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For Release: Thursday, September 22, 2016

DEC Improves Access to State Lands in Staten Island

Site Improvement Projects Completed at Mount Loretto Unique Area, North Mount Loretto State Forest, Saint Francis Woodlands and Lemon Creek

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) celebrated the completion of four projects to improve public access to DEC Lands in Staten Island on Thursday, September 22.

These are the first of DEC's lands in Staten Island to be upgraded with elements that allow people of all abilities to enjoy passive and active recreation. The sites include: Mount Loretto Unique Area, North Mount Loretto State Forest, Saint Francis Woods, and Lemon Creek.

The projects were funded through Governor Cuomo's NY Works Program and are part of the NY is Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state.

"All New Yorkers should have the opportunity to access state lands and enjoy these landscapes. More accessible trails, parking and walkways will give visitors better access to state lands, which is a DEC priority," said DEC Region 2 Director Steve Zahn. "DEC's holdings in NYC add precious open space to the landscape and provide much needed opportunities for the public to get out and enjoy nature."

Site enhancements include:

  • Mount Loretto Unique Area ($192,000) - Expanded parking area to accommodate 25 cars (two of which are Handicapped parking spaces), 500 feet of universally accessible trail, and fishing/viewing platform on Mt Loretto Pond.
  • North Mount Loretto State Forest ($200,596) - Additional 850 feet of accessible trail in the woods, resurfaced 1600 feet of trail to provide accessibility, resurfaced parking area to provide improved access.
  • Saint Francis Woodlands ($84,404) - Removed cobble stone walk around pond and replaced with 900 feet of accessible trail, improved access over impoundment on Priory Pond, improved fishing accessibility to Priory Pond and addition of parking lot on Helena Road.
  • Lemon Creek ($75,000) - Accessible trail leading to the shore of the creek for wildlife viewing and improved access for launching a canoe or kayak.

Through Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, an effort to improve recreational opportunities and boost tourism activities throughout the state, the state has invested $10 million in NY Works funding to infrastructure repairs at fish hatcheries and 50 new land and water access projects such as boat launches, hunting blinds, hiking trails, and parking areas.

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