Adventure NY Improvements Provide New Access to Outdoor Destinations
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the completion of improvements to the Hand Hollow State Forest in the town of New Lebanon, Columbia County, at a ribbon cutting ceremony. The improvements include a new eight-car parking lot on Hand Hollow Road near its intersection with Schoolhouse Road, a trail open to motorized use by permit for people with disabilities, and an accessible fishing dock at the pond.
"These new improvements will help people of all abilities get out and enjoy a number of recreational opportunities and the vast natural resources Hand Hollow has to offer," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "These improvements, through Governor Cuomo's Adventure NY initiative, are just a sample of the critical upgrades to campgrounds and facilities New York has underway to better serve everyone who wants to enjoy New York's outdoors."
The improvements cost approximately $45,000 and were funded through the Governor's NY Works program.
Under Governor Cuomo's new Adventure NY initiative, DEC is making strategic investments to expand access to healthy, active outdoor recreation; connect more New Yorkers and visitors to nature and the outdoors; protect natural resources; and boost local economies. This initiative will support the completion of more than 75 projects over the next three years, ranging from improvements to youth camps and environmental education centers to new boat launches, duck blinds, and hiking trails. Read more about the Adventure NY initiative (PDF, 5.1 MB) from DEC's website.
The 518-acre Hand Hollow State Forest is managed for multiple uses, including recreation, timber production, watershed protection, and wildlife habitat. Recreational opportunities include hiking, biking, picnicking, horseback riding, camping, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife observation, and photography.
The property was purchased in December 2014 from Little Pine LLC., and the Columbia Land Conservancy for approximately $2 million using the state's Environmental Protection Fund.
The state forest contains woodlands, some open brush land, and a small lake on the southern portion of the property that contains a number of warm water fish species. The lake shore is shared with the Columbia Land Conservancy, which owns adjoining property. Boaters and anglers can access the lake via a half-mile foot path. Only non-motorized boats are allowed on the lake. In addition, Hollow Brook crosses a portion of the property and provides excellent fishing opportunities with wild Brown and Brook Trout. Additional multiple-use trails and a new parking area are currently in development.
New York's multiple use state forest system is "dual certified" under the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. These third-party certification programs require DEC to manage forest resources sustainably to ensure the protection of water, air and wildlife habitat.
DEC manages 4.6 million acres of public lands, including three million acres in the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve, 52 campgrounds, seven day-use areas, more than 5,000 miles of formal trails, and hundreds of trailheads, boat launches, and fishing piers. Plan your next outdoor adventure at DEC's website, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Instagram. For more information on the DEC managed State Forests, visit DEC's website.