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Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Regulations on State Land in NY

from the New York DEC

On May 13, 2009 the DEC finally adopted the proposed amendments to the lands and forest regulations that had first been proposed in May of 2008.

These new rules apply to both the forest preserve (a/k/a the Adirondack Park) and all state lands under DEC control outside of the forest preserve, a/k/a unique areas, state forests, reforestation areas, multiple use areas, environmentally sensitive lands or those rights owned and managed by the State as conservation easements.

Here are the highlights that might have an impact on Finger Lakes Trail hikers and the FLTC:
1. Mushroom picking is prohibited except for personal consumption.
2. Snowmobiles and bikes can be used on any trail or forest road outside of the forest preserve except those specifically designated or posted by the DEC as closed to snowmobiles or bikes.
3. Any activity involving more than 20 people now requires a permit, including "sponsored hikes."
4. Weddings and commercial film making need a permit from the DEC to be held on state land.
5. The storage of personal property on state land is prohibited with a few exceptions:
     (A) a geocache that is labeled with the owner's name and address and installed in a manner that does not disturb the natural conditions of the site or injure a tree;
     (B) a camping structure or equipment that is placed and used legally pursuant to the regulations;
     (C) a legally placed trap or appurtenance that is placed and used during trapping season;
     (D) a tree stand or hunting blind that does not injure a tree, is properly marked or tagged with the owner's name and address or valid hunting or fishing license number, and is placed and used during big game season, migratory game bird season, or turkey season; or
     (E) a wildlife viewing blind or stand that is placed for a duration not to exceed thirty (30) days in one location per calendar year, does not injure a tree, and is properly marked or tagged with the owner's name and address or valid hunting or fishing license number.
6. Except as stated above, no one is allowed to erect, construct, occupy or maintain any structure that is affixed to a tree by nails, screws or other means that injure or damage the tree except as otherwise authorized by the department. "Structure is defined very broadly, and includes "signs."
7. Fires are prohibited on roads, trails, and in parking lots (apparently aimed at ending teenage gatherings.)
8. Unauthorized research projects are prohibited on state land.
9. The use of clay targets and other breakable targets is prohibited on state land.
10. The DEC can now prohibit target practice in specific areas by posting.
11. Paintballs and paintball guns cannot be possessed on state land.

The DEC also stated: "Numerous comments were received relating to dogs on leashes. This rulemaking does not address dog leash issues."

These rules do not apply to the portion of the finger Lakes trail that runs through state land under the control of the NYS Parks Department (like Allegany, Darien Lakes, Letchworth) or the Finger Lakes National Forest.

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