Thursday, January 4, 2024

DEC Seeks Public Comment on Big Moose Tract RMP

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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is seeking public comment on the draft Recreation Management Plan (RMP) for the Big Moose Tract Conservation Easement in the town of Webb, Herkimer County. The RMP outlines public recreation opportunities and facilities that are proposed on the conservation easement and is available for public comment until Feb. 2, 2024.

The Big Moose Tract is approximately 23,850 acres and contains commercially managed forestland, several small ponds, portions of Birch, Fourth, Sunday, and Twitchell creeks, the Independence River, and the West Branch of the Beaver River. Under the terms of an interim RMP, a trail to the Stillwater Mountain fire tower and 12.4 miles of public snowmobile trails are open to the public.

The property borders approximately 18.4 miles of forest preserve lands (Ha-De-Ron-Dah and Pigeon Lake Wildernesses and Fulton Chain and Independence River Wild Forests) and 2.5 miles with the Three Lakes Tract Conservation Easement. Nearly four miles of the Remsen Lake Placid Travel Corridor pass through the property.

DEC proposes the following actions in the draft RMP:

  • The Stillwater Mountain Fire Tower and access trail will remain open to the public except for the period from the second Tuesday in October through Dec. 20 each year (seasonal closure of this trail is a term of the conservation easement);
  • Selective tree cutting around the Stillwater Mountain Fire Tower will take place to enhance scenic views;
  • All snowmobile trails currently located on the property will be retained;
  • Alternative snowmobiles trails will be designated or constructed (0.7 miles of new construction) to be used when main trails are closed due to winter timber harvesting;
  • A visitor survey will be conducted at Stillwater Mountain to inform DEC about visitor experience on the trail and summit; and
  • An interpretive panel will be developed and installed highlighting forestry on the Big Moose Tract.

For more information the draft RMP and a PowerPoint presentation summarizing the draft RMP go to the DEC website. DEC is accepting public comments through Feb. 2, 2024. Comments can be submitted via email to or mailed to Matthew Nowak, Environmental Program Specialist, NYS DEC, 7327 State Route 812, Lowville, NY 13367.

Visit the Independence Wild River Forest webpage for additional information about the Big Moose Tract Conservation Easement. The webpage includes the Independence River Wild Forest East map, which shows the location of the Big Moose Tract, and a map of the Stillwater Mountain Fire Tower Trail.

Photo at top: NYS DEC logo. NYS DEC website photo.

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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

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