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For Release: Wednesday, February 8, 2017

DEC to Develop Unit Management Plan for Debar Mountain Wild Forest

Plan Includes Madawaska Pond/Quebec Brook and Deer River Primitive Areas

Public Meetings Scheduled for Feb. 22 in Duane and Mar. 1 in Vermontville

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is revising the Unit Management Plan (UMP) for more than 88,000 acres of Forest Preserve lands in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest, the Madawaska Pond/Quebec Brook Primitive Area, and the Deer River Primitive Area, DEC Region 5 Director Robert Stegemann announced today. The lands are contained in more than 40 parcels located in the towns of Brighton, Duane, Franklin, Santa Clara, and Waverly in Franklin County.

UMPs assess the natural, physical, social, and recreational resources of the landscape and provide a solid foundation for the development of long-term land management goals, objectives, and actions.

"DEC is seeking public input on how to best manage these lands and provide access for a variety of outdoor recreational activities," said Director Stegemann. "DEC's goal is to protect these natural resources, provide outdoor recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike, and ensure the Forest Preserve is an asset to these communities and benefits local economies."

Two public meetings will be held for residents to meet with DEC staff and share their thoughts, concerns, and suggestions regarding management of lands in the Wild Forest. These meetings will be the first of many opportunities for the public to be involved in the planning process.

The first meeting is at the Duane Firehouse on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. The firehouse is located at 172 County Route 26, Malone (Duane), NY, approximately 0.8 mile from State Route 30.

The second meeting is at the town of Franklin Town Hall on Wednesday Mar. 1, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. The town hall is located at 8170 State Route 3, Vermontville, NY, at the intersection of Cold Brook Road.

The facilities are wheelchair accessible. Please provide any requests for specific accommodation in advance to DEC at (518) 897-1248.

The Debar Mountain Wild Forest is located between County Route 26 and State Route 3 in the east, County Route 55 and State Route 86 in the south, the Franklin and St. Lawrence County line in the west, and the Adirondack Park Blue Line in the north.

The Madawaska Pond/Quebec Brook Primitive Area, the Deer River Primitive Area, and several parcels of the Wild Forest are generally located in and around the Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands between State Route 30 in the east, State Route 458 in the north, Blue Mountain Road in the west, and the Keese Mills Road in the south.

Natural water features in the Wild Forest and the Primitive Areas include portions of the Deer, Osgood, and St. Regis Rivers; Hatch, Hays, and Quebec Brooks; Debar, Madawaska, and Mountain Ponds; and Meacham and Kushaqua Lakes. Prominent peaks include Debar, Loon Lake, Kate, and Azure Mountains. Existing recreational uses include hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, paddling, horseback riding, mountain biking, snowmobiling, and wildlife viewing.

Management issues under consideration include protection of the unit's spectacular natural resources and enhancing recreational access. Upon completion of a natural resource assessment, an analysis of existing and potential uses and a review of public comments, the Debar Mountain Wild Forest planning team will prepare a draft UMP. The public will have the opportunity to review and comment on the draft UMP.

Proposed management actions will be set forth with the knowledge that this State land unit is Forest Preserve and must be managed in a manner consistent with Article XIV, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution. All other relevant rules, regulations, and policies will also be adhered to. The complete draft UMP will be widely distributed for public review and comment and a public meeting will be scheduled to discuss the draft.

Any interested individual or organization wanting to submit comments may contact Forester Robert Daley by mail at NYSDEC, PO Box 296, Ray Brook NY 12977; by telephone at 518-897-1369; or by email at

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  • DEC Region 5 Office - David Winchell
    1115 NYS Rte. 86
    P.O. Box 296
    Ray Brook, NY 12977
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