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For Release: Monday, March 21, 2016

DEC Invites the Public to Comment on the Brookfield Unit Management Plan

Public Meeting to be Held April 7

A public meeting to accept comments on the draft Brookfield Unit Management Plan (UMP) will be held Thursday, April 7, in the high school auditorium of the Sherburne-Earlville School located at 15 School Street, Sherburne, (Chenango County) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. Public comments are being accepted until June 7. Located in Southeast Madison County, the Brookfield Unit includes Charles E. Baker, Beaver Creek and Brookfield Railroad State Forests and covers approximately 14,000 acres of land in Madison and northern Chenango Counties.

The draft UMP has been developed to address management activities on these state properties. DEC staff will briefly present highlights of the draft plan at the public meeting, and the public will have an opportunity to comment on the plan.

"Unit Management Plans provide an important framework to guide the sustainable management of forest ecosystems, wildlife habitat and recreational trails," said Basil Seggos, Acting Commissioner of DEC. "UMPs also provide strategies to conserve, protect and enhance the many values, products and ecosystem-based services that state forests provide for the public, and the proposed amendments to the Brookfield UMP will greatly enhance management of, and access to, these incredible forests in central New York."

Building from the first Brookfield Unit Management Plan, approved in 1996 and developed with strong public participation, the new draft plan will continue to support the original plan's goals with newly developed objectives and management actions. The goals of the unit are to provide: healthy, sustainable and biologically diverse forests; forest-based recreational opportunities; economic benefits; and sound stewardship.

The three state forests covered by the Brookfield Unit offer many recreational opportunities including: horseback riding, snowmobiling, hiking, mountain biking, camping, bird watching, fishing, hunting, trapping, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and limited all-terrain vehicle (ATV) access for people with mobility impairments. New developments or major changes to existing recreational facilities and opportunities proposed in the plan include the following:

  • Continue to maintain the Moscow Hill Assembly Area and all designated camping areas or sites on the Unit in a "rustic manner" for safe and enjoyable public use as provided for over the last 40 years.
  • Continue to maintain the 130 mile Brookfield Trail System for public recreation use. The trail system is the focus for much of the recreation use on the Unit and is used by hundreds of horse riders, snowmobilers and mountain bikers each year.
  • Formally designate eight additional single camp sites outside of the main campgrounds on the Unit. Six of these sites are located on Charles E. Baker State Forest.
  • Implement Special Area regulations for the Moscow Hill Camping and Assembly Areas
  • Provide one ADA-compliant campsite at the Moscow Hill Camping Area, Moscow Hill Assembly Area and one at Cherry Ridge Camping Area on Charles E. Baker State Forest. Signs designating these ADA sites will be included along with a hardened level parking area and camp site, a fire ring and a universally accessible picnic table.
  • Reconstruct the horse mounting ramp and platform to be universally accessible and meet ADA standards.
  • Develop a new trail map-recreation brochure for the Brookfield Trail System.
  • Develop and install five new kiosks describing the recreational opportunities of the Unit including day use areas, designated camping facilities, trails, trail closures, access points and rules and regulations for state lands.

A copy of the plan is posted on the DEC's website. The plan is also available for public review at the following locations:

  • DEC Region 7 Sub-office, 2715 Route 80, Sherburne, NY, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sherburne Public Library, 2 East State Street, Sherburne, NY, call for hours of operation, 607-674-4242

Copies are available in digital format on compact discs from the Sherburne office and maybe requested by calling (607) 674-4036 ext. 610. Information on the individual forests included in the plan can be found on the DEC's website as well.

Those unable to attend the meeting are invited to submit comments to the DEC by mail at: NYSDEC, Division of Lands and Forests, Attn: Robert E. Off, 2715 State Highway 80, Sherburne, New York, 13460 or alternatively by e-mail to: robert.off@dec.ny.gov. Written comments will be accepted until June 7, 2016.

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    2715 State Highway 80
    Sherburne, NY 13460
    607-674-4017
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