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For Release: Monday, July 28, 2014

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens Announces Improved Trail Access to Tinker Falls in Onondaga County

NY Works Project Creates New Stone Stairs to Top of Falls and Spectacular Views

Commissioner Joe Martens today announced the completion of two sets of stone stairs that make it easier and safer for experienced and novice hikers to access Tinker Falls in Onondaga County and enjoy spectacular views of one of New York's scenic landscapes. The project, which expands on past work to create a sustainable trail leading to the base of the falls, was funded through the New York Works program.

"People are drawn to the wonders and beauty of New York's natural resources, and Tinker Falls is a great example of the exceptional outdoor resources found in New York State that are a popular destination for local residents and visitors," Commissioner Martens said. "This project creates easy access for people to enjoy views of the falls and enhances the outdoor experience in central New York."

The Adirondack Mountain Club constructed the stone stairs under a $75,000 contract funded through the New York Works II program. One set of stone steps allows people to traverse up 50 feet to the top of the falls, while steps on the other side lead to a flat rock amphitheater under the falls. The falls are located on a stream in the southeast section of Labrador Hollow Unique Area and are accessible from a trail from Route 91.

DEC previously developed a universally accessible trail to the bottom of Tinker Falls, which increased the popularity among nature lovers and hikers. However, reaching the falls was difficult and potentially dangerous. In addition, the number of hikers climbing the hill was leading to erosion at the steep landscape near the falls, where the trail ended. The new stairs will prevent erosion and improve public safety.

"This project greatly enhances the outdoor trail system at Labrador Hollow Unique Area on the border of Onondaga and Cortland counties, and will give people of all ages the chance to view this natural wonder," DEC Regional Director Kenneth Lynch said. "Governor Cuomo is committed to developing additional outdoor recreation access, and we encourage people to take a hike on these trails to view the amazing waterfall and surrounding scenery."

"The completed stairway is the result of a multi-year endeavor by the DEC and the Adirondack Mountain Club to ensure accessibility for hikers and to prevent erosion of the falls area," said Wes Lampnan, Adirondack Mountain Club project manager. "Retired Supervising Forester Richard Pancoe spearheaded the effort to get this project completed. ADK supplied crews of four to six members who spent eight weeks installing the stone steps which were paid for by DEC. Tinkers Falls is a premier location in central New York for hiking and now it can be accomplished in a safe and environmentally sound manner."

Governor Cuomo has expanded recreational opportunities for residents and tourists, positioning New York State as a recreation destination, connecting communities to state lands, and improving the quality of life. This year's State budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support the creation of 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas.

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