The proposed final draft of the Hoffman Notch Wilderness Unit Management Plan has been released by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Adirondack Park Agency.
DEC staff presented the plan to the APA board Feb. 16 to consider the UMP’s compliance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. A determination of compliance will be made by the APA at its monthly meeting in March.
APA will accept public comments until noon Wednesday, March 7. The final step in the process is approval of the plan by DEC.
The Hoffman Notch Wilderness consists of 38,500 acres of forest preserve lands in the towns of North Hudson, Minerva and Schroon. The area is generally bounded on the north by the Boreas Road, on the east by the Adirondack Northway, on the south by Hoffman Road, and on the west by the boundary of Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest.
The Hoffman Notch Wilderness offers many recreational opportunities, including hiking, cross country skiing, camping, canoeing, hunting, trapping and fishing. With more than 18 miles of marked trails available, the public can reach a variety of natural attractions such as Hoffman Notch and Mt. Severance, as well as popular fishing locations at Bailey Pond or Big Pond. Other water bodies providing additional recreational uses include Big Marsh, North Pond, Sand Pond and Marion Pond.
The unit management plan proposes to develop an approximately 12.5-mile segment of the North Country National Scenic Trail, including 6.6 miles of newly-constructed trail, through the southern portion of the Hoffman Notch Wilderness. The plan also proposes to construct a lean-to near Platt Brook and a primitive campsite on Bailey Pond.
NCNST is a proposed 4,600 mile non-motorized trail system from Lake Sakakawea, N.D., to Lake Champlain. One of eight federally designated National Scenic Trails, the Adirondack portion of the NCNST will stretch 140 miles and connect with a number of Adirondack communities. More information on the Adirondack portion of the NCNST can be found at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/39658.html.
Additional management actions proposed by DEC in the UMP include:
— designating the path south of Big Pond as a DEC trail that connects to the Big Pond Trail, creating a hiking and cross country skiing loop trail system between Hoffman Road and Loch Muller Road;
— constructing foot bridges over Hoffman Notch Brook near north end of Hoffman Notch Trail and over East Branch on the Big Pond Trail;
— re-routing a quarter mile portion of Hoffman Notch Trail north of Big Marsh to west side of Hoffman Notch Brook;
— constructing an approximately 4-mile section of trail on eastern portion of unit connecting Hoffman Road with Route 9 which may also serve as part of the NCNST;
— constructing an improved parking area along the Blue Ridge Road to serve as the northern trailhead for the Hoffman Notch Trail;
— constructing an improved parking area with signs and trail register along west side of Route 9;
— designating two primitive tent sites on Big Pond and one primitive tent site on North Pond; and
— improving the accessibility of trails to Bailey Pond and a portion of the Big Pond trail.
Unit Management Plans are required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan for each unit of state land in the Adirondack Park. The plans integrate the goals and objectives of the State Land Master Plan, related legislation, and resource and visitor use information into a single document.
The plan is available for viewing or downloading from the Adirondack Park Agency website at: www.apa.ny.gov/State_Land/index.html.
Written comments can be sent to Jim Connolly, Deputy Director of Planning, NYS Adirondack Park Agency, P.O. Box 99 Ray Brook 12977.