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NYS Strategic Plan for State Forest Management published

January 4, 2011

Happy New Year! 2011 promises to bring forth many new and exciting things for us at PRI. It also means that we’re closer to the date that the DEC will release the final sGEIS that they have been hard at work on. While there is no news on the official date that will be released, the NYS Strategic Plan for State Forest Management has been released. A tome in its own right, the plan discusses ecosystem management, resource protection, management of infrastructure on state forest land, forest management and health, and what we’re interested in here at PRI, mineral resources.

Mineral resources on State Forest lands is discussed at length in Chapter 5. Some interesting things discussed in the plan are highlighted here.

  • There are currently 132 active wells,  76 historical wells, no commercial mines, active and historic pipelines, and 6 natural gas storage sites located on State Forest lands. There is also additional land from which natural gas is being extracted without surface access rights.
  • While there are efforts to correct this, in some cases State Forest land has been separated from its mineral rights.
  • In almost all situations (state land or other), courts have decided that the owner of the mineral rights has the right to use the surface lands in their attempt to access the minerals. “Reasonable use” must then be argued by the surface landowner.
  • If land is leased for mineral access, the area in question must not 1) be located within a 250 foot buffer of water bodies and wetlands, 2) have a slope greater than 15%, 3) have archeological or cultural merit, 4) known occurrences of rare or endangered species, 5) other Natural Areas designated, 6) spring seeps, vernal pools (and an appropriate buffer around those areas).
  • Conifer plantations and fields will be considered for leasing before unevenly aged forest conditions

These are only a few of the stipulations put forth by the NYS Strategic Plan for State Forest Management. Visit DEC’s website to learn more.

Have any thoughts about the NYS Strategic Plan for State Forest Management? Share them with us!

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