Meghan Fitzpatrick SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — A 90-day public comment period set by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ends Thursday, Sept. 27. The DEC opened the comment period in June to allow community members to comment on Onondaga County’s application for its Onondaga Lake Loop-The-Lake Trail expansion.
The DEC held a public hearing Wednesday where about 40 environmental conservation groups and elected officials officials vocally opposed the trail. The Social Media Director for Friends of the Onondaga Lake Bald Eagles, Ryan Dunn, said he fears what deforestation could mean for bald eagles at Onondaga Lake.
“This trail is going to cut down many trees,” Dunn said. “It is right in the middle of the habitat so we are worried human presence is going to disturb the eagles.”
The federal government will require the county to close the trail in the winter during bald eagles’ roosting time. But the president of Onondaga Audubon, Alison Kocek, said the trail will clear a heavily forested area which will impact eagle.
“So if they build a trail that’s going to make a huge opening in the middle of this piece of land that wasn’t there before so predators are able to get on,” Kocek said.
Onondaga County submitted their proposal for the trail in April. Now the DEC must make a final decision on the permit determination.