Thursday, April 19, 2012

Adirondack Fish and Game Report (April 19)

Adirondack Almanack provides this weekly Hunting and Fishing Report each Thursday evening, year round. The Almanack also provides weekly backcountry recreation conditions reports for those headed into the woods or onto the waters.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.


** indicates new or revised items.

Temperatures continue to be in the normal range for this time of year, but very dry and the fire danger has been elevated to HIGH. Low to mid elevation trails are now dry. Middle and higher elevation trails may still be wet and muddy with some snow and icy spots particularly on northern facing slopes and heavily wooded areas. Wear waterproof footwear and gaiters, and walk through – not around – mud and water on trails.

The lack of winter snow cover and a record-breaking warm and dry March, have resulted in abnormally dry conditions throughout the Adirondacks. The fire danger was raised to HIGH. More than 20 wildfires have been reported in the Adirondack region so far this year. Do not leave fires unattended and be sure all fires are out by drowning them thoroughly with water. The annual statewide spring ban on open burning is in effect until May 15.

Although water temperatures remain cold, the levels of streams throughout the region are low or well below normal for this time of year. Rafters on the Sacandaga and Hudson Rivers are beginning to be impacted by low water levels. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

Canoers, kayakers and boaters are reminded that all persons, regardless of age, must wear a personal flotation device from November 1st to May 1st in boats under 21′ in length. While daytime temperatures may reach into the 50s, waters are much colder waters (in the mid-30s),and the danger of hypothermia and drowning from falling into cold water is elevated. Of New York’s 25 fatalities associated with recreational boating in 2011, almost a third of those deaths involved small paddled boats, when water temperatures were cold. More information about staying safe on waters at this time of year can be found here.

Check the weather before entering the woods or heading onto the waters and be aware of weather conditions at all times. The National Weather Service (NWS) at Burlington and Albany cover the Adirondack region.

** Fire Danger: HIGH
Be sure campfires are out by drowning them with water. Stir to make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again. If you do not have water, use dirt not duff. Do not bury coals as they can smolder and break out into fire later.

Due to the possibility of spreading invasive species that could devastate northern New York forests (such as Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Wooly Adeljid and Asian Longhorn Beetle), DEC prohibits moving untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source. Forest Rangers have been ticketing violators of the firewood ban. More details and frequently asked questions at the DEC website.

Registration is now open for the June 29 through July 1 Becoming an Outdoorswoman (BOW) workshop at Silver Bay YMCA on Lake George. Of the 46 classes being offered, participants can choose four. New classes offered this year include wild mushroom foraging, birding basics, nature crafts, Adirondack ecology, car camping and beginner crossbow. Classes fill quickly, and the registration fee increases by $40 after April 20. Visit DEC’s BOW webpage for workshop details and registration information.


** Water Temperatures
Water temperatures in many of the Adirondack waters are beginning to rise into the upper 30s and lower 40s, colder water temperatures can be expected in higher elevation waters. Lake Champlain water temperature is 39 degrees.

** Trout Season Report
Trout (lake, brook, rainbow, brown and hybrids, and splake) and landlocked Salmon seasons opened April 1. Streams across the area continue to be clear and low. Warm weather has moved up hatches. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

2012 Coldwater Fishing Report
Trout season has begun and anglers are concerned this year with the impact of last year’s flooding on local streams. The Ausable and Boquet River watersheds were most severely affected and anglers will find major changes in these areas, particularly in the East Branch of the Ausable. Anglers should be aware of new hazards underwater. Also some changes in the river course and topography may be present. New pools may have formed where there was previously riffles and riffles may be found where there was previously pools. The complete DEC coldwater fishing report for 2012 can be found online.

2012 Trout Stocking List Now Online
Each year, from March through May, DEC, along with help from county Federated Sportsmen clubs stock more than 1,200 public streams, rivers, lakes and ponds across the state with brown, rainbow and brook trout. You can find the anticipated distribution of trout by county on DEC’s Spring Trout Stocking webpage. Also, check back for the complete 2011 stocking list of all muskellunge, walleye, trout and salmon species by county, which will be available soon on DEC’s Fish Stocking Lists webpage.

** Personal Floatation Devices Required
Canoers, kayakers and boaters are reminded that all persons, regardless of age, must wear a personal flotation device from November 1st to May 1st in boats under 21′ in length. While daytime temperatures may reach into the 50s, waters are much colder waters (in the mid-30s),and the danger of hypothermia and drowning from falling into cold water is elevated. Of New York’s 25 fatalities associated with recreational boating in 2011, almost a third of those deaths involved small paddled boats, when water temperatures were cold. More information about staying safe on waters at this time of year can be found here.

Free Fishing Day Clinics for 2012 Announced
Each year DEC offers free fishing day clinics at various locations statewide. This means participants can enjoy a day of fishing without the need to purchase a fishing license. In addition, participants learn about fish identification, fishing equipmentand techniques, DEC fisheries management, angling ethics and more. Free Fishing Clinics are scheduled for May 19 at Hawkins Point, Massena, at Remington Pond and all waters on Ft. Drum, and on June 30 and July 1 at Silver Bay YMCA on Lake George (pre-registration required). A full list of DEC’s 2012 Free Fishing Day clinic locations is available online.

Some Fishing Seasons Open, Some Closed
Trout and Landlocked Salmon season is open. Pike, Pickerel, Tiger Muskie, Walleye seasons are now closed (they reopen May 15). Perch, Sunfish, Eel, Bullhead, Catfish and other panfish are open year round. Black Bass season is closed but catch-and-release fishing for bass is allowed in the following Region 5 Counties; Clinton, Essex, Warren, Washington, Saratoga, and Fulton Counties. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

Lake Clear
The gate for the road to Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp is shut for the mud season. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.

Kings Bay WMA
The gates for the roadway accessing Catfish Bay on Lake Champlain are closed and locked until next season.

Ausable Marsh WMA
The gate for the access road has been closed. Hikers, birders and others on foot can still travel pass the gate. The gate and road will reopen for motor vehicle use when it has dried and firmed up.

Lewis Preserve WMA
The Brandy Brook has jumped its bank creating a braided stream channel across the main foot trail adjacent to the existing foot bridge. Hunters, hikers should use caution while attempting to cross this new stream channel as it is very deep and swift moving.

Use Baitfish Wisely
Anglers using fish for bait are reminded to be careful with how these fish are used and disposed of. Careless use of baitfish is one of the primary means by which non-native species and fish diseases are spread from water to water. Unused baitfish should be discarded in an appropriate location on dry land. A “Green List” of commercially available baitfish species that are approved for use in New York State has now been established in regulation. A discussion of these regulations and how to identify approved baitfish species is available online. Personal collection and use of baitfish other than those on the “Green List” is permitted, but only on the water from which they were collected and they may not be transported overland by motorized vehicle. Anglers are reminded that new regulations for transportation of baitfish are currently under consideration, and these proposed regulations can be viewed online.

Preventing Invasive Species and Fish Diseases
Anglers are reminded to be sure to dry or disinfect their fishing and boating equipment, including waders and boots, before entering a new body of water. This is the only way to prevent the spread of potentially damaging invasive plant and animal species (didymo and zebra mussels) and fish diseases (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) and whirling disease). Methods to clean and disinfect fishing gear can be found online.

Health Advisories on Fish
The NYSDOH has issued the 2010-2011 advisories on eating sportfish and game. Some of fish and game contain chemicals at levels that may be harmful to human health. See the DEC webpage on Fish Health Advisories for more information and links to the Department of Health information.


Changes Proposed for Hunting Regulations
DEC has announced proposed rules affecting deer and bear hunting in New York to implement the state’s Five-Year Deer Management Plan which was adopted in October 2011 [pdf]. DEC will accept public comments on this proposal through May 21, 2012. Comments on this rule change should be specific to the proposals and should not be resubmissions of previous comments submitted on the full deer management plan or previous regulatory proposals, the agency said. To see more complete and detailed explanations of the proposals, including instructions for providing comments, visit the DEC website.

** Spring Turkey Season Opening May 1
The Spring Turkey hunting season opens May 1. Only bearded turkeys may be taken. There is two turkey limit for the season – one turkey per day. A Spring Youth Hunt will be held on April 21 & 22.

Small Game Seasons Closed
Small game season are now closed. See the DEC Small Game webpage for more information on seasons and regulations.

All Trapping Seasons Now Closed
All trapping seasons have now closed.

** Snow Goose Season Now Closed
Snow Goose season has ended. Note that the boundary between the Northeastern and the Southeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zones now runs east along Route 29 to Route 22, north along Route 22 to Route 153, east along Route 153 to the New York – Vermont boundary.

Lewis Preserve WMA
The Brandy Brook has jumped its bank creating a braided stream channel across the main foot trail adjacent to the existing foot bridge. Users should use caution while attempting to cross this new stream channel as it may be deep and swift moving.

Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park hunting, fishing, and trapping information can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The DEC Habitat/Access Stamp is available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Stamp proceeds support the DEC’s efforts to conserve habitat and increase public access for fish and wildlife related recreation. A Habitat/Access Stamp is not required to hunt, fish or trap, nor do you have to purchase a sporting license to buy a habitat stamp.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (April 19)

This weekly Adirondack conditions report is issued on Thursday afternoons, year round.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack also publishes weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Questions Remain Following New Bat Survey

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the results of last winter’s survey of the hibernating bats in New York. The survey was a cooperative effort among state wildlife officials, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and numerous volunteers to monitor the effects of white-nose disease, a fungal infection that has devastated regional bat populations since it was first documented in a cave near Albany (in Schoharie County) in 2006. Since then white nose disease has spread throughout the South, Midwest, and eastern parts of Canada. Earlier this month new cases were identified for the first time west of the Mississippi in Missouri.

According to a study in Science, little brown myotis, a once common local species, has experienced a population collapse that could lead to its extinction in the northeastern US within 20 years. The Forest Service recently estimated that the die-off from white-nose will leave 2.4 million pounds of bugs uneaten and a financial burden to farms. A growing scientific consensus agrees the cause is Geomyces destructans; there is still debate over whether or not it was introduced from Europe by cavers.
» Continue Reading.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Adirondack Tourism: Social Media Creativity

April in the Adirondacks is…..well…quiet. As far as tourism activity, it traditionally represents the transition month between winter/ski season and the beginning of summer travel. It’s also a time when many north country folk head south for vacation, coinciding with school breaks. Lake Placid welcomes its share of conference attendees in April, but by May the whole region sees more visitors arriving to hike, bike, paddle and fish.

To me, it’s also a good time to ramp up for the busy season; develop content, fine-tune promotional schedules, and to conduct some online social media experiments.

Did you hear about the Adirondack park-wide floodlights installation that was proposed?

Essentially, I began April by distributing a press release on via social networking mechanisms. The release announced that “a proposal to install floodlights throughout New York’s Adirondacks aims to extend the Park’s open hours, and improve visibility at night.”

Simulcast at 8:00 a.m. on both Twitter and Facebook, the reviews started coming in right away. Depending on the topic, a typical Facebook post for Lake Placid will garner 2-5 comments on average. On this one, we had over 20 comments before noon on a Sunday, with sentiments that varied from chuckles to outrage that we should “keep the Adirondacks wild”. I even received an email from a friend in Saratoga offering to do whatever necessary to help me “stop this criminal outrage”.

By 2:00 p.m. most had come to the realization that it was an April Fool’s joke.

Why did we do this? Well, for one thing, April Fool’s Day is my favorite holiday. But, truly, this type of activity is just one more way to maintain top of mind awareness. The communications landscape has dramatically changed since the days when we sent out press releases to traditional media and hoped they’d print it. The countless channels of outreach available now offer unlimited potential to increase our target market reach.

That potential DOES exist, however, one can distribute a message via social media, SEO release, blog feature AND video and still be completely ignored. In order for a message to stand out in a very noisy marketplace, it must be inspired and creative.

We’ve all heard about videos that have gone “viral”. How does it happen? 60 hours of video is uploaded every minute to YouTube, the video search engine. Only a tiny fraction of those videos will go “viral” – or achieve millions of views. It’s every brand manager’s dream to obtain positive viral status and become an overnight success.

According to Kevin Allocca, the trends manager at YouTube, those videos that go viral meet three criteria: 1. they are unexpected, 2. they are further ignited (shared) by a “tastemaker”, or an influencer worthy of imitation, (such as popular late night TV hosts), and 3. they are subject to community participation: the video inspires creativity, and we become part of the phenomenon by sharing and sometimes imitating its content.

What’s that have to do with my press release? Advertisers have known for ages that incorporating humor is an effective way to connect with target markets via emotional appeal, and/or humanizing a brand.

By creating an April Fool’s message about a faux proposal that would negatively affect our product, and sending it to our existing ambassadors via social media, we elicited an emotional response. The release underscored the fact that the Adirondacks are a protected wilderness without light pollution; a product differentiator. We confirmed that our Facebook fans and Twitter followers are fiercely protective of their favorite destination. In fact, it can be surmised from comments both online and anecdotally in person that there were many who were immediately ready to join the made-up Park in the Dark Coalition that had formed to fight the proposal as referenced in the release.

The anecdotal references are good, but the response to this project was also tracked with Google analytics, Facebook and Twitter click statistics. I didn’t reach anywhere near a million viewers, but this one-time post on just two major social networks did garner about 2,000 unique visits to directly from those social networks on both mobile and web platforms. We know that visitors spent an average of 2:24 minutes on the page, (presumably to get to the end of the release where they learned it was a prank). We also know that the bounce rate was high: nearly 80% of the visitors then left the site without visiting any other pages. (This is why I won’t be using this faux story tactic as an exclusive destination marketing strategy.)

The biggest benefits of this type of communication is the resulting top of mind awareness that it helps to maintain. It facilitated engagement with our ambassadors, and increased the potential exposure of the Adirondack destination’s name via the sharing nature of social media.

In addition, it did gain media attention, as the release was also picked up by an writer who listed the prank as one of the “Best Fake USA Travel news from April Fools Day 2012”.

The trick is to integrate this type of humor into our communications year-round. And humor isn’t easy to convey successfully. The challenge is to incorporate this witty style of promotion while maintaining the professional integrity of your brand, product and organization.

I try to incorporate creative descriptions and phrases into social messaging, and it is a required industry skill to craft a standout headline for a press release. It all goes back to creativity: and the overall objective is to evoke an emotional response.

I wonder how many will cry over next spring’s Mud Season Wrestling Festival.

Kimberly Rielly is the director of communications at the Lake Placid CVB/Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Native Foods: Adirondack Ramps

Editor’s Note: This will be Annette’s last post here at Adirondack Almanack. She’s headed with her family to Washington, DC where she’s taken a job at a community newspaper. We wish her all the best in her new adventures.

Following the maple run, ramps – also known as wild leeks – are one of the first harvests available from the our north country earth. Using a serving spoon or just your fingers, you can easily and gently loosen the bulb and roots from a ramp cluster in rich (and usually moist) forest soil. You’ll find bright-green aromatic leaves around 4 to 6 inches high that look like those from a lily of the valley, as it’s of the lily family. Be careful not to remove an entire cluster, as you want the ramps to rejuvenate the following year. » Continue Reading.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Basil & Wick’s, North Creek

The banner beneath Basil & Wick’s trail marker sign read Roadkill Throwdown. To the uninitiated, Throwdown is a Food Network show in which chef Bobby Flay challenges a chef in preparing a specific food. Throwdown in North Creek? How did we not hear about this? And what roadkill would be coaxed into fine cuisine? We were on our way to Long Lake for Happy Hour, but vowed to stop in on our way back through, hoping we’d see Basil & Wick’s chef Chuck Jennings take Bobby down. » Continue Reading.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gear: Credit Card Sized Backcountry Reading Glasses

Ever return from an Adirondack backcountry trip with a headache, sore eyes or a painful neck? Do you find yourself squinting while reading a map or compass? Have you ever found yourself somewhere totally different than where you thought you should be? Are you reaching, or firmly established in, middle age?

If any of these are even remotely true, then a pair of lightweight, durable and inexpensive reading glasses is in your future. Luckily, I recently discovered just the pair of backcountry reading glasses even your ophthalmologist would approve. That is, as long as he or she is an outdoor enthusiast.

Middle-aged outdoors people often find it difficult reading maps, compasses, handheld GPSs or anything else with fine print. This is no cause for panic though. The loss of close focusing ability is a natural part of aging. Now, panicking about reaching middle-age, that is perfectly understandable, and extremely warranted.

The loss of close focusing ability is called presbyopia. This condition is caused by the hardening of the lens inside the eyes, which occurs with age, and just coincidentally begins around the time most reach their mid-life crisis.

Presbyopia results in the slow degradation of the eye’s ability to focus on things close, including unfortunately, maps, compasses, GPSs, and a whole host of other contraptions backcountry explorers relay upon during their recreational pursuits in the woods. Also, it results in backcountry enthusiasts’ sore necks when they wear contraptions on short lanyards around their necks.

Presbyopia became a real problem for me when I found myself getting a sore neck at the end of every day of bushwhacking through the Adirondacks. The frequent sore necks went without explanation, until I found myself holding my GPS and compass beyond the length of their lanyards while they were still around my poor neck.

After that, I always carried a pair of folding reading glasses to deal with presbyopia. And I obtained some longer lanyards too, since I hated constantly getting the reading glasses out to figure out where the heck I was located. The glasses were still convenient for those increasingly frequent moments when it was necessary to read fine print or almost anything this side of a billboard within dim light. These folding glasses proved useful, but they were fragile, so I always took great care not to break, and thus rarely took them out while navigating. If only there was an inexpensive pair of reading glasses that I could carry in my pocket without the risk of them breaking right when I need them.

Luckily, Christmas came early this year (or was it late?), when on a recent backpacking trip down in the Adirondack’s little sister (i.e. the Catskills), I was presented with a remarkable solution to reading glasses in the backcountry. These reading glasses are smaller than a credit card, nearly indestructible (within limits) and require absolutely no folding.

Advantage Lenses, LLC manufactures the i4uLenses credit card size reading glasses perfect for use in the backcountry. They are actually less than the size of a credit card (and just a little thicker), flexible enough to fit a wide range of noses, durable, shatterproof and highly adjustable. What else could one want in a pair of backcountry reading glasses? That is, not to have the need for them, of course.

The i4uLenses reading glasses have no frame to break of bend. They are simply pressed onto the bridge of the nose about mid-way down, where they just pinch onto the nose.

Getting used to looking through the i4uLenses may take some time. Unlike regular reading glasses, the lenses are not right up near the eyes, but are down closer to the tip of the nose, like an old person’s bifocals. Wearing them may seem even more awkward to those who were born with excellent vision for most of their life – until now.

The i4uLenses make reading maps, compasses, etc. in the dim light of a headlamp in a tent or lean-to convenient and carefree. Just do not drop them onto the forest floor, or you may just find yourself sweating through minute of searching on your hands and knees to find them, especially without your glasses to assist you.

With the i4uLenses credit card size reading glasses, fragility is no longer an issue. Their plastic nature makes them nearly indestructible (but do not try too hard). Now, they can be carried easily in the front chest pocket, and whipped out in a moment’s notice to read a map, GPS device or anything else with print ill-suited for a middle-aged person.

Careful handling of the i4uLenses is necessary when the hands are covered in bug repellent residue. The lenses are plastic, and therefore repellents may damage them. Touching the lenses is a bad idea regardless, since that is the part typically looked through.

A plastic carrying case is available to protect the lenses from scratches, dirt and other assorted ill conduct.

i4uLenses credit card size emergency reading glasses are relatively inexpensive, they retail for $6.95 here.

For those suffering through the effects of presbyopia, i4uLenses are a convenient solution. These credit card size reading glasses are lightweight, about the size and width of a credit card, and are nearly indestructible, making them a perfect optical solution for backcountry enthusiasts. The only bad thing about them – you will look like an old fogie wearing them.

Photo: i4uLenses credit card size reading glasses by Dan Crane.

Dan Crane blogs about his bushwhacking adventures at Bushwhacking Fool.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Community Climate Forum Set for Earth Day

Do you have questions about the connection between last year’s flooding and global climate change? Are you skeptical about the causes of climate change? Are you looking for options to cut your energy bills and reduce your dependence on fossil fuels?

An upcoming Community Climate Forum is expected to address all of these issues, and more. The forum, sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Adirondack Program and the Adirondack Green Circle, is scheduled for April 22, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Pendragon Theater in Saranac Lake. » Continue Reading.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: The Reel Paddling Film Festival

The 7th annual Reel Paddling Film Festival (RPFF) will be making its way through the Adirondacks this spring and summer with showings in Lake Placid, Old Forge and Tupper Lake. The Reel Paddling Film Festival highlights the best paddling films for the year in ten categories: Instructional Paddling, Environmental Paddling, Kayak Fishing, Sea Kayaking, Stand-up Paddling, Short Paddling, Canoeing, Whitewater, Documentary Paddling, and Adventure Travel Paddling. » Continue Reading.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lows Lake, Bog River Among Funded Dam Projects

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $5,120,000 investment for NY Works projects that will allow for eight flood control system and dam repair projects in the North Country. Projects slated for the Adirondack North Country include the Lower Lows Dam and Upper Lows Dam on the Bog River. Those dams, made of concrete and located in a area classified Primitive, are favored by paddlers on the Bog River, Hitchins Pond, and Lows Lake. The other dams slated for repair are Palmer Lake Dam in North Hudson (popular with anglers); Taylor Pond Dam in the town of Black Brook, southwestern Clinton County (part of the Taylor Pond Wild Forest); Kingdom Road Dam which holds back Lincoln Pond in Elizabethtown; Main Mill Dam in the City of Plattsburgh; and Whiteside Dam. All are considered “Critical Dam Repairs.” The funds will also support a Malone flood control project.

Two notable back country dams gave way late last summer during Hurricane Irene. The Marcy Dam is expected to be rebuilt. DEC has decided that the Duck Hole Dam will not be rebuilt. » Continue Reading.

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