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For Release: Friday, November 17, 2017

DEC Announces Completion of Five Miles of New Multi-Use Trails at Elm Ridge Wild Forest

New Trails Support Adventure NY Initiative to Connect New Yorkers with Nature

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced completion of five miles of new multi-use trails at the Elm Ridge Wild Forest in the town of Windham, Greene County. The new trails are part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Adventure NY initiative to connect more New Yorkers with nature.

"With the buildout of multi-use trails now complete at Elm Ridge, the public now has more than 25 miles of trails to explore in this Wild Forest," said Commissioner Seggos. "This public/private partnership exemplifies what we can accomplish when community organizations get involved in protecting and enhancing our shared natural resources. I would like to recognize and thank WARF and ADK for their contributions to this project. These improvements, through Governor Cuomo's Adventure NY initiative, are a great example of the recreational upgrades that New York has underway to better serve everyone who wants to enjoy our state's great outdoors."

The trails were made possible through a partnership between the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Windham Area Recreation Foundation (WARF), and the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK). WARF and ADK professional trail crews constructed the bulk of the new trail network, with DEC Operations crews rounding out the project.

The $23,000 project was funded by DEC's Trail Supporter Patch program, federal funds, and the state's Environmental Protection Fund.

With the completion of these new trails, the Elm Ridge multi-use trail system as proposed in the 2015 Unit Management Plan amendment is now complete, solidifying Elm Ridge as the most comprehensive multi-use trail system for mountain biking in the Catskills and making the Windham area a mountain biking destination. Elm Ridge Wild Forest now offers 25 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking (including single-track mountain-bike trails), cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Trails marked "Fun Loops" near the Route 23 trailhead have gentler slopes and are more appropriate for beginning mountain bikers. The more challenging ridge trails require greater skill.

Next spring, DEC plans to improve and enlarge the Elm Ridge parking area on Route 23 to accommodate up to 45 vehicles.

At 3,524 feet in elevation, Windham High Peak, in the Windham-Blackhead Range Wilderness, is a popular destination from either of the two Elm Ridge parking areas - the Route 23/Cross Road parking area or the Peck Road parking area. Both routes are about 3.3 miles to the top.

Elm Ridge Wild Forest includes a section of The Long Path, a long-distance trail that runs from New York City to Thacher State Park in Albany County. For more information on Elm Ridge Wild Forest, visit DEC's website.

Under Governor Cuomo's Adventure NY initiative, DEC is making strategic investments to expand access to healthy, active outdoor recreation, connect more New Yorkers and visitors to nature and the outdoors, protect natural resources, and boost local economies. This initiative will support the completion of more than 75 projects over the next three years, ranging from improvements to youth camps and environmental education centers to new boat launches, duck blinds, and hiking trails. Read more about the Adventure NY initiative.

For more information on planning an outdoor adventure in New York State, visit DEC's website.

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