The NY DEC has announced a draft proposal to update regulations governing public use of New York's vast network of Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). The proposed changes would bring consistency with …
The NY DEC has announced a draft proposal to update regulations governing public use of New York's vast network of Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). The proposed changes would bring consistency with the existing rules for state forests, campgrounds, and other DEC lands, and clearly make the rules and guidance that are already in place easier to understand, and to make these rules enforceable. DEC is accepting public comments on the draft proposal until May 24.
New York State has more than 120 WMAs containing 250,000 acres, including 124,000 acres of forests and grasslands and 53,000 acres of wetlands. DEC also manages an additional 38,000 acres of land, including Unique Areas and Multiple Use Areas, for a total of close to 140 areas that thousands of people visit and enjoy each year.
The draft proposals will continue to prioritize activities that include hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife viewing. Some of the highlights of the draft include: 1. Prevent the introduction of aquatic invasive species by prohibiting their transport to WMA waters while boating; 2. Only allow non-motorized boats or boats with electric motors, except when posted open or permitted by DEC. Boats would also be prohibited from being moored, stored or anchored overnight;
3. Prohibit the discharge of firearms other than for hunting or trapping, except when using paper targets at areas clearly posted as open to target shooting and with suitable backstops. Also to prohibit breakable targets, such as clay pigeons, and paintballs and paintball guns;
4. Clarify and make enforceable restrictions on motor vehicles and motorized equipment prohibited in WMAs. Snowmobiles would be allowed on designated routes covered by a minimum of three inches of snow or ice and only between the close of the regular big game hunting season until March 31. This regulation also prohibits motorized vehicles or bicycles on posted roads and motorized vehicles of any kind off-road, unless with DEC approval;
5. Prohibit gatherings of more than 20 people without a permit; 6. Require owners or trainers to keep dogs on a leash and under control, with exception when dogs are being legally used for hunting or training for hunting on lands designated as dog-training areas during designated training seasons set by regulation; 7. Prevent underage drinking, and lastly, 8. Remove existing regulations that are redundant or obsolete.
For more information and to make comments on the draft proposals that must be submitted before May 25, go to: email@example.com or send by mail to: Bureau of Wildlife, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12223-4754.
Jack Danchak is a longtime sportsmen and spent 30 years as the President of the Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs of Sullivan County, Inc.
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