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DEC adds 7 new locations to state birding trail, announces updated site nomination process


Mon, Feb 27th 2023 09:55 am

New locations bring total number of sites statewide to 332
√ DEC says trail provides birding opportunities for all, regardless of age, ability, identity or background

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced the addition of seven new locations to the New York State Birding Trail. These new locations bring the total number of birding trail locations across the state to 332, providing a variety of quality birding experiences for New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy.

“The New York State Birding Trail provides access to exceptional birding and a high-quality, sustainable opportunity to experience nature,” Seggos said. “These seven new sites enhance access to the more than 330 diverse and unique birding opportunities we are so fortunate to have here in New York.”

A press release stated, “Birdwatching has become one of New York’s fastest-growing recreation and tourism activities. DEC manages the New York State Birding Trail in collaboration with partners that include the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The statewide trail network includes promoted birding locations that can be accessed by car or public transportation, providing an inclusive experience for all visitors to enjoy birds amid beautiful natural settings with little or no cost or investment in equipment.”

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “It’s great to see the Empire State Birding Trail continue to expand. With these new sites, New York residents and visitors have more options to get outside and enjoy nature and our state’s abundant wildlife.”

Empire State Development Vice President and Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, "New York state is a birdwatcher's paradise, and the birding trail provides unique ways to watch our feathered friends in their natural habitats. The seven new sites – from the majestic Mohonk Preserve to the Dunkirk Harbor waterfront – offer new opportunities for beginning birdwatchers to expert ornithologists, and can complement any New York state getaway."

The newly added locations are located on public and private lands across the state: 

√ Adirondacks/North Country: Up Yonda Farm Environmental Education Center, Bolton

√ Central – Finger Lakes: Finger Lakes Museum & Townsend-Grady Wildlife Preserve, Branchport

√ Greater Niagara: Hunters Creek Park, East Aurora

√ Greater Niagara: Mossy Point, Wales

√ Hudson Valley: Mohonk Preserve, Gardiner

√ Southern Tier: Point Gratiot Park, Dunkirk

√ Southern Tier: Dunkirk Harbor, Dunkirk

The new additions feature a diversity of habitats including deep woods where birders may observe a variety of woodland warblers, shoreline and harbors attracting many wintering waterfowl, and riparian areas where birders may observe spotted sandpipers and flycatchers.

In addition to state-owned and managed locations for the birding trail, publicly and privately managed sites can complete a self-nomination process to be considered for inclusion on the trail. As DEC moves towards long-term management of the trail, nominations will now be reviewed and added to the birding trail on a quarterly basis. Deadlines for nomination submissions for each quarter are as follows:

√ Quarter one: March 30

√ Quarter two: June 30

√ Quarter three: Sept. 30

√ Quarter four: Dec. 31

Selected sites meet criteria “to help ensure a positive experience for visitors throughout the state.” Additionally, sites post signage noting them as official locations on the birding trail. For information on the nomination process and the updated form and guidelines, see www.ibirdny.org.

A press release stated, “New segments of the birding trail were opened in a phased approach from October 2021 through August 2022. With 332 locations, the Statewide Birding Trail provides birding opportunities for everyone, regardless of age, ability, identity or background, across New York state. DEC continues to solicit input from a wide range of New Yorkers and organizations that represent Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities, and is making trail information available in both English and Spanish. Bird walks will be held in collaboration with organizations working with BIPOC communities.

“The New York State Birding Trail map is available at www.ibirdny.org and provides valuable information on each site such as location, available amenities, species likely to be seen, directions, and more. Digital information on the birding trail will be updated periodically, so budding outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to check back often. DEC encourages birding enthusiasts to visit ‘I Bird NY’ for more information on where and how to observe birds, upcoming bird walks, a downloadable ‘Beginner's Guide to Birding’ (available in Spanish), and additional resources.”

Audubon Connecticut and New York Executive Director Mike Burger said, “The New York State Birding Trail is an incredible outdoor resource that is helping to make birding more welcoming and accessible for all people. The seven new sites have been added just in time for spring migration, when we welcome back ‘early birds’ like the Common Yellowthroat and Osprey. These next few months are the ideal time for beginners to hit the trails, as you are certain to see or hear a tremendous variety of species.”

New York State Tourism Industry Association President and CEO Bob Provost said, “The best of America's great outdoors is right here in New York state! The launch and ongoing expansion of the birding trail is a major step forward to provide a more accessible and friendly outdoor resource for New York state's residents. It is a relatively new asset in worldwide outreach for New York's tourism industry. In the U.S. alone, 'birders' spend nearly $20 billion annually on travel! We look forward to promoting the trail to both domestic and international travelers.”

The press release stated, “DEC manages and oversees 5 million acres of public lands and conservation easements and plays a vital role in both protecting New York’s natural resources and providing opportunities for people to enjoy the outdoors. From fishing on scenic streams, hiking and rock climbing, swimming and boating, birding, and nature study, or simply relaxing in a tent under the stars, there are endless adventures to be found.”

Visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/.

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