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For Release: Thursday, May 10, 2018

DEC Releases Draft Ump Amendments to High Peaks Wilderness and Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest

DEC and APA to Conduct Concurrent Public Review

Public Meetings Scheduled May 23, 2018 in Albany and Newcomb

Deadline for Comments is June 27

The High Peaks Wilderness Complex and the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest Draft Unit Management Plan Amendments have been released for public review, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.

DEC Commissioner Seggos said, "Today marks another milestone in the state's journey to open the Boreas Ponds to visitors in a manner that is responsive to local concerns, provides access, and is protective of sensitive and irreplaceable natural resources. DEC is committed to preserving this unique resource, and helping the town of North Hudson and the other communities in the Five Town Hub realize the economic potential of these lands. The Draft Unit Management Plan Amendments released today identify steps to address overuse and safety concerns while preserving this iconic landscape and ensuring visitors can enjoy its breathtaking views and outstanding recreational opportunities."

"The APA looks forward to hearing from all stakeholders regarding Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan conformance for these proposed amendments to the High Peaks Wilderness and the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest Unit Management Plans," said APA Chairman Sherman Craig. "The Department of Environmental Conservation and APA State Land staff continue to effectively collaborate to ensure the Park's natural resources are protected and recreational opportunities are reasonably expanded for people of all abilities."

Two public meetings will be held on May 23, 2018, as follows:

  • 10:00 a.m. at DEC Headquarters, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY
  • 6:00 p.m. at Newcomb Central School, 5535 State Route 28N, Newcomb, NY

The meetings will provide the public with an opportunity to learn more about the proposed management actions in the Draft UMP Amendments and comment on the proposals. The meeting facilities are wheelchair accessible. Please provide any requests for specific accommodations to (518) 897-1361 at least one week in advance of the meetings.

The High Peaks Complex Draft UMP Amendment proposes management actions for recreational opportunities on the recently classified lands in the southern and eastern portion of the High Peaks. Additionally, this Draft UMP Amendment proposes changes to the recreational infrastructure along State Route 73 to address safety and overuse issues currently experienced in these areas. The proposed management actions include:

Recently Classified Lands

  • Establishing hiking and skiing opportunities within the newer tracts, as well as providing connections to portions of the existing High Peaks Wilderness lands;
  • Establishing rules and outreach efforts to effectively educate and inform the public about the High Peaks Wilderness and the new lands added, including the former Dix Mountain Wilderness Area Lands, so that both the natural resources and wilderness experience of users can be protected;
  • Providing access for persons with disabilities to hand-carry launches and designated primitive campsites at several locations;
  • Enhancing paddling opportunities, including providing a hand-carry launch at Henderson Lake and Chapel Pond; and
  • Designating primitive camping opportunities throughout the tract, including roadside, backcountry, and water access.

Overuse and Safety

  • Constructing new parking lots and expanding current parking lots off State Route 73;
  • Permanently moving the Cascade Mountain Trailhead to the Olympic Sports Complex;
  • Constructing a new trail connecting the trailhead in the Olympic Sports Complex to the Cascade Mountain Trail; and
  • Constructing a new trailhead parking lot for Ampersand Mountain off State Route 3.

While the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest Draft UMP Amendment proposes actions regarding recreational opportunities mainly on the recently classified lands in the northern portion of the unit, it also covers other smaller tracts of recently classified lands. The proposed management actions include:

  • Establishing mountain bike, equestrian, hiking, and skiing opportunities throughout the tracts;
  • Designating routes for public motor vehicle access, including parking;
  • Selecting a preferred alternative for the community connection discussed in the 2015 Community Connector Trail Plan for the multiple-use trail that connects North Hudson and Newcomb;
  • Maintaining nine miles of Forest Preserve road for motor vehicle access opportunities;
  • Maintaining 3.4 miles of additional Forest Preserve roads for seasonal access and camping during big game hunting season;
  • Providing access for persons with disabilities to hand-carry launches, equestrian facilities, and designated tent sites along several roads;
  • Enhancing paddling opportunities, including a hand-carry launch on Boreas Ponds, LaBier Flow, and along the Hudson River;
  • Designating primitive camping opportunities throughout the tract, including roadside, backcountry, and water access;
  • Maintaining the historic cabin at the Four Corners and evaluating potential future administrative uses until a final disposition for the structure is determined; and
  • Designating single-track mountain bike networks.

The Adirondack Park Agency will conduct a separate but concurrent public review of the Draft UMP Amendments' compliance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.

The High Peaks Wilderness Draft UMP Amendment is available on the DEC website to view or download. The Vanderwhacker Wild Forest Draft UMP Amendment is available on the DEC website to view or download. Copies of both Draft UMP Amendment are also available on CD at DEC Headquarters, Albany, NY; DEC Region 5 Headquarters, Ray Brook NY; and DEC Region 5 Office, Warrensburg NY. Written comments regarding the management proposals in either of the Draft UMP Amendments may be mailed to Robert Ripp, Forester, NYSDEC, 232 Golf Road, Warrensburg, NY 12885.

Written comments regarding Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan compliance of either of the Draft UMP Amendments may be mailed to Kathy Regan, Deputy Director for Planning, NYS Adirondack Park Agency P.O. Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977.

Comments regarding the management proposals in either of the Draft UMP Amendments and their compliance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan may be emailed to Info.r5@dec.ny.gov.

The public is encouraged to attend the public meetings or provide written comments before close of business June 27, 2018.

  • Contact for this Page
  • David Winchell
    NYSDEC Region 5
    1115 State Route 86
    P.O. Box 296
    Ray Brook, NY 12977
    518-897-1200
    email us
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