Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wilderness 50th Anniversary Plans Move Forward

image003(5)Plans to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of The National Wilderness Preservation Act of 1964 are moving ahead.  A steering committee has been established and a new logo has been designed that will be used to help promote a variety of commemorative activities being planned later this year at college campuses and other venues across New York State this year.

The Wilderness Act’s chief author, Howard Zahniser, took his inspiration from New York’s “forever wild” constitutional protection of the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve. That constitutional protection also has its 120th anniversary this year (1894-2014). Zahniser wrote that New York State set the example for the national Wilderness movement. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Adirondack Winter Search And Rescue Report

DEC Forest RangerThe most recent Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Report for DEC Region 5 includes most of the Adirondack region. Although not a comprehensive detailing of all backcountry incidents, these reports are issued periodically by the DEC and printed here at the Almanack in their entirety. They are organized by county, and date. You can read previous Forest Ranger Reports here.

These incident reports are a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry and always carry a flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

The Adirondack Almanack reports current outdoor recreation and trail conditions each Thursday evening. Listen for John Warren’s Adirondack Outdoor Conditions Report on Friday mornings on WSLP (93.3) and on the stations of North Country Public Radio.
» Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Adirondack Bear Harvest Continues Downward Trend

Black Bear NYS Museum Camera TrapNew York bear hunters took 1,358 black bears during the 2013 hunting seasons, making last year the second highest bear harvest on record in New York. The bear take in the Adirondacks however, continues to decline.

According to Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) wildlife managers, the high take elsewhere in the state is a result of increased bear populations and the abundance of hard mast that kept bears actively feeding later into the fall when deer season was open. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Essex Community Fund Accepting Grant Applications

essex community fund grantsThe Essex Community Fund (EFC), a component fund of the Adirondack Foundation, is once again offering grants to nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations, schools, churches and local government activities operating in the town of Essex, New York. ECF awards grants in support of community beautification, historic preservation, culture, the arts, education, and programs for youth and senior citizens.

ECF gives strong preference to capacity building grants or modest one-time capital projects. It does not fund ongoing operating expenses. Grants generally do not exceed $2,000. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. May 16, 2014. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Facing the Storm: Preparing for Increased Extreme Weather

View from Bridge of HopeI attended a recent forum in Albany, Facing the Storm: Preparing for Increased Extreme Weather in Upstate New York, and wanted to pass along some of what I heard, or thought I heard. The event was sponsored by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.

For a forum concerning the impacts of a changing climate the audience was unusually diverse in terms of backgrounds and professions. As a staff member for Adirondack Wild, I was sitting next to a firefighter from a village in Montgomery County. At the next table were other firefighters and emergency personnel in uniform.  Across from me were several members of the League of Women Voters.  Initially we all wondered if we were in the right meeting. I think by the end we realized what we all have in common. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dan Crane: The Northville-Placid Trail Experience

Bushwhacking Fool near South PondThe Northville-Placid Trail is getting a face-lift. The initial 10-mile stretch that started at the west end of the bridge over the Sacandaga River along State Route 30 is no more, or at least soon will be. Instead, the famous trail will soon officially start in the village of Northville and mostly stick to State Forest Preserve for the first ten miles all the way to Upper Benson.

This is not the only recent change for the famous trail. Combined with other alterations over the last few years, the singular long trail of the Adirondacks is going through a transition, giving it a whole new look; one that makes it wilder and more remote.

At least as far as I am concerned.
» Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

1960s Theme for 2015 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival

SLWC-FinalLogo4cOutlines2013Members of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee have chosen “Groovy 60’s” as the theme for the 2015 Carnival. The theme was chosen from among five ideas gathered from the public: Adirondack Fiesta, Beach Party, Groovy 60’s, Haunted Adirondacks and Prehistoric Park.

The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival will take place on February 6 – 15, 2015. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Springtime Adirondack Nature Programs for Children

NewcombVICspring_newApril is a tricky time of year to be accessing Adirondack paths and trails, though not impossible.  Some places still have snow enough for skiing while other trails are already knee-deep in mud. Staying off trails during mud season is always the best option as it allows trails to rejuvenate, alleviates trail erosion and protects native plant life.

There are options available so families can choose to still get out in nature without damaging trails or harming themselves. Spring is the perfect time to try the low trails and have a different experience looking for spring wildflowers or migrating birds.  I understand “wanting to get” that elusive 46er, but please make sure that springtime trail conditions are agreeable. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Return of the Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture of over florida (Wiki Commons)The very rapid loss of the snow pack that covered our region has created flooding concerns, curtailed, or completely ended, back country skiing for another year and has greatly improved foraging conditions for our ground feeding birds. Among the avian summer residents that benefit from periods of unseasonably warm weather, and the accompanying loss of snow, is a bird renowned for its scavenging talents.

Over eons of time, the turkey vulture has evolved various features to locate and capitalize on recently thawed carcasses of animals that were unable to survive the winter, and has become one of the most effective and visible scavengers in the Park. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Charlie Herr: A History of the Uncas Roads

1896 8th lake eugene scrafford camp 2_0 aIn the off year election of 1918, New York voters elected a new governor (Al Smith) who later became the first Roman Catholic and Irish-American to run for President.  In that same election, voters also approved a constitutional amendment to the “forever wild” Article VII (rewritten as Article XIV in 1938) permitting the construction of a state highway on forest preserve lands from Saranac Lake to Old Forge by way of Blue Mountain and Raquette Lakes.  Until this highway was built, the road from Inlet to the north ended at Seventh Lake.

When the segment from Seventh Lake to Raquette Lake was completed in 1929, it became the route of choice to Raquette Lake from Eagle Bay, replacing what today begins at that place as Uncas Road and ends as Browns Tract Road ending at Antlers Road at Raquette Lake.  Its name changes at Browns Tract Ponds. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

DEC Streamlined Environmental Assessment Webinars

DEC LogoA series of webinars to instruct government agencies and the public on how to use the streamlined and revised Environmental Assessment Forms (EAF) will be held this spring according to a press release issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

The revised EAFs are used primarily by state and local agencies to assess the potential environmental impact from proposed actions such as development projects requiring a discretionary approval by a state or local agency. Examples of such projects include residential subdivisions, solid waste management facilities and commercial developments. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Historic Preservation Lecture Series in Warrensburg

100_1704The Warrensburgh Historical Society (WHS), Warrensburgh Beautification Inc. (WBI) and Richards Library are co-sponsoring a monthly four part Historic Preservation Lecture Series beginning in April.
The purpose of the series is to educate the community and its leadership to the benefits of historic preservation – the funding sources and financial incentive programs available, the advantages of adaptive reuse, and the direct correlation with economic development.  » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

View of Lake George from Huddle Bay

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Steve Hall: How Did We Get Dogs From Wolves?

Roscoe-Steve-HoughWe’ve had several hiking dogs, but two of my favorites were Chino, a wolf-husky mix we brought back from Alaska in 1990, and Roscoe, a nondescript gene pool who looked like a million other mutts you’ve seen, and whose ancestry is anyone’s guess. Our oldest son, Dan, another animal lover, became a veterinarian and later a veterinary cardiologist, partly because of his experiences with Chino. He also does some pro-bono care, which led to our adopting Roscoe as a pup around 2005.

Both of these canids did a fair amount of High Peaks hiking with us. Chino hiked his last peak, Dix, in 2002, and died in 2004, a year before Roscoe came on the scene, and continued the hiking tradition. The other common thread between them? Porcupines! » Continue Reading.



Monday, April 14, 2014

Residential Brush Burning Prohibited Through May 14

DEC LogoBecause of increased fire risk typical during the spring months, residential brush burning in towns with less than 20,000 residents is prohibited in New York State from March 16 through May 14, 2014.

Open burning of debris is the largest single cause of wildfires in the state. As temperatures get warmer and grasses and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily. These fires can be further fueled by winds and the lack of green vegetation. » Continue Reading.



Monday, April 14, 2014

First Signs of Spring: Skunk Cabbage

skunk_cabbageIt’s spring. Red-winged blackbirds are calling, chipmunks are foraging and flocks of robins abound. Bending down to smell the first subtle scents of crocuses and daffodils, we give thanks that winter is over. Sometimes, we also take a whiff of skunk cabbage flowers, just for the olfactory shock value.

Skunk cabbage grows throughout the Northeast and Midwest, ranging from North Carolina well up into the northernmost reaches of Quebec. The flower emerges through the snow and ice of March in the understory of wooded swamps, along riverbanks, lakeshores, and in other habitats with rich wet soils. First growth is an exotic, crimson-hued, three to six inch tall cowl –called a spathe – that surrounds and protects a spherical cluster of flowers. Each flower measures ¾-inch across and consists of 50 to 100 tightly packed florets. » Continue Reading.



Monday, April 14, 2014

History: A Little Fun with Old Advertisements

1Cascarets1898Medicines and cure-alls distributed nationally were once regularly advertised in local newspapers, urging readers to try products that were available in nearby drugstores. One of the most common of these treatments was Cascarets, claiming to be different from Castor Oil and other meds that “irritate and lash the bowels into action, but do not thoroughly cleanse, freshen, and purify these drainage organs.”

Are you familiar with those wonderful colon-cleanse infomercials appearing all hours of the night? Back in 1898, Cascarets was making very similar claims: “…remove the undigested, sour food, and foul gases from your stomach … carry out of the system all the constipated waste-matter and poisons in the bowels which are keeping you half sick, headachy, and miserable.” » Continue Reading.



Monday, April 14, 2014

DEC Proposes Expanding Black Bear Hunting

Black Bear Photo by Gary LemmoThe NYS Department of Environmental Conservation plans to expand bear hunting across New York to prevent conflicts with humans as the animal’s population spreads to new areas.

At one time, the state’s bears were largely confined to the Adirondacks, Catskills, and Allegheny Plateau. During the past two decades, however, they have spread to every county outside New York City and Long Island.

As a result, the number of bear complaints has risen dramatically in recent years. In most cases, bears in search of food—such as crops, bird seed, and garbage—cause property damage. Occasionally, they might break into a residence, attack pets, or act aggressively toward people. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, April 13, 2014

The High Peaks From Hurricane Mountain

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Spring is in the air in the Adirondacks. Saturday was a picture perfect day on Hurricane mountain. The summit provides unique views of the High Peaks. The Green Mountains of Vermont and Lake Champlain are also visible to the east.



Sunday, April 13, 2014

Adirondack Center for Writing Launches Residency Program

Twitchell Lake Writers ResidencyThe Adirondack Center for Writing (ACW) has announced that it has received an endowment from the estate of author Anne LaBastille to run an annual writer residency program.

ACW will host their first Writer Residency program at Twitchell Lake from October 4-11, 2014. This residency will offer quiet space to work on writing and share that space with other writers. ACW has plans to extend the residency to two weeks in coming years.

The residency was provided by the estate of Anne LaBastille, who wrote books like Woodswoman and Beyond Black Bear Lake from her cabin on Twitchell Lake. Participants in the residency program will paddle out to visit her cabin at least once during the week. » Continue Reading.



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