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For Release: Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Final Draft Management Plan for Hoffman Notch Wilderness Released

Plan Identifies Improvements to Public Access and Recreational Opportunities

The release of the Proposed Final Draft of the Hoffman Notch Wilderness Unit Management Plan (UMP) was announced by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) today.

DEC staff will present the Proposed Final UMP to the APA Board at their monthly meeting on February 16. A first reading of the UMP will be presented to the State Land Committee at 1 pm for them to consider the UMP's compliance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP). A determination of compliance with the SLMP will be made by the APA Board at their monthly meeting in March. APA will accept public comments on SLMP compliance for the proposals contained in the draft UMP. Public comments will be accepted until 12:00 PM on Wednesday, March 7. The final step in the process is approval of the UMP by DEC.

"The release of the final draft unit management plan for the Hoffman Notch Wilderness is another significant milestone in DEC's efforts to improve public access and ensure the protection of the Adirondacks for future generations," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "Input from the public and local representatives assisted greatly in the development of the plan. If approved, the proposals in the plan will better protect the natural resources of the Hoffman Notch Wilderness, make the wilderness more enjoyable for visitors and become more of an asset to area communities."

"The Agency eagerly looks forward to hear from all stakeholders regarding Master Plan compliance for this unit management plan," said APA Chairwoman Leilani Ulrich said. "The Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area is a magnificent place deserving of a well thought out and comprehensive plan. We applaud DEC and APA State Land staff for their efforts in developing this Unit Management Plan. "

The Hoffman Notch Wilderness consists of 38,500 acres of forest preserve lands in the Towns of North Hudson, Minerva and Schroon Lake in southern Essex County. It is situated near the communities of Newcomb, North Hudson, Schroon Lake, Minerva and Olmstedville. The unit is generally bounded on the north by the Boreas Road, on the east by the Adirondack Northway, on the south by Hoffman Road, and on the west by the boundary of Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest.

The Hoffman Notch Wilderness offers many recreational opportunities, including but not limited to hiking, cross country skiing, camping, canoeing, hunting, trapping and fishing. With more than 18 miles of marked trails available, the public can easily reach a variety of natural attractions such as Hoffman Notch and Mt. Severance, as well as popular fishing locations at Bailey Pond or Big Pond. Other scattered water bodies providing additional recreational uses include Big Marsh, North Pond, Sand Pond and Marion Pond.

The UMP proposes to develop an approximately 12.5-mile segment of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST), including 6.6 miles of newly constructed trail, through the southern portion of the Hoffman Notch Wilderness. Associated to the NCNST, the plan also proposes to construct a lean-to near Platt Brook and a primitive campsite on Bailey Pond.

NCNST is a proposed 4,600 mile non-motorized trail system from Lake Sakakawea, ND to Lake Champlain, NY. One of eight federally designated National Scenic Trails, the Adirondack portion of the NCNST will stretch 140 miles and connect with a number of Adirondack communities. More information on the Adirondack portion of the NCNST can be found on DEC's website.

Additional management actions proposed by DEC in the UMP include:

  • Officially designating the path south of Big Pond as a DEC trail that connects to the Big Pond Trail, creating a hiking and cross country skiing loop trail system between Hoffman Road and Loch Muller Road;
  • Constructing foot bridges over Hoffman Notch Brook near north end of Hoffman Notch Trail and over East Branch on the Big Pond Trail;
  • Rerouting 1/4 mile portion of Hoffman Notch Trail north of Big Marsh to west side of Hoffman Notch Brook;
  • Constructing an approximately 4-mile section of trail on eastern portion of unit connecting Hoffman Road with Route 9 which may also serve as part of the NCNST;
  • Constructing an improved parking area along the Blue Ridge Road to serve as the northern trailhead for the Hoffman Notch Trail;
  • Constructing an improved parking area with signs and trail register along west side of Route 9;
  • Designating two primitive tent sites on Big Pond and one primitive tent site on North Pond; and
  • Improving the accessibility of trails to Bailey Pond and a portion of the Big Pond trail.

UMPs are required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan for each unit of State land in the Adirondack Park. The plans integrate the goals and objectives of the State Land Master Plan, related legislation, and resource and visitor use information into a single document.

The UMP is available for viewing or downloading from the Adirondack Park Agency website in the right column of this page.

Please address all written comments pertaining to State Land Master Plan compliance to:

Jim Connolly
Deputy Director of Planning
NYS Adirondack Park Agency
P.O. Box 99
Ray Brook, NY 12977

Comments must be received by 12:00 PM on Wednesday, March 7.

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