Thursday, July 7, 2011

Changes Planned for Independence River Snowmobile Trails

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced its plans to amend the Independence River Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP). The Independence River Wild Forest includes over 79,000 acres in Lewis and Herkimer counties.

The draft amendment proposes the rerouting of several trails or trail segments to reduce environmental impacts and the designation of several old roads as new snowmobile trails. Additionally, the amendment will classify all snowmobile trails as Class I, Secondary Trails or Class II, Community Connector Trails, as defined in Adirondack Park Snowmobile Management Guidance [pdf]. A public meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 19, 2011, from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Lowville DEC sub-office located at 7327 State Route 812. The public will have an opportunity to offer comments regarding the draft amendment.
What follows is DEC’s announcement:

The Independence River Wild Forest includes over 79,000 acres in the Towns of Grieg, Watson and Lyonsdale in Lewis County and the Town of Webb, Herkimer County. There are presently over 75 miles of trails and roads open to snowmobiling in the unit. The proposed amendment would designate several short segments of old woods roads as new trails providing important connections to trails on private lands and reducing the mileage of plowed town roads used for snowmobiling. Several trails would have segments relocated to reduce environmental impacts while providing a safe, enjoyable snowmobiling experience. Once the proposed reroutes are complete, several existing sections of trail as well as several unused trails would be closed.

The trail classification portion of the amendment will designate trails as either Class I secondary trails or Class II community connector trails. Class I trails may be maintained to an eight foot width and groomed by a snowmobile and drag. They may be spur trails (leading to population areas and services such as repair shops, service stations, restaurants and lodging), short loop trails or longer recreational trails. Class II trails are the main travel routes through the unit and serve to connect different communities. Class II trails may be maintained to a nine foot width and groomed with grooming equipment consisting of a tractor and drag.

Any individual or organization interested in providing comments or receiving additional information about the proposed amendment of the Independence River Wild Forest UMP can contact Keith Rivers at NYSDEC 7327 State Hwy 812, Lowville, New York 13367or call (315) 376-3521 or e-mail Comments will be received until August 3, 2011. The proposed amendment can be found by visiting the UMP website.

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