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For Release: Monday, October 22, 2012

Public Meeting for Between Rivers Unit Management Plan Scheduled for Nov. 7

Public Comments Accepted on Unit Covers Nine State Forests in Chenango County Until Dec. 15

Public comments are being accepted on the draft Between Rivers Unit Management Plan (UMP) through DEC. 15, and a public meeting will be held Wednesday, November 7, at 7:00 p.m. at the Unadilla Valley High School auditorium, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. The school is located at 4238 NYS Route 8, New Berlin, approximately four miles south of the village of New Berlin. The school and the auditorium are accessible sites.

"DEC recognizes the importance of the public participating in the UMP process and is asking for comments and ideas on the draft plan," DEC Regional Director Ken Lynch said. "Community-based forestry is a participatory approach to forest management that seeks to strengthen the relationship between local residents and nearby forest resources. The Draft Plan proposes to advance community-based forestry through public programs, increased participation in DEC's Adopt-A-Natural Resource program and maintaining a dialogue with local governments about State Forest management."

The Between Rivers UMP consists of 9,174 acres of forest land located in the eastern portion of Chenango County in the towns of Columbus, Guilford, New Berlin, North Norwich, Oxford and Sherburne. State forests included in the Unit are South Hill, Basswood, Wiley Brook, Skinner Hill, Ambler, Lyon Brook, Whaupaunaucau, Pine Ridge and Hunts Pond.

Various public use and recreational opportunities are proposed in the Draft Plan. A parking area and informational kiosks will be maintained at one location on each of the state forests in the Unit. Two new accessible trails are proposed to be developed, a 0.25 mile trail at Hunts Pond State Forest and a 0.33 mile trail at Wiley Brook State Forest. These trails will offer access to prime hunting areas on the state forests.

Other suggestions in the draft plan include: an additional 0.5 miles of snowmobile trail on Wiley Brook State Forest; establishing a non-motorized recreational trial on South Hill State Forest, contingent on maintenance through the Adopt-A-Natural Resources program; the creation of a new lean to for Wiley Brook State Forest; and the use of mountain bikes on the Whaupaunaucau State Forest trail system.

The draft Between Rivers UMP addresses the management of the 236-acre tract formerly known as Hunt's Pond State Park. In 2011, the administration of this property was transferred to DEC, and it will now be managed as a state forest. The property includes a 50-acre pond, a boat launching site, designated camp sites, a road system, a snowmobile trail and forest lands. DEC proposes to maintain 12 of the camp sites near the pond and improve two of the sites to ADA standards. A proposal for camping guidelines is also included in the UMP to address the availability and use of camp sites.

Information on the relationship between white-tailed deer populations and forest vegetation is also presented in the draft UMP. Strategies are identified to achieve a successful layer of forest regeneration where deer populations are above desirable levels.

DEC will consider all comments on the plan as it develops the Final Between Rivers UMP. Comments will be accepted until December 15 and can be sent to the Sherburne Lands and Forests Office or to senior forester Andrew Goeller at: . The Unit Management Plan is available on the DEC's website. Copies are available for viewing at the Sherburne, Norwich, Oxford and New Berlin public libraries and the Sherburne Lands and Forest office. For further information on the plan contact Senior Forester Andrew Goeller in the Lands and Forest Office in Sherburne at 607-674-4017.

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