Public Invited to Comment on Draft Unit Management Plan Amendment to the Wilmington Wild Forest

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Public Invited to Comment on Draft Unit Management Plan Amendment to the Wilmington Wild Forest

Public Comments Accepted Through January 22

The Draft Unit Management Plan Amendment for the Wilmington Wild Forest (Draft Plan Amendment) is now available for public review and comment, state Department of Environmental Conservation Regional Director Robert Stegemann announced today. The plan amendments would improve recreational opportunities for people of all ages and abilities while protecting the natural environment. Public comments will be accepted through January 22.

"The proposals in the Draft Plan Amendment are the result of collaborative efforts of DEC and partnering stakeholders working together to identify a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities to increase and expand enjoyment of the magnificent Wilmington Wild Forest," said Director Stegemann.

"These proposed amendments reflect DEC's priority to establish the forest preserve as an economic asset to local communities while being responsible stewards of the pristine lands owned by the people of New York State."

The Wilmington Wild Forest consists of 16,900 acres of state forest preserve lands in towns of Wilmington, Jay, Saint Armand and Keene in Essex County and the town of Black Brook in Clinton County. The area offers numerous recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, mountain biking, rock climbing, fishing and hunting in the warmer months, and cross-country skiing, ice climbing, trapping and snowmobiling in the winter months.

The Wilmington Wild Forest UMP was completed in October 2005. The UMP provided for the design and construction of multiple-use recreational trails. Over the past 10 years these trails have been built and the area has seen substantial growth in recreational use. In response to this and requests from local government and recreational groups, the UMP would be amended to provide additional trails and access through sustainable practices.

Key proposals in the Draft Plan Amendment include:

  • Addition of approximately 4.8 miles of new trail open for mountain biking;
  • Reroute and improvement to the Cooper Kill Trail, a multi-use trail classified as a class I (secondary) snowmobile trail to better protect natural resources;
  • Reroute of the Marble Mountain hiking trail to better protect natural resources;
  • Construction of .7 miles of accessible trails providing access to scenic areas; and
  • Construction of two new parking areas and improvements to existing parking areas.

The Draft Plan Amendment and a copy of the presentation made to the Adirondack Park Agency are available to view or download on DEC's website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/22585.html. Copies of the Draft Plan are also available on CD at the DEC Region 5 Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY and the Wilmington town hall.

Public comments should be sent by January 22, 2016 to Steve Guglielmi, Senior Forester, NYSDEC Lands & Forests, 1115 NYS Route 86, P.O. Box 296, Ray Brook, NY 12977 or e-mailed to R5.UMP.

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