New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Robert Stegemann has announced that the Wilmington Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP) will be reopened in order to expand mountain biking and snowmobile trails within the Wilmington Wild Forest.
DEC has partnered with local governments and volunteers to build a number of trails and trail systems since the UMP was approved in October 2005. Currently, there are approximately 33 miles of trails with 23 miles open to mountain bikes and eight miles of snowmobile trails – including a connection to the Adirondack/North Country snowmobile trail network.
Mountain biking has become a very popular activity in the Wilmington Wild Forest with bike trail systems concentrated around the Wilmington Flume and Hardy Road. According to DEC, visitor comments have indicated that there is a need for improvements to the trail system, including the need for trail connections to the hamlet of Wilmington, more bike trails for beginners, and the relocation of some trail segments to better protect natural resources.
“We are responding to requests from local government and other organizations to provide additional trails in the Wilmington Wild Forest,” Stegemann said in a statement to the press. “DEC continues to work to ensure that the forest preserve lands we manage are an asset to Adirondack communities, while continuing to protect and conserve the natural resources of those lands.”
A public meeting will be held at the Base Lodge at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center, 5021 Route 86 in Wilmington on Wednesday, November 12 beginning at 6 pm. DEC staff are expected to provide a brief presentation on the current trail system after which the public is asked to share information and ideas regarding improvements and expansion of the trail system.
The Wilmington Wild Forest is located in the towns of Wilmington and Keene in Essex County and the town of Black Brook in Clinton County. The unit covers about 14,000 acres across several detached Forest Preserve parcels. The core area is located on the east-facing slopes of Whiteface Mountain between the Whiteface Mountain Ski center and the Whiteface Veterans’ Memorial Highway.
Comments may also be provided in writing to Steve Guglielmi, Senior Forester, P.O. Box 296, Ray Brook, NY 12977 or by e-mail to [email protected].
The current Wilmington Wild Forest UMP can be found online.