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Lands and Forests Regulatory Revisions

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Emergency Regulations

Emergency Rulemaking - Section 190.10 Onondaga Escarpment Unique Area - Section 190.25 Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area

The emergency rulemaking will protect public health, safety and general welfare on the Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area including Zoar Valley Unique Area by implementing public access restrictions. In addition, it will address unregulated use of the Onondaga Escarpment Unique Area by restricting recreational activities to those compatible with the unique qualities of the parcel.

The Notice of Emergency Rulemaking will be available in the October 27, 2021 issues of the State Register and the Environmental Notice Bulletin.

Contact Information

Email: dec.sm.R9.LFRegs@dec.ny.gov

Mail:
Patrick Marren, Regional Forester
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Attention of State Land Comments
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14203

Phone:
Patrick Marren
(716) 851-7046

Express Terms

1) Amend 6 NYCRR section 190.10, Unique Areas, by adding a new subdivision (h) to read as follows. Brackets [ ] indicate deleted text and bold font indicates new text.

(h) Onondaga Escarpment Unique Area. Those state lands situated in the Town of Newstead, Erie County, recorded in Liber 10369 on page 72 and being a portion of lots 40, 43 and 44 of Township 12, range 5 and more particularly described as "Project: E-UC Erie 18" (Map No. 10688), on file in the central and regional offices of the department.

  1. fires are prohibited at all times, except prescribed fires as directed by the department;
  2. bathing and swimming are prohibited;
  3. camping is prohibited;
  4. snowmobile use is prohibited;
  5. parking of motor vehicles is permitted only in designated sites;
  6. discharging of a firearm is prohibited except as authorized under 190.10 (h) (7);
  7. hunting and trapping are prohibited, except by authorized permit issued by the department;
  8. off‐road vehicle use is prohibited;
  9. the area is open for public entry and use only from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset;
  10. the riding, driving, or leading of horses is prohibited.

2) Amend 6 NYCRR section 190.25, Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area, including the Zoar Valley Unique Area by adding new subdivisions (r), (s), (t) and (u) to read as follows:

(r) No person shall proceed upstream, either by land or water, in the area beginning at the abandoned Forty Road bridge abutments, and extending upstream on the South Branch of Cattaraugus Creek to the state land boundary line, except for licensed anglers for the purpose of fishing, or by authorized permit issued by the department;

(s) No person shall enter any area designated as restricted by the department, except on trails designated and marked by the department, or by authorized permit issued by the department;

(t) No person shall enter the area within 15 feet of cliff edges; except on trails designated and marked by the department; when engaged in ice climbing or rappelling by rope; or by authorized permit issued by the department;

(u) No person shall scale or climb cliff walls, including any waterfall, except when engaged in ice climbing or rappelling by rope; or by authorized permit issued by the department.

Regulatory Impact Statement

1) Statutory Authority: Environmental Conservation Law ("ECL") §1-0101 establishes as a policy of the State of New York to conserve, improve and protect its natural resources and environment.

ECL §1-0101(3)(b) directs the Department of Environmental Conservation (Department) to guarantee "that the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment is attained without risk to health or safety, unnecessary degradation or other undesirable or unintentional consequences."

ECL §3-0301(1)(b) empowers the Department to "[p]romote and coordinate management of... land resources to assure their protection, enhancement, provision, allocation, and balanced utilization... and take into account the cumulative impact upon all such resources in promulgating any rule or regulation."

ECL §3-0301(1)(p) authorizes the Department to "[a]dminister properties having unique natural beauty, wilderness character, or geological, ecological or historical significance dedicated by law to the State Nature and Historical Preserve."

ECL §§45-0117(1),45-0117(2)(n) authorize the Department to "manage and exercise custody and control over lands dedicated pursuant to [the State Nature and Historical Preserve trust]."

ECL §9-0105(1) authorizes the Department to "[e]xercise care, custody, and control of the several preserves, parks and other state lands described in [Article 9 of the ECL]."

ECL §9-0105(19) authorizes the Department to "manage and conserve plants and ecological communities that are rare in New York State, located on state-owned lands under the jurisdiction of the Department."

ECL §3-0301(2)(m) authorizes the Department to adopt rules and regulations "as may be necessary, convenient or desirable to effectuate the purposes of [the ECL]."

ECL §9-0105(3) authorizes the Department to "[m]ake necessary rules and regulations to secure proper enforcement of [ECL Article 9]."

2) Legislative Objectives: ECL §1-0101 establishes as the policy of the State of New York to conserve, improve and protect its natural resources and environment. ECL §§ 3-0301, 9-0105 empowers the Department to exercise care, custody, and control over certain state lands and other real property. The Department is also authorized to promulgate rules and regulations for the use of such lands (see ECL §§3-0301(2) (m) and 9-0105). Consistent with this authority, the proposed regulations are crafted to protect natural resources and the health, safety and general welfare of those who engage in recreational activities within the Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area including Zoar Valley Unique Area and the Onondaga Escarpment Unique Area.

3) Needs and Benefits:

a. Onondaga Escarpment Unique Area (UA)

The Onondaga Escarpment UA is a 50-acre property bordering the village of Akron, in the Town of Newstead in northeastern Erie County. The property was acquired in 1991. Prior to state ownership, the Onondaga Escarpment UA was used for mining activities and later for animal grazing and recreation. Those activities degraded the site, though rare and uncommon plant communities persisted, including populations of threatened plant species.

Because of its proximity to the Village of Akron, the Onondaga Escarpment UA is a popular area for recreational visitors. Hiking and nature observation are the most common activities. The trampling of vegetation has resulted in exposed and compacted soil. Bicyclists are attempting to build trails in locations that are undesirable and unsustainable. Unauthorized use of off-road vehicles create muddy trail conditions. Garbage, trash, and broken glass are despoiling the character of the property and raising public safety concerns.

The Onondaga Escarpment UA is surrounded on two sides by Akron Central School, including school buildings and athletic fields. A private airport borders the property to the south. The small size and proximity to the school grounds and airport limit the ability of the property to support some recreational activities, including camping, hunting, horseback riding, and biking.
The proposed regulations are intended to protect the area from resource damage caused by unregulated activities that are incompatible with the small and sensitive nature of the site and to protect visitors and neighboring property users by restricting certain activities most likely to endanger the health and safety of those users. The major provisions of the proposed regulations will establish the hours of use, prohibit fires, camping, horseback riding, bathing, swimming, snowmobiles, and off-road vehicles, as well as requiring parking of motor vehicles in designated sites only. These proposals will help to protect the natural resources from overuse and abuse. Additionally, the proposed regulations prohibit the discharging of a firearm, hunting, and trapping unless otherwise authorized by the Department. These restrictions are intended to protect the safety and welfare of visitors and neighboring properties, particularly students at Akron Central Schools.

b. Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area including Zoar Valley Unique Area ("Zoar Valley MUA/UA")

Zoar Valley, located in Erie and Cattaraugus counties is one of the most scenic and ecologically diverse environmental areas in western New York. It is known for the spectacular scenery created by its deep gorge, sheer cliffs, flowing waterfalls, and dense forests. These same features come with inherent hazards, yet the property continues to be very popular for recreational visitors seeking this rugged and varied terrain. There have been numerous serious injuries to visitors in the last decade, including fatalities. Although some of these incidents occurred on private neighboring properties, the Department is committed to restricting such access to protect public safety. Due to this dramatic increase in public use, serious public health and safety issues are being created. In addition to public health and safety concerns, the natural resources of portions of the Zoar Valley property are rapidly becoming despoiled and fragile ecosystems are being degraded.

The Department improved safety and addressed resource concerns at Zoar Valley MUA/UA with the addition of special regulations in 2006 and again in 2010, to establish open hours from sunrise to sunset, prohibit alcohol, camping, and fires, among others. Additionally, the Department continuously reviews and installs warning signs and improves trail marking. Despite these efforts, visitors continue to engage in unsafe behaviors, such as walking along the cliff faces, climbing slippery waterfalls, and leaving the property to trespass onto neighboring private properties.

Most notably, visitors to Zoar Valley/MUA often park at the Forty Road parking area and immediately head upstream on the South Branch of Cattaraugus Creek and off the property in search of waterfalls that are on neighboring private properties. The actions of these visitors have resulted in search and rescue operations, injuries, and fatalities. This regulation is targeted to reduce incidents of trespassing onto private properties, and to protect the public health and safety throughout the Zoar Valley/MUA.

The Gorge of Cattaraugus Creek in the Zoar Valley MUA/UA cuts through shales and silt stones. The heights of the cliffs range from approximately 100 to over 400 feet. The proposed regulation will restrict unauthorized access and activities near and on the cliff walls to protect both the resource and public health and safety. The proposed regulation will restrict access to areas within 15 feet of the cliff's edge and prohibit the climbing of cliff walls, except by permit or when ice climbing or rappelling with ropes. The regulation will also deter trespass complaints from adjacent property owners by prohibiting visitors, except licensed anglers, from proceeding upstream from the Forty Road parking area near a southern boundary of the property.

The Department has discussed the proposed regulations with local stakeholders, including the search and rescue community, state representatives, local governments, user groups and neighboring property owners. The regulations will appear in the State Register for a 60-day public comment period as required as part of the rulemaking process. In addition, information regarding the Department's intent to propose these regulations, content of the regulation, and the public process associated with the rulemaking, will appear in a widely distributed newspaper in the area. All regulatory documents will appear on the Department's website.

Beyond the proposed regulations, the Department is developing the Niagara Frontier Unit Management Plan (UMP), with includes both the Zoar Valley MUA/UA and the Onondaga Escarpment UA. The purpose of the Niagara Frontier UMP will be to assess the natural and physical resources present within the unit of state-owned land. The UMP will also identify opportunities for public use and recreation that are consistent with the classifications of these lands, and consider the ability of the resources and ecosystems to accommodate such use. Included in the UMP planning process will be an opportunity for public comment. assess the natural and physical resources present within the unit of state-owned land. The UMP will also identify opportunities for public use and recreation that are consistent with the classifications of these lands, and consider the ability of the resources and ecosystems to accommodate such use. Included in the UMP planning process will be an opportunity for public comment.

4) Costs: There are no costs to the regulated community because of this proposed regulation. Costs to the state for the additional management actions are minimal and are estimated at $2,500 for new signage and posting of the properties.

5) Local government mandates: This proposal will not impose any program, service, duty or responsibility upon any county, city, town, village, school district or fire district.

6) Paperwork: The proposed regulations will not impose any reporting requirements or other paperwork on any private or public entity.

7) Duplication: There is no duplication, conflict, or overlap with state or federal regulations.

8) Alternatives: The no-action alternative is not feasible since the existing regulation for Zoar Valley MUA/UA is insufficient to adequately address resource concerns and to protect public health and safety because of its unique characteristics, remote location, and very high level of public use. The existing 6 NYCRR Part 190 general regulations for state lands are not adequate in protecting the Onondaga Escarpment UA because of its rare plant communities, unique location and high level of public use.

9) Federal standards: There is no relevant federal standard governing the use of state lands.

10) Compliance schedule: Once the regulations are adopted, they will be effective immediately, and all persons will be expected to comply with them upon the anticipated effective date. The Department will educate the public about the regulations through information posted on the Departments' website, signage posted on the property, and by collaborating with user groups and other stakeholders to help disseminate information regarding the regulations.

Statement in Lieu of a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments

The proposed rulemaking will protect public health, safety and general welfare on Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area including Zoar Valley Unique Area by implementing public access restrictions. In addition, it will address unregulated use of the Onondaga Escarpment Unique Area by restricting recreational activities to those compatible with the unique qualities of the parcel. The proposed regulations relate solely to protecting public health, safety, general welfare and natural resources on these two areas and do not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on small businesses and local governments. As a result, a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments is not necessary and is not submitted with these regulations.

Statement in Lieu of a Rural Area Flexibility Analysis

The proposed rulemaking will protect public health, safety and general welfare on Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area including Zoar Valley Unique Area by implementing public access restrictions. In addition, it will address unregulated use of the Onondaga Escarpment Unique Area by restricting recreational activities to those activities compatible with the unique qualities of the parcel. The proposed regulations relate solely to protecting public health, safety, general welfare and natural resources on these two areas and do not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on rural areas. As a result, a Rural Area Flexibility Analysis is not necessary and is not submitted with these regulations.

Statement in Lieu of a Job Impact Statement

The proposed rulemaking will protect public health, safety and general welfare within the Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area including Zoar Valley Unique Area by implementing public access restrictions. In addition, it will address unregulated use of the Onondaga Escarpment Unique Area by restricting recreational activities to those compatible with the unique qualities of the parcel. The proposed rulemaking relates solely to protecting public health, safety, general welfare and natural resources found on these two areas and will have no substantial adverse impact on existing or future jobs and employment opportunities. As a result, a Job Impact Statement is not necessary and is not submitted with these regulations.

Emergency Rulemaking - Section 190.35 Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor

This emergency rulemaking will address overuse and protect public health, safety, general welfare and natural resources on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor.

Assessment of Public Comment

Below is the Assessment of Public Comment for the expanded day use permitting system for visitors to the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor (Blue Hole), requiring permits every day of the week May 15 through September 15, implementing a fee for the permit, and prohibiting alcoholic beverages and coolers larger than 12" in any dimension.

The 60-day public comment period, from June 2nd through August 1st, 2021, resulted in written comments in response to the proposed expanded permitting system for visitors to the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor. Most comments voiced support for a permit system, some suggested changes to the permit system. Comments were reviewed, categorized, and summarized. A responsiveness summary was then prepared.

Comment: Are provisions being made for the people who live in this corridor to be issued exemption passes, like a resident pass?
Response: No. State lands are open to the public on an equal basis regardless of area of residence.

Comment: Supports the expanded permit system.
Response: Thank you for your support.

Comment: Supports the expanded permit system, but not the fee.
Response: The minimal fee is necessary to support the administrative costs of the permit system. The Department will reevaluate the permit system at the end of the season to determine effectiveness and will identify opportunities for improvement.

Comment: Commenter supports the intent of the permit system but suggests an exemption for individuals with a valid fishing license.
Response: The Department will consider ways in which individuals with valid licenses issued by the Department may be exempt from the additional permit requirement.

Comment: Supports the expanded permit system, with added infrastructure, clearer communication to improve the system.
Response: The Department agrees that infrastructure improvements are necessary, as proposed in the Sundown Wild Forest Unit Management Plan. The Department will undertake those improvements as budget and staffing allow. The Department will also review signage and other communications to ensure clear instructions.

Express Terms

6 NYCRR Section 190.35, Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor

Subdivision (i) of section 190.35 is amended as follows. Brackets [ ] indicate deleted text and bold font indicates new text:

(i) From May 15th through [October 15th] September 15th of each year [on Saturdays, Sundays and State and Federal holidays,] no person shall enter the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor [east of the County Route 42 bridge crossing the Rondout Creek], an area that includes that portion of the Rondout Creek known as the Blue Hole, Buttermilk Falls and the lower, middle and upper field camping areas, except under permit from the department.

Section 190.35 is amended by adding two new subdivisions (j) and (k) as follows:

(j) No person shall possess alcoholic beverages within the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor except those camping at designated campsites.

k) No person shall possess coolers larger than 12" (any dimension) within the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor except those camping at designated campsites.

Regulatory Impact Statement

1) Statutory Authority: Article XIV, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution provides that the lands of the Forest Preserve "shall be forever kept as wild forest lands."

Environmental Conservation Law ("ECL") §1-0101(3)(b) directs the Department of Environmental Conservation (Department) to guarantee "that the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment is attained without risk to health or safety, unnecessary degradation or other undesirable or unintentional consequences."

ECL §3-0301(1)(b) gives the Department the responsibility to "promote and coordinate management of...land resources to assure their protection, enhancement, provision, allocation, and balanced utilization...and take into account the cumulative impact upon all such resources in promulgating any rule or regulation."

ECL §3-0301(1)(d) authorizes the Department to "provide for the care, custody and control of the Forest Preserve."

ECL §9-0105(1) authorizes the Department to "[e]xercise care, custody, and control of the several preserves, parks and other State lands described in [Article 9 of the ECL]," which includes Forest Preserve lands.

ECL §3-0301(2) (m) authorizes the Department to adopt rules and regulations "as may be necessary, convenient or desirable to effectuate the purposes of [the ECL]"

ECL §9-0105(3) authorizes the Department to "[m]ake necessary rules and regulations to secure proper enforcement of [ECL Article 9]."

2) Legislative Objectives: Paragraph 1 of section 3 of Article XIV of the New York State Constitution provides that "forest and wildlife conservation are . . . policies of the State." Article XIV, section 1 of the New York State Constitution provides that the lands of the Forest Preserve "shall be forever kept as wild forest lands," and ECL §§3-0301(1)(b) and 9-0105(1) give the Department jurisdiction to manage Forest Preserve lands. The Department is also authorized to promulgate rules and regulations for the use of such lands (see ECL §§3-0301(2) (m) and 9-0105(3)). Consistent with this authority, the proposed regulations are crafted to protect natural resources and the health, safety and general welfare of those who engage in recreational activities within the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor of the Forest Preserve in the Catskill Park.

3) Needs and Benefits: The Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor is an area encompassing more than 270 acres of Forest Preserve lands straddling the upper Rondout Creek along Peekamoose Road (Ulster County 42) in the Town of Denning in Ulster County. The Valley is a remote area in the heart of the Catskill Park and New York City's Catskill/Delaware watershed. The upper Rondout Creek flows into the Rondout Reservoir, an important and high-quality drinking water supply for New York City. In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in public use of the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor, resulting in unacceptable impacts to natural resources as well as serious public health and safety issues.

In 2015, the Department attempted to address the problems associated with overuse by implementing a number of strategies, including: clearly defining parking lots and limiting parking to those lots; prohibiting parking along the road (as posted by the Town of Denning); performing weekly garbage pick-ups; and recommending alternative swimming/picnicking areas. These alternative recommendations included Department campgrounds, which have appropriate facilities and are more suited to withstanding more intense public use. Despite these efforts, in 2016 the Department determined that it was necessary to promulgate special regulations for the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor, which encompasses approximately 270 acres of Forest Preserve lands in the Sundown Wild Forest and Slide Mountain Wilderness Area.

The regulation includes several prohibitions designed to protect water quality, protect the area from overuse and address activities which impact public health and safety. Again, public use of the area continued to increase and in June of 2018 the Department amended the regulation to create a day-use permit system for the western portion of the Corridor which included the Blue Hole. The regulation requires that all visitors to the Blue Hole must obtain a permit on weekends and holidays from May 15th thru October 15th of each year. Permits could only be obtained through Reserve America, similar to the reservation system for DEC's campgrounds. While DEC incurred an administrative cost for each permit, permits were issued free of charge to the user. Permits were issued for up to 6 individuals and a maximum of 40 permits were issued on any day that permits were required - allowing for a maximum of 240 people/day.

Overall, the permit system was a success, greatly reducing the number of visitors on weekends and holidays when use had historically surpassed the carrying capacity for the area. While our stewards interacted with over 15,000 visitors during the course of the 2018 and 2019 seasons, use of the Blue Hole was reduced to 6,500 visitors - 1,700 under permit on weekends and holidays and 4,800 on weekdays (no permit limitation). This compares to some Sundays in previous years where over 1,000 visitors were encountered in a single day. Over 6,000 people that arrived without a permit were educated and, after providing suggestions for alternative locations, were turned away. Reserve America collected data on the individuals who got a permit, and from that data we found that nearly 70% of those who got a permit were from the NY/NJ metropolitan area. Key to success of the permit system was the presence of the Blue Hole Stewards and Forest Rangers, who educated the visitors and ensured they understood and followed the rules.

The Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor, and specifically the Blue Hole, experienced a dramatic increase in visitation during the 2020 season. This increase can partially be attributed to the pandemic and an increased desire for individuals to recreate locally. Blue Hole Stewards interacted with 24,281 visitors over the course of the season. Under the permit system (weekends and holidays) visitor use decreased from 3,101 visitors in the 2019 season to 2,021 in 2020. This decrease is likely due to Department efforts to reduce the number of permits allowed on weekends to meet social distancing guidelines designed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. However, weekday visitation increased from 2,509 to 10,369 (no permit limitation). Overall, in 2020 visitation increased 225% (2019 total visitation:10,796).

The most dramatic change we observed in 2020 was an increase in weekday use. In past years, weekday use was nominal. This season, weekday use ranged from 300-700 people/day. We also observed a tremendous amount of trash, litter and human waste as well as illegal parking and congestion at the Blue Hole. DEC Forest Rangers issued nearly 400 tickets during the 2020 season (228 tickets for permit violations and 170 for parking violations), compared to less than 100 tickets in 2019.

Despite the Department's significant efforts to address the area's problems, public use continues to exceed the area's carrying capacity. Such overuse has resulted in unsanitary conditions, threats to water quality, trampled vegetation and a dramatic degradation of the wild character of the area. Because of the immediate threat to the public health, safety and general welfare, combined with the surge in the number of people recreating in the Peekamoose Valley Corridor mid-week, it is essential to expand the permit requirement to all days of the week from May 15th through September 15th. In addition, it is necessary to expand the area where a permit is required to encompass the entire riparian (Rondout Creek) corridor. The expanded permit system will prevent those visitors who arrive without a permit from going downstream and congregating in an unrestricted area, causing natural resource impacts and making social distancing difficult. The area within the Corridor requiring a permit will also encompass a traditional camping area, requiring campers to obtain a permit prior to camping.

While the permit system is intended to ease congestion and overuse, additional measures are necessary to reduce the amount of trash and human waste impacting the site. As a result, the amendment proposes to expand the prohibited activities to prohibit alcohol and large coolers. These prohibitions are intended to mitigate impacts to the natural resource and protect public health from trash and human waste. As a result, it is necessary to amend the regulation on an emergency basis prior to the anticipated heavy public use of the 2021 season to protect public health, safety and general welfare, and to maintain the natural character of the area so that it will be available for sustained public use and enjoyment. Given the significant threats to public health, safety and the environment and the inability of the normal rulemaking process to result in the promulgation of regulations in time for this summer's busy season, it is appropriate to adopt these regulations now on an emergency basis.

The Department has received initial public input on the proposed actions through meetings and interaction with local government officials, including the Town of Denning Supervisor, and in meetings with stakeholder organizations, including the Catskill Park Advisory Committee.

4) Costs: It is anticipated that any administrative costs associated with the administration of the expanded permit system will be offset by a permit fee of $10 per permit.

5) Local Government Mandates: This proposal will not impose any program, service, duty or responsibility upon any county, city, town, village, school district or fire district.

6) Paperwork: The proposed regulations will not impose any reporting requirements or other paperwork on any private or public entity.

7) Duplication: There is no duplication, conflict, or overlap with State or Federal regulations.

8) Alternatives: The no-action alternative is not feasible since the existing regulation does not adequately protect the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor from overuse and abuse and does not protect the public health, safety, and general welfare.

Closing the area to public use is also not an acceptable alternative. Forest Preserve land is acquired for the use of and enjoyment by the public. ECL section 9-0301(1) provides that "all lands in the Catskill Park . . . shall be forever reserved and maintained for the free use of all the people . . ." The closure of Forest Preserve land to public use should not occur except when absolutely necessary to protect public health or the resource.

9) Federal standards: There is no relevant federal standard governing the use of State lands.

10) Compliance schedule: Once the regulations are adopted, they will be effective immediately, and all persons will be expected to comply with them upon the anticipated effective date of May 14, 2021. The Department will educate the public about the regulations through information posted on the Departments' web site, signage posted on the property, social media, at the Catskill Visitor Center and by working with user groups and other stakeholders to help disseminate information regarding the regulations.

Statement in Lieu of a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments

The proposed rulemaking will address overuse and protect public health, safety and general welfare on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor by implementing a permit system from May 15th through September 15th of each year while still providing a quality outdoor experience for users. The proposed regulation relates solely to protecting public health, safety, general welfare and natural resources on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor and does not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on small businesses and local governments. As a result, a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments is not necessary and is not submitted with these regulations.

Statement in Lieu of a Rural Area Flexibility Analysis

The proposed rulemaking will address overuse and protect public health, safety and general welfare on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor by implementing a permit system from May 15th through September 15th of each year while still providing a quality outdoor experience for users.

A Rural Area Flexibility Analysis is not submitted and is not required because the proposal will not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on rural areas. The proposed regulation relates solely to protecting public health, safety, general welfare and natural resources on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor.

Statement in Lieu of a Job Impact Statement

The proposed rulemaking will address overuse and protect public health, safety and general welfare on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor by implementing a permit system from May 15th through September 15th of each year while still providing a quality outdoor experience for users.

A Job Impact Statement is not submitted and is not required because the proposal will have no substantial adverse impact on existing or future jobs and employment opportunities. The proposed regulation relates solely to protecting public health, safety, general welfare and natural resources on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor.

Emergency Proposed Rulemaking - Section 190.10 Onondaga Escarpment Unique Area - Section 190.25 Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area

The emergency/proposed rulemaking will protect public health, safety and general welfare on the Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area including Zoar Valley Unique Area by implementing public access restrictions. In addition, it will address unregulated use of the Onondaga Escarpment Unique Area by restricting recreational activities to those compatible with the unique qualities of the parcel.

The Notice of Emergency/Proposed Rulemaking is available in the August 4, 2021 issue of the State Register. Public comments will be accepted by DEC through October 3, 2021 and should be sent to:

Email: dec.sm.R9.LFRegs@dec.ny.gov

Mail:
Patrick Marren, Regional Forester
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Attention of State Land Comments
270 Michigan Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14203

Phone:
Patrick Marren
(716) 851-7046

Express Terms

1) Amend 6 NYCRR section 190.10, Unique Areas, by adding a new subdivision (h) to read as follows. Brackets [ ] indicate deleted text and bold font indicates new text.

(h) Onondaga Escarpment Unique Area. Those state lands situated in the Town of Newstead, Erie County, recorded in Liber 10369 on page 72 and being a portion of lots 40, 43 and 44 of Township 12, range 5 and more particularly described as "Project: E-UC Erie 18" (Map No. 10688), on file in the central and regional offices of the department.

  1. fires are prohibited at all times, except prescribed fires as directed by the department;
  2. bathing and swimming are prohibited;
  3. camping is prohibited;
  4. snowmobile use is prohibited;
  5. parking of motor vehicles is permitted only in designated sites;
  6. discharging of a firearm is prohibited except as authorized under 190.10 (h) (7);
  7. hunting and trapping are prohibited, except by authorized permit issued by the department;
  8. off‐road vehicle use is prohibited;
  9. the area is open for public entry and use only from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset;
  10. the riding, driving, or leading of horses is prohibited.

2) Amend 6 NYCRR section 190.25, Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area, including the Zoar Valley Unique Area by adding new subdivisions (r), (s), (t) and (u) to read as follows:

(r) No person shall proceed upstream, either by land or water, in the area beginning at the abandoned Forty Road bridge abutments, and extending upstream on the South Branch of Cattaraugus Creek to the state land boundary line, except for licensed anglers for the purpose of fishing, or by authorized permit issued by the department;

(s) No person shall enter any area designated as restricted by the department, except on trails designated and marked by the department, or by authorized permit issued by the department;

(t) No person shall enter the area within 15 feet of cliff edges; except on trails designated and marked by the department; when engaged in ice climbing or rappelling by rope; or by authorized permit issued by the department;

(u) No person shall scale or climb cliff walls, including any waterfall, except when engaged in ice climbing or rappelling by rope; or by authorized permit issued by the department.

Regulatory Impact Statement

1) Statutory Authority: Environmental Conservation Law ("ECL") §1-0101 establishes as a policy of the State of New York to conserve, improve and protect its natural resources and environment.

ECL §1-0101(3)(b) directs the Department of Environmental Conservation (Department) to guarantee "that the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment is attained without risk to health or safety, unnecessary degradation or other undesirable or unintentional consequences."

ECL §3-0301(1)(b) empowers the Department to "[p]romote and coordinate management of... land resources to assure their protection, enhancement, provision, allocation, and balanced utilization... and take into account the cumulative impact upon all such resources in promulgating any rule or regulation."

ECL §3-0301(1)(p) authorizes the Department to "[a]dminister properties having unique natural beauty, wilderness character, or geological, ecological or historical significance dedicated by law to the State Nature and Historical Preserve."

ECL §§45-0117(1),45-0117(2)(n) authorize the Department to "manage and exercise custody and control over lands dedicated pursuant to [the State Nature and Historical Preserve trust]."

ECL §9-0105(1) authorizes the Department to "[e]xercise care, custody, and control of the several preserves, parks and other state lands described in [Article 9 of the ECL]."

ECL §9-0105(19) authorizes the Department to "manage and conserve plants and ecological communities that are rare in New York State, located on state-owned lands under the jurisdiction of the Department."

ECL §3-0301(2)(m) authorizes the Department to adopt rules and regulations "as may be necessary, convenient or desirable to effectuate the purposes of [the ECL]."

ECL §9-0105(3) authorizes the Department to "[m]ake necessary rules and regulations to secure proper enforcement of [ECL Article 9]."

2) Legislative Objectives: ECL §1-0101 establishes as the policy of the State of New York to conserve, improve and protect its natural resources and environment. ECL §§ 3-0301, 9-0105 empowers the Department to exercise care, custody, and control over certain state lands and other real property. The Department is also authorized to promulgate rules and regulations for the use of such lands (see ECL §§3-0301(2) (m) and 9-0105). Consistent with this authority, the proposed regulations are crafted to protect natural resources and the health, safety and general welfare of those who engage in recreational activities within the Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area including Zoar Valley Unique Area and the Onondaga Escarpment Unique Area.

3) Needs and Benefits:

a. Onondaga Escarpment Unique Area (UA)

The Onondaga Escarpment UA is a 50-acre property bordering the village of Akron, in the Town of Newstead in northeastern Erie County. The property was acquired in 1991. Prior to state ownership, the Onondaga Escarpment UA was used for mining activities and later for animal grazing and recreation. Those activities degraded the site, though rare and uncommon plant communities persisted, including populations of threatened plant species.

Because of its proximity to the Village of Akron, the Onondaga Escarpment UA is a popular area for recreational visitors. Hiking and nature observation are the most common activities. The trampling of vegetation has resulted in exposed and compacted soil. Bicyclists are attempting to build trails in locations that are undesirable and unsustainable. Unauthorized use of off-road vehicles create muddy trail conditions. Garbage, trash, and broken glass are despoiling the character of the property and raising public safety concerns.

The Onondaga Escarpment UA is surrounded on two sides by Akron Central School, including school buildings and athletic fields. A private airport borders the property to the south. The small size and proximity to the school grounds and airport limit the ability of the property to support some recreational activities, including camping, hunting, horseback riding, and biking.
The proposed regulations are intended to protect the area from resource damage caused by unregulated activities that are incompatible with the small and sensitive nature of the site and to protect visitors and neighboring property users by restricting certain activities most likely to endanger the health and safety of those users. The major provisions of the proposed regulations will establish the hours of use, prohibit fires, camping, horseback riding, bathing, swimming, snowmobiles, and off-road vehicles, as well as requiring parking of motor vehicles in designated sites only. These proposals will help to protect the natural resources from overuse and abuse. Additionally, the proposed regulations prohibit the discharging of a firearm, hunting, and trapping unless otherwise authorized by the Department. These restrictions are intended to protect the safety and welfare of visitors and neighboring properties, particularly students at Akron Central Schools.

b. Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area including Zoar Valley Unique Area ("Zoar Valley MUA/UA")

Zoar Valley, located in Erie and Cattaraugus counties is one of the most scenic and ecologically diverse environmental areas in western New York. It is known for the spectacular scenery created by its deep gorge, sheer cliffs, flowing waterfalls, and dense forests. These same features come with inherent hazards, yet the property continues to be very popular for recreational visitors seeking this rugged and varied terrain. There have been numerous serious injuries to visitors in the last decade, including fatalities. Although some of these incidents occurred on private neighboring properties, the Department is committed to restricting such access to protect public safety. Due to this dramatic increase in public use, serious public health and safety issues are being created. In addition to public health and safety concerns, the natural resources of portions of the Zoar Valley property are rapidly becoming despoiled and fragile ecosystems are being degraded.

The Department improved safety and addressed resource concerns at Zoar Valley MUA/UA with the addition of special regulations in 2006 and again in 2010, to establish open hours from sunrise to sunset, prohibit alcohol, camping, and fires, among others. Additionally, the Department continuously reviews and installs warning signs and improves trail marking. Despite these efforts, visitors continue to engage in unsafe behaviors, such as walking along the cliff faces, climbing slippery waterfalls, and leaving the property to trespass onto neighboring private properties.

Most notably, visitors to Zoar Valley/MUA often park at the Forty Road parking area and immediately head upstream on the South Branch of Cattaraugus Creek and off the property in search of waterfalls that are on neighboring private properties. The actions of these visitors have resulted in search and rescue operations, injuries, and fatalities. This regulation is targeted to reduce incidents of trespassing onto private properties, and to protect the public health and safety throughout the Zoar Valley/MUA.

The Gorge of Cattaraugus Creek in the Zoar Valley MUA/UA cuts through shales and silt stones. The heights of the cliffs range from approximately 100 to over 400 feet. The proposed regulation will restrict unauthorized access and activities near and on the cliff walls to protect both the resource and public health and safety. The proposed regulation will restrict access to areas within 15 feet of the cliff's edge and prohibit the climbing of cliff walls, except by permit or when ice climbing or rappelling with ropes. The regulation will also deter trespass complaints from adjacent property owners by prohibiting visitors, except licensed anglers, from proceeding upstream from the Forty Road parking area near a southern boundary of the property.

The Department has discussed the proposed regulations with local stakeholders, including the search and rescue community, state representatives, local governments, user groups and neighboring property owners. The regulations will appear in the State Register for a 60-day public comment period as required as part of the rulemaking process. In addition, information regarding the Department's intent to propose these regulations, content of the regulation, and the public process associated with the rulemaking, will appear in a widely distributed newspaper in the area. All regulatory documents will appear on the Department's website.

Beyond the proposed regulations, the Department is developing the Niagara Frontier Unit Management Plan (UMP), with includes both the Zoar Valley MUA/UA and the Onondaga Escarpment UA. The purpose of the Niagara Frontier UMP will be to assess the natural and physical resources present within the unit of state-owned land. The UMP will also identify opportunities for public use and recreation that are consistent with the classifications of these lands, and consider the ability of the resources and ecosystems to accommodate such use. Included in the UMP planning process will be an opportunity for public comment. assess the natural and physical resources present within the unit of state-owned land. The UMP will also identify opportunities for public use and recreation that are consistent with the classifications of these lands, and consider the ability of the resources and ecosystems to accommodate such use. Included in the UMP planning process will be an opportunity for public comment.

4) Costs: There are no costs to the regulated community because of this proposed regulation. Costs to the state for the additional management actions are minimal and are estimated at $2,500 for new signage and posting of the properties.

5) Local government mandates: This proposal will not impose any program, service, duty or responsibility upon any county, city, town, village, school district or fire district.

6) Paperwork: The proposed regulations will not impose any reporting requirements or other paperwork on any private or public entity.

7) Duplication: There is no duplication, conflict, or overlap with state or federal regulations.

8) Alternatives: The no-action alternative is not feasible since the existing regulation for Zoar Valley MUA/UA is insufficient to adequately address resource concerns and to protect public health and safety because of its unique characteristics, remote location, and very high level of public use. The existing 6 NYCRR Part 190 general regulations for state lands are not adequate in protecting the Onondaga Escarpment UA because of its rare plant communities, unique location and high level of public use.

9) Federal standards: There is no relevant federal standard governing the use of state lands.

10) Compliance schedule: Once the regulations are adopted, they will be effective immediately, and all persons will be expected to comply with them upon the anticipated effective date. The Department will educate the public about the regulations through information posted on the Departments' website, signage posted on the property, and by collaborating with user groups and other stakeholders to help disseminate information regarding the regulations.

Statement in Lieu of a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments

The proposed rulemaking will protect public health, safety and general welfare on Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area including Zoar Valley Unique Area by implementing public access restrictions. In addition, it will address unregulated use of the Onondaga Escarpment Unique Area by restricting recreational activities to those compatible with the unique qualities of the parcel. The proposed regulations relate solely to protecting public health, safety, general welfare and natural resources on these two areas and do not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on small businesses and local governments. As a result, a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments is not necessary and is not submitted with these regulations.

Statement in Lieu of a Rural Area Flexibility Analysis

The proposed rulemaking will protect public health, safety and general welfare on Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area including Zoar Valley Unique Area by implementing public access restrictions. In addition, it will address unregulated use of the Onondaga Escarpment Unique Area by restricting recreational activities to those activities compatible with the unique qualities of the parcel. The proposed regulations relate solely to protecting public health, safety, general welfare and natural resources on these two areas and do not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on rural areas. As a result, a Rural Area Flexibility Analysis is not necessary and is not submitted with these regulations.

Statement in Lieu of a Job Impact Statement

The proposed rulemaking will protect public health, safety and general welfare within the Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area including Zoar Valley Unique Area by implementing public access restrictions. In addition, it will address unregulated use of the Onondaga Escarpment Unique Area by restricting recreational activities to those compatible with the unique qualities of the parcel. The proposed rulemaking relates solely to protecting public health, safety, general welfare and natural resources found on these two areas and will have no substantial adverse impact on existing or future jobs and employment opportunities. As a result, a Job Impact Statement is not necessary and is not submitted with these regulations.


Emergency Proposed Rulemaking - Section 190.35 Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor

The emergency/proposed rulemaking will address overuse and protect public health, safety, general welfare and natural resources on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor by implementing a permit system from May 15th through September 15th of each year while still providing a quality outdoor experience for users.

The Notice of Emergency/Proposed Rulemaking is available in the June 2nd, 2021 issue of the State Register. Written public comments were accepted by DEC through August 1st, 2021.

Express Terms

6 NYCRR Section 190.35, Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor

Subdivision (i) of section 190.35 is amended as follows. Brackets [ ] indicate deleted text and bold font indicates new text:

(i) From May 15th through [October 15th] September 15th of each year [on Saturdays, Sundays and State and Federal holidays,] no person shall enter the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor [east of the County Route 42 bridge crossing the Rondout Creek], an area that includes that portion of the Rondout Creek known as the Blue Hole, Buttermilk Falls and the lower, middle and upper field camping areas, except under permit from the department.

Section 190.35 is amended by adding two new subdivisions (j) and (k) as follows:

(j) No person shall possess alcoholic beverages within the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor except those camping at designated campsites.

k) No person shall possess coolers larger than 12" (any dimension) within the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor except those camping at designated campsites.

Regulatory Impact Statement

1) Statutory Authority: Article XIV, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution provides that the lands of the Forest Preserve "shall be forever kept as wild forest lands."

Environmental Conservation Law ("ECL") §1-0101(3)(b) directs the Department of Environmental Conservation (Department) to guarantee "that the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment is attained without risk to health or safety, unnecessary degradation or other undesirable or unintentional consequences."

ECL §3-0301(1)(b) gives the Department the responsibility to "promote and coordinate management of...land resources to assure their protection, enhancement, provision, allocation, and balanced utilization...and take into account the cumulative impact upon all such resources in promulgating any rule or regulation."

ECL §3-0301(1)(d) authorizes the Department to "provide for the care, custody and control of the Forest Preserve."

ECL §9-0105(1) authorizes the Department to "[e]xercise care, custody, and control of the several preserves, parks and other State lands described in [Article 9 of the ECL]," which includes Forest Preserve lands.

ECL §3-0301(2) (m) authorizes the Department to adopt rules and regulations "as may be necessary, convenient or desirable to effectuate the purposes of [the ECL]"

ECL §9-0105(3) authorizes the Department to "[m]ake necessary rules and regulations to secure proper enforcement of [ECL Article 9]."

2) Legislative Objectives: Paragraph 1 of section 3 of Article XIV of the New York State Constitution provides that "forest and wildlife conservation are . . . policies of the State." Article XIV, section 1 of the New York State Constitution provides that the lands of the Forest Preserve "shall be forever kept as wild forest lands," and ECL §§3-0301(1)(b) and 9-0105(1) give the Department jurisdiction to manage Forest Preserve lands. The Department is also authorized to promulgate rules and regulations for the use of such lands (see ECL §§3-0301(2) (m) and 9-0105(3)). Consistent with this authority, the proposed regulations are crafted to protect natural resources and the health, safety and general welfare of those who engage in recreational activities within the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor of the Forest Preserve in the Catskill Park.

3) Needs and Benefits: The Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor is an area encompassing more than 270 acres of Forest Preserve lands straddling the upper Rondout Creek along Peekamoose Road (Ulster County 42) in the Town of Denning in Ulster County. The Valley is a remote area in the heart of the Catskill Park and New York City's Catskill/Delaware watershed. The upper Rondout Creek flows into the Rondout Reservoir, an important and high-quality drinking water supply for New York City. In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in public use of the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor, resulting in unacceptable impacts to natural resources as well as serious public health and safety issues.

In 2015, the Department attempted to address the problems associated with overuse by implementing a number of strategies, including: clearly defining parking lots and limiting parking to those lots; prohibiting parking along the road (as posted by the Town of Denning); performing weekly garbage pick-ups; and recommending alternative swimming/picnicking areas. These alternative recommendations included Department campgrounds, which have appropriate facilities and are more suited to withstanding more intense public use. Despite these efforts, in 2016 the Department determined that it was necessary to promulgate special regulations for the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor, which encompasses approximately 270 acres of Forest Preserve lands in the Sundown Wild Forest and Slide Mountain Wilderness Area.

The regulation includes several prohibitions designed to protect water quality, protect the area from overuse and address activities which impact public health and safety. Again, public use of the area continued to increase and in June of 2018 the Department amended the regulation to create a day-use permit system for the western portion of the Corridor which included the Blue Hole. The regulation requires that all visitors to the Blue Hole must obtain a permit on weekends and holidays from May 15th thru October 15th of each year. Permits could only be obtained through Reserve America, similar to the reservation system for DEC's campgrounds. While DEC incurred an administrative cost for each permit, permits were issued free of charge to the user. Permits were issued for up to 6 individuals and a maximum of 40 permits were issued on any day that permits were required - allowing for a maximum of 240 people/day.

Overall, the permit system was a success, greatly reducing the number of visitors on weekends and holidays when use had historically surpassed the carrying capacity for the area. While our stewards interacted with over 15,000 visitors during the course of the 2018 and 2019 seasons, use of the Blue Hole was reduced to 6,500 visitors - 1,700 under permit on weekends and holidays and 4,800 on weekdays (no permit limitation). This compares to some Sundays in previous years where over 1,000 visitors were encountered in a single day. Over 6,000 people that arrived without a permit were educated and, after providing suggestions for alternative locations, were turned away. Reserve America collected data on the individuals who got a permit, and from that data we found that nearly 70% of those who got a permit were from the NY/NJ metropolitan area. Key to success of the permit system was the presence of the Blue Hole Stewards and Forest Rangers, who educated the visitors and ensured they understood and followed the rules.

The Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor, and specifically the Blue Hole, experienced a dramatic increase in visitation during the 2020 season. This increase can partially be attributed to the pandemic and an increased desire for individuals to recreate locally. Blue Hole Stewards interacted with 24,281 visitors over the course of the season. Under the permit system (weekends and holidays) visitor use decreased from 3,101 visitors in the 2019 season to 2,021 in 2020. This decrease is likely due to Department efforts to reduce the number of permits allowed on weekends to meet social distancing guidelines designed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. However, weekday visitation increased from 2,509 to 10,369 (no permit limitation). Overall, in 2020 visitation increased 225% (2019 total visitation:10,796).

The most dramatic change we observed in 2020 was an increase in weekday use. In past years, weekday use was nominal. This season, weekday use ranged from 300-700 people/day. We also observed a tremendous amount of trash, litter and human waste as well as illegal parking and congestion at the Blue Hole. DEC Forest Rangers issued nearly 400 tickets during the 2020 season (228 tickets for permit violations and 170 for parking violations), compared to less than 100 tickets in 2019.

Despite the Department's significant efforts to address the area's problems, public use continues to exceed the area's carrying capacity. Such overuse has resulted in unsanitary conditions, threats to water quality, trampled vegetation and a dramatic degradation of the wild character of the area. Because of the immediate threat to the public health, safety and general welfare, combined with the surge in the number of people recreating in the Peekamoose Valley Corridor mid-week, it is essential to expand the permit requirement to all days of the week from May 15th through September 15th. In addition, it is necessary to expand the area where a permit is required to encompass the entire riparian (Rondout Creek) corridor. The expanded permit system will prevent those visitors who arrive without a permit from going downstream and congregating in an unrestricted area, causing natural resource impacts and making social distancing difficult. The area within the Corridor requiring a permit will also encompass a traditional camping area, requiring campers to obtain a permit prior to camping.

While the permit system is intended to ease congestion and overuse, additional measures are necessary to reduce the amount of trash and human waste impacting the site. As a result, the amendment proposes to expand the prohibited activities to prohibit alcohol and large coolers. These prohibitions are intended to mitigate impacts to the natural resource and protect public health from trash and human waste. As a result, it is necessary to amend the regulation on an emergency basis prior to the anticipated heavy public use of the 2021 season to protect public health, safety and general welfare, and to maintain the natural character of the area so that it will be available for sustained public use and enjoyment. Given the significant threats to public health, safety and the environment and the inability of the normal rulemaking process to result in the promulgation of regulations in time for this summer's busy season, it is appropriate to adopt these regulations now on an emergency basis.

The Department has received initial public input on the proposed actions through meetings and interaction with local government officials, including the Town of Denning Supervisor, and in meetings with stakeholder organizations, including the Catskill Park Advisory Committee.

4) Costs: It is anticipated that any administrative costs associated with the administration of the expanded permit system will be offset by a permit fee of $10 per permit.

5) Local Government Mandates: This proposal will not impose any program, service, duty or responsibility upon any county, city, town, village, school district or fire district.

6) Paperwork: The proposed regulations will not impose any reporting requirements or other paperwork on any private or public entity.

7) Duplication: There is no duplication, conflict, or overlap with State or Federal regulations.

8) Alternatives: The no-action alternative is not feasible since the existing regulation does not adequately protect the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor from overuse and abuse and does not protect the public health, safety, and general welfare.

Closing the area to public use is also not an acceptable alternative. Forest Preserve land is acquired for the use of and enjoyment by the public. ECL section 9-0301(1) provides that "all lands in the Catskill Park . . . shall be forever reserved and maintained for the free use of all the people . . ." The closure of Forest Preserve land to public use should not occur except when absolutely necessary to protect public health or the resource.

9) Federal standards: There is no relevant federal standard governing the use of State lands.

10) Compliance schedule: Once the regulations are adopted, they will be effective immediately, and all persons will be expected to comply with them upon the anticipated effective date of May 14, 2021. The Department will educate the public about the regulations through information posted on the Departments' web site, signage posted on the property, social media, at the Catskill Visitor Center and by working with user groups and other stakeholders to help disseminate information regarding the regulations.

Statement in Lieu of a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments

The proposed rulemaking will address overuse and protect public health, safety and general welfare on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor by implementing a permit system from May 15th through September 15th of each year while still providing a quality outdoor experience for users. The proposed regulation relates solely to protecting public health, safety, general welfare and natural resources on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor and does not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on small businesses and local governments. As a result, a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments is not necessary and is not submitted with these regulations.

Statement in Lieu of a Rural Area Flexibility Analysis

The proposed rulemaking will address overuse and protect public health, safety and general welfare on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor by implementing a permit system from May 15th through September 15th of each year while still providing a quality outdoor experience for users.

A Rural Area Flexibility Analysis is not submitted and is not required because the proposal will not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on rural areas. The proposed regulation relates solely to protecting public health, safety, general welfare and natural resources on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor.

Statement in Lieu of a Job Impact Statement

The proposed rulemaking will address overuse and protect public health, safety and general welfare on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor by implementing a permit system from May 15th through September 15th of each year while still providing a quality outdoor experience for users.

A Job Impact Statement is not submitted and is not required because the proposal will have no substantial adverse impact on existing or future jobs and employment opportunities. The proposed regulation relates solely to protecting public health, safety, general welfare and natural resources on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor.

Proposed Regulations

There are currently no non-emergency proposed regulations.

Recently Adopted Regulations (Previous 3 Years)

Final Regulation - Section 190.38 Brookfield Trail System

This rulemaking will protect natural resources and public safety on the Brookfield Trail System, a system of trails designated for use by horses, llamas and mountain bikes, located on three reforestation areas covering more than 13,000 acres in Chenango and Madison counties.

This regulation became effective on August 19, 2020, the same date it appeared in the New York State Register.

Express Terms

Paragraphs (7), (8), (9), (10), (11), (12), (13), (14), (15) of subdivision (b) of section 190.0 are renumbered paragraphs (9), (10), (11), (12), (13), (14), (15), (16) and (17), and new paragraphs (7) and (8) are added to read as follows: (7) 'Horse' shall mean the entire family of Equidae. (8) 'Llama' shall mean all new world camelids, llamas, alpacas, guanacos and vicunas.

Section 190.38 is renumbered section 190.39 and a new section 190.38 is added to read as follows: Section 190.38 Brookfield Trail System. In addition to other applicable general provisions of this Part, the following provisions apply to any person entering and using Beaver Creek State Forest, Brookfield Railroad State Forest and Charles E. Baker State Forest. In the event of a conflict, these specific regulations shall control.

(a) Description. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the indicated meanings:

  1. Moscow Hill Camping Area shall mean an eight-acre state land area located in the Charles E. Baker State Forest (Madison Reforestation Area 1) lying north of the tributary to Pleasant Brook immediately south of the intersection of Moscow Road and Quaker Hill Road and east of Moscow Road in the Town of Brookfield, Madison County, locally known as the old Civilian Conservation Corps Camp.
  2. The Moscow Hill Assembly Area shall mean a two-acre state land area located in the Charles E. Baker State Forest (Madison Reforestation Area 1) south of the tributary to Pleasant Brook immediately south of the intersection of Moscow Road and Quaker Hill Road and east of Moscow Road in the Town of Brookfield, Madison County.
  3. Cherry Ridge Camping Area shall mean a five-acre state land area located in the Charles E. Baker State Forest (Madison Reforestation Area 1) just east of the intersection of Brown Road and Truck Trail number 8 in the Town of Brookfield, Madison County.

(b) Horses and Llamas:

  1. Any person entering the Moscow Hill Camping Area or Assembly Area with one or more horses shall have the following documentation, which must be presented upon request of department staff: (i) for all in-state horses, a valid Coggins test that is negative for Equine Infectious Anemia, and proof of a current rabies vaccination; or (ii) for all out-of-state horses, a valid 30-day Certificate of Health, a valid Coggins test that is negative for Equine Infectious Anemia, and proof of a current rabies vaccination.
  2. Any person entering the Moscow Hill Camping Area or Assembly Area with one or more llamas shall have a valid Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, identifying each animal individually and proof of a current rabies vaccination.
  3. Any person harboring a horse or llama overnight in the Moscow Hill Camping Area or Assembly Area must use a department provided covered tie stall or, in the case of a stallion, a stud stall, or a horse trailer associated with the person responsible for the horse or llama. No person shall use temporary corrals or paddocks.
  4. Stud stalls shall only be occupied by stallions.
  5. Horse stalls are provided for the equestrian community and may only be used for the storage of horses, llamas or related equipment. No person shall store unrelated personal property in stalls.
  6. No person shall tether any horse or llama to any tree in the Moscow Hill Camping Area or Assembly Area.
  7. No person shall allow or encourage any horse or llama to gallop or canter in the Moscow Hill Camping Area or Assembly Area.
  8. No person shall fail to maintain an orderly camp, including horse stalls. All manure shall be removed from stalls. Manure removed from stalls in the Moscow Hill Camping Area or Assembly Area shall be deposited into designated manure pits.
  9. Horses and llamas are prohibited at the Cherry Ridge Camping Area.

(c) Other Animals:

  1. All animals are prohibited in the Moscow Hill Camping Area and Assembly Area with the exception of cats, dogs, horses and llamas as provided for in this section.
  2. Within the Moscow Hill Camping Area and Assembly Area, all persons must maintain control of their cat or dog at all times. All persons must confine their cat or dog to their campsite area, unless their cat or dog is being walked and is confined on a leash no more than six feet long.
  3. No person shall leave their cat or dog unattended in the Moscow Hill Camping Area or Assembly Area at any time unless securely confined in a camper or enclosed trailer.
  4. Any person entering the Moscow Hill Camping Area or Assembly Area with a cat or dog shall have proof of a current rabies vaccination for their cat or dog, which must be presented upon request to department staff.
  5. Within the Moscow Hill Camping Area and Assembly Area, animal owners shall properly dispose of their animals' excrement in the designated manure pits.
  6. Any person with a disruptive or vicious animal shall be required to remove their animal from the Moscow Hill Camping Area and Assembly Area whenever directed by department personnel or by law enforcement personnel. Failure to do so may result in the termination of all privileges to access the Charles E. Baker State Forest and the Brookfield Trail System.

(d) General Provisions

  1. The riding and possession of bicycles and the riding, driving or leading of horses and llamas is restricted to designated trails or roads on Madison Reforestation Areas 1, 4, 6, 11 and 12.
  2. No person shall ride or possess a bicycle, or ride, drive, lead or permit a horse or llama on any trail in Beaver Creek State Forest (Madison Reforestation Areas 11 and 12), Brookfield Railroad State Forest (Madison Reforestation Area 6) or Charles E. Baker State Forest (Madison Reforestation Areas 1 and 4) between November 1 and April 30, unless such trails are designated for winter use.
  3. Fires are permitted only in fire rings and fireplaces provided by the department at designated camping sites.
  4. Within the Moscow Hill Camping Area and Assembly Area, quiet hours shall be observed between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
  5. Within the Moscow Hill Camping Area and Assembly Area, generators may only be operated from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  6. No person shall possess or use fireworks of any nature.
  7. Within the Moscow Hill Camping Area and Assembly Area, camping is permitted only at sites designated by the department.

Assessment of Public Comment

The 60-day public comment period from March 18, 2020 through May 18, 2020 resulted in thirteen email replies submitted to the Department. Many of the written emails had addressed more than one concern within their replies. Prior to this public comment period, the Department hosted a public meeting on April 7, 2016 at the Sherburne High School auditorium to inform the public on the upcoming proposed regulations as part of the Brookfield Unit Management Plan amendment and recorded comments from that event. Approximately 50 people attended that meeting and several made verbal comments.

The following comments are from the public comment period for the section 190.38 proposed regulations for the Brookfield camping areas and associated trail system.

Comment: In support of the proposed regulations. Feels that the regulations will help deter abuse and overuse of the property. (six written comments)

Response: Thank you.

Comment: Object to non-horse members setting up camp in horse camping area depriving horse campers of stall access. (two comments received)

Response: The Moscow Hill Camping area was developed and in use before the creation of the horse trail system. It was first developed for general camping for all users. Recreational use of this area is not exclusive to equestrian campers/riders, despite this area being very much tailored to horse use by the facilities available. In the late 1990's, camping for non-horse users was developed at Cherry Ridge campground, a few miles away to alleviate possible conflicts of different user groups. Signs are
onsite at Moscow Hill that advertise this option for any campers who want to camp without horses.

Comment: Objects to campers who set up camp to "reserve" their spot while they are not actually camping.

Response: It is a violation of current regulations to place camping equipment on a site in order to "reserve" it if the user does not show up and actually occupy the site. A bonafide occupancy is required when under permit and if not under issued camping permit it becomes abandoned equipment when it has been left unoccupied for 48 hours or more.

Comment: Do not think it is acceptable to require rabies vaccinations for horses, proof of negative Coggins testing is enough. (two comments received)

Response: The rabies virus is a very serious risk and can be fatal to both humans and livestock (horses) or domestic pets. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends any interstate travel of cats, dogs and horses have proof of being vaccinated against the rabies virus. There is always the potential risk of horses coming into contact with a wild animal that could be positive for rabies while visiting state facilities. For the safety of all recreational users and any animals brought onsite, the Department will require proof of rabies vaccination for both pets and horses, including all associated equine species present at the trail system and associated campgrounds, upon request.

Comment: Mountain bikes should not be allowed on the horse trails because of their speed and the danger to all hikers and other slow travelers. The bikes cause much erosion and create serious maintenance costs to correct damage.

Response: The Brookfield Trail System had primarily been developed for equestrian use but was also designated as a multiple use trail network. Mountain biking has been allowed and is an occasional use of the trail system for well over 30 years. During that time, the Department has not noted any significant adverse environmental impact from this use and did not make the use of mountain bikes on the trails a new rule proposal. Occasional conflict can occur between user groups. The Department, seldom if ever receives formal complaints from the public between horse riders and mountain bikers. Trail etiquette information is readily available online and in pamphlets from the New York State Horse Council. Environmental damage is more likely to occur from both mountain bikers and equestrian riders during the traditional "mud seasons" of late fall and early spring. That was primarily the reason for the seasonal trail restrictions that were implemented after the initial Brookfield Unit Management Plan and public meeting held back in 1995. The seasonal closure of the trail system has been in place since that time.

Comment: Do not agree with seasonal trail closures (November 1st to April 30th.) as outlined in the rule making proposal. (four comments received)

Response: Dating back to the early 1990's, the Department had concerns over some serious adverse environmental impacts discovered on many of the designated trails within the Brookfield Trail System. Most of the impacts of concern were from frequent equestrian use, illegal motorcycle and ATV use and mountain bikes to a much lesser degree, during the late fall and early spring annual "mud seasons". The impacts were unacceptable as far as erosion and trail degradation was concerned. Some issues were resolved with trail re-routes and closures for the worst of the trails. The main overriding factor in the Department's view was that the majority of the soils found on state lands in the Central New York region have poor seasonal drainage issues and the annual patterns of heavy precipitation during these colder months can compound this issue. Both of these conditions are not favorable to continued trail use during these times of year. To upgrade large sections of trails with stone or extended boardwalks or bridges proved to be too costly for the maintenance budgets available. Starting in the mid 1990's and continuing every year to date, the Department adopted this same dated "trail closed" season and has enforced it through proper signage at main entry points throughout the trail system and on the printed trail maps available both online and at all trail registers. This closure has seen more positive than negative results and does not extend to other trail systems or to the thousands of acres found within other nearby state forests that are available for similar recreational use. The development of the Brookfield trail System and the 50 plus years of use has proven very popular with recreationists and the concern to "love it to death" has been eased allowing the trails, the surrounding soils and vegetation a chance to recover from any high seasonal use impacts. This trail closure also has a positive effect on the limited maintenance budgets available to the Department. Winter conditions also introduce snowmobile use, this trail system's other designated seasonal use. Many of the designated roads and main trails are maintained and groomed by organized snowmobile clubs as part of the statewide system of advertised corridor sled trails.

Comment: Do not agree with the proposal to prohibit riding of horses and mountain bikes on trails other than those designated, including unofficial or renegade trails in Brookfield. (Three comments received)

Response: On any given State Reforestation Area land parcel, the general provisions of the Environmental Conservation Laws (ECL) Part 190 rules and regulations allow for the leading of horses anywhere on such property unless otherwise posted by the Department. The use of trails outside the Department's designated trails can cause multiple problems for both maintenance, safety issues and potential conflicts with other forest management objectives, especially in an area as intensively used as Brookfield has been. The overall management of Brookfield state lands is primarily focused on the presence and locations of the trail system. This trail network has been in place for over 50 years. The recreational use is a large component of the state land management objectives put forth in the recently amended Brookfield Unit Management Plan (2016). Changes to the approved use or additional expansion of the trail system would need to be addressed through the Unit Management Planning process and approved or amended as part of the existing plan. This trail system is primarily designed for equestrian use, and is one of only several designated trail systems throughout New York that is available for this type of a formal riding experience. When people decide to make their own trails off the designated system many potential problems can occur. Primarily, the continued use from others on these non-designated or "renegade" trails can cause undue adverse environmental impacts and add more maintenance requirements to the Department. Several examples of trail use outside the designated trail network have shown that this type of use creates more problems than what can be addressed with yearly maintenance budgets and can interfere with other management objectives that are already in place for areas outside the layout of the trail system. This includes timber management and protection areas that may need to be off limits to the public due to the environmental sensitivity of the particular location.

Comment: Allow mountain biking on the trail system during the closed season of November 1st through April 30th, in particular with "Fat Bikes" having tires with four or more inches of tread width. (three comments received)

Response: The Department recognizes other seasonal traditional recreational uses during the current trail closed season which includes both big and small game hunting, cross country skiing and snowmobile trail riding. Although equestrian and mountain bike use has been permitted only on State Public Forest Access Roads (PFAR or truck trails) and seasonal town roads within the Brookfield Trail System during the closed trail season, those uses are not permitted once these surfaces are snow covered. This is set forth in the New York State Environmental Conservation Law general provisions for use of State Reforestation Areas throughout New York. The seasonal trail closure dates for Brookfield are intended for the off-road trails that meander throughout the forest areas, away from public roads. The use of mountain bikes on the Brookfield Trail System during the winter is not allowed primarily because these trails are also designated for snowmobile use and many of them are maintained by local snowmobile clubs through active Volunteer Stewardship Agreements between the Department and these various clubs. There are many other state lands within the Central New York Region that do permit mountain bike riding within the winter months and several other designated mountain bike trails systems on other state forests that offer ample opportunity for such recreational use. To allow this use, in addition to the many existing activities permitted in Brookfield for the trail system conflicts with other traditional winter recreational uses that have been ongoing for decades. The Department does not support this change for these reasons.

Regulatory Impact Statement

1) Statutory authority: Environmental Conservation Law ("ECL") section 1-0101(3)(b) directs the Department of Environmental Conservation (Department) to guarantee "that the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment is attained without risk to health or safety, unnecessary degradation or other undesirable or unintentional consequences." ECL section 3-0301(1)(b) gives the Department the responsibility to "promote and coordinate management of...land resources to assure their protection...and take into account the cumulative impact upon all such resources ....in promulgating any rule or regulation." CL section9-0105(1) authorizes the Department of Environmental Conservation to "exercise care, custody, and control" of State lands. ECL section 3-0301(2)(m) authorizes the Department to adopt rules and regulations "as may be necessary, convenient or desirable to effectuate the purposes of (the ECL)," and ECL section 9-0105(3) authorizes the Department to "make necessary rules and regulations to secure proper enforcement of (ECL Article 9)."

2) Legislative objectives: In adopting various articles of the ECL, the legislature has established forest, fish, and wildlife conservation to be policies of the State and has empowered the Department to exercise care, custody, and control over certain State lands and other real property. Consistent with these statutory interests, the proposed regulations will protect natural resources and the safety and welfare of those who engage in recreational activities at the Moscow Hill Camping and Assembly Areas on the Charles E. Baker State Forest in Madison County, New York and as well as on the entire Brookfield Trail System. The Department has also been authorized by the State Legislature to manage State owned lands (see ECL section 9-0105(1), and to promulgate rules and regulations for the use of such lands (see ECL sections 3-0301(2)(m) and 9-0105(3)).

3) Needs and benefits: The lands comprising the Charles E. Baker State Forest were originally farmed, then abandoned as farming no longer proved to be successful. These lands were then acquired by the State for reforestation purposes. By 1930, 3,073 acres had been acquired and 2,106 acres reforested.

With the authorization of the Civilian Conservation Corps program in 1933, trees were planted, truck trails built, water holes dug, hardwood stands thinned, and camps and structures were built to support workers. Parts of the old foundations can still be seen in the Assembly and Camping Area along Moscow Road.

In 1967, the Empire State Horsemen's Association strongly backed the development of a horse trail system for pleasure riding. It required a joint effort by correction camp crews, operations personnel, rangers, and foresters to lay out and clear the trails.

Today the Moscow Hill Camping and Assembly Areas serve as the major trailhead to the approximately 100-mile complex of recreational trails designated for use by horses, llamas and bicyclists. The trail system is located on three State reforestation areas covering over 13,000 acres, primarily within the Town of Brookfield, New York. The Moscow Hill Camping and Assembly Areas provide the main camping and equestrian related facilities for the Brookfield Trail System.

Over the last decade, public use of the Moscow Hill Camping and Assembly Areas has steadily increased, especially during peak periods. This unregulated use has led to overcrowding and degradation of natural resources, particularly to vegetation and trees. In addition, social impacts, including overcrowding, boisterous behavior and uncontrolled pets, such as dogs disturbing other users, continue to cause problems.

This rulemaking includes the addition of the definitions for "horse" and "llama", which are being added to section 190.0 of 6 NYCRR rather than including them in the new section 190.38, since this section only applies to the Brookfield Trail System. By placing definitions in section 190.0 for State lands generally, they will pertain to horse and llama use on all State lands. Horses and llamas are allowed anywhere on State land under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environmental Conservation unless otherwise prohibited by law, regulation, or posted notice.

The major provisions of the proposed regulations that will control use on the Moscow Hill Camping and Assembly Areas include: requiring horses and llamas that remain in the Camping and Assembly Areas overnight be tethered in a Department provided covered tie stall, or in the case of a stallion, in a stud stall; cat and dog restrictions, including a requirement that dogs and cats be under control and on a leash and have proof of a current rabies vaccination; camping only at designated sites; fire restrictions; formal quiet hours and generator use. The provisions that apply to the entire Brookfield Trail System, in addition to the Moscow Hill Camping and Assembly Areas include: seasonal closure of trails and prohibiting the possession or use of fireworks.

The restrictions requiring persons harboring a horse or llama overnight at the Moscow Hill Camping Area or Assembly Area to have them tethered in a covered tie stall, stallions in a stud stall, or within a horse trailer associated with the person responsible for the horse or llama, will protect vegetation and trees in the Camping and Assembly Areas. Tethering of horses and llamas to trees can cause damage to bark, and ultimately lead to the death of the tree. This is a potential problem, particularly during high use periods. The proposed regulations will also prohibit the public from using temporary corrals or paddocks for their horses or llamas which will protect vegetation and trees in the Camping and Assembly Areas.

A new subdivision, (c), paragraph (3), which states, "No person shall leave their cat or dog unattended in the Moscow Hill Camping Area or Assembly Area at any time unless securely confined in a camper or enclosed trailer" is included in the proposed regulations. This revision was made to accommodate users with small or older cats or dogs that cannot be taken on the trail. Instances where cats and dogs have disrupted campers will be avoided by requiring those pets to be on a leash or otherwise confined to the campsite of their owner.

The proposed regulations will establish formal "quiet hours" to be observed from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. The operation of generators will be allowed from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This will extend hours to allow generator use to accommodate users who are on the trails late in the day.

A seasonal closure of riding trails to horses, llamas and bicycles in the Brookfield Trail System was enacted in 1991 following an environmental assessment and environmental rehabilitation plan undertaken by the Department. This was undertaken to ensure erosion at the most sensitive times of the year would be minimized. Trail vulnerability is greatest between November 1 and April 30 during the spring and fall "mud seasons". At these times, trails show signs of degradation due to a combination of high moisture content in soils and heavy use. This can lead to trail deterioration and poor tread conditions, as well as stream sedimentation. For these reasons, restricting seasonal use has been in place for the past 25 years by signs posted in the area. Codifying the restriction in regulations will eliminate the need to maintain signs. A provision has been included in the proposed regulations that will restrict trail use between November 1 and April 30.

Additional regulations that may apply to the Brookfield Trail System can be found in 6 NYCRR Part 190, Use of State Lands.

The regulations for the Brookfield Trail System were proposed in the Brookfield Unit Management Plan adopted in 2017. The need for the proposed regulations were addressed in the plan and discussed at the public meeting held on the plan in April 2016.

Members of the New York State Plantation Walking Horse Club, New York State Horse Council, Eastern Competitive Trail Ride Association, Brookfield Riding and Driving Association, Leatherstocking Riding Club, Twin Tiers Trail Riders, New York Adventure Endurance Ride, Pure Country Campground and Endless Trails Bed and Breakfast Riding Stables, as well as concerned members of the public who gave their contact information at the April 7, 2016 public meeting received a letter announcing the Department's intent to propose this regulation. The proposed regulations appeared in earlier draft form as part of the approved Brookfield Unit Management Plan. There will be an opportunity for the public to officially comment on the proposed regulations during a 60-day public comment period when the regulation appears in the New York State Register as a proposed rulemaking.

4) Costs: There will be no increased staffing, construction or compliance costs projected for State or local governments or to private regulated parties as a result of this rulemaking. Costs to the Department for necessary signage for the Brookfield Trail System will be minimal.

5) Local government mandates: This proposal will not impose any program, service, duty or responsibility upon any county, city, town, village, school district or fire district.

6) Paperwork: The proposed regulations will not impose any reporting requirements or other paperwork on any private or public entity.

7) Duplication: There is no duplication, conflict, or overlap with State or federal regulations.

8) Alternative approaches: Several alternatives were considered to determine which management strategies would best protect the resource and best serve the public using this facility. The "No Action" alternative is not feasible since it would continue to allow unregulated use at the Moscow Hill Camping and Assembly Areas and would do nothing to provide protection to the natural resources of the area or the experience of visitors. The Department considered requiring users to obtain permits from its Sherburne sub-office prior to arrival, but this proposal would place an additional burden on both users and on Department staff. Reliance on the current Part 190 regulations for State forest lands does not provide adequate public safety or law enforcement protections that are necessary for the protection of the Moscow Hill Camping and Assembly Areas because of their unique characteristics. The alternative chosen in the proposed regulations represented the least burdensome option for effective management of the facility.

9) Federal standard: There is no relevant federal standard governing the use of State lands.

10) Compliance schedule: The proposed regulations will become effective upon notice of adoption in the New York State Register. Once the regulations are adopted, they are effective immediately, and all persons will be expected to comply with them upon their effective date. The Department will educate the public about the regulations through information posted on the Departments' web site, signage posted on the property, and by working with user groups and other stakeholders to help disseminate information regarding regulatory compliance.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments

Adoption of a new section 190.38 to 6 NYCRR will address public safety and natural resource protection on the Brookfield Trail System. A Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments is not submitted with these regulations because the proposal will not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on small businesses or local governments.

Since there are no identified cost impacts for compliance with the proposed regulations on the part of small businesses and local governments, they will bear no economic impact as a result of this proposal. The proposed regulations relate solely to natural resource protection and ensuring public safety on the Brookfield Trail System.

Rural Area Flexibility Analysis

Adoption of a new section 190.38 to 6 NYCRR will address public safety and natural resource protection on the Brookfield Trail System. A Rural Area Flexibility Analysis is not submitted with this proposal because the proposal will not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on rural areas. The proposed regulations relate solely to natural resource protection and ensuring public safety on the Brookfield Trail System.

Job Impact Statement

Adoption of a new section 190.38 to 6 NYCRR will address public safety and natural resource protection on the Brookfield Trail System. A Job Impact Statement is not submitted with this proposal because the proposal will have no substantial adverse impact on existing or future jobs and employment opportunities. The proposed regulations relate solely to natural resource protection and ensuring public safety on the Brookfield Trail System.

Final Consensus Rulemaking - Section 190.36 Northern Catskill Riparian Areas*

*Amendment of section 190.36 to correct a mistake in the description of Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area

This regulation will become effective on March 20, 2019, the same date it appears in the New York State Register.

Express Terms

Existing section 190.36 will be renumbered 190.38 and a new section 190.36 will be added to read: In addition to other applicable provisions of this Part, the following requirements apply to the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas. In the event of a conflict between this section and another section of this Part, the more restrictive provision will control.

(a) Description. For the purposes of this section, Northern Catskill Riparian Areas means the following state forest preserve lands:

  1. The Kaaterskill Clove Riparian Corridor located in the towns of Hunter and Catskill in Greene County, along State Route 23A, beginning at the intersection of Spruce Creek and Kaaterskill Creek and extending downstream on Kaaterskill Creek approximately 2 miles to the state land boundary line. The regulated corridor includes the creek bed, the riparian area on the side of the creek in which State Route 23A is located, extending from the edge of the creek bed to State Route 23A or 300 feet, whichever is greater, and the riparian area on the other side of the creek extending 300 feet from the edge of the creek bed.
  2. The Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area located in the town of Hunter in Greene County, beginning at a point 150 feet upstream of the Kaaterskill waterfall on Spruce Creek, and extending downstream to the base of the waterfall at the start of the man-made stone staircase. The regulated area includes the Spruce Creek bed, an area on the side of the creek which includes the stone staircase extending 300 feet from the edge of the stream bed or the staircase and the connector trail leading to the Escarpment Trail, whichever is greater, and on the other side of the creek extending 300 feet from the edge of the stream bed.
  3. The Platte Clove Riparian Corridor, located in the town of Hunter in Greene County, and the town of Saugerties in Ulster County, beginning at the state land boundary near the intersection of Platte Clove Road and Steenburg Road and extending downstream to the southeast along Platte Clove Road and the Plattekill creek to the boundary of state land, approximately 1.6 miles. The regulated corridor includes the Plattekill creek bed, an area on the side of the creek which includes Platte Clove Road extending 300 feet from the edge of the creek bed to Platte Clove Road or 300 feet, whichever is greater, and an area on the other side of the creek extending 300 feet from the edge of the creek bed.
  4. The Colgate Lake Wild Forest Area located in the town of Jewett in Greene County, including 1,375 acres at the eastern end of County Route 78 (Colgate Lake Road), bordered by the Windham-Blackhead Range Wilderness to the north, south, and east. The unit boundary as posted follows the 2,400' contour on the north and south.

(b) No person shall kindle, build, maintain or use a fire, including, but not limited to, charcoal fires, wood fires, gas grills, propane stoves, or other portable stoves, within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas, except at designated campsites or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part.

(c) No person shall possess a glass container within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas, except when necessary for the storage of medicine.

(d) No person, within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas, shall play an audio device, including, but not limited to, radios, tape players, compact disc or digital players, except at designated campsites, or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part, unless the noise is rendered inaudible to the public by a noise-damping device, such as headphones or earbuds. At designated campsites or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part, no person shall use any audio device which is audible outside the immediate area of the campsite.

(e) No person shall possess or consume beverages containing alcohol, including, but not limited to beer, wine, and liquor within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas, except when transporting to, or at, designated camping sites, or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part.

(f) No person shall enter restricted areas, as designated by signs in the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas.

(g) No person shall possess a portable generator within the Kaaterskill Clove Riparian Corridor, the Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area, or the Colgate Lake Wild Forest Area, except at designated campsites or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part. Possession of portable generators is prohibited within the Northern Catskill Riparian Corridor in the Indian Head Wilderness Area, located in the Town of Hunter, Greene County and the towns of Saugerties and Woodstock, Ulster County, lying generally west of the east boundary of the Catskill Park, south of Platte Clove, east of Devil's Tombstone Campground and north of the hamlets of Lake Hill and Shady.

(h) No person shall enter into, or remain in, the Kaaterskill Clove or Platte Clove Riparian Corridors between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise except for:

  1. persons camping at designated campsites, or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part.
  2. licensed hunters, anglers, and trappers for the purpose of hunting, fishing, or trapping.
  3. pedestrians using marked hiking trails to cross the areas; or
  4. persons otherwise authorized by permit issued by the department.

(i) In the Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area, no person shall enter the area located within six (6) feet of cliff edges, except: on marked trails, including the man-made stone staircase and the trail leading to the first water plunge pol, commonly referred to as the mid-pool when engaged in ice climbing or rappelling by rope; or by authorized permit issued by the department.

(j) In the Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area, no person shall enter the water, wade, or swim within 150 upstream of Kaaterskill Falls.

Job Impact Statement

Existing section 190.36 of 6 NYCRR will be amended to correct a mistake in the description of the Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area which lists Kaaterskill Creek bed instead of Spruce Creek bed, the correct location identifier. A Job Impact Statement is not submitted with this proposal because the proposal will have no substantial adverse impact on existing or future jobs and employment opportunities. The proposed regulation will correct a mistake in the description, which if left uncorrected could compromise enforcement efforts.

Final regulation - Section 190.36 Northern Catskill Riparian Areas

The purpose of this rule is to ensure public safety and protect natural resources on the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas.

This regulation became effective on August 15, 2018, the same date it appeared in the New York State Register.

Express Terms

Existing section 190.36 will be renumbered 190.38 and a new section 190.36 will be added to read:

In addition to other applicable provisions of this Part, the following requirements apply to the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas. In the event of a conflict between this section and another section of this Part, the more restrictive provision will control.

(a) Description. For the purposes of this section, Northern Catskill Riparian Areas means the following state forest preserve lands:

  1. The Kaaterskill Clove Riparian Corridor located in the towns of Hunter and Catskill in Greene County, along State Route 23A, beginning at the intersection of Spruce Creek and Kaaterskill Creek and extending downstream on Kaaterskill Creek approximately 2 miles to the state land boundary line. The regulated corridor includes the creek bed, the riparian area on the side of the creek in which State Route 23A is located, extending from the edge of the creek bed to State Route 23A or 300 feet, whichever is greater, and the riparian area on the other side of the creek extending 300 feet from the edge of the creek bed.
  2. The Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area located in the town of Hunter in Greene County, beginning at a point 150 feet upstream of the Kaaterskill waterfall on Spruce Creek, and extending downstream to the base of the waterfall at the start of the man-made stone staircase. The regulated area includes the Kaaterskill creek bed, an area on the side of the creek which includes the stone staircase extending 300 feet from the edge of the stream bed or the staircase and the connector trail leading to the Escarpment Trail, whichever is greater, and on the other side of the creek extending 300 feet from the edge of the stream bed.
  3. The Platte Clove Riparian Corridor, located in the town of Hunter in Greene County, and the town of Saugerties in Ulster County, beginning at the state land boundary near the intersection of Platte Clove Road and Steenburg Road and extending downstream to the southeast along Platte Clove Road and the Plattekill creek to the boundary of state land, approximately 1.6 miles. The regulated corridor includes the Plattekill creek bed, an area on the side of the creek which includes Platte Clove Road extending 300 feet from the edge of the creek bed to Platte Clove Road or 300 feet, whichever is greater, and an area on the other side of the creek extending 300 feet from the edge of the creek bed.
  4. The Colgate Lake Wild Forest Area located in the town of Jewett in Greene County, including 1,375 acres at the eastern end of County Route 78 (Colgate Lake Road), bordered by the Windham-Blackhead Range Wilderness to the north, south, and east. The unit boundary as posted follows the 2,400' contour on the north and south.

(b) No person shall kindle, build, maintain or use a fire, including, but not limited to, charcoal fires, wood fires, gas grills, propane stoves, or other portable stoves, within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas, except at designated campsites or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part.

(c) No person shall possess a glass container within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas, except when necessary for the storage of medicines.

(d) No person, within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas, shall play an audio device, including, but not limited to, radios, tape players, compact disc or digital players, except at designated campsites, or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part, unless the noise is rendered inaudible to the public by a noise-damping device, such as headphones or earbuds. At designated campsites or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part, no person shall use any audio device which is audible outside the immediate area of the campsite.

(e) No person shall possess or consume beverages containing alcohol, including, but not limited to beer, wine, and liquor within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas, except when transporting to, or at, designated camping sites, or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part.

(f) No person shall enter restricted areas, as designated by signs in the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas.

(g) No person shall possess a portable generator within the Kaaterskill Clove Riparian Corridor, the Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area, or the Colgate Lake Wild Forest Area, except at designated campsites or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part. Possession of portable generators is prohibited within the Northern Catskill Riparian Corridor in the Indian Head Wilderness Area, located in the Town of Hunter, Greene County and the towns of Saugerties and Woodstock, Ulster County, lying generally west of the east boundary of the Catskill Park, south of Platte Clove, east of Devil's Tombstone Campground and north of the hamlets of Lake Hill and Shady.

(h) No person shall enter into, or remain in, the Kaaterskill Clove or Platte Clove Riparian Corridors between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise except for:

  1. persons camping at designated campsites, or where camped in compliance with subdivision 190.3 (b) of this Part.
  2. licensed hunters, anglers, and trappers for the purpose of hunting, fishing, or trapping.
  3. pedestrians using marked hiking trails to cross the areas; or
  4. persons otherwise authorized by permit issued by the department.

(i) In the Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area, no person shall enter the area located within six (6) feet of cliff edges, except: on marked trails, including the man-made stone staircase and the trail leading to the first water plunge pool, commonly referred to as the mid-pool; when engaged in ice climbing or rappelling by rope; or by authorized permit issued by the department.

(j) In the Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area, no person shall enter the water, wade, or swim within 150 feet upstream of Kaaterskill Falls.

Regulatory Impact Statement

1. Statutory authority:

Environmental Conservation Law ("ECL") section 1-0101(3) (b) directs the Department of Environmental Conservation (Department) to guarantee "that the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment is attained without risk to health or safety, unnecessary degradation or other undesirable or unintentional consequences." ECL section 3-0301(1)(b) gives the Department the responsibility to "promote and coordinate management of...land resources to assure their protection, enhancement, provision, allocation, and balanced utilization...and take into account the cumulative impact upon all such resources in promulgating any rule or regulation." ECL section 3-0301(1)(d) authorizes the Department to "provide for the care, custody and control of the Forest Preserve." ECL section 9-0105(1) authorizes the Department to "[e]xercise care, custody, and control of the several preserves, parks and other State lands described in [Article 9 of the ECL]," which includes Forest Preserve lands. Article XIV, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution provides that the lands of the Forest Preserve "shall be forever kept as wild forest lands." ECL section 3-0301(2) (m) authorizes the Department to adopt rules and regulations "as may be necessary, convenient or desirable to effectuate the purposes of [the ECL]," and ECL 9-0105(3) authorizes the Department to "[m]ake necessary rules and regulations to secure proper enforcement of [ECL Article 9]."

2. Legislative objectives:

Paragraph 1 of section 3 of Article XIV of the New York State Constitution provides that "forest and wild life conservation are . . . policies of the State." Article XIV, section 1 of the New York State Constitution provides that the lands of the Forest Preserve "shall be forever kept as wild forest lands," and ECL sections 3-0301(1)(b) and 9-0105(1) give the Department jurisdiction to manage Forest Preserve lands. The Department is also authorized to promulgate rules and regulations for the use of such lands (see ECL sections 3-0301(2) (m) and 9-0105(3)). Consistent with this authority, the proposed regulations are crafted to protect natural resources and the health, safety and general welfare of those who engage in recreational activities within the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas: Kaaterskill Falls, Kaaterskill Clove, Platte Clove, and Colgate Lake, of the Forest Preserve in the Catskill Park.

3. Needs and benefits:

The Northern Catskill Riparian Areas is composed of four separate areas, encompassing almost 2,000 acres of Forest Preserve lands in the Towns of Catskill, Hunter, and Jewett in Greene County, and a small portion in the Town of Saugerties, in Ulster County.

The Kaaterskill Clove Riparian Corridor is in the towns of Hunter and Catskill in Greene County, along State Route 23A. It begins at the intersection of Spruce Creek and Kaaterskill Creek and extends downstream on Kaaterskill Creek about 2 miles to the state land boundary. The corridor extends 300 feet from each side of the creek bed or to Route 23A, whichever is the greater distance.

The Kaaterskill Falls Riparian Area is in the town of Hunter, Greene County. It begins 150 feet upstream of Kaaterskill Falls, located on Spruce Creek and extends to the base of the waterfalls, including the stone staircase and the mid-pool. The regulated area extends 300 feet from each side of the creek bed or to the connector trail to the escarpment trail, whichever is the greater distance.

The Platte Clove Riparian Corridor is in the town of Hunter in Greene County and a small portion of the town of Saugerties in Ulster County. It begins at the state land boundary near the intersection of Platte Clove Road and Steenburgh Road, extending downstream along the creek, about 1.6 miles. The regulated corridor extends 300 feet from each side of the creek or to Platte Clove Road, whichever is greater.

The Colgate Lake Wild Forest Area is in the town of Jewett in Greene County, including about 1,375 acres at the eastern end of County Route 78 (Colgate Lake Road), bordered by the Windham-Blackhead Range Wilderness.

These areas have been popular public destinations since before the state began acquiring land in this area, which began in 1930 and extended through the 1960s, ending most recently in 2016. Kaaterskill Falls has been a tourist destination since the mid-1800s. As a result of increased social media and New York tourism promotion, public use has increased dramatically. The Department estimates approximately 100,000 people visit the site each year. Public use has also increased dramatically in the Kaaterskill Clove area during the summer over the last decade, as people use the area mainly to swim and picnic. Platte Clove is used year around, including ice climbing in the winter. The Colgate Lake area is one of the few public lakes available to the public in this portion of the Catskills and is heavily used during the summer.

Due to this dramatic increase in public use, serious public health and safety issues are being created. The natural resources of the areas are rapidly becoming despoiled and fragile ecosystems are being degraded. There have been numerous fatalities over the last decade in these areas. Multiple people have fallen to their deaths at Kaaterskill Falls, Kaaterskill Clove, and Platte Clove. In addition, a person was paralyzed at Colgate Lake as a result of unsafe diving.

The Department has improved safety at Kaaterskill Falls with the installation of a viewing platform, stone staircase, sections of split rail fencing, and the installation of a foot bridge upstream of the falls, allowing people to cross the stream safely. However, even with these measures, people still engage in unsafe behaviors, such as wading in a very slippery stream just upstream of the falls and walking along the cliff faces.

The actions of people at Platte Clove and Kaaterskill Clove has resulted in recent fatalities and injuries. This regulation is intended to reduce the number of people who use the area, and restrict inappropriate activities to protect the public health and safety and the resource.

Colgate Lake provides a unique experience in the Catskills. Access to a small public lake for swimming and picnicking is uncommon in the northern Catskills. Public use of this area continues to increase, as people hear about this resource, especially through social media, and come to enjoy "a quiet" location. Site degradation is occurring in the immediate area adjacent to the lake and the popular camping sites nearby within this Wild Forest unit. These regulations are targeted to reduce the number of people who recreate here, provide an enjoyable user experience, and protect the resource.

Site degradation is also an issue at Kaaterskill Falls, Kaaterskill Clove, and Platte Clove. The trampling of vegetation has resulted in exposed and compacted soil. Trees are being stripped of their limbs for firewood, and indiscriminately located campfires are creating carbon scars on the ground. Garbage, trash, and broken glass are despoiling the wild character of the areas and raising public safety concerns.

The use of portable generators and audio devices have negatively impacted the quiet and solitude of these areas. The regulation will prohibit the use of portable generators and require that an individual listening to music must utilize headphones or other similar devices. Under current regulations, section 196.8 (b), portable generators, and other motorized equipment, are prohibited in Wilderness Areas. The Platte Clove Riparian Corridor is located within the Indian Head Wilderness, where the use of portable generators is already prohibited.

The conditions outlined are proposed to be addressed by varying levels of regulation in the four areas, as described below.

The following proposed restrictions would apply in all areas, except for people that are legally camped:

  1. No fires, including gas grills and propane stoves
  2. No glass containers except when containing medicine (currently posted by sign only at Kaaterskill Clove)
  3. No playing audio devices without a personal noise damping device
  4. No alcohol
  5. No portable generators

In Kaaterskill Clove and Platte Clove, a further proposed restriction is closure of the area from dusk (1/2 hour after sunset) to dawn (1/2 hour before sunrise), excepting legal campers, licensed hunters, anglers, trappers, and those on marked trails. It is dangerous for individuals to hike in this area at night. High cliff faces and very steep terrain are not evident in the dark and a person falling can be seriously injured or killed.

At Kaaterskill Falls, two additional restrictions include: the prohibition of people entering the area within six feet of a cliff edge (except on marked trails, by ice climbers, or those rappelling by rope) and the prohibition of people entering the water within 150' upstream of the falls. The proposed restrictions are for the safety of users. There are numerous high cliffs accessible to hikers, resulting in falls leading to serious injury or death. The stream bed is extremely slippery and stepping into the water near the edge of the falls can be dangerous. A tragic accident occurred several years ago when a woman was swept over the falls after slipping while stepping into the water to cross the stream above the falls. Local law enforcement and public safety officials are the first responders to incidents on these areas. Local governments support the regulatory proposal.

The Department has presented the proposed regulation at several meetings of local stakeholders in this area of the northern Catskills, including the Kaaterskill Clove working group and the Catskill Forest Preserve Advisory Committee. Local governments, including tourism and the county planning department, along with local user groups, first responders, sports people, and the hiking community, have attended these meetings. In addition, information regarding the Department's intent to propose these regulations, content of the regulation, and the public process associated with the rulemaking, will appear in a widely distributed newspaper in the area. A public meeting in the local community will also be held during the formal regulatory comment period. All regulatory documents will appear on the Department's website.

4. Costs:

There are no costs to the regulated community as a result of this proposed regulation. Costs to the state for the additional management actions are minimal and are estimated at $2,500 for new signage and posting of the Colgate Lake Wild Forest.

5. Local government mandates:

This proposal will not impose any program, service, duty or responsibility upon any county, city, town, village, school district or fire district.

6. Paperwork:
The proposed regulations will not impose any reporting requirements or other paperwork on any private or public entity.

7. Duplication:
There is no duplication, conflict, or overlap with state or federal regulations.

8. Alternatives:

The no-action alternative is not feasible since it does not adequately protect the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas from overuse and abuse and does not protect the public health, safety, and general welfare. The existing generic 6 NYCRR Part 190 regulations for state lands are not adequate in protecting the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas because of their unique characteristics, remote locations and very high level of public use.

Closing these areas to public use is also not an acceptable alternative. Forest Preserve land is acquired for the use of and enjoyment by the public. ECL section 9-0301(1) provides that "all lands in the Catskill Park . . . shall be forever reserved and maintained for the free use of all the people . . ." The closure of Forest Preserve land to public use should not occur except when absolutely necessary to protect public health or the resource. Closure would also be impractical due to the number of people who use these areas. Any closure would be ignored and enforcement would not be feasible.

9. Federal standards:

There is no relevant federal standard governing the use of State lands.

10. Compliance schedule:

Once the regulations are adopted, they are effective immediately, and all persons will be expected to comply with them upon their effective date. The Department will educate the public about the regulations through information posted on the Departments' website, signage posted on the property, and by working with user groups and other stakeholders to help disseminate information regarding the regulations.

Rural Area Flexibility Analysis

Adoption of a new subdivision 190.36 will address public safety and natural resource degradation issues on the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas while still providing a quality outdoor experience for users. A Rural Area Flexibility Analysis is not submitted with this proposal because the proposal will not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on rural areas. The proposed regulations relate solely to protecting public safety and natural resources on the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments

Adoption of a new section 190.36 to 6 NYCRR will address public safety and natural resource degradation issues on the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas while still providing a quality outdoor experience for users. A Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments is not submitted with these regulations because the proposal will not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on small businesses or local governments.

Since there are no identified cost impacts for compliance with the proposed regulations on the part of small businesses and local governments, they will bear no economic impact as a result of this proposal. The proposed regulations relate solely to protecting public safety and natural resources on the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas.

Job Impact Statement

Adoption of a new section 190.36 to 6 NYCRR will address public safety and natural resource degradation issues on the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas while still providing a quality outdoor experience for users. A Job Impact Statement is not submitted with this proposal because the proposal will have no substantial adverse impact on existing or future jobs and employment opportunities. The proposed regulations relate solely to protecting public safety and natural resources on the Northern Catskill Riparian Areas.

Repeal of 6 NYCRR §192.7 Control of the Emerald Ash Borer

The proposed action will repeal regulations that restrict the movement of ash wood in New York State. These regulations are no longer serving the purpose of slowing the spread of Emerald Ash Borer or allowing time for municipal governments to plan for the arrival of Emerald Ash Borer. The financial cost of the regulations to state government and the forest products industry now outweigh the limited economic benefit of protecting a dwindling ash resource from infestation. Immediate repeal of these regulations will allow the forest products industry and forest landowners to harvest and process ash that is still of high quality. Harvesting this resource before the infestation becomes even more widespread is in the best interest of forest landowners and the forest products industry as infested ash degrades quickly, resulting in decreased economic value and greater risk of personal injury and property damage as infested trees quickly weaken.

Although the effect of this proposed repeal will allow the free movement of ash wood, the movement of EAB itself in any life stage is still restricted by 6 NYCRR Part 575, Prohibited and Regulated Invasive Species.

This became effective August 4, 2018.

Express Terms

6 NYCRR Section 192.7, "Control of the emerald ash borer," is repealed.

Regulatory Impact Statement

1. Statutory authority:

Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) section 1-0101 (3) (b) directs the Department of Environmental Conservation ("Department") to guarantee "that the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment is attained without risk to health or safety, unnecessary degradation or other undesirable or unintentional consequences." ECL section 3-0301 (1) (b) gives the Department the responsibility to "promote and coordinate management of...land resources to assure their protection." ECL section 3-0301(2) (m) authorizes the Department to adopt rules and regulations "as may be necessary, convenient or desirable to effectuate the purposes of [the ECL]." ECL section 9-1303 authorizes the Department "to make rules and regulations to prevent the spread of or to control forest insects and forest tree diseases, their pupae, eggs and caterpillars, and plants or trees infested by them." This authority also gives the Department the discretion to repeal such regulations where appropriate.

2. Legislative objectives:

The proposed repeal is consistent with the public policy objectives the Legislature sought to advance when it enacted the above statutory authority concerning the spread within the state of injurious insects and the protection of trees, forests and the environment from harm or degradation.

3. Needs and Benefits:

At present, 37 counties and portions of five others are within an EAB restricted zone that regulates the movement of ash wood, logs, firewood, nursery stock and wood chips. The intended benefits offered by these regulations were the more effective control of the spread of EAB by restricting the movement of potentially infested materials from within the infested area into non-infested areas of the state. However, given the increased and growing distribution of EAB within the state, the limited benefit of continuing to maintain an EAB restricted zone or zones is overwhelmingly outweighed by cost of the regulations to state government and the forest products industry, and the benefits that will come from allowing the efficient economic utilization of the remaining ash resource throughout New York. Therefore, this regulation repeals existing section 6 NYCRR §192.7, which parallels the repeal of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets' (NYSDAM) existing 1 NYCRR §141.

EAB is a destructive wood-boring insect that is not indigenous to the United States. EAB causes serious damage to healthy ash trees by boring through their bark, which ultimately results in the death of the tree within two years. Ash trees, ash nursery stock, and material from ash trees like logs, green lumber, firewood, stumps, roots, branches and debris are subject to infestation. Materials at risk of attack and infestation by the EAB include the following species of North American ash trees: White Ash (Fraxinus americana); Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica); Black Ash (Fraxinus nigra); and Blue Ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata).

EAB was first discovered in Michigan in June 2002, and has since spread to at least 29 other states as well as to three provinces in Canada. The initial detection of this pest in New York occurred on June 16, 2009 in the Town of Randolph, which is in southwestern Cattaraugus County and is adjacent to Chautauqua County. A quarantine of both counties was established pursuant to federal protocols for control of EAB.

Between 2009 and 2015, this quarantine was expanded four times to reflect multiple further detections of EAB. In 2015, the federal EAB quarantine expanded to include all of New York State. At that time, New York adopted section 192.7 to establish 14 EAB restricted zones to slow the spread of EAB within the state. Between 2015 and 2017, these restricted zones were expanded twice following multiple new detections of EAB in traps and surveys, such that they have now merged into a single restricted zone encompassing a majority of the state. As the 2017 growing season progressed, EAB was confirmed in Franklin and St. Lawrence Counties (North of the Adirondack Park) and in the New York City Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. This further illustrates the rapid advance of the infestation throughout the habitat range in New York.

The regulations are no longer serving the purpose of slowing the spread or allowing time for municipal governments to plan for the arrival of Emerald Ash Borer. The financial cost of the regulations to state government and the forest products industry now outweigh the limited economic benefit of protecting a dwindling ash resource from infestation. Immediate repeal of these regulations will allow the forest products industry and forest landowners to harvest and process ash that is still of high quality. Harvesting this resource before the infestation becomes even more widespread is in the best interest of forest landowners and the forest products industry as infested ash degrades quickly, resulting in decreased economic value and greater risk of personal injury and property damage as infested trees quickly weaken.

Regardless of any restrictions on the movement of potentially infested materials such as ash wood, movement of EAB itself in any life stage is still restricted by 6 NYCRR Part 575, Prohibited and Regulated Species. EAB is listed therein as a prohibited species, which no person shall sell, import, purchase, transport, introduce or propagate, or knowingly possess with the intent to sell, import, purchase, transport, or introduce, unless issued a permit by the Department for research, education, or other approved activity, under that Part. However, compliance with the provisions of that Part do not apply if the Department determines that the possession, sale, importation, purchase, transportation, or introduction was incidental or unknowing, and was not due to a failure to take reasonable precautions. (See Exemptions listed in 6 NYCRR 575.8.) In the context of EAB, such reasonable precautions shall be considered to include widely accepted best management practices promoted on the Department's website, social media, and interactions with forest owners and the forest products industry. Examples of these best management practices include transporting ash wood during EAB's dormant period to a facility where it will be processed before the start of the active period, and avoiding movement of visibly obvious infested ash wood during the time of the year that EAB adults are active.

Department staff have met with Department of Agriculture and Markets counterparts and representatives of the forest products industry several times over the past several years as the EAB restricted zones were created and subsequently expanded. Over that same time period, Department staff have also met with several local EAB task forces and conducted numerous public events across the state to stress the need for proactive management of ash trees in the face of impending infestation by EAB. DEC will use various communication outlets to convey this message to the public, including Facebook, DEC Delivers, the Department website and press releases in English and Spanish.

4. Costs:

(a) Costs to regulated parties for the implementation of and continuing compliance with the rule: It is anticipated that the fiscal impacts of repealing the existing rule will be to reduce or eliminate costs to regulated parties.

(b) Costs to the agency, the state and local governments for the implementation and continuation of the rule: The only costs to the Department are for outreach, which will not change from the current situation under our existing EAB restricted zone. Some local governments may face expenses in tree maintenance or removal due to EAB infestation, since ash trees are popular trees to use to line streets. However, those costs will occur with or without this rule. Accordingly, local governments will not incur any additional expenses.

(c) The information, including the sources of such information and the methodology upon which the cost analysis is based: The costs analysis set forth above is based upon Department observations of the industry.

5. Local government mandate:

The repeal of 6 NYCRR §192.7 will not impose any program, service, duty or responsibility upon any county, city, town, village, school district or fire district, or other special district.

6. Paper work:

The repeal of 6 NYCRR §192.7 will reduce the need for paperwork. Currently, regulated articles inspected and certified to be free of EAB moving from a restricted zone have to be accompanied by a state or federal certificate of inspection or a limited permit. This requirement will be eliminated.

7. Duplication:

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets will repeal its existing Part 141 of Title 1 NYCRR, parallel to the Department's repeal of existing section 192.7 of 6 NYCRR under their overlapping authorities.

8. Alternatives:

The alternative of no action was considered. However, this option is not feasible, given that EAB has since been confirmed to be present in several locations well outside of the existing EAB restricted zone. Based on the current known distribution of EAB in the state, maintenance of the restricted zone and restricting the movement of ash wood and other regulated articles will no longer offer the benefit of more effective control of the spread of EAB.

The alternative of expanding the existing EAB restricted zone to encompass the known current range of EAB was considered. However, this option is not feasible because any such expanded restricted zone would by necessity include virtually all of the state, and as such would not significantly reduce the movement of regulated articles or slow the spread of EAB.

In light of these factors, there does not appear to be any reasonable alternative to the repeal of section 6 NYCRR 192.7.

9. Federal standards:

The regulations do not exceed any minimum standards of the federal government. There are no relevant federal standards related to these regulations.

10. Compliance schedule:

This rule shall become effective on and after the tenth day from notification of the clerk of that county. The Department will educate the public about the regulations through information posted on the Department's website and by working with user groups and other stakeholders to help disseminate information regarding the regulations.

Rural Area Flexibility Analysis

Repeal of existing section 192.7 of 6 NYCRR will allow for more efficient utilization of the ash resource in New York. A Rural Area Flexibility Analysis is not submitted with this proposal because the proposal will have no substantial adverse impact on existing or future jobs and employment opportunities. The proposed repeal will allow the efficient utilization of ash by the forest products industry and forest landowners.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments

Repeal of existing section 192.7 of 6 NYCRR will allow for more efficient utilization of the ash resource in New York. A Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments is not submitted with these regulations because the proposal will not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on small businesses or local governments. The proposed repeal of existing section 192.7 will allow the efficient utilization of ash by the forest products industry and forest landowners.

Job Impact Statement

Repeal of existing section 192.7 of 6 NYCRR will allow for more efficient utilization of the ash resource in New York. A Job Impact Statement is not submitted with this proposal because the proposal will have no substantial adverse impact on existing or future jobs and employment opportunities. The proposed repeal will allow the efficient utilization of ash by the forest products industry and forest landowners.

A new subdivision to 6 NYCRR Section 190.35 Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor

The purpose of this subdivision is to protect public safety and natural resources on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor.

This regulation became effective June 27, 2018, the same day it appeared in the State Register.

Express terms

Addition of a new subdivision (i) to existing section 190.35 of 6 NYCRR

(i) From May 15th through October 15th of each year on Saturdays, Sundays and state and federal holidays, no person shall enter the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor east of the County Route 42 bridge crossing the Rondout Creek, an area that includes that portion of the Rondout Creek known as the Blue Hole, except under permit from the department.

Assessment of Public Comment

Assessment of Public Comment for the day use permitting system for visitors to the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor (Blue Hole)

The 60-day public comment period, from March 29th through May 28th 2018, resulted in 185 written comments in response to the proposed no-cost permitting system for visitors to the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor. Out of the185 comments, 122 voiced support for a permit system, 11 were opposed to a permit system, and 52 were ambiguous in terms of support or opposition toward the permit system. Comments were reviewed, categorized, and summarized. A responsiveness summary was then prepared.

Comment: I support the no-cost, day-use permit system at blue hole.
Response: We appreciate support for this proposal and will re-evaluate at the end of the season.

Comment: Will permits be issued online or at a physical location?
Response: Permits will only be issued online through the Reserve America Website (leaves DEC website).

Comment: When will a permit be required to visit the Blue Hole?
Response: A permit will be required to visit the Blue Hole on weekends and holidays between May 15th and October 15th of each year. The permit system will take effect upon publication in the State Register.

Comment: How long in advance of a date can the Blue Hole permit be requested?
Response: The permit can be obtained up to one week in advance, but must be obtained more than 24 hours in advance. Weather is a deciding factor for many visitors to the Blue Hole. By limiting how far in advance permits can be acquired, we hope to reduce the likelihood that some people may get a permit but then not use it. We will evaluate this restriction at the end of the season.

Comment: Will you have someone on the site checking for permits and will there be a sign there telling people where they can get the permit?
Response: Forest Rangers and other law enforcement will be checking permits. Signs are in place with instructions on how to apply for permits. Blue Hole Stewards will provide information, including how to obtain a permit, throughout the summer. Permits will only be available in advance, online.

Comment: Please install check in booths like the ones at DEC paid campgrounds.
Response: The need for check in booths was considered. Due to various unofficial access points and various logistical constraints, check in booths are not being implemented at this time. The need for check in booths will be reevaluated as necessary.

Comment: Ulster county residents should be exempt from the permits but still be held to all rules and regulations. I would also like the DEC to consider that locals (surrounding townships) are offered a number of permits prior to offering them to the general public. No local family should be stopped from going on a weekend because of people who do not live in the area.
Response: Currently all visitors including local residents will need a permit in order to access the Blue Hole on weekends and holidays between May 15th and October 15th. Part of the management decision for not having a permit requirement on weekdays is to allow local residents access to the area without a permit. DEC does not discriminate against the public regarding access to public lands.

Comment: I would also like to see each permit come with a "rule sheet" for each person to sign. They should be aware that it is unlawful to litter, etc. It is heartbreaking to see that many people leave their dirty diapers, etc. there.
Response: Application for the permit includes an acknowledgement checklist that highlights the rules and special regulations.

Comment: There is a movement today in the northeast to preserve the wild brook trout and his domain. Just think how truly fortunate we are to have native brook trout within 100 miles of NYC! It should not only be maintained but cherished. Please consider reversing the decision to issue permits that will only negatively stress the river and its fish. You have the right to deny public access for swimming on this precious water and you have a duty to protect the brook trout environment and preserve the legacy of those that have come before.
Response: The permit system is designed to limit the number of visitors to the Blue Hole on holidays and weekends in order to reduce the impact on the land and fisheries in the area. We will evaluate the effectiveness of the permit system at the end of the season and make changes as necessary to protect natural resources.

Comment: Charge a fee for parking and charge a fee for camping. Most campers we have spoken to would be more than willing to pay a fee similar to Beaverkill or Mongaup Pond, especially if clean bathrooms were part of the package. If a fee was charged for parking, like Sam's Point, most likely it would simplify the method of controlling the number of cars permitted to park - when it is filled up - no more spaces will be available until someone leaves, which does happen very frequently over a weekend.
Response: In comparison to a staffed, State Campground which provide a variety of facilities, including bathrooms, the Blue Hole and the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor are part of an area classified as "Wild Forest" where no significant facilities are provided. The Sundown Wild Forest has a long history of free primitive camping within the Peekamoose Valley. Campsites in the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor are currently limited to 36 designated sites.

Comment: There should be no day passes issued, but enforcement of the rules. Parking in designated parking areas and carry in carry out laws should be enforced. DEC should have put up large signs with the amount of fines you will pay if in violation. Writing a few large tickets would have hit the internet and people would be more respectable to the rules.
Response: DEC has tried to address the overuse issues at the Blue Hole with education and enforcement, including implementation of special regulations and a Leave No Trace stewardship program last year. While we saw some improvement, the total number of users exceeded the area's carrying capacity. Law enforcement will continue to ensure that rules and regulations are followed including enforcement of parking violations and littering. NYSDEC is working with other agencies including State Police, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and Ulster County to assist with law enforcement in the valley.

Comment: Two hundred and forty people is still an excessive amount of people. During summertime, a weekday permit system should also be considered as the entire area welcomes many tourists during the week days as well. It is my opinion that permitting up to 240 people per day is still in excess of what the area and the swimming hole can accommodate.
Response: The Department will assess the need to adjust the number of permits issued on a daily basis. If the number of permits proves to be excessive we will consider further adjustments. Part of the management decision for not having a permit requirement on weekdays is to allow local residents access to the area without a permit. If numbers of visitors on weekdays increase, or two we will assess the need for weekday permit requirements.

Comment: How many daily visitors are there currently during peak periods?
Response: Reports indicate that 500-700 people per day have visited the Blue Hole during peak periods.

Comment: I think it's a good idea to try limiting use of the Blue Hole and other overused and abused places thru a permit system. However, the state will have to get the word out to the user in their home area - New York City and North Jersey - before attempting such a system. Also placing large signs the first year or two at closest Thruway exits and the north and south ends of Peekamoose Road and other approach roads so you can minimize potential confrontations at the site. It's going to take quite a learning curve on the part of the public as this is the first attempt at limiting use on the Forest Preserve.
Response: DEC is involved in public outreach designed at informing visitors to the Blue Hole of the permit system in advance. Signs are currently in place within the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor informing visitors that a permit system will be in place by June 30th 2018. Large electronic signs will be in place on either end of Peekamoose Road to inform visitors of the permit requirement. Blue Hole Stewards, which began working at the Blue Hole Memorial Day weekend, are informing the public of the new day use permit requirement. In addition, the Department has undertaken outreach on several websites that promote the Blue Hole, and have met with stakeholders and elected officials. We will post information on the Department's webpage and issue a press release to inform visitors.

Comment: Thank you for your efforts to protect the Blue Hole. The last few years I have volunteered on cleanup efforts of the Blue Hole. I don't think issuing permits is the solution. The solution is education. Use social media to promote LNT. Instead of having someone issuing permits, have a strong stewardship program educating visitors. The permit program is going to keep out not only responsible hikers who enjoy the Blue Hole after hiking Peekamoose, last minute relative visits, local, and many nature lovers. This is our park, let's protect it, not restrict it.
Response: DEC has tried to address the overuse issues at the Blue Hole with education and enforcement, including implementation of special regulations and a pilot "Leave No Trace" stewardship program last year. While we saw some improvement, the total number of users exceeded the area's carrying capacity. A season-long stewardship program will be implemented this year (Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend), and stewards will be in place to help educate the public during holidays and weekends as well as some weekdays throughout the summer. However, our experience over the last several years suggests that we also need to limit the number of users to protect natural resources.

Regulatory Impact Statement

  1. Statutory authority:
    Environmental Conservation Law ("ECL") section 1-0101(3) (b) directs the Department of Environmental Conservation (Department) to guarantee "that the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment is attained without risk to health or safety, unnecessary degradation or other undesirable or unintentional consequences." ECL section 3-0301(1)(b) gives the Department the responsibility to "promote and coordinate management of...land resources to assure their protection, enhancement, provision, allocation, and balanced utilization...and take into account the cumulative impact upon all such resources in promulgating any rule or regulation." ECL section 3-0301(1)(d) authorizes the Department to "provide for the care, custody and control of the Forest Preserve." ECL section 9-0105(1) authorizes the Department to "[e]xercise care, custody, and control of the several preserves, parks and other state lands described in [Article 9 of the ECL]," which includes Forest Preserve lands. Article XIV, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution provides that the lands of the Forest Preserve "shall be forever kept as wild forest lands." ECL section 3-0301(2) (m) authorizes the Department to adopt rules and regulations "as may be necessary, convenient or desirable to effectuate the purposes of [the ECL]," and ECL 9-0105(3) authorizes the Department to "[m]ake necessary rules and regulations to secure proper enforcement of [ECL Article 9]."
  2. Legislative objectives:
    Paragraph 1 of Section 3 of Article XIV of the New York State Constitution provides that "forest and wild life conservation are . . . policies of the State." Article XIV, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution provides that the lands of the Forest Preserve "shall be forever kept as wild forest lands," and ECL sections 3-0301(1)(b) and 9- 0105(1) give the Department jurisdiction to manage Forest Preserve lands. The Department is also authorized to promulgate rules and regulations for the use of such lands (see ECL sections 3-0301(2) (m) and 9-0105(3)). Consistent with this authority, the proposed regulations are crafted to protect natural resources and the health, safety and welfare of those who engage in recreational activities within the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor of the Forest Preserve in the Catskill Park.
  3. Needs and benefits:
    The Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor is an area encompassing more than 270 acres of Forest Preserve lands straddling the upper Rondout Creek along Peekamoose Road (Ulster County 42) in the Town of Denning in Ulster County. The Valley is a remote area in the heart of the Catskill Park and New York City's Catskill/Delaware watershed.
    The Peekamoose Valley has been a popular public destination since the state began acquiring land in the Valley in the 1960's. As early as 1971 the area had been discovered by more distant visitors, including those from urban areas to the south. Camping grew increasingly popular in this remote valley (several thousand people over the course of a typical summer), resulting in garbage and other unacceptable impacts. To address these impacts, the Department instituted a camping permit system and limited camping to designated primitive campsites.
    Although in the past, public use of the valley has often been loud, occasionally unlawful, and near or above capacity, until recently most of the public use was concentrated in the Peekamoose primitive camping area. However, during the summer of 2015, day use of the area referred to as the "Blue Hole," a large, deep and very cold swimming hole in the Rondout Creek immediately upstream of the primitive camping area, increased exponentially compared to previous years. This was due in part to coverage in social media, several websites, and national magazines touting the Blue Hole as "one of the best swimming holes in the nation."
    Due to this dramatic increase in public use, the natural resources of the area were rapidly becoming despoiled, fragile ecosystems were being degraded, and serious public health and safety issues arose. There have been numerous attempts to address problems associated with this overuse. In 2015, these included parking restrictions, weekly trash pick-up, hiring staff during week-ends and the promulgation of special regulations in 2016 which further restricted use of the area by prohibiting fires, portable generators, audio devices (except at designated campsites), glass containers, and put in place additional parking restrictions and public use restrictions on the corridor which prohibits use from ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise.
    In spite of these attempts to address the area's problems, public use continues to exceed the area's carrying capacity, resulting in unsanitary conditions, threats to water quality, trampled vegetation and a dramatic degradation of the wild character of the area. While some modest improvements were made in 2017, use and interest in the Blue Hole has continued to increase. It is the Department's position that the only way to allow for continued public use while preserving natural resources and protecting public safety would be to establish a day use permitting system.
    Establishing a day use permitting system would require visitors to obtain a permit to access the Blue Hole. This would allow the Department to limit the number of visitors in the area and strike a balance between allowing the public to enjoy the natural resource while reducing environmental damage and enhancing public safety.
    To accomplish this, the Department needs to amend existing section 190.35, Peekamoose Riparian Corridor. This is necessary to provide the Department with the regulatory ability to control access to the site. The proposed regulation will clearly define an area around the Blue Hole where a permit is necessary. The regulation would require a permit for stream access from the Route 42 bridge over the Rondout Creek (at the Trailer Field) east to the Department property line, which encompasses a two-mile stretch of the Rondout Creek. A day use permit would not be required for the campsites or the Peekamoose-Table Trail. A permit will only be required on weekends and holidays from May 15th thru October 15th of each year.
    The Department will make day use permits for the Blue Hole available on-line through our existing contract with Reserve America. Permits would be issued in the same way visitors make reservations for state campgrounds, however, day use permits for the Blue Hole would be issued at no cost to the user. Initially, the Department would limit the number of permits to 40 per day. Permits would be issued to individuals or groups of up to 6 people, resulting in a maximum of 240 people per day at the Blue Hole.
    Outreach has been undertaken for this approach in meetings and interactions with local government officials, including the Town Supervisor, and in meetings with stakeholder organizations, including the Catskill Park Advisory Committee. The committee is made up of representatives of hiking, bicycling, camping, fishing and environmental organizations, as well as tourism agencies.
    In addition, information regarding the content of the regulation and the public process associated with it will appear in a widely-distributed newspaper in the area. The regulation will appear in the New York State Register for a 60 day public comment period in addition to being posted on the Department's website.
  4. Costs:
    No costs to the regulated community are anticipated to result from the adoption of the proposed regulations. The estimated cost associated with this rulemaking is $20,000 for administration of the day-use permit system, which will be paid for with revenue from the Department's campground reservation fees. Permits will be issued at no cost to the user.
  5. Local government mandates:
    This proposal will not impose any program, service, duty or responsibility upon any county, city, town, village, school district or fire district.
  6. Paperwork:
    The proposed regulations will not impose any reporting requirements or other paperwork on any private or public entity.
  7. Duplication:
    There is no duplication, conflict, or overlap with state or federal regulations.
  8. Alternatives:
    The no-action alternative is not feasible since it does not adequately protect the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor from overuse and abuse and does not protect the public health, safety and welfare of users. The existing generic 6 NYCRR Part 190 regulations for state lands are inadequate in protecting the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor because of its unique characteristics, remote location and high level of public use.
    Closing the area to public use is also not an acceptable alternative. Forest Preserve land is acquired for the use of and enjoyment by the public. ECL section 9-0301(1) provides that "all lands in the Catskill Park . . . shall be forever reserved and maintained for the free use of all the people . . ." The closure of Forest Preserve land to public use should not occur except when absolutely necessary to protect public health or the resource.
  9. Federal standards:
    There is no relevant federal standard governing the use of state lands.
  10. Compliance schedule:
    Once the regulations are adopted, they are effective immediately, and all persons will be expected to comply with them upon their effective date. The Department will educate the public about the regulations through information posted on the Departments' web site, signage posted on the property, and by working with user groups and other stakeholders to help disseminate information regarding the regulations.

Rural Area Flexibility Analysis

Adoption of a new subdivision 190.35 (i) to 6 NYCRR will address overuse and increase public safety on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor by implementing a permit system for week-ends and holidays from May 15th through October 15th while still providing a quality outdoor experience for users. A Rural Area Flexibility Analysis is not submitted with this proposal because the proposal will not impose any reporting, record-keeping or other compliance requirements on rural areas. The proposed regulations relate solely to protecting public safety and natural resources on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Businesses and Local Governments

  1. Effect of rule: The proposed regulation requires visitors to the Blue Hole in the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor of the Catskill Park to obtain a day-use permit to enter the area on weekends and holidays from May 15th to October 15th of each year.
  2. Compliance requirements: There are no compliance requirements for small businesses or local governments. Individuals will be required to obtain a permit online similar to the state's campground reservation system. Visitors will be required to have the permit available to be provided upon request so that law enforcement and Department staff can assess compliance.
  3. Professional services: There are no professional services that a small business or local government is likely to need to comply with the changes associated with this regulation.
  4. Compliance costs: Persons who seek permits will not be charged a fee. The Department will assume administrative costs for the permit system which will come from Department revenue from its campground and reservation fees.
  5. Economic and technological feasibility: The proposed rule does not require any specialized technology for compliance; and is otherwise both economically and technologically feasible to comply with.
  6. Minimizing adverse impact: There are no adverse impacts to small businesses or local governments. The permit system is being put in place to address public safety issues and prevent further degradation to natural resources within the corridor. It will also reduce congestion on local highways.
  7. Small business and local government participation: DEC has complied with the New York State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA) section 202-b (6) by assuring that small businesses and local governments have been given an opportunity to participate in the rule making. This participation has occurred through meetings and interaction with local government officials, including the Town Supervisor, and in meetings with stakeholder organizations, including the Catskill Park Advisory Committee. The committee is made up of representatives of hiking, bicycling, camping, fishing and environmental organizations as well as tourism agencies.
    In addition, information regarding the content of the regulation and the public process associated with it will appear in a widely-distributed newspaper in the area. The regulation will appear in the New York State Register for a 60 day public comment period in addition to being posted on the Department's website.
    Furthermore, the Department will be accepting public comments to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and will be providing responses to any comments that are received. The regulations will be available for review on the Department's website.
  8. Penalties for violations of NYCRR Part 190 are prescribed under Environmental Conservation Law Section 71-0703.1: "1. Except as otherwise provided in subdivision 4, 5, 6 or 7 of this section, any person who violates any provision of article 9 or the rules, regulations or orders promulgated pursuant thereto or the terms of any permit issued thereunder, or who fails to perform any duty imposed by any provision thereof shall be guilty of a violation, and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than fifteen days, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and in addition thereto shall be liable to a civil penalty of not less than ten nor more than one hundred dollars". No changes or modifications are proposed.

Job Impact Statement

Adoption of a new section 190.35 (i) to 6 NYCRR will address overuse and increase public safety on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor by implementing a permit system for week-ends and holidays from May 15th through October 15th while still providing a quality outdoor experience for users. A Job Impact Statement is not submitted with this proposal because the proposal will have no substantial adverse impact on existing or future jobs and employment opportunities. The proposed regulations relate solely to protecting public safety and natural resources on the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor.

More about Lands and Forests Regulatory Revisions:

  • Section 190.35 Regulatory Impact Statement - The proposed regulations are crafted to protect natural resources and the health, safety and general welfare of those who engage in recreational activities within the Peekamoose Valley Riparian Corridor of the Forest Preserve in the Catskill Park.