Enhancements unveiled at popular fishing access site in Sangerfield

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SANGERFIELD — State and local officials are celebrating the completion of work along Chittning Pond — a 70-acre pond located in the Albert J. Woodford Memorial State Forest, off U.S. Route 20, that is home to a warm water fishery and provides habitat for a multitude of bird, amphibian, reptile, and mammal species.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the completion of work, including rehabilitation of the dam that impounds the pond and the official grand opening of an enhanced fishing access site, during a ceremony at the site on Thursday.

“DEC is committed to enhancing and improving facilities and infrastructure on state lands and sites to provide quality recreational experiences and make visiting these destinations safer and more enjoyable for all,” Seggos said. “Chittning Pond is a regional asset for anglers and improvements to the dam and fishing accessibility will help attract more visitors who enjoy largemouth bass and panfish, as well as those just looking for a place to experience Oneida County’s natural surroundings.”

Repairs to the 60-year-old dam bring the structure into compliance with state dam safety regulations, officials said. Work began in 2021 and was completed in coordination with the state Office of General Services.

Improvements include:

  • Removing woody vegetation from the upstream embankment slope and placing stone rip rap for wave erosion protection;
  • Repairing a depression on the downstream embankment slope;
  • Cleaning and lining the twin service spillway outlet pipes;
  • Improving the service spillway intake structure stop log system;
  • Replacing the non-operational low-level outlet sluice gate; and
  • Cleaning and lining the low-level outlet discharge pipe.

The DEC also replaced the existing fishing pier with an access site more accessible to people with disabilities. Combined with the project’s other improvements, the enhanced fishing access site will bolster Chittning Pond’s status as a regional fishing destination, officials said.

Fish found in the pond include largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, brown bullhead, chain pickerel, golden shiner, largemouth bass, pumpkinseed, white sucker, and yellow perch. The harvest season for largemouth bass began Wednesday, and bass measuring more than 17 inches have been reported at the pond.

The Albert J. Woodford Memorial Forest contains 2,664 acres, the majority of which is former pasture and cropland. Tassel Hill, located in the northern portion of the property, is the point of highest elevation in Oneida County at 1,942 feet above sea level.

The state forest was created for the purposes of reforestation, wildlife management, timber production, recreation, and watershed protection.

The projects were funded with $1.5 million from NY Works. Under the State’s Adventure NY initiative, DEC is making strategic investments to expand access to healthy, active outdoor recreation, connect more New Yorkers and visitors to nature and the outdoors, protect natural resources, and boost local economies.

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