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For Release: Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Public Meeting to Be Held on a Draft Plan for a Public ATV Connector Trail Proposal in Chateaugay State Forest

A public meeting will be held by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on Wednesday, June 5 to seek comments regarding a proposal for a Public ATV Connector Trail through a portion of Chateaugay State Forest. The Oswego County ATV Club requested the connector trail which would traverse state forest lands in the town of Orwell, Oswego County.

The proposed connector trail would be located along the southern boundary of the Chateaugay State Forest and would connect Stone Quarry Drive and Dam Road, both of which are currently open to ATV use. The connector trail would use portions of the old abandoned Stone Quarry road and a short section of an existing snowmobile trail with a total length of approximately one mile on State land. The Oswego ATV Club has proposed a public ATV trail system adjacent to the Chateaugay State Forest that would be on nearby private lands and public roads already designated for ATV use.

The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. at DEC's Salmon River Fish Hatchery, 2133 County Route 22, Altmar, NY 13302. The public is invited to provide comment on this decision-making process by making verbal comments at the meeting or by sending written comments to Dan Sawchuck at the hatchery address listed above or by email .

Under DEC's "Strategic Plans for State Forests" an ATV trail on state forest land may only be considered if it will "accommodate a connector trail" through Unit Management Planning (UMP) or a similar public process" or if it will provide access for those with mobility impairments on specific routes designed by the DEC-issued Motorized Access Permit for People with Disabilities. Any such trail proposal must comply with state law, department policy and regulations.

If approved, the trail must follow the shortest environmentally acceptable route available. The inclusion of a connector trail in a UMP and the subsequent establishment of any such trail can only occur if it does not compromise the protection of the natural resources of the Unit. In addition, it may not significantly conflict with neighbors of State Forests, nor interfere with other established recreational areas.

In making a decision about whether to authorize the trail, DEC will consider compatibility with the "Strategic Plan for State Forests," and concerns of neighbors and the community. DEC will also evaluate impacts and necessary stipulations for such authorization on state lands. If authorized, the final plan will include the needed stipulations to address concerns for: environmental impacts, compatibility with other uses, safety issues, maintenance needs, preventing illegal off road ATV use, and providing education and needed enforcement. Segments of the trail on the State Forest will have to be filled and hardened to prevent erosion. This work will have to be completed prior to DEC authorization to open the trail.

The connector trail would be monitored to ensure that legal use does not lead to illegal off‐trail use within the state forest. Should illegal use increase on the State Forest adjacent to the connector trail, the trail will be subject to closure.

A map and information regarding the proposed public ATV Connector Trail can be viewed on DEC's web site. DEC will accept public comments on this draft plan until July 8. DEC will carefully consider all comments received and make a final decision regarding this proposed ATV Connector Trail.

For additional information about the meeting contact Dan Sawchuck at (315) 298-7467 or email.

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