Department of Environmental Conservation

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Recreational Policy (File #100)

The Environmental Conservation Department is governed by certain provisions of the Constitution of the state of New York in its administration of the Forest Preserve. Article XIV, Section 1 of the Constitution provides "The lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the Forest Preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold, or exchanged, or taken by a corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed."

It has been the function of the Environmental Conservation Department in managing the over 3-million acres of Forest Preserve to evolve and administer policy which complies with the provisions of the Constitution and simultaneously provides the greatest possible benefit to the people who are the owners of the Preserve. The Forest Preserve has been acquired by the state and the title to the Preserve is vested in the people of the state. The Environmental Conservation Department's duty is to protect the Forest preserve and to administer it for the greatest benefit to all of the people of the state.

In performance of its duty to enforce the provisions of the Constitution relating to the Forest Preserve and acting under the advice of the Attorney General, the Environmental Conservation Department recreational policy is based on the following premises:

  1. No one shall have the exclusive use of any portion of the Forest Preserve.
  2. No one shall be allowed to claim any particular campsite from year to year.
  3. State property shall not be used for commercial purposes.
  4. Public property shall not be used for private profit.
  5. Forest lands and waters shall be enjoyed by all the people as far as possible and compatible with the public policy expressed in the Constitution.
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