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For Release: Wednesday, November 21, 2012

DEC Announces Opening of New Susquehanna River Public Access Site

Construction of a new public access site on the Susquehanna River just south of the village of Cooperstown is complete and the site is open to the public, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Otsego Land Trust announced today.

"Thanks to efforts of DEC staff, the Otsego Land Trust, the Chesapeake Conservancy, the Upper Susquehanna Coalition, the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, the Otsego County Highway Department, and the Headwaters River Trail Partnership, this new access site has become a reality," said DEC Regional Director Gene Kelly. "This is a fine example of what can get accomplished when a number of like-minded groups work together for a common cause."

"What started as a three-acre purchase has propelled Otsego Land Trust into a new category that has the potential of not just providing recreational opportunities in Otsego County, but also allows us to contribute to large scale waterway protection on a landscape level involving the Susquehanna watershed," said Harry Levine, Chair of the Otsego Land Trust Board.

The new public access site, called the Compton Bridge Conservation Area, will allow anglers and boaters with car top boats to access the Susquehanna River on County Route 11C in the town of Middlefield in Otsego County.

Located at the confluence of the Susquehanna River and Oaks Creek, the site attracts local anglers in the spring looking for brown trout and later in the year in search of walleye and smallmouth bass among other resident fishes. Oaks Creek flows into the Susquehanna River at the site and is stocked annually with brown trout a number of miles upstream from the Susquehanna. However, some trout may be found in the Susquehanna River when water temperatures are cooler in the winter, spring and fall.

The Otsego Land Trust purchased the Compton Bridge Conservation Area in 2009 at a public auction. In December 2009, the Otsego Land Trust and DEC entered into a Fish and Wildlife Management Act Cooperative Agreement allowing for public access along 1,400 feet of riverbank for shoreline angling and hiking. The recently completed improvements to the site were funded by a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network and include two small parking areas, a six-foot-wide footpath and small wooden foot bridge that provides for safer and more convenient access to the river from the road.

Working with its partners, Otsego Land Trust has conserved a number of ecologically significant properties during the past year to create public access around the headwaters of the Susquehanna River and the most northern reach of the Capt. John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. The sites along the Susquehanna River tributary of Oaks Creek and at Compton Bridge form a "blue way" trail that connects access points along the 444-mile Susquehanna River. Within the year, Otsego Land Trust will be developing management plans for three parcels along Oaks Creek, with the anticipation of opening trails and access within the year. Visit Otsego Land Trust's website for updates.

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