Keep the target practice at Vernooy Kill State Forest

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Vernooy Kill State Forest has 3,686 acres, and it is located immediately outside of the Catskill Park Blue Line boundary which directly abuts the Sundown Wild Forest. This place is situated in the town of Wawarsing, NY.

Vernooy Kill State Forest is a quiet and beautiful place to visit in the summer, and it is quite that if you roll your car window down, you can hear the streams run and the sound of nature. You can even take a lawn chair and sit by the creek all day and watch the water.

According to records, Cornelius Vernooey appears to be the first person in the area who lived on land he himself owned. According to historical documents, Vernooey and his wife and child left Holland in 1664. He bought 400 acres in 1702 from Anna Beek Phenix (the land was part of the Beek Patent granted in 1685). The Beek Patent was purchased from the Indians (1684) with duffels (a coarse cloth of the time) and other clothes, and confirmed under the royal authority of Thomas Dongan, Governor General of New York (Terwilliger, 1977). From the early 1700s until 1809, settlers from the Grahamsville area would bring their grain to Peter Vernooey's Mill near present day Vernooy Falls in Wawarsing for grinding.

Today visitors would visit Vernooy Kill State Forest and target practice at a small bank at a big field on Cutler Road. This is only free place on state forest land where people can target practice, and many visitors come to Vernooy Kill State Forest to fish in the stream. According to a Forest Ranger in the summer months, Timber Rattlesnakes like to lay on the rocks in the big field on Cutler Road.

In October of 2018, The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation published their updated Draft Unit Management Plan for Sundown Wild Forest and Vernooy Kill State Forest. In the proposed plans for Vernooy Kill State Forest, they want to shut down the target practice area and build a 20+ vehicle parking space lot through the shooting range and add mountain bike trail. The week after the Unit Management Plan published someone from NYS DEC Region 3 informed me the informal target shooting area would be close to proposed parking area and they will add signs no shooting to safety reasons. If they worry about safety concerns for the mountain bikes why will they still allow hunting in Vernooy Kill State Forest?
There is nowhere in the Draft Unit Management Plan, and the Executive Summary doesn’t say about closing the shooting range and add no shooting signs. Are they closing the range quietly?

Nine hundred thirty people support the new mountain bike trail in Vernooy Kill State Forest, and now 930 people know about this place Vernooy Kill State Forest will turn into another Peekamoose Blue Hole where 1000 people destroyed the natural resources there. Ten years from now it will be out of control at Vernooy Kill State Forest where they will have to create no-cost day use permit system as they did for Vernooy Kill State Forest.
People who will ride their mountain bikes in Vernooy Kill State Forest will never think of washing their mountain bike tires before riding on the trails there, they will bring in Nuisance and invasive species into Vernooy Kill State Forest, and it will kill the animals and trees. It will cause habitat degradation and loss, the loss of native fish and wildlife including tree species, the loss of recreational opportunities and income; it will cause harm to trees on private property in Vernooy Kill State Forest.

I have never seen mountain bikes in Vernooy Kill State Forest. I have seen more people fish and target shoot. There are many places to ride mountain bikes including Walden-Wallkill Rail Trail, Andes Rail Trail, Hudson Valley Rail Trail, Liberty Rail Trail, Walkway over the Hudson, Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, Lippman Park, and Stewart State Forest.

When NYS DEC shuts down the shooting area at Vernooy Kill State Forest, they will hurt many mom and pop firearm stores many people will stop going there to buy ammo to target shoot at Vernooy Kill State Forest.

Please sign this petition and when you are done signing please click back and write the comment below the page and tell NYS DEC not to shut down the target practice area. Tell them what impacts will effect Vernooy Kill State Forest and tell them why you support the target area.