Thursday, August 9, 2012

DEC State Land Management Survey Underway

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is conducting a survey to assess how the State’s management of State Forests affects public use of those forests.

DEC seeks input from groups and individuals who use State Forests for recreation and/or whose daily lives are affected by State Land management. The 10-question survey, which has been widely circulated by the pro-motorized access New York State Conservation Council, will be used to interpret current uses of State Forests, and to possibly influence future State Forest management practices.

The survey will be available online until August 15. DEC says responses will be kept anonymous, and survey answers will be generalized for a final report. A final summary of the Social Impact Assessment report will be published by the end of the year on the DEC website, available for public use.

For paper copies of the survey or more information, contact Justin Perry, NYS DEC Forester, at: 625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233-4255. Phone: (518) 402-9428. Fax: (518) 402-9028. Email: [email protected]

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21 Responses

  1. W. Paul says:

    Dear Mr. Warren and Editors:

    I am writing regarding your recent post on the N.Y.S. D. E. C. Recreation Survey and more specifically reference in the post to your comment as follows “The 10-question survey, which has been widely circulated by the pro-motorized access New York State Conservation Council”.

    For the record I would like to clarify some information for you and readers of the Almanac regarding the N.Y.S Conservation Council Inc. The mission of the Council is to” aid in the formulation and establishment of sound policies and practices designated to conserve, protect, restore and perpetuate forests, wildlife and scenic and recreational areas with especial regard to the state of New York, to the general end that the present and succeeding generations may continue to enjoy and to use these great natural resources”. The Council was founded in 1933.

    Your comment as referenced above portraying the Council as ”pro-motorized” seems to be nothing more than an allness statement crafted to create a semantic reaction in your followers, intending to paint a negative picture of the council for your readers and triggering them to action. For your information Council members utilize a wide array of mobility / transportation modes to pursue a multitude of outdoor activities, including self power, jeeps and trucks, canoes, motor boats, snowmobiles, bicycles and ATV’s.

    Additionally, please be informed we believe in equitable opportunities for access to all the lands owned by all of the “People of the State of New York”, the fit, the young, senior citizens, the handicapped and individuals who are physically challenged for a multitude of reason.

    You are correct in your assertion that the Council has encouraged its members to participate in the survey. I believe it would have been more appropriate for you to have used a similar approach rather than the approach you have taken in your recent post.

    Walt Paul
    N.Y.S. Conservation Council Inc.
    Land Use and Access Specialist

    • John Warren says:

      Mr. Paul,

      Does the Conservation Council support increased motorized access to the Forest Preserve? Yes it does.

      Did the Conservation Council distribute an “Action Alert” calling on members to flood this survey with pro-motorized access messages and to forward the message to other? Yes it did.

      John Warren

      • Paul says:


        Where is the “action alert” that you describe? I could not find it at the CC’s website. Did they change something since your post? They have a link for information related to the survey but it just asks people to respond and lets them know the survey is anonymous.

        I also could not find anywhere on their webpage where they say they support increased motorized access to the forest preserve? I can only find what Mr. Paul describes above as far as access for all, along with a whole bunch of other unrelated stuff.

  2. Dan Crane Dan Crane says:

    I found this survey to be very off-putting. The instructions did not seem particularly well written, plus there were a few typos that gave me the impression they weren’t reviewed before publishing.

    All the questions are oriented towards organizations, NOT individuals. Some of them really did not even make sense from an individual’s standpoint. Is the DEC only interested in the use of State Forests by organizations? Are individuals not important to them?

    I went ahead and answered all the questions from the perspective of an individual anyway. Based on the limited number of people answering this poorly advertised survey, I cannot imagine it will have much use. Unless, the survey was merely produced to “verify” an already held belief in how State Forests should be managed.

    • Paul says:

      I agree. I don’t even understand number 2??

    • Paul says:

      Also what is with the “distance” question? “over 16 miles” as the longest you travel to a state forest! This is clearly geared at local people. They seem to want to know specifically what kind of “short distance” you travel to get there. Even the St. Regis Canoe area is more than 16 miles from Saranac Lake or pretty close. 16 miles from Placid for sure.

    • Paul says:

      One more, this one:

      “Do members of your group gain an understanding of the benefits of silviculture and forest management while visiting State Forests?”

      Silviculture is illegal on state forest land in the Adirondacks. They should know that.

      • Mack says:

        Not illegal on all state forest land in the park. You should know that.

        • Paul says:

          I stand corrected, can you explain? So some state forest land in the Adirondacks can be logged? I know that some state land outside the park has some minor logging on it.

          • Dan Crane Dan Crane says:

            Did this survey only pertain to the Adirondacks? They constantly refer to State Forest and not Forest Preserve. I thought all state-owned forest was Forest Preserve in the Adirondacks, and considered State Forest outside of the Adirondacks and Catskills. Maybe I am incorrect about that.

            The fact that there seems much confusion about these basic questions makes this survey even more suspect.

          • Paul says:

            Dan, It must be a statewide survey. Online surveys are pretty worthless. Only thing worse are online polls.

          • Mightymike says:

            Paul, read article 14 of the NYS constitution.

  3. Information says:

    This survey does not pertain to state lands in the Adirondack Park, as indicated at the beginning:

    “State Forests in New York include Reforestation Areas, Multiple Use Areas, Unique Areas, and State and Nature Historical Preserves. These forests are managed separately from Wildlife Management Areas, Forest Preserve, Conservation Easements, and State Parks.”

  4. I to replied to the survey and noticed the 15 mile travel question. It was and the survey is geared towards locals.
    With the few questions that leaned towards groups. I’d have to say my group, NYS Muzzle-Loaders Association has used the Moose River Plains camp site for over 20 years now. We have a good relationship with the Park Ranger and others we come in contact with. We are a fixed part of the Town of Inlets fall festivities. A few years ago we came close to losing our campsite due to the restructuring proposal.

    However with that said & on a personal note.

    I was part of a camp that had meet for decades along the Independence river. Being a new member invited to come camp it was only a few years until they were locked out due to the road less regulations that have swept New York & the nation as a whole. The avg. age of that group was over 50 years old.
    Yes we, the people of the 21st century are a motorized group as were many who visited the area over the past century. I warned the DEC that to close off lakes, ponds and roads would be in direct violation of the American Disabilities Act. The sportsmen of this nation are an aging population. With age comes physical limitations. Physical limitations means motorized access is not only needed but required. Building a dock on a stream for a wheel chair disable individual made for a nice photo op but did nothing to help gain access to a back woods pond.
    You cannot manage land by locking a gate and stating; “Here now we’ve done our part to return this land to the wild. For future generations to come visit and see what great stewards of the land we were.”
    Yea well, nice line, but who is going to visit an inaccessible area? No one will. They will drive by on the pave portions and say, oh look at all the trees. Local business will/ have suffer just as when the big game firearms season was changed to a Saturday. Locals diners & Mom/Pop shops went from full seats to empty.
    As an example the Town of Ohio recreation part hosted the NYSMLA shooting events for over 30 years. About 5 years ago they upped our camp fee from $100.00 a weekend to $500.00. We could not afford that kind of increase. We were forced to find another location that would host our events. This move cost us many members who could not afford to travel. We purchased local firewood, food & fuel. We fished, hiked and came to relax and visit. This no longer happens at the Town of Ohio. That was a direct economic impact to the area.
    The road less & wild forever regulations in New York and across this Nation have disseminated small towns and rural business at a time when even a few dollars injected locally can mean the difference between make or break. I don’t spent that money any longer in those areas. I no longer have a 27 foot camper. The 4 wheeler was gone 2 years after it was purchased when we found out there was no place to ride it. The canoe that sat for 3 years was sold in 2010.
    The forest have been hit by disease , wind and a limited logging practice. The monoculture of pines planted in some areas do not support a diverse habitat. The state~ IMO should not be in the land business.
    Look around the nation and you’ll see thousands of camp sites abandon and up for sale if they are not foreclosed on. Many people who have fallen on hard times simply walked away from that second home in the mountains or resort areas.
    On a final note:
    For years I’ve told sportsmen the only way you can control the land is if you own it. Special interest not-for-profits are allowed millions of dollars in grants to hold and manage land then the state purchases this land at a later date. Mean while sportsmen’s groups only seat at the table is our opinion. This needs to change. I should state it needed to change 50 years ago.
    The state pushed by special interest groups has turned the land & rural economy into a failed society. Food to fuel, taxes to fund NYSERDA and smoke and mirrors energy refunds. Fifth century technology to generate electricity on a mass scale.
    It’s not hard to figure out.
    When you make the land inaccessible who will come visit? It’s like locking the doors on a business & complaining we have no customers.
    Yes were a motorized people & we were locked out of the land & business we supported for a century.

    Wm. J. Brookover
    Ontario, New York
    & Rayle , Georgia

  5. Joe Molinaro says:

    DAMN RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. dave says:

    Mr. Brookover, I encourage you to read the article one below this one. It talks about finding the most remote spot in the Adirondacks, and discovering that there are no truly remote spots here.

    So the idea that you are somehow being locked out of land up here strikes me as hyperbole.

    There is a true wealth of places where you could have taken that camper and canoe had you wanted to.

    • Paul says:

      This is true, but I have never understood why in many areas some folks can use it and others cannot? It isn’t hyperbole, he IS being “locked out” (as he says) from many areas. That is a fact. On almost all new Forest Preserve parcels new boat launches are designed as canoe carries and gates are locked well away from the shoreline. Dave, you might like the idea but that blocks out some users.

      • John Warren says:

        It also serves others users. The vast majority of waters in the Adirondacks (where motorboating is possible) are easily accessible by motorboat – it’s a politically motivated fantasy to claim otherwise.

        • Local Yokel says:

          Fantasy indeed. Take a look at the Adirondack Paddler’s Map if in doubt. The St Regis Canoe Area is non-motorized, but virtually every other body of water in the area that has Forest Preserve shoreline offers public access for motorized users. There’s a lot more water open to motorboats than closed to them.

  7. Robert E. Brown says:

    Dear John Warren and Editors, I take offense to the labeling of the NYS Counservation Council as a “pro-motorized” organization in regard to the NYSDEC survay on use of State Forest Lands. Our membership represents all ages,gender,and people of all physical abilites as does the population of the citizens of NYS. However, our membership does have high number of people who pay for NYS license and registation fees in persuit of outdoor recreational purposes endorsed by NYSDEC in addition to paying state taxes. We believe that all citizens regardless of physical differeces should have equal opportunity to access state forest lands to pursue recreational outdoor interests and the state has the obligation to provide it.
    It is our duty to provide our membership with the knowledge that this survay is being conducted. Your label of our organization as “pro-motorized” appears to me to be discriminatory.Look at it this way;”Do your readers all have to have 20/20 vision to read The Adirondack Almanac” or can some of them use reading glasses to get through those interesting paragraphs! Robert E. Brown Executive Program Director
    NYS Conservation Council

    • John Warren says:

      “Our membership represents all ages,gender,and people of all physical abilites as does the population of the citizens of NYS.” – Who said it didn’t?

      “We believe that all citizens regardless of physical differences should have equal opportunity to access state forest lands to pursue recreational outdoor interests and the state has the obligation to provide it.” – So do I.

      You can read the Almanack’s coverage of adaptive sports and universal accessibility here:

      Your idea that using the phrase “pro-motorized” is discriminatory is a shameful mockery of the struggles of people who are actually discriminated against for your own political ends.