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DEC public meeting on Kaaterskill Falls

New postPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:37 am
by dave
Public Meeting Set for Kaaterskill Wild Forest Management Plan
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will host a public information meeting and open house to solicit public input and recommendations to amend the Kaaterskill Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP) as it relates to management of the heavily utilized Kaaterskill Falls area. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m. at the Hunter Town Hall, 5748 Route 23A, Hunter, Greene County.

"We look forward to hearing from a wide range of constituencies on how to make Kaaterskill Falls a safer and more enjoyable destination for everyone to visit," said DEC Regional Director Keith Goertz. "DEC is committed to protecting and maintaining this unique natural and historic treasure in a manner that is safe for the public and consistent with forest preserve management principles."

"I am very pleased that DEC is taking the public safety issue at Kaaterskill Falls seriously," said Assemblyman Peter D. Lopez. "Our shared goal is to continue to offer the public a chance to view the breathtaking beauty of the falls while properly managing the threats people may encounter. This public forum is an important opportunity for all of us to be a part of preserving public access to this scenic area while assuring the state provides the appropriate resources needed to protect the safety of visitors. I have been working diligently with public officials, local residents, emergency responders and the DEC to find practical solutions. We encourage the public to be a part of this important forum."

As an initial step to address safety concerns at Kaaterskill Falls, DEC installed approximately 200 feet of split-rail fencing at the top of the falls and another 150 feet of fencing at the base of the falls to discourage the public from entering hazardous areas. DEC also installed additional signage warning the public about the danger of leaving the marked and maintained areas.

Individuals are also encouraged to submit recommendations to DEC via email or by mail to Josh Borst, NYS DEC, 65561 State Highway 10, Suite 1, Stamford, NY 12167. Comments will be accepted through Jan. 16, 2015.

DEC will use the information gathered during this public comment period to prepare a draft amendment to the Kaaterskill Wild Forest management plan that will address management of the Kaaterskill Falls area. DEC will release the draft amendment for public review and comment.

DEC prepares unit management plans to assess the natural resources of specific parcels of DEC-managed lands, and to identify opportunities for public use that are consistent with the classifications of the lands and the ability of the resources and ecosystems to accommodate such uses.

For more information about the UMP process visit DEC's website.

From those who attended the meeting it seems that little will happen on this matter. The DOT didn't attend. Rep Peter Lopez did attend. EMS/SAR did attend. About 5 hikers were there. The press also attended. To truly fix the problem would require a large expenditure of money, which none of the government agencies are willing to do. We believe that nothing will change in the number of deaths at KF, and the parking situation will get substantially worse in the next 5 years.

Re: DEC public meeting on Kaaterskill Falls

New postPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:42 pm
by mike
The only real way to reduce the number of deaths at KF is to lengthen the hike. Right now at 2/3 of a mile, it is way too short. When people get there they are have too much energy. Then they start to explore. That is how the Flip-Flop Hikers get killed.

I don't think the fence will stop people for long. It is a short-term band-aid.

They want to put a platform on top to make the top safer. Most serious hikers don't like this idea. I think they could cut some views from the Rail Trail or open Prospect Point.

They talk about a shuttle bus, but I seriously don't think that will happen. When they did that in GNP, it didn't reduce road traffic. It just increased the number of visitors.

They really have no plans to fix the traffic and parking problems on the road. We suggested that they open the old Rip Van Winkle Trail. This would allow 300 cars to park, and get everyone off the road. I don't see that happening.

Re: DEC public meeting on Kaaterskill Falls

New postPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 2:32 pm
by mike
I think most serious hikers would not want to see a platform at the top of the falls. Not sure about the fence.

Cutting open some views is ++++. Making the hikes long is an EXCELLENT idea. Too tired to venture into the danger zone. It needs to look natural. I don't want it to look like some tourist trap.

Re: DEC public meeting on Kaaterskill Falls

New postPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:44 pm
by bikenhike
Maybe putting up a cable railing like they have in some of the national parks might be a good option for accessing the middle pool. But, it sounds like they don't want anyone in there. No matter how hard they try, people are still going to go into the pool.

Re: DEC public meeting on Kaaterskill Falls

New postPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:21 am
by mtnclimber
there has been differences between the DOT and DEC for many years. About 10 years ago when they were fixing the road between the upper parking lot and Bastion Falls, the DOT wanted to create a walkway off Rt 23a. The DEC refused to allow it, and frustrated the DOT, and delayed the completion of the project. Some of the story was on wikipedia about it. A decade later the DEC now wants a walkway, and the DOT probably has the attitude of too late. The DOT could have put it in at the same time as fixing the road with very little additional cost. Now it is going to cost money to fix.The DOT is now going to get screwed twice for the DEC screw up.

If notice, that the DEC has tons of land, but never wants to put parking for the use of their land on it. Even in the ADK's, people park on DOT land to access DEC land. The DEC needs to change their position. It can't cost that much to put in parking on DEC land. Instead, they dump their problems on the DOT and the public. Driving up and down Rt 23a near Bastion Falls is a horrible nightmare.

Sorry for venting, but the DEC created this problem, and now they don't want to spend money to fix it. They want everyone else to pay for it.

Re: DEC public meeting on Kaaterskill Falls

New postPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 10:22 pm
by mike
A cheaper solution would be to greatly expand the Scutt PA, and make people hike from there. It would lengthen the hike 300% and get all the cars off the road.

Re: DEC public meeting on Kaaterskill Falls

New postPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:30 am
by mtnclimber
I don't think that the Schutt PA will make the hike that much longer. But, it would get them off Rt 23a.

Re: DEC public meeting on Kaaterskill Falls

New postPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 3:43 pm
by mike
I went back and calculated the mileage, and it would be under a mile. Still a viable option. But, opening up the old Rip Van Winkle trail is the only way to do it successfully. That would cost money.