The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced two public meetings to accept input on the management of state lands in the Salmon River corridor. Meetings will be held on Tuesday, August 1, from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., and Thursday, August 3, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., at the Pulaski High School Auditorium. The high school is located at 4624 Salina Street, Pulaski, New York.
Lower Salmon River Restoration and Recreation Enhancement Plan under development for newly created Lower Salmon River State Forest
As announced by Governor Cuomo on May 24, 2017, DEC recently acquired 2,825 acres of land along the Salmon River, an internationally acclaimed fishing destination, as a result of a settlement agreement with National Grid. Approximately 1,700 acres of the acquisition are located adjacent to the lower Salmon River and have been designated as the Lower Salmon River State Forest. This acquisition assures public access to the world-renowned fisheries for Lake Ontario-spawning run trout and salmon, serves as an economic engine for the local area, and provides opportunity for river restoration projects and fishing infrastructure creation and enhancement. Details are under development in DEC’s Lower Salmon River Restoration and Recreation Enhancement Plan. DEC is seeking public feedback and ideas to guide the agency’s efforts as the planning process commences.
Eastern Lake Ontario Unit Management Plan (UMP) Draft available for review
Lands included in the Eastern Lake Ontario Unit are Altmar, Chateaugay, Sandy Creek, and Trout Brook State Forests along with Conservation Easement lands along the Salmon River. The unit also includes lands from a recent acquisition with National Grid Power Company. The size of the unit is 6,126 acres of state lands within the Oswego County towns of Albion, Boylston, Orwell, Richland, and Sandy Creek. The Draft UMP addresses management activities on these state forests.
DEC’s policy is to manage state lands for multiple benefits to serve the people of New York State. The proposed UMP will help maintain healthy, sustainable and biologically diverse ecosystems for fish and wildlife while providing continued opportunities for forest product sales, recreational use, and environmental education.
The state lands covered by the proposed plan offer many recreational opportunities including: nature observation, fishing, hunting, trapping, snowmobiling, camping, and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) access for people with mobility impairments (a permit is required). New or major changes to existing recreational facilities and opportunities proposed in the plan include:
- Potential approval of a one mile ATV connector trail on Chateaugay State Forest;
- Development of a new snowmobile trail on Chateaugay State Forest;
- Creation of a foot trail leading from the Salmon River Falls to Dam Road; and
- Enhancement of wildlife-related recreation opportunities by using active and passive forest management strategies to provide a diversity of wildlife habitats.
The UMP also contains proposed maintenance projects for roads and boundary lines. In addition, a detailed schedule of other activities such as natural resource inventories, forest product sales, planned acquisitions, and survey requests are included in the UMP.
Opportunity for Public Input on Protected Land in the Salmon River Corridor
Everyone with an interest in the Salmon River Corridor is invited to attend one of the meetings to express their ideas and opinions about the plans. Formal presentations about the Lower Salmon River Restoration and Recreation Enhancement Plan currently under development for the newly created Salmon River State Forest and the Draft Eastern Lake Ontario Unit Management Plan will be given followed by an opportunity to ask questions and provide input. Public comments may also be submitted in writing to: NYSDEC, Division of Lands and Forests, 2133 County Route 22, Altmar, NY 13302, or by email to: R7.UMP@dec.ny.gov. Comments are being accepted until October 2, 2017.
A copy of the Draft Eastern Lake Ontario Unit Management Plan is posted on DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/90727.html. The plan is also available for public review at the following locations during business hours:
· DEC Region 7 Headquarters, 615 Erie Blvd. West, Syracuse;
· DEC Salmon River Fish Hatchery, 2133 County Route 22, Altmar; and
· DEC Region 7 Cortland Sub-Office, 1285 Fisher Ave., Cortland.
Copies are also available in digital format on compact discs and may be requested by calling (607) 753-3095 ext. 217.
Information on the individual forests included in the plan can be found online at http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/34531.html. More information about the recent land acquisitions in the Salmon River corridor is available in Governor Cuomo’s May 24, 2017 press release (https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-acquisition-more-6000-acres-protected-land-oswego-county). For additional information about the meeting contact Erin Jennings at (315) 298-7467 or email: R7Forestry@dec.ny.gov.