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For Release: Thursday, June 14, 2018

DEC Announces Grand Opening of Accessible Viewing Platform on Pharsalia Woods State Forest

$50,000 Improvement Project Supports Governor Cuomo's Adventure NY Initiative to Connect New Yorkers with Nature

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today formally announced the completion of an accessible viewing platform on Pharsalia Woods State Forest, in the town of Plymouth, Chenango County. The project is part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Adventure NY Initiative to connect more New Yorkers with nature and the outdoors.

"The newly completed accessibility improvements invite visitors with mobility impairments to enjoy the unique natural surroundings and outdoor recreation opportunities at Pharsalia Woods," said DEC Region 7 Director Matthew Marko. "With these upgrades, and dozens of others across the state, we welcome all New Yorkers and visitors that want to get outdoors and experience the state's peerless natural resources."

The elevated structure provides a sheltered observation point overlooking the 25-acre Round Pond wetland complex that contains several protected plants, including the carnivorous pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea) with the ability to digest insects. The wetland also provides habitat to wetland bird species, including sandhill cranes (Antigone canadensis), which are not common in New York. The National Audubon Society designated Pharsalia Woods as an Important Bird Area.

The $50,000 improvement project was funded through the State's NY Works Program. DEC constructed the viewing platform and 150-foot accessible boardwalk that leads visitors from an accessible parking lot through a section of mature forest into the wetland. The wetland can also be explored by canoe or kayak.

The Bullthistle Hiking Club has been instrumental in developing multiple use trails near Round Pond and the viewing platform, including recently constructing the 1.5-mile blue loop trail in celebration of National Trails Day.

Pharsalia Woods State Forest is comprised of 9,000 acres in the towns of Plymouth and Pharsalia, and provides numerous outdoor recreation opportunities including hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, trapping, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and skiing. The forest contains six miles of the Finger Lakes Trail. The Galena Growlers Composite Mountain Bike Team is in the process of reclaiming and maintaining former snowmobile trails for multiple use, adding additional recreational opportunities available from the Round Pond parking area.

Pharsalia Woods was damaged by tornado events in 1998 and 2011, resulting in more than 1,500 acres of uprooted and damaged trees. Many of the damaged trees were harvested for timber value and the affected sites were replanted or encouraged to naturally regenerate with native species. Today, these sites are successfully recovering with young forest growth of desirable conifer and hardwood tree species and many are visible along the Nine Mile Truck Trail, a public forest access road that provides motor vehicle passage through the forest interior.

For more information about Pharsalia Woods State Forest, visit DEC's website.

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 the Adventure NY initiative (PDF 10.57 MB).

For more information on planning an outdoor adventure in New York State, visit DEC's website.

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