Fulton County

DEC plans rec use for Sacandaga West tracts

People in and around Fulton County will be getting 3,200 more acres of Adirondack lands to play in,

People in and around Fulton County will be getting 3,200 more acres of Adirondack lands to play in, once a management plan is complete for the Sacandaga West Conservation Easement.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is inviting the community to a May 22 meeting with staff developing a recreation plan for a portion of the 89,000-acre Upper Hudson Woodlands Conservation Easement formerly owned by Finch Pruyn and Co.

Hundreds of acres in the towns of Mayfield and Bleecker will be explored for hiking and snowmobiling trails, and the state hopes residents will help guide the planning.

“While there are currently few developed recreational facilities in the Sacandaga West Easement, the area offers great opportunities for cross-country skiing, hiking, snowmobiling and wildlife viewing,” DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens said in a news release.

A management plan, to be drafted with the goal of increasing recreation and tourism opportunities, ultimately will yield hiking and skiing on lands never before open to the public, he said.

The Sacandaga West Easement consists of six parts: the Jackson Summit Road West Tract at 813 acres, the Dennie Road Tract at 588 acres, the Ferguson Mountain Tract at 345 acres and Jackson Summit Road East Tract at 46 acres, all in the town of Mayfield, as well as the 789-acre Hohler Road Tract and the 619-acre Benson Road Tract, both in Bleecker.

DEC Region 5 Spokesman David Winchell said the lands are owned by Upper Hudson Woodlands ATP, a Danish timber management investment organization.

Sustainable logging activities will continue there, but the state already purchased an easement in 2010 prior to Upper Hudson buying it. Details in the easement will be explored at the May 22 meeting.

The Sacandaga West Conservation Easement lands have a long history of timber harvesting, which influenced the ecosystem, leaving small wetlands and ponds that drain into the Sacandaga.

Winchell said planners who have toured the land found “a number of really scenic areas” there. They include the summit of Bernhardt Mountain, which offers wide views of the Great Sacandaga Lake and hills surrounding it.

People interested in getting involved can send an email to planning coordinator Allison Buckley at [email protected] or call 863-4545.

The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, in the Mayfield High School auditorium.

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