Thursday, December 13, 2012

Final Draft of Taylor Pond Wild Forest UMP Released

The Proposed Final Draft of the Taylor Pond Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP) was released today for public comment by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Park Agency (APA).

DEC staff presented the Proposed Final UMP to the APA Board at their monthly meeting on December 13, 2012. At noon, the State Land Committee heard an informational “first reading” of the UMP. The Agency will now hold a public comment period to solicit comments related to the proposed UMP’s compliance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP). APA will accept written comment on SLMP compliance for the proposals contained in the draft UMP until noon on Tuesday, January 2, 2013. The APA Board is scheduled to render a determination of SLMP compliance for this UMP at the January 10- 11, 2013 Agency meeting. The final step in the process is approval of the UMP by DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens.
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 Unit is approximately 567 square miles and consists of 26 separate parcels of state land totaling 53,280 acres, with 45,637 acres of Forest Preserve, 6,314 acres of State Forest and 1,329 acres in Wildlife Management Areas. All of the lands subject to this Unit Management Plan (UMP) are classified as Wild Forest by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (APSLMP).

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 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 provides extensive opportunities for canoe and kayak recreation.

Terry Mountain State Forest and Burnt Hill State Forest are included in the UMP, as are Ausable Marsh, Wickham Marsh and Pauline Murdock Wildlife Management Areas. Conservation easement tracts included in the plan are the Alder Brook Park Tract, the Cook Mountain Tract, and the Franklin Falls/Union Falls Tract.

Some of the 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 the 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 and making the old trail more sustainable;

• 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.

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 State Land Master Plan, related legislation, and resource and visitor use information into a single document.

The UMP is available for viewing or downloading from the Adirondack Park Agency website.

All written comments pertaining to State Land Master Plan compliance should be addressed to:

James Connolly
Deputy Director of Planning
NYS Adirondack Park Agency
P.O. Box 99
Ray Brook, NY 12977

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