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Archive for the ‘Snowmobile’ Category

The Pharsalia Woods Unit Management Plan, covering 13,622 acres in western Chenango County, has been approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The plan includes four states forests: New Michigan, Pitcher Springs, Perkins Pond and Pigeon Hill which are located in the towns of Pharsalia, Plymouth, Pitcher, and Otselic.
“These forests offer a wide variety of recreational opportunities for all of the public including a lean-to for camping on Perkins Pond State Forest,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.  “DEC staff work diligently at maintaining our forests for multiple-uses and it clearly works well in places like Pharsalia Woods.”

“The high elevation forest habitats found at Pharsalia Woods make it standout as a critically important area on the Atlantic Flyway in Central New York, supporting a great diversity of forest breeding birds,” said Erin Crotty, Executive Director of Audubon New York.  “We commend Commissioner Martens and the DEC staff for finalizing the Unit Management Plan and prioritizing actions that will ensure the high quality forests at the Bird Conservation Area are maintained, and economically important wildlife recreational opportunities are enhanced.”

Donald Windsor, who first proposed that Pharsalia Woods be named an Important Bird Area in July 1997, and member of the Chenango Bird Club, the New York Flora Association, the Chenango County Historical Association, the New York State Archaeological Association, the Bullthistle Hiking Club and the Finger Lakes Trail Conference noted, “The Unit Management planning process is useful to our organizations because the public meetings allow our suggestions to be integrated with those of other organizations. This broad-based contribution enables DEC to optimize the special interests of all its stakeholders to establish a multiple-purpose use of state land.”

“Our organization is especially in favor of the proposed relocation of the Finger Lakes hiking trail that will eliminate the present 1.8 miles of road walking and place the trail entirely on public lands with no road walking,” said Joe Dabes, former Director of Trail Inventory and Mapping of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference and ten time end- to- ender of the 560 mile long main Finger Lakes Trail. “We also appreciate that the plan calls for a proposed new lean-to along the Finger Lakes Trail and  relocation of the Plymouth Lean-to Trail which will eliminate the present 0.7 mile walk along Stewart Road, putting this section of the trail entirely in Pharsalia Woods State Forest.”

Stephen C. Catherman, Vice  President of Trail Maintenance for the Finger Lakes Trail Conference noted, “It is a privilege and a pleasure to work with your organization to further our commitment to maintain a premier hiking trail across New York State.  The Adopt a Natural Resource program and the agreement we have in place with you enables us to realize this goal.  We hope to continue this cooperative relationship far into the future.”

Mark Money, Vice President of the Chenango Sno-Rides, a local snowmobile club that works with the DEC through an Adopt a Natural Resources Stewardship Program, said, “We worked closely with the DEC in creating a parking area at Camp Pharsalia so that snowmobilers can have a safe place to park their vehicles during the winters months. This has provided an excellent opportunity for the Snowmobiling community to park and load/unload vehicles and equipment safely.  Our club keeps the parking area free of snow throughout the winter for anyone who wishes to use the parking area to access the forest.  We appreciate the opportunity the DEC has provided in supplying the community with a safe environment to start and end the day of snowmobiling in Chenango County and beyond.”

The plan outlines management activities on the Unit for the next 20 years and defines goals and objectives for various issues, including biodiversity, timber and public recreation. The Audubon Society has designated a portion of the Unit in the town of Pharsalia as an “Important Bird Area” because it is a regional migratory concentration site and provides breeding habitat for a wide variety of forest nesting species.

Currently the forests in the Unit contain 231 acres of roads and developed areas, nine acres of quarries, 11 acres of open land, 58 acres of shrub land, 347 acres of open/shrub wetlands, 1,603 acres of forest wetlands, 751 acres of mixed hardwoods/natural conifers, 5,558 acres of natural hardwoods, and 5,054 acres of conifer plantation. The remote character of many areas on the Unit provide ideal conditions for recreational activities such as wildlife observation, pleasure driving, hiking, hunting, trapping and snowmobiling. The tornado that impacted this area in 1998 created approximately 1,000 acres of disturbed shrub/young-forest land with hundreds of standing snap trees. This area has attracted interest from the public for nature observation, as it is remarkably different from much of the surrounding area.

Hunting, fishing and trapping are permitted anywhere on the Unit, except where prohibited by regulation, law or sign. Snowmobiling is one of the most popular activities on the Unit. The Nine Mile Trail on New Michigan State Forest is part of the Corridor Trail 7 and is a popular regional destination for snowmobiling. A portion of the Finger Lakes Trail traverses through the Unit on Perkins Pond State Forest and New Michigan State Forest.

New Michigan State Forest’s name will be changed to Pharsalia Woods in the near future to more accurately reflect the history and geography of the area.  All maps and information on the DEC web site will be updated to reflect this change.

The plan may be viewed online at http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/67631.html.  Copies of the plan on CD are available for pick up at the DEC Lands and Forests office in Sherburne, 2715 State Highway 80, and Sherburne, NY 13460

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by Claire Woodcock, North Country Public Radio, link to original post

The St. Lawrence County Recreational Trails Advisory Board has been working for some time to create a sustainable community-linking system throughout the county. Last week, community members had their first look at maps of the trail route.

Last Thursday evening, more than 100 people gathered in the Colton-Pierrepont Central School auditorium to learn more about the St. Lawrence County Multi-Use trail system and what it will mean for the community. The more-than-200-mile system is called “Blazing Trails,” and will extend from Franklin to Lewis Counties. The trail will be multi-season and multi-use, and open to snowmobilers, ATV users, mountain bikers, horseback riders, hikers, cyclers, cross country skiiers, dog sled users, and snowshoers. The committee hopes to extend the trails further with smaller trails diverging from the main tracks.

County Trail Coordinator Deb Christy says the multi-use trail system will promote tourism in the North Country, benefitting local businesses that have struggled to remain open.

Christy said that the system will showcase the County’s beautiful natural setting. “We want all our area people to get out and enjoy our great outdoors. I mean we have beautiful assets in the North Country, and we feel everyone should get out and be able to use them in whatever manner they choose to use them.”

Christy and others said the formation of the trail system is expected to help new and established local businesses expand and succeed in the community, and to attract travelers from outside the area. “We worry about the economy in the North Country,” Christy said, “and we want to be able to bring more dollars into our small businesses to keep them going year round. We hate seeing businesses close right and left and we want them to be able to stay and have sustainable income all year, not just part of the year.”

Many ATV users attended the meeting, and most seemed in favor of the trail system as a whole. However, there was some dispute over how the motorized vehicle users and hiking and skiing enthusiasts would share the land and continue to enjoy their differing recreational activities. At the meeting, several community members expressed their unease about noise and fumes from the ATVs on the new trail, which prompted some ATV owners to grumble and walk out of the meeting.

By the end of the summer, the first part of the trail is expected to open to the public in Colton, Pierrepont, Parishville, and Hopkinton, connecting St. Lawrence and other neighboring counties.

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New Snowmobile Trail to Open Soon connecting Raquette Lake and Inlet to the Moose River Plains

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By LEIGH HORNBECK, Times Union, link to original post

Just as there are comprehensive road maps available online, there is now a map of the more than 200 miles of Saratoga County’s non-motorized trails and 124 miles of snowmobile routes.

The conservation group Saratoga PLAN hired Chris Ferraro, a graduate student at the University at Albany, to compile data on the county’s trails to make an online, interactive map. A grant from the county’s Chamber of Commerce made it possible to pay Ferraro a small stipend.

Trails throughout the county are maintained by different entities — PLAN, the county and individual municipalities. Ferraro’s work was the first attempt to bring all the data together.

Andy Fyfe, stewardship director for PLAN, said he regularly takes calls from people who want to know the best places to ride their bikes, or where horses are allowed.

The motivation to have a comprehensive map was based partially on influence from the public and partially on PLAN’s own need to have a central database to use for planning purposes, Fyfe said. As land stewards, PLAN staff can now see gaps between trails and opportunities to link trails together. “Chris spends a lot of time in the field, going to trails that didn’t exist on digital maps and using PLAN’s GIS unit to create a map,” Fyfe said.

Ferraro also corrected some existing trail maps using the technology provided by the global information system that triangulates satellite signals to create maps that are accurate within three feet.

Saratoga’s trails are used by walkers, runners, cyclists, equestrians and snowmobilers, but each use is not allowed on every trail.

The new map is accessible a variety of ways, through Google Maps, Google Earth and the county’s own GIS site. This is the version Fyfe recommends for computer users with relatively fast connection speed.

Ferraro made use of the plentiful data already supplied by the county’s planning department, which already had eight levels to include maps of land parcels, political districts, geology and other features. Check the “parks and recreation” tab and dozens of dark green, light green and purple dots are revealed to show trail heads, parking and motorless boat access. Several dozen yellow flags also show the county’s bounty of historical markers. A little more exploring and you will find information about each trail using the map’s “identify” tool, and one more click brings you to the uses for the land.

Fyfe does not consider PLAN’s mapping work done, however. The project covered 95 percent of the trails in the county, but there are still more.

If you know of a public trail that is missing from the map, call Fyfe at 587-5554, Ext. 3.
Here’s the way. Find the various links to access the trail map at http://www.saratogaplan.org.

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The Oswego County Recreational Trail is open to the public with a new set of rules for users and law enforcement agencies.

“We want to maintain the safety and integrity of the trail and ensure an enjoyable experience for all users and adjoining landowners,” said Legislator James M. Oldenburg, District 14, chairman of the Oswego County Legislature’s Infrastructure and Facilities Committee. “We have identified vehicles that are allowed to use the trail and clarified prohibited trail activities. This will provide a positive experience for neighbors and visitors and aid the efforts of law enforcement.”

Vehicles that are allowed to use the trail include snowmobiles, snowmobile trail groomers, Oswego County Highway Department vehicles, and authorized emergency vehicles. ATVs are permitted to use only the eastern-most section of the trail between Toad Harbor Road and the Oswego-Oneida county line. Each of these vehicles will be referred to as “Authorized Vehicles” on all trail signage.

The new rules of the Oswego County Recreational Trail include:
• No use of firearms
• No overnight camping
• No open fires
• No alcohol or illegal drugs
• No feeding or disturbing the wildlife
• No cutting or removing vegetation

Trail users are also reminded that all New York State snowmobile rules and regulations apply to this trail. Riders should not enter private property adjacent to the trail unless it is clearly marked as an official snowmobile trail.

Oldenburg added, “This is a process and it will take time to educate both users and law enforcement personnel about the new rules. We will do this through trail signage and printed materials.”

The Oswego County Recreational Trail is approximately 25 miles in length. It runs between county Route 6 in the town of Volney, through the towns of Schroeppel, Hastings, West Monroe and Constantia, to the Oswego-Oneida county line.

The Oswego County Legislature’s Infrastructure and Facilities Committee oversees the Highway Department. In addition to Legislator Oldenburg, the committee includes Vice-Chairwoman Barbara Brown, District 8; and Legislators Daniel Chalifoux, District 19; Mark Fruce, District 24; Linda Lockwood, District 11; Milferd Potter, District 2; and Amy Tresidder, District 16.

For more information about the Oswego County Recreation Trail, contact the Oswego County Tourism Office at 315-349-8322 or visit the tourism office’s Web site.

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The map shows the state funded snowmobile trails in New York and the local clubs that maintain them.

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Snowmobilers Can Use Erie Canalway Trail

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