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For Release: Friday, March 25, 2022

DEC Announces Addition of 219 Acres to Middle Grove State Forest

Acquisition of Former Camp Boyhaven Property Increases Public Access and Recreational and Educational Opportunities in Town of Milton, Saratoga County

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the addition of 219 acres to the Middle Grove State Forest in the town of Milton, Saratoga County. The parcel, part of the former Camp Boyhaven, combined with adjoining multiple use parcels will create a new State Reforestation Area that establishes and maintains the forest for watershed protection, timber production, and public recreation.

"Improving the health of our forests is critical for safeguarding water quality, habitat, and opportunities for recreation. Healthy forests are also a tool in the fight against climate change," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Thanks to the dedication of DEC's conservation partners, residents and visitors to the Capital Region will have the opportunity to see first-hand the development of a healthy managed forest in Saratoga County, as well as the benefits it provides."

New York State purchased the parcel for $710,000 from landowner John Munter through the State's Environmental Protection Fund. The acquisition will provide increased recreational opportunities for the public, expand wildlife habitat, support ecosystem health, and provide educational opportunities to landowners, forest professionals, and other visitors. While under private ownership, the land was host to forest ecology and silviculture logger training courses and provided foresters with training opportunities on White Pine Needle Disease.

In preparation for the acquisition, DEC's Division of Lands and Forests and Bureau of Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health staff partnered with Audubon New York, Capital Region Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM), the seller's private foresters, and the landowner to mark a timber harvest on the property and remove invasive plants from the site. The resulting forest improves bird habitat, manages white pine health issues, and serves as a valuable demonstration forest for public and professional education.

"The removal of a small population of invasive honeysuckle species, spread out over less than a quarter acre, provided a measure of protection for a much larger uninvaded parcel of land," said PRISM Invasive Species Coordinator, Kristopher Williams. "Removing populations of invasive species in highly probable areas where human activity is common can help to prevent the spread of invasive species into much larger and ecologically significant areas. The PRISM encourages the public to help protect our natural areas by taking preventative measures by cleaning recreational equipment before entering a property or body of water."

"Audubon New York was happy to provide bird habitat recommendations during the active management of Middle Grove State Forest," said Audubon New York Forest Program Associate Zack Boerman. "The diversity of age classes that were present post-harvest provides ample habitat for a full suite of forest birds including black-throated blue warblers, wood thrush, and chestnut-sided warbler. The forest has proved to be a valuable educational asset when teaching landowners about the importance of forest management for breeding birds."

Prior to Munter's purchase, the larger 378-acre property was known as 'Camp Boyhaven.' Established in 1924, Camp Boyhaven was one of the longest operating Boy Scout camps in New York State, serving scouts from Schenectady County and the greater Capital District. Camp Boyhaven was the largest undeveloped open space in the town of Milton. The core camp area remains intact and is now serving as a new summer camp facility under private ownership, while the surrounding 219-acre forest transitioned to DEC-managed State Forest.

For more information on DEC's State Forests, visit the DEC website.

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