Monday, June 20, 2011

DEC Planning for Tug Hill North

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will begin developing a unit management plan (UMP) for the 42,408-acre unit called Tug Hill North. The Unit is located in the Lewis County towns of Harrisburg, Martinsburg, Montague and Pinckney and the Jefferson County towns of Lorraine, Rodman, Rutland and Worth just outside the Adirodnack Park.

An open house meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 22, 2011, from 7-9 p.m. at the Copenhagen Central School. Before the meeting, from 6 to 7 p.m., the public will have an opportunity to meet one on one with DEC planning staff and offer comments regarding the future management of the area. Additional opportunities for public review and comments will be available after a draft is prepared.
The Tug Hill North Management Area is comprised of 8 state forests (SF) and one wildlife management area. The unit is a patchwork of state owned parcels located west of Lowville, South of Copenhagen and east of Adams.

The following list of state lands are all included in this UMP:

Sears Pond State Forest – 5,708 acres

Grant Powell Memorial State Forest – 8,137 acres

Cobb Creek State Forest – 2,203 acres

Lookout State Forest – 3,996 acres

Granger State Forest – 737 acres

Pinckney State Forest – 2,166 acres

Tug Hill State Forest – 12,306

Gould’s Corners State Forest – 2,043 acres

Tug Hill Wildlife Management Area – 5,112 acres

These SF are by law dedicated to watershed protection, the production of forest products and offer many recreational opportunities, including; hiking, skiing, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, trapping, horseback riding and bird watching. The unit contains 3.6 miles of foot only hiking trails, 22.2 miles of cross-country ski/hiking trails and 4.9 miles of snowmobile trails, all providing opportunity for the outdoor enthusiast.

The Tug Hill North Unit checkerboards the northern ring of the Tug Hill Plateau. The Unit can provide a wilderness experience while also being very accessible. The Unit contains approximately 9,470 acres of classified wetlands, 22% of the area. The wetland complexes, beaver ponds and meadows create rich wildlife habitat while protecting New York States waters. Six steep-sided gorges like Inman Gulf support unique plant and animal communities. These State lands also contain 141 miles of classified streams which are buffered by lush, filtering forest cover.

The Unit Management Plan is designed to cover all environmental considerations for the unit and forms the basis for all management activities within the Unit. Persons familiar with the Tug Hill North Unit are encouraged to contact DEC at any time with information they feel could be useful in the formation of the UMP.

A team of DEC staff has been assigned and is responsible for developing the plan. The team includes staff from the divisions of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, Lands and Forest, Operations and Public Protection. The first phase in of UMP preparation includes: developing a detailed map of the unit; inventory of resources (flora and fauna); mapping existing facilities and structures; and general recommendations for public use and future plans.

Any individual or organization interested in providing comments or receiving additional information about the development of the management plan can contact Andrea Mercurio at NYSDEC 7327 State Hwy 812, Lowville, New York 13367or call (315) 376-3521 or e-mail Comments received by August 31 can assist in the preparation of the draft UMP. There is more information online.

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