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DEC crafts new management plan for the Winona Forest area

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ELLISBURG — The state Department of Environmental Conservation is still seeking comments on a draft of a management plan for the Winona Forest.

The forest covers 9,233 acres of land in Jefferson and Oswego counties in portions of Ellisburg, Lorraine and Boylston, and sits on the western edge of the Tug Hill Plateau.

The draft of the new plan includes the addition of two new trails near the Civilian Conservation Corps campsite, the rehabilitation of existing trails, a relisting of allowed uses on certain trails and a new signage system for the forest trails that will be less confusing for users.

“The area of Winona Forest receives a lot of recreational use, particularly in the wintertime, especially because of the snow,” DEC spokesman Stephen W. Litwhiler said. “We’re trying to enhance and continue that as much as we can while trying to keep up with the forest management.”

The new ski trails include a 0.2-mile trail near Bargy Road and a 0.4-mile trail beginning at the southern leg of the Dogleg Trail, which would provide a shorter loop for skiers.

A rating system for ski-trail difficulty also is being considered.

A short snowmobile path near the Bronze Trail is being considered to reduce conflicts around the CCC Camp during special events.

The draft plan also includes the goal of restoring the forest’s CCC camp to its original condition, applying for its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places and enhancing the surrounding site, which includes a collection of nearby cemeteries and the fire ponds created by the Corps.

The full plan can be viewed at http://wdt.me/FTSCY2.

Those interested in filing a comment about the plan can do so by writing Senior Forester Ed Sykes at NYSDEC, 7327 Route 812, Lowville, N.Y. 13367, or emailing r6ump@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

Comments about the management plan will be taken until Aug. 1.

Mr. Litwhiler said that by the end of October, the department hopes to incorporate public comments into a new draft, so a final plan could come out by the end of this year.

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