DEC Releases Draft Strategic Plan for State Forest Management
On September 3, 2010, DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis announced the release of a draft “Strategic Plan for State Forest Management.” The plan will guide management of the 786,000-acre state forest holdings. Key goals of the draft plan focus on eco-system health and diversity, economic benefits, forest conservation, recreation and sustainable management.
According to DEC, this is the first time the agency has produced a strategic plan for all the state’s forest holdings. In addition to outlining a vision for sustainable management, the plan provides a template for state foresters to develop individual unit management plans for dozens of forest units over the next decade.
There are 442 state forests in New York. This does not include Adirondack and Catskill parks, home to the constitutionally protected Forest Preserve. The first state forest, Hewitt State Forest in Cortland County, was purchased by the state in 1929. The most recent acquisition is the Hemlock/Canadice State Forest, purchased in June 2010.
Managed by professional foresters, state forests play a major role in New York’s landscape by: (1) allowing for the sustainable use of natural resources; (2) providing watershed protection; (3) serving as a valuable source for the state’s forest products industry; and (4) providing hundreds of thousands of annual visitors with access to lands for hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, boating, snowmobiling and other activities.