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Recently, inaccuracies have surfaced regarding the Department of Environmental Conservation's efforts to provide educational programming at Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve. Protection of natural areas is an important component of the DEC's mission.

State law requires the DEC to develop a management plan with significant public input for all state-owned properties. The DEC issued a draft management plan that lays out a comprehensive blueprint to care for and preserve the woods. The plan calls for gradually increasing public access to a portion of the woods. It does not call for unlimited, uncontrolled access. Public access in specific areas will allow visitors to enjoy and learn about the woods and help foster community support for our preservation efforts. Also, nearly one-third of the property will be left off-limits to public access as a sanctuary.

As a test of our access plan, we opened a self-guided trail at Reinstein Woods in 2003 that is regularly monitored by DEC staff and volunteers. This trail has provided visitors the opportunity to learn about and enjoy nature at their own pace.

Educating the next generation of environmental stewards is one of our most important goals. It is not only important, but mandatory that we provide access and information to those who seek a personal connection to the natural world.

Gerald F. Mikol

Regional Director, DEC