Your suggestions on use of nine state forests in Oneida County are being sought at a meeting Thursday.
The State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Region 6 office is preparing a unit management plan (UMP) which will include nine state forests in northern Oneida County. This plan for the Oneida Hills area will incorporate public input that will guide management of these unique state lands well into the future.
The state forests included in the unit are Buck Hill, Canada Creek, Clark Hill, Jackson Hill, Penn Mountain, Point Rock, South Hill, Webster Hill and West Branch. The state forest lands total 13,460 acres and are located in the Oneida County towns of Ava, Boonville, Lee, Steuben and Western.
There will be one open house to discuss future management of state lands within the Oneida Hills Unit Thursdayfrom 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. in the Steuben Town Hall, 9458 Soule Rd, Steuben.
During the first hour of the session, the public will have the opportunity to meet individually with DEC staff in an informal setting. This will be followed by a presentation about the unit and conclude with a chance to make oral comments in front of the group regarding the management of this unit.
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 forest management. DEC is seeking the public’s input in helping establish a long-range vision and goals for management of these lands.
Public input gathered at the open house, along with input received by mail and email, data collected during forest inventories and other sources of data and information will be used to develop the Oneida Hills UMP. The UMP will guide management actions for the Unit "to help achieve the goals of providing healthy, sustainable and biologically diverse forest ecosystems," DEC officials said.
Any person or group who would like to mail input or comments on the future management of this unit can contact Senior Forester Mary Kay Allen at NYSDEC, 225 N. Main St., Herkimer, NY, 13350, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org . For additional information call 866-6330. Public comments must be received by Sept. 28 to be incorporated into the draft UMP.