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For Release: Wednesday, January 30, 2019

DEC Announces Adoption of Three Plans to Enhance Recreational Access within St. Lawrence County's Grass River Region

Approved Conservation Easement and Forest Preserve Plans Include New Camping Opportunities and Trail Access

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the finalization of three management plans within St. Lawrence County's Grass River region. The plans will protect valuable natural resources and provide additional opportunities for camping and other recreation, as well as new access to trails with some of the best views in the northwest Adirondacks.

"With input from local residents, DEC is protecting natural resources and enhancing public access to outdoor recreation on Forest Preserve lands, while ensuring sustainable forestry, maintaining the Adirondack tradition of hunting clubs, and enhancing public recreation opportunities on conservation easement lands in the Grass Rivers Management Unit," said Randall Young, Acting Regional Director.

DEC has finalized the Grass River Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP) - encompassing approximately 14,000 acres of Forest Preserve lands in the towns of Clare, Clifton, Colton, and Fine in St. Lawrence County. The UMP designates new bicycle trails linking the Lampson Falls parcel and adjacent Downerville State Forest; establishes hiking trails and parking areas to provide access to several waterfalls along the South Branch of the Grass River on the Tooley Pond Tract; and opens several roads to public use to provide access to both Forest Preserve and adjacent conservation easement lands on the Tooley Pond Tract. The UMP can be viewed online.

DEC has also approved two Recreation Management Plans (RMPs) in the region. The Grass River and Tooley Pond conservation easements were secured by DEC to help preserve natural areas and enhance public access while enabling these properties to remain working forests with existing hunting camps. After working with the landowners and following a public review period, the RMPs for the easements include several new opportunities for public recreation that will be implemented in the next few years. Recreationists will have access to a total of more than 40 miles of public motor vehicle roads, 13 miles of St. Lawrence County multi-use trails, and 100 miles of non-motorized recreation. The projects are partially funded through NY Works.

The Tooley Pond Conservation Easement is 23,946 acres located within the towns of Clifton and Clare. The RMP's enhancements include opening more than 20 miles of roads for better access to the property, a trail to a rock-climbing area, and the establishment of nine campsites, including one at Allen Pond.

The Grass River Conservation Easement consists of one large 50,262-acre parcel and two smaller parcels (1,122 and 566 acres) in the towns of Clare, Clifton, and Colton. The public can use designated corridors, roads, and trails on the easement, but not the lands in between. The area is open to many outdoor recreation opportunities, with the exception of public hunting. New opportunities in the RMP include the establishment of designated campsites along the North and Middle Branches of the Grass River and the opening of a road to the trail up Little Blue Mountain, which provides one of the best views in the northwest Adirondacks.

The RMP for the Tooley Pond conservation easement and the RMP for the Grass River conservation easement can be viewed online.

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