Saturday, January 8, 2011

APA Meets Thursday: Warrensburg, Wells, Moriah, More

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, January 13 at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY. The January meeting is one day only. Topics will include a variance for a sign at a new car dealership in Warrensburg, a shoreline structure setback and cutting variances for a proposed marina in Moriah, an enforcement action against an alleged wetland subdivision and substandard-sized lot subdivision in Wells, a presentation on Keene broadband project, military airspace and military aircraft use over the Adirondack Park, and the Department of Environmental Conservation’s draft policy for issuing Temporary Revocable Permits for State Lands and Conservation Easements.

The meeting will be webcast live online (choose Webcasting from the contents list). Meeting materials are available for download from the Agency’s website. The full agenda follows:

The Full Agency will convene on Thursday morning at 9:00 for Executive Director Terry Martino’s report where she will discuss current activities.

At 9:15 a.m., the Regulatory Programs Committee will consider two variance projects; a request for a variance from the Q-3 sign standards for placement of new car dealership sign in the Town of Warrensburg, Warren County and shoreline structure setback and shoreline cutting variance variances for a proposed marina in the Town of Moriah, Essex County.

At 10:30, the Enforcement Committee will convene for an enforcement case involving alleged wetland subdivision and substandard-sized lot subdivision violations on private property in the Town of Wells, Hamilton County.

At 11:00, the Economic Affairs Committee will hear a presentation on the Town of Keene’s town-wide broadband project. Dave Mason and Jim Herman, project co-directors, will explain the project history, how it unfolded and detail project accomplishments.

At 1:00, the Park Policy and Planning Committee will be briefed on Military Airspace and Military Aircraft use over the Adirondack Park. Lt. Col. Fred Tomasselli, NY Air National Guard’s Airspace Manager at Fort Drum, will overview military airspace use. Commander Charles Dorsey, NY Air National Guard 174th Fighter Wing Vice-Commander at Fort Hancock, will detail the expected deployment of the MQ-9 Reaper aircraft for military training exercises over the Adirondack Park.

At 2:15, the State Land Committee will be updated by, Forest Preserve Management Bureau Chief Peter Frank, on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s draft policy for issuing Temporary Revocable Permits for State Lands and Conservation Easements. The draft policy proposes four types of revocable permits: Expedited, Routine, Non-Routine and Research.

At 3:00, the Park Ecology Committee will convene for a presentation from the Agency’s, Natural Resource Analysis Supervisor Daniel Spada, on his recent trip to China. The focus of the trip was the ongoing China Protected Areas Leadership Alliance Project. Mr. Spada will overview this project and describe his experiences with the various National Nature Reserve managers he visited with in Yunnan Province, China.

At 3:45, the Full Agency will convene will assemble to take action as necessary and conclude with committee reports, public and member comment.

The February Agency is scheduled for February 10-11, 2011

March Agency Meeting: March 17-18 at the Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lake George Stewards Program Receives Some Funding

The Lake George Association (LGA) has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program for the 2011 Lake Steward program on Lake George. In previous years the LGA had received funds from New York State through the Lake George Watershed Coalition to run the aquatic invasives prevention program, but state budget cutbacks have made future funding unpredictable.

The Lake Steward Program provides invasive species education and spread prevention. Lake Stewards are trained and hired in early summer, then stationed at multiple boat launches around Lake George to educate boaters about the threats of aquatic invasive species, such as Eurasian watermilfoil, zebra mussels, curly-leaf pondweed, and most recently, the Asian clam. » Continue Reading.


Friday, January 7, 2011

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights

On Friday afternoons Adirondack Almanack compiles for our readers a collection of the week’s top weblinks. You can find all our weekly web round-ups here.

Subscribe! More than 4,500 people get Adirondack Almanack each day via RSS, E-Mail, or Twitter or Facebook updates. It’s a convenient way to get the latest news and information about the Adirondacks.


Friday, January 7, 2011

50 Year Old Opera Festival Severs Links to Lake George

“Lake George is rich in musical history, having been home to Marcella Sembrich, Louise and Sidney Homer, among others, and by the late 1950s, people wanted to bring the magic back,” says Tom Lloyd, recounting the origins of the Lake George Opera.

Lloyd, the owner of Adirondack Studios, is the son of the Lake George Opera’s legendary director David Lloyd, and was himself a technical director, artistic director and acting managing director when he was still in his 20s.

Earlier this fall, Lloyd addressed a gathering of Lake George Opera supporters in Clifton Park, a kick-off to the organization’s celebrations of its 50th anniversary.

Two weeks later, the company announced that it was changing its name to Opera Saratoga, severing its links to its origins on the shores of Lake George.

“For several years, the Company has considered a name change to reflect its permanent residency in Saratoga Springs. The Company has been producing opera at the Spa Little Theater for the past fourteen seasons and considers the lovely, intimate theater to be its home. The time has come, as the Opera celebrates the accomplishments of its history, to fully embrace its home and increase the public commitment to its community and surroundings,” a statement from the company said.

Lloyd acknowledged that he has mixed feelings about the change in names, but he concluded, “the organization should probably be named for the community that embraces it, and that seems to be Saratoga. Let’s hope it will lead to increased funding.”

For those who hoped that some way would be found to bring the Lake George Opera back to Lake George, its 50th anniversary was to have been an occasion to re-affirm its historic links to the lake. Instead, it’s an occasion to reflect upon the past.

Tom Lloyd provided that retrospective in his talk to the Friends of the Lake George Opera in November.

In 1962, tenor David Lloyd was in Colorado, performing with soprano Jeanette Scovotti, both names huge in the world of opera.

“Jeanette had to leave Colorado and go back to New York, where she and her husband Fred Patrick were starting the Lake George Opera,” said Lloyd. “She said something to David, David spoke to Fred, and by the next summer David had signed on as artistic director.”

Fred Patrick, born Frederick Susselman, was a baritone who had graduated from Julliard, where he had met Scovotti.

He was also a friend of Armand McLane, a singer who was familiar with Lake George and its musical associations, who believed that there was still an audience on the lake for opera.

Patrick may also have been familiar with Donald W. Johnston, who had started the Studio of Song in 1951.

“The Studio of Song didn’t make it, but Fred Patrick saw its amphitheatre in Diamond Point, and saw its possibilities,” said Lloyd.

Legend has it that the theatre, at the corner of Rt. 9N and Coolidge Hill Road, was a building in total disrepair. Patrick rebuilt it himself on summer weekends, when he wasn’t on tour or singing in New York.

Among the new company’s first productions was an English version of “Carmen,” with a libretto by Patrick himself.

In fact, when the singer scheduled to perform the role of Escamillo fell ill, Patrick sang the role.

Reporting on the Lake George Opera’s first season, the New York Times called Patrick “a jack of all trades.”

“Mr. Patrick keeps his budget down by doing the chores himself. He feels that his company must be versatile. He plans an apprentice program, which should help out backstage,” the reporter noted.

According to Tom Lloyd, the Lake George Opera’s versatility was its defining characteristic, and made membership in the company the valuable experience it was.

“The singers didn’t just sing, they did everything, including costuming, lighting and set design,” said Lloyd. “Fred always had a handful of bus tickets, and if you weren’t willing to work, he’d hand you one and put you on a bus back to New York. He was so committed, and he expected you to be, too.”

That collective spirit informed the apprentice program envisioned by Patrick. By 1967, a young singer would be taking classes in the morning, painting sets in the afternoon, and applying her own make-up in the evening in preparation for a stage appearance. The program is now the second oldest of its kind in the country, and one of the most selective.

Equally important to the future of the company was Patrick’s vision of an American company performing operas in English.

David Lloyd and many others associated with the Lake George Opera had studied with Russian-born pianist, conductor, and stage director Boris Goldovsky at Tanglwood.

Goldovsky, explains Tom Lloyd, trained artists to be actors as well as singers.

“Like stage actors, opera singers needed motivation and characterization if they were to become good performers,” said Lloyd.

Singing in English made singers better actors, David Lloyd said in 1967.

When a singer knows that his words are understood, David Lloyd said, he works harder to make his gestures and expressions suit his language.

Fred Patrick died at the age of 37 in 1965. By then, David Lloyd was the company’s managing director. Under his tenure, the Company gave its first contemporary and American operas, Menotti’s The Telephone in 1965 and Robert Ward’s The Crucible in 1966, and four world premiere productions: David Amram’s Twelfth Night and Robert Baksa’s Aria da Capo, both in 1968, The Child by Jose Bernardo in 1974, and Alva Henderson’s The Last of the Mohicans in 1977.

In 1964, the company moved to the Queensbury High School.

“The disadvantages were that it was a high school, with all the stigma attached to that,” said Lloyd. “The advantages were that it was enormously accessible, classrooms could be used as rehearsal halls, there was plenty of parking and it had an 876 seat theater.”

Unlike today’s three week season, when two operas will be performed, Lake George Opera seasons in the 1960s extended for an entire summer and featured more than fifty performances of at least seven operas.

The Queensbury High School was meant to be a temporary home. Fred Patrick had dreamed of building a theater on Lake George, and working with officials in the administration of Governor Hugh Carey, David Lloyd nearly accomplished that feat.

“My Dad’s effort with Hugh Carey was inspired. He almost had the State ready to donate Green Island to the Opera when the Sagamore was in disarray. It would have become a real destination festival like Santa Fe if that would have happened,” said Tom Lloyd.

It has been said that the Opera’s board of directors, then dominated by Glens Falls residents, vetoed the idea on the grounds that Bolton Landing was too remote to attract an audience.

In 1998, the company moved to the Spa Little Theater in the Saratoga State Park.

This summer, the newly-renamed company will celebrate its 50th anniversary with performances of two operas staged in Diamond Point in 1962.

And that, so far as we know, will be the last of the Lake George Opera Festival.

Photos: Lake George Opera production of The Bartered Bride, 1996; Lake George Opera Festival founders Jeanette Scovotti and Fred Patrick (photo taken at Chalet Suisse, Warrensburg).

For more news from Lake George, subscribe to the Lake George Mirror


Friday, January 7, 2011

Free Speed Skating Event in Lake Placid

The Lake Placid Speed Skating Club Race Series continues this weekend with the Charles Jewtraw All Around. The event if free, and spectators are encouraged to watch the live speed skating races on the Olympic Oval.

Named after local speed skater and 1924 Olympic Champion Charles Jewtraw, the event encompasses four races; the 500 meter (1 lap and a straightaway); the 1,000 meter (2 and a half laps); the 1500 meter (3 and ¾ laps); and the 3,000 meter race (approximately 7 laps).

The skater who performs the best in all four races will be the winner in their age categories. There are 11 age categories, from under 6 years old, to 79 plus. Saturday will start with the 500 meter and 1500 meter, and Sunday will conclude with the 1000 meter and the 3000 meter.

For more information, visit the registration site at www.lakeplacidoval.com.


Friday, January 7, 2011

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories

Each Friday morning Adirondack Almanack compiles for our readers the previous week’s top stories. You can find all our weekly news round-ups here.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Jan. 6)

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) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional Forest Ranger incident reports which form a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Be aware of the latest weather conditions and carry adequate gear and supplies.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

SEARCH FOR MISSING MAN IN HIGH PEAKS
DEC Forest Rangers and others continue to search 22 year-old Wesley ‘Wes’ Wamsganz, missing since Saturday, November 20, and believed to be in the High Peaks Wilderness. He is 6’3″ 180 lbs, has buzz cut short blond hair, and blue eyes. He is believed to wearing a Black Bob Marley zip up hoodie, jeans or tan Carhart pants, basketball sneakers and a yellow, red and green striped brimmed beanie. The search was scaled back to “limited continuous status” Sunday. Wamsganz, of Saranac Lake, is believed to have been spotted by hikers at Marcy Dam last Saturday evening. Between Marcy Dam and Lake Colden Wamsganz’s green Carhartt jacket was found last Sunday. If you encounter Mr. Wamsganz or evidence of his whereabouts notify DEC Forest Rangers at (518-897-1300).

** WINTER CONDITIONS AT ALL ELEVATIONS
Winter conditions exist throughout the area. Expect to encounter snow and especially ice on trails. Currently ice and frozen ground are covered by a foot or more of snow. Prepare accordingly, pack snowshoes or skis and crampons and use them when conditions warrant. Daytime temperatures below freezing can be expected at all elevations, with wind-chill below freezing as well. Snow cover is now prominent across the Adirondacks. Although a lot of the snow cover was lost with the past weekends warm temperatures and rain, there is a 4 to 8 inches of snow in the lower elevations with a foot or more above 2300 feet and ice on summits and other open areas. The snow cover is mostly new, light and fluffy snow on top of a hard base or frozen ground. The Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reports 18 inches of snow at the cabin. Ice on Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are thick enough for crossing, thinner at inlet and outlets. There are some bare rocks still present in Avalanche Pass.

Thin Ice Safety
Ice has formed on water bodies and people have been observed on the ice at numerous locations. Always check the thickness of ice before crossing. Be cautious of ice near inlets, outlets and over any moving water. Remember, ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person. Each year a number of people fall through thin ice. One has already died. Use extreme caution with ice.

Carry Extra Winter Gear

Snowshoes or skis can prevent injuries and eases travel in heavy snow. Ice crampons should be carried for use on icy trails and mountaintops and other exposed areas. Wear layers of wool and fleece (NOT COTTON!), a winter hat, gloves or mittens, wind/rain resistant outer wear, and winter boots. Carry a day pack complete with ice axe, plenty of food and water, extra clothing, map and compass, first-aid kit, flashlight/headlamp, sun glasses, sun-block protection, ensolite pads, a stove and extra fuel, and bivy sack or space blankets.

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.

Fire Danger: LOW

** Central Adirondacks Lower Elevation Weather
Friday: Chance of light snow. Cloudy, high near 25. Southeast wind around 6 mph.
Friday Night: Light snow likely. Cloudy, low around 9. East wind around 5 mph.
Saturday: Light snow likely. Cloudy, high near 24. North wind around 6 mph.
Saturday Night: Chance of light snow. Cloudy, low around 6.
Sunday: Chance of light snow. Cloudy, high near 21.

The National Weather Service provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

Christmas Bird Count Underway
The 111th Annual Christmas Bird Count will take place December 14th to January 6th. The longest running citizen science survey in the US, each year during this time volunteers help document bird population trends used in a wide array of research and conservation efforts. For more information and to find out how to participate as a bird counter this winter, visit birds.audubon.org/faq/cbc.

** Snow Cover
A snow drought continues across the Adirondacks, especially in the east and southeast. A lot of the snow cover was lost with the past weekends warm temperatures and rain, but there remains 4 to 8 inches of snow at lower elevations with a foot or more above 2300 feet and ice on summits and other open areas. The snow cover is mostly new, light and fluffy snow on top of a hard base or frozen ground. The Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reports 18 inches of snow at the cabin; snow can drift up to a couple feet deep at higher elevations. The lower southeast part of the park, in Northern Warren and Eastern Essex County including the Keene Valley approach to the High Peaks, still has not seen significant snowfall and much of the lower elevation areas remain bare, with just a few inches even at higher elevations. The latest snow cover map from the National Weather Service provides an estimate of snow cover around the region.

** Downhill Ski Report
Mountains with snow-making capabilities are the only bet. Whiteface and Gore are open with some terrain; Whiteface has retreated to 57% of its terrain open, and Gore is back to 50%. McCauley, Mount Pisgah, Titus, and Oak Mountain are all open with limited terrain. Big Tupper and Hickory in Warrensburg remain closed waiting on mother nature.

** Cross Country Ski Report
Most cross country ski areas are currently closed with the exception of Cascade and Mt. Van Hoevenberg. Lapland near Northville, Cunninghams and Garnet Hill near North Creek are all currently closed, bubt may reopen some trails – call for information. The Jackrabbit Trail is no longer skiable its entire length. The Keene and Saranac Lake ends are now unskiable. Sections on either side of River Road, the Peninsula and Paul Smiths section are skiable, with caution.

** Backcountry Ski Report
There is still little snow on the Keene Valley approach to the High Peaks and the Keene end of the JackRabbit trail is no longer skiable [conditions]. Elsewhere in the backcountry, even trucks trails and maintained trails have retreated some, although a few remain skiable. The Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reports 18 inches of snow at the cabin. Ice on Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are thick enough for crossing. Avalanche Pass is no longer skiable. There are no trails skiable beyond Marcy Dam. Most brooks thawed last weekend so crossing without bridges could be difficult. Good cover is reported at the Toll House on the Whiteface Highway, but bare areas higher up. Truck trail to Marcy Dam no longer considered worth the effort, and the Newcomb Lake Road to Camp Santanoni, Fish Pond Truck Trail, Hays Brook Truck Trail are all reported “barely skiable.” Some snow on the Connery Pond Trail makes that a good opportunity. The Ausable Lake Road is no longer skiable.

** Ice Climbing Report
Areas at lower elevations continue to be the best bet, with higher elevation areas generally regarded as claimable but just average conditions. Climbable areas including Chapel Pond (the pond is now frozen), Cascade Pass, and the North side of Pitchoff, and Multi-Gulley – no report on Chillar Pillar or the Mineville Pillar. Poke-O Moonshine, Roaring Brook Falls, and Palisades on Lake Champlain went out in the thaw and are now rebuilding. There have been no recent reports, but Avalanche and Elk passes are believed to still be climbable, as is Big Blue and the Stooges at Underwood Canyon, but The Fang may not be. See additional detailed and up to date Ice Climbing Conditions here.

Municipal Ice Skating Rinks Are Open
Most municipal outdoor skating rinks are now open or about to open including those at Saranac Lake, and Tupper Lake. Call ahead for specific opening days and times.

** Ice Fishing Report
Ice fishing is officially open, but ice conditions vary widely by location. This week’s thaw caused some ice to deteriorate, waters with thicker cover have refrozen. Anglers have been observed on Rollins Pond, Lake Colby, and Lake Clear and Kings Bay and Catfish Bay on Lake Champlain. Ice anglers are traveling on foot thus far and motor vehicle traffic is not recommended on the ice at this point. Due to the softness of the road, the gate at the Kings Bay Wildlife Management Area has been closed. Tip-ups may be operated on waters through April 30, 2010. General ice fishing regulations can be found in the in the 2010-11 Fishing Regulations Guide.

** Snowmobile Trails Report
The regions snowmobile trails are still very fragile with almost no base. Most trails around the region remain closed. There are trails now open in the Wilmington Wild Forest, Saranac Lakes Wild Forest, and the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands. Riders everywhere should show restraint and wait for trails to be officially opened and sufficiently snow-covered. OThe connector trails between Newcomb, Long Lake, and Indian Lake are expected to be open this season and links to the east are in the works. Conditions throughout the region vary depending on elevation, nearness to large lakes, and latitude. Avoid riding on lakes or ponds, and excessive speed. Ride safely. More Adirondack snowmobiling resources can be found here.

** Nearly All Rivers Running Normal
Waters in the region are running at normal levels for this time of year with the exception of the Raquette River, which is now running just below normal. Ice has formed on nearly all flat waters and is forming on swift waters as well. Paddlers should use care and consult the latest streamgage data.

Hunting Seasons
Although fall hunting seasons for big game and waterfowl are over in the Adirondack region, some small game hunting is still underway. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists with the legal right to hunt on Forest Preserve lands. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution.

Furbearer Trapping Seasons
Some furbearer trapping seasons remain open. This would be a good time to keep pets leased and on the trails. A reminder that body gripping traps set on land can no longer use bait or lure.

ADIRONDACK LOCAL BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

The Northville Placid Trail (NPT) is the Adirondack Park’s only designated long distance hiking trail. The 133 mile NPT was laid out by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1922 and 1923, and is now maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Up to date NPT trail condition information can be found online.

** Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail is flooded and may require wading through water and mud. Just north of the Mud Lake lean-to there has been significant blow-down in several areas across the trail that happened sometime in early December that requires several bushwhacks to get around.

West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been washed out. Wading the creek is the only option. The water in Mud Creek will vary from ankle deep to knee deep.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

Ice: Ice has formed on all waters.

Personal Flotation Devices Required: Users of small boats are reminded that state law requires all occupants of boats less than 21 feet in length are required to wear personal flotation devices (aka PFDs and life jackets) between November 1 and May 1.

HIGH PEAKS

** Snowshoes Required: Snowshoes are required above Marcy Dam.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC will be working to clear trails as soon as possible.

Ampersand Mountain Trail: There is heavy blowdown on the Ampersand Mountain Trail as far as the old caretakers cabin – approximately 1.7 miles in. Finding the trail may be difficult after fresh snows. Skiing will be frustrating as there are so many trees down. Past the cabin site the trail is good but snowshoes are needed. There is aprox 3 feet of snow near the summit. (12/23)

Wright Peak: Snow shoes are necessary on Wright Peak and full crampons will be required for the final 1/4 mile approach to the summit as there is thick ice on bare rock.

Jackrabbit Ski Trail: Improvements have been made to the Jackrabbit Trail, a 24-mile cross-country ski trail that runs between Saranac Lake and Keene. There has been a reroute of the popular six mile section between McKenzie Pond Road outside Saranac Lake to Whiteface Inn Road outside Lake Placid. The rerouted trail avoids some hilly terrain at the start of this section and also avoids the ball field, and some private property. Trailhead parking is expected to be expanded in this area later this year.

Elk Lake Conservation Easement Lands: The Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road is closed and will remain closed until the end of the spring mud season. This adds 2 miles of hiking, plan trips accordingly.

Bushnell Falls: The high water bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed, the low water crossing may not be accessible during high water.

Opalescent River Bridges Washed Out: The Opalescent River Bridge on the East River / Hanging Spears Falls trail has been washed out. The crossing will be impassable during high water.

Wilmington Wild Forest: Snowmobiles may be operating on designated snowmobile trails. Skiers and snowshoers using designated snowmobile trails should keep to the sides of the trail to allow safe passage.

Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail: Much of the blowdown on the Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail between the Calkins Brook lean-tos and Shattuck Clearing has been removed. The trail is open for hikers but remains impassable to horses and wagons. DEC crews continue to work to open the trail.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS

Blue Ridge Wilderness: DEC Forest Rangers and trail crews have been working to clear blowdown from trails. The following trails are cleared and ready for skiing and/or snowshoeing: South Inlet Loop (no bridge at stillwater be cautious crossing ice) and the Sagamore Loop Trail

Moose River Plains Wild Forest: All designated snowmobile trails in the Moose River Plains are now open. DEC Forest Rangers and trail crews have been working to clear blowdown from trails. The following trails are cleared and ready for skiing and/or snowshoeing: Limekiln Lake Ski Routes, Bug Lake Trail (open to snowmobiles, be cautious), the north side of the Black Bear Mountain Loop (blow down still present on south side), the trails to the summits of Rocky Mountain and Black Bear Mountain are also well marked (snowshoes & crampons may be necessary).

Chimney Mountain / Eagle Cave: Eagle Cave near Chimney Mountain will be closed to the public from Nov 1 till March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. It is being closed to recreational spelunking to avoid disturbance of hibernating bats. DEC is closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easments to protect the bat population.

Pigeon Lake Wilderness: DEC Forest Rangers and trail crew have been working to clear blowdown from trails. The following trails are cleared and ready for skiing and/or snowshoeing: Shallow Lake Trail (well-marked with some minor blow down), West Mountain Trail (well-marked, some blowdown remains on section east of the summit), and Sucker Brook Trail

SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

** Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: The Dacy Clearing Road is a designated snowmobile trail, has been reopened. Skiers and snowshoers using designated snowmobile trails should keep to the sides of the trail to allow safe passage.

Hudson Gorge Primitive Area: Ice is forming on all waters. Paddlers, hunters and other users of small boats are reminded that state law requires all occupants of boats less than 21 feet in length are required to wear personal flotation devices (aka PFDs and life jackets) between November 1 and May 1.

Lake George Wild Forest / Hudson River Recreation Area: Funding reductions have required that several gates and roads remain closed to motor vehicle traffic. These include Jabe Pond Road, and Buttermilk Road Extension. Although also closed, Scofield Flats, Bear Slides Access, and Pikes Beach Access roads may be accessed by motor vehicle by people with disabilities holding a Motorized Access Permit for People with Disabilities (MAPPWD).

Lake George Wild Forest: Equestrians should be aware that there is significant blowdown on horse trails. While hikers may be able to get through the trails, it may be impossible or at least much harder for horses to get through. Lack of resources, resulting from the state’s budget shortfall, preclude DEC from clearing trails of blowdown at this time.

NORTHERN ADIRONDACKS

** Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): All lands are open to all legal and allowable public recreation activities beginning January 1. The gate to the Pinnacle Trail remains closed until after the spring mud season.

** Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands: Due to logging operations the Madawaska Road and Conversation Corners Road will be closed to snowmobiles and the Snowmobile Corridor C8 has been rerouted.

Saranac Lakes Chain: The lower locks on the Saranac Lakes Chain have been shut down for the winter. The locks are closed and made inoperable every winter to avoid unsafe situations for users and to prevent damage to the locks. Operation of the locks in icy conditions in the past was the cause of damage to hoses, hydraulic rams, and the hydraulic control mechanism. The repair of these damages is costly and stops boater traffic in the highly utilized area while the locks are being repaired. DEC does not officially close the upper locks on the Saranac Lakes Chain. They are manually operated and become inoperable when ice forms. Unlike the lower locks, there is no hydraulic equipment that can be damaged. The lower locks will be reopened after the ice goes out in the spring.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: Gates have been open on the old D & H railroad bed (Snowmobile Corridor C7B). Skiers and snowshoers using this designated snowmobile trail should keep to the sides of the trail to allow safe passage of snowmobiles. Snowmobilers are required to slow down when passing skiers, snowshoers or other snowmmobiles on trails.

Whitney Wilderness / Lake Lila: The gate to the Lake Lila Road is closed. Public motorized access to the road is prohibited until the gate is reopened after the spring mud season. Cross-country skiers, snowshoers and other non-motorized access is allowed on the road. Trespassing on lands adjacent to the road is prohibited.

NORTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: Numerous cross country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities exist on the Public Use Areas and Linear Recreation Corridors open to the public. Skiers and snowshoers are asked not to use the groomed snowmobile routes. Signs on the trails and maps of the snowmobile routes instruct snowmobilers on which routes are open this winter. Portions of these routes may be plowed from time to time so riders should be cautious and aware of motor vehicles that may be on the road. These route changes are a result of the cooperation of Chateaugay Woodlands, the landowner of the easement lands, and their willingness to maintain the snowmobile network. The cooperation of snowmobilers will ensure future cooperative reroutes when the need arises.

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: A parking area has been built on Goldsmith Road for snowmobile tow vehicles and trailers. The southern terminus of Linear Recreation Corridor 8 (Liberty Road) lies several hundred feet to the east of the parking area and connects to the C8A Snowmobile Corridor Trail (Wolf Pond Road) via Linear Recreation Corridor 7 (Wolf Pond Mountain Road). Construction of the parking area was a cooperative effort of the landowner, the Town of Franklin, and DEC. The Town of Franklin donated time, personnel and equipment from their highway department and will be plowing the parking area.

Sable Highlands / Old Liberty Road / Wolf Pond Mountain Road Snowmobile Trail: Due to planned logging operations by the landowner on lands north of Loon Lake, the western portion of the snowmobile trail (Old Liberty Road/Wolf Pond Mountain Road) that connected with the C7 Snowmobile Corridor Trail (the utility corridor) just north of Loon Lake near Drew Pond and lead to the C8A Snowmobile Corridor Trail (Wolf Pond Road) has been closed this winter. The eastern portion of that snowmobile trail (Wolf Pond Mountain Road) now connects to Goldsmith Road near the parking area. Snowmobiles planning to travel between Franklin County and Clinton County using the C8A Snowmobile Corridor Trail must access C8A at the junction with C7 or use Goldsmith Road and the trail from the Goldsmith Road to C8A (Wolf Pond Road).

Sable Highlands / Mullins Road: The Mullins Road has been opened to snowmobiles to connect County Route 26 (Loon Lake Road) to C7. The road is located approximately halfway between the intersections of Route 26 with C8 (Debar Game Farm Road) and Route 26 with C7. (12/23)

Norton Peak Cave / Chateuagay Woodlands Conservation Easement Lands: Norton Peak Cave will be closed to the public from Nov 1 till March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. It is being closed to recreational spelunking to avoid disturbance of hibernating bats. DEC is closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easments to protect the bat population.

GENERAL ADIRONDACK NOTICES

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.

Personal Flotation Devices Required
Paddlers, hunters and other users of small boats are reminded that state law requires all occupants of boats less than 21 feet in length are required to wear personal flotation devices (aka PFDs and life jackets) between November 1 and May 1.

Cave And Mine Closings
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. DEC has closed all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population including Norton Peak Cave in Chateuagay Woodlands Easement Lands and also Eagle Cave near Chimney Mountain. Please respect cave and mine closures.

Practice ‘Leave No Trace’ Principles
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. For more information is available online.

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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 new DEC Trails Supporter Patch is now 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, January 6, 2011

Wild Center’s Winter Weekends Events Announced

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the winter season you’ll be able to come in from the cold at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake to explore our natural world. Visitors can learn about North American carnivores and tracking them from naturalist Susan Morse; join Adirondack naturalist Peter O’Shea for a nature walk on “The Wild” side; watch “The Legend of Pale Male” the infamous Red-tailed Hawk of Central Park and explore the “Return of the Wild”.

Sunday Family Art and Nature features special programs with a naturalist – a walk outside, an animal encounter or a story and a family art project related to the theme of the day. Themes include Hibernation Fascination, Outrageous Raptors, All About Bears and Otter Birthday Party. Visitors can use free snowshoes on the Wild Center’s trails during their visit, watch feature films, and the regularly scheduled otter encounters.

The Wild Center also has unveiled a new Winter Season Pass for residents and frequent visitors to the Adirondacks. With something happening every weekend during the winter months, the season pass is valid for unlimited visits from January until Memorial Day weekend. There are over 50 days that you can use the Season Pass. Pass holders can also take advantage of regular special sale discounts at the Center’s store. Please visit www.wildcenter.org/pass to purchase a Winter Season Pass at a special online today.

The Wild Center is open throughout the winter on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm and during the entire week of President’s Day. The Wild Center is closed during the month of April.

What follows is the Winters Weekends schedule. For more information, visit www.wildcenter.org or call (518) 359-7800.

January 8, 2011
Kick start your winter season with a whole day of family fun at The Wild Center, plus kids 16 and under can visit for FREE! The day will be filled with live animal programs, craft projects, story time, face painting and snowshoe treks.

January 9, 2011
Marvelous Mammals, at 1pm at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Free with paid admission.

January 16, 2011
Turtle Time, at 1pm at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Free with paid admission.

January 21, 2011
Join Susan Morse, nationally recognized naturalist and the founder of Keeping Track, for a lecture on North American carnivores at 7pm at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Free and open to the public.

January 23, 2011
Join author, Adirondack naturalist and conservationist Peter O’Shea for a nature walk on “The Wild” side at 12:30pm at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake.

As part of Wild Winter Weekends, there will be a Family Art and Nature project, Nature Detectives, at 1pm at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Free with paid admission.

January 30, 2011
Hibernation Fascination, at 1pm at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Free with paid admission.

February 6, 2011
Outrageous Raptors, at 1pm at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Free with paid admission.

February 13, 2011
Creatures of the Deep, at 1pm at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Free with paid admission.

February 19, 2011
Learn about Adirondack winter birds during live raptor programs and expert-guided bird hikes for the whole family at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. At 1pm, enjoy the Adirondack film premiere of “The Legend of Pale Male”, the true story of love and life about a Red-tailed Hawk’s claim to Central Park.

February 20, 2011
The Mighty Moose, at 1pm at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Free with paid admission.

February 27, 2011
Owl Wisdom, at 1pm at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Free with paid admission.

March 6, 2011
Join author, Adirondack naturalist and conservationist Peter O’Shea for a nature walk on “The Wild” side at 12:30pm at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake.

All About Bears, at 1pm at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Free with paid admission.

March 13, 2011
Rattlesnakes, at 1pm at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Free with paid admission.

March 19, 2011
Spend a day learning from the experts about all of the wild Adirondack carnivores that are here and were once here during ‘Return of the Wild’ at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. The day will include a discussion on wolves and an opportunity to meet a red fox.

March 20, 2011
Creatures of the Night, at 1pm at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Free with paid admission.

March 27, 2011
Otter Birthday Party, at 1pm at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Free with paid admission.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

DEC Announces 2011 Tree and Shrub Seedling Sale

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Saratoga Tree Nursery has begun taking orders for its annual sale of tree and shrub seedlings. Schools across New York can also now receive free seedlings for spring planting through the DEC School Seedling Program, which will provide 50 tree seedlings or a mixed packet of 30 wildlife shrubs to any public or private school that would like to participate.

The Saratoga Tree Nursery produces more than 50 species of trees and shrubs for planting on public and private land. The objective of the program is to provide low-cost, native planting materials from known New York sources to encourage landowners to enhance the state’s environment for future generations.

Hand-picked New York seed provides the best characteristics for a lifetime of healthy and hardy plants. Trees and shrubs create excellent “green” structures; a row of cedar or spruce make attractive snow fencing, sound barrier, and songbird shelter. A row of shrub willow is a fast-growing and effective visual barrier.

Landowners can get planting advice from their nearest DEC forestry office or private forestry consultant. The brochure and order form “2011 Trees and Shrubs” can be found DEC’s website or by calling the nursery. To order seedlings by phone, call (518) 581-1439. Call early for best selection. Mail orders are also accepted and can be sent to the Saratoga Tree Nursery, 2369 Route 50, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Orders may be placed through mid-May. Seedlings are shipped from mid-April to mid-May.

To participate in DEC’s School Seedling Program, schools should contact (518) 587-1120, or the nearest DEC regional forestry office to request a “School Seedlings” brochure. The brochure contains all the information necessary to place an order. The information and application is also available online. Applications must be received at the nursery by March 31, 2011.

The seedlings can be planted on school grounds or other community spaces. Teachers and students are encouraged to plan the project ahead of time by discussing the value trees contribute to the environment and to determine the objectives of the planting. Trees are instrumental in helping control erosion, enhance wildlife, provide windbreaks, and support many other conservation practices.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sportsmen, Outdoor Recreation Lobby Day

A “Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day” will be on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 in Albany. An event held earlier this year included 24 vendors from around the state and nearly 3,000 supporters. National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO & Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre will join outdoor enthusiasts from across the state at the event, which is focused on the Second Amendment and shooting sports.

“Due to the overwhelming success of the January 2010 event we have decided to make this celebration of our Second Amendment rights a yearly gathering,” event organizer Brian M. Kolb, the State Assembly’s Republican Minority Leader from Canandaigua, said in a press release, “Our goal is to highlight the rich tradition of outdoor activities in the lives of New York’s residents and our economy, and offer hunters, sportsmen and outdoor recreation enthusiasts from around the state an opportunity to meet with their legislators to discuss the legislative and policy issues affecting them.”

Kolb noted that LaPierre will give the keynote address again this year. Additionally, the slate of speakers is expected to include Tom King, President of NYSRPA; James A. Rabbia, Plant Manager for Remington Arms; Stephen Aldstadt, President of S.C.O.P.E.; and William Schwerd, Executive Director of New York State 4-H Shooting Sports.

“Hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation are essential to New York’s economy, contributing over $6 billion every year” Kolb’s statement says. “It has always been important to me that sportsmen and women have the opportunity to network with colleagues and meet with their legislators to discuss the important role of ‘Heritage Sports’ and other outdoor activities.”

Vendors scheduled to showcase their products and services include NYSRPA, S.C.O.P.E., the West Albany Rod and Gun Club, the Federated Sportsmen’s Clubs of Ulster County, New York State 4-H Shooting Sports, New York Houndsmen Conservation Association, Outdoor Writers Association, Safari Club International, Conservation Alliance of New York, National Wild Turkey Federation, Sportsmen’s Association for Firearms Education, Inc., Remington Arms, New York State Trappers Association, Harvest Sun Charters, Livingston County Federation of Sportsmen Clubs, Springville Field and Spring Club, New East Coast Arms Collectors, Savage Arms and Columbia Greene Friends of the NRA, and others.

To RSVP or for more details about the event, e-mail Kolb at kolbb@assembly.state.ny.us, call (518) 455-5073, or look for “Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day” on Facebook.


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