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For Release: Friday, January 24, 2014

DEC Issues Draft Vienna Woods Unit Management Plan to Enhance Recreational Use, Protect Natural Resources

Public Meeting to Be Held Jan. 30 at the Vienna Town Hall; Comments Will Be Accepted Until March 3

Greater public access and more recreational opportunities would be offered in Vienna Woods under a proposed Unit Management Plan (UMP) released today by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). DEC will accept comments on the draft plan through March 3 and will hold a public meeting on Jan. 30 in North Bay (Oneida County).

"The draft UMP furthers Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Hunting and Fishing initiative by offering greater land access for sportsmen and sportswomen as well as other outdoor recreationalists," DEC Regional Director Judy Drabicki said. "The plan develops recreational access to forest lands, increases public awareness of outdoor opportunities on Vienna Woods and ensures sustainable forest management. Under the UMP, DEC would manage these state forest lands to promote a healthy ecosystem and enhance landscape biodiversity while protecting soil productivity and water quality."

The meeting will be held on Thursday, Jan. 30, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Vienna Town Hall, 2083 NYS Route 49, North Bay, NY (next door to the post office). The first half hour will be an open house format to allow for an informal discussion of 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 Stone Barn and Fish Creek, totaling 1,299 acres in the Oneida County towns of Annsville, Camden and Vienna. In the general vicinity of the two State Forests are 11 parcels of land categorized as Detached Parcels of Forest Preserve, totaling 888 acres, which are also addressed in the UMP.

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.

The draft UMP reflects Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative, an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state, and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions.

These state forests offer many recreational opportunities, including: hiking, skiing, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, trapping, birdwatching, snowmobiling and horseback riding.

The UMP identifies additional recreational opportunities and ways to enhance the public's access to these state forests. Kiosks are also planned for the individual state forests to provide more information on each forest and its recreational opportunities.

The draft plan is available on DEC's website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/90760.html. Copies of the plan on compact disk (CD) are also available for public review at the following locations:

  • DEC Region 6 Headquarters office, 317 Washington Street, Watertown (315-785-2263)
  • DEC Herkimer Sub-office, 225 North Main St, Herkimer, NY, 13350
  • DEC Utica Sub-office, 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 by e-mail to r6ump@gw.dec.state.ny.us . Written comments will be accepted until March 3.

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