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For Release: Tuesday, June 25, 2013

DEC Invites Public To Comment On Draft Winona State Forest Unit Management Plan

A public meeting to accept comments on the draft Winona Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP) will be held Wednesday, July 17, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. Public comments are being accepted until August 1.

The public meeting will be held in the Mannsville Manor Elementary School auditorium, Route 11, Mannsville, New York from 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. The first half hour will be an open house format which provides time for the public to informally discuss the draft plan with DEC Lands and Forest staff. Beginning at 7 p.m., DEC staff will briefly present highlights of the draft plan. Following the presentation, the public will have an opportunity to comment on the plan.

Located in New York's North Country, the Winona State Forest covers 9,233 acres of land in Jefferson and Oswego counties.

"Unit management plans provide a framework to address the past, present and future management of forest ecosystems, wildlife habitat and recreational trails," DEC Regional Director Judy Drabicki said. "Unit management plans also provide strategies to conserve, protect and enhance the many values, products and ecosystem-based services that State Forests provide for the public."

During development of the draft plan, DEC invited public participation and assessed the natural, physical, social and recreational resources of the unit's state forests. Information obtained and reviewed through the planning process helped build a solid foundation to support goals, objectives and management actions. The goals of the unit are to provide: a healthy, sustainable and biologically diverse forest; forest-based recreational opportunities; economic benefits to local communities and to the State of New York; and sound stewardship.

This 9,233-acre state forest offers many recreational opportunities, including: hiking, skiing, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, trapping, dog sledding, birdwatching and horseback riding. The unit contains 22 miles of cross-country ski trails, 12 miles of snowmobile trails (some designated New York State Snowmobile Corridor Trails), 9.9 miles forest access roads, and 5 parking lots. Nearly 2 miles forest access roads are posted as open to all terrain vehicles (ATV), providing a connection to established ATV trails to the north and south of the area.

No major changes to the current management strategies for the area are being proposed. A couple of the items trails users will find in the draft plan include:

  • Two new proposed trails;
  • Redesignation of allowed uses on a couple trails;
  • New trail signage system; and
  • Rehabilitation of existing Trails.

Additional Information

The draft plan is available on the DEC's website at . Copies of the plan on compact disk (CD) are also available for public review at the following locations:

  • DEC Region 6 Headquarters office at 317 Washington Street, Watertown (315-785-2263)
  • DEC Lowville Sub-office at 7327 State Rte 812, Lowville, NY 13367

Those unable to attend the meeting are invited to submit comments to the DEC by mail to: NYSDEC, Division of Lands and Forests, Attn: Edwin Sykes, 7327 State Route 812, Lowville, NY 13367 or alternatively by e-mail. Written comments will be accepted until August 1, 2013.

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