NYS DEC – Proposed Changes to Permit Policy

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (the “DEC”) has proposed a revision in the Temporary Revocable Permits Policy “TRP”) for activities that require a permit on state lands administered by the DEC.

NYS DEC State Lands

NYS DEC State Lands

The new policy will apply to state forest lands in the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve, as well as state forest lands outside the forest preserves.

A draft of the new policy is available here

The change is necessitated by the new use restrictions regulations adopted in May of 2009. Under the new regulations, permits are needed for any organized activity of more than 20 people on state lands under the jurisdiction of the DEC:

Section 198.8(cc) of the Regulations states:

On State lands, no person shall sponsor, conduct or participate in any organized event of more than twenty people unless otherwise authorized by the department. Examples of organized events include, but are not limited to: sponsored hikes; archery and fishing tournaments; snowmobile, bicycle, horse and orienteering races, runs, rides or competitions (including biathlons and triathlons); encampments; and re-enactments.

Permits for such activities are presently available under the existing Temporary Revocable Permit Policy which requires a $25 permit application fee, proof of at least $1 million dollars of liability insurance, and approval by the central office of the DEC in Albany.

The existing TRP process was perceived to be burdensome on both the public and the DEC with respect to relatively small groups of people. Both formal groups (like the ADK Club) and informal groups (like those formed in online chat rooms and forums) would be required to comply with the existing TRP application process if they wanted to organize an activity that was not limited to the first 20 participants.

The proposed TRP Policy will still requires a permit for groups of 21 to 51 people, but the permit process is streamlined. First, there is no application fee for such groups. Second, liability insurance is not needed. Third, approval is granted at the regional level rather than in Albany.

The question remains whether anyone will bother to apply for a permit even with the streamlined procedures.

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