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For Release: Thursday, October 30, 2014

DEC Announces Access Projects Completed Allowing More Visitors to Experience New York's Great Outdoors

Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today that four outdoor access projects are open for public use. These major outdoor upgrades are part of Governor Cuomo's 50 new access sites across the state and are designed with an emphasis on universal access to expand recreational opportunities to all New Yorkers. These projects total a $230,000 investment in the state's outdoor destinations through the NY Works program.

"These projects, completed with NY Works funding are further examples of the commitment Governor Cuomo has made to providing additional access for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy a great outdoor experience," Commissioner Martens said. "Fishing, boating and nature viewing are popular recreational activities that offer an escape from the everyday rigors of life, now people from all walks of life can take advantage of them."

Birdseye Hollow Park in Steuben County, $100,000:

DEC and the Steuben County Department of Public Works joined forces on this public access project at Birdseye Hollow Park in the Town of Bath. Steuben County constructed an access bridge over the spillway and DEC installed a floating fishing dock to enable anglers to reach deeper areas for fishing. The state contributed $100,000 for the floating dock.

Steuben County maintains Birdseye Hollow Park, a day-use area adjacent to Birdseye Hollow Pond that lies within the 3,465-acre Birdseye State Forest. The facility now is upgraded to improve accessibility for all outdoor enthusiasts, as well as increase recreational opportunities for sportsmen and sportswomen.

Watts Flats Wildlife Management Area in Chautauqua County; $70,000

The $70,000 project at the Watts Flats Wildlife Management Area (WMA) involved upgrading ¾ mile of Green Flats Road and improving the parking area to accessible standards. Also, an accessible hunting blind/wildlife observation platform was built to overlook the marsh. It will provide access to the marsh for wildlife observation as well as hunting of waterfowl. The 1,325-acre area is located in the Town of Harmony in Chautauqua County and supports a 1,000-acre wetland complex.

East Branch of Fish Creek Conservation Easement, Lewis County, $45,000

The new Waterway Access site in the East Branch of Fish Creek Conservation Easement is now open to the public, providing additional opportunities for trout fishing and nature viewing in a very remote portion of the Town of Lewis. This conservation easement is a 30,000-acre parcel located within the core area of the Tug Hill Plateau, making it a very wild setting. The easement allows the public to use these private timber company lands for many recreational purposes.

The $45,000 project includes accessible parking for two vehicles and path to a new fishing/wildlife viewing platform on the East Fork of the Salmon River, known for its native brook trout. While fishing has always been allowed on the property, no formal access site was ever constructed for access to the East Fork of the Salmon River until now. A stream enhancement project to create a pool digger for fish and anglers alike was part of the project. Additional parking for four vehicles is available a little further from the stream. The parking area will be about a half mile on the left. Hunting and trapping are also allowed in this part of the conservation easement. Directions to the East Branch of Fish Creek Conservation Easement site can be found on the DEC website.

Fish Creek Wildlife Management Area Waterway Access Site in St. Lawrence County, $15,000:

The Fish Creek Wildlife Management Area has a new waterway access site that is now open to the public. The site provides enhanced access to Fish Creek and the wetlands of the 4,500-acre WMA in the towns of Macomb and Depeyster, St. Lawrence County. This new access site features accessible parking for one vehicle, four additional parking spaces and a trail to a car-top boat launch for canoes and kayaks. It is eight miles south of the city of Ogdensburg and one mile south of Black Lake, located just off state Highway 58, on County Route 7 in Pope Mills.

Fish Creek WMA consists of a 2,046-acre natural wetland, most of which is forested. Recreational opportunities include fishing, hunting, trapping, wildlife/bird watching, canoeing, and kayaking. Information and a map of Fish Creek can be found on the DEC website.

Governor Cuomo continues to position New York as a recreation destination. This year's state budget included $6 million in NY Works funding to support the creation of 50 new land and water access projects connecting hunters, anglers', bird watchers and others to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have been underutilized. To date, construction has started on all 50 sites, with 14 of them complete. Approximately 30 projects will be completed by the end of the year. For more information on these access projects, visit the DEC website.

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