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Minerva officials surprised by DEC campsite removals

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has closed the several campsites next to the Boreas River on the North Woods Club Road in the town of Minerva. Here is one of those campsites. Unsafe trees in the campsites have been marked for removal, and they will be reopened as soon as resources are available.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has closed the several campsites next to the Boreas River on the North Woods Club Road in the town of Minerva. Here is one of those campsites. Unsafe trees in the campsites have been marked for removal, and they will be reopened as soon as resources are available. Photo by Andy Flynn.

— The removal of several state campsites along the North Woods Club Road grabbed the attention of Minerva Town Board members during their April 5 meeting.

Highway Superintendent Bruce McGinn informed the board at the meeting that the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has been closing campsites along the North Woods Club Road.

DEC Region 5 spokesman David Winchell confirmed April 10 that four campsites clustered near the North Woods Club Road bridge over the Boreas River were recently closed. All are located in the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest. The closure was a safety issue, as there are too many “hazard trees” located in the campsites.

“Hazard trees are dead or dying trees that pose a risk to the safety of people that may use the sites,” Winchell said. “As resources allow, DEC will remove the hazard trees and rehabilitate this heavily used group of campsites.”

During their meeting, Minerva Town Board members expressed concern over why the campsites were being closed and the potential impact this could have on tourism.

Winchell said the DEC’s campsite rehabilitation on the North Woods Road is temporary; the state will develop a parking area and picnic area at the location, and a couple of new camping sites will be designated at other locations near the Boreas River.

“DEC understands the importance of these campsites and other recreational infrastructure on the Forest Preserve to local economies,” Winchell said. “Staff will be assigned as soon as resources allow to undertake the work needed to make the area safe again and to develop new campsites.”

(Phillip Sherotov contributed to this story.)

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