Monday, March 7, 2011

2010 Lake Stewards Report Released

The Lake George Association has released a report with findings from the 2010 Lake Steward program. The Association considers the Lake George Lake Steward Program “a critical part of protecting the water quality of Lake George and preventing the spread of invasive species between waterbodies by boaters throughout the Lake Champlain Basin and the Northeast.” Despite the fact that dozens of aquatic invasive species have already made inroads nearby, only four are currently found in Lake George. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tobogganing, Skiing, and Skating into Spring

After the successful return of the Empire State Games, many might be wondering what else there is to do in Lake Placid. Even though the Games are gone, there are still plenty of opportunities to participate in winter sports.

Rescheduled from February to March, the Adirondack International Toboggan Championships will take place at the Lake Placid Toboggan Chute on March 5th.

The competition starts at 3:30 pm with the Mayor’s Cup, where local politicians will race for bragging rights. The Mayor’s Cup was brought back to the Championships as it was a popular event in the 1960s and 1970s. After the Mayor’s Cup, the general public can race for prizes including hotel stays, Whiteface ski passes, and more. Registration will begin at 2 pm the day of the race, and entries are 10 dollars per person or 40 dollars per sled.

The Adirondack International Toboggan Championships are sponsored by Rock 105 and Saranac and Lake Placid Craft Brewing, and all proceeds benefit USA Luge. For more information, visit their website at www.adktobogganchampionship.com.

If you are in the mood for skiing into spring, Whiteface will be hosting Springfest activities throughout March. The first weekend of March, Mardi Gras activities will prevail; listen to the funk, R &B and soul group Jocamo and collect beads while enjoying the snow. The second weekend of March will feature St Patrick’s day festivities including Irish food and activities. Shamrock Sunday on March 13th will allow all visitors to ski and ride all day for just $35 for adults, $30 for teens and $25 for juniors. March 19th and 20th is Reggae weekend with live music, and March 26th and 27th will feature music from Y Not Blue for a Pirate Party. There’s always something to do on Whiteface in March!

If skiing is not your style, the Lake Placid Oval is still open…for more information, visit the orda website at whiteface.com or independent website lakeplacidoval.com for ice conditions.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lake Champlain: An Illustrated History

The eastern edge of the Adirondack Park stretches into the middle of Lake Champlain, that great river-lake 120 miles long, four times the size of Lake George. Standing between the states of New York and Vermont, it’s the largest body of water in the Adirondacks, one that connects Whitehall and (via the Champlain Canal and Hudson River) New York City to Quebec’s Richelieu River and the St. Lawrence River. Two routes inland from the Atlantic Ocean that have had a historic impact on the entire North County, New York and Vermont. The book Lake Champlain: An Illustrated History celebrates what is unquestionably America’s most historic lake.

Four hundred years of Champlain history are conveyed in the coffee-table book’s more than 300 color photographs, drawings, maps and vintage images. Chapters on the towns along the lake, the Chaplain basin’s First Peoples, its critical military and transportation history, and the sports and recreation opportunities are eloquently contextualized by regional writers, including occasional Almanack contributor Chris Shaw who provides the book’s Prologue and Epilogue, and Russ Bellico who offers a chapter entitled “Highway to Empire”.

Published by Adirondack Life in Jay, Lake Champlain: An Illustrated History is a great book for those who love the lake, local and state history buffs, and nature lovers.

You can pick up a copy online.

You can hear an interview with the book’s editor Mike McCaskey on the Vermont Public Radio website.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers.


Friday, March 4, 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.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Camp Little Notch Lands Sold to Timber Company

The Open Space Institute (OSI) has sold a 1,921-acre parcel on the former Camp Little Notch property in Fort Ann to the New Hampshire-based Meadowsend Timberlands Limited, a family owned forestry company that the OSI says follows sustainable forestry practices. The announcement was made in a press release issued today. OSI purchased the lands in November 2010.

The sale represents the second step in a three-phase project that is hoped to ensure the long-term protection of the property, which sits in the southeastern corner of the Adirondack Park. Meadowsend is expected to begin sustainably harvesting softwood and pulp products on the property within the next few years.

“Meadowsend Timberlands is the proud new owner and steward of a truly special place within the Adirondack Park, the Little Notch forest,” said Jeremy Turner, the managing forester for Meadowsend. “Our stewardship of the Little Notch forest embraces a solid commitment of partnership between the old and new owners where forestry and camping,
two traditional land uses, will continue. The Little Notch forest forms a vital link to the extensive private land conserved under a working forest easement, ensuring long-term, sustainable management forestry practices. The project culmination is largely due to the great energy of the Open Space Institute and the Friends of Camp Little Notch.”

In November 2010, the Open Space Conservancy, OSI’s land acquisition affiliate, purchased the 2,346-acre Camp Little Notch, a former Girl Scout camp, from the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York. OSI has expressed its intent to sell the remaining 425 acres to the Friends of Camp Little Notch, a nonprofit group created by former Little Notch campers, counselors and supporters that plans to operate the camp facility as an outdoor education, recreation and retreat center.

Friends of Camp Little Notch’s mission is to provide opportunities for all people to practice living in harmony with nature, each other, and themselves, according to an OSI press release, has launched a fundraising campaign with an immediate goal of raising $250,000 by July 1 and a three-year goal of $2.25 million to finance the opening and operation of the center, including a new summer camp program.

Friends of Camp Little Notch anticipates opening the property for programming in 2012. The year-round center will provide retreat opportunities for a diverse population of individuals, families and groups, as well as partnerships with various community organizations. The group hopes to incorporate the rich history of the property into
its programming, creating educational opportunities for people to learn about a broad spectrum of environmental issues and sustainable living practices.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Lake George, Once Home to World’s Fastest Boat

In August, 1914, following the victory of Baby Speed Demon over Ankle Deep in the first Gold Cup race to be held on Lake George, the Lake George Mirror reported that “C.C. Smith Company has been commissioned to build a hydroplane for a prominent member of the summer colony who is located at the far end of the lake. This boat is very similar to the winner of the Gold Cup.” The Lake George Mirror itself offered the Mirror Cup for hydroplanes in the Lake George Regatta Association’s races later that summer. The winner was a young George Reis, who would bring the Gold Cup races back to Lake George in the 1930s.

The summer of 1914 was Lake George’s first introduction to boats that plane above the water, rather than moving through it. The inventor of the planing hull was Chris Smith, the founder of Chris Craft and the designer of Baby Speed Demon, who, in response to someone’s remark that his boats were not long enough to displace enough water to travel at top speed, said, “Displacement? I don’t care about displacement. All I need is enough water to cool the engines, that’s all.”

From that date forward, all Gold Cup raceboats were constructed with planing hulls.

But before 1914, the fastest boat in the world was a Lake George steamboat, the Ellide; 80 ft long, and eight feet wide in the beam, she was built of mahogany and cost $30,000.

The Ellide was owned by E. Burgess Warren, a Green Island cottager and an investor in the Sagamore. In June, 1897, the Ellide made a trial run on the Hudson River, where she covered a measured mile in forty two and one half seconds. The trial was a preliminary one, and although she achieved a speed of thirty five miles per hour, she was capable of going even faster, and later reached speeds of 40 miles per hour. The engine, boiler, screw and hull of the Ellide were designed by Charles Mosher, one of the foremost designers of the day, and built in Nyack, New York by Samuel Ayres & Son. (Mosher built a number of fast yachts, among them the Arrow, which was 130 ft long.) Warren reportedly paid Mosher a bonus of $6,000 if he could make the Ellide exceed thirty miles per hour. Other reports claim that the Warren’s contract with Mosher specified that the Ellide would cost $15,000 plus $1,000 for every mile-per-hour speed that the boat was able to maintain. If the boat could travel at speeds of 40 miles per hour, the cost would have been $55,000, a remarkable sum for those days.

In July, 1897, the Lake George Mirror published a first-hand account of the Ellide‘s speed:

“If you have ever ridden on the tail of a comet, or fallen from a balloon, you may have thought you knew something about speed; but the effects produced by the above are slow and commonplace in comparison with the sensations experienced by a reporter last week in a trip on E. Burgess Warren’s fast launch Ellide, when she covered a mile in one minute and thirty -five seconds on her trial trip on the Hudson, or at the marvelous rate of thirty-eight miles an hour.

“On the dock looking down at the little flyer, one saw a highly polished hull that rode lightly on the water and the powerful engine ( Mosher’s masterpiece) was covered with a tarpaulin. It did not look formidable, so when the covering was removed, and the engineers and stokers began to get up steam the crowd of spectators , who gazed curiously down at the yacht from the string-piece, were greatly disappointed in the appearance of this highly polished mass of steel and shining brass. It resembled the average marine engine about as much as the finest Waltham watch movement does the old-time Waterbury.

“It took but a few minutes to generate sufficient steam to turn the engine over, and,at the command the mooring lines were cast off and Ellide slipped out into the stream, traveling at what was considered a very slow pace – about twenty-five miles an hour. She was traveling under natural draught, and carrying but sixty pounds of steam: she nevertheless skipped through the water at this remarkable pace without any apparent wave, and leaving a wake scarcely larger than that thrown by a good-sized naptha launch. Making a wide sweep, Captain Packard, who was at the wheel, sounded the signal to increase the speed.

“Designer Mosher, who crouched on the engine room floor, gave the word to his assistant and the throttle was pulled wide open. The second quarter was covered in twenty three seconds, making the time for the first half of the journey just forty eight seconds, a history unprecedented in the history of steam craft. When within one hundred yards of the finish line the sound of the rushing waters was drowned by the roar of hissing steam from the two safety valves, and the the midship section of the boat was hidden in a white cloud. The brass jacket of the reversing gear had become jammed, and an instant before had blown off. The accident was trifling, but the designer thought best to stop the engine to prevent more serious complications. The craft drifted over the last one hundred yards under the momentum she had gained.

During the Spanish-American War, rumors circulated that the Ellide would be sold to the U.S. government for use as a torpedo boat. Plans called for furnishing the vessel with a steel deck and with armor plates for her sides. When refitted, she would have carried a torpedo tube in her bow and a rapid fire gun.

As late as 1904, the Ellide still held world speed records, and Warren was still exhibiting her at local regattas. After Warren’s death, she was sold to a local garage owner for $1500, who operated her as a tour boat. At a much later date she was shipped to Florida where she was also used an excursion boat until she was finally lost on some rocks.

Photo: Ellide, Lake George Mirror files.

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


Friday, March 4, 2011

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories

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

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (March 4)

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.

** AVALANCHE CONDITIONS
Snows have accumulated to sufficient depths on Adirondack Mountain slopes to create conditions conducive to avalanches and DEC has issued an Avalanche Warning. While the danger of avalanches is highest shortly after a significant snowfall, avalanches can occur anytime there is a deep snow cover made up of multiple layers of snow. 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.

** WINTER CONDITIONS AT ALL ELEVATIONS
Winter conditions exist throughout the area with 25-30 inches of snow on the ground, more in higher elevations. Recent warm weather and rains have added considerable moisture to the snow pack, resulting in a reduced but denser snowpack which have hardened with more recent cold weather. Trails are hard and may be icy in some places. Ice may be found on summits and other open areas. These conditions will require snowshoes or skis at all elevations and crampons on exposed areas. The Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reports almost 4 feet on the ground at the cabin. Snow cover is good on all trails.

Snowmobiles
All the regions snowmobile trails are open snowmobiles are operating on designated snowmobile trails. Skiers and snowshoers using designated snowmobile trails should keep to the sides of the trail to allow safe passage. See the weekly snowmobile trails report below for more information about the condition of local snowmobile trails.

Thin Ice Safety
Always check the thickness of ice before crossing and at several points along the way. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person. Be cautious of ice near inlets, outlets and over any moving water. Remember, ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person. Each year a number of people fall through thin ice. One has already died and many more have gone through the ice. Use extreme caution with ice.

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

Know The Latest Weather
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.

Fire Danger: LOW

** Central Adirondacks Lower Elevation Weather
Friday: Chance of snow, mostly cloudy, high near 29. Wind chill as low as -6.
Friday Night: Snow and sleet; low around 20; wind gusts to 22 mph.
Saturday: Sleet and rain; high near 40.
Saturday Night: Rain. Low around 37.
Sunday: Morning rain, then snow; high near 39.

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
There is currently 1 to 3 feet of snow at lower elevations across most of the Adirondack Park. The Lake Colden Interior Caretaker reports just under 4 feet on the ground at the cabin. Snow cover is good on all trails but recent (and expected) warm weather and rains have added (and will continue to add) considerable moisture to the snow pack, resulting in a reduced but denser snowpack which has hardened with more recent cold weather. Trails are hard and may be icy in some places. Ice may be found on summits and other open areas. Snow cover is good on all trails, and all trails are broken open and packed down. These conditions will require snowshoes or skis at all elevations and crampons on exposed areas such as summits. The latest snow cover map from the National Weather Service provides an estimate of snow cover around the region.

** Downhill Ski Report
All mountains will be open this weekend on a two to four foot base.

** Cross Country Ski Report
All cross country ski areas will be open this weekend with an 10 to 18 inch base. The Jackrabbit Trail is skiable its entire length, with about two to three foot base. Complete and up-to-date cross-country conditions are available [here].

** Backcountry Ski Report
Snow cover is suitable for skiing on all trails with almost 4 feet at Lake Colden and more at higher elevations. Snow cover is good on all trails, and all trails are broken open and packed down. The Mountaineer in Keene Valley will host the ninth-annual Adirondack Backcountry Ski Festival this weekend. As in the past, skiers can sign up for a variety of intermediate and expert tours. Expect trails in the High Peaks to be busier than usual. Snows have accumulated to sufficient depths on Adirondack Mountain slopes to create conditions conducive to avalanches and DEC has issued an Avalanche Warning. 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. The Avalanche Pass Slide is closed to skiing and snowshoeing during the winter months.

** Ice Climbing Report
Most climbing areas are sporting at least some ice in good shape, conditions will be changing dramatically as a thaw sets in this weekend. Lower angled climbs like Chouinards, the Slab, Multiplication Gully and others may be dangerous now due to the threat of Avalanche. No climbing yet reported on the north face of Gothics and Palisades on Lake Champlain is reported to be out. Additional Adirondack ice climbing conditions are supplied by Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service.

Municipal Ice Skating Rinks Are Open
Most municipal outdoor skating rinks are now open. Call ahead for specific opening days and times.

** Ice Fishing Report
Ice fishing is officially open, and although ice conditions have improved substantially, recent heavy snows and expected warm weather will create slush conditions, especially in southern areas. Tip-ups may be operated on waters through April 30, 2010. General ice fishing regulations can be found in the in the 2010-11 Fishing Regulations Guide.

** Snowmobile Trails Report
Most of the region’s snowmobile trails will be in good condition with about a a one foot base; heavily used and wide open trails can be expected to be in fair condition this weekend and will worsen with the weekend’s thaw. Conditions throughout the region vary depending on elevation, nearness to large lakes, and latitude. So far this year one sledder has died in Washington County, one in Franklin County, one in Jefferson County, one in Herkimer County, and four in Lewis County. Avoid riding on lakes or ponds, and excessive speed. Ride safely. More Adirondack snowmobiling resources can be found here.

** All Rivers Running At Or Above Normal
Waters in the region are running at or above normal levels for this time of year. The Sacandaga and Raquette rivers are running above normal. Ice has formed on all waters. Use care and consult the latest streamgage data.

** Hunting Seasons
Nearly all hunting seasons are now closed with the exception of late snow goose, crow and coyote. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists with the legal right to hunt on Forest Preserve lands. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution.

** Furbearer Trapping Seasons
Nearly all furbearer trapping seasons are closed with the exception of beaver, mink, and muskrat. Body gripping traps set on land can no longer use bait or lure.

ADIRONDACK LOCAL BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

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

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: 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

Ice: Ice has formed on all waters.

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

HIGH PEAKS

Avalanche Conditions: Snows have accumulated to sufficient depths on Adirondack mountain slopes 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.

** Snowshoes Required: Snowshoes are required in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness. The use of snowshoe or skis is required – even on hardened trails! Using snowshoes or skis prevents “post-holing”, avoids injuries, and eases travel through snow.

Avalanche Pass Slide: The slide is closed to skiing and snowshoeing.

** 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 in most areas accessed from the Corey’s Road, 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 are needed. There is aprox 3 feet of snow near the summit.

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

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

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

SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

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

NORTHERN ADIRONDACKS

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

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

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

NORTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

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

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

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

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

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

GENERAL ADIRONDACK NOTICES

Accidents Happen, Be Prepared
Wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry as conditions at higher elevations will likely be more severe. All users should bring flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

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

Cave And Mine Closings
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. DEC has closed all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population including Norton Peak Cave in Chateuagay Woodlands Easement Lands and also Eagle Cave near Chimney Mountain. Please respect cave and mine closures.

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

——————–
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, March 3, 2011

Adirondack Insects: A Mosquito in Winter?

Most Adirondackers agree that one of the best aspects of winter is the total absence of pesky, flying bugs outside. Freezing temperatures and an extraordinarily dry atmosphere that would desiccate any fragile-bodied organism combine to prevent such smaller forms of life from becoming active during this harsh season in our northern climate. Occasionally, a spider, housefly, or lady bug may be noticed throughout the winter, especially in a kitchen or a room with a large window that faces the early afternoon sun. Much to the surprise of most individuals, another bug that may be encountered while in a warm, indoor location this season is the female anopheles mosquito.

The Adirondacks supports a multitude of mosquito species, with nearly all passing the winter in the form of eggs. After their eggs have been laid during the summer, the adults eventually die. This leaves only their eggs, or in a few species, their larvae to give rise to next year’s adults.

Most mosquito egg masses tend to be laid in dry, shallow depressions on the ground that will eventually develop into small, temporary vernal pools from the melting snow pack.

The adult anopheles, however, is quite different from its relatives, for rather than
perishing with the onset of cooler weather in late summer or early autumn, this delicate-bodied insect retreats to some sheltered location and slips into a deep state of dormancy, known as quiescence. Like many other bugs, the adult anopheles alters its body chemistry prior to becoming dormant so it can withstand freezing conditions.

In quiescence, the organism remains in a profound state of inactivity until environmental conditions around it become favorable again. Should a period of unseasonably warm weather occur in mid to late winter, a bug that is quiescent will likely awaken and leave the safety of its winter shelter.

Most bugs in the Adirondacks experience a dormant condition known as diapause, which is triggered by the decreasing amount of daylight, and is terminated when the length of daylight returns to a specific level. This prevents those bugs from prematurely awakening during major thaws in winter, as the anopheles sometime does.

Adult anopheles mosquitoes typically spend the winter in places that are well protected from wild swings in temperature, and have as moist a microclimate as possible. The very back chambers of a woodchuck or skunk den are such sites, as is a deep crevice in rock outcropping that extends a dozen feet below the surface. The nooks and crannies within massive piles of brush on the forest floor may also serve as a sanctuary for the anopheles mosquito. This unwelcome bug will also utilize a corner in a garage where unused household items are tightly piled, or in a basement where old clothing, or once treasured objects have been shoved into a large, uncovered bin. The anopheles may also retreat deep into a wood pile that is housed in a sheltered location.

Should a person happen to retrieve an item from the basement bin, or the pile in the garage that contains one of these mosquitoes in a state of suspended animation, and exposes it to the warmth of their home, the unnoticed insect will eventually awaken. It then doesn’t take long for it to instinctively assume that spring has come, and decide it’s now time to look for a meal of blood.

Out in the wilds, it is believed that a substantial percentage of mosquitoes succumb to the cold and dry conditions of winter; yet enough eventually survive to begin their reproductive cycle and establish a vibrant population once spring finally arrives.

If you happen to encounter a mosquito over the next two to three months, it is undoubtedly a female anopheles. The males, like other mosquitoes, are unable to survive the winter season. The anopheles can also be identified by the way in which it holds its body in a straight line when drawing blood from a host. Our other mosquito species characteristically bend their head down toward the host when feeding, leaving their abdomen parallel to the surface on which they have lit.

In our house, it is difficult to ever observe a mosquito, as my wife maintains the philosophy that the only good mosquito is a dead mosquito.

Photo: Anopheles Quadrimaculatus mosquito common to our region and the eastern half of the United States.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Museum to Exhibit Stoddard Images of Glen’s Falls

Many times in the late 19th century Adirondack photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard turned to the falls of the Hudson at Glens Falls for subject matter. He focused on the cascades, pools and rock formations that he found in the river bed as well as the bridges and factories above. Stoddard returned often to photograph the events that occurred there. Included in his work are images of floods, fires, and new mills along the river banks.

Until May 8th the Chapman Historical Museum will exhibit a selection of fifteen original Stoddard’s photos of “The Falls under the Bridge.” The show will be followed this summer by a second series featuring Stoddard’s photos of other falls in the Adirondacks.

The Chapman Historical Museum, located at 348 Glen Street, Glens Falls, is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday, noon to 4 pm. For info call (518) 793-2826.

Photo: Glens Falls, View from the South Side of the Bridge, ca. 1875. Courtesy Chapman Museum.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

L.L. Bean Launches Outdoor Hero Award Program

L.L.Bean has announced the 4th Annual Outdoor Hero Award program. Selected heroes will receive a $500 L.L.Bean Gift Card and a commemorative award. A $5,000 contribution will be made in his or her name to the organization associated with the nomination. The heroes’ stories will be featured on llbean.com and in the companies catalogs.

Nominations are being accepted until March 10th. You may nominate as many people as you like. For more information and a downloadable nomination form, visit http://www.llbean.com/nominate.

Questions about the program should be directed to Janet Wyper, L.L. Bean Community Relations Manager, at 207-552-6038 or jwyper@llbean.com.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Great Adirondack Young People’s Poetry Contest

The Lake Placid Institute is welcoming submissions to its 2011 Great Adirondack Young People’s Poetry Contest. One of the Institute’s flagship programs, the annual poetry contest established in 1998, is now in it’s 13th year.

This year’s judge, Dr. Sarah Barber, a Visiting Assistant Professor of Poetry at St. Lawrence University, has numerous journal publications and one book of poetry entitled, The Kissing Party. When asked to particiapte in the program, Dr. Barber replied, “I’d be delighted to serve as judge. It sounds like a terrific program. We NEED more poetry in the primary and secondary classrooms!”.

The Great Adirondack Young People’s Poetry Contest is open to all students grade 1 – 12 (including those home schooled) within the Adirondack Park. Submissions will be accepted until Friday, March 11th, 2011. Please make sure to include the poet’s name, age, grade, teacher, and school with all poems submitted. This year the Insititute is offering three scholarships to the 2011 Champlain College Young Writer’s Conference for 11th and 12th graders. Two entries may be sent by each participant to: info@lakeplacidinstitute.org.

The winning poems will be published in a book entitled “Words From the Woods”. Each poet is encouraged to read their poem to the audience at an award ceremony to be held Sunday, May 1st, at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts! We want to thank the LPCA for generously hosting the poetry awards ceremony each year.

The program is made possible by a lead grant from the Solon E. Summerfield Foundation, Verizon Foundation, Corning-Chisolm Fund through Adirondack Community Trust, Stewart’s Shops, Inc., and a Arts Council for the Northern Adirondacks CAP Grant.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Study: Who Uses The Forest Preserve?

Have you gone hiking recently in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness or canoed the Kunjamuk River? I’ve never met you, but I can guess a lot of things about you.

You probably live within fifty miles of the trailhead or put-in. You probably have a college degree. And you’re probably white.

These are statistical probabilities based on a survey of Forest Preserve users in the southeastern Adirondacks. For a year, researchers from the New York State College of Environmental Science and Forestry staked out trailheads and put-ins and interviewed more than a thousand people.

You can find an article about the study in the March/April issue of the Adirondack Explorer, but here are some of the highlights:

• 76% of the people drove less than fifty miles to get to their destination.
• 44% said hiking was the primary purpose of their outing.
• 67% held at least a two-year college degree (26% had a postgraduate degree).
• 66% were male.
• 26% were under thirty.
• 18% were between thirty and forty.
• 56% were forty or older.
• 90% were white (less than 1% identified themselves as African-American).

In a follow-up survey, nearly five hundred of the interviewees were asked to rate in importance various reasons for visiting the Forest Preserve. Following are the top five responses:

1. Experience natural environment and scenic beauty.
2. Experience an environment free of litter and human waste and impacts.
3. Enjoy physical activity, challenge, and exercise.
4. Feeling a connection with nature and a natural environment.
5. Experience a remote area away from sight and sound of cities and people.

The survey does not draw any grand conclusions from the data, but Chad Dawson, professor emeritus at ESF, said the results cannot be extrapolated to other regions of the Park. For example, the High Peaks region draws more visitors from distant cities and other states. ESF hopes to finish surveys of the Park’s other three quadrants within a year.

One finding, though, does apply to the rest of the Forest Preserve. Most of the people who enjoy it are white, and given changes in the ethnic makeup of the population, this raises questions about public support of the Preserve in years to come.

“The future of the Forest Preserve and the Adirondack Park itself rests on the support of the people of New York State,” the survey notes. “It is imperative that a wide diversity of New York State citizens learn to know and love the Adirondack Park and its Forest Preserve lands, for as Freeman Tilden (1957) has often said: We protect only what we know and love.”

What are your thoughts about this survey? Are you surprised by any of the findings? Does it tell us anything we need to take into account in managing or promoting the Park?

Photo of the Kunjamuk River by Phil Brown.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fish and Wildlife Service Says Eastern Cougar Extinct

Although the eastern cougar (a.ka. puma, panther, catamount) has been on the endangered species list since 1973, its existence has long been questioned (especially here in the Adirondacks). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted a formal review of the available information and, in a report issued today, concludes the eastern cougar is extinct and recommends the subspecies be removed from the endangered species list.

New York State paid its last bounty on a mountain lion killed in Hamilton County in 1894; just over 150 state and county mountain lion bounties were paid between 1860 and 1894. Before he died in 1849, professional hunter Thomas Meacham is believed to have killed 77 mountain lions. Despite their being already nearly extinct, New York State established a mountain lion bounty in 1871 and over the next eleven years 46 mountain loin bounties were claimed. Adirondack mountain lion sightings reported to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation increased markedly in about 1980, jumping from 5 in the 1960s and 9 in the 1970s, to 44 in the 1980s. Some 90 sightings were reported in the 1990s. » Continue Reading.


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