DEC may open land in Mayfield, Bleecker to hiking and cross-country skiing

MAYFIELD – The New York state Department of Environmental Conservation is preparing a recreation management plan for the 3,200-acre Sacandaga West Conservation Easement lands in Fulton County, a news release said.

The Sacandaga West Conservation Easement lands consist of six separate tracts in close proximity in the towns of Mayfield and Bleecker.

“While there are currently few developed recreational facilities in the Sacandaga West Easement, the area offers great opportunities for cross-country skiing, hiking, snowmobiling and wildlife viewing,” said DEC Commissioner Martens.

Martens said the DEC may open the lands for the first time to hiking and cross-country skiing while maintaining snowmobile access.

As part of the process, people will be able to give their ideas for the plan and management of the lands to DEC staff at a public open house May 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the Mayfield High School auditorium

The lands of the Sacandaga West Conservation Easement are part of the 89,000-acre Upper Hudson Woodlands Easement, which was formerly owned by Finch Pruyn & Co. New York state purchased the easement in 2010 prior to the lands being sold to the current owner – Upper Hudson Woodlands ATP.

The conservation easement primarily protects the lands from development and ensures the ability to continue sustainable forestry practices, the release said. Limited public recreation rights also were purchased under the conservation agreement.

Of the six tracts in the Sacandaga West Conservation Easement, four tracts are located in the town: the 813-acre Jackson Summit Road West tract, the 588-acre Dennie Road tract, the 345-acre Ferguson Mountain tract and the 46-acre Jackson Summit Road East tract.

Two tracts are located in Bleecker: the 789-acre Hohler Road tract and the 619-acre Benson Road tract.

Tolmantown Road, Tannery Road and County Route 125 are the predominate points of access for the public to the tracts.

According to the release, much of the public’s interest is in the recreational opportunities available include: snowmobile trails on the Benson Road and Hohler Road tracts; cross-country skiing on the Dennie Road Tract; and a hiking trail on Bernhardt Mountain, which has views of the Great Sacandaga Lake and surrounding hills.

The DEC will draft a recreation management plan for these lands based on the public recreational rights identified in the conservation easement agreement and comments from the public.

A draft recreation management plan for the Sacandaga West Conservation Easement Lands will be completed by DEC and released for public review and comment in the near future, a news release said.

People or organizations looking to submit comments also can contact planning coordinator Allison Buckley at: NYSDEC, PO Box 1316, Northville, NY 12134; by telephone at 863-4545, Ext. 3007; or by e-mail at