DEC seeks public comment on draft plans for trio of local wildlife, recreational sites

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The state Department of Environmental Conservation recently released a draft Access and Public Use Plan (APUP) for the Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA). 

The draft plan is available for public comment until Dec. 22.

“Utica Marsh WMA contains 193 acres of primarily wetlands in eastern Oneida County north of the city of Utica. In conjunction with WMA regulations, APUPs serve as overarching guidance for providing access to wildlife lands and determining public use activities appropriate for each area,” a notice reads, continuing, “This draft APUP complements the existing Habitat Management Plan for Utica Marsh WMA and addresses management objectives for wildlife-dependent recreation, access features, and facility maintenance.”

The plans guide management for wildlife and public access over a 10-year time period, after which DEC will assess conditions and needs and update the plans as needed.

Send comments to: NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Region 6, 225 N. Main St., Herkimer, NY, 13350, or email: information.r6@dec.ny.gov with the subject line - Utica Marsh WMA draft APUP.

• New Black River at Deer River Fishing Access Site Completed in Lewis County; accessible parking spaces at Deer River, Black River Fishing access site

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recently announced the completion of the Black River at Deer River Fishing Access Site, a new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant fishing access site in the town of Denmark in Lewis County.

“Improvements at the Black River at Deer River Fishing Access Site include a gravel parking area with ADA-compliant accessible parking spaces and an accessible single-lane gravel boat launch near the confluence of the Deer and Black rivers. The parking lot includes one standard space and a space for vehicles with trailers. An additional three-vehicle parking area near the joining of the rivers can be used for launching car-top vessels. The site also features an additional 10 parking sites for vehicles with trailers,” a release from the Department of Environmental Conservation notes.

Development of this site provides anglers with access to public fishing on 0.35 miles of the south bank of the Deer River and approximately .66 miles on the north bank of the Black River. Popular gamefish species found in this section of the Black River include Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Northern Pike, and Chain Pickerel. 

The $75,000 project cost was funded by Marks Farms Natural Resources Damages settlement funds stemming from an enforcement action after a manure spill in the river in 2005.

• DEC releases final recreation management plan for Flatrock Mountain conservation easement, creates new opportunities for recreation in Herkimer County

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recently released the Recreation Management Plan for the Flatrock Mountain Conservation Easement.

The Flatrock Mountain Conservation Easement encompasses approximately 511 acres southwest of Old Forge in the town of Webb. 

This property is primarily accessed from State Route 28 and Minnehaha Road.

DEC and the property owner, the Northeastern Loggers’ Association, collaborated on the RMP for the conservation easement, which will increase opportunities for recreation in Herkimer County, including: A new nearly one-mile-long multiple use hiking, mountain biking, and skiing recreational trail; A new 0.7-mile-long snowmobile trail also open to hiking and mountain biking; Construction of two accessible parking spaces and a new informational kiosk; and construction of a three-car parking lot at the trailhead for one of the new trails off Minnehaha Road.

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