DEC accepting public input on Tug Hill East draft Unit Management Plan



WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Local residents are being urged to submit input on a proposed Unit Management Plan in the Tug Hill Region.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced on November 1 that has begun accepting public comments on the draft Unit Management Plan for Tug Hill East.

According to the DEC, the draft Plan proposes increased opportunities for outdoor recreation. This includes seven new designated drive-up campsites, two walk-in primitive campsites and a network of trails for the Motorized Access Program for Persons with Disabilities.

The Plan outlines land management goals, which include ways to sustainably manage forest resources, follow a sustainable sound timber harvest schedule, maintain forest matrix blocks and identify conservation value forest.

Fish and wildlife management goals are also listed. These focus on maintaining the wildlife habitat on the unit, improving the winter cover habitat for deer and hare, assessing American martin reintroduction and prioritizing fishery management activities that will promote ecological enhancement and opportunities for anglers.

Additionally, soil and water management goals include ensuring watershed, wetland, perennial and intermittent stream protection, implementing best management practices during land management activities, monitoring wetlands for signs of climate change and designating the East Branch of Fish Creek State Forest as a high conservation value forest for watershed protection.

The draft covers 22,886 acres of land in seven State Forests, one unique area and 13 detached Forest Preserve parcels in Lewis County towns of Lewis, Martinsburg, Osceola, Turin, and West Turin, the Oneida County town of Ava, and the Oswego County town of Redfield.

This public comment period will end on December 15, 2021. A survey to accept comments is available online and comments can also be submitted to DEC Lowville Forester Andrea Mercurio at the Lowville Sub-Office.

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