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For Release: Monday, September 23, 2013

DEC Extends Public Comment Period on Big Indian Land Classification for an Additional 30 Days

Now Accepting Public Comments through October 31

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has extended the public comment period on a proposal to classify recently acquired Forest Preserve lands in the Catskill Park. The lands encompass approximately 940 acres of Forest Preserve on the eastern ridge of Belleayre Mountain in the Town of Shandaken, Ulster County, and adjoin the State's Belleayre Mountain Ski Center. Comments will now be accepted through October 31, 2013.

In December of 2011 NYS acquired 1,200 acres on Belleayre Mountain, commonly referred to as the Big Indian acquisition, as an addition to the Catskill Forest Preserve. Earlier this year DEC released a draft revision of the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center's Unit Management Plan that included a proposal to classify 263 acres of the Big Indian Acquisition as Intensive Use, to be added to the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center. This proposal classifies the remainder of the new acquisition, approximately 940 acres. The majority of the remaining lands, approximately 542 acres on the eastern ridge of Belleayre Mountain, to include all lands acquired east of Giggle Hollow Brook and north of the Belleayre Ridge will be classified Wild Forest and added to the Shandaken Wild Forest. Approximately 361 acres in Lost Clove, inclusive of the Lost Clove Trail will be classified wilderness and added to the Big Indian Wilderness Area. With the proposed 149 acres of intensive use being added to wilderness, this would add 510 acres to wilderness. For a comprehensive explanation of state land classifications and a copy of the classification proposal, visit DEC's website.

Written comments on the draft documents can be submitted through October 31 by email, wprudge@gw.dec.state.ny.us or mail to:

William Rudge, Natural Resource Supervisor
NYSDEC
21 South Putt Corners Road
New Paltz, NY 12561

At the conclusion of the public comment period, DEC staff will review all comments received and may make changes to address substantive comments as deemed appropriate. A final classification decision will then be prepared for the Commissioner's review and approval.

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