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For Release: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

DEC Seeks Input for Managing Recreational Opportunities on Perkin's Clearing-Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Tract

Public Meeting Scheduled in Speculator on April 25 Comments Accepted Until May 11

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is seeking public input regarding public recreation on the 39,579-acre Perkin's Clearing - Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Tract in the towns of Arietta, Lake Pleasant, and Wells in Hamilton County. The area shares boundaries with the Siamese Ponds Wilderness, Jessup River Wild Forest, and West Canada Lake Wilderness.

DEC will use comments received to complete a Draft Recreation Management Plan (RMP) in accordance with the easement agreement and in conjunction the landowner's timber management plans and camp leasing program.

A public meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on April 25, at the Lake Pleasant Central School, 120 Elm Lake Road, Speculator, NY. The meeting will provide the public with an opportunity to learn about the tract, easement agreement, and recreational opportunities. In addition, the public may also provide comments on recreational opportunities on the Perkins Clearing - Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Tract. The meeting facility is wheelchair accessible. Please provide any requests for specific accommodations to 518-897-1248 at least one week in advance.

The lands of the Perkin's Clearing - Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Tract are owned by Lyme Timber Adirondack Forest Company, which still is actively conducting timber operations on the property, and contain 31 miles of designated motor vehicle roads accessible from State Route 30. Public recreational opportunities are provided under a conservation easement agreement with DEC.

Trailheads to Spruce Lake, Long Pond, Pillsbury Mountain, and the Kunjamuk Trail are accessible from the designated road system. The interior of the area offers great opportunities for fishing, hunting, and trapping in a working forest setting. Several of the area's ponds are excellent places for viewing wildlife. Snowmobilers utilize designated roads as part of the local snowmobile trail system in the winter months. Hunting is one of the most popular recreational activities in the conservation easement area. The protected property supports a long-standing hunting tradition reflected by its 118 privately leased hunting camps.

The RMP is being developed to assess existing recreational resources, identify opportunities for recreational use, and consider the ability of the resources and ecosystems to accommodate public use. The RMP is required under the easement and must be completed before new recreational facilities such as trails, tent sites, and parking areas can be constructed.

DEC developed an interim recreation management plan to provide for the continuation of established recreational uses and the designation of campsites, roads, and existing trails. The new plan will expand upon the approved interim RMP.

Issues to be considered while developing the plan include snowmobile trails, ski trails, horse trails, hiking trails, bike trails, camping and recreational access, and motorized and non-motorized use of interior roads, ponds and rivers. Potential impacts on the adjoining forest preserve lands will be considered, along with public comments, as the planning team develops the plan. A draft RMP will be developed that identifies a series of management actions to be implemented. The completed draft plan will be distributed for public review and comment.

Written comments will be accepted until May 11, 2018, and may be sent by mail to Forester Allison Buckley, NYSDEC, PO Box 1316, Northville, New York 12134 or by email. Please include Perkin's Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm in the subject line.

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