Notice: I've taken a part-time job, and it's definitely affecting my blogging time. I'll continue to add content here as often as possible. Pertinent guest posts are always welcome.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Reporting Illegal Activities on the NCT

including portions of an article by New York State DEC Ranger Jim McPherson as published in the Central New York Chapter newsletter, April 2009

A valid question one might ask is, "To whom should I report a non-emergency problem or illegal activity that I observe on the North Country Trail?" While it would make perfect sense for there to be one agency to handle such reports, such is not the case.

The answer lies in the management paradigm. For one agency to handle all issues there would need to be something known as corridor management to be in place. This means that no matter what political land division the trail traversed, that some width of right-of-way would have the same rules and the same management authority for the entire length of the trail. In reality, there are over 150 land owners along the length of the trail, and each has their own rules and enforcement agency.

On New York State lands controlled by the Department of Environmental Conservation, eg. State Forests, we now have a definitive answer as to whom to call with reports of illegal hunting, motorized vehicle use, cutting, dumping, etc. That answer is given by NYDEC Ranger Jim McPherson:

While hiking the Finger Lakes Trail or The Link Trail/ North Country Trail on DEC lands, should you encounter illegal activities reporting to the appropriate police agency will help to get that situation corrected. The DEC grants “care, custody and control” of DEC managed & administered lands to the New York State Forest Rangers. Forest Rangers are police officers who specialize in enforcement of the state’s Environmental Conservation Law and all other laws in order to protect the public using those lands and the state’s environment. Rangers are also authorized through legislation to conduct search & rescue operations and to handle wildfire suppression & wildfire management incidents in the fire towns and fire districts of New York State.

Report any in progress violations or incidents on DEC lands as emergencies to the DEC Ray Brook Emergency Dispatch Center @ 518-891-0235. They will dispatch the Forest Ranger assigned to that district, or if unavailable the closest available DEC officer, to handle the complaint.

Central New York Chapter

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