Thursday, February 2, 2012

Adirondack Fish and Game Report (Feb 2)

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.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** WINTER CONDITIONS
Despite unseasonably warm weather this week, winter conditions remain with low precipitation and seasonably cold weather this weekend which will create icy conditions everywhere. Day time temperatures remain below freezing most of the time, however, a day or two of temperatures in the high 30s or low 40s have become common. Night time temperatures remain below freezing. We lost additional snow cover this week and snow cover varies with elevation, with the most in the south central and central Adirondacks, including the High Peaks. Frozen lakes are covered with water or slush, or layered ice. Recent rains and warm temperatures have opened waters and thinned ice on rivers and streams and around inlets, outlets and shorelines – avoid these areas. Use caution when traveling on ice. Be prepared by wearing appropriate layered clothing, pack and use snowshoes and ice traction devices (cross country skis are not generally recommended in the backcountry at this time), drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food to avoid hypothermia.

** SNOW DEPTH REPORT
Snow depths around the region vary, with 2 to 6 inches at most lower elevation; 5 to 7 inches in the south central Adirondacks and lower elevations of the central Adirondacks. There is 20 inches at Lake Colden Interior Cabin and more in the higher elevations of the High Peaks. Areas in Eastern Essex County and Southern Warren County have little to no snow. The National Weather Service snow cover map provides a good gauge of snow cover around the region, albeit somewhat under-reporting actual snow accumulations.

** ICE ON WATER
Ice has formed on lakes and ponds and the smaller bays of larger lakes but ice thickness remains less than what is typical for mid-winter and this week’s warm weather has left lakes that are frozen covered with water, slush, or layered ice. The larger lakes still have areas of dangerously thin ice and open areas. 6 to 12 inches of ice are reported on many smaller lakes at lower elevations. There is ice at the north end of Schroon Lake; on South Bay on Lake Champlain; and on some of the bays of Lake George, but in large portions of these lakes ice remains dangerously thin. Always check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.

** SOME SNOWMOBILE TRAILS OPEN
Some of the region’s snowmobile trails remain open, but expect thin, hard packed icy trails with bare spots and wet areas. Riding conditions are at best, minimal to fair in Southern Franklin County through toward Long Lake, Indian Lake, Old Forge, Inlet, and the Speculator area. The lakes also have many open spots in them, making winter travel dangerous. The only reasonable riding is in the Moose River Plains where there is 8 to 12 inches of snow on the ground, in the Perkins Clearing area, and around Cranberry Lake where 5 to 7 inches are reported. Eastern Essex, Warren and Washington County are not ridable. Each individual club has the final authority as to whether to open their trails or not and snowmobilers should show restraint in areas with insufficient snow cover to avoid damaging the trails. Also, a reminder to respect the landowners who have given permission for trails to cross their land. Check with local clubs before venturing out. A map of New York State Snowmobile Association Member Clubs by county, complete with contact information, may be found here.

** KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
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: LOW

FIREWOOD BAN IN EFFECT
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.

** DEC SUMMER CAMP REGISTRATIONS HAVE BEGUN
For only $350, campers ages 11 through 17 can participate in a wide variety of outdoor activities, including fishing, bird watching, fly tying, archery, canoeing, hiking, camping, orienteering and hunter safety education at one of four DEC summer environmental education camps. Campers also learn about fields, forests, streams and ponds through fun, hands-on activities and outdoor exploration. Starting January 28, applications should be mailed with the required fee to reserve a spot. Applications and details are available on DEC’s website.

ADIRONDACK FISHING REPORTS

** Waters Running at Normal Levels
Ice has formed on all slack waters. The region’s rivers and streams are running well above normal for this time of year. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

** Ice Fishing Has Begun
Ice fishing season has begun on smaller lakes and ponds and the the smaller bays of larger lakes. 6 to 12 inches of ice are reported on many smaller lakes at lower elevations. There is ice at the north end of Schroon Lake; on South Bay on Lake Champlain; and on some of the bays of Lake George, but in large portions of these lakes ice remains dangerously thin. Please use extreme caution. Check the depth of ice before crossing, avoid inlets and outlets. Ice on or near running water should be avoided. Remember, ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person. The Almanack covered the beginning of the hard-water angling season on Thursday.

** Water Temperatures
Water temperatures in many of the Adirondack waters have dropped into the lower 30s, colder water temperatures can be expected in higher elevation waters. Lake Champlain water temperature is 33 degrees.

** New Staff for State Fish Hatcheries
Eleven new employees, including ten fish culturists and one biologist, have been hired to work in New York State’s fish hatcheries. Filling vacancies left by retirements in 2011, the fish culturists will work at DEC’s hatcheries across the state, assisting in all aspects of growing and stocking fish. The new biologist will work with the fish health unit at the Rome hatchery, assisting in surveillance and treatment of fish diseases. Bringing hatcheries back to required staffing levels is a worthwhile investment. Anglers spend an estimated $530 million annually on fishing in New York State, due in large part to the approximately 900,000 pounds of hatchery-raised fish produced each year. Other information on New York State’s fish hatcheries is available on DEC’s website.

Latest Annual Fisheries Report Now Online
In the newly released 2010 Bureau of Fisheries Annual Report includes reports on the yearly activities and research surveys conducted by DEC fisheries staff during the 2010-2011 fiscal year. The report includes summaries on our fish-stocking and hatchery efforts, I FISH NY outreach activities, recreational fisheries management angler surveys and population surveys, and much more.

Special Fishing Seasons Remain Open
The statewide trout season is closed but there are some exceptions to this regulation. The catch-and-release areas on the West Branch of the Ausable River, Saranac River and the Battenkill remain open as well as a few ponds such as Mountain Pond, Lake Clear & Lake Colby in Franklin County; and Connery Pond in Essex County. Lake Champlain and sections of its tributaries are open all year for trout and salmon fishing. To find out which waters near you still have trout fishing opportunities, check the special fishing regulations by County.

Currently Open Fishing Seasons
Open seasons include Pike, Pickerel, Tiger Muskie, Walleye (those seasons close March 15 and reopen May 15). Yellow Perch, Crappie, and Sunfish seasons are open all year. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

Personal Flotation Devices Required
Boaters are reminded all persons aboard a pleasure vessel less than 21 feet regardless of age must wear a personal flotation device from November 1st to May 1st.

Lake Clear
The gate for the road to Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp is open, but due to the condition of the road until further notice it should only be used by pickup trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with high clearance. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.

Kings Bay Wildlife Management Area
The two gates are open allowing ice anglers to access Kings Bay and Catfish Bay on Lake Champlain. The Town of Champlain has improved the shoulder of Point Au Fer Road, directly west of Scales Road, allowing easier access for snowmobiles and ATVs. However, the Town asks ice anglers to please park as far off Scales Road as possible so emergency vehicles and snow plows can safely pass and to obey the No Parking signs along Point Au Fer Road.

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.

ADIRONDACK HUNTING REPORTS

DEC Seeks Comment on Bobcat Management Plan
DEC has released a proposed five-year bobcat management plan for public review and comment. The draft management plan is available on the DEC website. The comment period on the draft plan runs through February 16, 2012. Comments may be submitted in writing through February 16, 2012 to NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Bobcat Management Plan, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754 or by e-mail to fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us (put “Bobcat Plan” in the subject line). Phil Brown reported on the plan for Adirondack Almanack this morning.

DEC Accepting Pheasant Program Applications
The application period is now open for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s cooperative Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program. Day-old chicks are available at no cost to participants who are able to provide a brooding facility and covered outdoor rearing pen, and have identified an adequate release site. Approved applicants will receive the day-old chicks in April, May or June. No chicks obtained through the Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program are permitted to be released on private shooting preserves. All release sites must be approved in advance by DEC and must be open to the public for pheasant hunting. Individuals interested in these programs should contact their nearest DEC regional office for applications and additional information. In 2011, DEC distributed 46,496 day-old pheasant chicks to qualified applicants. Applications must be filed with a DEC regional wildlife manager by March 15, 2011.

Sportsmen & Outdoor Recreation Legislative Day
The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association has set a date of Tuesday, March 20, 2012 for the 3rd Annual Sportsmen & Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day. It will take place from 9:00am to 1:00pm in the “Well” of the State Legislative Office Building in Albany. Sponsored by NYSRPA and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb the event focuses on lobbying around 2nd Amendment issues and exhibits and presentations by advocates, including a keynote address by Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Rifle Association.

Winter Wild Turkey Flock Survey
Visit DEC’s Winter Wild Turkey Flock Survey (http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/48756.html) webpage and start recording observations of turkey flocks to help monitor their status and health. Just print a turkey-sighting form, record the number of turkeys you see in a flock from January through March, and send in your results to the address noted on the form at the end the survey period. In 2011, more than 640 reports were received, resulting in 10,200 birds counted in 49 of the 62 counties in New York State.

2011 Deer Harvest Update
The 2011 hunting year started out low compared to last year, with 5% less harvest in mid-November and 20% less harvest in the opening week of the Southern Zone regular season. However, harvest picked up during Thanksgiving week, boosting results to align more closely with results of the 2010 harvest at this time of year.

2011 Bear Harvest Update
The 2011 season is quite different from last year, with preliminary harvests down in the Northern Zone but at record levels in the Southern Zone. This year, new regulations opened bear hunting in eastern New York, ranging from Westchester County to Washington County. Hunters in the new hunting areas have taken more than 40 bears so far. Still, even without these additional bears, the preliminary take in the southeastern New York region may become one of the top harvests ever recorded. In central and western New York, harvest is topping around 300 bears, which has already shattered the previous record of 189 bears taken in 2008.

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.

Small Game Seasons Open
A number of small game seasons are now open including: Grey, Black and Fox Squirrel, Crow, Snipe, Rail, Gallinule, Ruffed Grouse, Cottontail Rabbit, Pheasant, Woodcock, Coyote, and Varying Hare. Fox, Raccoon, Skunk, Opossum and Weasel seasons are now open. Bobcat season is open in all Region 5 WMUs, except 5R which does not have a season. See the DEC Small Game webpage for more information on seasons and regulations.

Snow Goose Season Closed
In the Northeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zone Snow Goose season has closed, it reopens February 24 and closes April 15. 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.

Some Trapping Seasons Closed
Fisher and Martin seasons are now closed in all Region 5 WMUs; Bobcat season is closed in all Region 5 WMUs except in 5S and 5T where it closes February 15; Mink and Muskrat season closes April 15 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5R, 5S & 5T where it closes April 7; Coyote, Red Fox, Gray Fox, Raccoon, Skunk, Opossum and Weasel season closes February 15 in all Region 5 WMUS. The use of bait or lure is prohibited with body gripping traps set on land between December 11 and February 15 in all Region 5 WMUs, except in WMUs 5R, 5S & 5T. Otter season closes April 7 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5S and 5T where it closes February 28 and in 5R where there is no trapping season. Beaver season closes April 7 in all Region 5 WMUs.

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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, February 2, 2012

DEC: 2011 Among Record Safest Hunting Years

The 2011 hunting season tied 2009 for New York State’s safest year of hunting on record based on the number of hunting-related shooting incidents, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced Wednesday.

“New York has an extremely safety-conscious generation of hunters thanks largely to more than 60 years of dedicated efforts of 3,000 volunteer Sportsman Education Instructors,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “All first-time hunters are required to attend a comprehensive hunter safety course of a minimum of 10 hours taught by DEC’s highly-trained instructors. Their hard work is paying off.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Feb 2)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

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 a weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** WINTER CONDITIONS
Despite unseasonably warm weather this week, winter conditions remain with low precipitation and seasonably cold weather this weekend which will create icy conditions everywhere. Day time temperatures remain below freezing most of the time, however, a day or two of temperatures in the high 30s or low 40s have become common. Night time temperatures remain below freezing. We lost additional snow cover this week, except at higher elevations where there is 20 inches or more in wind blown areas. Summit areas can expect wind chill values below zero this weekend. Snow cover varies with elevation, with the most in the south central and central Adirondacks, including the High Peaks. Snowshoes are now required above Marcy Dam, backcountry skiing is not recommended and crampons will be helpful, if not required. Frozen lakes are covered with water or slush, or layered ice. Recent rains and warm temperatures have opened waters and thinned ice on rivers and streams and around inlets, outlets and shorelines – avoid these areas. Many waters such as Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake have water and slush on the surface. Use caution when traveling on ice. Be prepared by wearing appropriate layered clothing, pack and use snowshoes and ice traction devices (cross country skis are not generally recommended in the backcountry at this time), drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food to avoid hypothermia.

** SNOW DEPTH REPORT
Snow depths around the region vary, with 2 to 6 inches at most lower elevation; 5 to 7 inches in the south central Adirondacks and lower elevations of the central Adirondacks. There is 20 inches at Lake Colden Interior Cabin and more in the higher elevations of the High Peaks. Areas in Eastern Essex County and Southern Warren County have little to no snow. The National Weather Service snow cover map provides a good gauge of snow cover around the region, albeit somewhat under-reporting actual snow accumulations.

** ICE ON WATER
Ice has formed on lakes and ponds and the smaller bays of larger lakes but ice thickness remains less than what is typical for mid-winter and this week’s warm weather has left lakes that are frozen covered with water, slush, or layered ice. The larger lakes still have areas of dangerously thin ice and open areas. 6 to 12 inches of ice are reported on many smaller lakes at lower elevations. There is ice at the north end of Schroon Lake; on South Bay on Lake Champlain; and on some of the bays of Lake George, but in large portions of these lakes ice remains dangerously thin. Always check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.

** DOWNHILL SKI REPORT
With the exception of Big Tupper and Hickory Mountain in Warrensburg, the region’s downhill areas will be open this week, albeit for those relying on natural snow it will be on limited terrain and dicey conditions. Whiteface and Gore Mountain are both reporting about 70% of their trails open. Ski with caution as many trails still have thin cover, especially at mountains relying heavily on natural snow. Adirondack Almanack has also published previews for the cross-county, backcountry, and downhill ski seasons here.

** CROSS-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
Conditions have deteriorated since last week. Only on the the smoother, gentler trails, closed roads, and truck trails is cross-country skiing possible. Expect machine groomed trails, thin cover, icy spots, and lightly hidden obstacles – ski with caution. With the exception of Mount Van Hovenberg, most of the region’s cross-country ski areas will be open this weekend on thin cover and limited trails. Your best bet continues to be the Lapland Lake, Garnet Hill, and the Paul Smith’s VIC, where several activities have been moved to take advantage of the groomed trails and good cover. The Lake Placid area has about 3 to 5 inches of snow; the Whiteface Highway is barely skiable. The Jackrabbit Trail has been reduced by rain and warm weather and is not recommended. Your best bet is to call ahead to cross-country facilities. Opportunities can still be had on the Newcomb Lake Road to Camp Santanoni, Burn Road at Little Tupper Lake; first two miles of the Fish Pond Truck Trail, and Hayes Brook Truck Trail to the Sheep Meadow, the St. Regis Canoe Area, and in the Moose River Plains and Inlet area. Updated cross-country ski conditions in and around Lake Placid are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** BACK-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
Early season routes are no longer recommended, the few areas that are skiable are icy and boney. A better bet would be the flatter roads and truck trails reported above. There is 20 inches of snow at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin. Lake ice on Avalanche and Lake Colden was crossable as was the ice in the St. Regis Canoe Area. Now ice is covered with slush, and when that slush does freeze, caution will still be needed near inlets and outlets. Detailed back-country ski conditions in and around the High Peaks are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** ICE CLIMBING REPORT
Climbing routes are mixed depending on exposure. Updated climbing conditions are available online via Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service.

** SOME SNOWMOBILE TRAILS OPEN
Some of the region’s snowmobile trails remain open, but expect thin, hard packed icy trails with bare spots and wet areas. Riding conditions are at best, minimal to fair in Southern Franklin County through toward Long Lake, Indian Lake, Old Forge, Inlet, and the Speculator area. The lakes also have many open spots in them, making winter travel dangerous. The only reasonable riding is in the Moose River Plains where there is 8 to 12 inches of snow on the ground, in the Perkins Clearing area, and around Cranberry Lake where 5 to 7 inches are reported. Eastern Essex, Warren and Washington County are not ridable. Each individual club has the final authority as to whether to open their trails or not and snowmobilers should show restraint in areas with insufficient snow cover to avoid damaging the trails. Also, a reminder to respect the landowners who have given permission for trails to cross their land. Check with local clubs before venturing out. A map of New York State Snowmobile Association Member Clubs by county, complete with contact information, may be found here.

** WATERS RUNNING WELL ABOVE NORMAL LEVELS
Ice has formed on all slack waters. The region’s rivers and streams are running well above normal for this time of year. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

GENERAL BACKCOUNTRY NOTICES

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
Amphibian populations are declining worldwide and scientists are seeking help to determine exactly where and why. The North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) is a citizen science-based effort to collect more information on local frogs and toads. New York’s NAAMP program is active in the Hudson River Valley and is holding trainings for prospective volunteers this February. To learn more and get involved, visit the Frog and Toad Monitoring page on DEC’s website.

HUNTING AND TRAPPING SEASONS OPEN
Some small game hunting and trapping seasons remain open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters and trappers on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution and now would be a good time to keep pets leashed and on the trail. Adirondack Almanack issues weekly Adirondack Fish and Game Reports each Thursday evening for those practicing these traditional sports.

** KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods. The National Weather Service (NWS) at Burlington and Albany cover the Adirondack region. NWS Burlington provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3,000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: LOW

ACCIDENTS HAPPEN, BE PREPARED
Wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry as conditions at higher elevations will likely be more severe. All users should bring 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.

FIREWOOD BAN IN EFFECT
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.

PRACTICE ‘LEAVE NO TRACE’
All backcountry users should learn and practice the Leave No Trace philosophy: Plan ahead and be prepared, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of others. More information is available online.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
DEC has closed the Eagle Cave between October 15 and April 30 to protect hibernating bats. White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states.

ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS BY REGION

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

Blowdown Report: Blowdown has now been removed from the NPTrail with the exception of West Canada Creek north to Sucker Brook Trail and from Tarbell Rd. trailhead north to Shattuck Clearing. Those areas still have some major blowdowns but are passable. The rest of the trail may have a few blowdowns but in general is clear.

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers and may be impossible this weekend. Bridge replacement is expected now expected begin this spring and be completed by fall of 2012.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

Ice has formed making travel on the region’s waterways impossible.

HIGH PEAKS – LAKE PLACID REGION
Including, Wilmington, Keene, Western High Peaks

** Stream and Water Crossings: Recent rains and warm temperatures have opened waters and thinned ice on rivers and streams and around inlets, outlets and shorelines – avoid these areas. Many waters such as Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake have water and slush on the surface. Use caution when traveling on ice.

Snowshoes Required; Crampons Recommended: Snowshoes are now required above Marcy Dam – the use of snowshoes prevents post holing, reduces injuries and eases travel through the snow. Crampons should be carried and used when necessary.

Trail Difficulties: Use caution on trails through drainages. Due to the rains, snow, thaws and refreezing trails through steep drainages may contain snow, ice and water in various combinations which can difficult to recognize.

Marcy Dam Crossing Reroute: The new low water crossing below Marcy Dam (the reroute created due to the washing away of the footbridge over Marcy Dam) currently consists of well-packed snow and is usable. Crossing on the ice above the dam is not recommended at this time as the ice remains thin due to the brook’s current. Hikers can also use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the trails on the east side of Marcy Brook. The Marcy Dam Bridge replacement will not begin until Spring at least.

South Meadow Road: The South Meadow Road is closed to motor vehicles at this time. Vehicles may be parked at the end of the road by the barriers, but do not block entryways as emergency equipment may need to access the road.

Corey’s Road: Logging operations will occur throughout the winter at Ampersand Park which is located at the very end of Corey’s Road, the popular entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness. Visitors should use caution and be aware of logging trucks. Corey’s Road will remain open for hikers, snowshoers and skiiers to access forest preserve lands, including the Seward Trailhead. The road will be open to the Raquette Falls parking lot, the gate there will be closed for safety reasons. Vehicles should park at designated parking areas and well off the road to avoid blocking the road. Vehicles blocking the road will be towed.

Hurricane Irene Damage to Trails: Backcountry users may encounter missing bridges, eroded trails and blow down when entering the backcountry in the Eastern High Peaks area. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and low water crossings have been created near the location of many of the missing bridges. Caution: Eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. Users should be able to navigate by map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. DEC updated closed trail map can be found online [pdf]. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

DEC Closed Trails Map: DEC updated closed trail map is available online [pdf]. The trails depicted on the map will remain close through the winter. The opening of these trails will be evaluated next spring.

Deer Brook Flume – Snow Mountain: The low water route through the Deer Brook Flume on the Deer Brook Trail to Snow Mountain remains impassable due to severe erosion.

Duck Hole: The Roaring Brook Bridge near Duck Hole is out. One side of the Duck Hole Dam has washed away and the pond has dewatered. The bridge over the dam had been previously removed due to its deteriorating condition. A low water crossing (ford) has been marked below the dam near the lean-to site. This crossing will not be possible during periods of high water. Note: This affects the Bradley Pond Trail and not the Northville Placid Trail.

Adirondack Mountain Reserve Closed Trails: The first (northernmost) cross over trail between the East River Trail and the West River Trail in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve remains closed. This affects access to the W.A. White Trail to Lower Wolf Jaw. The alternative is to approach via the Deer Brook trailhead (although not through Deer Brook Flume, see note below). The bridge will be rebuilt next spring a few yards downstream. The other four cross over trails and bridges are open and can be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails.

Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring. Due to the significant erosion caused by Ore Bed Brook the Ore Bed Brook Trail from John’s Brook Valley to the Range Trail (between Saddleback and Gothics) is open but may not be recognizable. Pay close attention to trail markers and watch for reroutes.

Cold Brook Trail: The Cold Brook Pass Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass remains closed. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring.

Dix Mountain Wilderness- Clear Pond: The Clear Pond Gate is closed. Hikers, skiers, and snowshoers must park in the area near the gate and hike or ski one mile to the trailhead.

Elk Lake-Marcy Trail: The bridge is out in Marcy Swamp on the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail. Also there is light blowdown between Marcy Swamp and Panther Gorge Lean-to.

Klondike Trail: The bridge near South Meadow Road on the Klondike Trail is out. The Mr. Van Trail and the Marcy Truck Trail will need to be used as a detour to reach South Meadow Road. The Mr. Van Trail is clear of blowdown between the lean-to and the Klondike Notch Trail, however there are a number of bridges out.

Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold Trail: There is heavy blowdown on the trail between Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold.

Indian Pass: The Indian Pass Trail is clear of blowdown to the Wall Face Bridge, but the Wall Face Bridge is out and the Henderson Bridge is damaged. All bridges encountered on the Indian Pass Trail from Upper Works are gone, the trail has been rerouted to low water crossing in many locations.

Calkins Creek Horse Trail: The Calkins Creek Horse Trail has two bridges out, making it impassable for horse drawn wagons and difficult for horses.

Dix Mountain Wilderness: The Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail contains some blowdown. The Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle and beyond remains closed.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: Beaver activity has flooded the North Trail to Giant Mountain from 9N just past the lean-to.

Hurricane Mountain Wilderness: The Jay Mountain Road between Jay Mountain Wilderness and the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness is open at this time, but is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter. The O’Toole Road is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Truck Trail has been cleared and washouts fixed. A winter gate has been installed that is closed when it snows. Those accessing Whiteface Landing when snow is present should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

Wilmington Wild Forest: A new snowmobile trail segment has been completed connecting the hamlet of Wilmington’s business district with a snowmobile trail that leads to the remote and scenic Cooper Kiln Pond. The new three-mile trail segment will allow snowmobilers to travel from Wilmington, connect with the previously existing Cooper Kiln Pond Trail and travel another three miles to the pond. It creates a 12.6-mile round trip snowmobiling opportunity. More information can be found online.

SOUTHERN-CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS
West Canada Lakes, Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Speculator, Indian Lake

Black River Wild Forest: The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed with no current timetable for reopening (though it is likely to reopen next year).

Eagle Cave in Jessup River Wild Forest: DEC has closed the Eagle Cave between October 15 and April 30 to protect hibernating bats.

Moose River Plains Wild Forest: Currently there are 8 to 12 inches of snow on the ground. However, most of corners on designated snowmobile trails have been worn down to ice. Riders should be careful and slow down on the corners. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

Perkins Clearing Easement Lands: In Speculator Tree Farm the Alternate S41D Trail (Fly Creek Road and Long Level Road) is closed due to logging activities in the Fly Creek area. Also riders should use caution along the C4 Trail (Old Route 8) between Fly Creek Road and Kunjamuk Cave Hill Road as the road is plowed and used by logging trucks and logging equipment.

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: The South Castle Rock Trail is clear of blowdown. The Upper Sargent Pond Trail beyond Castle Rock has some blowdown. The Outlet Bay Lean-to on Raquette Lake is damaged and in poor condition from a tree fallen on its roof.

Silver Lake Wilderness: There is heavy blowdown on the Northville Placid Trail between Benson and Silver Lake.

West Canada Lakes: Two through hikers on the Northvillle Placid Trail report plenty of blowdown north of Spruce Lake and also from Stephens Pond to Lake Durant.

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin next spring.

EASTERN-SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS
The Hudson, Schroon, Lake George, Champlain, Sacandaga, Washington Co

** Santanoni Historic Preserve: Two more Winter Weekend events to be held at historic Camp Santanoni this season. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers will be able to access the Gate Lodge, the Main Lodge and the Artist’s Studio, view interpretative displays, and take interpretive tours on the President’s Day holiday weekend, February 18-20, and the weekend of March 17-18. The Winter Weekend events are being hosted by DEC, Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the town of Newcomb and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s (ESF) Adirondack Interpretive Center. AARCH staff will staff the Artist’s Studio, which will serve as a warming hut with a fire and hot beverages, and provide tours of the Main Lodge. The Adirondack Interpretive Center will provide snowshoes to lend to visitors at the Gate Lodge.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: The bridge over Hoffman Notch Brook on north end of Hoffman Notch Trail has been washed out. A section of Big Pond Trail approximately .5 miles in length near East Branch Trout Brook has not been cleared of blow down yet and will provide obstacle for hikers/skiers. There is no bridge over East Branch Trout Brook on the Big Pond Trail.

Lake George Wild Forest – Jabe Pond Road: The Jabe Pond Road is closed to motor vehicles due to snow and ice. The gate will be reopened to snowmobiles once there is enough snow cover on the ground.

Tongue Mountain: Trails on Tongue Mountain are covered with snow and ice. Due to thawing and freezing the footing is slippery – climbing/traction foot wear is highly recommended.

Crane Mountain: The Crane Mountain Trail Head is accessible from the south by car and truck by way of Ski Hi Road via Putnam Cross Road. The south end of Ski Hi Road is washed out but Putnam Cross Road bypasses the washout. The north access by way of Crane Mountain Road is washed out and not accessible with any vehicle.

Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: The bridge on the trail to Lapland Pond from Pike Brook Trailhead has been repaired.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: A bridge over Crowfoot Brook on the Crowfoot Trail is out. The bridge over the Berrymill Brook on the Hammond Pond Trail is out. The Lindsey Brook Trail remains closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

Hudson River Recreation Area: A few roads in the Hudson River Recreation area are open but have significant washouts and should only be accessed by 4-wheel drive and other high clearance vehicles, these include: River Road; Buttermilk Road north of the Town line; and Gay Pond Road before Campsite #13. The following roads or sections of roads remain closed to motor vehicles due to damage caused by Hurrican Irene, they are passable on foot: Buttermilk Road Extension north of the Gay Pond Road; Gay Pond Road past Campsite #13; and the access road to Darlings Ford Waterway Access Site.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: The bridge over Mud Pond Outlet between Putnam Pond and Treadway Mountain Trails has been replaced. The following trails have been cleared of blowdown: Rock Pond Trail, Rock Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, and Bear Pond Trail. The trails along the northern and western sides of Pharaoh Lake (the two trails between the Lake and Glidden Marsh) have extensive blowdown in the sections along the lake. The Springhill Pond Trail has extensive, large-sized blowdown along the entire length from parking area on West Hague Road to Pharaoh Lake. The Goose Pond Trail is in fair condition. The Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter)and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. The trail is very wet with flooding in some areas deeper than the top of hiking boots. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The bridge over Wolf Pond Outlet on the East Shore Pharaoh Lake Trail was replaced. There is a short reroute between the bridge and the intersection for the Swing Trail. The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the north side of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

** Siamese Ponds Wilderness: The Town of Johnsburg has replaced the culvert on Old Farm Road, motor vehicles can now access the Old Farm Clearing Trailhead. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail has been replaced. The bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail that was washed out in the Spring 2011 has been replaced.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness – Eagle Cave: DEC has closed the Eagle Cave until April 30 to protect hibernating bats.

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The Spur Trail between West Stony Creek Road and Baldwin Springs has extensive blowdown. There is substantial blowdown on the Stony Creek Trail to Wilcox Lake beyond that to the east Stony Creek bridge; blowdown continues up the trail to Wilcox Lake. Mud Pond Road has been cleared of trees to the Mud Pond Trail Head, due to washouts it is recommended that it be used by trucks only. There are multiple trees down on the Pumpkin Hollow Road at the Wilcox Lake Trailhead preventing access to the Wilcox Lake Trail, the Murphy Lake Trail and the Pine Orchard Trail. The bridge over a small stream just north of Fish Ponds on the Bartman Trail is out. The bridge over Georgia Creek on the Cotter Brook Trail is under water due to beaver activity as is the Pine Orchard Trail .5 mile south of Pine Orchard. The Dayton Creek bridge is out on the trail from Brownell Camp (at the end of Hope Falls Road) to Wilcox Lake. During low water conditions crossing can be made by rock hopping. The Murphy Lake Trail is brushy and difficult to follow along the east shore of the lake from the lean-to to the outlet and is also flooded at the north end of Murphy Lake.

NORTHERN-NORTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS
Santa Clara, Tupper and Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila

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.

Kings Bay WMA: A section of the access road to the parking area off Point Au Fer Road has washed out. The damaged road is still passable but very narrow. The washed out section is marked with an orange barrel at each end.

Chazy Lake Boat Launch: The Chazy Lake Boat Launch is essentially unusable due to the water level draw down by the Town of Dannemora. The concrete ramp ends several yards from the water’s edge.

Lyon Mountain – Chazy Highlands Wild Forest: The re-route of the top section of the Lyon Mountain Trail is complete and the trail is clearly signed and marked. Hikers should use the new trail and avoid the old trail which is not maintained and is in poor condition due to erosion.

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area campsites #4-6 on the Barnes Pond Road are currently inaccessible due to a road washout. Access to these sites will not be reopened until road repairs can be made and the road beyond the washout is assessed for storm damage and cleared of blowdown. The three furthest campsites along the True Brook Road are inaccessible due to poor road conditions

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: There is blowdown on the Deer Loop Trail between Route 30 and the bridge. Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Ice has formed on all lakes and ponds. check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person. A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond. Significant work on campsites in the Canoe Area was conducted last year. A new webpage has been created to provide information including maps and recreational opportunities.

Whitney Wilderness: The Lake Lila Road is closed to public vehicle traffic for the winter. Hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers may still use the road to access Lake Lila, Mt. Fredrica and other areas of state land. The land on either side of the road is private, trespass on these lands is prohibited.

Norton Peak Cave / Chateuagay Woodlands Conservation Easement Lands: Norton Peak Cave has been reopened to the public following the expiration of the cave closing order on March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. DEC is considering whether to close all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population. It’s best to stay out of caves at this time.

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Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation and trail conditions can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The DEC Trails Supporter Patch is available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Adaptive Nordic Ski Camp This Weekend

Despite the wet weather, the 2nd Adirondack Adaptive Nordic Ski Camp is still being held this weekend, February 3-5, 2012, in Lake Placid, NY.

This unique 3-day event will bring together new and experienced adaptive Nordic skiers from all over the country for an adaptive Nordic skiing training camp and races at the Empire State Winter Games. The camp is being organized by a partnership of local and regional organizations including Adirondack Adaptive Adventures, Mountain Orthotic and Prosthetic Services, U.S. Paralympic Nordic Team, Olympic Regional Development Authority, Northeast Passage, New England Nordic Ski Association, and Horowitz Associates, Inc.

“We have definitely built upon the success of last year’s camp,” said Josh Wilson of Adirondack Adaptive Adventures, a small local organization which coordinates adaptive outdoor sports events and outings for people with disabilities. “This year registrations have doubled, and we are pleased to be able to sponsor several adaptive skiers from New York and the Northeast.” With generous donations from a number of local businesses, Adirondack Adaptive Adventures raffled a Lake Placid ski & stay vacation package to raise money for athlete scholarships.

“We are very lucky to have formed a partnership with U.S. Paralympics,” said Wilson. Coaches from the U.S. Paralympic Nordic Team will lead training clinics for skiers with physical disabilities who are interested in learning new adaptive XC and biathlon training and competition techniques.

“We are excited to bring a U.S. Paralympic Nordic development camp to historic Lake Placid,” said John Farra, Nordic Director for U.S. Paralympics. Eight military veterans will join other skiers at the camp thanks to a sponsorship from the U.S. Olympic Committee. “It is a great opportunity to immerse developing athletes into cross country ski training, along with shooting training for Biathlon, culminating in participation in the Empire State Games.” Farra is a former Lake Placid resident and Cross Country Skiing Olympian.

Haley Johnson, a Lake Placid local and 2010 Biathlon Olympian will join the camp as a guest coach. In addition to the camp, the Empire State Games will feature adaptive XC and biathlon events during the camp, which are open to any adaptive skier who wishes to compete. In 2011 adaptive XC races were held for the first time at the Games, attracting 10 competitors from the Northeast region.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

St. Lawrence Valley Primitive Snowshoe Biathlon

The St. Lawrence Valley Primitive Snowshoe Biathlon, organized by the Fort La Présentation Association and Forsyth’s Rifles and hosted by the Massena Rod & Gun Club, will be held March 3-4, 2012.

“In our primitive biathlon, competitors on snowshoes run or walk a measured course,” said Fred Hanss, an event organizer. “They must load and fire two shots from a muzzle-loading firearm at five targets set at well-spaced stations and throw an axe at the sixth station.”

Two of the three classes reflect the organizers’ mission to educate the public about the colonial and early American history of the St. Lawrence River Valley. In the first two classes, competitors using smoothbore muskets or rifles (flintlock or caplock) must cover the course on wooden snowshoes. In the third category, participants with in-line rifles may wear wooden or modern snowshoes.

The advance registration fee is $20. Registration on the day of the event is $25. After paying the initial registration fee, a re-entry fee of $5.00 will be charged each time that a participant runs the course.

Within the competitive classes, there are men’s, ladies’, and youth divisions. Awards will be presented to the top three participants in each division at a ceremony on Sunday afternoon.

“To add to the fun, a blanket shoot will be held and door prizes will be available Saturday and Sunday,” Mr. Hanss said. “Net proceeds from the primitive biathlon will go to the Fort La Présentation Association for the construction of an Interpretive Center and the reconstruction of historic Fort de la Présentation on Ogdensburg’s Lighthouse Point.”

Participants are encouraged to wear historic clothes covering 1750 to 1812. Fort de la Présentation was one of a handful of French colonial forts in New York State. Forsyth’s Rifles from Ogdensburg re-enacts a U.S. Army regiment posted in Northern New York during the War of 1812. From the French and Indian War period, they portray a unit of French marines.
Registration form and rules are at www.fort1749.org.

Photo courtesy The Dalton gang Shooting Club of NH.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

RC Oster Historic Architecture Exhibit Opening

An opening reception will be held for “Drawing on our Past: Ink Darwings of New York State’s Historic Architecture,” an exhibition of drawings by David ‘RC’ Oster at View in Old Forge tomorrow, Saturday, February 4 from 5 ­to 7 pm. His works will be displayed from February 4 ­ March 3 concurrently with “Adirondack View Finders” a photography exhibition that showcases top Adirondack Photographers including Nathan Farb, Nancie Battaglia, Mark Bowie, and Carl Heilman.

RC Oster is a self-taught artist who specializes in free-hand ink drawings of regional landmarks and Adirondack scenes. He is particularly well known for his drawings of historic buildings. RC sees these landmarks as “proud reminders of where we as a society have been.” He carefully captures fine details of these buildings from sharp angles that show off the architecture of the building. He seeks to bring further awareness to these buildings
through capturing their fine details.

Stone sculpture by Matt Horner will be on display with both the photography and the ink drawings. Exhibition admission is $10/$5 members and groups of 6+/Children under 12
free. View is a multi-arts center located at 3273 State Rt. 28 in Old Forge, NY. To learn more about View programming visit www.ViewArts.org or call 315-369-6411.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Empire State Winter Games Begin

For the 32nd year, the Empire State Winter Games, formerly hosted by New York State, will be held in Lake Placid February 2nd through 5th. Organized by the Lake Placid CVB and the Olympic Regional Development Authority, the Games incorporate winter sports including alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, biathlon, figure skating, luge, speed skating, bobsled/skeleton, women’s ice hockey, ski orienteering, and freestyle skiing.

In 2011, the state of New York did not follow through in their commitment to hold the Games due to severe budget cuts. Several local organizations, including ORDA and the Lake Placid CVB, stepped up to finish organization of the event and were able to rescue the Empire State Games from extinction.

This year marks the second year of the Games as a community event, and will feature over 1,000 athletes. The entire region, not just Lake Placid, will be utilized for sporting events.

The Empire State Winter Games start on Thursday. At 6:00 pm, the Opening Ceremonies are held in the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena. This offers the athletes a chance to parade into the arena as a representative of their sport. The Key Note Speaker will be well-known actor and Lake Placid resident James Tolkan, who is best known for his roles in the movies Back to the Future and Top Gun.

After the Opening Ceremonies, the Games are officially open. The competitions will resume at various facilities including Mt Van Hoevenburg, Mt Pisgah, Whiteface and the Olympic Center.

Information about schedules, sports, news, and more can be found online.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Captain Cook’s, Saranac Lake

It could have been November (or early spring) for all we knew. Dead grass lay matted in pale straw hues awaiting a blanket of snow. The calendar indicated late January, but nearly 40 degree temperatures and an almost complete lack of snow said otherwise.

A little late with her instructions, Pam’s GPS rerouted us down Limekiln Road on a “shortcut” back to Route 73. Not one to turn around (or ever ask for directions), Pam took us four-wheeling down a dirt road that would have been impassible under normal winter conditions. Ice sculptures clung like blobs of celeste blue glass to rock ledges along 73 while hikers and climbers wandered to their patiently waiting cars as dusk approached.

Finally arriving in Saranac Lake, noticing the half-constructed ice castle, we made our way to Captain Cook’s. It looked pretty dead from the outside as Kim stood across the street covertly snapping a few pics of the exterior. We were unprepared for the large crowd as we entered Captain Cook’s Bar and Grill on that Saturday afternoon. Surprise must have registered on our faces as we were raucously greeted at the door who by a man who informed us it was Ladies’ Night – no cover! Having broken the ice, we found a seat in a far corner of the bar where we could observe and take notes. With one bartender serving the 30 or more patrons, we knew we would have to be patient in getting information from her. Staci readily took our drink orders and answered our questions as opportunity permitted.

Though not easily discernible in the dimmer light, the top of the P-shaped bar is an inlaid topographical map. High pine ceilings and walls accent the rustic birch slab shelves. An old canoe hanging on a far wall rounds out the Adirondack appeal. Several flags are tacked to the ceiling and a large bright yellow model seaplane floats over the bar. Three flat-screen TVs are scattered about. We were a little confused by the San Francisco 49ers pennants behind the bar until Pat’s comment about Captain Cook’s being proud Giants supporters was intercepted by a companion who set the record straight.

Wanting to mix with the locals, Kim approached a group to ask questions. Eyeing her notebook suspiciously at first, they quickly warmed up once the purpose of our visit was established. We spoke at length with a woman named Pat who was willing and eager to share insights about Captain Cook’s, the local bars, and the community in general. Though not a standard question from our repertoire, our foremost curiousity was whether this was a typical crowd for a Saturday afternoon in January. Turns out that it is. Captain Cook’s is the headquarters for the Saranac Lake IPW – the Ice Palace Workers. That explained both the diversity of the patrons and the community spirit that pervaded the barroom. They had finished working on the ice palace for the day and seemed to be reveling in their accomplishments, undaunted perhaps by the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival deadline looming just one short week away. We had an opportunity to speak with several IPW members and learned that most of them have been members for years, are about 30 percent women, and are somewhat disappointed by the lack of new, younger recruits. We even managed to convince a few of the volunteers to pose for a photo.

Capt. Cook’s has been owned by Scott Cook for the past four years. In the summer it is headquarters for the local rugby team. It certainly had the feel of being a community place to meet, but welcoming to strangers as well. Though the bar can seat 14 to 16 people, the room easily accommodated the current gathering. A rustic table near the front window was empty, perhaps just a little too far away from the action. Captain Cook’s features Happy Hour drink specials Monday through Friday, but the Saturday prices were very reasonable. They are open year round, seven days a week from noon until 3 a.m. Chicken wings are the specialty here and, as observed from our station at the bar, take-out seems to be very popular. The standard pool table and electronic darts remained dormant this day. An ATM machine is on site and Quick Draw is available too. Additional seating is available upstairs and on an outside patio tucked away from the street. Musical entertainment is featured during Winter Carnival. A small public parking area is adjacent to the bar and on-street parking is just up the road and across the street.

The menu at Captain Cook’s features sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs and several flavors of wings (including peanut butter). Eight draft beers include Davidson Brothers “Captain Cook’s IPA”, Long Trail, Blue Light, and a Samuel Adams seasonal. Assorted flavored vodkas and Jagermeister suggest the bartenders may possess some creativity.

If you’re planning to be in Saranac Lake for the Winter Carnival, or any time at all, Captain Cook’s is a great place to warm up, have a drink and grab something to eat. Visit their website and Facebook page for up-to-date drink specials and events. The atmosphere is friendly and festive and the people are some of the nicest we’ve met.

Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog, or follow them on Facebook, and ADK46barfly on Twitter.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

10th Adirondack Backcountry Ski Festival Slated

The Mountaineer and Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides have teamed up to host the 10th annual Adirondack Backcountry Ski Festival on March 3 and 4, 2012. The event celebrates the ski experience both here in the Adirondack backcountry and in the greater ranges of the world.

This year’s event features guest athlete Glen Plake, star of many ski films and an accomplished backcountry skier, guide and instructor based in Chamonix, France. He will be skiing at Otis Mountain in Elizabethtown on Saturday and offering a presentation on Saturday evening at the Keene Central School.

Guided ski tours will be held on Saturday and Sunday, led by Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides and a group of local ski guides. Skiers with intermediate nordic skills can join the classic Avalanche Pass ski traverse, while intermediate to expert downhill skiers looking to get into backcountry skiing will want to join the Intermediate Tour. Expert skiers with prior backcountry experience and their own gear can refine their skills on the Advanced Tour. Space is limited, so check out their website to register.

Free demos and mini clinics will again be held at Otis Mountain on Saturday. The Mountainfest is benefit event, with all proceeds supporting the New York State Ski Education Foundation’s Nordic racing programs and the Adirondack Ski Touring Council, stewards of the Adirondack Park’s backcountry ski trail system, including the Jackrabbit Trail.

Call The Mountaineer at 518 576 2281 or visit www.mountaineer.com for more information and to register for the clinics.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Night of Art, Skiing and Music in Saranac Lake

Dewey Mountain is the subject and beneficiary of a show opening Friday at the Adirondack Artists Guild, in Saranac Lake. The exhibit is inspired by the 2,050-foot mountain southwest of the village. I’m eager to see what the artists come up with.

The north side of Dewey hosts a cross-country-ski and snowshoe center by winter. The rest of the year it’s an in-town place to walk, hike and mountain bike. The Saranac River flows around the mountain as it enters the village. Like Pisgah and Baker, two other low peaks bounding the village, Dewey defines Saranac Lake’s topography as well as our love of mountain sports.

Everyone is welcome to a reception hosted by Dewey Mountain Friends at the gallery 5–7 p.m. Friday, February 3. Then please visit Dewey Mountain Recreation Center to ski and hear the Blind Owl Band play at the free Friday Night Ski Jam. Food for the jam is being donated by Blue Moon Cafe.

Each of the Artists Guild’s 14 contributors is donating an original work celebrating Dewey and winter sports. Their show, called “Artés Ski,” will be in the gallery February 3–27. Oils, watercolors, pastels, fiber art, jewelry, ceramic art and photographs will be available for bid in a running silent auction. Seventy-five percent of the proceeds will be donated to a Dewey Mountain Friends capital campaign to construct a new base lodge (disclosure: I’m a shamelessly enthusiastic member).

Dewey is one of my favorite places on earth. In just a few minutes’ walk I can sneak away from it all and be alone on the trail. But I also love how Dewey brings people together–in this latest event, our local artists have found a creative way to celebrate what Dewey means to them. But musicians, civic organizations, schools, local government, restaurants and other businesses—-all work together every year to make sure this little mountain is more than just part of the scenery. The breadth of generosity is inspiring and a hallmark of Saranac Lake.

So if you can, please stop by the gallery, at 52 Main Street, to explore a mountain as muse. The Adirondack Artists Guild is a cooperative retail gallery representing a diverse group of artists in the Tri-Lakes region. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 12–3 p.m. Sunday. For more information see adirondackartistsguild.com or call (518) 891–2615.

Dewey Mountain Recreation Center is owned by the Town of Harrietstown and is located on State Route 3, one mile west of downtown Saranac Lake. Trails (16 km cross-country-ski and 5 km snowshoe) are open daily, and lower trails are groomed for skate-skiing and lighted for night skiing. For more information see deweyskicenter.com or call (518) 891-2697.

Photograph taken during a Friday Night Ski Jam by Burdette Parks, Adirondack Artists Guild.


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