Plan Will Increase Access and Recreational Opportunities on 18,000 Acres in the Northern Adirondacks
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released the Final Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands Recreational Management Plan (RMP) that identifies management actions to increase public access for recreational use on 18,000 acres of easement lands in the northern Adirondacks, Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos announced.
“The Recreation Management Plan outlines a variety of recreational opportunities, including motorized recreation, on the Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands,” said Acting Commissioner Seggos. “Governor Cuomo is committed to encouraging people to safely enjoy New York’s outstanding natural resources, and the Kushaqua Tract plan creates additional opportunities for the public to enjoy this land. DEC worked cooperatively with private landowners and land managers to develop public access, while ensuring the protection of natural resources and retaining vital timber management jobs.”
The Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands consist of approximately 18,000 acres of land in the towns of Franklin and Brighton in Franklin County formerly owned by International Paper Corporation. DEC purchased a working forest conservation easement on the lands in 2004 which includes development rights and sustainable forestry requirements. The easement also includes public access to the property and many miles of the existing road system.
Lyme Timber Company purchased the lands in 2006 and continues to actively manage the lands for timber. The company also leases 31 one-acre camp parcels on the property to private outdoor recreation enthusiasts.
DEC developed the RMP to facilitate and manage public recreational use of the easement lands in compliance with the terms and conditions of the easement. DEC consulted with the landowner and its forest managers in developing the proposed plan. In addition, DEC obtained input from a variety of stakeholders including local governments, snowmobile and ATV clubs, sportsmen and women, hikers and private lease club members.
The RMP identifies management actions to be undertaken and includes constructing campsites; designating parking areas; constructing new trails for motorized and non-motorized users; providing access for people with disabilities; enhancing fishing access; and repairing, upgrading and opening existing access roads for public use. Non-motorized uses will include hiking, biking and horseback riding. Motorized uses will include ATVs, snowmobiles and automobiles.
Specific management actions include to:
- maintain and rehabilitate existing facilities (including brushing, raking, grading and rehabilitating roads and bridges);
- install informational, safety and boundary line signage;
- designate one existing logging road as open for People with Disabilities under CP 3 permit;
- install a universally accessible dock and boardwalk to provide for accessible fishing, paddling, boating, and wildlife viewing opportunities on Mountain Pond;
- construct 12 campsites, four of which will be constructed to be universally accessible;
- construct four new trails;
- construct six designated parking lots;
- upgrade and open for public access a total of 100 miles of existing roads, all of which will be open for non-motorized use;
- open through a multi-year phased approach, 35 miles of the 100 miles of roads to limited motorized uses for motor vehicles, ATVs, and snowmobiles or some combination of the three as follows:
- Approximately 26 miles of three-season automobile roads;
- 30 miles of ATV roads and trails available for access varying from one to three seasons of the year;
- 30 miles of roads and trails available for snowmobiling during the winter season,
- Approximately 0.5 miles of new automobile access for Persons with Disabilities possessing a CP-3 permit; and
- construct and maintain gates and other barriers to prevent illegal motorized use on sections of roads that are not open to public use.
View and download the complete Final Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands Recreational Management Plan.