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For Release: Wednesday, January 27, 2016

DEC Releases Draft Amendment for The Black River Wild Forest Unit Management Plan

Amendment Proposes to Improve Motorized and Non-motorized Recreational Opportunities and Add the First Adirondack Trail Segments to the North Country National Scenic Trail

Public Comment Period Ends February 29, 2016

A draft amendment to the Black River Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP) to improve recreational opportunities while protecting the natural environment is available for public review and comment, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.

"The draft amendment proposes actions that will improve recreational opportunities for both snowmobilers and hikers, and enhance protection of the natural resources of the Black River Wild Forest," said DEC Acting Commissioner Seggos. "The proposed amendment also designates the first trails in the Adirondacks as part of the North Country National Scenic Trail, further enhancing economic opportunities to promote this unique area."

Major highlights of this UMP amendment include:

  • enhancing the overall snowmobile trail system to improve connections to the unit and between local communities;
  • reclassifying four existing interior snowmobile trails to non-motorized recreational trails;
  • constructing four new snowmobile trail segments to support connections between communities;
  • constructing three new segments of foot trail to be included in the recently-designated North Country National Scenic Trail;
  • constructing a new five car parking lot adjacent to North Lake; and
  • designating a cross-country ski loop trail, with accompanying five-car parking lot, off the Otter Lake Outlet Trail near Otter Lake.

The Black River Wild Forest is comprised of more than 121,000 acres of Forest Preserve lands located primarily within towns of Ohio, Webb and Russia in Herkimer County, and the towns of Forestport and Remsen in Oneida County. Smaller portions of this unit are located within the town of Lyonsdale in Lewis County and the town of Morehouse in Hamilton County.

A UMP was approved for the Black River Wild Forest in 1996. Since the implementation of this plan, recreational demands on the unit have increased. In response to these changes, the UMP would be amended to provide additional recreational opportunities.

DEC encourages the public to review the draft amendment and provide comment. Information obtained and reviewed through the planning process helps to build a solid foundation to support specific goals, objectives and management actions.

The Draft Amendment is available to view or download on the DEC website. Copies of the Draft Amendment are also available on CD and can be requested by e-mail at r6.ump@dec.ny.gov or from the DEC Region 6 offices in Watertown (315-785-2263) and Herkimer (315-866-6330).

Public comments will be accepted until close-of-business February 29, 2016. Written comments may be mailed to Michael Marsh, Senior Forester, NYSDEC, 225 North Main Street, Herkimer, NY 13357 or sent by e-mail to: r6.ump@dec.ny.gov.

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