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For Release: Tuesday, December 13, 2022

DEC Announces Conservation of 1,300 Acres in Taconic Mountains

New Acquisition Helps Protect Region's Water Quality and Wildlife Habitat, Provides Opportunities for Recreation and Sustainable Timber Production

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the protection of 1,300 acres of forest and grasslands in the Taconic Mountains in the town of Berlin. The recent acquisition will connect the Taconic Ridge and Berlin State Forests, preserve critical open space, and expand recreational opportunities to support the local economy.

"DEC and our partners are continuing to collaborate with stakeholders to permanently protect the Taconic Ridge and the valuable ecological and recreational opportunities it provides," Commissioner Seggos said. "This newest 1,300 acres will help connect and enhance DEC's existing state forest network and builds upon our ongoing progress in conserving this Capital Region natural treasure."

The acquisition will be added to the Taconic Ridge State Forest and provides a critical connection between the Taconic Ridge and Berlin state forests, linking together more than 12,000 acres of state forests. New York State purchased the parcel for $890,000 through the State's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). The purchase protects forested steep slopes leading to the top of the Taconic Ridge. It includes a tributary of the Little Hoosic River, one of New York State's wild trout streams, and 80 acres of critical grassland habitat. As part of DEC's state forests, this parcel will be managed for multiple uses, including sustainable timber production, watershed protection, wildlife habitat, and recreation.

Located in Rensselaer County along the Massachusetts and Vermont border, the Taconic Ridge and Berlin state forests are primary gateways in the Taconic Mountains that conserve important natural resources and provide diverse outdoor recreational opportunities. Their rolling hills, forests, scenic vistas and over 34 miles of trails, including the Taconic Crest Trail, are ideal for hiking. The purchase today builds on other recent acquisitions including more than 5,700 acres announced in 2020 in partnership with The Conservation Fund. For more information about the Taconic Ridge State Forest, visit DEC's website.

The EPF is a critical resource for environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, recreation access, water quality improvement, and environmental justice projects. Among the many environmental victories in the 2022-23 State Budget (leaves DEC website), Governor Hochul succeeded in increasing the EPF from $300 to $400 million, the highest-ever level of funding in the program's history. This year, the EPF has $17 million dedicated to invasives species management in New York State.

Note: A map of the acquisition (PDF) and drone footage of the parcel can be viewed at DEC's website.

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