ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Taconic Ridge State Forest and Berline State Forest annexed new land, preserving 5,789 acres of wilderness, creating recreational opportunities for nature-lovers, and supporting the local economy. The newly protected critical open-space habitat includes 2,446 acres adjoining Taconic Ridge and 3,343 acres added to Berlin State Forest through a partnership with the Conservation Fund.
New York Gov. Cuomo made the announcement Monday afternoon.
These acquisitions double the size of these state forests and allow better connections to recreational resources like the Taconic Crest Trail. Beyond recreation, state forest lands managed by the Department of Environmental Conservation produce timber while protecting watersheds and wildlife habitat, like the tributaries of the Little Hoosic River, a wild trout stream.
The new land is four parcels of Cowee Forest, former privately-owned woodlands scattered around the borders shared by New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts that supported local mills for generations. New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation recently bought the parcels—known as Stickles, Nugent, East Mountain, and Misery Mountain—for $4.85 million from the Environmental Protection Fund.
The rolling hills and scenic vistas of the Taconic Mountains are crisscrossed by 34 miles of trail. The Rensselaer Plateau supports critical wetland and forest ecosystems, home to diverse wildlife like black bear, fisher, otter, bobcat, and moose.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “New Yorkers and visitors alike will have new opportunities for outdoor recreation in the Taconics thanks to these significant acquisitions, which will expand the Capital Region’s State Forests and the many benefits they provide to wildlife, habitat, water quality, and our ongoing fight against climate change.”
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