DEC seeks comments on Speculator management plan

The state Department of Environmental Conservation will host a public meeting later this month to take comments and ideas for a recreation plan for land in the south-central Adirondacks.

The Perkins Clearing-Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement already offers various hiking, paddling, biking and fishing options. But the DEC is working on developing a recreation management plan (RMP) for the privately owned land.

The two tracts total about 36,000 acres in the Wells-Speculator-Arietta area of Hamilton County and borders several state land units. The land is owned by the Lyme Timber Company, which still conducts logging operations but has entered into a conservation easement agreement with the state to allow public recreation.

The DEC will host a meeting to take suggestions on the RMP at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25 at the Lake Pleasant Central School in Speculator. Written comments will be accepted until May 11. DEC staff will be on hand at the meeting to provide information on the two tracts.

The DEC says in its description of the tract that there are a system of dirt roads that provide access to the interior of the land. The tract is also home to several rivers that provide paddling opportunities, as well as hiking trails to Spruce Lake, Long Pond and the fire tower peak Pillsbury Mountain. Camping, mountain biking, snowmobiling and hunting and trapping are also allowed.

“The RMP is being developed to assess existing recreational resources, identify opportunities for recreational use, and consider the ability of the resources and ecosystems to accommodate public use,” the DEC wrote in a press release. “The RMP is required under the easement and must be completed before new recreational facilities such as trails, tent sites, and parking areas can be constructed.”

Since the property is privately owned, the DEC says recreationists should expect to run into heavy equipment and logging trucks. The timber company also leases more than 100 hunting camps on the properties, which the public is prohibited from entering.

Written comments may be sent by mail to Forester Allison Buckley, NYSDEC, P.O. Box 1316, Northville, NY 12134, or by email to Include “Perkins Clearing-Speculator Tree Farm” in the subject line.