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June 28, 2013

DEC approves Chenango forest management plan

Staff Report
The Daily Star

---- — A plan to manage four state forests in western Chenango County has been approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. 

The Pharsalia Woods Unit Management Plan covers 13,622 acres and includes four state forests: New Michigan, Pitcher Springs, Perkins Pond and Pigeon Hill, located in the towns of Pharsalia, Plymouth, Pitcher, and Otselic. 

“These forests offer a wide variety of recreational opportunities for all of the public including a lean-to for camping on Perkins Pond State Forest,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a media release. “DEC staff work diligently at maintaining our forests for multiple-uses and it clearly works well in places like Pharsalia Woods.”

New Michigan State Forest’s name will be changed to Pharsalia Woods to more accurately reflect the history and geography of the area. All maps and information on the DEC web site will be updated to reflect this change.

The plan outlines management activities on the unit for the next 20 years and defines goals and objectives for various issues, including biodiversity, timber and public recreation. The Audubon Society has designated a portion of the unit in the town of Pharsalia as an “Important Bird Area” because it is a regional migratory concentration site and provides breeding habitat for a wide variety of forest nesting species. 

The forests contain 231 acres of roads and developed areas, nine acres of quarries, 11 acres of open land, 58 acres of shrub land, 347 acres of open/shrub wetlands, 1,603 acres of forest wetlands, 751 acres of mixed hardwoods/natural conifers, 5,558 acres of natural hardwoods, and 5,054 acres of conifer plantation. Hunting, fishing and trapping are permitted except where prohibited by regulation, law or sign. 

Snowmobiling is one of the most popular activities, according to the release. The Nine Mile Trail on New Michigan State Forest is part of the Corridor Trail 7 and is a popular regional destination for snowmobiling. A portion of the Finger Lakes Trail traverses through the Unit on Perkins Pond State Forest and New Michigan State Forest.

Mark Money, vice president of the Chenango Sno-Rides snowmobile club, said his group has worked with the DEC to create a parking area for local snowmobilers to park and load or unload vehicles and equipment. 

“We appreciate the opportunity the DEC has provided in supplying the community with a safe environment to start and end the day of snowmobiling in Chenango County and beyond,” Money said in the release. 

The plan may be viewed online at 67631.html. Copies of the plan on CD are available for pickup at the DEC Lands and Forests office in Sherburne, at 2715 State Highway 80.