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For Release: Monday, March 26, 2018

DEC to Amend Management Plans for High Peaks Wilderness and Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest

Kickoff Public Meeting on April 3 at Newcomb Central School

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is amending the Unit Management Plans (UMPs) for the High Peaks Wilderness Complex and the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest to address more than 95,872 acres of classified Forest Preserve lands, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. The amendments include the recently classified lands that were part of Boreas Ponds Tract, Casey Brook Tract, MacIntyre East Tract, MacIntyre West Tract, the lands formerly owned by National Lead, the former Dix Mountain Wilderness lands, and other tracts of land.

"We are excited to be taking this next step along the journey of opening the Boreas Ponds to visitors in a manner that is both protective of sensitive natural resources and provides recreational access," said Commissioner Seggos. "DEC is committed to making the Boreas Ponds lands accessible to visitors while preserving this unique resource, and helping the town of North Hudson and the other communities in the Five Town Hub realize the economic potential these lands can provide. We are working diligently to develop a Unit Management Plan for these lands so that construction of new facilities can start this summer."

Since the completion of the 1999 High Peaks Wilderness Complex UMP, approximately 39,475 acres of land have been purchased, classified, and added to the High Peak Wilderness Complex. The most recent classification added 44,716 acres of the Dix Mountain Wilderness to the High Peaks Wilderness. The High Peaks UMP Amendment will focus on the management of these 84,191 acres of lands in the towns of Keene, Newcomb, and North Hudson in Essex County.

Approximately 11,737 acres of land have been purchased, classified, and added to the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest as part of the Finch Paper land acquisition. The Vanderwhacker Mountain UMP Amendment will focus on the management of these lands located in the towns of Minerva, Newcomb, and North Hudson in Essex County; the towns of Chester and Johnsburg, Warren County, and the town of Indian Lake, Hamilton County.

DEC is holding the first public meeting on Tuesday, April 3, at 6 p.m., at the Newcomb Central School gymnasium, 5535 State Route 28N, Newcomb. The meeting will provide an opportunity for the public to meet with DEC staff and share their thoughts, concerns, and suggestions regarding management of these lands. The facility is wheelchair accessible. Requests for any specific accommodations should be provided in advance to DEC at (518) 897-1248. Additional public meetings for both UMP Amendments will be scheduled and noticed at a later date.

Written comments will also be accepted until April 20, 2018, and can be mailed to Forester Robert Ripp, NYSDEC, 232 Golf Course Road, Warrensburg, NY 12885, or emailed to R5.UMP@dec.ny.gov.

DEC will develop the UMP amendments for both units in a collaborative manner. The management proposals for each unit will complement and supplement one another.

High Peaks Wilderness UMP Amendment

The UMP Amendment will address the management issues for the 39,464 acres of land purchased, classified, and added to the High Peaks Wilderness Complex since the completion of the 1999 UMP, and the 44,716 acres of the Dix Mountain Wilderness that are now part of the High Peaks Wilderness. This includes lands classified as Wilderness and Primitive.

Management proposals will address the connectivity between these tracts of lands and the previously existing High Peaks Wilderness complex lands, and between these lands and lands in the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest.

The UMP Amendment will identify access and recreational opportunities while ensuring the highest level of protection of these lands and waters.

Tracts Included in the High Peaks Complex UMP Amendment

  • Dix Mountain Wilderness: 44,716 acres
  • Boreas Ponds Tract (in part): 11,399 acres
  • MacIntrye West Tract (in part): 7,364 acres
  • MacIntrye East Tract (in part): 4,445 acres
  • Casey Brook Tract: 1,450 acres
  • North River Mountain Range: 6,261 acres (reclassified lands formerly in the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest)
  • Bradley Pond Tract: 1,717 acres (Purchased in 2007)
  • Former NL Lands (in part): 6,816 acres (purchased in 2008 includes Henderson Lake, Preston Ponds, and portions of lands around Calamity Brook and Mt Adams)
  • Niagara Brook Tract (in part): 12 acres

Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest UMP Amendment

The UMP Amendment will address the management issues for the 11,748 acres of land added to the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest and the Boreas Ponds Primitive Area as part of the Finch Paper land acquisition. Management proposals will address the connectivity between these tracts of lands, between these lands and the previously existing Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest lands, and between these lands and lands in High Peaks Wilderness Complex.

The UMP Amendment will identify access and recreational opportunities while ensuring the highest level of protection of these lands and waters.

Tracts Included in the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest UMP Amendment

  • Boreas Ponds Tract (in part): 9,129 acres
  • MacIntrye East Tract (in part): 1,604 acres
  • Vanderwhacker Brook Tract: 202 acres
  • Hudson River Tract: 287 acres
  • Minerva Stream Tract: 13 acres
  • North River Tract: 249 acres
  • Bullhead Pond Brook Tract: 114 acres
  • Palmer Pond Tract: 47 acres
  • Raquette Brook Tract: 37 acres
  • Niagara Brook Tract (in part): 66 acres

The public is encouraged to attend the public meeting or provide written comments before close of business April 20, 2018.

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