Thursday, October 27, 2011

Adirondack Fish and Game Report (Oct 27)

Adirondack Almanack provides this weekly Hunting and Fishing Report each Thursday afternoon, 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.

** SNOW AND ICE ON SUMMITS, HIGHER ELEVATIONS
** COLD, WET WEATHER, SNOW AND ICE PRESENT
Snow is present at elevations above 2500 feet. Rocks and bedrock are icy. Stablicers or other similar equipment should be packed and used when conditions warrant. Night-time and morning temperatures in the 10s and 20s or colder can be expected. Temperatures in the single digits have been recorded in higher elevations. Be prepared by wearing appropriate footwear and outer wear and packing extra non-cotton clothes, including a hat and gloves or mittens, in addition to your usual equipment. Take off and put on layers of clothing to regulate body heat.

** WATERS GENERALLY ABOVE NORMAL
The level of the rivers and streams across the region is currently above normal for this time of year, especially larger rivers such as the Saranac, Sacandaga, West Canada Creek and the Raquette. Low water crossings, even on smaller streams, may not be accessible. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

** WET AND MUDDY TRAILS AND ACCESS POINTS
Trails continue to have mud and/or puddles in many locations. Hikers are advised to wear appropriate footwear and to stay on the trail – hike through muddy areas and puddles to avoid widening the trails or creating “herd paths” around those areas. The rains have also raised the water levels of many streams. Low water crossings may not be accessible.

SHORTER DAYS
Remember the sun sets earlier this time of year. Plan trips accordingly and carry a flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries.

** ALL LOCAL STATE CAMPGROUNDS HAVE CLOSED
All DEC campgrounds in the Adirondack Region have now closed until next season. A list of phone numbers, opening and closing dates, and other information for all campgrounds and their associated Regional Offices can be found online.

BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES
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). 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. In the Moose River Plains all roads designated for public motor vehicle use are open and in good shape. The public should use caution as the road is also being used by log trucks to haul forest products from League Club property. The Otter Brook – Indian Lake Road is open to Squaw Lake which is the permanent termination point for motor vehicle usage in accordance with the approved Moose River Plains Complex Unit Management Plan. A temporary barrier has been placed just past the Squaw Lake Trailhead, a gate will be installed in the future. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

NUISANCE BLACK BEARS
DEC has received complaints of nuisance bears getting into garbage and destroying bird feeds. Homeowners should take down all bird feeders and take steps to secure garbage to prevent problems with bears. New regulation prohibits feeding bears, people that leave out bird food, garbage, pet food and other substances that bears may feed upon can be ticketed after a warning.

MOTORIST ALERT: WHITETAIL DEER
The peak period for deer-vehicle collisions is October through December, with the highest incidences occurring in November. This corresponds with the peak of the annual deer breeding cycle when deer are more active and less cautious in their movements. Approximately 65,000 deer-vehicle collisions occur throughout NYS each year and two-thirds of the annual collisions occur during this three month period. Most of the collisions occur between 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Motorists are advised that the best way to avoid a collision with a deer is to reduce speed and be alert for their presence on or near the highway.

MOTORIST ALERT: MOOSE
There are upwards of 800 Moose in the Adirondack region, up from 500 in 2007. Motorists should be alert for moose on the roadways at this time of year especially at dawn and dusk, which are times of poor visibility when Moose are most active. Much larger than deer, moose-car collisions can be very dangerous. Last year ten accidents involving moose were reported. DEC is working to identify areas where moose are present and post warning signs.

** 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

EXPECT BLOWDOWN
Tropical Storm Irene contributed considerable blowdown. Trees may be toppled on and over backcountry roads, trails and campsites.

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.

ADIRONDACK FISHING REPORTS

** Water Temperatures

Water temperatures in many of the Adirondack waters have dropped into the lower 40s, colder water temperatures can be expected in higher elevation waters.

** Special Fishing Seasons Remain Open
The statewide trout season is closed as of October 15th. 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, Yellow Perch, Crappie, Sunfish, Muskellenge and Black Bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass). For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

** Salmon Run Over
The Salmon run in both the Saranac River and Boquet River is over. Stream temperatures have been running in the lower 40’s and will continue to drop as temperatures become more seasonable. This year there were about 70 salmon counted in the Willsboro fishway so far, the highest number in more than years. Between 2001 and 2009, fewer than 14 salmon made the top of the ladder. In 2010, that number jumped to 51. Salmon spawn in the fall in areas with gravelly river bottoms. Salmon that do not make it through the ladder, spawn below the dam where the habitat is not as conducive to raising young.

** Lake Champlain Sea Lamprey Control
Three tributaries and one delta were successfully treated in 2011, these were the Boquet River and the Ausable delta complex in New York and the Hubbardton River in Vermont and the Poultney River in both Vermont and New York. Due to high water levels, treatments of Mount Hope Brook and Putnam Creek, both in New York, were unable to be completed. See the DEC’s Lake Champlain Sea Lamprey Control webpages for more information.

Milfoil Infestation in South Bay
Variable-leaf watermilfoil, an aquatic invasive plant, has been found in the South Bay of Lake Champlain. Watermilfoil crowds out beneficial native aquatic plants and can impair recreational uses including boating, fishing and swimming. Boaters, anglers and other recreational enthusiasts should take precautions to avoid transporting this and other invasive species to other waters or other parts of Lake Champlain. More information on the infestation and the responsibility of recreationists to limit its spread can be found here.

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.

New Warren County Invasive Species Transport Law
The Warren County Board of Supervisors voted almost unanimously to pass an invasive species transport law following a public hearing. The law makes the introduction and transport of aquatic invasive species into Warren County waterbodies illegal. It is the first county law of its kind to pass in New York State. The law imposes a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 15 days in jail for violators. Some marina owners opposed the law; Chestertown Supervisor and Executive Director of the Local Government Review Board Fred Monroe was the only no vote.

Ausable and Boquet River Changes
Due to the recent Tropical Storm Irene anglers should be advised that there was significant debris washed into both the Ausable and Boquet Rivers. Anglers should be aware of new hazards underwater. Also some changes in the river course and topography may be present. New pools may formed where there was previously riffles and riffles may be found where there was previously pools.

West Lake Boat Launch
The West Lake Boat Launch in Fulton County is presently not suitable for launching of trailered boats. Storm runoff resulting from Irene deposited a large quantity of gravel in the area of the ramp. Car top boats can still be launched.

Hudson River Rogers Island Pool Boat Launch
The floating dock has not been installed Rogers Island Pool.

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 gate to access Catfish Bay has been closed. Road improvement work and logging to improve habitat are underway.

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.

Lake Champlain Anglers
Warmwater anglers on Lake Champlain are requested to report any catches of sauger to Emily Zollweg at the DEC Region 5 office in Warrensburg at (518) 623-1264. The status of sauger, a close relative of the walleye, has been unknown in the lake for a quite some time, until a single sauger was caught in a DEC survey last spring. Sauger can be distinguished from walleye by the three to four saddle-shaped dark brown blotches on their sides, the distinct black spots on the first dorsal (back) fin and the lack of a white tip on the lower lobe of the tail fin.

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

Deer Management Plan Now Available
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that it has adopted a five-year deer management plan. The final plan, which has been revised based on public comment on a previously released draft version, is now available online.

** Assessment of Public Comment on Deer Management Plan
DEC has prepared an Assessment of Public Comment as a brief overview of what seemed to be the principal issues identified with the draft plan, and including their responses to those issues.

** Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands
Public access to and use of the easement lands is prohibited during the regular big game hunting season which is currently open. The big game hunting season closes on Sunday, December 4. Public use will once again be allowed beginning Monday, December 5. Also public hunting is prohibited until the end of the year. Public hunting will once again be allowed on January 1, 2012.

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 is very 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.

Ausable Marsh WMA:
Lake Champlain is at near spring time lake levels resulting in an abundance of water behind the dikes. Users will find the pools are much deeper than they typically are this time of the year and they may not be able to wade to places they normally can. Also, portions of the dike are extremely wet or partially underwater.

DEC 2011 Deer Hunting Forecasts Now Available
The DEC’s 2011 deer hunting season forecasts are now on their website. They include brief descriptions of the landscape and deer population trends within each Wildlife Management Unit.

** Some 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 (Varying Hare in all Region 5 WMUs, except 5R, 5S & 5T where it opens December 12). 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.

** Some Fall Wild Turkey Season Closed
The fall Turkey season closed Friday 21 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5R, 5S & 5T where the season closes November 18. See the DEC’s Turkey Hunting webpage for more information on rules, regulations, safety and hunting tips.

** Canada Goose Hunting Seasons
Canada Goose hunting seasons in the Northeast Hunting Area has reopened (it will close there December 5); the season is open in the Lake Champlain Hunting Area until December 3. DEC Canada Goose hunting info is online. 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.

** Regular Bear Season Open (WMUs 5A,5C,5F,5G,5H & 5J)
Early bear, and bear bowhunting and muzzleloading seasons have closed; Regular season has opened and closes December 4. See the DEC’s Big Game webpage for more information on seasons and regulations.

** Northern Zone Deer Seasons
Bowhunting and muzzleloading seasons are now closed; Regular season is open and closes December 4; Late Muzzleloading season opens December 5 and closes December 11 in Region 5 WMUs 5A, 5G and 5J. See the DEC’s Big Game webpage for more information on seasons and regulations.

** Waterfowl Seasons
In the Lake Champlain Waterfowl Hunting Zone Snow Goose season closes December 29; Brant season is now open until November 30; Duck season reopens October 29 and closes December 22. In the Northeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zone Duck season reopened October 22 and closes again December 10; Snow Goose season is open until December 31, then reopens February 24 and closes April 15; Brant season is open until November 19. 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.

2011 Duck Season Outlook
Most duck populations in New York are doing well this year due to excellent habitat conditions across the continent for waterfowl nesting and brood-rearing. However, breeding populations of eastern mallards and wood ducks – the two most commonly harvested ducks in New York – were lower this spring than in 2009, and Atlantic Flyway biologists are concerned about a long-term decline in eastern mallards that became more apparent in recent years. Sixty-day duck seasons were approved by federal and state authorities for another year, but this situation will be closely monitored in the future. Bag limits for all duck species will be the same as in 2010-11 and can be seen at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28888.html.

2011 Goose Season Outlook
September Canada goose seasons have just ended, but hunters can look forward to another 45 days or more (depending on area) to pursue these popular game birds later this fall and winter. Resident geese remain abundant in many areas of the state, and migratory populations that pass through New York were estimated to be higher last spring. Hunters are reminded that Canada goose seasons are set for different geographic areas of the state than other waterfowl seasons; therefore maps should be closely reviewed. A special spring season for snow geese will continue for the fourth year in all of upstate New York. These birds have become so abundant that they are causing harm to wetland habitats throughout their range. Special spring seasons have been established in many eastern states and provinces to increase hunter harvest and help reduce this population. The daily limit for snow geese is 25 per day.

Migratory Bird Hunting Requirements
Hunters 16 or older must have a 2011 federal duck stamp to hunt during any of the 2011-2012 seasons. Federal duck stamps cost $15 and are available at most post offices and some sporting goods stores. They are also available by calling toll-free 1-800-852-4897 or at www.duckstamp.com. Stamps must be signed across the face by the hunter before they become valid, but they do not have to be attached to the hunting license. All migratory game bird (waterfowl, woodcock, snipe, rails and gallinules) hunters, including junior hunters (age 12-15), must register with New York’s Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) prior to hunting in any of the 2011-2012 seasons. Hunters must register every year and for each state in which they plan to hunt migratory game birds, and also must carry proof of compliance whenever going afield. To register in HIP, call toll-free 1-888-427-5447 (1-888-4 ASK HIP) or visit www.NY-HIP.com.

Waterfowl Consumption Advisory
The New York State Department of Health (DOH) periodically evaluates data on chemicals in wild waterfowl to ensure that hunter harvested birds can be eaten without concerns about adverse effects on human health. The current advisory states that “Mergansers are the most heavily contaminated waterfowl species and should not be eaten. Eat no more than two meals per month of other wild waterfowl; you should skin them and remove all fat before cooking, and discard stuffing after cooking. Wood ducks and Canada geese are less contaminated than other wild waterfowl species and diving ducks are more contaminated than dabbler ducks. The latest DOH advice on consumption of waterfowl and other game can be found online.

Upcoming Trapping Seasons
Fisher season opens October 25 and closes December 10 in all Region 5 WMUs; Marten season opens October 25 and closes December 10 in all Region 5 WMUs, except 5R, 5S & 5T where there is no trapping season; Bobcat season opens October 25 in all Regkion 5 WMUs except 5R where there is no trapping season; The season closes December 10 in all Region 5 WMUs, except 5S & 5T where it closes February 15; Mink and Muskrat season opens October 25 and closes April 15 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5R, 5S & 5T where it opens November 10 and closes April 7; Coyote, Red Fox, Gray Fox, Raccoon, Skunk, Opossum and Weasel season opens October 25 and 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 opens November 1 and closes April 7 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5S & 5T where it opens November 10 and closes February 28. There is no trapping season in 5R. Beaver season opens November 1 and closes April 7 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5R, 5S & 5T where it opens November 10 but still closes April 7.

——————–
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, October 27, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Oct. 27)

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.

** COLD, WET WEATHER, SNOW AND ICE PRESENT
Snow is present at elevations above 2500 feet. Rocks and bedrock are icy. Stablicers or other similar equipment should be packed and used when conditions warrant. Night-time and morning temperatures in the 10s and 20s or colder can be expected. Temperatures in the single digits have been recorded in higher elevations. Be prepared by wearing appropriate footwear and outer wear and packing extra non-cotton clothes, including a hat and gloves or mittens, in addition to your usual equipment. Take off and put on layers of clothing to regulate body heat. One hiker was helicoptered out of the High Peaks Monday after becoming lost and hypothermic. The 36 year-old Clifton Park resident had been bushwhacking between Gray Peak and Mount Marcy when he become lost and got wet while temperatures were in the single digits.

** HURRICANE IRENE DAMAGE TO TRAILS
Hikers and campers 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. Hikers should be able to navigate by map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. Several groups of lost hikers required search and rescue operation last weekend. DEC has updated it’s closed trail map [pdf]. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

** WATERS GENERALLY ABOVE NORMAL
The level of the rivers and streams across the region is currently above normal for this time of year, especially larger rivers such as the Saranac, Sacandaga, West Canada Creek and the Raquette. Low water crossings, even on smaller streams, may not be accessible. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

** WET AND MUDDY TRAILS
Trails continue to have mud and/or puddles in many locations. Hikers are advised to wear appropriate footwear and to stay on the trail – hike through muddy areas and puddles to avoid widening the trails or creating “herd paths” around those areas. The rains have also raised the water levels of many streams. Low water crossings may not be accessible.

** SHORTER DAYS
Remember the sun sets earlier this time of year. Plan trips accordingly and carry a flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries.

NUISANCE BLACK BEARS
DEC has received complaints of nuisance bears getting into garbage and destroying bird feeds. Homeowners should take down all bird feeders and take steps to secure garbage to prevent problems with bears. New regulation prohibits feeding bears, people that leave out bird food, garbage, pet food and other substances that bears may feed upon can be ticketed after a warning. 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.

EXPECT BLOWDOWN
Although much of the blowdown has been cleared on the most heavily used trails, Tropical Storm Irene contributed considerable blowdown to the Eastern Adirondacks. Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites, especially in lesser used areas. Also expect blowdown in the Western High Peaks Wilderness and in the Sentinel and Seward Ranges. A hiker had to be rescued this summer from Mount Emmons in the Seward Range after losing his way while negotiating blowdown [LINK].

MOTORIST ALERT: WHITETAIL DEER
The peak period for deer-vehicle collisions is October through December, with the highest incidences occurring in November. This corresponds with the peak of the annual deer breeding cycle when deer are more active and less cautious in their movements. Approximately 65,000 deer-vehicle collisions occur throughout NYS each year and two-thirds of the annual collisions occur during this three month period. Most of the collisions occur between 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Motorists are advised that the best way to avoid a collision with a deer is to reduce speed and be alert for their presence on or near the highway.

MOTORIST ALERT: MOOSE
There are upwards of 800 Moose in the Adirondack region, up from 500 in 2007. Motorists should be alert for moose on the roadways at this time of year especially at dawn and dusk, which are times of poor visibility when Moose are most active. Much larger than deer, moose-car collisions can be very dangerous. Last year ten accidents involving moose were reported. DEC is working to identify areas where moose are present and post warning signs.

** ALL LOCAL STATE CAMPGROUNDS HAVE CLOSED
All DEC campgrounds in the Adirondack Region have now closed until next season. A list of phone numbers, opening and closing dates, and other information for all campgrounds and their associated Regional Offices can be found online.

HUNTING SEASONS NOW OPEN
Hunting seasons have begun. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters 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. 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 3000 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.

** NEW YORK FOREST PHOTO CONTEST
In recognition of the importance of forests to the health and well being of society, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced a contest to celebrate New York’s forests. The contest is designed to increase awareness of and appreciation for all types of forests, urban and rural, large and small, public and privately owned, across the state. In the 19th century conservationists recognized the importance of nature as a refuge from the noise and bustle of city life. Modern technology has disconnected many people from the outdoors. Virtual pastimes now rival natural, outdoor activities. Taking and sharing pictures is one of the most popular activities in this country. Through this contest, New Yorkers are encouraged to reconnect with the natural world. Photos must be taken in New York State. Photos will be accepted through November 1, 2011. A maximum of three photos may be submitted by a photographer, each with a submission form found on the DEC website, via e-mail or on a CD via regular mail. You can read about the details here.

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

Northville Placid Trail Information / Volunteers: The Northville-Placid Trail Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club maintains a website of resources and information about the trail. ADK is seeking volunteers to help with blowdown removal using crosscut saws, hand saws and axes. Anyone interested in future work events should contact Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at wiltseb@gmail.com or 518-429-0049.

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 are clear with the exception of wet and muddy areas.

Ouluska Pass and Duck Hole Breech: The Ouluska Pass Brook bridge is damaged and unusable. Hikers will have to ford across the Brook. The Ouluska Pass lean-to experienced some foundation damage following the Duck Hole Dam breach. The other lean-tos along the Cold River escaped damage as did the suspension bridges over the Cold River and Moose Creek.

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 to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail will likely be flooded as it is during periods of high water and may require wading through water and mud.

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. The Creek is 4 to 5 feet deep and 6 feet across. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations. The alternative is a reroute to the east that also may be flooded in spots.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Waters are running generally above normal. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

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

** All trails in the Eastern High Peaks are clear of blowdown unless otherwise stated below. DEC has updated it’s closed trail map [pdf].

Marcy Dam Footbridge Reroute: The footbridge over Marcy Dam was washed away. A reroute has been created to low water crossing below the dam. The crossing involves hopping from rock to rock to cross Marcy Brook. Hikers concerned about “rock hopping” can use the Marcy Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the Mt. Van Hovenburgh to Mt. Marcy and other trails beyond Marcy Dam. Also the crossing may not be passable during high water. Tom Martin, regional forester for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, has told the Adirondack Explorer‘s Phil Brown that the state will either rebuild the bridge over Marcy Dam at the dam site itself, or nearby. The project is not expected to begin before winter.

** (LATE UPDATE – 10/28): Adirondack Mountain Reserve Trails: Trails in or accessed from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve have reopened with the exception of the first (northernmost) two cross over trails between the East River Trail and the West River Trail. The other three cross over trails and bridges are open and must be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails. Now reopened are the Carry Trail, the trials from Warden’s Camp to the Sawteeth Trail and to the Haystack Trail, the Haystack Brook Trail, and the Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail.

Deer Brook Trail: The Deer Brook Trail from Route 73 remains closed.

Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. 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.

** Elk Lake Trailhead-Dix Mountain Wilderness: The Elk Lake Trailhead and the trails accessed from it are closed during the regular big game season. The trailhead and trails will reopen on Monday, December 5.

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.

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.

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 remains closed. The Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle and beyond. The Hunter Pass Trail has a small slide approximately 1 mile below the junction with the Round Pond to Dix Mountain Trail.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: The Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead is open though some DOT equipment remains on site. 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 closed. The Hurricane Mountain Road is closed except for local traffic, therefore The Crows Trailhead and O’Toole Road Trailhead are closed at this time. Hurricane Mountain may be accessed from the Route 9N trailhead or the Hurricane Mountain Lane trailhead. The bottom third of the East Hurricane Mountain Trail from Hurricane Mountain Lane has some minor wash but is easily passable. The middle third of the trail has blowdown but hikers can scramble through most of it. Only two places required minor bushwack. The top of the trail had only minor debris on the trail.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Roadway suffered some minor erosion, but it is passable. Connery Pond Truck Trail is in good shape with minor erosion and minor scattered blowdown. 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.

Wilmington Wild Forest / Flume Trail System: The River Trail at the Flume is still washed out and impassable due to debris deposited there by the Ausable River. The 0.2 mile trail reroute on the Wilmington Trail up Whiteface Mountain has been created to bypass a large washout.

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).

Blue Mountain Wild Forest: Hikers report moderate blowdown between Lake Durant and Long Lake on the Northville-Placid Trail.

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: All roads designated for public motor vehicle use are open and in good shape. The public should use caution as the road is also being used by log trucks to haul forest products from League Club property. The Otter Brook – Indian Lake Road is open to Squaw Lake which is the permanent termination point for motor vehicle usage in accordance with the approved Moose River Plains Complex Unit Management Plan. A temporary barrier has been placed just past the Squaw Lake Trailhead, a gate will be installed in the future. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: 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 this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Wolf Lake: The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles.

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

Milfoil Infestation in South Bay: Variable-leaf watermilfoil, an aquatic invasive plant, has been found in the South Bay of Lake Champlain. Watermilfoil crowds out beneficial native aquatic plants and can impair recreational uses including boating, fishing and swimming. Boaters, anglers and other recreational enthusiasts should take precautions to avoid transporting this and other invasive species to other waters or other parts of Lake Champlain. More information on the infestation and the responsibility of recreationists to limit its spread can be found here.

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.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: Some stream crossings do not have bridges and may be difficult to cross in high water conditions.

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 Pharaoh Brook on the Mill Brook-Pharaoh Lake Trail has been replaced. A replacement bridge over Mill Brook on the Mill Brook-Pharaoh Lake Trail is under construction. The stringers are set on the sills but they are not secured and there is no decking on them. The old bridge remains partially attached on the downstream side of the new bridge and can be used with caution to cross.The bridge over Mud Pond Outlet between Putnam Pond and Treadway Mountain Trail has been washed down stream. It is possible to cross the stream in spots without the bridge. The Treadway Mountain Trail is clear of blowdown. The Pharaoh Mountain Trail from Pharaoh Lake and from Crane Pond both have light blowdown. 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 Rock Pond Trail has moderate blowdown but is passable. The Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail has moderate blowdown. 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 Bear Pond Trail has extensive blowdown but is passable. The Berrymill Pond Trail (from Putnam Pond) is fine with minimal blowdown. The Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Clear Pond Trail is clear of blowdown. The Rock Pond to Lillypad Pond Trail has moderate blowdown. The Glidden Marsh Trail has mild blowdown but the downed trees are large. 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. All bridges are in fine condition. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The Oxshoe Pond Trail is clear of blowdown. Mill Brook is flooded 100 yards up Beaver Brook Road; water is 2 feet over the road and old parking lot. The Mill Brook Bridge on the Pharaoh Road Trail is out and currently floating downstream from far abutment. The crossing on beaver debris at bridge site is 3 feet deep and the Mill Brook Bog Bridging has shifted more than 4 feet and is floating in spots. The bridge is out over Pharaoh Lake Brook halfway in to lake. Beaver dam upstream from bridge is breached and dewatering the pond behind it. DO NOT attempt to cross the stream as the water volume is too high. The Putnam Pond Campground Access Road is washed out. This road provides vehicle access trailheads for Berrymill Pond, Grizzle Ocean, and Rock Pond. The bridge at Pharaoh Lake Outlet is intact.

Santanoni Historic Preserve: The trail around Newcomb Lake is clear of blowdown on its full length. The road to Great Camp Santanoni and Newcomb Lake is clear and open for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

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 is very 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.

Ausable Marsh WMA: Lake Champlain is at near spring time lake levels resulting in an abundance of water behind the dikes. Users will find the pools are much deeper than they typically are this time of the year and they may not be able to wade to places they normally can. Also, portions of the dike are extremely wet or partially underwater.

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.

Lake Champlain Islands: The docks at the Peru Dock Boat Launch were damaged but are still usable, the pump station remains closed.

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.

Poke-O-Moonshine: The hiking trails to the summit of Pok-o-Moonshine Mountain (the ranger trail from camp ground and Jeep Trail) are both open and usable. There is quite a lot of blowdown on the Ranger Trail but it is passable. The Jeep Trail has less blow down but the bridge approach, while usable, is muddy. The Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is closed for the season.

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area assessment of the campsites has been completed. Campsites #1-3 on the Barnes Pond Road are available for use, however the privy on campsite #2 remains knocked over. DEC crews will right and reset the privy in the near future. 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

** Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands: Public use of these easement lands is prohibited during the regular big game hunting season which is currently open. The big game hunting season closes on Sunday, December 4. Public use will once again be allowed beginning Monday, December 5. Public hunting is prohibited on the easement lands until December 31.

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

Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest: Access to the Split Rock area can be difficult for people unfamiliar with area roads due to the numerous closings. Trails are open and usable with some blowdown.

Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Access to Catamount Mountain is not possible; a road is washed out 1 mile from trailhead. Forestdale Road has been closed by the Town of Black Brook. In Terry Mountain State Forest both the Red Road and the Tower Road have been repaired and are open to public motor vehicle use.

St. Regis Canoe Area: 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.

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.

——————–
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, October 27, 2011

DEC Announces Local Clean Air Grants

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced awards for “Clean Air Grants” to 13 New York communities, including three in the Adirondack region. The grants are hoped to assist counties, towns and villages in reducing open burning of leaves and other organic materials, educate residents about the dangers of open burning and assist with the purchasing of recycling and composting equipment.

“DEC is committed to reducing harmful air pollutants and the prevention of destructive wildfires,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a prepared statement. “In addition to releasing harmful pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde and lead, the open burning of residential organic waste such as leaves and branches, is the largest single cause of wildfires in the state.”

A total of $60,000 was awarded for 13 projects statewide ranging from helping the Village of Windsor in Broome County better manage wood waste to partnering with the Dutchess County Town of Tivoli to conduct a home composting pilot project and help educate residents about safer alternatives to open burning. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides DEC with the funding for these grants.

DEC recently extended restrictions on the open burning of residential organic waste in all communities statewide, regardless of the community’s size in population.

The Clean Air Grant Program was designed to help local communities better manage residential organic waste materials and also build better community understanding of the dangers associated with open burning. Grants of up to $5,000 were awarded to the following local communities:

Town of Pinckney, Lewis County, to assist in the purchase of a commercial wood chipper to give area residents a safer option for disposing branches and other tree waste. The Town will partner with the Tug Hill Commission and Development Authority of the North County to educate residents about the availability of the chipping service, the dangers of open burning and how they can get wood chips and mulch from the program.

Town of Webb, Herkimer County, to assist in the purchase of a municipal leaf vacuum to help the community safely and efficiently remove and compost organic materials. In addition to the health and safety benefits of reducing of open burning, the Town also identifies the economic benefits of maintaining clean air and a healthy eco-system within the Adirondack Park.

Town of Boonville, Oneida County, to repair and refurbish a municipal leaf collection vacuum to reduce the possible loss of life and property that can often result from open burning and the added burden it puts on local volunteer fire companies.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Philosophy: Getting Busy, and Meaning It

In his poem The Adirondacks Ralph Waldo Emerson begins to describe an expedition into the Adirondack wilderness by noting that the travelers unburdened themselves from their day-to-day lives:

Happier as they
Slipped off their pack of duties, leagues behind,
At the first mounting of the giant stairs.
No placard on these rocks warned to the polls,
No door-bell heralded a visitor,
No courier waits, no letter came or went,
Nothing was ploughed, or reaped, or bought, or sold

I can appreciate this imagery and the attraction of leaving it all behind for a holiday. But many of us reading the Almanack live in the Adirondacks and so our lifework, as I like to think of it, can’t be taken on and off like Emerson’s pack of duties. With that in mind and in light of what seems to be our national predilection with busyness, I’ve been giving some thought to what exactly is in Emerson’s pack?

First, I looked into what it means to be busy and I discovered that an interesting thing happened on the way to the 21st century. It seems that the word “busy” didn’t always signify the frenetic style of hyperactivity that many of us wear like a badge, the depleted yet slightly self-satisfied way we often announce “I am so busy!” These days we declare ourselves in this way as if we’ve accomplished something meaningful simply by darting between moments like hummingbirds, hovering without ceasing at one task before zipping on to the next. In contrast, “busy” used to refer to our earnest engagement in something enjoyable, yet somewhere along the way we began to veer wildly away from this sensibility towards a constant occupation with – what exactly?

At this point I’d hoped to open up Emerson’s pack to discover what all this busyness was all about, but it seems it’s a little bit like that drawer full of random things that don’t have any real relationship to each other or to me. The stuff doesn’t fit into any category yet inexplicably, I need what’s in there. And a “junk drawer” is born. Are we living lives analogous to junk drawers? This seems particularly offensive in a landscape whose pure earthly delight has been an inspiration for poets, philosophers, scientists, artists and novelists for generations.

I don’t know exactly when the common meaning of “busy” changed, or when our gaze shifted from the good life or the beautiful life to the busy life as a thing of virtue. I suspect it was right about the time we created the handy conjunction “busy-work” aptly defined as something that takes up time but isn’t actually productive, never mind earnest or meaningful (the whole notion of which brings Socrates to mind and his caution against the barrenness of a busy life).

My dear friend Craig, with whom I have been writing letters (yes, actual letters) for 19 years, wrote a while back that his delayed response was due to being caught up in “all those things Thoreau railed against.” He was busy, in the contemporary sense of the word. And it’s true that this affliction is at least as old as Thoreau who admonished that “It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”

Ultimately, the question of what on earth we’re doing is a personal one and I won’t presume to root through your pack (and let’s agree to keep our hands out of each other’s junk drawers). The question and the intimate cadence of your response will flourish, as everything meaningful will, along a horizon of uninterrupted and unhurried contemplation. Fortunately for those of us committed to a beautiful and a thoughtful life here in the high-country, we aren’t subject to the inevitability of a too-short holiday that as Emerson describes, is fruitful, but must end;

One August evening had a cooler breath;
Into each mind intruding duties crept;
Under the cinders burned the fires of home;
Nay, letters found us in our paradise:
So in the gladness of the new event
We struck our camp and left the happy hills.

(Oh and Craig, you owe me a lengthy letter. Get busy.)

Photo of Auguste Rodin‘s Thinker courtesy of ArtCyclopedia

Marianne is a philosopher living, writing and teaching in the Adirondacks


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Ashe’s Pub and Grill, Warrensburg

It was less than two weeks after bartender Valene began her new job at Ashe’s Pub and Grill that she started to wonder what she’d gotten herself into. It was the end of her shift and she got right to the business of closing the bar. The doors were locked, the bar lights off, and everything stocked for opening in the morning. She took the day’s receipts through the dining room, past the pool table, into the office. As she began counting, there came a loud pounding at the back entrance to the bar, accompanied by a man’s voice shouting, “Open the bar!”

Annoyed that some drunk had the audacity to expect that the bar would be opened for him, Valene got her husband on the phone for reassurance and went to the door. No one was there. Poking her head out the front door, she looked up and down the street, but no one was in sight. Dismissing the incident and turning to go back to her work, keeping her husband on the line in case the man came back, she could hear heavy footsteps and the sound of creaky floorboards coming from the area around the pool table. Banging sounds came from different areas of the bar; chairs in the dining room squeaked as though occupants were fidgeting in their seats. By now the young woman was truly frightened. Her husband, too, could hear the racket over the phone. Unable to come there himself, he sent Valene’s cousin to the bar to stay with her as she finished for the night while the noises continued around them. Not easily bullied by mere spirits, Valene has gotten used to the experiences and is still tending bar there. She makes it known to would-be spooks that she’s in charge!

Other employees have had similar experiences. Becky, another of the bartenders, says that securely placed pots and pans often crash to the floor. Footsteps are heard coming from deserted floors above. Cash disappears…then returns. A second-floor apartment is home to the apparition of a tall, older gentleman who wears a top hat and has an arm in a sling. A woman who lived in a second-floor apartment claims the man climbed into bed with her. When a visiting vendor arrived to set up a demonstration, she was in immediate need of a restroom. Since there was a line at the one-seater in the bar, the employee who lived in the upstairs apartment took the woman upstairs to use her bathroom. Curious, the vendor asked about the man she had seen standing in the upstairs window when she arrived. She described him as very tall, wearing a top hat and a sling.

Standing just beyond Warrensburg’s historic district in a neighborhood of mostly modest residences, Ashe’s Hotel looks much as it did when it was built over 150 years ago. Originally named the Agricultural Hotel due to its proximity to the old Warren County Fairgrounds, the name was changed to Ashe’s Hotel when Maurice Ashe acquired it from his father, Henry, in the 1930’s. The fairgrounds was also the site of Ashland Park Speedway from 1954 to 1961. Somehow, the bar at Ashe’s has managed to stay in continuous operation since the early 1860’s.

The current owner, John Abbale, has owned Ashe’s for the past 25 years and has gradually made many improvements. Colorful linen table cloths liven the dining room and whitewashed walls brighten the interior. The recently installed wide pine slab bar seats about 15 people, and several tables are available in the same room in close proximity to the bar. A semi-partitioned room off the bar offers table seating for another 26 patrons. Off that room is the pool table and area for musical entertainment and dancing. The central location for music setup makes it accessible to all three rooms. If you’re looking for entertainment beyond music and bar banter, a pool table, electronic darts and bowling, or pinball can be played here as well.

Though food service at Ashe’s has been known to come and go over the years, Ashe’s currently serves lunch and features dinner specials on Tuesday (clams) and Thursday (wings). Standard pub fare is served until 9 p.m. Located on Hudson Street in Warrensburg and surrounded by residential neighbors, the pub has outdoor seating, but, in an obvious effort to keep peace with the neighbors, discourages its use by not allowing drinks outside. Complicated drink specialties are not their priority, but the basics are there and the beer selection is varied and reasonable. Kim particularly enjoyed the Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat in a cinnamon-and-sugar-rimmed glass, though it’s just as good without the embellishment.

The bar is open year-round, 7 days a week, but sometimes closes for Christmas. Their busiest days of the year are during Warrensburg’s World’s Largest Garage Sale weekend in early October, and Americade and Warrensburg Bike Week in June when the bar serves as social center for participants. Live music on Friday and karaoke on Saturday keep everyone entertained on the weekends. With reasonable drink prices, Happy Hour specials Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 7p.m., friendly bar staff in a neighborhood location, Ashe’s is a local pub and yet a regular spot for many out-of-towners. In a country-charm sort of way, the local patrons look forward to some diversity of conversation from strangers. Our inquiries about Ashe’s ghosts sparked interest and conversations, as well as dissent among the non-believers. If you’re looking to scare up some spirits this Hallows’ Eve, stop in on Saturday, October 29 for Ashe’s costume party and karaoke.

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, October 26, 2011

Phil Brown: Quantifying Irene

How much rain fell during Tropical Storm Irene? Seems like an easy question, but it’s not.

The National Weather Service relies on volunteers to collect rainfall, and given the variance in rainfall and the finite number of volunteers, there are bound to be gaps in the data record.

For the current issue of the Adirondack Explorer, Nancy Bernstein created a rainfall map based on the Weather Service’s own maps. It shows that more than seven inches of rain fell in Keene, Jay, and Au Sable Forks. But how much more? The Explorer’s publisher, Tom Woodman, measured eleven inches at his home in Keene.

The map indicates that six to seven inches fell in Keene Valley. But a worker at Johns Brook Lodge, a few miles away, collected thirteen inches in a bucket. Admittedly, a bucket might not be the most accurate rain gauge, but if we assume it provided an overestimate, we must also take into account that the bucket was not deployed for the entirety of the storm.

And there were no rain gauges on top of the High Peaks, where some of the heaviest rain might have fallen.

These uncertainties notwithstanding, we thought it would be interesting to calculate how much water Irene dumped in the Ausable River watershed, where most of the flooding occurred. The number we came up with (it appears in the new issue of the Explorer) was sixty-two billion gallons—enough to fill Stillwater Reservoir one and a half times.

For our calculation, we assumed that an average of seven inches of rain fell in the watershed. Given the data available, that seemed like a reasonable—and conservative—estimate.

The rest is basic arithmetic. Each inch of rain amounts to twenty-seven thousand gallons of water per acre. The Ausable River watershed encompasses 512 square miles, or 327,680 acres. And so we have:

• 27,000 gallons per acre x 7 = 189,000 gallons per acre.

• 189,000 gallons per acre x 327,680 acres = 61,931,520,000 gallons.

As mentioned, sixty-two billion gallons exceeds the capacity of the nine-mile-long Stillwater Reservoir. By way of another comparison, it’s estimated that Lake George, the biggest lake wholly within the Adirondack Park, contains 550 billion gallons of water.

Once all this water funneled down the valleys of the mountains into brooks and then rivers, it created enormous destruction. We’ve all seen the pictures of damaged houses, cratered highways, piles of trees, and fields of mud. Numbers provide another way for understanding the power of moving water unleashed by Irene.

At its peak, the Ausable’s flow rate was at least fifty thousand cubic feet per second, according to Andy Nash, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Burlington. Normally, its flow rate is three hundred to five hundred cubic feet per second. So during Irene, the river’s flow was more than a hundred times greater than normal.

Nash pointed out that the Mississippi River, as it passes St. Louis, has a flow rate of one hundred thousand cubic feet per second. During the peak of Irene, then, the Ausable was equivalent to half the Mississippi.

The latest Explorer includes thirteen pages devoted to Irene. The following stories are available online:

The Big Rain is an overview of the storm.

Shaking off the storm is about the resilience of businesses and residents who were hit hardest by Irene.

New slide guide describes hikes up five of the slides created by Irene.

In the wake of the flood is Tom Woodman’s poignant account of the damage to the library in Upper Jay.

Rainfall map by Nancy Bernstein.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

State Museum Study: Wolves Migrating East

Researchers at the New York State Museum recently published a new study indicating that some wolves have migrated into New York state and other areas of the Northeast.

Museum curators Dr. Roland Kays and Dr. Robert Feranec used a new isotope test for the first time to determine whether eight wolves found in the Northeast over the last 27 years had been living in the wild or had escaped from captivity. This is an important question for species, such as wolves, that are not known to breed in New York state, but are occasionally discovered here. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Family Activities: Easy Mountain Biking Trails for Kids

Matt McNamara, Founder and Chairman of the Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA), has some great ideas for easy places to mountain bike. McNamara recommends that young mountain bikers start with simple trails such as the Hardy Road trail system in Wilmington. He recommends this coniferous trail because for the most part the trail is smooth with no significant climbing.

“In the Adirondacks it may be difficult for people to know where to start to begin mountain biking with children,” says McNamara. “It is always about having fun and finding your comfort level.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Local Haunted History Events for Halloween

Halloween is a unique time for New York History sites around the state as many of them transform themselves into spooky places to learn a little history. Costumed historic interpreters, cemetery tours, and the haunted history of restless spirits and unexplained events are all on tap for this Halloween at Adirondack history locations.

What follows is a listing of some of the most interesting, scariest, and fun-filled that are occurring around Halloween night.

Ticonderoga: Discover the unexplained past at Fort Ticonderoga’s Flashlight Nights, Friday and Saturday, October 28 and 29 from 7 pm until 9 pm. This family-fun fall program will uncover Fort Ticonderoga’s layers of history and haunted stories at night in the Fort, on the landscape and in the 6-acre corn maze. The nighttime tours of the Fort will be led by costumed historic interpreters and will allow guests to enter areas of the fort where unexplained events have occurred. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 years and under. To guarantee a ticket, reserve a space for this special program by calling (518) 585-2821. Gates open at 6:30 pm and tours begin at 7:00 pm. Tickets are also available at the door the evening of the event between 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Bring your own flashlights. Flashlights required.

Elizabethtown: Adirondack History Center Museum is offering a program about Paranormal Discoveries on Saturday, October 29 at 4:00pm. The program begins with a report from Champlain & Adirondack Paranormal Investigations on their findings of paranormal activities at the museum. Jim Thatcher, Lead Investigator from Champlain & Adirondack Paranormal Investigations (CHAPI), will talk about their night at the museum on July 1, 2011. He will discuss the CHAPI team, their set-up, equipment and findings. Following the paranormal report, there will be a tour of the upper floor of the museum where unexplained activities occurred. Cider and donuts will be served. Come in costume – you may win a prize. Admission for the program is $5 for adults and $2 for students. The museum is located at 7590 Court Street, Elizabethtown, NY. Please call the museum for reservations at (518) 873-6466.

Saranac Lake: Saturday, October 29 at 1:00pm, local storyteller Bob Seidenstein will lead a tour of Pine Ridge Cemetery in Saranac Lake. Pine Ridge Cemetery is a microcosm of the history of Saranac Lake from its earliest settlement, through the village’s busy years as a health resort, to the present day. The cemetery began as a burial place for the Moody family, Saranac Lake’s first settlers. It grew to encompass the old St. Bernard’s Cemetery and the Hebrew Memorial Cemetery, as well as the lots surrounding them. Many of Saranac Lake’s prominent doctors are buried here, along with Norwegian Seamen, guideboat builders, and architects. Admission for the tour is $10 per person to benefit Historic Saranac Lake and the Pine Ridge Cemetery Association, a volunteer organization which maintains the historic cemetery. The tour will meet at 1:00 at the vault on the cemetery grounds.

Saratoga: Halloween Party and Car Show at the Saratoga Automobile Museum, October 29, 10 am to 2 pm. Dress up the car, yourself, and the kids, or don’t dress up at all. Candy bags, goody bags and fun for the whole family. Awards for the Best Dressed Cars and children’s costumes. Vehicle registration of $15.00 includes admission passes for the driver plus one, including the Museum’s new Porsche Exhibit. The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located at 110 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. For more information contact Peter Perry at (518)-587-1935 ext. 17 or peterperry@saratogaautomuseum.org.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Adirondack Backcountry Skiing Season Preview

“More monster snowstorms in the Northeast?”

So asks the headline on AccuWeather’s website. And the answer appears to be yes.

AccuWeather says the La Nina effect means the Midwest and much of the Northeast can expect a cold and snowy winter. Paul Pastelok, a meteorologist with the weather-forecasting service, predicts that arctic air blowing across the Great Lakes will generate above-normal lake-effect snowfalls.

“Overall, precipitation is expected to be above normal throughout most of the Northeast from January into February,” according to AccuWeather. “With the exception of northern parts of New York and New England, temperatures are forecast to average near normal for the winter season.”

So if you put any stock in long-range forecasts, this could be a great winter for backcountry skiing.

Even if they don’t believe the weatherman, backcountry skiers have something to look forward to this winter: new terrain.

In August, Tropical Storm Irene created or lengthened more than a dozen slides in the High Peaks, many of which should provide exciting skiing for those with the requisite skills and gear.

A big caveat: slides can and do avalanche. In 2000, a skier died in an avalanche on a slide on Wright Peak. Avalanches have occurred elsewhere in the Adirondacks as well, usually triggered by skiers, snowshoers, or ice climbers. Slide skiers should carry a beacon, probe, and shovel and know how to use them. And they should know how to gauge avalanche potential.

So far, I have climbed only five of the new slides, those on Wright, Cascade, Saddleback, Little Colden, and Colden. Click here to read about them in the new issue of the Adirondack Explorer.

Two slides that are likely to get skied a lot are on Wright Peak and Lower Wolf Jaw.

The one on Wright scoured a streambed that can be followed to a steep headwall. The streambed also will facilitate access to the nearby Angel Slides, where the skier died in 2000. Skiers will be able to bag the Angel Slides and the new slide in one outing. The streambed is reached by a short bushwhack from Marcy Dam. The new slide is a mile long.

Bennies Brook Slide on Lower Wolf Jaw has long been a popular ski destination. In the past, skiers followed a path through the woods to reach the slide. Irene extended the slide all the way to the Southside Trail and Johns Brook. With the easier access and additional terrain, Bennies will be more popular than ever.

Irene also has affected some popular trails used by backcountry skiers. Most noteworthy is that floods caused by the storm washed away the bridge at Marcy Dam.Skiers who started at Adirondak Loj used the bridge en route to Mount Marcy or Avalanche Lake. Thanks to Irene, they will have to cross the frozen pond (now largely a mudflat) or approach the dam via the Marcy Dam Truck Trail instead of the trail from the Loj.

The bridge at the start of the Klondike Notch Trail also was washed away. Skiers can still reach the trail by skiing up the Marcy Dam Truck Trail and turning left onto the Mr. Van Trail.

The Adirondack Ski Touring Council reports that Irene did minimal damage to the Jackrabbit and other ski trails maintained by the council. Repairs are scheduled to be made this fall.

Photo of Bennies Brook Slide by Carl Heilman II.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.


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