Unit Management Plan Meeting Set for Colgate Lake & Windham Blackhead Range Units

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will hold a public meeting to provide information and gather public input for the development of unit management plans (UMP) for the Colgate Lake wild forest unit (1,500 acres) and the Windham Blackhead Range wilderness unit (18,000 acres). The two units are located in the Greene County towns of Windham, Jewett, Cairo, Catskill and Hunter.

The meeting will he held on Thursday, October 27th at 6:00 p.m. at the Mountain Top Library, 6093 Main St., Tannersville. DEC is seeking input to help establish a long-term vision and specific goals for management of these properties.

The Windham-Blackhead Range wilderness is in the northeastern part of the Catskill Forest Preserve and contains some of the highest terrain in the Catskills, including 13 peaks over 3,000 feet in elevation. Many of these peaks make up the Blackhead Mountains, which form the northeastern escarpment of the Catskill Park and are visible for many miles to the north and east. One of the more popular hiking trails in the area, the escarpment trail, spans the entire unit and provides many incredible views along the way. The south end of the unit is bordered by the North-South Lake campground, which has its own system of trails that connect to other Forest Preserve lands to the south.

The Colgate Lake wild forest features the scenic Colgate Lake, which is popular for fishing, kayaking and primitive camping. The yellow-marked Colgate Lake trail travels just over four miles to Dutcher Notch and the escarpment trail. The wild forest is bounded by the Windham Blackhead Range wilderness area on three sides.

DEC will use the information gathered during this process as it develops draft unit management plans for the units. The finalized plans will guide future uses and management of the area and will include an analysis of the natural features of the area and an examination of the land for its ability to accommodate multiple uses.

UMPs are a collaborative effort between DEC and the public in developing long-term plans for DEC-managed public lands. Public involvement is extremely important in the creation and revision of UMPs, as it provides staff with valuable information and insight regarding public priorities and perspectives. Those wishing to contribute to the planning discussion but unable to attend the session may submit comments via mail or e-mail. Additional public input will be sought when a draft plan is released for public review and comment.

Written comments and suggestions regarding the use of the lands will be accepted by DEC until December 12, 2016. Comments should be sent to: Maxwell Wolckenhauer, NYSDEC Region 4 Stamford suboffice, 65561 State Highway 10, Suite 1 Stamford, NY 12167; e-mail:R4.UMP@dec.ny.gov

Jeff Senterman