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For Release: Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New York State Acquires 690 Acres in Columbia County

"Doodletown WMA" to become County's largest wildlife management area

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently acquired nearly 700 acres in the Columbia County towns of Ancram, Gallatin and Taghkanic, DEC Regional Director Keith Goertz announced today. The parcel will become Columbia County's third and largest wildlife management area (WMA).

"The new Doodletown wildlife management area will provide outstanding wildlife-based recreational opportunities for locals and visitors while protecting valuable young forest habitat that supports important game and non-game species," Goertz said. "We would like to thank the Columbia Land Conservancy for its efforts to help make this purchase a reality."

DEC purchased the parcel from an anonymous seller for $2,800,000 using federal Pittman-Robertson Act funds. Enacted in 1937, the Pittman-Robertson Act established an excise tax on the sale of firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment to pay for restoration, land acquisition, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-related recreational programs.

Several areas of this parcel provide excellent opportunities for the development and expansion of young forest/early successional habitat. The Doodletown WMA will provide areas of shrub habitat that can support the New England Cottontail, which is found nearby and is a state wildlife species of special concern. In addition, the parcel contains upland habitat that supports important migratory songbirds, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, white tailed deer, scarlet tanager, Louisiana water thrush, and the wood thrush.

Because the area provides the potential for a wide variety of wildlife habitats, the acquisition will support wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities including hunting, trapping, hiking, and wildlife viewing.

The parcel can be accessed via New Forge, Allen, East Klein and Doodletown roads, as well as County Route 27. DEC will make a number of access improvements at the area, including parking areas, signage and kiosks. DEC will examine the area for the potential to add trails and other infrastructure improvements in the coming months.

WMAs are lands owned by New York State under the control and management of DEC's Division of Fish and Wildlife. These lands have been acquired primarily for wildlife reproduction and survival, as well as providing for wildlife-based recreational opportunities. WMAs provide exceptional areas for the public to interact with a wide variety of wildlife species. There are 114 WMAs across the state, comprising approximately 197,000 acres.

Since the early 1900s the WMA program has established permanent public access to lands in New York State for the conservation and promotion of its fish and wildlife resources. Money used to acquire lands included in the WMA system has been a combination of state and federal funding.

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