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For Release: Monday, December 8, 2014

Public Meeting Set for Kaaterskill Wild Forest Management Plan

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will host a public information meeting and open house to solicit public input and recommendations to amend the Kaaterskill Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP) as it relates to management of the heavily utilized Kaaterskill Falls area. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m. at the Hunter Town Hall, 5748 Route 23A, Hunter, Greene County.

"We look forward to hearing from a wide range of constituencies on how to make Kaaterskill Falls a safer and more enjoyable destination for everyone to visit," said DEC Regional Director Keith Goertz. "DEC is committed to protecting and maintaining this unique natural and historic treasure in a manner that is safe for the public and consistent with forest preserve management principles."

"I am very pleased that DEC is taking the public safety issue at Kaaterskill Falls seriously," said Assemblyman Peter D. Lopez. "Our shared goal is to continue to offer the public a chance to view the breathtaking beauty of the falls while properly managing the threats people may encounter. This public forum is an important opportunity for all of us to be a part of preserving public access to this scenic area while assuring the state provides the appropriate resources needed to protect the safety of visitors. I have been working diligently with public officials, local residents, emergency responders and the DEC to find practical solutions. We encourage the public to be a part of this important forum."

As an initial step to address safety concerns at Kaaterskill Falls, DEC installed approximately 200 feet of split-rail fencing at the top of the falls and another 150 feet of fencing at the base of the falls to discourage the public from entering hazardous areas. DEC also installed additional signage warning the public about the danger of leaving the marked and maintained areas.

Individuals are also encouraged to submit recommendations to DEC via email or by mail to Josh Borst, NYS DEC, 65561 State Highway 10, Suite 1, Stamford, NY 12167. Comments will be accepted through Jan. 16, 2015.

DEC will use the information gathered during this public comment period to prepare a draft amendment to the Kaaterskill Wild Forest management plan that will address management of the Kaaterskill Falls area. DEC will release the draft amendment for public review and comment.

DEC prepares unit management plans to assess the natural resources of specific parcels of DEC-managed lands, and to identify opportunities for public use that are consistent with the classifications of the lands and the ability of the resources and ecosystems to accommodate such uses.

For more information about the UMP process visit DEC's website.

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