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For Release: Tuesday, August 8, 2023

DEC Announces Final Amendment to Sundown Wild Forest Unit Management Plan

Final UMP Includes New Parking Lot and Trail

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the finalization of the Sundown Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP) Amendment. The amendment will improve infrastructure, increase public safety, enhance natural resource protection, and improve visitor experiences in the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor in the town of Denning, Ulster County.

"The finalized amendment to the Sundown Wild Forest Unit Management Plan reflects DEC's commitment to sustainable recreation and the protection of New York's natural resources," said DEC Regional Director Kelly Turturro.

The Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor encompasses 275 acres of Forest Preserve land in the approximately 30,000-acre Sundown Wild Forest. The final amendment includes the following:

General Access and Trail Improvements:

  • Construction of an 80-car parking lot in the Peekamoose trailer field to consolidate parking to a single location;
  • Closure of eight parking areas;
  • Construction of an approximately 0.6-mile connector trail from the 80-car parking area to the Peekamoose Blue Hole;
  • Construction of a 60-foot bridge across Bear Hole Brook; and
  • Construction of a foot bridge/retaining wall near the wooded pathway entrance to the Blue Hole between the banks of the Rondout Creek and Peekamoose Road.

Natural Resource Protection

  • Closure of 25 designated campsites throughout the western portion of the corridor due to extreme site degradation and natural resource concerns.

Accessible Projects

  • Construction of two new accessible campsites in locations that minimize natural resource impacts;
  • Construction of an accessible path from the accessible parking area to the entrance of the Blue Hole to accommodate people with mobility impairments; and
  • Development of an accessible photo point for people on the accessible portion of the Blue Hole trail.

Multi-Use Trail Proposal and Changes to the 2019 Long Path Trail Proposals

  • Removal of the proposal to allow snowmobiling on a portion of the Long Path trail re-route; and
  • Construction of a re-route of the Long Path that will accommodate multiple uses such as hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and skiing.

The Sundown Wild Forest UMP Amendment (PDF) can be found on DEC's website.

DEC continues to make investments in the Catskills and also recently announced a new 261-acre acquisition to Sundown Wild Forest. The purchase of the property, consisting of forested land along the east side of South Mountain in the Town of Olive, Ulster County was made possible through a partnership with the Open Space Institute and $666,500 from New York's Environmental Protection Fund. The protection of the land also lays the groundwork for the creation of new public access points for two popular hiking destinations from a public road, opening additional wild areas to better welcome and disperse hikers and visitors seeking to recreate in the Catskills.

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    New Paltz, NY 12561
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