The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued a Draft Lake Champlain Islands Management Complex Unit Management Plan (Draft UMP) in compliance with the Adirondack State Land Master Plan. The plan includes a number of historic and recreational sites.
Public comments on the plan are being accepted through September 18, 2015. A Public Meeting on the Draft UMP will be held August 20th in Plattsburgh.
The Lake Champlain Islands Management Complex is located in the northeastern Adirondacks in the towns of Ausable, Peru and Plattsburgh in Clinton County and in the towns of Crown Point, Chesterfield, Ticonderoga, Westport and Willsboro in Essex County in the Adirondack Park.
The Lake Champlain Islands Management Complex Unit Management Plan includes Adirondack Park lands of:
Valcour Island Primitive Area (968.5 acres;
Schuyler Island Primitive Area (161.4 acres);
Champlain Islands Wild Forest (4 acres);
Peru Dock Boat Launch Intensive Use Area (10.5 acres);
Port Douglas Boat Launch Intensive Use Area (2.5 acres); and
Willsboro Bay Boat Launch Intensive Use Area (15.1 acres).
Champlain Islands Wild Forest consists of four islands: Garden Island, Cole Island, Sheepshead Island and Signal Buoy. All are comprised of less than one acre of land surface.
The islands that make up the Lake Champlain Islands unit contain 13 miles of hiking trails, 34 designated campsites and provide a variety of day-use opportunities. Recreational activities include hiking, picnicking, visiting the Bluff Point Lighthouse on Valcour Island, wildlife and bird watching and more.
The recently restored Bluff Point Lighthouse is the only lighthouse on Lake Champlain to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The lighthouse overlooks Valcour Bay, the site of the 1776 Battle of Valcour Bay and the first naval battle of the Revolutionary War. The Bay is also a National Historic Landmark. The light continues to serve as a U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation.
The Clinton County Historical Association (CCHA) owns a permanent easement that grants the organization the right to preserve the Bluff Point Light House and its ancillary structures on Valcour Island.
Key proposals in the Draft Plan include to:
make the trail to the Bluff Point lighthouse accessible to persons with disabilities;
replace the deteriorated boat dock near the lighthouse with one in Bullhead Bay, designed to be accessible to persons with disabilities;
close the primitive tent sites on Cole and Sheepshead Islands;
close eight primitive campsites and relocate another eight on Valcour Island to conform with the State Land Master Plan;
relocate one of the three existing sites on Schuyler Island to conform with the State Land Master Plan and be accessible to people of all abilities;
build a memorial and historic interpretive site at Peru Dock Boat Launch;
remove picnic tables from Valcour and Schuyler Islands to conform with the State Land Master Plan; and
replace cement fireplaces with stone fire rings on concrete bases at primitive tent sites, as needed.
The Draft Plan is available to view or download on DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/75862.html. Copies of the Draft Plan are also available on CD at the DEC Region 5 Headquarters in Ray Brook NY and the Peru town hall.
A public meeting will be held on August 20, at 6:30 p.m. at Clinton Community College, Stafford Technical Building, in the town of Plattsburgh. The meeting will provide an opportunity for people to learn more about the proposed management actions in the Draft Plan and comment on the proposals. The meeting facilities are wheelchair accessible. Please call 518-897-1361 at least one week in advance of the meeting if you have specific accommodation requests.
Public comments should be sent by September 18, 2015 to Daniel Levy, Senior Forester, NYSDEC Lands & Forests, 1115 NYS Route 86, P.O. Box 296, Ray Brook, NY 12977 or e-mailed to R5.UMP@dec.ny.gov.
Photo of Bluff Point Light House courtesy Marc Wanner ().