011 New York State acquired approximately 1,204 acres in the Town of Shandaken, Ulster County within the Catskill Park to be added to the Forest Preserve. Commonly referred to as the Big Indian acquisition, the property adjoins or is in close proximity to three management units: the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center Intensive Use Area, the Big Indian Wilderness and the Shandaken Wild Forest.
The Master Plan prescribes two alternatives for the classification of newly acquired Forest Preserve land: either through an amendment of the Unit Management Plan (UMP) to which the new property will be added, or through an amendment to the Master Plan itself. Because of the property's proximity to three different land management units and the potential to divide the property into different land classifications rather than classifying the entire property as one classification, the Department chose to pursue the classification of individual portions of the Big Indian acquisition in two separate processes.
First, the portion of the Big Indian Acquisition proposed to be classified as an Intensive Use Area and as an addition to the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center's Intensive Use Area, is being pursued separately through the revision of the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center's Unit Management Plan. The remaining lands acquired in the Big Indian acquisition, approximately 903+/- acres, have been classified as either Wilderness or Wild Forest through an amendment to the Master Plan.