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For Release: Thursday, September 24, 2015

DEC Announces Comment Opportunity for 2015 Westward Waters Unit Management Plan

Public Meeting Scheduled for October 14

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will hold a public meeting on the draft Westward Waters Unit Management Plan (UMP) Wednesday, October 14, the agency announced today. Major highlights of the UMP include new and expanded public access roads, increased parking, improved campsites at several locations, a new vista and other upgrades to infrastructure which will enhance recreational opportunities for all throughout these pristine state lands.

Date: Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Location: Lowville Fire Hall, 5420 Parkway Dr.

The meeting will be held at the Lowville Fire Hall, 5420 Parkway Drive, Lowville, NY 13367 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. 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 comment on the plan.

The Westward Waters Unit Management Area is comprised of 13 state forests, a Demonstration Area and a smattering of Forest Preserve detached lots. The unit is home to the Otter Creek Horse Trail Complex; Lake Bonaparte and Eatonville campsites, and boasts several fishing access sites, including those at Crystal Creek, Burdick's Crossing, Castorland, Beeches Bridge, Lowville, Glenfield, Denley Dam and Deer River.

The unit contains over 39,430 total acres of state-owned parcels located in the Lewis County towns of Croghan, Diana, Greig, Lyonsdale, New Bremen and Watson.

The following list of state lands are all included in this UMP:

  • Balsam Creek State Forest - Lewis 30 - 560 acres
  • Beartown State Forest -Lewis 12 ,14 - 7208 acres
  • Bonaparte's Cave State Forest - Lewis 28 - 1437 acres
  • Frank E. Jadwin Memorial State Forest - Lewis 1,4,10,13 - 20605 acres
  • High Towers State Forest - Lewis 20 - 730 acres
  • Hogsback State Forest - Lewis 22 - 629 acres
  • Independence River State Forest - Lewis 35 - 690 acres
  • Indian Pipe State Forest - Lewis 24 -595 acres
  • Lowville Demonstration Area - Lewis 46 - 89 acres
  • Onjebonge State Forest - Lewis 15 - 1830 acres
  • Otter Creek State Forest - Lewis 34 - 1433 acres
  • Sand Bay State Forest - Lewis 42 - 325 acres
  • Sand Flats State Forest - Lewis 3 - 2528 acres
  • Forest Preserve Detached Lots # 308, 305, 95, 113, 222, 924, & 990 - 735 acres
  • 8 Fishing Access Sites -total of 47 acres
  • Fisherman's Parking Area - McConnell Road and Blue Street - 3.4 acres

DEC encourages public participation in the process of developing a UMP. Information obtained and reviewed through the planning process helps to build a solid foundation to support specific goals, objectives and management actions. The goals of the unit are to provide: a healthy, sustainable and biologically diverse forest; opportunities for forest-based recreation; economic benefits to local communities and residents, and sound stewardship.

The draft Westward Waters Unit Management Plan creates a detailed inventory and management strategy for the natural resources present of the Unit and proposes the following actions:

  • Providing better public access to the lands by:
    • Construction of two new Public Forest Access Roads (PFAR)
    • Extension of three PFAR's
    • Improved access for persons with disabilities by constructing two new accessible Trails
    • Providing additional State Forest id signage
  • Increase public recreational opportunities by:
    • Developing one new parking lot at Bonapartes Cave State Forest
    • Building a new vista with parking on Frank E. Jadwin Memorial State Forest
    • Creating a new campsite Frank E. Jadwin Memorial State Forest
    • Upgrading an existing campsite Frank E. Jadwin Memorial State Forest
    • Restoration of two fire ponds Frank E. Jadwin Memorial State Forest
  • Harvesting timber to provide a sustainable yield of forest products and managing vegetation to maintain various stages of forest succession and promote healthy ecosystems
  • Improve Eatonville Bridge Recreational Area
    • Restructuring to Day Use area
    • Building an accessible picnic area and parking
    • Creating a specific trail and place to water horses
    • Relocating campsites with more separation further to the east.
  • Improve Otter Creek Horse trails
    • Building a new connector trail
    • Reroute a washed out trail

DEC will accept written public comments until close of business October 30, 2015. Written comments may be mailed to either Edwin Sykes, 7327 State Hwy 812, Lowville, New York 13367 or by e-mail at:

The draft Westward Waters Unit Management Plan is available on DEC's website. Copies of the draft plan on compact disk (CD) can be requested by e-mail at: and available at the following locations: DEC Region 6 office, 317 Washington Street, Watertown, NY 13601 (315-785-2263), or DEC Lowville sub-office: Attn: Edwin Sykes, 7327 State Hwy 812, Lowville, NY 13367 (315-376-3521).

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