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Kushaqua Tract Draft Recreation Management Plan

The 18,989-acre Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands are located in the south-central Franklin County towns of Brighton and Franklin. The contiguous tract is owned by the Lyme Timber Company of Hanover, New Hampshire. The State of New York acquired a working forest conservation easement with public recreation rights on the property in April 2004. The largest portion of the property is in the Town of Brighton (10,213 acres) with the remainder situated in the Town of Franklin (8,776 acres). The small communities of Onchiota and Loon Lake are close by with the communities of Gabriels, Paul Smiths, Bloomingdale, Rainbow Lake and Vermontville being a short drive away.

Management Actions Proposed in the Revised Draft RMP

  • maintain and rehabilitate existing facilities (including brushing, raking, grading and rehabilitation of roads and bridges);
  • designate one existing logging road as open for People with Disabilities under CP 3 permit;
  • install informational, safety and boundary line signage;
  • construct four new trails;
  • construct six designated parking lots;
  • upgrade and open for public access a total of 100 miles of existing roads, 35 miles of which will be open to limited motorized uses;
  • motorized access will include approximately 26 miles of three-season automobile roads, 30 miles of ATV roads and trails available for access varying from one to three seasons of the year, 30 miles of roads and trails available for snowmobiling during the winter season, and approximately 0.5 miles of new automobile access for Persons with Disabilities possessing a CP-3 permit;
  • install a universally accessible dock and boardwalk to provide for accessible fishing, paddling, boating, and wildlife viewing opportunities on Mountain Pond;
  • construct 12 campsites, four of which will be constructed to be universally accessible;
  • construct and maintain gates and other barriers to prevent illegal motorized use on sections of roads that are not open to public use.

Highlights of Changes from the 2014 Draft RMP

  • Access to Mountain Pond
    • 2014 Draft RMP- proposed approaching the pond from the northwest with access for people with disabilities (by ATV) to a staging area and accessible pathway from a staging area to the shoreline and dock .
    • 2015 Draft RMP- proposes approaching from the east, CP-3 parking and drop-off/pick-up for general public, and 340 foot barrier-free boardwalk. Revisions were made in response to public comments and are intended to better suit a broader spectrum of recreational users and address potential resource and user conflict concerns.
  • Parking Areas
    • 2014 Draft RMP proposed 5 parking areas, Loon Lake Mountain Trailhead (built and opened summer 2014), Unnamed Ponds, Hays Brook, Hunter's Camp Road and Mountain Pond.
    • 2015 Draft RMP proposes the relocation of the Mountain Pond parking area and the addition of two new parking areas; one at the eastern terminus of the Loon Lake Mountain Road (#5-3) and one for equipment staging by the general public, and the exclusive parking of CP-3 permit holders, which will be built at the eastern terminus of the proposed
      Mountain Pond accessible boardwalk.
  • Camping
    • 2014 Draft RMP proposed12 campsites designed for tents, camper trailers and RVs up to 25 feet or less in total length.
    • 2015 Draft RMP proposes that five campsites be designated as tent use only while the remaining seven campsites will be designated as restricted to use by camper trailers and RVs that are 20 feet or less in total length.
  • General Motorized Access
    • 2014 Draft RMP Proposed:
      • Approximately 21 miles available for the shared use of cars, trucks and snowmobiles;
      • Approximately 5 miles available for the shared use of cars, trucks and ATVs;
      • Approximately 2 miles where snowmobiles were the sole motorized use and
      • 1.4 miles that were available for the sole use of cars and trucks.
    • 2015 Draft RMP proposes the opening of approximately 26 miles of existing roads to shared usage by cars, trucks, snowmobiles and ATVs during appropriate seasons and ground conditions.
  • ATV Access Subject to Usage Restrictions (see pages 30 and 39-42 of the 2015 draft RMP)
    • 2014 Draft RMP: proposed approximately 9 miles of existing roads to usage by ATV for hunting and trapping season access under defined usage restrictions.
    • 2015 Draft RMP: proposes the opening of approximately 4 miles* of existing roads to usage by ATVs for hunting and trapping season access under defined usage restrictions (see page 41 of the draft RMP).
      *Five miles, of the original 9 miles as proposed in the 2014 draft RMP, is now proposed to be opened to shared usage by cars, trucks, snowmobiles and ATVs.
  • Snowmobile Access
    • 2014 Draft RMP proposed approximately 1.5 miles of existing roads where snowmobiles were the sole motorized use.
    • 2015 Draft RMP proposes the opening of approximately 3.5 miles of existing roads where snowmobiles will be the sole motorized use.
  • Non-Motorized Access
    • 2014 Draft RMP provided little detail on the extent of property roads and trails available for non-motorized recreation and access.
    • 2015 Draft RMP provides much better information regarding the extent of property roads and trails available for non-motorized recreation and access.

Public Comment Opportunities

The 2014 Draft Recreation Management Plan (RMP) has been revised to reflect comments made as part of the previous public comment period. A public meeting will be held on September 1, 2015 at 7:00 pm at the DEC Region 5 Headquarters, 1115 NYS Route 86, Ray Brook. The meeting will provide an opportunity for people to learn more about the proposed management actions in the revised draft plan and comment on the proposals.

2015 Revised Kushaqua Tract CEL Draft Recreation Management Plan Public Meeting Presentation (PDF 1.3 MB)

The Department will accept written comments until September 18, 2015. Comments should be sent to:

Sean Reynolds, Senior Forester
NYS DEC
PO Box 296
1115 State Route 86
Ray Brook, NY 12977-1200
R5.ump@dec.ny.gov

Download the Revised Draft RMP


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