Friday, February 17, 2012

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, February 16, 2012

Adirondack Fish and Game Report (Feb 16)

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
Unseasonably low precipitation but seasonably cold weather remains, continuing to leave conditions generally icy and snow crusty around the region. A storm headed for the coast will miss the Adirondack region, but some regular light snow, especially at higher elevations, have helped keep what snow we have on the ground. There continues to be between 4 to 8 inches of snow on the ground in the lower elevations, with 20 inches or more in the higher elevations. Summit areas can expect daytime wind chill values hovering around 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. With the exception of Lake George and Lake Champlain, all the region’s lakes are iced over. 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 all areas of the High Peaks backcountry at this time, and are not recommended elsewhere), 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 including Newcomb. 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
Not much change in the ice situation this week. Ice has formed on lakes and ponds and the smaller bays of Lake Champlain and Lake George, where there remains much open water. Ice thickness remains less than what is typical for mid-winter. 6 to 12 inches of ice are reported on most lakes at lower elevations. There is ice on South Bay on Lake Champlain, and on some of the bays of Lake George, but on large portions of these lakes the ice remains dangerously thin or nonexistent. 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
No change this week, but some of the region’s snowmobile trails remain open, but expect thin, hard packed icy trails with some boney and bare spots. Riding conditions remain at best fair in Southern Franklin County and Lake Clear through toward Long Lake, Indian Lake, Old Forge, Inlet, and the Speculator area. Reasonable riding remains on the Cedar River side in the Moose River Plains, in the Perkins Clearing / Speculator Tree Farm Area (though some areas will be difficult to get to), in the Stillwater, Beaver River or Old Forge system, and around Cranberry Lake. 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 have returned to normal levels for this time of year. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

** Ice Fishing Underway
Ice fishing is well underway but ice thickness remains less than what is typical for mid-winter. 6 to 12 inches of ice are reported on lakes at lower elevations. There is ice on South Bay on Lake Champlain, and on some of the bays of Lake George, but on large portions of these lakes the ice remains dangerously thin or nonexistent. 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. 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 32 degrees.

** Invasive Crappie Discovered in Raquette Lake
DEC fisheries biologists have discovered crappie in Raquette Lake. A non-native species, crappie are expected to eventually spread upstream and downstream throughout the entire Raquette watershed.

** DEC Announces Proposed Freshwater Fishing Changes
Proposed changes to the current freshwater fishing regulations were announced today by the DEC. DEC will accept public comments on the proposals through April 2, 2012. Changes under consideration for this proposal were available on DEC’s website earlier this year for comment. This feedback, in addition to comments received from angling interest groups, provided input to the development of the regulation changes which include (among others): The establishment of a special walleye regulation of 18-inch minimum size and three per day in Lake Pleasant and Sacandaga Lake (Hamilton County) to aid restoration of the walleye populations in these waters; Prohibit fishing from the Lake Pleasant outlet to the mouth of the Kunjamuk River (Hamilton County) from March 16 until the first Saturday in May (opening day for walleye) to protect spawning walleye; Open Lake Kushaqua and Rollins Pond (Franklin County) to ice fishing for lake trout as these populations are considered stable enough to support this activity; Open Blue Mountain Lake, Eagle Lake, Forked Lake, Gilman Lake, South Pond and Utowana Lake (Hamilton County) to ice fishing for landlocked salmon and reduce the daily limit for lake trout in these waters from three per day to two per day. Combined with an existing regulation this change will create a suite of nine lakes in Hamilton County that will have the same ice fishing regulations for lake trout and landlocked salmon. Delete the catch and release trout regulation for Jordan River from Carry Falls Reservoir upstream to Franklin County line (St. Lawrence County) because this regulation is considered inappropriate for this remote stream section. Delete the special trout regulation for Palmer Lake (Saratoga County) to match the statewide regulation. This minor adjustment would extend the season 15 days. Delete special ice fishing regulation for Square Pond (Franklin County) because this water will no longer be managed for trout. Open specific waters to ice fishing currently deemed as trout waters in the counties of Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida and St. Lawrence Counties as ice fishing can be allowed for at these locations. Provide for ice fishing at a privately managed water in Hamilton County (Salmon Pond) that is stocked with trout by a private party, as requested. The full text of the draft regulation as well as instructions for submitting comments can be found on DEC’s website. Comments on the proposals can be sent via e-mail to fishregs@gw.dec.state.ny.us, or mailed to Shaun Keeler, New York State DEC, Bureau of Fisheries, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753. Hard copies of the full text can be requested from Shaun Keeler at the same addresses listed above. Final regulations, following full review of public comments, will take effect October 1, 2012.

** New Web-Version of the I FISH NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing
You can now navigate through maps online to find places to fish in New York State. The information comes from the I FISH NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing released earlier this year with details like types of fish and available amenities at great fishing locations on over 400 lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. Look for “Public Fishing Lakes and Ponds” and “Public Fishing Rivers and Streams” on DEC’s Google Maps and Google Earth webpage. If you would prefer a brochure in hand rather than look online, send your name and mail address to fwfish@gw.dec.state.ny.us with “NY Fishing Map” in the subject line.

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.

——————–
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 16, 2012

DEC Announces Proposed Fishing Regulation Changes

Changes to the current freshwater fishing regulations were announced today by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). DEC will accept public comments on the proposals through April 2, 2012. In order to receive input early in the process, changes under consideration for this proposal were available on DEC’s website earlier this year for comment. This feedback, in addition to comments received from angling interest groups, provided input to the development of the regulation changes that are now being formally proposed. Below are highlights of the proposed changes in the Adirondack region. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Feb 16)

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
Unseasonably low precipitation but seasonably cold weather remains, continuing to leave conditions generally icy and snow crusty around the region. A storm headed for the coast will miss the Adirondack region, but some regular light snow, especially at higher elevations, have helped keep what snow we have on the ground. There continues to be between 4 to 8 inches of snow on the ground in the lower elevations, with 20 inches or more in the higher elevations. Summit areas can expect daytime wind chill values hovering around 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. With the exception of Lake George and Lake Champlain, all the region’s lakes are iced over. 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 all areas of the High Peaks backcountry at this time, and are not recommended elsewhere), 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 including Newcomb. 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
Not much change in the ice situation this week. Ice has formed on lakes and ponds and the smaller bays of Lake Champlain and Lake George, where there remains much open water. Ice thickness remains less than what is typical for mid-winter. 6 to 12 inches of ice are reported on most lakes at lower elevations. There is ice on South Bay on Lake Champlain, and on some of the bays of Lake George, but on large portions of these lakes the ice remains dangerously thin or nonexistent. 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
Warmer temperatures mean great skiing, and mountains with snow-making capability have been making snow all week. With the continued 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 some icy conditions. Gore Mountain and Whiteface are reporting about 80% of their terrain open. Ski with caution as many trails still have thin cover, especially at mountains relying heavily on natural snow.

** CROSS-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
Your best bet remains the smoother, gentler trails, closed roads, and truck trails. Expect machine groomed trails, some thin cover, some icy spots, and lightly hidden obstacles – ski with caution. All of the of the region’s cross-country ski areas will be open this weekend on generally thin cover and limited trails. Good opportunities include the Paul Smith’s and Newcomb VICs, which are still reporting good cover, as are the Tupper Lake trails, and Dewey Mountain. The Lake Placid area has about 3 to 5 inches of solid base; the Whiteface Highway is skiable. The Jackrabbit Trail has good cover on most sections, particularly from Whiteface Inn Lane to the top of the pass, but icy conditions on the west side. The rest of the trail including the Old Mountain Road section is skiable with caution as there are still a few rocks to dodge. Phil Brown reported a number of good cross-country and backcountry ski opportunities for the Almanack here. Updated cross-country ski conditions in and around Lake Placid are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** BACK-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
There is 20 inches of snow at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin. Parts of the Marcy Dam Truck Trail are not well covered, especially at the start, but skiable routes include the Newcomb Lake Road to Camp Santanoni and Moose Pond (good cover), Burn Road at Little Tupper Lake; the Fish Pond Truck Trail, and Hayes Brook Truck Trail to the Sheep Meadow; and the Raquette Falls area. The hiking trail from ADK Loj is not recommended for skiing. Avalanche Pass is now reported skiable, as is the Calamity Brook approach to Lake Colden. The Wright Peak ski trail is reported skiable, but the hiking trail is very icy. The Marcy ski trail is reported not yet skiable. Lake ice on Avalanche and Lake Colden was crossable as is the ice in the St. Regis Canoe Area; use caution will still be needed near inlets and outlets. Summits and other open areas are icy – carry and use traction devices and crampons where warranted. Detailed back-country ski conditions in and around the High Peaks are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** ICE CLIMBING REPORT
This has been an unusual winter and climbing routes are mixed depending on exposure, with a lot of March-like conditions – stick to shaded areas. Best bets include the north side of Pitch-Off and, for experienced climbers, the Colden Trap Dyke which is all ice and essentially a new climb. Worst bet would be Poke-O-Moonshine, which is mostly gone or sketchy. This weekend is expected to be busy so be cautious and courteous. There is still plenty of ice, but use extreme caution. Updated climbing conditions are available online via Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service.

** SOME SNOWMOBILE TRAILS OPEN
No change this week, but some of the region’s snowmobile trails remain open, but expect thin, hard packed icy trails with some boney and bare spots. Riding conditions remain at best fair in Southern Franklin County and Lake Clear through toward Long Lake, Indian Lake, Old Forge, Inlet, and the Speculator area. Reasonable riding remains on the Cedar River side in the Moose River Plains, in the Perkins Clearing / Speculator Tree Farm Area (though some areas will be difficult to get to), in the Stillwater, Beaver River or Old Forge system, and around Cranberry Lake. 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 AT NORMAL LEVELS
Ice has formed on all slack waters. The region’s rivers and streams have returned to normal levels for this time of year. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

GENERAL BACKCOUNTRY NOTICES

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

** Snowshoes Required; Crampons Recommended: The use of snowshoes or skis is required in the High Peaks Wilderness wherever snow depth exceeds 8 inches. The use of snowshoes prevents post holing, reduces injuries and eases travel through the snow. Snowshoes or skis are required beyond Avalanche Camp; beyond the junction of the Phelps Mountain and the VanHovenburg Trails; beyond the junction of the Whales Tail and the Algonquin Mountain Trails; and anywhere snow depths are 8 inches or deeper.

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. 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.

** New Bridge Over Marcy Brook: Phil Brown is reporting that DEC will build a new bridge over Marcy Brook about a quarter-mile downstream from Marcy Dam and upstream from the current low-water crossing, which has become known as “The Squirrel Crossing”. In August, the old bridge at the dam was washed away during Tropical Storm Irene. A log-stringer bridge is expected to be built this spring or summer, paid for by the state’s Environmental Protection Fund. No decision has been made yet on the replacing Marcy Dam which was damaged by Irene. Phil Brown’s report can be found at Adirondack Explorer.

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: The carriage road between the Gate House and the Main Lodge at Camp Santanoni is skiable. 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.

** Lake George – Prospect mountain Highway: The gates on Prospect Mountain Highway have been closed as there is no snow for snowmobiling.

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: Users of the Bloomingdale Bog Trail should watch for logging equipment crossing the trail at its southern end. Logging operations are occurring on the private lands on both sides of the trail. 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 16, 2012

Phil Brown: Bad Winter Skiing Options

Yes, it’s been a bad winter for skiers, but it’s not all bad. People are skiing, though their options are limited by the shortage of snow.

The best skiing seems to be at the two extremes: on high slopes or on mellow terrain. For a sample of what the elite skiers are doing, check out the videos on Drew Haas’s website Adirondack Backcountry Skiing.

If you’re not into skiing slides or other gnarly terrain, your best bets will be former truck trails, old woods roads, frozen ponds, and other smooth, flat terrain. You can find an account of one such trip in the March/April issue of the Adirondack Explorer: a round-trip to Raquette Falls. Click here to read the story.

That said, I had two good outings on intermediate terrain within the past week. On Sunday, I skied from Whiteface Inn Road in Lake Placid to the top of McKenzie Pass on the Jackrabbit Trail. The cover was excellent, but I understand conditions on the Saranac Lake side of the pass are not so good.

On Tuesday, I skied to Avalanche Lake from South Meadow Road. Again, the cover was good except on parts of the Marcy Dam Truck Trail. Click here to read a more detailed report and view a video of my descent of Avalanche Pass.

For other backcountry options, check out Tony Goodwin’s ski report, which is updated a few times a week, and also Adirondack Almanack‘s Thursday afternoon Outdoor Conditions Report, which often includes suggestions for areas outside the Lake Placid area.

Of course, you can always visit one of the Adirondack Park’s cross-country-ski centers if the backcountry isn’t an option. Despite the low snow, Rick Karlin reports in the Explorer that the Nordic centers are open for business, thanks in part to good grooming. Click here to read Karlin’s story.

Finally, if all else fails, you might try to imitate the guy in this video (one of the best ski videos I’ve seen).

Photo by Phil Brown: A skier on the trail to Raquette Falls.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Got Trees? Wild Center’s Community Maple Sugaring Project

Those in Tupper Lake can join a new community maple project, led by The Wild Center and one of the first of its kind in the state. The Wild Center invites community members to tap maple trees in their yards and have it collected by a Wild Center representative on a daily basis during the sugaring season (once the sap begins to flow). Once returned to The Wild Center, the sap will be boiled down into maple syrup. Participating community members will receive 50% of the finished product (pure maple syrup) from the sap they provide. (Generally 40 gallons of sap = 1 gallon of maple syrup = ½ gallon of pure maple syrup to supplier.) Organizations like Sunmount have already agreed to participate in the project.

Two informational pancake breakfasts and workshops will be held at The Wild Center to educate the community about the project. The free ‘Art of Maple Sugaring Breakfast and Workshop’ on February 24th and March 17th will introduce the natural history of maple trees, provide access to the latest in maple information, including the tools you need to tap a tree, collect maple sap and ways to participate in the project. You must pre-register to participate. Registered participants will receive a pancake breakfast, expert-led workshop, and the tools to tap your own sugar maple for the 2012 season, including one bucket and tap. Additional supplies will be available for purchase from The Wild Supply Company. You must attend one workshop on either February 25th or March 17th to be involved in this project. Families are encouraged to attend. Register at www.wildcenter.org/sweet.

While Vermont seems to have cornered the market on maple syrup, New York State has an enormous potential to compete. According to a report from The Uihlein Forest for Cornell University, only 0.4% of the potentially tappable maple trees are used for syrup production in Franklin County. If Franklin County made and consumed more locally-produced syrup, the economic impact of the maple industry could increase from $300,000 to more than $4,000,000 annually.

Sugaring will be down at the Wild Center where there will be an assortment of demonstrations, activities and events to celebrate all things sweet this maple syrup season. Visitors can watch how the sweet sap of trees becomes the highlight of a pancake breakfast and learn other ways to use this natural sweetener.

On February 25th and March 17th the Adirondack Museum will share some of the local stories of maple through historical object and pictures from the past. You can also take a maple “tour” with experienced naturalists at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm as they tell the story of maple sugaring through the stages of tapping, processing, and finally getting to the sweet part, maple sugar. Take a closer look at an operational evaporator, catch some running sap and drill your own tap as we explore the local maple sugaring story. Learn how you can sugar at home.

For more information visit www.wildcenter.org.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pendragon Takes "To Kill A Mockingbird" on Tour

The Pendragon Theatre Company tackles yet another American classic with their performance of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” at View in Old Forge on Thursday, March 1st at 7:00 PM—one of several touring performances by the company, following the close of their 2011 season at their home theatre in Saranac Lake.

The Pendragon Theatre secured a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts with additional funds from the Lake Placid Center for the Arts to mount an Adirondack tour of this stage adaptation by Christopher Sergal of the 1960 novel by Harper Lee. The grants allow the company to offer reduced-price tickets to schools wishing to send their classes who may be already studying this classic American novel.

This riveting story of boiling racial tension in the 1930s South as white lawyer Atticus Finch defends a black man accused of raping a white woman in a small Alabama town has as much relevance today as it did when Gregory Peck gave his 1962 academy award-winning performance. The trial takes center stage, but we share the view from the ‘colored’ balcony with Atticus’ two small children, whose innocence magnifies the ugliness of the prejudice and violence around them.

Tickets for the March 1st performance at View, located at 3273 State Rt. 28 in Old Forge, NY, are $20 for adults, $15 for members and $10 for children. For further information contact View at 315-369-6411 or visit their website at www.ViewArts.org

The tour will then go to Main Street Landing PAC: Burlington, V.T. – Friday, March 9th @ 7:30pm, and wrap the following week at the Tannery Pond Community Center: North Creek, N.Y. – Friday, March 16th. Visit the Pendragon Theatre website for more information on these and future performances.

Photo courtesy of Pendragon Theatre from their home performances of “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

Linda J. Peckel explores the Adirondacks by following the arts wherever they take her. Her general art/writing/film/photography musings on can be found at her own blog Arts Enclave.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

North Country Technology Symposium Seeks Presenters

Information Technology professionals and organizational leaders are invited to share their expertise in I.T. at the North Country Technology Symposium on May 23, 2012 in Potsdam. The organizing committee is accepting proposals for presentations to be offered as part of a multi-track agenda of one hour sessions covering a variety of I.T. topics of interest to organizations in the North Country.

The North Country Technology Symposium is designed to encourage adoption of information technologies in the region’s Business, Healthcare, Government, and Community Services sectors through sharing of experiences, ideas and information by colleagues in the field.

2012 North Country Technology Symposium will offer:

* Several live, interactive instructor-led sessions on the latest I.T. issues including: Social Media, Mobile Devices & Apps, Video, Cloud Computing, Open Source Opps, FREE Web Tools and more.

* IT EXPO – Dozens of commercial provider representatives available to speak with you about the latest I.T. products & services on the market.

* Network with region’s I.T. professionals and access On-Site Technology Consulting Services. Registrants schedule appointments for one-on-one consultations

Visit the Call for Presentations website to submit a proposal before February 27, 2012.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: TR’s Restaurant, Lake George

Lake George Village tends to zip itself up from Labor Day to Memorial Day, then shed a layer or two in February for the Lake George Winter Carnival. In its 51st year, the Winter Carnival has had to adjust to this season’s shortage of snow and ice with re-locations and cancellations of events. Still, people braved the bitter wind on this crisp winter day, attending the many events still on the schedule. We also found them in the pub at TR’s Restaurant.

We had been referred to TR’s (Teddy Roosevelt’s) Restaurant at the Holiday Inn-Turf in Lake George several times. Devoted explorers that we are, off we went to get a better look. Located at the southerly end of the village, TR’s is on one of the highest spots in Lake George and affords a bird’s-eye view overlooking the lake.

Home to local regulars who gather to catch up with family news and prognosticate about town politics, there exists a camaraderie among fellow residents who freely flow throughout the room or talk across the bar. Bartenders Agnes and Bob greet the vast majority of customers by name.

Newcomers and hotel guests are made to feel equally at home and are frequently introduced to the regular patrons, with whom they always seem to find something in common. Representing all age groups, the majority of the clientele we met were of retirement age or older. We found the place quite full of cheerful, friendly folks who chatted easily and wasted no time finding out where we were from and what we were up to.

General Manager Michael Spilman took a few moments away from his banter with members of the Happy Hour crowd to share some of the history of the hotel and TR’s Restaurant. Though there has been a bar at the Holiday Inn since it was built in 1966, we had to admit that we had never been there. The Holiday Inn has changed hands only once since then, in 1990, and is now owned by Mike Hoffman. Three years ago, the hotel and bar were extensively renovated and remodeled and now boast, and equally deserve, resort status. With obvious pride in the establishment’s success, Michael shared information about honors and awards bestowed on this Holiday Inn, which consistently ranks among the top Holiday Inns in the country. It’s also home to the Lake George Dinner Theatre, entering its 45th season.

The pub is contemporary and sophisticated in design, neither too stark nor too trendy, with warm-toned woodwork and window moldings. A wall of windows brightens the room, bringing out the warm reddish hues of the wood and granite. Framed landscape photographs grace the linen-textured walls while oversized layered drum pendant lamps float overhead, complemented by smaller drum shades over the lustrous granite bar.

The U-shaped bar seats 18 in cider-stained slat-back bar stools with woven leather seats, while four pub tables and several small dining tables provide additional seating. The atmosphere is such that, were we Holiday Inn guests, we wouldn’t hesitate to bring our families in for lunch or dinner, or enjoy a cocktail and appetizers before dinner in the restaurant.

TR’s is open year-round from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily and offer Happy Hour drink specials from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day. Following a 12-year Happy Hour tradition, complementary hot hors d’oeuvres are provided, with a different item featured every day of the week. Many patrons were enjoying chicken strips with a delicious-looking sauce on the Saturday that we visited. Tacos were served on the Tuesday we returned for more information. Large flat-screen TVs are strategically placed to catch up on the news or a sporting event while dining or relaxing at the bar. Quick Draw is also featured. Just ask for the daily code if you need WiFi, whether a guest at the hotel or just stopping by the bar.

The wine selection includes red, white, sparkling and champagne, with house wines priced at $7 a glass. Coors and Samuel Adams seasonal drafts and 16 bottled beers, as well as the usual liquors are offered. Drink prices were reasonable. Pam’s custom Valentine’s Special, Box of Chocolates, (her own invention) consisting of three different shots, was $8. Beer prices vary by brand.

With an upscale look and a hometown heart, TR’s is a perfect mix of locals and hotel guests. The trick is telling which is which. The bartenders are genial, personable and professional. The patrons are equally friendly and won’t hesitate to start or join a conversation. Happy Hour at TR’s is full of smiles, from both sides of the bar.

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 15, 2012

4-H Adirondack Guide Program Orientation Thursday

The 4-H Adirondack Guide Program orientation meeting will be held tomorrow Thursday, February 16, 2012, at 6:30p.m. at the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Education Center, 377 Schroon River Road in Warrensburg.

The 4-H Adirondack Guide Program is a unique program designed for boys and girls (12-18 years old) who would like to explore, in depth, topics related to natural resources, ourdoor recreation and biological sciences and develop teaching and leadership skills.

Participants in the program, sponsored by Cornell University Cooperative Extension, advance from the Beginner Guide level, through intermediate, to full advanced 4-H Adirondack Guide status. As Guides progress through the levels they are expected to give back to the program by teaching review sessions and help in testing other youth at the end of each year.

Activities include field trips and classes, canoe and hiking trips, and community service projects. Topics taught include map & compass reading; canoeing; tree, plant, flower and wildlife identification; environmental teaching techniques; woods lore and safety; first aid and lifeguard training; outdoor clothing and equipment; wilderness trip coordination, and global positioning systems (GPS).

Participants have the opportunity to work with licensed Adirondack Guides, Forest Rangers, Fish and Wildlife Biologists, Foresters and skilled woodsmen. The program is conducted in an informal atmosphere, conducive to building confidence and self-esteem. Several aspects of the program are being underwritten by a partnership grant from Outdoor Nation.

For more information, or to register, call the Cornell Cooperative Extension office at 623-3291 or 668-4881. For additional information, ask to speak with John Bowe.

Photo: Tabor Dunn teaches Ryan Bailey, Jared Goodemote and Alex Knecht knots.


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