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DEC Announces VUM Public Forums

DEC Announces VUM Public Forums

April 26, 2023

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the first round of public meetings for the Visitor Use Management (VUM) project. Public and stakeholder input will play a key role in helping to develop Visitor Use Management Frameworks (VUMFs) for the Eastern High Peaks and Kaaterskill Clove areas.

Announced last month, the VUM project is being led by Otak, Inc., a research, planning, and design firm headquartered in Portland, Oregon, to help develop sustainable recreation solutions at these popular destinations. Otak has conducted visitor use planning and research for the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and other agencies. The VUMF is a transparent, science-based, and adaptable process that will transform how New York manages the Forest Preserve. By engaging in this collaborative process, New York will see better-protected public lands, and improved visitor experiences and safety in the Catskill and Adirondack Parks. ADK pushed for the development of VUMFs in the Forest Preserve as part of the High Peaks and Catskill Advisory Groups.

Public input will provide important data for guiding this process. The first two public meetings will take place at the following dates and locations:

  • High Peaks Project Area in the Adirondacks: May 9, 2023, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Harrietstown Town Hall Auditorium, 39 Main Street, Saranac Lake 12983
  • Kaaterskill Clove Project Area in the Catskills: May 10, 2023, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Coppertree Restaurant, Hunter Mountain Base Lodge, 64 Klein Avenue, Hunter 12442

The DEC and Otak will hold a second round of public meetings in 2024 to present draft management recommendations. Additionally, comments are welcome at any time via email. To submit comments, or for additional information about the public meeting, contact Otak’s public participation team at vum-facilitators@rossstrategic.com.

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