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For Release: Friday, February 15, 2013

DEC Opens Year-Round Multi-Use Community Connector Trail In The Moose River Plains Wild Forest

Designed for Snowmobiling in Winter and Mountain Biking & Hiking in Summer

A 12.8-mile multiple use trail connecting the communities of Inlet and Raquette Lake through the Moose River Plains Wild Forest in Hamilton County is now open for public use, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.

"Establishing this community connection multiple-use trail reflects Governor Andrew Cuomo and DEC's vision to connect Adirondack communities to the Forest Preserve and to each other, providing recreational and economic benefits," said Commissioner Martens. "We will continue to protect the natural resources of the Adirondacks while providing exceptional recreational and tourism opportunities for residents and visitors alike."

The trail will provide four seasons of recreational opportunities for the public to snowmobile, hike and bike in Hamilton County. The trail connects the community of Raquette Lake in the Town of Long Lake to the towns of Indian Lake and Inlet. The new trail is joined with the current Moose River Plains Wild Forest trail system which is the center of a trail system that connects to Newcomb in Essex County and Old Forge in Herkimer County.

DEC crews from Regions 5 and Region 6, with assistance from the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program, the towns of Long Lake, Inlet and Indian Lake, the New York State Snowmobile Association and local volunteers worked tirelessly over the past six months to construct what is the most significant trail project to be undertaken in the Central Adirondacks in decades.

"The construction of this important multiple-use trail could not have been accomplished without the many organizations and municipalities we work with in partnership as stewards of the public lands in the Adirondack Park," said Commissioner Martens. "I applaud the efforts of staff from DEC Divisions of Lands & Forests, Operations and Forest Protection, staff from the Adirondack Park Agency, and partners in the communities who provide leadership to coordinate these efforts. While there are a limited few who refuse to see the forest through the trees and how sustainable communities benefit both the Adirondack Park and the local economies, our many partners in this project demonstrate the broad-ranging support for this new trail."

The Moose River Plains Wild Forest Unit Management Plan approved the construction of this 12.8-mile community connection trail and the closure of 46 miles of snowmobile trails which existed in the more remote areas of this Wild Forest Unit. In addition, 15,000 acres of Moose River Plains Wild Forest lands were reclassified as Wilderness to create the new Little Moose Wilderness area and approximately two miles of road were closed to motor vehicle access within this Wild Forest.

"The Adirondacks are a wonderful treasure for residents and visitors alike, and this connector trail is a welcome addition to our trail system," said State Senator Hugh T. Farley. "It will significantly enhance and expand recreational opportunities and will prove to be a valuable asset to these Hamilton County communities. I appreciate the efforts of Governor Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation to expand recreational access, and I especially want to applaud and thank all of the staff and volunteers who worked to make this trail a reality."

"This new trail will allow visitors to the Adirondack region the opportunity to enjoy all that this rich natural resource has to offer. This was truly a cooperative effort along with the DEC, the townships, the State Snowmobile Association and the Student Conservation Association and it is gratifying to see such a wonderful result," said Assemblyman Marc Butler.

"With the opening of this trail we mark the culmination of longstanding efforts among state agencies, local governments and stakeholder groups to link the communities of the Western Adirondacks to a statewide trail system," said APA Chairperson Lani Ulrich. "Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, community connector trails will increase recreational opportunities and strength the economies of communities that rely heavily on tourism. Through a strong partnership, APA and DEC staff ensured the trail work was compliant with the APSLMP. I applaud staff's efforts, hard work and dedication. This trail will provide local residents and tourists with a back country, recreational opportunity that is safe, enjoyable and environmentally sensitive to the unique resources of the Adirondack Park."

"Hamilton County and the towns of Inlet, Long Lake and Indian Lake are very appreciative of this outstanding trail and the enormous effort that DEC and others put into completing it in such a short time," said William Farber, chairman of the Hamilton County Supervisors. "We appreciate the vision of Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Martens who recognize that economic sustainable communities connected to forest preserve and conservation easement lands are needed to ensure a healthy and vibrant Adirondack Park."

"The New York State Snowmobile Association applauds the efforts of the Department of Environmental Conservation to create this community connector trail in the Moose River Plains Unit," said Dominic Jacangelo, executive director of The New York State Snowmobile Association. "The plan for this trail is environmentally sound and will provide economic benefits to the local communities. DEC has, with the completion of this trail, built a strong partnership between the Town of Inlet, The Inlet Barnstormers, NYSSA and the State agency, and we look forward to similar future projects."

The construction of this new multiple-use trail was approved in the 2011 Moose River Plain Wild Forest Unit Management Plan and constructed pursuant to the "Management Guidance: Snowmobile Trail Construction and Maintenance on Forest Preserve Lands in the Adirondack Park" (Management Guidance), which was determined by the APA to be in compliance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (APSLMP) in November 2009.

The criteria outlined in the Management Guidance are intended to protect the Forest Preserve resource while ensuring the safety of users along the trail route. Efforts were made to minimize the cutting of trees, removal of rocks and altering terrain. Proper drainage has been installed and trail crews made every effort to return the trail and adjacent areas to natural conditions on a daily basis.

A map of the trail may be viewed and downloaded from the DEC website.

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