ALBANY, NY – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today announced the release of the draft unit management plan (UMP) for the Taylor Pond Wild Forest. The management plan covers 76,347 acres located in portions of 13 towns and three counties in the northeastern region of the Adirondack Park. This includes 45,637 acres of forest preserve lands in the Taylor Pond Wild Forest, 6,314 acres in three state forests, 1,329 acres in three wildlife management areas and 23,067 acres in four conservation easement tracts.
“The release of the draft unit management plan for the Taylor Pond Wild Forest is another significant milestone in our efforts to improve public access and ensure the protection of the Adirondacks for future generations,” Commissioner Martens said. “The public’s participation has been extremely valuable throughout the planning process, providing the Department with important information and recommendations incorporated into the draft plan.”
A public meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, at the Town of Jay Community Center in AuSable Forks. The meeting will provide the public with an opportunity to learn more on the proposed management actions in the draft UMP and to provide comment on the proposals. DEC will accept comments on the draft UMP until June 22. The meeting facility is wheelchair accessible. Please provide any requests for specific accommodations to 518-897-1291 at least two weeks in advance. The Town of Jay Community Center is located at 11 School Lane in AuSable Forks. Directions to the Community Center can be obtained from the Town Offices at 518- 647-2204.
The core of the Taylor Pond Wild Forest is located in the region around Taylor Pond, Silver Lake and Union Falls flow, in the Franklin County Town of Franklin and the Clinton County Town of Black Brook. Other parcels of the Wild Forest are located in the Towns of AuSable, Peru, and Saranac in Clinton County, and the Towns of Chesterfield, Elizabethtown, Essex, Jay, Lewis, St. Armand, Westport and Willsboro in Essex County.
The summits of Silver Lake, Poke-O-Moonshine and Catamount Mountains are the three most popular summit destinations for hikers in the Wild Forest. A number of rivers and ponds provide excellent boating and paddling opportunities. There is also extensive use of the campsites on Franklin Falls and Union Falls Ponds and several other camping areas in the unit. Other popular activities in the unit are hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, skiing and snowshoeing.
A segment of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT), which links the waterways of New York, Vermont, Québec, New Hampshire and Maine, runs through the Taylor Pond Wild Forest. The segment is on the Saranac River and includes Franklin Falls and Unions Falls Ponds. The NFCT route’s variety of flat water, swift water, and whitewater, on a range of rivers, streams, lakes and ponds provide extensive opportunities for canoe and kayak recreation.
The 4,739-acre Terry Mountain State Forest and the 1,575-acre Burnt Hill State Forest are included in the UMP. As are the 577-acre Ausable Marsh, 683-acre Wickham Marsh and the 96-acre Pauline Murdock Wildlife Management Areas. The conservation easement tracts included in the plan are the 1,200-acre Alderbrook Park Tract, 1,030-acre Cook Mountain Tract of the Lassiter Easement, and the 5,124-acre Franklin Falls/Union Falls Tract.
Although included in the unit no management actions are proposed for the 15,713-acres Black Brook Tract of Lyme Adirondack Timber Lands Easement. A separate Recreational Management Plan will be developed for the Black Brook Tract.
Proposed management actions in the draft UMP include:
- Officially designating the Catamount Mountain Trail and developing a trailhead parking area;
- Constructing a new snowmobile trail between the Forestdale Road and the snowmobile trails near Taylor Pond which when connected to trails to be constructed in the Wilmington Wild Forest will allow snowmobilers to ride from Clinton County and Franklin County snowmobile trail system to the hamlet of Wilmington;
- Constructing a parking area for the new Observer’s Trail, formerly known as the Jeep Trail, which accesses the fire tower on Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain;
- Constructing three lean-tos designed for accessibility for people with limited mobility – one each near the shores of Taylor Pond, Military Pond and Mud Pond;
- Providing group camping opportunities along the Northern Forest Canoe Trail on the shores of Franklin Falls Pond and Union Falls Pond; and
- Bringing the primitive campsites on Franklin Falls Pond and Union Falls Pond into compliance with Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan requirements.
A UMP must be completed before significant new recreational facilities, such as trails, lean-tos, or parking areas, can be constructed. The plan includes an analysis of the natural features of the area and the ability of the land to accommodate public use. The planning process is designed to cover all environmental considerations for the unit and forms the basis for all proposed management activities for a five-year time period.
UMPs are required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan for each unit of State land in the Adirondack Park. The plans integrate the goals and objectives of the Master Plan, related legislation, and resource and visitor use information into a single document.
The draft UMP will be available for public review beginning next week at DEC headquarters in Albany, DEC Region 5 headquarters in Ray Brook and the DEC Region 5 office in Warrensburg. CDs of the plan will be available at these same locations, as well as the offices for the Town of Franklin in Franklin County; the Towns of Black Brook, Ausable, Peru, and Saranac in Clinton County; and the Towns of Chesterfield, Elizabethtown, Essex, Jay, Lewis, St. Armand, Westport and Willsboro in Essex County. The document may be viewed or downloaded at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/75834.html
Public comments will be accepted until June 22, and may be sent to Dan Levy, Senior Forester, NYSDEC, P.O. Box 296, Ray Brook, NY 12977 or emailed to email@example.com.