Agency extends comment time for Catskills land

SHANDAKEN (AP) – The state Department of Environmental Conservation has added a month to the comment period on a plan to classify 940 acres of Forest Preserve on Belleayre Mountain in the Catskills.

The 1,200-acre Big Indian tract was acquired by the state in 2011. Of that, 263 acres was classified as intensive use, to be added to the Belleayre Ski Center.

The DEC proposal would classify 361 acres of the remaining land as wilderness to be added to the Big Indian Wilderness Area. The agency proposes to reclassify 149 acres of ski center land as wilderness, the most restrictive classification with no motorized or bicycle access.

About 540 acres would be added to the Shandaken Wild Forest, which does allow motorized access.