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For Release: Tuesday, August 11, 2020

DEC Releases Draft Access and Public Use Plan for Tioughnioga Wildlife Management Area for Public Comment

Public Invited to Comment Until September 15

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that a draft Access and Public Use Plan for Tioughnioga Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is complete and now available for public comment. Tioughnioga WMA contains 3,744 acres of wild lands in southwestern Madison County between the villages of New Woodstock and Erieville. The draft Access and Public Use Plan's (APUP) objectives include maintaining existing roads, trails, and water resources, increasing the number of information kiosks on the property, and building an accessible wildlife observation tower.

"Providing public access to DEC lands is an integral part of state land management," Commissioner Seggos said. "The Tioughnioga WMA, already a popular location for hunters, offers many recreational opportunities for visitors of all abilities and we look forward to hearing from the public about how to further improve this area, rich with many hill and valleys that form a truly spectacular rolling topography."

The WMA has reforested naturally over the past 80 years and is well known as a good destination for hunters, in part due to its extensive apple orchards. The area is managed to have a mix of early successional habitats, mature forests, and scattered small wetlands and ponds to create a healthy and diverse habitat.

In conjunction with WMA regulations, APUPs serve as overarching guidance for providing access to wildlife lands and determining public use activities appropriate for each area. These plans draw from and build upon other management plans that may exist for an area, including Unit Management Plans (UMP), previous management planning documents, and feedback received during public comment periods.

This APUP complements the existing Habitat Management Plan (HMP) for Tioughnioga WMA and addresses management objectives for wildlife-dependent recreation, access features, and facility development and maintenance. Together, the APUP and HMP form a comprehensive management plan for the WMA. These plans guide management for wildlife and public access over a 10-year time period, after which time DEC will assess conditions and needs and update the plans as needed.

DEC's Bureau of Wildlife oversees WMAs, Multiple Use Areas, Unique Areas, and other properties comprising the WMA system. DEC strives to provide safe, convenient, and ecologically sound public access to these areas. The priority public use activity on WMAs is wildlife-dependent recreation, such as hunting, trapping, fishing, and wildlife observation. Other activities may be appropriate if DEC determines the activities are compatible with both wildlife conservation and the primary public use activities.

The public is invited to provide comments on the Draft Tioughnioga Access and Public Use Plan until September 15, 2020. Comments can be sent to NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Region 7, 1285 Fisher Avenue, Cortland, NY, 13045 or by email with the subject line 'Tioughnioga WMA Access and Public Use Plan.'

DEC encourages all visitors to State lands to practice Leave No Trace Principles (leaves DEC's website) when recreating to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, minimize impact on natural resources, and avoid conflicts with other users.

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