Adirondack Foothills Management Unit
The Adirondack Foothills planning unit consists of six state forests, 21 detached parcels of Forest Preserve and one Office of General Services (OGS) parcel located close to but outside the southwest boundary of the Adirondack Park. These state forest lands total 7252 acres. The Detached Forest Preserve Parcels total 2025 acres and the OGS parcel is 25 acres in size. They are located in the Oneida County Towns of Boonville and Forestport and the Herkimer County Towns of Norway, Russia and Salisbury.
The following state forests managed in this unit include;
In Oneida County, Hogsback - 1,115 acres
Popple Pond - 2,446 acres
Punkeyville - 535 acres
Woodhull - 567 acres
In Herkimer County, Black Creek - 998 acres
Hinckley - 1,590 acres.
The Oneida County State Forests are located in the very northeast corner of the county just to the east and north of Boonville. The Herkimer County State Forests are just south of the Adirondack Blue Line in about the middle of Herkimer County. The Detached Parcels are scattered about evenly between these lands.
The majority of these State Forest lands were purchased in the early 1930's, in an effort to reclaim poor, unproductive farm lands and prevent further serious soil erosion. However, some of these lands were acquired as recently as 2013. The cleared cropland was usually planted to softwood species, sometimes mixed, sometimes just with a single species. These plantations are interspersed with some natural hardwood stands that were either never cleared for pasture or crops or were allowed to revert in the early history of the farm. These wooded areas served as the woodlots for the farm and provided building material, firewood, habitat for game and other wildlife and sometimes nuts and maple syrup. Wetlands, ponds and streams are interspersed with the wooded areas.
Punkeyville State Forest in northeast Oneida County is the newest addition of State Forest. This area was acquired in 2013 and was a commercial trout farm in the recent past.
Detached Parcels of Forest Preserve
In the general vicinity of the State Forests included in this unit are 21 parcels, totaling 2025 acres, of land categorized as Detached Parcels of Forest Preserve.
In the early 1900's there was a concerted effort in New York State to acquire land for public use. As time went on, different programs were developed to do this. As these programs were more clearly defined, lands were acquired with different funding sources to be utilized by the People of the State of New York for slightly different purposes.
Just prior to the formalization of the State Forest Program, small pieces of land were purchased. Any of these parcels that were located in a county that had lands that became part of the Forest Preserve (once the Blue Line was established), but outside the actual Blue Line, were declared Detached Parcels of Forest Preserve.
As such, these lands can only be used for recreational purposes. Timber harvesting or removal of any forest products from these lands is prohibited. Any development (including roads) is also prohibited.
These parcels range in size from 0.5 acres to 301 acres and have varying levels of access. Most have good access adjacent to major roads. Three pieces have no public access. The character of these pieces of land is similar to the nearby State Forests. Major cover types include northern hardwood and hemlock - northern hardwood.
History in this Management Unit
The history of this area is fascinating. Civilian Conservation Corps Camp S-122 was located where the DEC Maintenance Facility now is on the Hawkinsville Road, adjacent to Hogsback State Forest. From about 1935 to 1941, many young men planted trees, and built roads, bridges and fire lanes in the surrounding area.
Two of the Detached Parcels located on the eastern edge of the unit were once a booming iron mine. The Salisbury Steel and Iron Company developed a modern commercialized iron mine just north of Salisbury Center. The mine was in operation from about 1902 to 1913. Today, only the foundations remain to tell the story.
In 1934 a fire tower was built on Dairy Hill in eastern Herkimer County. This tower was closed in 1986 and removed in 1991. The site is now a tiny piece of Detached Forest Preserve.
How to Provide Input into the Management of this 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; incorporate public input; and plan future management actions and public use.
There is one open house to discuss future management of state lands within the Adirondack Foothills Unit scheduled for Tuesday, June 3 from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. in the Remsen High School cafeteria, 9733 Main St, Remsen. The first half hour will be an open house format to allow people to informally discuss the draft plan with DEC staff. At 7 p.m., there will be a brief presentation of the draft plan highlights. Following the presentation, the public will have an opportunity to make oral comments in front of the group regarding the management of this unit.
Public input gathered at the open house, along with input received by mail and email, data collected during forest inventories and other sources of data and information will be used to develop the Adirondack Foothills UMP. The UMP will guide management actions for the Unit to help achieve the goals of providing healthy, sustainable and biologically diverse forest ecosystems.
Any person or group who would like to provide input or comments on the draft Unit Management Plan for this unit can mail Senior Forester Mary Kay Allen at NYSDEC, 225 North Main Street, Herkimer, NY, 13350 or email the Region 6 UMP mail box. Public comments must be received by June 30, 2014 to be incorporated into the draft UMP.