Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cabin Life: The Day’s Worries

There’s big fat flakes of snow slowing drifting down out of the sky.  I just threw a few logs in the wood stove and the small waft of smoke that escaped is mixing with the aroma of the black beans I’m simmering on the stove.  It’s a nice night to be out here in the cabin.

Ed’s curled up next to the computer and his tail is leisurely hitting the back of my hand.  Herbie’s asleep and snoring on the foot stool near the wood stove while Pico is contentedly laying on the bed.  The temperature is supposed to go up a little in the next few days, but for now, it feels like winter.  If it does warm up, it will be a nice treat.

My parents came up this weekend to help stack the wood in the shed.  Four cords are in there, along with the other four stacked outside under tarps.  It’s nice to be all set with heat for the winter, bringing a deserved sense of satisfaction in having taken care of that one aspect.  When you live in nature, like most Adirondackers, you try to control what you can, knowing that you can’t control it all.  No one knows what type of winter it will be, but we can get ready the best we know how, and in the spring take pride in the fact that we made through another one.
» Continue Reading.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Outside Story: The Ecology Of Leaf Litter

It’s one of the pleasures of fall: walking in the woods on a warm day, scuffing my feet through a deep layer of newly fallen leaves. Looking down, I notice the gold coins of aspen leaves against the bread-knife serrations of brown beech leaves. My feet make that “swoosh, swoosh” sound that takes me back to when I was a kid.

It’s November and the color blast has faded. The woods are gray and brown. The much admired “fall foliage” has drifted earthward to become the more prosaic “leaf litter.” I understand the term, but the word litter grates a little. It connotes trash, yet leaves are just the opposite of trash. Their contribution to forest health, to the ecosystem, is incalculable. They help make the forest what it is.
» Continue Reading.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tracking Invasive Insects Using Your Smartphone

As the days grow shorter and the evening temperatures cool, hobos of the insect community begin making their way to our doorstep. Reduced light and temperature act as a switch to halt their feeding frenzy, turning now to find shelter for the winter months that lay ahead. Having stocked up on food reserves, they intend to use our homes as over wintering sites, guest cottages if you will, to increase their chance of survival.

Two invasive insects making their way into our homes include the newly invasive brown marmorated stink bug and the multicolored Asian ladybird beetle. Both are exotic species that hail from regions of China, Korea, and Japan yet readily adapted to climates and habitats in the U.S. They are most commonly found this time of year gathering on the sun-facing exposure of structures, restlessly making their way into the upper rooms and attic of your home. In the spring, they will all leave. » Continue Reading.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Snowmobile ‘Connecter Trail’ Construction Criticised

Protect the Adirondacks (PROTECT) has published an online critique of a new snowmobile trail being built by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest.

DEC trail crews are building a new 5.1-mile snowmobile trail that will connect the Limekiln-Cedar River Road near Fawn Lake to State Route 28 near the Seventh Lake Boat Launch. The trail is phase one of a long-distance “community connector” designed to link Indian Lake, Inlet, Raquette Lake and Long Lake.

PROTECT reviewed the work being done along the new snowmobile trail and documented what they found. “Field work revealed that this ‘trail’, really a de facto new road, is much worse than we feared,” Protect’s Executive Director Peter Bauer wrote in an e-mail to the press. PROTECT detailed their specific objections to the way in which the trail is being constructed with more than 20 photos posted online. » Continue Reading.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lake George Stream Work Completed

This fall the Lake George Association (LGA) has been at work along waters that flow into Lake George, including Foster Brook in the hamlet of Huletts Landing, and English Brook in Lake George Village. The LGA also partnered with the Warren County Conservation District (WCSWCD), and the towns of Hague and Bolton to remove over 1300 cubic yards of material from eight sediment basins in the two towns, the equivalent of about 110 dump truck loads.

At Huletts, Foster Brook was severely eroded during last year’s Tropical Storm Irene. Lots of unwanted material was deposited along the banks and within the stream, interrupting the natural flow of the water. This material was removed, and some was used, along with new stone, to stabilize the streambanks. In October, dozens of native plants and shrubs were planted along English Brook near its mouth at Lake George.
» Continue Reading.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Fear in the Wild

I take a break from economics, tourism and telecommuting this week to honor my favorite holiday, Halloween, and the fear and imagination it is meant to celebrate.

It is a crisp Adirondack morning, barely six AM and the water is glass. A dense mist hangs on the lake and the air is heavy with silence.  Just a few yards into my paddle across to Osprey Island the canoe has become enveloped, leaving me to make the trip only on instinct and the experience of dozens of similar journeys.  There is nothing but white to be seen, that and the slate gray surface of the water, disturbed only slightly by the ripples spreading out from the bow.  » Continue Reading.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Adirondack Stewardship Programs Meeting Saturday

The president and chief executive officer of the Student Conservation Association and Dr. Curt Stager of Paul Smith’s College will be among the speakers featured at a November 3 workshop seeking to connect the Park’s various natural resource stewardship programs together to improve communication and collaboration. The workshop is underwritten by a grant from International Paper and organized by Adirondack Wild.

“Stewardship programs for the Adirondack Park’s wild summits, lakes, backcountry and biota have proliferated as natural resource challenges have grown, yet there are few opportunities for all these programs to communicate among each other. Adirondack Wild wants to start that process,” Dan Plumley of Adirondack Wild said in a statement to the press. “Through this workshop, which has never been attempted before, we will connect a variety of programs which train and sponsor field stewards, educators and researchers.”
» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Invasives: An Asian Longhorned Beetle Scare

I remember sifting through my work emails on a morning in June when my eyes popped to the subject, “Possible invasive Asian longhorned beetle spotted.”

The email was sent from Kavya Pradhan, the summer intern at the Irondequoit Inn in Piseco, NY who I had the pleasure of meeting earlier that week.  As a college student, Kavya is interested in invasive species, and scheduled a meeting with Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District staff to discuss partnership opportunities.  I assembled a packet of invasive species educational materials for her. » Continue Reading.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dave Gibson: Iroquois Peace And Defending The Law

Recently I was asked to present a talk about the life and careers of Paul Schaefer, the 20th century Adirondack conservation coalition leader. The location for my talk was Niskayuna, where beginning in the late 1920s into the early 1980s Paul built and restored hundreds of homes, including his own, out of natural, recycled materials – stone, slate and timbers from old buildings then facing the wrecking ball. The host for the lecture was the Niskayuna Town Historian, fitting because Paul was also intensely interested by American history.

A healthy collection of American Heritage can be found on the shelves of his Adirondack cabin. During my talk I mentioned that Paul and his siblings, growing up after 1910, were constantly outside, and among their outdoor pursuits were days exploring for arrowheads and other implements of the Mohawk, a member of the Great League of the Haudenosaunee. I then described the outlines of Paul’s remarkably successful career defending and extending the wilderness of the Adirondacks, from its wild rivers, to its highest peaks and the wildlife rich valleys threatened from inundation by large dams. Some of this history is found in Paul’s first book, Defending the Wilderness (1989, Syracuse University Press). » Continue Reading.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Lake Effect: Lakes, Winds, and Recurrent Snows

Blending meteorological history with the history of scientific cartography, Lake Effect: Tales of Large Lakes, Arctic Winds, and Recurrent Snows by Mark Monmonier (Syracuse University Press, 2012) charts the phenomenon of lake-effect snow and explores the societal impacts of extreme weather. Along the way, he introduces readers to natural philosophers who gradually identified this distinctive weather pattern, to tales of communities adapting to notoriously disruptive storms, and to some of the snowiest regions of the country.

Characterized by intense snowfalls lasting from a couple of minutes to several days, lake-effect snow is deposited by narrow bands of clouds formed when cold, dry arctic air passes over a large, relatively warm inland lake. With perhaps only half the water content of regular snow, lake snow is typically light, fluffy, and relatively easy to shovel. Intriguing stories of lake effect’s quirky behavior and diverse impacts include widespread ignorance of the phenomenon in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Since then a network of systematic observers have collected several decades of data worth mapping, and reliable short term predictions based on satellites, Doppler radar, and computer models are now available. » Continue Reading.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: New Adk Image, New Economy

Last week I ended my Dispatch on the Adirondack economy by suggesting the outlines of a five-point economic proposal. This proposal is based upon that idea that the most valuable Adirondack asset that can be leveraged is wilderness itself.

This week I will briefly describe core of the proposal, the creation of a new Adirondack image as a mountainous wilderness area second to none. » Continue Reading.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Upland Development: Highlands At Risk

Upland Development: Highlands At RiskIn a field bordered by forested hills and rocky ridges, Dan Plumley unfurled a zoning map of the Adirondack Park. The color-coded map was a reminder of how much private land lay before him, and how potentially fleeting the natural views from Marcy Field could be.

He pointed to a bald patch on Corliss Point above the valley, where lights from a house inconspicuous by day blaze into a flying saucer at night, one of many signs that growth in the backcountry is creeping higher.

“Hundreds of thousands of people drive by on this road every year,” said Plumley, gesturing toward Route 73. “They see this view and think it will always be there. I’m here to say that the way this land-use plan is being implemented, the transcendental beauty and ecological integrity of this scene is in jeopardy.” » Continue Reading.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A New Research Approach For Bicknell’s Thrush

A new effort to protect the rare Bicknell’s Thrush by an alliance of North American scientists and conservationists is taking the unusual step of funding a team of Dominican biologists to work in the migratory songbird’s Caribbean wintering habitat.

The Bicknell’s Thrush Habitat Protection Fund at the Adirondack Community Trust has awarded a $5,000 grant to Grupo Jaragua, whose biologists will study the thrush in forested mountains on the Dominican Republic’s border with Haiti. The grant recognizes a need to protect the songbird across its entire range, particularly in its threatened winter destinations. » Continue Reading.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tom Kalinowski’s Winter Weather Forecast

Last Thursday, the Climate Prediction Center, the long range weather forecasting division of the National Weather Service, made its prediction for this coming winter with a rather unusual statement.

The El Niño event that had started to slowly develop and was expected to strengthen and influence weather patterns across our continent, suddenly vanished. (El Niño is a cyclical warming of the surface water in the western tropical Pacific Ocean and helps to establish a broad area of high pressure over this equatorial region which can greatly impact weather patterns over the U.S., especially in the northeast.) » Continue Reading.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cabin Life: Sweeping the Chimney

The nights are longer and cooler and the daily high temperatures are lower than the summer lows.  I’m glad for the solar lights strung around the cabin.  They cast a pleasant blueish glow without being blinding.  Wearing a headlamp literally all time last winter really got old, and it’s nice to be able to see without one.  Now I can find my glass of Maker’s Mark without burning batteries.

Ed got another mouse last night.  He can never get them during normal waking hours, only in the middle of the night.  So, after work, I didn’t do anything that could be called “chores” or “work” or anything like that.  I sat on the boulder that serves as my front step and played guitar.  I let all the animals out to enjoy the warmth of the afternoon sun.  Pico ate grass and layed around, Ed went out hunting, and Herbie was somewhere doing whatever it is fat cats do. » Continue Reading.

Page 44 of 80« First...102030...4243444546...506070...Last »