The long wait for forest preserve plans: Records show 782,000 acres are without any management plans
A half century later, hundreds of thousands of acres are without management plans
By Gwendolyn Craig
New York regulators have fallen behind in creating and implementing dozens of plans intended to protect forest preserve lands and to provide the public opportunities to enjoy them.
Called unit management plans, or UMPs, these documents are legally required for Adirondack and Catskill Park forest preserve. They include inventories of fish, wildlife, natural and cultural resources, identify current and proposed public uses and list schedules for implementing new projects.
RELATED: A unit management plan, explained
An Adirondack Explorer investigation found vast tracts of the 2.69 million acres of the Adirondack Park Forest Preserve are either guided by decades-old plans or have none.
Here are some of the findings by the numbers.
The Adirondack Park is about 6 million acres. About 2.69 million acres are public lands designated as the forest preserve. These lands are protected under the state constitution and require UMPs under the Adirondack Park Agency Act passed 50 years ago.
Between 1999 and 2004, four Adirondack Park UMPs were adopted, not including amendments to existing ones.
Fourteen units have draft UMPs or draft amendments.
Four units covering about 450,000 acres have draft UMPs previously released for public comment. These include: Lake George Wild Forest, Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Ferris Lake Wild Forest and Wilcox Lake Wild Forest.
Five units totaling about 332,000 acres have no UMPs and are not on the DEC’s list to get one anytime soon. These units include: Round Lake Wilderness, Sargent Ponds Wild Forest, Little Moose Wilderness, William C. Whitney Wilderness and West Canada Lake Wilderness.
Approximately 1,881,000 acres have UMPs. Click on the map below to see the park’s unit boundaries and the status of each’s UMP.