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DEC planning Boonville session on forest pine decline

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BOONVILLE — The state Department of Environmental Conservation is planning an informational meeting here about a Scotch pine decline at Sand Flats State Forest.

The session will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Boonville municipal building, 13149 Route 12, although doors will open at 6 p.m. to allow people to speak individually with forestry staff about the issue.

Sand Flats State Forest, consisting of 2,531 acres of land located outside the Adirondack Park in the towns of Lyonsdale and Boonville, primarily was purchased by the state in the 1930s and ’40s, according to a DEC release.

“Much of this land was abandoned agricultural lands with depleted soils and significant erosion problems,” the release states. “Following state acquisition, the Conservation Department began a massive tree planting program to restore these lands for watershed protection, flood prevention and future timber production.”

However, a routine aerial check over the summer showed hundreds of acres of Scotch pine with dead and dying tops, and experts ultimately blamed the disease Diplodia tip blight.

“The tip blight damage was so severe because these Scotch pine are already stressed due to poor droughty soils and the age of the Scotch pine,” the release states.

The intent of the public meeting is to address what is killing the Scotch pine and share possible forest management actions that may be taken to salvage the wood fiber.

Anyone seeking more information may contact forester Andrea Mercurio at DEC’s Lowville sub-office in writing at 7327 Route 812, Lowville, N.Y. 13367, or by phone at 376-3521.

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