Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Lands and Forests Emergency, Proposed & Recently Adopted Regulations

Emergency Regulations

There are currently no emergency regulations.

Proposed Regulations

There are currently no proposed regulations.

Recently Adopted Regulations

A new 6 NYCRR Section 190.37 Lower Salmon River State Forest

The purpose of this section is to protect public safety and natural resources on the Lower Salmon River State Forest.

This regulation became effective on September 13th, 2017, the same date it appeared in the New York State Register.

Express Terms

A new section 190.37 is added to read as follows:

In addition to other applicable general provisions of this Part, the following requirements apply to Lower Salmon River State Forest. In the event of a conflict, these specific provisions will control.

(a) Description. For the purposes of this section, Lower Salmon River State Forest refers to all those State lands under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environmental Conservation in Constables Purchase Townships 10 and 11 and Scriba's Patent Townships 21 and 22 located along and in the vicinity of the Salmon River from Interstate 81 upstream to Bennett Bridges on Oswego County Route 22, excluding those lands designated as the Salmon River Fish Hatchery, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Training Academy, Altmar State Forest and fisherman's parking areas. The lands referred to are a long, irregularly shaped corridor running along the Salmon River for a distance of about 10 miles starting at the Village of Pulaski and extending east to the Lower Salmon River Reservoir. The Lower Salmon State Forest is located in the Towns of Albion, Orwell, and Richland and the Villages of Altmar and Pulaski in Oswego County, being the same lands as more particularly described in deeds conveying such lands to the People of the State of New York, on file in the Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, New York, and duly recorded in the office of the county clerk of Oswego County.

(b) Camping, including camping in vehicles, is prohibited. No camp, tent, trailer, lean-to or structure of any kind shall be erected or maintained within the area.

(c) No person shall discharge a rifle, shotgun, handgun or muzzle loader, except while lawfully hunting or trapping.

(d) Target shooting is prohibited.

(e) In addition to the provisions set forth in section 190.1, the use of fire is prohibited, except for charcoal or gas grills, from May 1st through October 31st. The general fire regulations found in section 190.1 shall apply from November 1st through April 30th.

(f) The use of snowmobiles is prohibited except on designated snowmobile trails.

Regulatory Impact Statement

Statutory authority

The Department of Environmental Conservation is acquiring 2,800 acres of land in Oswego County in a divestiture from National Grid that will be known as the Lower Salmon River State Forest. Of the 2,800 acres, 1,700 acres that are adjacent to the Salmon River will become Lower Salmon River State Forest and be protected by the proposed regulations. The remaining 1,100 acres will be incorporated into other existing State Forests.

Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) section, 1-0101(3)(b) directs the Department of Environmental Conservation (Department) to guarantee "that the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment is attained without risk to health or safety, unnecessary degradation or other undesirable or unintended consequences." ECL section 3-0301(1) provides that "It shall be the responsibility of the department . . . by and through the commissioner to carry out the environmental policy of the State . . . ." ECL section 3-0301(1)(b) gives the Department the responsibility to "promote and coordinate" the management of land resources "to assure their protection . . . and take into account the cumulative impact upon all such resources in . . . promulgating any rule or regulation . . . ." ECL section 3-0301(2)(v) empowers the Department to "administer and manage the real property under the jurisdiction of the Department for the purpose of preserving, protecting and enhancing the natural resource value for which the property was acquired or to which it is dedicated employing all appropriate management activities." ECL section 9-0105(1) authorizes the Department to exercise "care, custody, and control" of the state lands described in ECL Article 9. ECL section 3-0301(2)(m) authorizes the Department to adopt rules and regulations "as may be necessary, convenient or desirable" to effectuate the purposes of the ECL. ECL section 9-0105(3) authorizes DEC to "[m]ake necessary rules and regulations to secure proper enforcement" of ECL Article 9.

Legislative objectives

The Department has, as one of its core missions, the acquisition of environmentally important lands and waters, funding for which has been provided by various acts of the State Legislature. In adopting various articles of the ECL, the Legislature has established forest, fish, and wildlife conservation to be policies of the State and has empowered the Department to exercise "care, custody, and control" over certain State lands and other real property. Consistent with these statutory interests, the proposed regulations will protect natural resources and the safety and welfare of those who engage in recreational activities on Department managed lands.

Needs and benefits

The Department is acquiring approximately 2,800 acres of land in the Lower Salmon River Corridor in Oswego County known as the Lower Salmon River State Forest. The proposed regulations will apply specifically to 1,700 acres lying adjacent to the Salmon River. The Part 190 general regulations for use of State lands provide protection for the majority of lands, but because of the unique characteristics and uses of the lands being acquired, additional specific regulations are needed.

The State's interest in these lands predominantly stems from the unique fishery that exists here. Angler use of the area is extremely intense, providing an annual $18.8 million economic benefit to local communities based on estimated on-site expenditures from the Department's Statewide Angler Survey. Peak use of the area occurs in the fall, but there is also very significant fishing activity on the river throughout the winter and into the spring. Other economically significant uses of the area include general tourism and recreation, particularly winter recreation, since the area receives approximately 300 inches of snow annually.

The proposed regulations will protect the Lower Salmon River State Forest from overuse by prohibiting camping, including camping in vehicles, and protecting natural resources in the area by restricting the use of fire and snowmobiles. Prohibiting target practice will protect public safety.

The large numbers of people that use these lands could cause density related problems such as littering and trampling of vegetation. Estimates of current use indicate that 150,000 to 200,000 people visit the Salmon River annually. Current impacts from these users are relatively low, because visitors arrive, walk to their destination and spend most of their time in the river fishing. When they are done fishing, they leave the property. If camping were allowed, it is likely that unsanctioned campsites would proliferate along the river corridor. Litter and vegetation trampling would significantly increase, as would the impacts from the disposal of human waste and from firewood gathering for campfires. Frequent inquiries from visitors to the area as to whether camping is allowed on these lands demonstrate the likelihood that camping would become widespread without these regulations. Since camping was not allowed on this property prior to acquisition by the state, this prohibition does not present a new restriction on use. Local lodging and private campground businesses will likely benefit from visitors who wish to spend multiple consecutive fishing days in the area.

Prohibiting target shooting will avoid potential conflicts with fishermen and will protect public safety. The relatively long and narrow shape of the property makes it difficult to find locations where target shooting could be undertaken without significant risk to other users of the property. Opportunities for target shooting exist on other State lands nearby and at a private rod and gun club for interested users. Hunting and fishing on the Lower Salmon River State Forest will not be restricted.

Seasonal restrictions on the use of fire are necessary to address warm season party activities. Visitors to the property will still be allowed to use portable charcoal or gas grills and stoves for cooking and warmth.

Restricting snowmobile use to designated trails will keep snowmobiles off sensitive foot trails and reduce potential conflicts with fishermen. Because anglers continue to use the property through the winter months, there is a significantly greater possibility of angler-snowmobile encounters than in most other areas of the state.

A meeting was held by Department staff with local constituent user groups, local landowners and government representatives to discuss the proposed regulations. Sixteen user groups were invited. Those in attendance represented the Albion Fish and Game Club, the Oswego County Federation of Sportsmen, the Lake Ontario Tributary Anglers Council, the Albion Altmar Business Association, Maple Grove Resort, Stoney's Pineville Campground and the Tug Hill Commission. Those invited but not in attendance were the Oswego County ATV Club, Oswego County River Guides Association, Pulaski/Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce, Trout Unlimited, Oswego County Planning and Tourism, Village of Pulaski, Douglaston Salmon Run, Browns Campground and Fox Hollow Campground.

At this meeting, staff explained the importance of the acquisition to the State, the intent of the proposed regulations, and the status of the acquisition using a Power Point presentation. The meeting included a question and answer session. Follow-up was undertaken for those groups invited but not in attendance. There was strong support for the proposed regulations, and no objections were raised.

Costs

There will be no increased staffing, construction or compliance costs projected for State or local governments or for private regulated parties as a result of this rulemaking. Costs to the regulating agency will be minimal, involving signage and printing of brochures.

Paperwork

The proposed regulations will not impose any reporting requirements or other paperwork on any private or public entity.

Local government mandates

This proposal will not impose any program, service, duty or responsibility upon any county, city, town, village, school district or fire district.

Duplication

There is no duplication, overlap, or conflict with State or Federal regulations. The regulations are being proposed for activities where existing State land regulations are insufficient to meet the requirements to protect the unique characteristics found on this State Forest.

Alternative approaches

The alternative to this rulemaking is to take no action to protect these lands. The "no action" alternative was rejected because it would not protect these lands from overuse, nor address the issues of public safety. Reliance on enforcement by posted signs could leave these lands vulnerable because signs can be vandalized or stolen, and the burden is on the Department to prove in each case that the signs were present on the property when an infraction occurred. In addition, courts are hesitant to hold the public accountable for sign violations that are not backed up by specific regulations. Failure to prohibit camping and target shooting and the failure to restrict fire and snowmobile use could potentially lead to degradation of natural resources and public safety issues.

Federal standard

The proposed regulations do not exceed any minimum standards of the Federal government. There is no relevant Federal standards related to these regulations.

Compliance schedule

A Unit Management Plan for the entire property will be completed, which will include a public comment period. The proposed regulations may be revised, as necessary, to be consistent with the Unit Management Plan. The regulations will become effective on the date that a Notice of Adoption is published in the New York State Register. The Department will educate the public about the regulations through information posted on the Department's web site.

Rural Area Flexibility Analysis

A Rural Area Flexibility Analysis is not submitted with this proposal because the proposal will not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on rural areas. The proposed regulation relates solely to protecting natural resources and public safety on the Lower Salmon River State Forest.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

A Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments is not required for these regulations because the proposal will not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on small businesses or local governments. The proposed regulations relate solely to protecting natural resources and public safety on the Lower Salmon River State Forest. There are no identified cost impacts because the proposed regulations have no direct application to small businesses and local governments. The proposed regulations should enhance the public's enjoyment of these lands, and local businesses may benefit from the attraction of potential customers to the area.

Job Impact Statement

A Job Impact Statement is not submitted with this proposal because the proposal will have no substantial adverse impacts on existing or future jobs and employment opportunities. The proposed regulations relate solely to protecting natural resources and public safety on the Lower Salmon River State Forest. The proposed regulations should enhance the public's enjoyment of these lands, and local businesses may benefit from the attraction of potential customers to the area.

A new 6 NYCRR Part 592 Conservation Easements

The purpose of this regulation is to provide standards and a procedure for Department of Environmental Conservation staff to utilize when modifying or extinguishing a conservation easement administered by DEC. It will also provide the public with an opportunity to participate in the conservation easement amendment process.

This regulation appeared in the State Register on December 21, 2016 and became effective the same day.

Addition of Section 190.35 to 6 NYCRR Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor

This rulemaking is necessary to protect public health, safety, and general welfare, as well as the natural resources on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor.

This regulation appeared in the State Register on October 12, 2016, and became effective the same day.

Express Terms

6 NYCRR Section 190.35 Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor

Section 190.35 is renumbered 190.36 and a new section 190.35 Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor is added to read as follows:

In addition to other applicable general provisions of this Part, the following requirements apply to the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor. In the event of a conflict between this section and another section of this Part, the more restrictive provision will control.

(a) Description. For the purposes of this section, Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor means all those state forest preserve lands lying and situated in the Town of Denning in Ulster County located within 300 feet on either side of the centerline of the Roundout Creek, beginning at the New York State land boundary where it crosses Ulster County Route 42 southwest of the Lower Field Parking Area, thence heading northeast for approximately 3.75 miles, and ending with the New York State land boundary approximately one mile east of the Buttermilk Falls parking area, encompassing lands designated by the department as the Sundown Wild Forest and Slide Mountain Wilderness Area of the Catskill Park.

(b) No person shall kindle, build, maintain or use a fire within the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor, including, but not limited to, charcoal fires, wood fires, gas grills, propane stoves or other portable stoves, except at designated campsites.

(c) No person shall possess a glass container within the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor, except when necessary for the storage of prescribed medicines.

(d) No person shall possess a portable generator within the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor, except at designated campsites.

(e) No person shall play a musical instrument or audio device, including, but not limited to, radios, tape players, compact disc or digital players, except at designated campsites unless the noise is rendered inaudible to the public by personal noise-damping devices such as headphones or earbuds. At designated camp sites no person shall use any audio device which is audible outside the immediate area of the campsite.

(f) No person shall deposit or cause to be deposited any solid waste, garbage, food waste, human wastes or other sanitary waste products within the bounds of the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor except at facilities provided and designated by the department.

(g) No person shall park any motor vehicle within the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor except at areas designated and marked by the department as parking areas.

(h) No person shall enter the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor area between
one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise except for: (1) persons camping at designated campsites; (2) licensed hunters and trappers for the purpose of hunting or trapping; (3) pedestrians using the marked hiking trails crossing the corridor; or (4) persons otherwise authorized by permit issued by the department.

Assessment of Public Comment

The 45 day public comment period from June 8 through July 23, 2016 resulted in eight written comments. In addition, the Department hosted a public meeting on June 21, 2016 in the local community to explain the regulations and receive public comments. Approximately 20 people attended the meeting and several made verbal comments.

Comment: Strongly support the proposed regulations. Feels that the regulations will help deter abuse and overuse of the property. (eight written comments, several verbal comments)
Response: Thank you.

Comment: Post "Park head-on" signs to encourage people to park in the most efficient way, given the limited parking available.
Response: The Department will look into ways to delineate parking spaces in gravel lots to improve parking.

Comment: Limit the number of people who use the property on a given day. Require permits for camping and day use.
Response: The new regulations are intended to help reduce natural resource damage by addressing the types of uses, not the number of users, which is limited by available parking. If this approach is unsuccessful, limiting the number of users could be considered.

Comment: Need more officers to enforce the regulations.
Response: The Department is working with other agencies including the State Police, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and Ulster County to assist with law enforcement in the valley.

Comment: Hiking trailhead parking is not useable due to Blue Hole visitors filling it up.
Response: The trailhead parking lot is available to people accessing the forest preserve for a variety of public uses, including hiking, hunting, backpacking, fishing and picnicking.

Comment: What are the results of water samples taken downstream of the Blue Hole?
Response: Water quality samples have not shown adverse impacts to water quality.

Comment: Can New York City Department of Environmental Protection close the road to protect the drinking water supply?
Response: No.

Comment: No cell service delays emergency response.
Response: The Department does not provide cell service, but we recognize this problem and are working to improve radio reception for emergency response.

Comment: Prohibit diving or swinging from a rope in the Blue Hole.
Response: The Department prohibits rope swings and removes them when found.

Comment: Any progress on a radio repeater?
Response: Yes, we are working to develop a repeater on private land that will improve radio reception for law enforcement and emergency response organizations.

Comment: Prohibit shooting.
Response: Hunting with a firearm is allowed on state forest preserve lands consistent with all laws and rules and regulations.

Comment: Get people off the road.
Response: The Department is considering the construction of a pedestrian trail from the trailhead parking lot to the Blue Hole Kiosk to reduce pedestrian use of the road. This proposal will be included in the Sundown Wild Forest Unit Management Plan revision.

Comment: Bear-proof dumpsters and outhouses are needed.
Response: The Department has made arrangements for a bear-proof dumpster and a port-a-john at the Blue Hole from Memorial Day through Columbus Day weekends.

Regulatory Impact Statement
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

Adoption of a new section 190.35 to 6 NYCRR will address overuse and increase public safety on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor while still providing a quality outdoor experience for users. A Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments is not submitted with these regulations because the proposal will not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on small businesses or local governments.

Since there are no identified cost impacts for compliance with the proposed regulations on the part of small businesses and local governments, they will bear no economic impact as a result of this proposal. The proposed regulations relate solely to protecting public safety and natural resources on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor.

Rural Area Flexibility Analysis

Adoption of a new subdivision 190.35 to 6 NYCRR will address overuse and increase public safety on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor while still providing a quality outdoor experience for users. A Rural Area Flexibility Analysis is not submitted with this proposal because the proposal will not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on rural areas. The proposed regulations relate solely to protecting public safety and natural resources on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor.

Job Impact Statement

Adoption of a new section 190.35 to 6 NYCRR will address overuse and increase public safety on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor while still providing a quality outdoor experience for users. A Job Impact Statement is not submitted with this proposal because the proposal will have no substantial adverse impact on existing or future jobs and employment opportunities. The proposed regulations relate solely to protecting public safety and natural resources on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor.

More about Lands and Forests Emergency, Proposed & Recently Adopted Regulations: