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New York State Ornithological Association, Inc.

[letter on Raquette Boreal Forest]

October 16, 2006

Keith Rivers, NYSDEC
7327 State Route 812 
Lowville, NY 13367

Dear Mr. Rivers,

The New York State Ornithological Association (NYSOA) is pleased with many of the Department of Environmental Conservation management actions detailed in the Draft Unit Management Plan for the Raquette Boreal area: maintaining high quality of water; keeping soil erosion and compaction to limits that closely approximates the natural erosion process; undertaking the management of invasive plant species in the Raquette Boreal Forest. However NYSOA feels that the Draft UMP concerning motor vehicle access to the “Lassiter Easement” lands and the Forest Preserve lands east of Carry Falls Reservoir is a violation of the State Land Master Plan and should not be allowed.

Allowing the Town of Colton to build a bridge over the Raquette River would for the first time give public access to this very sensitive Boreal habitat.  Increased motorized vehicles including ATV’s and snowmobiles would cause irreversible damage to the natural environment.

The  Raquette Boreal Forest presently is a healthy remnant of the Canadian and Siberian Taiga.  Spruce Grouse and the Common Loon are already on New York State’s “Species of Special Concern” list.  Building this bridge, the “Bridge to Nowhere” would allow access to this important ecosystem.  The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan states that no new roads will be constructed on ADK Park Lands unless essential to protect the area.  The “Bridge to Nowhere” does not link any existing roads or trails.  It is not necessary!

The Draft Unit Management Plan for the Raquette Boreal Forest discusses sixteen (16) alternative actions but rejects all of them in favor of the bridge to be built by the Town of Colton.  The New York State Ornithological Association strongly opposes the idea of building this bridgeWe feel that the public does not need additional motorized access to this area, the main reason given for opening up the Raquette Boreal Forest.  Public use is not only less important than but detrimental to efforts aimed at keeping this intact habitat healthy.  NYSOA supports Alternate #1, the no action alternate which protects the fragile wildlife habitat east of Carry Falls Reservoir.

Very truly yours,

Gail M. Kirch
Conservation Co-chair

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