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For Release: Wednesday, September 6, 2023

DEC Releases Final Forest Preserve Work Plan Policy

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the finalization of DEC's Commissioner Policy 78 (CP-78), the Forest Preserve Work Plan Policy. This policy will serve as a guide for newly proposed projects and the evaluation of their site-specific impacts to the environment and character of the Forest Preserve.

"The Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve is a treasured natural resource that provides premier destinations for outdoor recreation to people of all ages and abilities," said Commissioner Seggos. "The Adirondacks and Catskills continue to experience significant numbers of visitors and this new policy, finalized with input from New Yorkers, stakeholders, and other key partners, will provide DEC with the proper guidance when evaluating potential projects and any environmental impacts to the Forest Preserve."

The Forest Preserve Work Plan Policy establishes administrative procedures for assessing the impacts of construction and maintenance activities on the Forest Preserve and for drafting site-specific work plans. With the adoption of this new policy, DEC's previous Forest Preserve tree-cutting policy, LF-91-2 - Cutting, Removal or Destruction of Trees and Endangered, Threatened or Rare Plants on Forest Preserve Lands, is officially being rescinded. The new policy formalizes DEC's assessment of construction and maintenance activities beyond just the identification of vegetation impacts to include a more holistic analysis of all potential impacts to the Forest Preserve, with an emphasis on identifying ways to avoid, minimize, and mitigate such impacts.

Protected by the New York State Constitution as "forever wild," the Forest Preserve comprises State lands in the Adirondack and Catskill parks. Providing a welcoming and accessible experience while preserving the wild setting of the Forest Preserve continues to be a priority for DEC, and CP-78 will allow staff to design and evaluate projects to meet these important objectives.

DEC drafted CP-78 with input from the public, the Trail Stewardship Working Group, and partners at the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). The Trail Stewardship Working Group included members from local government, environmental groups, recreation groups, trail builders, and APA staff.

The policy can be viewed on DEC's website.

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