The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is seeking public comments on proposed changes to the Management Plan (UMP) for the Sentinel Range Wilderness. Among the recreation management decisions that would affect the Wilderness Area, are proposals to reroute portions of Pitchoff Mountain Trail, relocate the western Pitchoff Trailhead, and develop a new section of trail to address parking concerns along State Route 73. The draft UMP also proposes a moratorium on the placement of fixed anchors used by climbers, similar to the other Adirondack Wilderness Areas.
A public meeting will be held at 6 pm on December 7, at DEC Region 5 Headquarters, 1115 State Route 86, Ray Brook. The meeting will provide the public an opportunity to learn more on the proposed management actions in the draft UMP and to comment on the proposals.
The Sentinel Range Wilderness is comprised of 23,874 acres of Forest Preserve lands in the towns of Keene, Jay, Wilmington, and North Elba, Essex County. Recreational use occurs mainly on the trails to Pitchoff Mountain or Copperas and Owen ponds. Most visitors are day users, but some camping does occur at the Copperas Pond area.
The draft UMP includes management proposals for the wilderness and the Bartlett Primitive Area, which is located near the western edge of the wilderness. The proposals include:
New Trails and Trail Reroutes:
Convert two existing herd paths used to reach rock climbing routes into designated trails;
Convert an old woods road to the East Branch Ausable River into a designated trail;
Develop a ski trail near Lake Placid at Scotts Cobble;
Reroute significant portions of Pitchoff Mountain Trail; and
Relocate the western Pitchoff Mountain Trailhead and develop a new section of trail to address parking concerns along State Route 73.
Group Size Restrictions: Develop regulations limiting group sizes to address impacts to natural resources and visitor experience. Regulations will limit camping groups to no more than eight people and day use groups to 15 people.
Campsites: Close two currently designated tent sites and build one new tent site to comply with Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan guidance and address impacts to natural resources. If the UMP is undertaken, there will be three campsites and one lean-to left in the wilderness.DEC says construction of additional campsites is limited by the steep slopes of the area, limited number of trails, and amount of day use.
Rock Climbing: A moratorium on the placement of fixed anchors, similar to the other wilderness UMPs.
The meeting facility is wheelchair accessible. Submit requests for specific accommodations to (518) 897-1361 at least one week in advance of the meeting
DEC will accept comments on the draft UMP until Friday, December 22. The draft UMP is available for viewing and downloading is available on DEC’s website.
Paper copies are also available for public review at DEC’s Region 5 headquarters in Ray Brook, DEC Central Office in Albany, and at the offices of the towns of Keene, Jay, Wilmington, and North Elba. Copies are available in electronic format for distribution on compact disc and may be requested by calling DEC at (518) 897-1291.
Written comments may be sent to Steve Guglielmi, Forester, DEC, PO Box 296/ 1115 State Route 86, Ray Brook, NY 12977 or emailed to R5.UMP@dec.ny.gov.