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Hi - I'm looking for any follow-up info and opinions you may have on this topic posted in another thread by SleazyRider, where he said, "in the Neversink River Unique Area on County Road 101 (Cold Spring Road), an officer from the DEC came and closed it down [shooting area in gravel pit]! He explained that a lead study will be conducted due to concerns about the aquifer and nearby development."

I'm curious about the DEC's summarily deciding to post a restriction there, versus their refusal to do that at other abused sites just as bad where people have complained about all the usual things they would find offensive at them. If neighbor complaints can get that sign put up pretty easily and conveniently, doesn't it set a precedent that can be demanded in other places? If somebody in Ulster county makes the same complaint, can they use the precedent as pressure to get the same response? Or have it backfire and embarrass DEC into taking down the Neversink sign?

I'm also skeptical about DEC's claim of intent to do a lead investigation. I doubt they want to do that.

If there is not some kind of urgent need, an unusual or severe safety concern, some imminent threat to humans or the environment, is there a law empowering DEC to outlaw something that the legislature made legal? If the reason they gave SleazyRider was lead, then that may qualify as imminent danger if it appears to be threatening surface or ground water, thus the no-shooting restriction, but it would be bogus if they only used that as an excuse and are not doing anything about the lead, but only closed the place to appease somebody. So I wanted to know about this lead thing.

I wrote the DEC and asked if Neversink was restricted to "no shooting" because of lead, as mentioned above. I don't want to embarrass the DEC person who replied, in case their reply wasn't what it should have been, politically speaking. He's not in a politically appointed position making him a public figure, just a guy doing his job. However, I believe he gave me the truth, due to the nature of his reply, and the particular kind of job he has in the organization. He researched the matter and found that it was closed because neighbors complained about "an extraordinary amount of shooting," and he said that they are NOT doing a lead contamination study. In a second contact with him, he noted that he had specifically checked on the lead thing because I asked about that.

Oh, and there's another reason I believe him: DEC does not want to get into cleaning up lead at every shooting area on state land.
So which is it? The story they gave SleazyRider or the one they gave me? Or the one they gave the people who complained?
Another member here said that he saw a Forestburgh town board meeting where a citizen complained about the range last July. I verified that. Here is what was said at the meeting (names left out for their privacy, even though it is a public document - the write-up reads awkward but this is an exact copy cut-and-paste from their minutes):

"Also down in that neck of the woods, I have mentioned this to a few members of the Town Board, there is an issue going on down at the gravel banks on Cold Spring Road, and it's dumping of sorts, actually. Every weekend, for years, there are people that are down there shooting firearms on Saturdays and Sundays, and not just sighting in rifles with five or ten shots, but hundreds and hundreds of rounds per hour, have been dispensed down there. I would guess that over the years, there are probably tons of lead that has been deposited in that gravel bank, causing, obviously contamination to the ground and the water supply. Now it's a real concern to all of us who live in that area as it's our water supply, but at the same time, it's the same water supply that Lost Lake is going to use. Supervisor Xxxxxx stated that after Mr. Yyyyyyy mentioned this to him, about a week later he was driving by and there was a DEC officer there, so I stopped and asked him about it. He said he would look into it, but it was like her [he] never thought about it before I mentioned it all to him. Councilman Zzzzzz also stated that it's used for a garbage pit down there. Mr. Yyyyyy stated that the unfortunate part is that in the beginning, when people were just going down there to shoot for target practice, it was almost like it was an acceptable use, but what is going on there now is more than just target practice. It's going to be a contamination issue. Councilman Zzzzzzz stated that the DEC allowed it and Mr. Yyyyyyy replied absolutely and quite a few people on the road are concerned about it. Supervisor Xxxxxx stated that he would write a letter to the DEC about it."
Surprise! Nothing happened. No mention of the letter or a reply in any board meetings since then. It did not come up in the town board meeting minutes again until the same Mr. Yyyyyy raised it again in January 2012. Again, the odd text is what they have on record.

"The one thing that I have raised in the past and there are new people on the town board and they need to be made aware of this also. The "shoot 'em up" that is continuing at the gravel bank on Cold Spring Road. Besides it being a noise nuisance to the residents in that area, it has been, still is and is only going to get worse, with regard to an environmental issue, with the amount of rounds and the amount of lead that is being deposited in that place. I urge you again, do what you can with the DEC because they are in control of that property, I spoke with a DEC officer who lives down that way months ago, he said all he can do, they created regulations where people were bringing in microwave ovens and everything else to shoot at, so they created a regulation that you can only shoot at paper targets. But that is not enough, there is still pounds and pounds of lead that is left some evenings and most weekends. It's even going on this time of year, and I thought it would stop. In the last couple of years, I would guess that there are tons of lead that has been deposited in that gravel bank, only to the detriment of the aquifer, the creek and while we are talking about it, this is the aquifer that Lost Lake is tapping into. This is a real problem that the DEC needs to resolve. Anything you can do or get them to move on will be greatly appreciated. Superintendent Aaaaa stated that it sounded to him like the DEC authorized a rifle range down there. Ask the DEC for a copy of their management plan for their shooting range. Attorney Bbbbbbb stated that a meeting with the DEC should be requested to find out what is going on. Mr. Yyyyyy stated that if you asked the DEC how much lead are people allowed to dump there, I'm sure their response would be they aren't allowed to dump any lead there. Councilman Zzzzzz stated the property is a disgrace, someone picked up about five bags of garbage from around there and left them there and I picked it up. When I was there, I walked down there the place is an absolute disgrace. It's a garbage pit besides lead. Supervisor Cccccc asked Attorney Bbbbbb to write a letter to the DEC and schedule a meeting so we can walk through this together and see what we can do. "
That is the last record of it in town board meetings so far.

My contact with DEC was VERY recent, and their position on the matter was clear: Complaint of too much shooting led to a no- shooting restriction, and there is no lead investigation.

I don't believe this stuff about them making a regulation about paper targets only. What if I bring out a plastic target? At home I shoot at a plastic Folgers coffee can hanging from a string. They hold up nicely, don't shatter. I've been up and down the regs plenty, and all I see is "no breakables" (clays, glass, etc.), as everyone here knows. And obviously anything else shot and left behind is either litter or dumping (which is what I call TVs and microwaves). But DEC staff are not the only ones to blow smoke when asked a question, which is what it sounded like the town super got (or made up).

So, if the town complained to the DEC about lead, DEC must have declared it a non-issue (as I know they have done at other unofficial ranges on state land). I don't think they wanna go near the lead thing without about $50million added to their budget, because it would be a massive project to clean up the lead at all of these sites. They will only act on it if somebody points to a situation where there is likely to be endangered water. They get real touchy about lead in the water.

So unless Mr. Yyyyyy makes a strong case for a threat to the water he mentioned, DEC is going to shrug their shoulders and say, "There is no law against target shooting on state land." They may not like that position, but politically and fiscally, they need to stick to it. I don't think they have a choice, the way the law currently sits.

I hope to keeps tabs on this thing, and I'll let you know what comes up. I would appreciate any other info on it, and of course all your insights.

Best to all
EG
 

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The reg about no breakable targets is clear and has been mentioned here many times. Saying "paper-targets only" was probably just that person summing up what they were told incorrectly and or simply.

Thanks for looking into all of that and writing it up.
 

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Matthew Paul said to me " He went there and after looking at the mess decided it was time to close it to target shooting"
I have a post I am moving from News $ Politics to here regarding a meeting on the 13th.
 

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So officially they shut it down due to noise complaints? I dont think they have that power but if you want I can do a little looking into it and post all relevant law I can find and you can go through it and use it at the meeting.
 

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If you want to fight it as a back up plan to your proposal read these laws.

This link talks about the overall purpose of environmental conservation law.
Laws of New York

This link covers GENERAL FUNCTIONS, POWERS, DUTIES AND JURISDICTION (for for caps copied and pasted)
Laws of New York

This link are the general powers and duties of the DEC for lands and forests.
Laws of New York

So those are a good start for reading. You would need to take that email conversation showing that the range was shut down due to noise complaints and not lead issues. Then talk about how shutting down the range for noise complaints falls outside of there statuatory authorirty granted by the Environmental Conservation law and therefore rendering their no shooting order illegal. Just make sure you actually read the laws I posted and check to make sure there isnt something else I missed. As you read the laws try to interpret everything in your favor and also try to argue against your points from the viewpoint of the DEC so that way you can counter their arguments. If they are acting outside of their authority then you should fight it. If they are within their authority then there is not much you can do. Good Luck.
 

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So officially they shut it down due to noise complaints? I dont think they have that power but if you want I can do a little looking into it and post all relevant law I can find and you can go through it and use it at the meeting.
No they closed it due to the pig-sty mess left by filthy slobs. I have to say I have never in all my years been to a range that was even close to as big a mess. The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of those who carried junk it there and those who refused to clean up after themselves.
 

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No they closed it due to the pig-sty mess left by filthy slobs. I have to say I have never in all my years been to a range that was even close to as big a mess. The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of those who carried junk it there and those who refused to clean up after themselves.
The OP said he got confirmation that it was due to noise complaints. Also Yes it is wrong for it to be such a mess but I am not sure if the DEC has the authority to make that call to shut it down or not.
 

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The OP said he got confirmation that it was due to noise complaints. Also Yes it is wrong for it to be such a mess but I am not sure if the DEC has the authority to make that call to shut it down or not.
DEC Reg3 head MAtthew Paul told me himself that it was due to the mess. C'mon with me on the 13th so we can try to convince them to let us square it away....
 

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If you just want to square it away to keep shooting there and the mess is the real only reason then get a group of people that are willing to commit to help. Tell the DEC that your group is willing to clean it up and maintain the area. Tell them that if the area goes back into its former messy state that you and your group are willing to be held liable for the mess and willing to be fined accordingly. If it truly is just about the mess then that is a sweet deal for the DEC.

If it is about the noise however they wont be interested in that deal and you can either fight them or give up.
 

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So it appears that you can still shoot at the gravel pit at this point. I only say this based on the following.

This is apart of the new management plan they are going to hear public comments on the 13th.

Neversink River Unique Area - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Objective: Allowing public use of the 243 acre buffer zone by removingexisting Restricted Area signage. Close the Gravel Pit on Cold Spring Road toTarget Shooting.​
The Department will reduce the size of the buffer zone to an area encompassing thestructures associated with the hatchery. These buildings constitute an attractivenuisance and therefore public access will be restricted until demolition is complete.​
This temporary restricted area will be no greater than 36 acres in size.​
Uponthe successful demolition of the buildings along Eden Brook Road, the Departmentwill remove all signs associated with restricting the public's ability to access publiclands along Eden Road currently posted as a buffer zone for the Hatchery.Due to the negative resource impacts associated with excessive overuse, the
Department will close the gravel pit on Cold Spring Road to target shooting.

Notice it says will close and not has closed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi! OP here.

Thanks for all the feedback and info!

USMCVET Thank you for the links. Short on time at the moment but I will read them very carefully. I'm accustomed to searching laws and regs for useful stuff, and I know that no matter how much you read, there's always something more you have to read in another section to be certain you know the whole story. Never easy. But online tools sure help!

For clarification and some new info since my orig post:

- My first response from DEC said neighbors had complained about "extraordinary amount of shooting." No mention of noise pollution as the issue, or land pollution (garbage), or lead contamination. He said that they "decided to shut down the area because it did not conform to our management of the property." About the garbage, he said that the DEC would "eventually" remove it. I know what eventually means. Been there. Don't expect it to happen without further citizen action. When I followed up with further questions, that person said he sent my questions to R3 Ranger Captain Walsh. Never heard from him. Have not followed up yet, and didn't seem to be any point in doing that given the UMP revision. As USMCVET offered, there has to be research into whether DEC actually has authority to declare no shooting (whether via fiat, "management decision, or UMP rev).

- Another response from DEC I got since my OP, from another person, said:
"There is no lead study being conducted on the property. ... Some of the neighbors did mention lead as a concern but their primary issue with the range was the noise and litter. They provided me with no evidence that their water had been contaminated or showed any signs of elevated levels of lead. After investigating the complaint it was decided that the level of use was inconsistent with our management objectives on the property and was unreasonably affecting the quality of life of our neighbors and other users. It is for this reason we decided to close the range."

Yes "some of the neighbors" DID raise concerns about lead, as shown in town meeting minutes. And my read of those minutes makes that concern a substantial one at the meetings, not just an aside to other issues. And since when does a citizen have to "provide evidence" and "show signs" of a problem that it CLEARLY (in regs) DEC's responsibility to investigate? See what I mean about the paper chase? They make up the rules as they go along, and leave the burden of proving them wrong on you, of course. Examples of their having varying responses to shooting rights inquiries are scattered all over this section of the forums. One ranger says this, another that.

The toughest question is about their legal authority to take this particular kind of action on the basis of the highly subjective personal opinions of neighbor "quality of life and other users." (I assume he means other users of the land.) I can't be sure from the aerial views, but it seems that the nearest house is at least half a mile away ... and a resort about three quarters mile ... some people have more rights than others. If the Region 3 director bought a home nearby, or anybody politically or financially connected, the pit would be shut down, heavily patrolled, and cleaned up post-haste.

- Re: their legal authority to outlaw shooting at a site when the law says target shooting is legal in that state land: There is a good reason they call it a paper chase. I'd have to dig up the info I found, but I did not post about it here because it's vague and like many laws and regs you chase your tail trying to pin down something firm, which I suppose is why their General Counsel has the Declarative Ruling program to get laws clarified as applicable to a specific situation. It is also why so many things end up in court. Anyway, what it seems to boil down to from things I found in laws, regs and precedents is that it SEEMS they have administrative authority to make decisions in the public interest or to protect a natural resource, but of course they can't change regulations without a formal legal process through the state conservation council. Precisely what range of things they can do temporarily, as an interim measure ... that's a tough nut to crack. Maybe it's something worth seeking a Declaratory Ruling for ... but in my research on how that works, they could refuse to rule on it ... if they are a bit crafty in how they use their right to refuse, and why would DEC General Counsel rule in favor of an opponent to DEC's action? Again a matter for a lawyer and possible a judge. Government agencies and big corps have a great advantage in a fight: they can ignore you for a long time, then keep you in court until your funds are exhausted. The only real power we have is STRONG public outcry and press, and that has to be substantial, not a town hall meeting. However I will look hard at USMCVET's links and follow them around the paper chase to see what comes of it. It could be interesting, and might put the Region 3 people on hold about the UMP rev if somebody shows up at the 7/13 meeting wearing a suit, carrying a briefcase filled with a laptop and hard copy of a lot of gobbledygook laws, regs, and precedents. That won't be me, but I'll pass along what I find out as soon as I can so locals can consider it (I'm five hours away).

- The DEC AANR (Adopt-A-Natural Resource stewardship program) could be a way for shooting citizens to sell DEC on the idea that the area will be kept clean in hope they would keep it open to target shooting. Time to accomplish that is very short, as the Unit Mgmt Plan (UMP) revision public input meeting is 7/13 (Neversink River Unique Area - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation). Pull up AANR application from DEC site and bring it to the meeting. Any INDIVIDUAL or group can adopt ANYTHING within DEC jurisdiction - land, water, etc. Read the rules. Very straightforward.

- I think this is the bottom line that will have to be moved if the site will ever be re-opened to shooting: The UMP proposed revision says, "Due to the negative resource impacts associated with excessive overuse, the Department will close the gravel pit on Cold Spring Road to target shooting." Aha! So now the "real reason" changes to "negative resource impacts," not "quality of neighbor life." When I asked by what administrative procedure the shutdown occurred, I was referred to the captain who never replied. Suddenly there's a UMP revision on the table. I can't help it ... I suspect they could not produce a regulatory basis for the shutdown, so they went the UMP route. However it is possible they had the right to do a temporary shutdown. Even if the UMP rev is not a proper legal solution, it will be hard to get it changed once approved, especially without a lawyer. And you can bet there will be very few people at the 7/13 meeting and almost all of them very vocally supporting the UMP rev.

- How many shooters (clubs, statewide associations, NRA members and friends and family, etc.) can be gathered to attend the 7/13 meeting? Numbers will count. And citizens CAN and HAVE successfully demanded extended time for further public input on planned state actions, which allows time to organize.

Sorry to be so verbose. Bad habit. To fix it I have to edit three times, and I've run out of time for today.

Thanks again for the feedback and info. I'll be back!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Reviewing the Part I - Current Conditions portion of the UMP Revision:
Page 4-5:
"E. Cold Spring Road Gravel Pit
The Department allows limited target shooting on many of its state lands provided that such activity is
done in a safe manner, does not interfere with the enjoyment of the property by other users and does not
impact the resources of the land. Regulations [NYCRR Part 190.8 (bb)] address many of the issues
associated with shooting on State Land. The Department maintains the right to close areas to target
shooting if the activity is violating Environmental Conservation Law, State Land Regulations, or is
inconsistent with our management efforts on the property. The Gravel Pit on Cold Spring Road has been
used by target shooters for many years. Recently, it has been brought to our attention that the level of
use is excessive and affecting the quality of life of our neighbors. Some members of the public have
also observed unsafe practices by some of the users. After investigating the complaints, the Department
found that the area was littered with rubbish associated with target shooting and showed evidence that
the level of use was inconsistent with our management goals and objectives for State Lands. The
Department plans to clean the rubbish at the site and close it to target shooting."

Cute use of the regs: "Regulations [NYCRR Part 190.8 (bb)] address many of the issues
associated with shooting on State Land."

It is just the one that everyone here knows about, but for the record:
"190.8.bb. No person shall possess breakable targets, including but not limited to clay pigeons, on State
lands and no person shall target shoot at breakable targets, including but not limited to clay pigeons
and glass containers, on State lands. Unless legally engaged in the act of hunting, no person shall
discharge firearms on State lands posted or designated as closed to target shooting."

I guess that could be called "many of the issues associated with shooting on State Land." Sorta. It's
ALL the issues the regs address about target shooting.

On this from the UMP text: "does not interfere with the enjoyment of the property by other users and does not impact the
resources of the land" ... They cite one regulation conveniently availble, but I still want to know what
laws and regs say that the DEC has the sole authority to decide the degree of "interference," and
"enjoyment," and "impact" without any serious study of the matter, to use as the basis for a decision
that changes the effect of the law of the land.

As to this: "The Department maintains the right to close areas to target shooting if the activity is
violating Environmental Conservation Law, State Land Regulations, or is inconsistent with our management
efforts on the property." ... The violation stuff isn't grounds to change the effect of law governing
the use of the land. It is grounds to prosecute the offenders. As to the bit about "inconsistent with
our management efforts on the property," this is the great big gray area that I can't find clearly
defined in a way that someone can put on the table at the meeting and say something like, "This says
that you don't have sufficient authority to do this within your responsibility for 'management of the
property.'"

They manage the property very differently in one place than in another, where the properties have
comparable conditions and usages. If it is true that they may "maintain the right ... [if the activity]
is inconsistent with our management objectives," I doubt anybody is going to successfully make and
enforce the case that their management objectives do not include their proposed action.

I noted with interest that the UMP rev says that they "PLAN" to "close it to target shooting." Plan to?
Didn't they already put up a sign? I'll never be able to prove it, but I suspect that if nobody had
questioned the presence of the sign and the reasons for it, there would have been no UMP rev or any
other further action. They realized that they didn't have the authority to change the public's land
usage rights without a formal proceding with public input, i.e., something like a UMP rev.

I will still look at USMCVet's other links about overall authorities, etc. But as things stand at the
moment, the only way I see to prevent the UMP change is a lot of noise by opponents at the meeting, and
demand for another meeting. Then I'll bet, the DEC will, with as much fiat as they used to propose the
change on the grounds of "management objectives," drop it. Face it: Public outcry was the ONLY true
basis for the UMP change. Their "managment objectives" had nothing to do with it. All over the state
we hear from people talking about similar shooting areas. I KNOW THAT THE LOCAL RANGERS AND ECO'S KNOW
ABOUT THEM. But in almost every case they do not close the site to shooting. I know of one case where
they made it hard TO GET THERE with a blockade ... again solely because someone complained, after
decades of their doing nothing about the shooting activity being inconsistent with "management
objectives." I guess that their statutory interpretation of "management objective" includes the
provision "what to do when the right people complain."

SO -- A strong presence at the meeting, plus phone calls, emails, and letters, will be the only thing to
re-adjust their interpretation of "management objectives" BACK TO WHAT IT HAD BEEN FOR DECADES ... MAYBE
TEN OF THEM.

They ignore a problem essentially forever, then decide to do something about it only because of a
complaint. So the only answer is for other people to complain in the other direction. AND it would be,
I believe, a great help if locals adopted the site to keep it clean.

Then again, there is the lead issue. Unless they test the ground water and the surface water
downstream, they don't know if there's contamination. Lead contamination MIGRATES. That is a
scientific fact. And it is very clearly established fact that wildlife are affected, like birds dying
from ingesting lead pellets mistaken for grist or food. But will the DEC do anything about THAT?
Absolutely not. Not enough of the right people are complaining and doing their own soil and water tests
and wildlife studies.

I think we have to accept the fact that this is the way many laws, if not most of them, are practiced
and enforced. The law is there, the regulation is there, but they are used only when it is convenient
to certain people who want them used. So all NRA and local club members should be at that meeting.
Storm it. Or talk to a lawyer with extensive env law experience about DEC's right to make rules based
on local management objectives that have never been defined in writing and never enforced before.

It's not just about law and legal rights. It's about voice, and power, and who you know.
 

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Well I have a call into Aileen Gunther who is the legislator for this district and a Forestburgh resident. I will confer with her and try to get her on our side. She is also on the Assembly EnCon commitee...... She has worked with me before in fighting for the rights of disabled archers who wish to use the crossbow.
AS for getting it out there..... It's time to beat the bushes and tell everyone you know about it. Post it on Facebook ect.....
Remember.. The status quo sucks!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks again all for the great info and feedback.

As USMCVet has referred to in the link to § 17-0909 (Review by courts), the DEC can of course be held accountable for decisions they make that are illegal. So I wanted to know what they can legally do within the scope of "management goals and objectives" which is the basis for the no-shooting decision. (I have a special interest in how DEC makes decisions on certain kinds of things.)

I did a careful read of the Neversink UMP, another UMP, the general write-ups about UMPs, and the proposed no-shoot UMP change for the Neversink gravel pit on Cold Spring Rd. Here's what I come away with:

The UMP *IS* the document specifying the management goals and objectives for a DEC property area. Do a search on the words management and goal and objective in the current Neversink UMP. You'll see what I mean.

If DEC tells you they are acting to make some situation conform to the management goals and objectives for the property, they have the right and the duty to do it unless it is illegal or outside the specified management goals and objectives. There are some very broad-ranging goals and objectives in UMPs that give local DEC authorities lots of room to do things they want to do.

From everything I can see about the general provisions of UMPs and the provisions of the Neversink one in particular, DEC can make special rules like this no-shoot one when it is to maintain or improve conformity with the management goals and objectives as applied to some particular situation at some particular location as in this case. Unless someone comes up with evidence that their decision is illegal, they have the authority to make it.

Yes, even if it means modification of the overall regulations applying to all state land, a point I thought had some merit, but doesn't.

From the UMP:

Page 40:
-----------------------
P. Capacity of the Unit to Withstand Use

Any natural resource, ecosystem or man-made improvement has a certain limit of uses that it can withstand. The Neversink River Unique Area Management Unit is no exception and there are definite needs to limit human activities to prevent environmental degradation. Protecting natural resources within and around the Unit will have priority over demands of public use. … Rules and regulations, capital improvements, additional acquisitions, interpretive and enforcement personnel along with modifying those factors that encourage or discourage use are all methods that can be used to attain capacity use
without degrading the resources of the Unit.
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Page 44:
-------------------------
The Vision does not exclude smaller ecosystems or ecological communities occurring in the Unit. The Neversink River, tributaries, quarry rubble, sand and gravel quarries and fields are some of these smaller ecosystems that occur and will be protected, maintained and/or enhanced as needed.
-------------------------

and, by the way, there is an existing provision in the Neversink UMP for cleaning up trash, which could be an important point to use in negotiation with the neighbors:

Page 46:
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1. Litter Patrols and Maintenance Projects

DEC will provide regular monthly patrols and elimination of litter at access points and the ability to respond within 5 days of a reported severe litter or dumping occurrence. [ … some other routine maintenance things listed … ] These projects are accomplished by a NYS Dept. of Correctional Services community services inmate crew dedicated to DEC operational services (Operations).

Project: Maintain litter patrols
Time Commitment: 36 Work-days per year
Expected Cost: $2,500
Assigned To: D E C R e g i o n 3
Operations Inmate Crew
-------------------------

AND (drum-roll please), THE KICKER:

Page 61:
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J. Proposed Rules and Regulations (Title 6,NYCRR)
Specific rules and regulations for public use of the Neversink River Unique Area were developed in 1989. These rules and regulations are in addition to general land use prohibitions codified in Title 6, New York Codes of Rules and Regulations (6NYCRR), Part 190, and Article 9 of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL). Although DEC is embarking to develop a uniform set of rules and regulations that apply to all State lands, specific prohibitions will still be needed for the Unit. The following is a proposed revision of Title 6, NYCRR, Part 190.10(c), Rules and Regulations Pertaining to the Neversink
River Unique Area Management Unit: [several things listed, such as camping and fire rules that are not universal throughout the state, and could include shooting limitations].
-------------------------

I think it's safe to say that before a UMP is signed by the DEC Commisioner, it gets a careful legal review to make sure it isn't doing something outside the law.

vWhat about the equitability factor of allowing shooting at that site for so long, neglecting the damage being done, until one or two somebody's complained? Now all of a sudden they care? You won't convince a judge that past neglect justifies its continuation.

HOWEVER, the jello is not set yet. The proposed no-shoot UMP revision won't move on up the chain of command to the commisioner until they get mandatory public input. The sport-shooting public has to speak up, and plenty, NOW in writing and phone calls, AND at the 7/13 meeting ... the public comment period ENDS at 6PM that day. There is such a thing as appealing the decided comment period, something may be worth pursuing to get the time extended and a second public meeting.

Standing toe-to-toe with the DEC and those neighbors who complained, who now have the DEC's support, what will the shooting-sports community put on the table to push the decision in a direction other than what has been inked into the proposal already? (Ink is hard to erase.)

The DEC has ruled out lead contamination as an issue (so far). That leaves the other two complaints as the material issues at hand: noise and trash.

If a local organization, club, family or individual (though I think it will sell best if proposed by a formal club or group) adopts the site under an AANR agreement, that agreement could be designed to help DEC make their UMP change a nice compromise between the complaining neighbors and legit target practice shooters.

Obviously the AANR agreement would have to include a thorough cleanup of the site: ****-n-span as they say. And it would have to include a serious commitment to keeping it clean. No matter who trashes it, or how often, the adopter will keep it clean, and respond quickly if a neighbor complains.

I know from my own direct experience that a clean area is less likely to be abused than one already abused and left to stay that way. Conscience works in strange ways. Strange, but PREDICTABLE.

As you saw above, DEC is already committed to a 5-day response for severe litter or dumping. If you complain they are not doing that, their reason will be resource shortage, but they'll put it on a to-do list (I've been down that road with DEC and DOT).

Here's where there may be something solid to put on the table. The AANR program is specifically aimed at helping the DEC do things it can't get done for whatever reason. (Says so on the AANR web page.) It is volunteers stepping up to help out state, AND THE DEC IS ACTIVELY SEEKING THIS HELP via their publicity for the Adopt-A-Natural-Resource Stewardship Program. They are asking for your help with that trashed site.

The neighbors complained about trash. Under the UMP, DEC already has a funded program to deal with trash, but for whatever good reason they will have <smirk> for being short of resources to do that job, it's not getting done. The AANR adopters can commit to getting it done and keeping it done, something the neighbors never got from DEC before and stand a good chance of being way down the priority list in the future, as in the past. So, "Mr. Neighbor, here is what we want to give you that you never had before."

And the adopters also will to agree to keep the multiple very conspicuous signs clean, repaired and painted. They will also for the signs to be made and installed. This would be the signs that say, instead of "No Shooting," a compromise to address the noise complaints. If the DEC can make a no-shooting rule, they can make one to limit shooting.

Try to get a judge to order a noise maker to stop when the noise comes from a legal activity done in the middle of the day, like target practice or running a jack hammer or playing loud music.

So put some meat on the table in the negotiation. Offer shooting allowed only from 10AM to 3PM Tues-Fri and 10AM-6PM Saturdays. Some other states have state-owned-and-operated public shooting ranges that have hours, some only a few days per week, due to supervision and maintenance needs. It is pretty common for them to be closed on Sundays. It's not unrealistic to impose hours. And it could be a nice compromise offer. (Start with 9AM-8PM 7-days/week and negotiate! Let them think you gave up something valuable to them ... actually, you did). Some shoot is better than no shoot, and it makes friends with the people down the road and the ones in green uniforms.

Per the AANR agreement, the adopters will help enforce the noise abating hours by calling the ranger with a vehicle description and plate ID (maybe a picture) when they see somebody violating, and document it, to satisfy the neighbors if there is an issue. Of course the neighbors should be highly encouraged to make the calls, too. (Vigilanteism always a big no-no. Make the call. If they don't respond, that's not your fault.)

These places are usually used by either locals or people coming from the city to this chosen spot because they like it or it's the nearest one or they don't know of any others, etc. After a year or so, word will get out that they have to obey the signs, because they are enforced. The DEC could help by putting some extra emphasis on patrol visits for that first year, and ask the sherriff and troopers to help, even if that's just to call DEC.

AND the AANR agreement will specify plainly that if the adopters don't do the job, the signs will be changed to "Badminton Only."

As with any such thing, there's plenty that putting heads together could improve. That should be done immediately between at least a handful of local people within a few counties, and look into whatever sportsman's clubs might do to help, even if just to show up at the meeting.

If this kind approach is tried and fails, at least you come away knowing you gave it a real effort, and didn't take it laying down.

Just my $200. (Used to be 2 cents, but inflation, y'know.)
 

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as posted by me in the other threads...

Ok so I just got off the horn with my mentor Ted Nugent and HE IS BACKING US!!!!! and along with..... (drumroll...)
THE NRA!!!! who Ted has said he will unleash on them...

This was Teds comment on my request....
"Answer for Pipewrench BloodBrother! YES YES YES YES & YES!! I will unleash my team & NRA on this deal. You're doin Gods work here my friend. EVERYBODY!! HAMMER HAMMER HAMMER FA FA FA FA! Pipes answer to this is fkn perfect. We the people MUST demand logic justice & THE RIGHT THING here. GO WILD! I am"
 
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