The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the release of the draft East of Hudson Unit Management Plan for public comment. The plan guides the future uses and management of nearly 6,700 acres of DEC-managed lower Hudson Valley state lands in the towns of Amenia, Beekman, Carmel, Cortlandt, Dover, Kent, LaGrange, Milan, Pawling, Philipstown, Pine Plains, Pleasant Valley, Putnam Valley, Stanford, and Union Vale in Dutchess, Putnam, and Westchester Counties.
The unit management plan includes DEC’s Roeliff Jansen Kill Multiple Use Area, Lafayetteville Multiple Use Area, Stissing Multiple Use Area, Taconic Herford Multiple Use Area, Wassaic Multiple Use Area, West Mountain State Forest, Depot Hill Multiple Use Area, White Pond Multiple Use Area, Nimham Mountain Multiple Use Area, California Hill State Forest, Big Buck Multiple Use Area, Croton Gorge Unique Area, Montrose Point State Forest, and Salt Hill State Forest.
Highlights of the draft plan include:
- Construction of an accessible path and fishing pier on Wilbur Pond at Lafayetteville Multiple Use Area and an accessible path and boardwalk over a beaver pond at Stissing Multiple Use Area;
- Development and designation of a multi-use trail system and two designated tent sites at California Hill State Forest;
- A new trail at White Pond Multiple Use Area to improve pedestrian safety on White Pond Road;
- Construction of a parking area and multi-use trail system at Salt Hill State Forest;
- An alternative analysis of management actions proposed for a dam located within West Mountain State Forest;
- An alternative analysis of two trail proposals designed to provide improved access to the Croton River within the Croton Gorge Unique Area;
- A site management plan to address exposure to arsenic contamination at Nimham Mountain Multiple Use Area; and
- Implementation of a sustainable 10-year forest management schedule for all lands within the Unit.
Proposed management actions will be guided by DEC’s Strategic Plan for State Forest Management, which focuses on ecosystem health and diversity, economic benefits, recreational opportunities, forest conservation, and sustainable management.
DEC is hosting two public meetings on the draft UMP:
Wednesday, November 16th, from 5 to 8 pm, at Dutchess County Farm and Home Center, located at 2715 US-44, in Millbrook; and Tuesday, November 22nd, from 5 to 8 pm at the Town of Kent Courthouse, located at 25 Sybils Crossing, in Carmel.
DEC staff will be available from 5 to 6 pm to talk one-on-one and answer questions. Starting at 6 pm, both meetings will include a public presentation of the draft plan, followed by time for public comments.
Public comments on the proposed plan will be accepted until December 22nd, 2022, by mail to DEC Division of Lands and Forests, 21 South Putt Corners Rd. New Paltz, NY 12561, and by email to R3.UMP@dec.ny.gov.