RAY BROOK — The Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands in the northern Adirondacks will provide more recreational access under a draft Recreational Management Plan.
The Kushaqua Tract consists of about 19,000 acres of land in the towns of Franklin and Brighton formerly owned by International Paper Corp.
The plan includes proposals to construct campsites and designated parking areas; build new trails for motorized and non-motorized users; provide access for people with disabilities; enhance fishing access; and repair, upgrade and open more than 38 miles of existing roads for motorized and non-motorized uses, including ATVs, snowmobiles and automobiles.
“DEC worked cooperatively with private landowners and land managers to develop public access on these lands while protecting natural resources and retaining timber management jobs,” New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said in a news release.
A public meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, in the auditorium of Freer Science Building at Paul Smith’s College in Brighton.
The meeting will provide the public with an opportunity to learn more about the plan and provide comments.
DEC purchased a working forest conservation easement on the lands in 2004, which includes development rights and sustainable-forestry requirements. The easement also includes public access to more than 18,000 acres of the property and many miles of the existing road system.
The lands were purchased by Lyme Timber Co. in 2006, which continues to actively manage the lands for timber. The company also leases 31 one-acre camp parcels on the property.
DEC developed the plan to facilitate public recreational use of the lands and comply with the easement.
The agency consulted with the landowner and its forest management consulting and also obtained input from a variety of stakeholders, including local governments, snowmobile and ATV clubs, sports enthusiasts, hikers and club members.