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For Release: Wednesday, December 16, 2015

DEC Issues Final St. Lawrence Flatlands Unit Management Plan

Plan will Enhance Recreational Use, Protect Natural Resources

Greater public access and more recreational opportunities will be available in the St. Lawrence Flatlands area under the final Unit Management Plan (UMP), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.

"The UMP provides greater land access for hunters, anglers and other outdoor recreationalists in northern St. Lawrence and Franklin counties," Acting Commissioner Seggos said. "The plan develops recreational access to forest lands, increases public awareness of outdoor opportunities on these state forests and ensures sustainable forest management. Under the UMP, DEC will manage these state forest lands to promote a healthy ecosystem and enhance landscape biodiversity while protecting soil productivity and water quality."

The St. Lawrence Flatlands comprises 30,810 acres in 10 state forests located in the Franklin County towns of Bombay and Moira, and the St. Lawrence County towns of Brasher, Madrid, Norfolk and Stockholm. The specific land units are Brasher State Forest, Bombay State Forest, Buckton State Forest, Fort Jackson State Forest, Grantville State Forest, Knapp Station State Forest, Lost Nation State Forest, Raymondville State Forest, Sodom State Forest and Southville State Forest.

The UMP also covers six widely scattered parcels of detached forest preserve lands, ranging in size from three to 350 acres, located in the towns of Lisbon, Louisville, Massena, and Waddington in St. Lawrence County.

The lands and waters of the St. Lawrence Flatlands offer many recreational opportunities, including: hiking, skiing, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, trapping, birdwatching, snowmobiling and horseback riding.

The goals of the UMP are to provide: a healthy, sustainable and biologically diverse forest; forest-based recreational opportunities; economic benefits to local communities and to the state of New York; and sound stewardship.

The plan was developed with considerable public input which helped assess the natural, physical, social and recreational resources of the unit's state forests. Information obtained and reviewed through the planning process helped build a solid foundation to support goals, objectives and management actions.

The UMP identifies improvements to infrastructure, timber management, and recreational facilities development with a 10 year schedule of implementation. Some habitat will be managed for early successional stages to benefit specific wildlife species such as songbirds and game species. Also several new access points along the Deer and St. Regis Rivers, parking areas, kiosks, and trails for persons with disabilities will be developed.

A new multi-use recreational connector trail will be developed on 8.7 miles of DEC maintained trails and roads in the Brasher State Forest. The connector trail will provide for a variety of recreational uses, including hiking, skiing, horse riding, and snowmobiling. The trail will also help provide a connection between ATV trails beyond the state forest and ATV access for hunting and other recreational activities along the trail. Trails and roads will receive improved drainage, surface hardening, and improved wetland crossings to provide access for motorized recreational use.

The UMP reflects Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state, and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions.

The final unit management plan for the St. Lawrence Flatlands may be downloaded in full or in sections at the DEC website.

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