Monday, April 18, 2011

Local History: Liberian Pioneer Jehudi Ashmun

Thursday, April 21, marks the birthday of one of the most famous men you never heard of, and surely the least known of all North Country figures who once graced the world stage. It is also appropriate to recall his story at this time for two other reasons. It has ties to slavery and the Civil War during this, the year marking the 150th anniversary of America’s darkest period. And, in relation to current world news, it involves fighting for change in Africa.

If you’re well familiar with the work of Jehudi Ashmun, you’re in a very small minority. Even in his hometown, little has been done to mark his achievements other than a single roadside historical marker. And yet, if you look, you’ll find him in dozens of encyclopedias and reference books as an important part of African and Liberian history. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

DEC Extends Uncertified Wood Boiler Sales

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the adoption of an emergency rule pertaining to the sales of outdoor wood boilers in New York. The emergency rule extends the current regulation’s sell-through date by 90 days, allowing a distributor to sell through July 14, 2011 any non-certified outdoor wood boiler models that were in the distributor’s stock as of April 14, 2011. Other than units already in stock, distributors may no longer sell any outdoor wood boilers that are not certified by DEC as meeting the emission standards set forth in the state regulation for outdoor wood boilers (Part 247).

The state outdoor wood boiler regulation was adopted on December 29, 2010 and became effective on January 28, 2011. Portions of the current regulation including stack height, setback, certification, and nuisance related guidelines remain in effect as of April 15, 2011 and include:

1. Minimum stack height of 18 feet above ground level.

2. Setback requirements:

100 feet or more to the nearest property boundary line for outdoor wood boilers with maximum thermal output ratings less than or equal to 250,000 Btu/hour.

200 feet or more to the nearest property boundary line, 300 feet or more to the nearest property boundary line of a residentially-zoned property and 1000 feet or more from a school for outdoor wood boilers with maximum thermal output ratings greater than 250,000 Btu/hour.

Setbacks may be based on distances to residences not served by an outdoor wood boiler if the boiler is located on contiguous agricultural lands larger than five acres.

Customers must make sure their setback is based upon the maximum thermal output of their outdoor wood boiler and should consider contacting the manufacturer directly for this information.

3. Distributors must provide potential customers with a copy of the regulation (Part 247) and a Notice to Buyers form. A template for the Notice to Buyers is available on the DEC website [pdf].

4. The opacity and nuisance provisions set forth in the current rule apply to all outdoor wood boilers. Potential buyers must be aware that even if the requirements of the regulation are met, there may be conditions or locations in which the use of a new outdoor wood boiler unreasonably interferes with another person’s use or enjoyment of property or even damages human health. If such a situation occurs, the owner or lessee of the new outdoor wood boiler causing the situation may be subject to sanctions that can include a requirement to remove the device at their own expense as well as any other penalty allowed by law.

For more information on the regulation and details on purchasing an outdoor wood boiler in New York State, visit the DEC website. For more details on the extension and emergency rule, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/73788.html.

Photo: Air pollution caused by an Outdoor Wood Boiler (DEC Photo).


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Taste of Home Cooking School in Old Forge

The Taste of Home Cooking School show, supported by the Arts Center/Old Forge, will be presented live at the North Street Recreation Center in Old Forge, NY on Saturday, May 14; doors open at noon, show begins at 3pm.

General Admission Tickets are $15 and may be purchased in person from the Arts Center/Old Forge and DiOrio’s Supermarket and online at www.ArtsCenterOldForge.org. New this year,
VIP Packages are available for $45. Contact the Arts Center/Old Forge for more details. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wood Products Mass Customization Workshops

Some of the nation’s top experts on Mass Customization for the wood products industry are coming to northern New England and New York to share their knowledge with owners and managers of the region’s wood manufacturing businesses in a series of one-day workshops.

Mass customization is a promising business model that uses advances in manufacturing and information technology to produce made-to-order items that fit a customer’s unique preferences, but which are manufactured with low cost and short lead times. The approach enhances the economic competitiveness of companies by helping them better serve their existing customer base, serve new market niches and protect against overseas competition.

The Regional Wood Products Consortium—an initiative of the wood products manufacturing industry in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and northern New York—will conduct specialized one-day innovation workshops on Mass Customization for the Wood Products Industry in late April and early May.

The Mass Customization Workshop is geared to leaders of small- and medium-sized wood products companies and will be repeated in five locations throughout the four-state region on the following dates:

April 26, 2011 – Augusta, ME
April 27, 2011 – Concord, NH
April 28, 2011 – Randolph Center, VT
May 10, 2011 – Utica, NY
May 11, 2011 – Glens Falls, NY

Each workshop will feature presentations by experts on the subject of mass customization as well as a local manufacturer who will share their personal experiences of using mass customization, overcoming the challenges and making it a key part of their business strategy.

Featured presenters include Dr. Urs Buehlmann of the Virginia Tech Department of Wood Science and Forest Products; Dr. Torsten Lihra of FP Innovations, Canada’s wood products research institute, and Russ Kahn of 20-20 Technologies.

The New York workshops will feature Lisa Weber, CEO of Timeless Frames, Timeless Décor & Timeless Expressions—the largest, single-site custom picture framing facility in the country.

Any wood products company in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont or northern New York is eligible to participate in any of the workshop sites at a special subsidized registration fee of only $25 per person. Full workshop details and online registration are available at www.foresteconomy.org.

All workshops are co-sponsored by the Wood Products Manufacturers Association (WPMA), Maine Wood Products Association (MWPA), New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association (NHTOA), Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association (VWMA), and Empire State Forest Products Association (ESFPA).

The workshops on Mass Customization are the fourth in an initial series of innovation workshop topics that the Regional Wood Products Consortium is conducting for wood product companies in the region. More than 90 companies have attended the previous workshops, including many that attended more than one topic. The final workshop in this initial series will be held in the fall of 2011 on “Enhancing Economic Competitiveness through Going Green.”

The Regional Wood Products Consortium is a collaboration between the region’s wood products manufacturing industry and Sustainable Forest Futures. Funding support for the Consortium is provided by the Neal and Louise Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the Northeast Utilities Foundation, and the Wood Education and Resource Center, Northeastern Area State & Private Forestry, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

More information about the Regional Wood Products Consortium and the Mass Customization Workshops can be found at www.foresteconomy.org or by contacting Collin Miller: 603-229-0679, ext. 110; or cmiller@northernforest.org.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Adirondack Wild ‘Wings’ to Host NYC Event

The Wild Center will hold the Wings Spring Fling at Affirmation Arts in New York City on Thursday, April 28th from 6:30 pm until 9:30 pm. Wings launched last spring, bringing together the next generation of Adirondackers (21-45 years old) who want to share their passion for the natural world of the Adirondacks, while supporting the important educational and environmental work of The Wild Center.

The event will include an open bar with wine, beer and signature ‘The Wild Thing’ vodka drink, catered hors d’oeuvres and dessert. There will also be music performed by Frankenpine, a Brooklyn-based string band with roots reaching from the subway platforms of the city up the Hudson Valley to the mountains of the Adirondacks.

The banjo and fiddle in Frankenpine give it a touch of bluegrass, but the band’s original music draws on a wide range of influences—everything from blues to gypsy jazz to rock to old-time. Frankenpine has been receiving strong acclaim for its recent CD release, The Crooked Mountain. Like the Wings Spring Fling, Frankenpine (with members Ned Rauch and Colin DeHond, former Saranac Lakers) is a perfect blend of New York City and the Adirondacks.

The event is free for Wings members and there is a $30 guest contribution to Wings for non-members. Sponsors are Affirmation Arts, Frankenpine, Lake Placid Pub and Brewery, Lake Placid Spirits and Photography by Jordan Barnes. For more information and to RSVP for the Wings Spring Fling, please visit www.wildcenter.org/wings.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cracking Noah John Rondeau’s Code

On Saturday of Easter weekend, April 23, Dave Greene of Johnsburg and Syracuse will present a power point program in North Creek about how he broke the secret code of Noah John Rondeau (1883 to 1967), the Adirondack hermit who lived ten miles back in the wilderness for 30 years. Rondeau was sure no one would ever decipher his journals, which was written in a code simple enough for him to write in every day but which had some diabolical variations.

Like many hermits, Rondeau was very sociable and was well-loved by many mountain hikers and sportsmen who were glad to carry in food and other supplies for him in exchange for colorful stories and scratchy fiddling. They tried to avoid having to partake of his “everlasting stew”, however. Game wardens were definitely not welcome visitors.

At the age of 22, when Greene, just out of college, was living pretty much as a hermit himself at the foot of Crane Mt. in his family’s primitive cabin, he had time to focus on the puzzling “hen scratchings”. After just 22 hours of work, he had the gist of the code, though some problems and meanings of words remained mysterious. For a good description of Rondeau, the code and Greene’s work, see the February issue of the DEC Conservationist magazine, though the time frame given for breaking the code is not accurate.

The program, in which Greene will explain how he deciphered the code and also teach the audience how to do it , will be held at 7 p.m. in Tannery Pond Community Center, opposite the town hall/library on Main Street, North Creek. Donations will be accepted for the support of the Adirondack Lake Assessment Program (ALAP), a volunteer water monitoring project of Protect the Adirondacks, in partnership with the Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI) of Paul Smiths College.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia.


Friday, April 15, 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 5,200 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, April 15, 2011

Review Set For Lake George Mechanical Dredging

The environmental impacts of dredging the deltas that develop at the mouths of Lake George’s tributaries will receive a second look from conservation agencies and advocacy groups.

New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation has agreed to conduct the new review, which will include a study of methods to be used to dredge deltas around the lake, including those at the outlets of Hague, Finkle and Indian Brooks.

The review will constitute an update of the Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement for the “Lake George Delta Sediment Management/ Shoreline Restoration Project,” approved by the Lake George Park Commission in 2002.

The Lake George Association has formally requested the new review, said Walt Lender, the LGA’s executive director.

“We were very involved in drafting the original Environmental Impact Statement, and we felt it was necessary to supplement the original by investigating new methods of dredging so they’ll be fully vetted,” said Lender.

The review should be completed by autumn, 2011, said Lender.

The decision to conduct a new review apparently resolves a deadlock over whether to dredge a delta at the mouth of Finkle Brook, in Bolton Landing.

The proposed method of dredging the delta, called mechanical dredging, was not one authorized when the original Environmental Impact Statement was approved, the Lake George Park Commission said in a resolution adopted in September.

The project as designed might have unintended environmental impacts, the Commission stated.

According to Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky, who also objected to the plan to employ mechanical dredging, “While that method – using a steam shovel and scraping the lake bottom – may be the least expensive, it’s one that’s most damaging to the lake.”
Walt Lender said he hoped mechanical dredging would be approved during the supplemental review so that it could be used at Finkle Brook and other sites around the lake.

According to Lender, an excavator builds its own “access pads” of dredged material as it moves out from shore. The excavator is then reversed, removing the sediment as it returns to shore. The sediment is then transported by truck to a nearby landfill.

Chris Navitsky, however, says the access pads are roads constructed in the lake which, even after they have been removed, will damage the lake and shoreline.

Navitsky also claims the dredging will allow nutrients to escape, creating algae blooms.

Photo: A large Lake George delta, this one at the mouth of English Brook in Lake George Village. Courtesy of Lake George Association.

For more news from Lake George, subscribe to the Lake George Mirror or visit Lake George Mirror Magazine.


Friday, April 15, 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.

Subscribe! More than 5,200 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.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (April 14)

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.

** WINTER CONDITIONS AT ELEVATION
Spring conditions and the Mud Season have arrived at lower elevations across the Adirondacks, but winter conditions still exist in the High Peaks where there is 6 inches to two feet of snow on the ground and more in higher elevations. The Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reported just over two feet of snow on the ground at the cabin. Expect temperatures below freezing at night at all elevations and below freezing during the day at high elevations. Ice may be found on summits and other open areas. These conditions still will require snowshoes or skis in the High Peaks Trails they are still required above Marcy Dam. Snow cover is still mostly good on trails above Marcy Dam, though they are soft, outside the High Peaks trails are wet and muddy. Higher elevations waters are beginning to open-up. As of Thursday afternoon Avalanche Lake remains passable however the outlets are open and the lake surface is deteriorating rapidly. Brooks and streams are running high and crossings without bridges may not be passable at this time. Lower elevation waters mostly now open, with what little ice there is disappearing fast. Use extreme caution with the thickness of ice.

** HIGH WATERS
All waters in the region are running well above normal for this time of year and there have been scattered flooding incidents and closed roads. Crossings may not be possible where trails cross streams and brooks except on bridges. Low water crossings may not be accessible and paddlers should use care and consult the latest streamgages data. Many of the regions rivers and streams are well over 90% of their capacity. Paddlers and other boaters should be prepared for high waters that may contain logs, limbs and other debris. The potential for additional flooding this spring is generally above normal due to this winter’s deep snow pack. River ice and thickness has diminished to the point that the threat of ice jams has ended. Reservoir and lake levels are normal to slightly above normal for this time of year. Use care and consult the latest streamgage data.

** WET AND MUDDY CONDITIONS
Lower and mid-elevation trails are wet and muddy. Be prepared by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water on trails.

** ROADS CLOSED FOR MUD SEASON
DEC has closed the gates to roads typically closed during mud season.

BEAR CANISTERS NOW REQUIRED IN HIGH PEAKS
The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

SNOWSHOES OR SKIS
The use of snowshoe or skis is required in the Eastern High Peaks where ever snow depths exceed 8 inches, as is currently the case, and is recommended elsewhere in the Adirondacks. Using snowshoes or skis prevents “post-holing”, avoids injuries, and eases travel through snow.

EXPECT BLOWDOWN
Recent storms and strong winds have caused blowdown – trees, limbs, and branches may be found on and over trails, especially lesser used trails which have not yet been cleared.

** AVALANCHE CONDITIONS
The potential for avalanches on slides and other areas prone to avalanche still exists and several have occurred. Although the danger of avalanches is highest shortly after a significant snowfall, and avalanches can occur anytime there is a deep snow cover made up of multiple layers of snow, as there is now. The risk of avalanche depends on a number of factors and can not only change from day to day, but also change over the period of the day as temperatures, humidity and solar warming all influence the character of the snowpack. Avoid traveling on open areas with slopes between 25 & 50 degrees and no vegetation. Never travel alone, carry proper safety equipment; and inform someone where you will be traveling.

MIGRATING BIRDS
Thousands of birds are currently undertaking their seasonal journey along the Atlantic Flyway from their southern wintering grounds. Flocks of migratory waterfowl like geese, ducks and swans are among the first to arrive, as songbirds like the red-winged blackbird, Eastern bluebird, Eastern meadowlark and American robin take up residence and build their nests. Over the next few weeks, grab your binoculars to watch the spectacle of birds arriving this spring. Visit DEC’s Watchable Wildlife site to find a place near you for great bird and wildlife viewing opportunities.

** THIN ICE SAFETY
Lower elevation ice is generally unsafe. The ice that remains at higher elevations may consist of alternating layers of hard ice and frozen slush which is not as strong as clear hard ice. Always check the thickness of ice before crossing and at several points along the way. Inlets, outlets and moving water are all open. If you must travel on ice, use extreme caution.

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
NOTE: We’re entering the state’s historically high fire risk period from mid-March until mid-May.

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Sunny, Highs in the lower 30s.
Friday Night: Clear and cold, lows around 18.
Saturday: Rain likely. Windy with highs in the upper 40s.
Saturday Night: Rain or snow likely. Breezy, lows in the lower 30s.
Sunday: Partly sunny, chance of rain showers. Highs in the upper 40s.
Sunday Night: Mostly cloudy, a chance of rain or snow showers. Lows in the upper 20s.

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]

** Snow Cover
Snow is all but gone outside the High Peaks where there is still 6 inches to two feet of snow on the ground and more in higher elevations. The Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reported just over two feet of snow on the ground at the cabin. Conditions there still require snowshoes or skis at higher elevations and crampons on exposed areas such as summits.

** Downhill Ski Report
Aside from Gore and Whiteface, all downhill mountains are now closed for the season. Whiteface and Gore will open Friday through Sunday, April 15-17. At Gore, some novice-level trails are growing bare but there is plenty of skiing on intermediate and expert trails. Whiteface is planning to run the Face Lift, Summit Quad and Mountain Run chair so no beginner terrain will be available. The suggestion from Gore officials that they may re-open for Easter Weekend (April 24th), seems possible, but unlikely. Snowfall at Gore was about 150 inches, (the level of their long-term average) and 30 inches over last year’s total. Snowfall at Whiteface has been above average, with about 250 inches this year (their average is 200).

** Cross Country Ski Report
The region’s cross-country ski areas have all closed. There may still be some isolated skiing on the wooded section of the Jack Rabbit Trail, but open areas like the Golf course and River Road sections are no longer skiable.

** Backcountry Ski Report
Snow cover is no longer suitable for skiing below Marcy Dam, but above snow cover is still mostly good, and though they are soft, there remains about 10 inches to two feet and more at higher elevations. Despite the rains this week, there will likely be skiing for a couple more weeks on the upper reaches of Mount Marcy. The Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reports there is just over two feet of snow on the ground at the cabin. These conditions still will require snowshoes or skis in the High Peaks Trails they are still required above Marcy Dam. As of Thursday afternoon Avalanche Lake remains passable however the outlets are open and the lake surface is deteriorating rapidly. The bridge is out on the trail to Marcy, see below for details. Snows have accumulated to sufficient depths on Adirondack Mountain slopes to create conditions conducive to avalanches and DEC has issued an Avalanche Warning. The Avalanche Pass Slide is closed to skiing and snowshoeing during the winter months.

** Ice Climbing Report
Anything facing south or east is gone or dangerous. There may still be some top-ropeable ice in the northern facing areas but for all intents and purposes the season has ended for ice climbers.

Rock Climbing Closures
All rock climbing routes on Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs in the Giant Mountain Wilderness, on Moss Cliff in the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness, and on the Main Face of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain are closed, except for the routes between “Opposition” and “Womb with a View” at Pok-O-Moonshine, to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** Ice Fishing Report
Ice fishing is officially open, but recent warm weather have left very little solid ice at lower elevations. Higher elevation waters (above 2500 feet) are still covered with ice , but that ice is also going out and even there inlets, outlets, and shoreline seeps have opened up. This will likely be the last weekend for the possibility of any ice fishing at all. Tip-ups may be used 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
Snowmobile trails around the region have closed. Now is the time to show restraint to keep from tearing up fragile trails. More Adirondack snowmobiling resources can be found here.

** Whitewater Rafting Season Has Begun
The whitewater rafting season has begun on the Moose, Black and Sacandaga rivers. The Hudson River Whitewater Derby will run May 7-8 2011. The event includes novice slalom, giant slalom, and more.

** Trout Season Opened April 1st
Trout (brook, rainbow, brown and hybrids, and splake) and landlocked Salmon season open April 1st, but is off to a slow start with so much snow and ice on the banks of local streams, and this weekend waters will be high and cold. Stocking has been delayed in the ADirondacks but has begun in southern counties bordering the region. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

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: 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.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

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

Bear Resistant Canister Now Required: The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper and Lower Washbowl Cliffs are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Moss Cliff are closed to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

Snowshoes or Skis: The use of snowshoe or skis is required in the Eastern High Peaks when snows are at least 8 inches deep. Using snowshoes or skis prevents “post-holing”, avoids injuries, and eases travel through snow.

Avalanche Conditions: Everywhere snows have accumulated to sufficient depths to create conditions conducive to avalanches. Avoid traveling on open areas with slopes between 25 & 50 degrees and no vegetation. Never travel alone, carry proper safety equipment; and inform someone where you will be traveling. DEC has issued an Avalanche Warning.

Opalescent River Flooding: Due to ice from previous flooding incidents of the Opalescent River, the Day Glow South camping area below the Lake Colden Dam, including the Opalescent and McMartin lean-tos, remains unusable. Campers are advised to use other campsites at this time

Marcy Brook Bridge: The Marcy Brook Bridge, below the junction of the Avalanche Pass and Lake Arnold trails, was damaged by ice during the recent thaw. The bridge is still usable but one of the railings is bent making the path over the bridge narrow. Skiers may have some problems crossing.

Johns Brook Valley: Lean2Rescue, in cooperation with DEC, will be undertaking several lean-to projects in the Johns Brook Valley over the course of the next several months. DEC will post notifications at the Garden trailhead prior to work being started. Beginning the weekend of March 18-20 the Deer Brook will be moved and the Bear Brook lean-to will be removed.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: The unpaved section of Corey’s Road, the main entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness, is closed for mud season.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail, although not along the Northville-Placid Trail.

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 and crampon are needed.

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.

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

** Great Sacandaga Lake: The section of North Shore Road in Hadley, which runs along the Great Sacandaga Lake, has reopened to traffic following repairs made by Saratoga County Public Works crews.

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 Town of Fort Ann has closed the Shelving Rock Road for mud season.

** Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area: The DEC is holding a public meeting to discuss the proposed Unit Management Plan for the 38,500 acre Hoffman Notch Wilderness in the Towns of North Hudson, Minerva and Schroon Lake in Essex County. The plan includes an analysis of the features of the area and the ability of the land to accommodate public use. The meeting will start at 6:30 on April 26 at the Schroon Lake Town Hall. For directions and more details on the draft management plan, read the DEC press release.

Hudson River Recreation Area: Gates on the Buttermilk Road Extension in the Hudson River Special Management Area (aka the Hudson River Recreation Area), in the Town of Warrensburg remain shut and the roads closed to motor vehicle traffic.

Hudson Gorge Primitive Area: 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.

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.

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

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: All of the rock climbing routes on the Main Face of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain are closed, except for the routes between “Opposition” and “Womb with a View”, to allow for peregrine falcon nesting. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

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.

** 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.

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. 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, April 14, 2011

Wildlife in Spring: Beavers on the Move

The period of high water in the Adirondacks from frequent spring rains and snow melt typically corresponds with the time when maturing beavers travel. As is the case with all forms of wildlife, when young begin to transition into adults, they experience a strong urge to vacate their parents’ territory and look for a suitable spot some distance away that they can claim as their own.

The natural tendency of maturing young to disperse well away from their parent’s territory allows for the healthy spread of genetic information among a particular species. If offspring were to remain nearby, there would eventually be an increased risk of inbreeding. Individuals produced from parents that come from the same blood line have a greater chance of displaying unwanted traits that would reduce their chances for survival. Because of this, nature promotes in maturing adults the desire to disperse far enough away from their natal home so as to prevent the likelihood of two closely related individuals encountering one another and interacting as breeding partners.

For the beaver, sexual maturity occurs just prior to the age of two, which is shortly before the adult female in the colony gives birth to her yearly litter of kits. It is these beavers that are most likely to venture far and wide during mid April in the Adirondacks.

Traveling well outside their parent’s territory is a real challenge for a young adult beaver in the Park. There is currently a relatively high population of these flat-tailed rodents within the Blue Line and vacant waterways that contain an adequate supply of food are difficult to find.

Upon encountering a stretch of water with an aggressive resident adult that refuses to allow an outside beaver to trespass, a wandering individual is occasionally forced to travel overland in its journey to find a suitable, unoccupied body of water. A beaver in search of a territory will also exit the safety of the water should it encounter an impassible obstacle, such as a dam, a waterfall, or a series of rapids in which the current is just too swift and the turbulence too severe to continue moving through the water.

The unusual tendency of a beaver to venture across land in mid-April may be noted by the occasional dead beaver alongside a stretch of highway that is a fair distance from any body of water. Noting the presence of roadkill may seem to be a gruesome way of assessing the habits of certain forms of wildlife, however, it can sometimes be useful in gaining insight into the lives of certain types of animals.

Along with the two year olds, older adult beavers occasionally abandon their home pond when the supply of edible vegetation along the shore, and a short distance inland, become exhausted. After the ice melts and the beavers can again gain access to the shoreline, they may realize that almost every shrub, sapling and tree that is of nutritional value to them has already been cut.

In such situations, the entire family relocates to another stretch of the same waterway where the vegetation is more favorable to them. However, when a family moves, it rarely travels over land; rather it typically remains on the same general drainage system.

The maturing forests in the Adirondacks have created shorelines that are very picturesque from a human perspective; however, such stands of timber are of very little value to the beaver. This gnawing rodent has a distinct preference for the bark of aspen and white birch which thrive in open, sunny locations. The forests that sprouted a century or more ago following the widespread logging operations that left much of the Adirondacks devoid of trees were ideal for the beaver. This is the main reason why the beaver experienced such a dramatic resurgence at the turn of the last century. As the process of forest succession replaces the pioneer trees with maples, beech and yellow birch, the abundance of trees useful to the beaver steadily dwindles.

The beaver is still able to exist in the Adirondacks, as this creature is capable of surviving on alder choked streams, along the shores of lakes, and on slow moving rivers. As with all forms of wildlife, finding food is always a challenge. So too is the chore of locating a territory that confronts the two year olds. Yet this year’s high water is making travel easier and allowing them to more easily move from one area to another here in the soggy Adirondacks.

John Warren wrote a shorty history of beaver in the Adirondacks for the Adirondack Almanack in 2009.

Anthony Hall wrote s short political history of the beaver in April, 2010.

Dan Crane wrote about beavers from the perspective of a bushwacker in January, 2011.

Photos: Above, a beaver from Lake George Mirror files; below, a fanciful 17th century European print picturing abundant beaver in the New World (courtesy private collection of John Warren).


Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Baitfish Regulations Proposed

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced changes to current state regulations banning the overland transport of uncertified baitfish by anglers, including baitfish that are personally collected. The proposed revisions in the Notice of Proposed Rule Making filed today would allow for the overland transport of personally collected baitfish within three specified transportation corridors, as long as the baitfish are used in the same waters from which they are collected.

“We are responding to concerns that regulations adopted in 2007 to protect New York’s world class fish stocks were overly restrictive,” Commissioner Joe Martens said in a prepared statement. “While we are pleased to relax the current ban within defined corridors along specific waterbodies, we are counting on full support of anglers for the Department’s efforts to limit the spread of fish disease organisms throughout the state.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Online Resources for Schroon Lake Region

The Schroon Lake Chamber of Commerce has announced the launch of two new websites it hopes will serve to promotes the region.

Schroonlakechamber.org offers a business directory, membership application and benefits listing, a chamber events and meeting calendar and relocation resources.

The redesigned schroonlakeregion.com promotes the region as a destination, showcasing the visitor experiences available in the communities that comprise the Schroon Lake Region; Schroon Lake, Newcomb, North Hudson and Minerva. The site offers information for visitors including attractions, events, dining, shopping, lodging packages and specials as well as business listings and real estate.

The dual-website project was undertaken by the Chamber in partnership with the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, Essex County’s destination marketing organization.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Flanagan’s in Schroon Lake

The trip to Schroon Lake was much shorter than I expected, even though we took the scenic route. It was the first really nice Spring day of the season. Schroon Lake was bustling, for April. People were out walking. Just seeing people on the streets is as much a sign of spring as the crocuses blooming.

Tucked amid a small group of Main Street storefronts in Schroon Lake, Flanagan’s Pub and Grill is well-kept and very attractive with a stone facade. Its hand-painted signs promising a family restaurant atmosphere, we accepted the invitation. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’ Stories Sought

It’s been called the greatest sports moment of the century. The Miracle on Ice, Feb. 22, 1980, when the U.S hockey team, made up of 20 college kids, upset the Soviets 4-3 during the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., on their way to winning the improbable gold medal. Now it’s your turn to tell your story—where you were during that historic day that united the nation? How did that win against the Soviets inspire you?

Do you have a story to tell about that day? If you do, submit your story to the United States’ goaltender Jim Craig, jimcraigbook@optonline.net, for your chance to tell your story in an upcoming book of the memories about that game with the Soviets.

What do you remember about the morale of the country at the time of the victory? Maybe you remember where you were and what you were doing. Or maybe this win served to inspire your life.

The two winning stories will receive a Miracle movie poster, personally signed by Craig. The deadline is May 31, 2011.


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