When I was younger I had the benefit of living next to a forest that had trails and places you could hike. Venturing off into the woods with friends on a trail was always and adventure. Even today I prefer taking a forest trail over the beaten path. What you might not know is that there is a lot to maintaining a forest and if you own forest land, you might want to attend one of these meetings scheduled by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation between now and the end of March.

The NYSDEC has announced a series of public meetings to offer the opportunity for forest landowners to have input on the Forest Tax Law Program's Section 480a. The main purpose of these meetings is to discuss program improvements including increasing compliance, reducing administrative burdens and improving forestry outcomes.

According to a recent press release from the NYSDEC DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos is quoted as saying "New York's forests provide scenic beauty, forest products, wildlife habitat, clean water, and clean air," And that "Forests are also integral to the uptake and storage of carbon and are a critical component in addressing the threats posed by climate change. The 480a program helps private forest landowners, which own 75 percent of New York's forests, and these meetings provide an opportunity to help DEC enhance the program and its benefit to all New Yorkers."

The same press release also states that the Forest Tax Law was enacted in 1974 for the purpose of giving people who owned 50 acres or more of forest that qualified, an incentive to continue producing forest crops. To date, there is more than 3,400 forest landowners with more than 1.2 million acres of private forest land enrolled in the program.

There will be 8 different meetings offered across the state. There will also be a webinar for those who can attend in person. Landowners, private consulting foresters participating in 480a and any other interested parties are encouraged to attend.

The schedule below was published in a press release dated Monday, Feb. 25. Two of the meetings take place in local Hudson Valley Towns, New Paltz and Millbrook.

February 26, 2019, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Finger Lakes Community College
Room 2185, Stage 14
3325 Marvin Sands Drive
Canandaigua, NY 14424

February 27, 2019, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Concord Town Hall
86 Franklin Street
Springville, NY 14141

March 5, 2019, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Martha Eddy Room, NYS Fairgrounds
581 State Fair Blvd.
Syracuse, NY 13209

March 7, 2019, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
SUNY Plattsburg
Cardinal Lounge-Angel College Center
Rugar Street
Plattsburg, NY 12901

March 14, 2019, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
DEC Region 4 Headquarters
1130 North Westcott Street
Schenectady, NY 12306

March 20, 2019, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
SUNY New Paltz
1 Hawk Drive
New Paltz, NY 12561

March 21, 2019, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
2801 Sharon Turnpike
Millbrook, NY 12545

March 27, 2019, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
DEC Region 6 Sub-Office
7327 Rt. 812
Lowville, NY 13367

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