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For Release: Wednesday, November 8, 2017

DEC Announces Completion of $390,000 Improvements to Willie Wildlife Marsh Interpretive Trail in Peck Hill State Forest

Wheelchair-Accessible Trail, Boardwalks, and Viewing Platform Support Governor Cuomo's Adventure NY Initiative to Connect New Yorkers with Nature

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced completion of improvements to the Willie Wildlife Marsh Interpretive Trail in Peck Hill State Forest, town of Johnstown, Fulton County, during a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony. The new wheelchair-accessible trail, boardwalks, and wildlife viewing platform will encourage nearby residents to explore the outdoors. The improvements are part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Adventure NY Initiative to connect more New Yorkers with nature.

"Improvements to the Willie Wildlife Marsh Interpretive Trail will make this hidden treasure accessible to more New Yorkers and visitors," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "These improvements, through Governor Cuomo's Adventure NY initiative, are just a sample of the recreational upgrades that New York has underway to better serve everyone who wants to enjoy our state's great outdoors."

The project includes replacement of three boardwalks totaling 600', a new 0.4-mile wheelchair-accessible trail leading to an accessible viewing platform and picnic area, and rehabilitation of the surrounding 1.5-mile foot trail. All three boardwalks, which provide scenic views of the marsh, were built higher off the water to eliminate any threat of future flooding. Work began in 2016 in partnership with the Excelsior Conservation Corps and the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Corps. The total cost of the improvements was $390,000.

An hour from Albany and just outside of the cities of Amsterdam, Johnstown, and Gloversville, Peck Hill State Forest is a 2,735-acre working forest bordering the Adirondack Park. Outdoor recreationists routinely zip by Willie Road while traveling to more well-known destinations to the north. Tucked in off the dead end road sits the Willie Wildlife Marsh, a 19-acre wildlife sanctuary and trail system. The 1.5-mile Willie Wildlife Marsh Interpretive Trail explores a beautiful wetland habitat. The marsh is alive with wildlife. Visitors often see great blue herons and painted turtles, along with a variety of frogs, dragonflies and other marsh insects. During hunting season, Canada geese and wood ducks are sought by hunters, while trappers set lines for beaver and other furbearers during trapping season.

"The Student Conservation Association is grateful for the opportunity to implement these important upgrades and expand visitor access to this remarkable refuge," said SCA President and CEO Jaime Matyas. "As our Excelsior and Adirondack Corps members help strengthen New York's natural treasures, these young people also gain the skills and experience necessary to pursue productive careers in conservation, ensuring these programs will yield environmental benefits for many years to come."

Under Governor Cuomo's Adventure NY Initiative, DEC is making strategic investments to expand access to healthy, active outdoor recreation, connect more New Yorkers and visitors to nature and the outdoors, protect natural resources, and boost local economies. This initiative will support the completion of more than 75 projects over the next three years, ranging from improvements to youth camps and environmental education centers to new boat launches, duck blinds, and hiking trails. Read more about Adventure NY (PDF)(5.11MB).

For more information on the Peck Hill State Forest, including a map and images of the improvements, visit DEC's website.

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