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For Release: Monday, January 23, 2017

DEC Finalizes Updated Unit Management Plan for Kenneth L. Wilson Campground

Plan Will Guide Future Management of Popular Campground for Next 10 Years

The updated Unit Management Plan (UMP) for the Kenneth L. Wilson Campground is now finalized, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.

The campground, which officially opened in 1979, is located in the eastern Catskills, six miles west of the hamlet of Woodstock on Wittenberg Road in Ulster County. It is completely surrounded by beautiful mountains, includes a seven-acre lake for fishing and boating and a pavilion for picnicking. The Little Beaverkill flows along the campground's day-use area.

As part of the public review process, DEC held an Open House on 7/14/16 to provide information, answer questions, and get comments from the public on the Draft Updated UMP.

"Every year, DEC campgrounds are popular destinations for millions of New Yorkers and visitors from out of state who come to experience a variety of recreational opportunities and unrivaled natural beauty. I would like to thank the members of the community who came to the July 2016 Open House and commented on the draft plan that will guide future management of the popular Kenneth L. Wilson Campground in the Catskills," said Commissioner Seggos.

The UMP proposes the following management actions:

  • construct Picnic Pavilion;
  • construct a universally accessible rustic playground;
  • rehabilitate bathrooms in camping loops;
  • install volleyball play area;
  • develop a multiple use trail system;
  • create dog walking area; and
  • conduct a feasibility study for re-establishing the beach at the campground.

Many who commented on the plan expressed interest in re-establishing the beach and swimming area at the campground. DEC maintained a beach and swimming area from 1979 to 2003 on Wilson Lake, but during that time, silt accumulated and aquatic vegetation colonized the swimming area, resulting in poor water visibility and unpleasant swimming conditions. In addition, Canada geese took up residence, which resulted in unsanitary conditions and poor water quality. In 2002/03, DEC temporarily lowered the water level of the lake during the winter in hopes that an extended freeze would kill the undesirable aquatic vegetation, but that proved to be ineffective. DEC closed the beach and swimming area in 2004 due to continued unfavorable conditions.

In response to community interest, DEC will conduct a feasibility study to assess current conditions and explore options to re-establish the beach and swimming area at or near its original location at the south end of the lake. The study will address water quality, lake bottom conditions, waterfront safety, and wildlife concerns. After the study is completed, DEC will evaluate the feasibility of re-opening a swimming beach at the facility. The cost of the feasibility study is estimated at $50,000.

A copy of the final Kenneth L. Wilson Campground UMP is available on DEC's website.

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