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From the June 2014 Conservationist

50 new projects will improve access to more than 380,000 acres of land and water throughout NYS

Access for Outdoor Recreation

Fifty new projects bring more outdoor opportunities within reach

By DEC Staff

Access for Outdoor Recreation- fifty new projects bring outdoor opportunities within reach

In March, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled 50 new land and water access projects to connect outdoor enthusiasts of all ilk to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands across New York State that have not reached their full potential. More than $6 million in funding will support projects to improve access for hunting, fishing, boat launches, hiking, and nature appreciation.

At specific locations throughout the state, the projects will enhance outdoor recreation, improve the quality of life in our communities, and further position New York State as an outdoor recreation destination. The universally designed projects will provide access for people of all ages and varying abilities to a variety of beautiful natural areas and a range of activities and experiences. In addition to hunting access, boat launches, fishing platforms and hiking trails, there will be improved access to existing recreational trails, additional parking areas, trail maps, signage and kiosks. Many projects will make trails and launches available to people with disabilities for the first time.

These projects are in support of the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, which aims to boost recreation-based tourism opportunities throughout the state.

Here are just a few examples of the kinds of projects being supported by this initiative:

Lower Esopus Fishing Access (Ulster Co.): Two properties (donated to the state by Ulster County) will be developed, including 200 feet of frontage on the Lower Esopus Creek, a warmwater fishery, and a popular canoe/kayak stream. This will be the first DEC access on the Lower Esopus. The project also includes parking facilities, a path from the parking lot down to a bulkhead, and an accessible fishing platform with floating docks running parallel to shore. The site is easily accessed from the City of Kingston and the NY State Thruway.

Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area (Onondaga Co.): A popular hunting area, Three Rivers is also treasured for hiking and bird watching. It boasts a nesting pair of bald eagles. The project includes installation of an accessible wildlife observation blind, parking areas, a trail system, and improvements to boat launches.

Braddock Bay Fish and Wildlife Management Area (Monroe Co.): A very popular area for fishing, paddling, hunting and wildlife/nature viewing, Braddock Bay is largely open water and marsh, making access challenging for those with mobility issues. Installation of new launch ramps will improve access to popular paddling spots and allow for safer entry/exit and launching/retrieval of canoes and kayaks. This will make Braddock Bay the only universally accessible launch site in the Rochester metropolitan area.

For a complete list of all fifty projects, visit the Governor's website and search for the Press Release dated March 7, 2014.

Photo: DEC