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DEC seeking input on management plans for Lewis forestland

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LOWVILLE — The state Department of Environmental Conservation is seeking public input on a pair of unit management plans for state forest parcels in and around Lewis County.

An open house session on the Westward Waters Unit, composed of 17 state forests in the county, will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, while one on the Independence River Wild Forest area is slated for 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday.

Both meetings will be held at the Lowville fire hall off Parkway Drive.

“The purpose of the meetings is to provide information about the unit, discuss its history, ecology and current uses, such as forest product sales and recreational use, and to exchange ideas about long-term management,” said a release from the state agency. “DEC invites municipalities and community members to play an active role in establishing a long-range vision and specific goals for management of these lands, including enhanced access to the lands, which would promote recreational activities such as hiking, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and more, that benefit the regional economy.”

The Westward Waters unit includes Balsam Creek, Beartown, Bonaparte’s Cave, Frank E. Jadwin Memorial, High Towers, Hogsback, Independence River, Indian Pipe, Lowville Demonstration Area, Onjebonge, Otter Creek, Sand Bay and Sand Flats state forests. They total 38,637 acres and are in the towns of Lyonsdale, Greig, Watson, New Bremen, Croghan, Lowville and Diana.

The Independence River Wild Forest encompasses 79,519 acres in the towns of Lyonsdale, Greig and Watson and the Herkimer County town of Webb.

The Independence River unit management plan will be a revision of a plan completed in October 1986, incorporating several amendments added over the years, the DEC release said.

Portions of the two units border each other and share common facilities, including the Otter Creek horse trail system and several snowmobile trails.

The plans will be developed by public input, along with information collected during forest inventories and other sources of data and information, and will be used to guide management actions for each unit, the release said.

Anyone seeking more information can call the DEC field office in Dadville at 376-3521.

Written comments can be submitted by mail to NYSDEC, 7327 Route 812, Lowville, N.Y. 13367, or by email at r6ump@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

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