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For Release: Monday, July 8, 2013

DEC Invites the Public to Comment on the Draft Oneida Hills Unit Management Plan

Public Meeting To Be Held July 24, 2013, at the Steuben Town Hall To Provide an Opportunity to Discuss the Unit Management Plan

Comments Will Be Accepted Until August 1, 2013

A public meeting on the draft Oneida Hills Unit Management Plan (UMP) will be held Wednesday, July 24, 2013, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. Public comments on the draft plan, will be accepted at the meeting. Comments must be submitted by August 1, 2013.

The meeting will be held in the Steuben Town Hall, 9458 Soule Rd, Steuben, (Turn west off of State Route 12 at Remsen onto Starr Hill Road, turn left on Fuller Road then continue to Soule Road), from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The first half hour will be an open house format to allow people to informally discuss the draft plan with DEC staff. At 7 p.m. there will be a brief presentation of the draft plan highlights. Following the presentation, the public will have an opportunity to comment on the plan.

The state forests included in the unit are Buck Hill, Canada Creek, Clark Hill, Jackson Hill, Penn Mountain, Point Rock, South Hill, Webster Hill and West Branch. The state forest lands total 13,460 acres and are located in the Oneida County towns of Ava, Boonville, Lee, Steuben and Western.

"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 State Forests offer to the public."

During development of the draft plan, DEC encouraged 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 specific goals, objectives and management actions. The goals of the unit are to provide: a healthy, sustainable and biologically diverse forest; opportunities for forest-based recreation; economic benefits to local communities and residents; and sound stewardship.

These state forests provide many recreation opportunities, including: hiking, skiing, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, trapping, birdwatching and horseback riding. The unit contains 4.5 miles of cross-country ski trails, 15.7 miles of snowmobile trails (some designated New York State Snowmobile Corridor Trails), 11.9 miles of forest access roads, and 14 parking areas.

No major changes to the current management strategies for the area are being proposed in the draft plan, but some items of note to regular users of these state forests include:

  • 8 campsites are proposed to be created, including some Universally Accessible sites;
  • Kiosks are proposed for each of the individual state forests to provide more information on the each forest and recreation opportunities;
  • Improving road maintenance is a priority;
  • Creating additional early succession (young) forest is a long-term goal.

Additional Information

The draft plan is available on the DEC's website. 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 Herkimer Sub-office at 225 North Main St, Herkimer, NY, 13350, or
DEC Utica Sub-office at 207 Genesee Street, Utica, NY 13501, 14th floor.

Those unable to attend the meeting are invited to submit comments to the DEC by mail to: NYSDEC, Division of Lands and Forests, Attn: Mary Kay Allen, 225 North Main St, Herkimer, NY, 13350 or alternatively by e-mail to Region 6 UMP . Written comments will be accepted until August 1, 2013.

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    Herkimer, NY, 13350
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