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Lands and Forests Emergency, Proposed & Recently Adopted Regulations

Emergency Regulations

There are currently no emergency regulations.

Proposed Regulations

Section 190.36 Northern Catskill Riparian Areas

The purpose of this rule is to ensure public safety and protect natural resources on the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas.

Public comment period is closed.

Express Terms

Existing section 190.36 will be renumbered 190.38 and a new section 190.36 will be added to read:

In addition to other applicable provisions of this Part, the following requirements apply to the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas. 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, Northern Catskill Riparian Areas means the following state forest preserve lands:

  1. The Kaaterskill Clove Riparian Corridor located in the towns of Hunter and Catskill in Greene County, along State Route 23A, beginning at the intersection of Spruce Creek and Kaaterskill Creek and extending downstream on Kaaterskill Creek approximately 2 miles to the state land boundary line. The regulated corridor includes the creek bed, the riparian area on the side of the creek in which State Route 23A is located, extending from the edge of the creek bed to State Route 23A or 300 feet, whichever is greater, and the riparian area on the other side of the creek extending 300 feet from the edge of the creek bed.
  2. The Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area located in the town of Hunter in Greene County, beginning at a point 150 feet upstream of the Kaaterskill waterfall on Spruce Creek, and extending downstream to the base of the waterfall at the start of the man-made stone staircase. The regulated area includes the Kaaterskill creek bed, an area on the side of the creek which includes the stone staircase extending 300 feet from the edge of the stream bed or the staircase and the connector trail leading to the Escarpment Trail, whichever is greater, and on the other side of the creek extending 300 feet from the edge of the stream bed.
  3. The Platte Clove Riparian Corridor, located in the town of Hunter in Greene County, and the town of Saugerties in Ulster County, beginning at the state land boundary near the intersection of Platte Clove Road and Steenburg Road and extending downstream to the southeast along Platte Clove Road and the Plattekill creek to the boundary of state land, approximately 1.6 miles. The regulated corridor includes the Plattekill creek bed, an area on the side of the creek which includes Platte Clove Road extending 300 feet from the edge of the creek bed to Platte Clove Road or 300 feet, whichever is greater, and an area on the other side of the creek extending 300 feet from the edge of the creek bed.
  4. The Colgate Lake Wild Forest Area located in the town of Jewett in Greene County, including 1,375 acres at the eastern end of County Route 78 (Colgate Lake Road), bordered by the Windham-Blackhead Range Wilderness to the north, south, and east. The unit boundary as posted follows the 2,400' contour on the north and south.

(b) No person shall kindle, build, maintain or use a fire, including, but not limited to, charcoal fires, wood fires, gas grills, propane stoves, or other portable stoves, within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas, except at designated campsites or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part.

(c) No person shall possess a glass container within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas, except when necessary for the storage of medicines.

(d) No person, within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas, shall play an audio device, including, but not limited to, radios, tape players, compact disc or digital players, except at designated campsites, or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part, unless the noise is rendered inaudible to the public by a noise-damping device, such as headphones or earbuds. At designated campsites or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part, no person shall use any audio device which is audible outside the immediate area of the campsite.

(e) No person shall possess or consume beverages containing alcohol, including, but not limited to beer, wine, and liquor within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas, except when transporting to, or at, designated camping sites, or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part.

(f) No person shall enter restricted areas, as designated by signs in the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas.

(g) No person shall possess a portable generator within the Kaaterskill Clove Riparian Corridor, the Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area, or the Colgate Lake Wild Forest Area, except at designated campsites or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part. Possession of portable generators is prohibited within the Northern Catskill Riparian Corridor in the Indian Head Wilderness Area, located in the Town of Hunter, Greene County and the towns of Saugerties and Woodstock, Ulster County, lying generally west of the east boundary of the Catskill Park, south of Platte Clove, east of Devil's Tombstone Campground and north of the hamlets of Lake Hill and Shady.

(h) No person shall enter into, or remain in, the Kaaterskill Clove or Platte Clove Riparian Corridors between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise except for:

  1. persons camping at designated campsites, or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part.
  2. licensed hunters, anglers, and trappers for the purpose of hunting, fishing, or trapping.
  3. pedestrians using marked hiking trails to cross the areas; or
  4. persons otherwise authorized by permit issued by the department.

(i) In the Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area, no person shall enter the area located within six (6) feet of cliff edges, except: on marked trails, including the man-made stone staircase and the trail leading to the first water plunge pool, commonly referred to as the mid-pool; when engaged in ice climbing or rappelling by rope; or by authorized permit issued by the department.

(j) In the Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area, no person shall enter the water, wade, or swim within 150 feet upstream of Kaaterskill Falls.

Regulatory Impact Statement

1. Statutory authority:

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 unintentional consequences." ECL section 3-0301(1)(b) gives the Department the responsibility to "promote and coordinate management of...land resources to assure their protection, enhancement, provision, allocation, and balanced utilization...and take into account the cumulative impact upon all such resources in promulgating any rule or regulation." ECL section 3-0301(1)(d) authorizes the Department to "provide for the care, custody and control of the Forest Preserve." ECL section 9-0105(1) authorizes the Department to "[e]xercise care, custody, and control of the several preserves, parks and other State lands described in [Article 9 of the ECL]," which includes Forest Preserve lands. Article XIV, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution provides that the lands of the Forest Preserve "shall be forever kept as wild forest lands." 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]," and ECL 9-0105(3) authorizes the Department to "[m]ake necessary rules and regulations to secure proper enforcement of [ECL Article 9]."

2. Legislative objectives:

Paragraph 1 of section 3 of Article XIV of the New York State Constitution provides that "forest and wild life conservation are . . . policies of the State." Article XIV, section 1 of the New York State Constitution provides that the lands of the Forest Preserve "shall be forever kept as wild forest lands," and ECL sections 3-0301(1)(b) and 9-0105(1) give the Department jurisdiction to manage Forest Preserve lands. The Department is also authorized to promulgate rules and regulations for the use of such lands (see ECL sections 3-0301(2) (m) and 9-0105(3)). Consistent with this authority, the proposed regulations are crafted to protect natural resources and the health, safety and general welfare of those who engage in recreational activities within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas: Kaaterskill Falls, Kaaterskill Clove, Platte Clove, and Colgate Lake, of the Forest Preserve in the Catskill Park.

3. Needs and benefits:

The Northern Catskill Riparian Areas is composed of four separate areas, encompassing almost 2,000 acres of Forest Preserve lands in the Towns of Catskill, Hunter, and Jewett in Greene County, and a small portion in the Town of Saugerties, in Ulster County.

The Kaaterskill Clove Riparian Corridor is in the towns of Hunter and Catskill in Greene County, along State Route 23A. It begins at the intersection of Spruce Creek and Kaaterskill Creek and extends downstream on Kaaterskill Creek about 2 miles to the state land boundary. The corridor extends 300 feet from each side of the creek bed or to Route 23A, whichever is the greater distance.

The Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area is in the town of Hunter, Greene County. It begins 150 feet upstream of Kaaterskill Falls, located on Spruce Creek and extends to the base of the waterfalls, including the stone staircase and the mid-pool. The regulated area extends 300 feet from each side of the creek bed or to the connector trail to the escarpment trail, whichever is the greater distance.

The Platte Clove Riparian Corridor is in the town of Hunter in Greene County and a small portion of the town of Saugerties in Ulster County. It begins at the state land boundary near the intersection of Platte Clove Road and Steenburgh Road, extending downstream along the creek, about 1.6 miles. The regulated corridor extends 300 feet from each side of the creek or to Platte Clove Road, whichever is greater.

The Colgate Lake Wild Forest Area is in the town of Jewett in Greene County, including about 1,375 acres at the eastern end of County Route 78 (Colgate Lake Road), bordered by the Windham-Blackhead Range Wilderness.

These areas have been popular public destinations since before the state began acquiring land in this area, which began in 1930 and extended through the 1960s, ending most recently in 2016. Kaaterskill Falls has been a tourist destination since the mid-1800s. As a result of increased social media and New York tourism promotion, public use has increased dramatically. The Department estimates approximately 100,000 people visit the site each year. Public use has also increased dramatically in the Kaaterskill Clove area during the summer over the last decade, as people use the area mainly to swim and picnic. Platte Clove is used year around, including ice climbing in the winter. The Colgate Lake area is one of the few public lakes available to the public in this portion of the Catskills and is heavily used during the summer.

Due to this dramatic increase in public use, serious public health and safety issues are being created. The natural resources of the areas are rapidly becoming despoiled and fragile ecosystems are being degraded. There have been numerous fatalities over the last decade in these areas. Multiple people have fallen to their deaths at Kaaterskill Falls, Kaaterskill Clove, and Platte Clove. In addition, a person was paralyzed at Colgate Lake as a result of unsafe diving.

The Department has improved safety at Kaaterskill Falls with the installation of a viewing platform, stone staircase, sections of split rail fencing, and the installation of a foot bridge upstream of the falls, allowing people to cross the stream safely. However, even with these measures, people still engage in unsafe behaviors, such as wading in a very slippery stream just upstream of the falls and walking along the cliff faces.

The actions of people at Platte Clove and Kaaterskill Clove has resulted in recent fatalities and injuries. This regulation is intended to reduce the number of people who use the area, and restrict inappropriate activities to protect the public health and safety and the resource.

Colgate Lake provides a unique experience in the Catskills. Access to a small public lake for swimming and picnicking is uncommon in the northern Catskills. Public use of this area continues to increase, as people hear about this resource, especially through social media, and come to enjoy "a quiet" location. Site degradation is occurring in the immediate area adjacent to the lake and the popular camping sites nearby within this Wild Forest unit. These regulations are targeted to reduce the number of people who recreate here, provide an enjoyable user experience, and protect the resource.

Site degradation is also an issue at Kaaterskill Falls, Kaaterskill Clove, and Platte Clove. The trampling of vegetation has resulted in exposed and compacted soil. Trees are being stripped of their limbs for firewood, and indiscriminately located campfires are creating carbon scars on the ground. Garbage, trash, and broken glass are despoiling the wild character of the areas and raising public safety concerns.

The use of portable generators and audio devices have negatively impacted the quiet and solitude of these areas. The regulation will prohibit the use of portable generators and require that an individual listening to music must utilize headphones or other similar devices. Under current regulations, section 196.8 (b), portable generators, and other motorized equipment, are prohibited in Wilderness Areas. The Platte Clove Riparian Corridor is located within the Indian Head Wilderness, where the use of portable generators is already prohibited.

The conditions outlined are proposed to be addressed by varying levels of regulation in the four areas, as described below.

The following proposed restrictions would apply in all areas, except for people that are legally camped:

  1. No fires, including gas grills and propane stoves
  2. No glass containers except when containing medicine (currently posted by sign only at Kaaterskill Clove)
  3. No playing audio devices without a personal noise damping device
  4. No alcohol
  5. No portable generators

In Kaaterskill Clove and Platte Clove, a further proposed restriction is closure of the area from dusk (1/2 hour after sunset) to dawn (1/2 hour before sunrise), excepting legal campers, licensed hunters, anglers, trappers, and those on marked trails. It is dangerous for individuals to hike in this area at night. High cliff faces and very steep terrain are not evident in the dark and a person falling can be seriously injured or killed.

At Kaaterskill Falls, two additional restrictions include: the prohibition of people entering the area within six feet of a cliff edge (except on marked trails, by ice climbers, or those rappelling by rope) and the prohibition of people entering the water within 150' upstream of the falls. The proposed restrictions are for the safety of users. There are numerous high cliffs accessible to hikers, resulting in falls leading to serious injury or death. The stream bed is extremely slippery and stepping into the water near the edge of the falls can be dangerous. A tragic accident occurred several years ago when a woman was swept over the falls after slipping while stepping into the water to cross the stream above the falls. Local law enforcement and public safety officials are the first responders to incidents on these areas. Local governments support the regulatory proposal.

The Department has presented the proposed regulation at several meetings of local stakeholders in this area of the northern Catskills, including the Kaaterskill Clove working group and the Catskill Forest Preserve Advisory Committee. Local governments, including tourism and the county planning department, along with local user groups, first responders, sports people, and the hiking community, have attended these meetings. In addition, information regarding the Department's intent to propose these regulations, content of the regulation, and the public process associated with the rulemaking, will appear in a widely distributed newspaper in the area. A public meeting in the local community will also be held during the formal regulatory comment period. All regulatory documents will appear on the Department's website.

4. Costs:

There are no costs to the regulated community as a result of this proposed regulation. Costs to the state for the additional management actions are minimal and are estimated at $2,500 for new signage and posting of the Colgate Lake Wild Forest.

5. 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.

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

7. Duplication:
There is no duplication, conflict, or overlap with state or federal regulations.

8. Alternatives:

The no-action alternative is not feasible since it does not adequately protect the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas from overuse and abuse and does not protect the public health, safety, and general welfare. The existing generic 6 NYCRR Part 190 regulations for state lands are not adequate in protecting the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas because of their unique characteristics, remote locations and very high level of public use.

Closing these areas to public use is also not an acceptable alternative. Forest Preserve land is acquired for the use of and enjoyment by the public. ECL section 9-0301(1) provides that "all lands in the Catskill Park . . . shall be forever reserved and maintained for the free use of all the people . . ." The closure of Forest Preserve land to public use should not occur except when absolutely necessary to protect public health or the resource. Closure would also be impractical due to the number of people who use these areas. Any closure would be ignored and enforcement would not be feasible.

9. Federal standards:

There is no relevant federal standard governing the use of State lands.

10. Compliance schedule:

Once the regulations are adopted, they are effective immediately, and all persons will be expected to comply with them upon their effective date. The Department will educate the public about the regulations through information posted on the Departments' website, signage posted on the property, and by working with user groups and other stakeholders to help disseminate information regarding the regulations.

Rural Area Flexibility Analysis

Adoption of a new subdivision 190.36 will address public safety and natural resource degradation issues on the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas 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 Northern Catskill Riparian Areas.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments

Adoption of a new section 190.36 to 6 NYCRR will address public safety and natural resource degradation issues on the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas 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 Northern Catskill Riparian Areas.

Job Impact Statement

Adoption of a new section 190.36 to 6 NYCRR will address public safety and natural resource degradation issues on the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas 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 Northern Catskill Riparian Areas.

Repeal of 6 NYCRR §192.7 Control of the Emerald Ash Borer

The proposed action will repeal regulations that restrict the movement of ash wood in New York State. These regulations are no longer serving the purpose of slowing the spread of Emerald Ash Borer or allowing time for municipal governments to plan for the arrival of Emerald Ash Borer. The financial cost of the regulations to state government and the forest products industry now outweigh the limited economic benefit of protecting a dwindling ash resource from infestation. Immediate repeal of these regulations will allow the forest products industry and forest landowners to harvest and process ash that is still of high quality. Harvesting this resource before the infestation becomes even more widespread is in the best interest of forest landowners and the forest products industry as infested ash degrades quickly, resulting in decreased economic value and greater risk of personal injury and property damage as infested trees quickly weaken.

Although the effect of this proposed repeal will allow the free movement of ash wood, the movement of EAB itself in any life stage is still restricted by 6 NYCRR Part 575, Prohibited and Regulated Invasive Species.

The comment period closed on June 25th, 2018.

Express terms

6 NYCRR Section 192.7, "Control of the emerald ash borer," is repealed.

Regulatory Impact Statement

1. Statutory authority:

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 unintentional consequences." ECL section 3-0301 (1) (b) gives the Department the responsibility to "promote and coordinate management of...land resources to assure their protection." 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 9-1303 authorizes the Department "to make rules and regulations to prevent the spread of or to control forest insects and forest tree diseases, their pupae, eggs and caterpillars, and plants or trees infested by them." This authority also gives the Department the discretion to repeal such regulations where appropriate.

2. Legislative objectives:

The proposed repeal is consistent with the public policy objectives the Legislature sought to advance when it enacted the above statutory authority concerning the spread within the state of injurious insects and the protection of trees, forests and the environment from harm or degradation.

3. Needs and Benefits:

At present, 37 counties and portions of five others are within an EAB restricted zone that regulates the movement of ash wood, logs, firewood, nursery stock and wood chips. The intended benefits offered by these regulations were the more effective control of the spread of EAB by restricting the movement of potentially infested materials from within the infested area into non-infested areas of the state. However, given the increased and growing distribution of EAB within the state, the limited benefit of continuing to maintain an EAB restricted zone or zones is overwhelmingly outweighed by cost of the regulations to state government and the forest products industry, and the benefits that will come from allowing the efficient economic utilization of the remaining ash resource throughout New York. Therefore, this regulation repeals existing section 6 NYCRR §192.7, which parallels the repeal of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets' (NYSDAM) existing 1 NYCRR §141.

EAB is a destructive wood-boring insect that is not indigenous to the United States. EAB causes serious damage to healthy ash trees by boring through their bark, which ultimately results in the death of the tree within two years. Ash trees, ash nursery stock, and material from ash trees like logs, green lumber, firewood, stumps, roots, branches and debris are subject to infestation. Materials at risk of attack and infestation by the EAB include the following species of North American ash trees: White Ash (Fraxinus americana); Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica); Black Ash (Fraxinus nigra); and Blue Ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata).

EAB was first discovered in Michigan in June 2002, and has since spread to at least 29 other states as well as to three provinces in Canada. The initial detection of this pest in New York occurred on June 16, 2009 in the Town of Randolph, which is in southwestern Cattaraugus County and is adjacent to Chautauqua County. A quarantine of both counties was established pursuant to federal protocols for control of EAB.

Between 2009 and 2015, this quarantine was expanded four times to reflect multiple further detections of EAB. In 2015, the federal EAB quarantine expanded to include all of New York State. At that time, New York adopted section 192.7 to establish 14 EAB restricted zones to slow the spread of EAB within the state. Between 2015 and 2017, these restricted zones were expanded twice following multiple new detections of EAB in traps and surveys, such that they have now merged into a single restricted zone encompassing a majority of the state. As the 2017 growing season progressed, EAB was confirmed in Franklin and St. Lawrence Counties (North of the Adirondack Park) and in the New York City Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. This further illustrates the rapid advance of the infestation throughout the habitat range in New York.

The regulations are no longer serving the purpose of slowing the spread or allowing time for municipal governments to plan for the arrival of Emerald Ash Borer. The financial cost of the regulations to state government and the forest products industry now outweigh the limited economic benefit of protecting a dwindling ash resource from infestation. Immediate repeal of these regulations will allow the forest products industry and forest landowners to harvest and process ash that is still of high quality. Harvesting this resource before the infestation becomes even more widespread is in the best interest of forest landowners and the forest products industry as infested ash degrades quickly, resulting in decreased economic value and greater risk of personal injury and property damage as infested trees quickly weaken.

Regardless of any restrictions on the movement of potentially infested materials such as ash wood, movement of EAB itself in any life stage is still restricted by 6 NYCRR Part 575, Prohibited and Regulated Species. EAB is listed therein as a prohibited species, which no person shall sell, import, purchase, transport, introduce or propagate, or knowingly possess with the intent to sell, import, purchase, transport, or introduce, unless issued a permit by the Department for research, education, or other approved activity, under that Part. However, compliance with the provisions of that Part do not apply if the Department determines that the possession, sale, importation, purchase, transportation, or introduction was incidental or unknowing, and was not due to a failure to take reasonable precautions. (See Exemptions listed in 6 NYCRR 575.8.) In the context of EAB, such reasonable precautions shall be considered to include widely accepted best management practices promoted on the Department's website (http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/45409.html) social media, and interactions with forest owners and the forest products industry. Examples of these best management practices include transporting ash wood during EAB's dormant period to a facility where it will be processed before the start of the active period, and avoiding movement of visibly obvious infested ash wood during the time of the year that EAB adults are active.

Department staff have met with Department of Agriculture and Markets counterparts and representatives of the forest products industry several times over the past several years as the EAB restricted zones were created and subsequently expanded. Over that same time period, Department staff have also met with several local EAB task forces and conducted numerous public events across the state to stress the need for proactive management of ash trees in the face of impending infestation by EAB. DEC will use various communication outlets to convey this message to the public, including Facebook, DEC Delivers, the Department website and press releases in English and Spanish.

4. Costs:

(a) Costs to regulated parties for the implementation of and continuing compliance with the rule: It is anticipated that the fiscal impacts of repealing the existing rule will be to reduce or eliminate costs to regulated parties.
(b) Costs to the agency, the state and local governments for the implementation and continuation of the rule: The only costs to the Department are for outreach, which will not change from the current situation under our existing EAB restricted zone. Some local governments may face expenses in tree maintenance or removal due to EAB infestation, since ash trees are popular trees to use to line streets. However, those costs will occur with or without this rule. Accordingly, local governments will not incur any additional expenses.
(c) The information, including the sources of such information and the methodology upon which the cost analysis is based: The costs analysis set forth above is based upon Department observations of the industry.

5. Local government mandate:

The repeal of 6 NYCRR §192.7 will not impose any program, service, duty or responsibility upon any county, city, town, village, school district or fire district, or other special district.

6. Paper work:

The repeal of 6 NYCRR §192.7 will reduce the need for paperwork. Currently, regulated articles inspected and certified to be free of EAB moving from a restricted zone have to be accompanied by a state or federal certificate of inspection or a limited permit. This requirement will be eliminated.

7. Duplication:

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets will repeal its existing Part 141 of Title 1 NYCRR, parallel to the Department's repeal of existing section 192.7 of 6 NYCRR under their overlapping authorities.

8. Alternatives:

The alternative of no action was considered. However, this option is not feasible, given that EAB has since been confirmed to be present in several locations well outside of the existing EAB restricted zone. Based on the current known distribution of EAB in the state, maintenance of the restricted zone and restricting the movement of ash wood and other regulated articles will no longer offer the benefit of more effective control of the spread of EAB.

The alternative of expanding the existing EAB restricted zone to encompass the known current range of EAB was considered. However, this option is not feasible because any such expanded restricted zone would by necessity include virtually all of the state, and as such would not significantly reduce the movement of regulated articles or slow the spread of EAB.

In light of these factors, there does not appear to be any reasonable alternative to the repeal of section 6 NYCRR 192.7.

9. Federal standards:

The regulations do not exceed any minimum standards of the federal government. There are no relevant federal standards related to these regulations.

10. Compliance schedule:

This rule shall become effective on and after the tenth day from notification of the clerk of that county. The Department will educate the public about the regulations through information posted on the Department's website and by working with user groups and other stakeholders to help disseminate information regarding the regulations.

Rural Area Flexibility Analysis

Repeal of existing section 192.7 of 6 NYCRR will allow for more efficient utilization of the ash resource in New York. A Rural Area Flexibility Analysis 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 repeal will allow the efficient utilization of ash by the forest products industry and forest landowners.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments

Repeal of existing section 192.7 of 6 NYCRR will allow for more efficient utilization of the ash resource in New York. 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. The proposed repeal of existing section 192.7 will allow the efficient utilization of ash by the forest products industry and forest landowners.

Job Impact Statement

Repeal of existing section 192.7 of 6 NYCRR will allow for more efficient utilization of the ash resource in New York. 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 repeal will allow the efficient utilization of ash by the forest products industry and forest landowners.

Recently Adopted Regulations

A new subdivision to 6 NYCRR Section 190.35 Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor

The purpose of this subdivision is to protect public safety and natural resources on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor.

This regulation became effective June 27, 2018, the same day it appeared in the State Register.

Express terms

Addition of a new subdivision (i) to existing section 190.35 of 6 NYCRR

(i) From May 15th through October 15th of each year on Saturdays, Sundays and state and federal holidays, no person shall enter the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor east of the County Route 42 bridge crossing the Rondout Creek, an area that includes that portion of the Rondout Creek known as the Blue Hole, except under permit from the department.

Assessment of Public Comment

Assessment of Public Comment for the day use permitting system for visitors to the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor (Blue Hole)

The 60-day public comment period, from March 29th through May 28th 2018, resulted in 185 written comments in response to the proposed no-cost permitting system for visitors to the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor. Out of the185 comments, 122 voiced support for a permit system, 11 were opposed to a permit system, and 52 were ambiguous in terms of support or opposition toward the permit system. Comments were reviewed, categorized, and summarized. A responsiveness summary was then prepared.

Comment: I support the no-cost, day-use permit system at blue hole.
Response: We appreciate support for this proposal and will re-evaluate at the end of the season.

Comment: Will permits be issued online or at a physical location?
Response: Permits will only be issued online through the Reserve America Website at www.reserveamerica.com.

Comment: When will a permit be required to visit the Blue Hole?
Response: A permit will be required to visit the Blue Hole on weekends and holidays between May 15th and October 15th of each year. The permit system will take effect upon publication in the State Register.

Comment: How long in advance of a date can the Blue Hole permit be requested?
Response: The permit can be obtained up to one week in advance, but must be obtained more than 24 hours in advance. Weather is a deciding factor for many visitors to the Blue Hole. By limiting how far in advance permits can be acquired, we hope to reduce the likelihood that some people may get a permit but then not use it. We will evaluate this restriction at the end of the season.

Comment: Will you have someone on the site checking for permits and will there be a sign there telling people where they can get the permit?
Response: Forest Rangers and other law enforcement will be checking permits. Signs are in place with instructions on how to apply for permits. Blue Hole Stewards will provide information, including how to obtain a permit, throughout the summer. Permits will only be available in advance, online.

Comment: Please install check in booths like the ones at DEC paid campgrounds.
Response: The need for check in booths was considered. Due to various unofficial access points and various logistical constraints, check in booths are not being implemented at this time. The need for check in booths will be reevaluated as necessary.

Comment: Ulster county residents should be exempt from the permits but still be held to all rules and regulations. I would also like the DEC to consider that locals (surrounding townships) are offered a number of permits prior to offering them to the general public. No local family should be stopped from going on a weekend because of people who do not live in the area.
Response: Currently all visitors including local residents will need a permit in order to access the Blue Hole on weekends and holidays between May 15th and October 15th. Part of the management decision for not having a permit requirement on weekdays is to allow local residents access to the area without a permit. DEC does not discriminate against the public regarding access to public lands.

Comment: I would also like to see each permit come with a "rule sheet" for each person to sign. They should be aware that it is unlawful to litter, etc. It is heartbreaking to see that many people leave their dirty diapers, etc. there.
Response: Application for the permit includes an acknowledgement checklist that highlights the rules and special regulations.

Comment: There is a movement today in the northeast to preserve the wild brook trout and his domain. Just think how truly fortunate we are to have native brook trout within 100 miles of NYC! It should not only be maintained but cherished. Please consider reversing the decision to issue permits that will only negatively stress the river and its fish. You have the right to deny public access for swimming on this precious water and you have a duty to protect the brook trout environment and preserve the legacy of those that have come before.
Response: The permit system is designed to limit the number of visitors to the Blue Hole on holidays and weekends in order to reduce the impact on the land and fisheries in the area. We will evaluate the effectiveness of the permit system at the end of the season and make changes as necessary to protect natural resources.

Comment: Charge a fee for parking and charge a fee for camping. Most campers we have spoken to would be more than willing to pay a fee similar to Beaverkill or Mongaup Pond, especially if clean bathrooms were part of the package. If a fee was charged for parking, like Sam's Point, most likely it would simplify the method of controlling the number of cars permitted to park - when it is filled up - no more spaces will be available until someone leaves, which does happen very frequently over a weekend.
Response: In comparison to a staffed, State Campground which provide a variety of facilities, including bathrooms, the Blue Hole and the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor are part of an area classified as "Wild Forest" where no significant facilities are provided. The Sundown Wild Forest has a long history of free primitive camping within the Peekamoose Valley. Campsites in the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor are currently limited to 36 designated sites.

Comment: There should be no day passes issued, but enforcement of the rules. Parking in designated parking areas and carry in carry out laws should be enforced. DEC should have put up large signs with the amount of fines you will pay if in violation. Writing a few large tickets would have hit the internet and people would be more respectable to the rules.
Response: DEC has tried to address the overuse issues at the Blue Hole with education and enforcement, including implementation of special regulations and a Leave No Trace stewardship program last year. While we saw some improvement, the total number of users exceeded the area's carrying capacity. Law enforcement will continue to ensure that rules and regulations are followed including enforcement of parking violations and littering. NYSDEC is working with other agencies including State Police, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and Ulster County to assist with law enforcement in the valley.

Comment: Two hundred and forty people is still an excessive amount of people. During summertime, a weekday permit system should also be considered as the entire area welcomes many tourists during the week days as well. It is my opinion that permitting up to 240 people per day is still in excess of what the area and the swimming hole can accommodate.
Response: The Department will assess the need to adjust the number of permits issued on a daily basis. If the number of permits proves to be excessive we will consider further adjustments. Part of the management decision for not having a permit requirement on weekdays is to allow local residents access to the area without a permit. If numbers of visitors on weekdays increase, or two we will assess the need for weekday permit requirements.

Comment: How many daily visitors are there currently during peak periods?
Response: Reports indicate that 500-700 people per day have visited the Blue Hole during peak periods.

Comment: I think it's a good idea to try limiting use of the Blue Hole and other overused and abused places thru a permit system. However, the state will have to get the word out to the user in their home area - New York City and North Jersey - before attempting such a system. Also placing large signs the first year or two at closest Thruway exits and the north and south ends of Peekamoose Road and other approach roads so you can minimize potential confrontations at the site. It's going to take quite a learning curve on the part of the public as this is the first attempt at limiting use on the Forest Preserve.
Response: DEC is involved in public outreach designed at informing visitors to the Blue Hole of the permit system in advance. Signs are currently in place within the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor informing visitors that a permit system will be in place by June 30th 2018. Large electronic signs will be in place on either end of Peekamoose Road to inform visitors of the permit requirement. Blue Hole Stewards, which began working at the Blue Hole Memorial Day weekend, are informing the public of the new day use permit requirement. In addition, the Department has undertaken outreach on several websites that promote the Blue Hole, and have met with stakeholders and elected officials. We will post information on the Department's webpage and issue a press release to inform visitors.

Comment: Thank you for your efforts to protect the Blue Hole. The last few years I have volunteered on cleanup efforts of the Blue Hole. I don't think issuing permits is the solution. The solution is education. Use social media to promote LNT. Instead of having someone issuing permits, have a strong stewardship program educating visitors. The permit program is going to keep out not only responsible hikers who enjoy the Blue Hole after hiking Peekamoose, last minute relative visits, local, and many nature lovers. This is our park, let's protect it, not restrict it.
Response: DEC has tried to address the overuse issues at the Blue Hole with education and enforcement, including implementation of special regulations and a pilot "Leave No Trace" stewardship program last year. While we saw some improvement, the total number of users exceeded the area's carrying capacity. A season-long stewardship program will be implemented this year (Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend), and stewards will be in place to help educate the public during holidays and weekends as well as some weekdays throughout the summer. However, our experience over the last several years suggests that we also need to limit the number of users to protect natural resources.

Regulatory Impact Statement
  1. Statutory authority:
    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 unintentional consequences." ECL section 3-0301(1)(b) gives the Department the responsibility to "promote and coordinate management of...land resources to assure their protection, enhancement, provision, allocation, and balanced utilization...and take into account the cumulative impact upon all such resources in promulgating any rule or regulation." ECL section 3-0301(1)(d) authorizes the Department to "provide for the care, custody and control of the Forest Preserve." ECL section 9-0105(1) authorizes the Department to "[e]xercise care, custody, and control of the several preserves, parks and other state lands described in [Article 9 of the ECL]," which includes Forest Preserve lands. Article XIV, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution provides that the lands of the Forest Preserve "shall be forever kept as wild forest lands." 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]," and ECL 9-0105(3) authorizes the Department to "[m]ake necessary rules and regulations to secure proper enforcement of [ECL Article 9]."
  2. Legislative objectives:
    Paragraph 1 of Section 3 of Article XIV of the New York State Constitution provides that "forest and wild life conservation are . . . policies of the State." Article XIV, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution provides that the lands of the Forest Preserve "shall be forever kept as wild forest lands," and ECL sections 3-0301(1)(b) and 9- 0105(1) give the Department jurisdiction to manage Forest Preserve lands. The Department is also authorized to promulgate rules and regulations for the use of such lands (see ECL sections 3-0301(2) (m) and 9-0105(3)). Consistent with this authority, the proposed regulations are crafted to protect natural resources and the health, safety and welfare of those who engage in recreational activities within the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor of the Forest Preserve in the Catskill Park.
  3. Needs and benefits:
    The Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor is an area encompassing more than 270 acres of Forest Preserve lands straddling the upper Rondout Creek along Peekamoose Road (Ulster County 42) in the Town of Denning in Ulster County. The Valley is a remote area in the heart of the Catskill Park and New York City's Catskill/Delaware watershed.
    The Peekamoose Valley has been a popular public destination since the state began acquiring land in the Valley in the 1960's. As early as 1971 the area had been discovered by more distant visitors, including those from urban areas to the south. Camping grew increasingly popular in this remote valley (several thousand people over the course of a typical summer), resulting in garbage and other unacceptable impacts. To address these impacts, the Department instituted a camping permit system and limited camping to designated primitive campsites.
    Although in the past, public use of the valley has often been loud, occasionally unlawful, and near or above capacity, until recently most of the public use was concentrated in the Peekamoose primitive camping area. However, during the summer of 2015, day use of the area referred to as the "Blue Hole," a large, deep and very cold swimming hole in the Rondout Creek immediately upstream of the primitive camping area, increased exponentially compared to previous years. This was due in part to coverage in social media, several websites, and national magazines touting the Blue Hole as "one of the best swimming holes in the nation."
    Due to this dramatic increase in public use, the natural resources of the area were rapidly becoming despoiled, fragile ecosystems were being degraded, and serious public health and safety issues arose. There have been numerous attempts to address problems associated with this overuse. In 2015, these included parking restrictions, weekly trash pick-up, hiring staff during week-ends and the promulgation of special regulations in 2016 which further restricted use of the area by prohibiting fires, portable generators, audio devices (except at designated campsites), glass containers, and put in place additional parking restrictions and public use restrictions on the corridor which prohibits use from ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise.
    In spite of these attempts to address the area's problems, public use continues to exceed the area's carrying capacity, resulting in unsanitary conditions, threats to water quality, trampled vegetation and a dramatic degradation of the wild character of the area. While some modest improvements were made in 2017, use and interest in the Blue Hole has continued to increase. It is the Department's position that the only way to allow for continued public use while preserving natural resources and protecting public safety would be to establish a day use permitting system.
    Establishing a day use permitting system would require visitors to obtain a permit to access the Blue Hole. This would allow the Department to limit the number of visitors in the area and strike a balance between allowing the public to enjoy the natural resource while reducing environmental damage and enhancing public safety.
    To accomplish this, the Department needs to amend existing section 190.35, Peekamoose Riparian Corridor. This is necessary to provide the Department with the regulatory ability to control access to the site. The proposed regulation will clearly define an area around the Blue Hole where a permit is necessary. The regulation would require a permit for stream access from the Route 42 bridge over the Rondout Creek (at the Trailer Field) east to the Department property line, which encompasses a two-mile stretch of the Rondout Creek. A day use permit would not be required for the campsites or the Peekamoose-Table Trail. A permit will only be required on weekends and holidays from May 15th thru October 15th of each year.
    The Department will make day use permits for the Blue Hole available on-line through our existing contract with Reserve America. Permits would be issued in the same way visitors make reservations for state campgrounds, however, day use permits for the Blue Hole would be issued at no cost to the user. Initially, the Department would limit the number of permits to 40 per day. Permits would be issued to individuals or groups of up to 6 people, resulting in a maximum of 240 people per day at the Blue Hole.
    Outreach has been undertaken for this approach in meetings and interactions with local government officials, including the Town Supervisor, and in meetings with stakeholder organizations, including the Catskill Park Advisory Committee. The committee is made up of representatives of hiking, bicycling, camping, fishing and environmental organizations, as well as tourism agencies.
    In addition, information regarding the content of the regulation and the public process associated with it will appear in a widely-distributed newspaper in the area. The regulation will appear in the New York State Register for a 60 day public comment period in addition to being posted on the Department's website.
  4. Costs:
    No costs to the regulated community are anticipated to result from the adoption of the proposed regulations. The estimated cost associated with this rulemaking is $20,000 for administration of the day-use permit system, which will be paid for with revenue from the Department's campground reservation fees. Permits will be issued at no cost to the user.
  5. 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.
  6. Paperwork:
    The proposed regulations will not impose any reporting requirements or other paperwork on any private or public entity.
  7. Duplication:
    There is no duplication, conflict, or overlap with state or federal regulations.
  8. Alternatives:
    The no-action alternative is not feasible since it does not adequately protect the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor from overuse and abuse and does not protect the public health, safety and welfare of users. The existing generic 6 NYCRR Part 190 regulations for state lands are inadequate in protecting the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor because of its unique characteristics, remote location and high level of public use.
    Closing the area to public use is also not an acceptable alternative. Forest Preserve land is acquired for the use of and enjoyment by the public. ECL section 9-0301(1) provides that "all lands in the Catskill Park . . . shall be forever reserved and maintained for the free use of all the people . . ." The closure of Forest Preserve land to public use should not occur except when absolutely necessary to protect public health or the resource.
  9. Federal standards:
    There is no relevant federal standard governing the use of state lands.
  10. Compliance schedule:
    Once the regulations are adopted, they are effective immediately, and all persons will be expected to comply with them upon their effective date. The Department will educate the public about the regulations through information posted on the Departments' web site, signage posted on the property, and by working with user groups and other stakeholders to help disseminate information regarding the regulations.
Rural Area Flexibility Analysis

Adoption of a new subdivision 190.35 (i) to 6 NYCRR will address overuse and increase public safety on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor by implementing a permit system for week-ends and holidays from May 15th through October 15th 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.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments
  1. Effect of rule: The proposed regulation requires visitors to the Blue Hole in the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor of the Catskill Park to obtain a day-use permit to enter the area on weekends and holidays from May 15th to October 15th of each year.
  2. Compliance requirements: There are no compliance requirements for small businesses or local governments. Individuals will be required to obtain a permit online similar to the state's campground reservation system. Visitors will be required to have the permit available to be provided upon request so that law enforcement and Department staff can assess compliance.
  3. Professional services: There are no professional services that a small business or local government is likely to need to comply with the changes associated with this regulation.
  4. Compliance costs: Persons who seek permits will not be charged a fee. The Department will assume administrative costs for the permit system which will come from Department revenue from its campground and reservation fees.
  5. Economic and technological feasibility: The proposed rule does not require any specialized technology for compliance; and is otherwise both economically and technologically feasible to comply with.
  6. Minimizing adverse impact: There are no adverse impacts to small businesses or local governments. The permit system is being put in place to address public safety issues and prevent further degradation to natural resources within the corridor. It will also reduce congestion on local highways.
  7. Small business and local government participation: DEC has complied with the New York State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA) section 202-b (6) by assuring that small businesses and local governments have been given an opportunity to participate in the rule making. This participation has occurred through meetings and interaction with local government officials, including the Town Supervisor, and in meetings with stakeholder organizations, including the Catskill Park Advisory Committee. The committee is made up of representatives of hiking, bicycling, camping, fishing and environmental organizations as well as tourism agencies.
    In addition, information regarding the content of the regulation and the public process associated with it will appear in a widely-distributed newspaper in the area. The regulation will appear in the New York State Register for a 60 day public comment period in addition to being posted on the Department's website.
    Furthermore, the Department will be accepting public comments to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and will be providing responses to any comments that are received. The regulations will be available for review on the Department's website.
  8. Penalties for violations of NYCRR Part 190 are prescribed under Environmental Conservation Law Section 71-0703.1: "1. Except as otherwise provided in subdivision 4, 5, 6 or 7 of this section, any person who violates any provision of article 9 or the rules, regulations or orders promulgated pursuant thereto or the terms of any permit issued thereunder, or who fails to perform any duty imposed by any provision thereof shall be guilty of a violation, and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than fifteen days, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and in addition thereto shall be liable to a civil penalty of not less than ten nor more than one hundred dollars". No changes or modifications are proposed.
Job Impact Statement

Adoption of a new section 190.35 (i) to 6 NYCRR will address overuse and increase public safety on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor by implementing a permit system for week-ends and holidays from May 15th through October 15th 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.

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.

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

  • Section 190.35 Regulatory Impact Statement - The proposed regulations are crafted to protect natural resources and the health, safety and general welfare of those who engage in recreational activities within the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor of the Forest Preserve in the Catskill Park.