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For Release: Thursday, October 18, 2018

DEC Seeks Public Input on Draft Unit Management Plan for Sundown Wild Forest and Vernooy Kill State Forest

Public Meeting Scheduled for Nov. 1, 2018, in Ellenville, Ulster County

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that it is seeking public input on the Sundown Wild Forest and the Vernooy Kill State Forest Draft Unit Management Plan (UMP). The UMP encompasses 34,568 acres of land in the towns of Denning, Olive, Rochester, and Wawarsing in Ulster County and the town of Neversink in Sullivan County, New York.

"This plan represents years of effort working with key stakeholders to increase access and provide new recreational opportunities, including developing a network of multiple use trails and new opportunities for mountain biking, hiking, and other exciting outdoor activities" said Regional Director Kelly Turturro.

A public meeting is scheduled to provide the public with an opportunity to learn more about the proposed management actions in the draft UMP and to encourage comment on the proposals. During the Public Availability Session, DEC will be available to talk one-on-one with the public.

When: Thursday November 1 at 6:00 - 7:00pm - Public Availability Session; Public Meeting starts at 7:00pm

Where: Ellenville Public Library located at 40 Center Street, Ellenville, NY.

The plan is available on the DEC website.

Three land acquisitions will be formally classified and include the following parcels:

  • 5000 acres of the former Lundy Estate
    • 1,314 acres of Wild Forest within the Catskill Park
    • 3, 686 acres of restoration area outside the Catskill Park creating the Vernooy Kill State Forest
  • 231-acres formerly known as the Camp Pine property along the Neversink River will be designated as wild forest within the Catskill Park
  • 136-acre inholding known as the Malloy property in the Peekamoose Valley will be designated as wild forest within the Catskill Park

The State lands covered by the proposed plans currently offer many recreational opportunities including: hiking, camping, picnicking, swimming, nature observation, fishing, hunting, trapping, snowshoeing, and biking. Major proposals in the plan include:

  • the construction and expansion of additional multiple-use trails and parking areas to facilitate public use of the unit;
  • the expansion of opportunities for snowmobiling, equestrian, hiking, mountain biking, camping and opportunities for people with disabilities throughout the unit.
  • construction of 10.1 miles of new trail that will re-route a section of the Long Path. The proposed re-route will enhance the hikers experience by eliminating a 9.6 mile stretch of the Long Path that runs along public highways; and
  • the construction of a 30-40 car parking area near the Peekamoose Blue Hole and construction of a 1,500 foot accessible trail to connect the parking area to the Peekamoose Blue Hole;

The public will have the opportunity to provide oral and/or written comments at the public meeting or submit written comments anytime during the public comment period which runs through November 13, 2018. DEC will review and address all comments received during the public comment period.

The draft UMP is posted on the DEC website.

Comments, questions and/or requests can be directed to Pine Roehrs, Lands and Forest, NYSDEC Region 3, 21 South Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, NY 12561, Phone: (845) 256-3076 or

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