Friday, January 20, 2012

APA Approves Tupper Lake Club and Resort Project

The Adirondack Club and Resort project in Tupper Lake has been green-lighted by the Adirondack Park Agency in a 10 to 1 vote. APA Commissioner Richard Booth was the lone vote no.

In addition to being livestreamed via the APA’s website, Jessica Collier at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and North Country Public Radio‘s Brian Mann have both been tweeting each speaker’s comments as the vote took place. A proposal to conduct a wildlife study of the development area was defeated in an earlier vote this week.

The Almanack has been covering the development project since 2005. Almanack contributor and Adirondack Explorer editor Phil Brown wrote about what the project could mean to future fragmentation of lands designated Resource Management this week.

You can find out all the details of the project online [pdf].


Friday, January 20, 2012

Got Road Kill? Contact Adirondack Wildlife Refuge

This note in the Jay Community News from the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge‘s Steve Hall caught our attention:

At the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, we’d like to congratulate you on your careful driving. Or perhaps we should cite the nimble evasiveness of our local white-tails. In either case, we haven’t had a road-killed deer carcass since the New Year, and our wolves, bobcats, fox and coyote have been heard discussing impeachment proceedings against us, while grumbling over table scraps and dog food. If you come across a road-killed deer, please contact us at 946-2428, or 855-WolfMan. We will gladly retrieve the carcass. Incidentally, we will also accept farm critters, chickens, calves, etc., as long as we know why they died. » Continue Reading.


Friday, January 20, 2012

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories

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

Subscribe! More than 7,500 people get Adirondack Almanack each day via RSS, E-Mail, or Twitter or Facebook updates. It’s a convenient way to get the latest news and information about the Adirondacks.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Adirondack Fish and Game Report (Jan 19)

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.

** WINTER CONDITIONS
Winter conditions are the rule throughout the Adirondacks. Day time and night time temperatures are mostly below freezing. There was considerable freezing rain and sleet on Thursday across the region, so expect conditions to be icy. Snow cover mostly varies with elevation, with the most in the central Adirondacks, including the High Peaks. Snowshoes are now required above Marcy Dam. Expect summit wind chill values to be in the lower 20s to single digits below zero. Be prepared by wearing appropriate layered clothing, pack and use snowshoes and ice traction devices (cross country skis are not generally recommended in the backcountry at this time), drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food to avoid hypothermia.

** SNOW DEPTH REPORT
Snow depths around the region vary, from more four to six inches across the region at lower elevations outside the central Adirondacks, where there is 6 to 10 inches at lower elevations and 18 inches at Lake Colden Interior Cabin and more in the higher elevations of the High Peaks. Up to a few additional inches is expected Thursday night and possibly more Friday night into Saturday. The National Weather Service snow cover map provides a good gauge of snow cover around the region, albeit somewhat under-reporting actual snow accumulations.

** ICE ON WATER
Ice has formed on lakes and ponds and the smaller bays of larger lakes. Ice fisherman, skiers, skaters and others have begun accessing many waters. 8 to 9 inches of ice are reported on Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden and 5 to 7 inches on many smaller lakes at lower elevations. There is ice at the north end of Schroon Lake; on South Bay on Lake Champlain; and at Huddle Bay on Lake George, and on the bays of Lake Pleasant and Sacandaga Lake. Always check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.

** SOME SNOWMOBILE TRAILS OPEN
Some of the region’s snowmobile trails are open, but expect generally thin, icy cover with some bare spots on heavily used trails. The best opportunities to ride are in the south Central Adirondacks and in Southern Franklin County, but other areas, including eastern Essex and northern Warren County are still lacking enough snow. Inlet reports icy and poor conditions, best place to ride are in the Moose River Plains (6-8 inches of snow, groomers operating. Long Lake has not officially opened their trail system, though folks are riding. Indian Lake reports rideable trails, with poor and icy conditions. Speculator trails are rideable, but lack safe connections via the lakes. There are 6-8 inches of snow on the roads in the Perkins Clearing Easement Lands. Each individual club has the final authority as to whether to open their trails or not and snowmobilers should show restraint in areas with insufficient snow cover to avoid damaging the trails. Also, a reminder to respect the landowners who have given permission for trails to cross their land. Check with local clubs before venturing out. A map of New York State Snowmobile Association Member Clubs by county, complete with contact information, may be found here.

WARREN-SARATOGA COUNTY SNOWMOBILER WARNING
The railroad right-of-way from North River in the Town of Johnsburg in Warren County to the City of Saratoga Springs is now an active railroad and snowmobile access to it has been eliminated. The Thurman Connection snowmobile club has announced that several property owners who’d previously agreed to allow trails to circumvent the closed railroad route have backed out. The loss of the trail will limit access from Warren County to the trails near Speculator and Old Forge. Club officials hope to find a solution before next winter. Questions about the railroad right-of-way should be directed to Steve Torrico, Saratoga North Creek Railway Manager, at 518-251-3959, or email: torricos@iowapacific.com.

** SNOWMOBILE SAFETY WEEK ENDS SUNDAY
Snowmobiling is enjoyed by over 4 million people across the United States and Canada. While, the sport is safe and enjoyable if done properly and with respect, the excitement of snowmobiling may occasionally turn into tragedy. Injuries and deaths that are related to snowmobiling can be prevented. Frequently reported contributing factors in accidents include excessive speed, drowning, unsafe operation, inattention, and operating under the influence of alcohol. In fact, over 50% of snowmobile-related fatalities involve intoxicated operators.
The purpose of International Snowmobile Safety Week is to expose people to safe snowmobiling practices and to demonstrate how operating safely can prevent mishaps. Learn more online.

NON_RESIDENT SNOWMOBILE REGISTRATION ONLINE
Non-residents of New York State who have snowmobiles registered in their home states may now register their sleds in NY online. New York registration is required to operate the snowmobile on New York State’s 10,500 miles of trails. A temporary NYS registration is issued at the end of the transaction for immediate operation of the snowmobile in NYS. New York State residents cannot use this to register their sleds yet, that is expected to be implemented by the Department of Motor Vehicles in the near future. Registrants who join a NYS Snowmobile Association club first, reduce their registration cost from $100 (non-club member) to just $45 per sled (club member).

** DEC SEEKS INFORMATION ON SICK OR DEAD DEER
The DEC is asking the public to report any instances of deer appearing sick or acting abnormally. DEC is only investigating deer that appear to have died from unknown causes and not those that were killed by a vehicle, the agency announced today. Anyone who sees a white-tailed deer acting abnormally or who finds a dead deer that was not struck by a vehicle is asked to report the animal to the nearest DEC regional office or to an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger. People should not handle or eat any deer that appears sick or acts abnormally. Sightings of sick, dying or dead deer should be reported to the nearest DEC regional office or an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger. To locate your nearest DEC office, see www.dec.ny.gov/about/50230.html. [Read More]

** KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
Check the weather before entering the woods or heading onto the waters and be aware of weather conditions at all times. The National Weather Service (NWS) at Burlington and Albany cover the Adirondack region.

** Fire Danger: LOW

FIREWOOD BAN IN EFFECT
Due to the possibility of spreading invasive species that could devastate northern New York forests (such as Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Wooly Adeljid and Asian Longhorn Beetle), DEC prohibits moving untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source. Forest Rangers have been ticketing violators of the firewood ban. More details and frequently asked questions at the DEC website.

ADIRONDACK FISHING REPORTS

** Waters Running at Normal Levels
Ice has formed on slack waters. The region’s rivers and streams are generally running at or just above normal for this time of year. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

** Ice Fishing Has Begun
Ice fishing season has begun on smaller lakes and ponds and the the smaller bays of larger lakes. Ice depths are reported on small lakes between 5 and 7 inches around the region. There is ice at the north end of Schroon Lake; on South Bay on Lake Champlain; and at Huddle Bay on Lake George, and on the bays of Lake Pleasant and Sacandaga Lake. Please use extreme caution. Check the depth of ice before crossing, avoid inlets and outlets. Ice on or near running water should be avoided. Remember, ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person. The Almanack covered the beginning of the hard-water angling season on Thursday.

** Water Temperatures
Water temperatures in many of the Adirondack waters have dropped into the lower 30s, colder water temperatures can be expected in higher elevation waters. Lake Champlain water temperature is 33 degrees.

DEC Issues New Statewide Fishing Map
DEC’s Bureau of Fisheries has issued a new, free color map for freshwater fishing. The I FISH NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New York State provides information on over 320 NY lakes and ponds and 112 river and streams. The large 36″ x 37.5″ map folds to 3.875″ x 9″ size. One side provides a map of New York state identifying locations of fishing waters recommended by DEC regional staff. The other side provides tables with details on each water, including species, access, campsites and permits or other restrictions. Anglers will also find important phone numbers and e-mail addresses for various contacts, along with a quick response (QR) code providing a smartphone link to the current New York Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide. Color identification photos and descriptions of popular sportfish in New York are also provided. To receive a map in the mail, e-mail a request to DEC at: fwfish@gw.dec.state.ny.us. Requests by e-mail should include the name and complete address of the recipient, as well as NY Fishing Map in the subject line.

Latest Annual Fisheries Report Now Online
In the newly released 2010 Bureau of Fisheries Annual Report includes reports on the yearly activities and research surveys conducted by DEC fisheries staff during the 2010-2011 fiscal year. The report includes summaries on our fish-stocking and hatchery efforts, I FISH NY outreach activities, recreational fisheries management angler surveys and population surveys, and much more.

Special Fishing Seasons Remain Open
The statewide trout season is closed but there are some exceptions to this regulation. The catch-and-release areas on the West Branch of the Ausable River, Saranac River and the Battenkill remain open as well as a few ponds such as Mountain Pond, Lake Clear & Lake Colby in Franklin County; and Connery Pond in Essex County. Lake Champlain and sections of its tributaries are open all year for trout and salmon fishing. To find out which waters near you still have trout fishing opportunities, check the special fishing regulations by County.

Currently Open Fishing Seasons
Open seasons include Pike, Pickerel, Tiger Muskie, Walleye (those seasons close March 15 and reopen May 15). Yellow Perch, Crappie, and Sunfish seasons are open all year. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

Personal Flotation Devices Required
Boaters are reminded all persons aboard a pleasure vessel less than 21 feet regardless of age must wear a personal flotation device from November 1st to May 1st.

Lake Clear
The gate for the road to Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp is open, but due to the condition of the road until further notice it should only be used by pickup trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with high clearance. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.

** Kings Bay Wildlife Management Area
The two gates are open allowing ice anglers to access Kings Bay and Catfish Bay on Lake Champlain. The Town of Champlain has improved the shoulder of Point Au Fer Road, directly west of Scales Road, allowing easier access for snowmobiles and ATVs. However, the Town asks ice anglers to please park as far off Scales Road as possible so emergency vehicles and snow plows can safely pass and to obey the No Parking signs along Point Au Fer Road.

Use Baitfish Wisely
Anglers using fish for bait are reminded to be careful with how these fish are used and disposed of. Careless use of baitfish is one of the primary means by which non-native species and fish diseases are spread from water to water. Unused baitfish should be discarded in an appropriate location on dry land. A “Green List” of commercially available baitfish species that are approved for use in New York State has now been established in regulation. A discussion of these regulations and how to identify approved baitfish species is available online. Personal collection and use of baitfish other than those on the “Green List” is permitted, but only on the water from which they were collected and they may not be transported overland by motorized vehicle. Anglers are reminded that new regulations for transportation of baitfish are currently under consideration, and these proposed regulations can be viewed online.

Preventing Invasive Species and Fish Diseases
Anglers are reminded to be sure to dry or disinfect their fishing and boating equipment, including waders and boots, before entering a new body of water. This is the only way to prevent the spread of potentially damaging invasive plant and animal species (didymo and zebra mussels) and fish diseases (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) and whirling disease). Methods to clean and disinfect fishing gear can be found online.

Health Advisories on Fish
The NYSDOH has issued the 2010-2011 advisories on eating sportfish and game. Some of fish and game contain chemicals at levels that may be harmful to human health. See the DEC webpage on Fish Health Advisories for more information and links to the Department of Health information.

ADIRONDACK HUNTING REPORTS

** DEC Accepting Applications for Pheasant Release Program
The application period is now open for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s cooperative Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program. Day-old chicks are available at no cost to participants who are able to provide a brooding facility and covered outdoor rearing pen, and have identified an adequate release site. Approved applicants will receive the day-old chicks in April, May or June. No chicks obtained through the Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program are permitted to be released on private shooting preserves. All release sites must be approved in advance by DEC and must be open to the public for pheasant hunting. Individuals interested in these programs should contact their nearest DEC regional office for applications and additional information. In 2011, DEC distributed 46,496 day-old pheasant chicks to qualified applicants. Applications must be filed with a DEC regional wildlife manager by March 15, 2011.

Sportsmen & Outdoor Recreation Legislative Day
The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association has set a date of Tuesday, March 20, 2012 for the 3rd Annual Sportsmen & Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day. It will take place from 9:00am to 1:00pm in the “Well” of the State Legislative Office Building in Albany. Sponsored by NYSRPA and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb the event focuses on lobbying around 2nd Amendment issues and exhibits and presentations by advocates, including a keynote address by Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Rifle Association.

DEC Amends Chronic Wasting Disease Regulations
The first case of CWD in the state of Maryland was confirmed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources last year. In response, DEC has amended its Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) regulations, effective immediately, to prohibit the importation of the folhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.giflowing parts of deer taken in Maryland: brain, eyes, spinal cord, tonsils, intestinal tract, spleen or retropharyngeal lymph nodes. The movement of infectious material is believed to be one route of transmission. DEC advises hunters not to consume the meat of any animal that acts abnormal and to exercise precautions when butchering animals, such as using rubber or latex gloves. Additional information about CWD can be found at the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance’s website.

Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands
General public access has reopened on the Santa Clara Easement Lands.

DEC Tickets Dozens for Deer Poaching
Environmental Conservation Officers (ECO) worked set up patrols to target illegal deer shooting with the use of an artificial light, a practice commonly known as deer jacking and ended-up ticketing dozens in the stings. (Read More).

Winter Wild Turkey Flock Survey
Visit DEC’s Winter Wild Turkey Flock Survey (http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/48756.html) webpage and start recording observations of turkey flocks to help monitor their status and health. Just print a turkey-sighting form, record the number of turkeys you see in a flock from January through March, and send in your results to the address noted on the form at the end the survey period. In 2011, more than 640 reports were received, resulting in 10,200 birds counted in 49 of the 62 counties in New York State.

2011 Deer Harvest Update
The 2011 hunting year started out low compared to last year, with 5% less harvest in mid-November and 20% less harvest in the opening week of the Southern Zone regular season. However, harvest picked up during Thanksgiving week, boosting results to align more closely with results of the 2010 harvest at this time of year.

2011 Bear Harvest Update
The 2011 season is quite different from last year, with preliminary harvests down in the Northern Zone but at record levels in the Southern Zone. This year, new regulations opened bear hunting in eastern New York, ranging from Westchester County to Washington County. Hunters in the new hunting areas have taken more than 40 bears so far. Still, even without these additional bears, the preliminary take in the southeastern New York region may become one of the top harvests ever recorded. In central and western New York, harvest is topping around 300 bears, which has already shattered the previous record of 189 bears taken in 2008.

5-Year Deer Management Plan
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. 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.

Lewis Preserve WMA
The Brandy Brook has jumped its bank creating a braided stream channel across the main foot trail adjacent to the existing foot bridge. Users should use caution while attempting to cross this new stream channel as it may be deep and swift moving.

Kings Bay WMA
The access road to the parking area off Point Au Fer Road is repaired and passable.

Small Game Seasons Open
A number of small game seasons are now open including: Grey, Black and Fox Squirrel, Crow, Snipe, Rail, Gallinule, Ruffed Grouse, Cottontail Rabbit, Pheasant, Woodcock, Coyote, and Varying Hare. Fox, Raccoon, Skunk, Opossum and Weasel seasons are now open. Bobcat season is open in all Region 5 WMUs, except 5R which does not have a season. See the DEC Small Game webpage for more information on seasons and regulations.

Snow Goose Season Closed
In the Northeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zone Snow Goose season has closed, it reopens February 24 and closes April 15. Note that the boundary between the Northeastern and the Southeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zones now runs east along Route 29 to Route 22, north along Route 22 to Route 153, east along Route 153 to the New York – Vermont boundary.

Some Trapping Seasons Closed
Fisher and Martin seasons are now closed in all Region 5 WMUs; Bobcat season is closed in all Region 5 WMUs except in 5S and 5T where it closes February 15; Mink and Muskrat season closes April 15 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5R, 5S & 5T where it closes April 7; Coyote, Red Fox, Gray Fox, Raccoon, Skunk, Opossum and Weasel season closes February 15 in all Region 5 WMUS. The use of bait or lure is prohibited with body gripping traps set on land between December 11 and February 15 in all Region 5 WMUs, except in WMUs 5R, 5S & 5T. Otter season closes April 7 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5S and 5T where it closes February 28 and in 5R where there is no trapping season. Beaver season closes April 7 in all Region 5 WMUs.

——————–
Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park hunting, fishing, and trapping information can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The DEC Habitat/Access Stamp is available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Stamp proceeds support the DEC’s efforts to conserve habitat and increase public access for fish and wildlife related recreation. A Habitat/Access Stamp is not required to hunt, fish or trap, nor do you have to purchase a sporting license to buy a habitat stamp.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Jan 19)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack also publishes a weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** WINTER CONDITIONS
Winter conditions are the rule throughout the Adirondacks. Day time and night time temperatures are mostly below freezing. There was considerable freezing rain and sleet on Thursday across the region, so expect conditions to be icy. Snow cover mostly varies with elevation, with the most in the central Adirondacks, including the High Peaks. Snowshoes are now required above Marcy Dam. Expect summit wind chill values to be in the lower 20s to single digits below zero. Be prepared by wearing appropriate layered clothing, pack and use snowshoes and ice traction devices (cross country skis are not generally recommended in the backcountry at this time), drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food to avoid hypothermia.

** SNOW DEPTH REPORT
Snow depths around the region vary, from more four to six inches across the region at lower elevations outside the central Adirondacks, where there is 6 to 10 inches at lower elevations and 18 inches at Lake Colden Interior Cabin and more in the higher elevations of the High Peaks. Up to a few additional inches is expected Thursday night and possibly more Friday night into Saturday. The National Weather Service snow cover map provides a good gauge of snow cover around the region, albeit somewhat under-reporting actual snow accumulations.

** ICE ON WATER
Ice has formed on lakes and ponds and the smaller bays of larger lakes. Ice fisherman, skiers, skaters and others have begun accessing many waters. 8 to 9 inches of ice are reported on Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden and 5 to 7 inches on many smaller lakes at lower elevations. There is ice at the north end of Schroon Lake; on South Bay on Lake Champlain; and at Huddle Bay on Lake George, and on the bays of Lake Pleasant and Sacandaga Lake. Always check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person.

** DOWNHILL SKI REPORT
Big Tupper opened this week, and with the exception of Hickory in Warrensburg, all the regions downhill mountains are now open. Whiteface and Gore Mountain are open with top to bottom skiing on about 70% of their trails. Ski with caution as many trails still have thin cover, especially at mountains relying heavily on natural snow. Adirondack Almanack has also published previews for the cross-county, backcountry, and downhill ski seasons here.

** CROSS-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
There are still early season conditions with only the smoother, gentler trails, closed roads, and truck trails are recommended for skiing. More snow predicted for Thursday and Friday evenings could mean improved conditions for this weekend, still expect machine groomed trails, some thin cover, icy spots, and lightly hidden obstacles – ski with caution. Most of the region’s cross-country ski areas will be open this weekend on thin cover, and limited trails. Areas with some good cover include the trails around the Paul Smith’s VIC, and the Tupper Lake’s Country Club to Big Tupper Ski Area network. The Lake Placid area has about 6 to 8 inches of snow; the Whiteface Highway is skiable. The entire Jackrabbit Trail is now reported skiable with caution on downhills, which may be fast. The section along River Road between Lake Placid and Cascade Cross-Country Center is thin. Call ahead to Mount Vanhovenberg. Main Loop at Henry’s Woods on Bear Cub Lane skiable. Other possibilities include the Hayes Brook and Fish Pond truck trails, Raquette Falls, and towards Newcomb, at Garnet Hill near North Creek, in Hoffman Notch, and the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness. Updated cross-country ski conditions in and around Lake Placid are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** BACK-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
Early season routes are in good shape, but all hills will be quite fast, and some obstacles just beneath the snow. There is 18 inches of snow at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin. The Marcy Dam Truck Trail between South Meadows Road and Marcy Dam is skiable as is the trail between Avalanche Lake and the Flowed Lands – ice on Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden is crossable – but Avalanche Pass is marginal, and Marcy and the Calamity Trail reported unskiable. A few of the more die-hard backcountry skiers have been testing out some early slide skiing, but we’ll need more snow for a proper season to get started. The St. Regis Canoe Area is reported skiable. Detailed back-country ski conditions in and around the High Peaks are reported by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council online.

** ICE CLIMBING REPORT
Early climbing routes are in. Updated climbing conditions are available online via Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service.

** SOME SNOWMOBILE TRAILS OPEN
Some of the region’s snowmobile trails are open, but expect generally thin, icy cover with some bare spots on heavily used trails. The best opportunities to ride are in the south Central Adirondacks and in Southern Franklin County, but other areas, including eastern Essex and northern Warren County are still lacking enough snow. Inlet reports icy and poor conditions, best place to ride are in the Moose River Plains (6-8 inches of snow, groomers operating. Long Lake has not officially opened their trail system, though folks are riding. Indian Lake reports rideable trails, with poor and icy conditions. Speculator trails are rideable, but lack safe connections via the lakes. There are 6-8 inches of snow on the roads in the Perkins Clearing Easement Lands. Each individual club has the final authority as to whether to open their trails or not and snowmobilers should show restraint in areas with insufficient snow cover to avoid damaging the trails. Also, a reminder to respect the landowners who have given permission for trails to cross their land. Check with local clubs before venturing out. A map of New York State Snowmobile Association Member Clubs by county, complete with contact information, may be found here.

WARREN-SARATOGA COUNTY SNOWMOBILER WARNING
The railroad right-of-way from North River in the Town of Johnsburg in Warren County to the City of Saratoga Springs is now an active railroad and snowmobile access to it has been eliminated. The Thurman Connection snowmobile club has announced that several property owners who’d previously agreed to allow trails to circumvent the closed railroad route have backed out. The loss of the trail will limit access from Warren County to the trails near Speculator and Old Forge. Club officials hope to find a solution before next winter. Questions about the railroad right-of-way should be directed to Steve Torrico, Saratoga North Creek Railway Manager, at 518-251-3959, or email: torricos@iowapacific.com.

** SNOWMOBILE SAFETY WEEK ENDS SUNDAY
Snowmobiling is enjoyed by over 4 million people across the United States and Canada. While, the sport is safe and enjoyable if done properly and with respect, the excitement of snowmobiling may occasionally turn into tragedy. Injuries and deaths that are related to snowmobiling can be prevented. Frequently reported contributing factors in accidents include excessive speed, drowning, unsafe operation, inattention, and operating under the influence of alcohol. In fact, over 50% of snowmobile-related fatalities involve intoxicated operators.
The purpose of International Snowmobile Safety Week is to expose people to safe snowmobiling practices and to demonstrate how operating safely can prevent mishaps. Learn more online.

NON_RESIDENT SNOWMOBILE REGISTRATION ONLINE
Non-residents of New York State who have snowmobiles registered in their home states may now register their sleds in NY online. New York registration is required to operate the snowmobile on New York State’s 10,500 miles of trails. A temporary NYS registration is issued at the end of the transaction for immediate operation of the snowmobile in NYS. New York State residents cannot use this to register their sleds yet, that is expected to be implemented by the Department of Motor Vehicles in the near future. Registrants who join a NYS Snowmobile Association club first, reduce their registration cost from $100 (non-club member) to just $45 per sled (club member).

** WATERS RUNNING AT NORMAL LEVELS
Ice has formed on slack waters. The region’s rivers and streams are generally running at or just above normal for this time of year. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

GENERAL BACKCOUNTRY NOTICES

** VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
Amphibian populations are declining worldwide and scientists are seeking help to determine exactly where and why. The North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) is a citizen science-based effort to collect more information on local frogs and toads. New York’s NAAMP program is active in the Hudson River Valley and is holding trainings for prospective volunteers this February. To learn more and get involved, visit the Frog and Toad Monitoring page on DEC’s website.

DEC SEEKS INFORMATION ON SICK OR DEAD DEER
The DEC is asking the public to report any instances of deer appearing sick or acting abnormally. DEC is only investigating deer that appear to have died from unknown causes and not those that were killed by a vehicle, the agency announced today. Anyone who sees a white-tailed deer acting abnormally or who finds a dead deer that was not struck by a vehicle is asked to report the animal to the nearest DEC regional office or to an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger. People should not handle or eat any deer that appears sick or acts abnormally. Sightings of sick, dying or dead deer should be reported to the nearest DEC regional office or an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger. To locate your nearest DEC office, see www.dec.ny.gov/about/50230.html. [Read More]

HUNTING AND TRAPPING SEASONS OPEN
Some small game hunting and trapping seasons remain open. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters and trappers on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution and now would be a good time to keep pets leashed and on the trail. Adirondack Almanack issues weekly Adirondack Fish and Game Reports each Thursday evening for those practicing these traditional sports.

** KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods. The National Weather Service (NWS) at Burlington and Albany cover the Adirondack region. NWS Burlington provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3,000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: LOW

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

FIREWOOD BAN IN EFFECT
Due to the possibility of spreading invasive species that could devastate northern New York forests (such as Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Wooly Adeljid and Asian Longhorn Beetle), DEC prohibits moving untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source. Forest Rangers have been ticketing violators of the firewood ban. More details and frequently asked questions at the DEC website.

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

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
DEC has closed the Eagle Cave between October 15 and April 30 to protect hibernating bats. White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states.

ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS BY REGION

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

Blowdown Report: Blowdown has now been removed from the NPTrail with the exception of West Canada Creek north to Sucker Brook Trail and from Tarbell Rd. trailhead north to Shattuck Clearing. Those areas still have some major blowdowns but are passable. The rest of the trail may have a few blowdowns but in general is clear.

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers and may be impossible this weekend. Bridge replacement is expected now expected begin this spring and be completed by fall of 2012.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

Ice has formed making travel on the region’s waterways impossible.

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

** Snowshoes Required: Snowshoes are now required above Marcy Dam – the use of snowshoes prevents post holing, reduces injuries and eases travel through the snow.

Marcy Dam Crossing Reroute: The new low water crossing below Marcy Dam (the reroute created due to the washing away of the footbridge over Marcy Dam) currently consists of well-packed snow and is usable. Hikers can also use the Marcy Dam Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the trails on the east side of Marcy Brook. The Marcy Dam Bridge replacement will not begin until Spring at least.

South Meadow Road: The South Meadow Road is closed to motor vehicles at this time. Vehicles may be parked at the end of the road by the barriers, but do not block entryways as emergency equipment may need to access the road.

** Corey’s Road: Logging operations will occur throughout the winter at Ampersand Park which is located at the very end of Corey’s Road, the popular entrance to the Western High Peaks Wilderness. Visitors should use caution and be aware of logging trucks. Corey’s Road will remain open for hikers, snowshoers and skiiers to access forest preserve lands, including the Seward Trailhead. The road will be open to the Raquette Falls parking lot, the gate there will be closed for safety reasons. Vehicles should park at designated parking areas and well off the road to avoid blocking the road. Vehicles blocking the road will be towed.

Hurricane Irene Damage to Trails: Backcountry users may encounter missing bridges, eroded trails and blow down when entering the backcountry in the Eastern High Peaks area. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and low water crossings have been created near the location of many of the missing bridges. Caution: Eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. Users should be able to navigate by map and compass. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. DEC updated closed trail map can be found online [pdf]. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

DEC Closed Trails Map: DEC updated closed trail map is available online [pdf]. The trails depicted on the map will remain close through the winter. The opening of these trails will be evaluated next spring.

Deer Brook Flume – Snow Mountain: The low water route through the Deer Brook Flume on the Deer Brook Trail to Snow Mountain remains impassable due to severe erosion.

Duck Hole: The Roaring Brook Bridge near Duck Hole is out. One side of the Duck Hole Dam has washed away and the pond has dewatered. The bridge over the dam had been previously removed due to its deteriorating condition. A low water crossing (ford) has been marked below the dam near the lean-to site. This crossing will not be possible during periods of high water. Note: This affects the Bradley Pond Trail and not the Northville Placid Trail.

Adirondack Mountain Reserve Closed Trails: The first (northernmost) cross over trail between the East River Trail and the West River Trail in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve remains closed. This affects access to the W.A. White Trail to Lower Wolf Jaw. The alternative is to approach via the Deer Brook trailhead (although not through Deer Brook Flume, see note below). The bridge will be rebuilt next spring a few yards downstream. The other four cross over trails and bridges are open and can be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails.

Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring. Due to the significant erosion caused by Ore Bed Brook the Ore Bed Brook Trail from John’s Brook Valley to the Range Trail (between Saddleback and Gothics) is open but may not be recognizable. Pay close attention to trail markers and watch for reroutes.

Cold Brook Trail: The Cold Brook Pass Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass remains closed. The trail will remain close through the winter. The opening of this trail will be evaluated next spring.

Dix Mountain Wilderness- Clear Pond: The Clear Pond Gate is closed. Hikers, skiers, and snowshoers must park in the area near the gate and hike or ski one mile to the trailhead.

Elk Lake-Marcy Trail: The bridge is out in Marcy Swamp on the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail. Also there is light blowdown between Marcy Swamp and Panther Gorge Lean-to.

Klondike Trail: The bridge near South Meadow Road on the Klondike Trail is out. The Mr. Van Trail and the Marcy Truck Trail will need to be used as a detour to reach South Meadow Road. The Mr. Van Trail is clear of blowdown between the lean-to and the Klondike Notch Trail, however there are a number of bridges out.

Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold Trail: There is heavy blowdown on the trail between Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold.

Indian Pass: The Indian Pass Trail is clear of blowdown to the Wall Face Bridge, but the Wall Face Bridge is out and the Henderson Bridge is damaged. All bridges encountered on the Indian Pass Trail from Upper Works are gone, the trail has been rerouted to low water crossing in many locations.

Calkins Creek Horse Trail: The Calkins Creek Horse Trail has two bridges out, making it impassable for horse drawn wagons and difficult for horses.

Dix Mountain Wilderness: The Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail contains some blowdown. The Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle and beyond remains closed.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: Beaver activity has flooded the North Trail to Giant Mountain from 9N just past the lean-to.

Hurricane Mountain Wilderness: The Jay Mountain Road between Jay Mountain Wilderness and the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness is open at this time, but is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter. The O’Toole Road is a seasonal road that is not maintained in the winter.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Truck Trail has been cleared and washouts fixed. A winter gate has been installed that is closed when it snows. Those accessing Whiteface Landing when snow is present should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

** Wilmington Wild Forest: A new snowmobile trail segment has been completed connecting the hamlet of Wilmington’s business district with a snowmobile trail that leads to the remote and scenic Cooper Kiln Pond. The new three-mile trail segment will allow snowmobilers to travel from Wilmington, connect with the previously existing Cooper Kiln Pond Trail and travel another three miles to the pond. It creates a 12.6-mile round trip snowmobiling opportunity. More information can be found online.

SOUTHERN-CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS
West Canada Lakes, Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Speculator, Indian Lake

Black River Wild Forest: The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed with no current timetable for reopening (though it is likely to reopen next year).

Eagle Cave in Jessup River Wild Forest: DEC has closed the Eagle Cave between October 15 and April 30 to protect hibernating bats.

** Moose River Plains Wild Forest: Currently there are 6-8 inches of snow on the roads. Groomers have been operating and snowmobiles have been using the trail system. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

** Perkins Clearing Easement Lands: Currently there are 6-8 inches of snow on the roads. Snowmobiles have been using the trail system.

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: The South Castle Rock Trail is clear of blowdown. The Upper Sargent Pond Trail beyond Castle Rock has some blowdown. The Outlet Bay Lean-to on Raquette Lake is damaged and in poor condition from a tree fallen on its roof.

Silver Lake Wilderness: There is heavy blowdown on the Northville Placid Trail between Benson and Silver Lake.

West Canada Lakes: Two through hikers on the Northvillle Placid Trail report plenty of blowdown north of Spruce Lake and also from Stephens Pond to Lake Durant.

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin next spring.

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

** Santanoni Historic Preserve: Two more Winter Weekend events to be held at historic Camp Santanoni this season. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers will be able to access the Gate Lodge, the Main Lodge and the Artist’s Studio, view interpretative displays, and take interpretive tours on the President’s Day holiday weekend, February 18-20, and the weekend of March 17-18. The Winter Weekend events are being hosted by DEC, Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the town of Newcomb and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s (ESF) Adirondack Interpretive Center. AARCH staff will staff the Artist’s Studio, which will serve as a warming hut with a fire and hot beverages, and provide tours of the Main Lodge. The Adirondack Interpretive Center will provide snowshoes to lend to visitors at the Gate Lodge.

** Lake George Wild Forest – Jabe Pond Road: The Jabe Pond Road is closed to motor vehicles due to snow and ice. The gate will be reopened to snowmobiles once there is enough snow cover on the ground.

Warren-Saratoga County Snowmobile Warning: The railroad right-of-way from North River in the Town of Johnsburg in Warren County to the City of Saratoga Springs is now an active railroad and snowmobile access to it has been eliminated. The Thurman Connection snowmobile club has announced that several property owners who’d previously agreed to allow trails to circumvent the closed railroad route have backed out. The loss of the trail will limit access from Warren County to the trails near Speculator and Old Forge. Club officials hope to find a solution before next winter. Questions about the railroad right-of-way should be directed to Steve Torrico, Saratoga North Creek Railway Manager, at 518-251-3959, or email: torricos@iowapacific.com.

Crane Mountain: The Crane Mountain Trail Head is accessible from the south by car and truck by way of Ski Hi Road via Putnam Cross Road. The south end of Ski Hi Road is washed out but Putnam Cross Road bypasses the washout. The north access by way of Crane Mountain. Rd is washed out and not accessible with any vehicle.

Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: The bridge on the trail to Lapland Pond from Pike Brook Trailhead has been repaired.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: A bridge over Crowfoot Brook on the Crowfoot Trail is out. The bridge over the Berrymill Brook on the Hammond Pond Trail is out. The Lindsey Brook Trail remains closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

Hudson River Recreation Area: A few roads in the Hudson River Recreation area are open but have significant washouts and should only be accessed by 4-wheel drive and other high clearance vehicles, these include: River Road; Buttermilk Road north of the Town line; and Gay Pond Road before Campsite #13. The following roads or sections of roads remain closed to motor vehicles due to damage caused by Hurrican Irene, they are passable on foot: Buttermilk Road Extension north of the Gay Pond Road; Gay Pond Road past Campsite #13; and the access road to Darlings Ford Waterway Access Site.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: The bridge over Mud Pond Outlet between Putnam Pond and Treadway Mountain Trails has been replaced. The following trails have been cleared of blowdown: Rock Pond Trail, Rock Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail, and Bear Pond Trail. The trails along the northern and western sides of Pharaoh Lake (the two trails between the Lake and Glidden Marsh) have extensive blowdown in the sections along the lake. The Springhill Pond Trail has extensive, large-sized blowdown along the entire length from parking area on West Hague Road to Pharaoh Lake. The Goose Pond Trail is in fair condition. The Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter)and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. The trail is very wet with flooding in some areas deeper than the top of hiking boots. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The bridge over Wolf Pond Outlet on the East Shore Pharaoh Lake Trail was replaced. There is a short reroute between the bridge and the intersection for the Swing Trail. The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the north side of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness – Eagle Cave: DEC has closed the Eagle Cave until April 30 to protect hibernating bats.

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The Spur Trail between West Stony Creek Road and Baldwin Springs has extensive blowdown. There is substantial blowdown on the Stony Creek Trail to Wilcox Lake beyond that to the east Stony Creek bridge; blowdown continues up the trail to Wilcox Lake. Mud Pond Road has been cleared of trees to the Mud Pond Trail Head, due to washouts it is recommended that it be used by trucks only. There are multiple trees down on the Pumpkin Hollow Road at the Wilcox Lake Trailhead preventing access to the Wilcox Lake Trail, the Murphy Lake Trail and the Pine Orchard Trail. The bridge over a small stream just north of Fish Ponds on the Bartman Trail is out. The bridge over Georgia Creek on the Cotter Brook Trail is under water due to beaver activity as is the Pine Orchard Trail .5 mile south of Pine Orchard. The Dayton Creek bridge is out on the trail from Brownell Camp (at the end of Hope Falls Road) to Wilcox Lake. During low water conditions crossing can be made by rock hopping. The Murphy Lake Trail is brushy and difficult to follow along the east shore of the lake from the lean-to to the outlet and is also flooded at the north end of Murphy Lake.

NORTHERN-NORTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS
Santa Clara, Tupper and Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila

Lewis Preserve WMA: The Brandy Brook has jumped its bank creating a braided stream channel across the main foot trail adjacent to the existing foot bridge. Users should use caution while attempting to cross this new stream channel as it may be deep and swift moving.

Kings Bay WMA: A section of the access road to the parking area off Point Au Fer Road has washed out. The damaged road is still passable but very narrow. The washed out section is marked with an orange barrel at each end.

Chazy Lake Boat Launch: The Chazy Lake Boat Launch is essentially unusable due to the water level draw down by the Town of Dannemora. The concrete ramp ends several yards from the water’s edge.

Lyon Mountain – Chazy Highlands Wild Forest: The re-route of the top section of the Lyon Mountain Trail is complete and the trail is clearly signed and marked. Hikers should use the new trail and avoid the old trail which is not maintained and is in poor condition due to erosion.

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area campsites #4-6 on the Barnes Pond Road are currently inaccessible due to a road washout. Access to these sites will not be reopened until road repairs can be made and the road beyond the washout is assessed for storm damage and cleared of blowdown. The three furthest campsites along the True Brook Road are inaccessible due to poor road conditions

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: 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.

St. Regis Canoe Area: Ice has formed on all lakes and ponds. check the depth of ice before crossing and avoid inlets, outlets and ice on or near running water. Ice that holds snow may not hold the weight of a person. A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond. Significant work on campsites in the Canoe Area was conducted last year. A new webpage has been created to provide information including maps and recreational opportunities.

Whitney Wilderness: The Lake Lila Road is closed to public vehicle traffic for the winter. Hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers may still use the road to access Lake Lila, Mt. Fredrica and other areas of state land. The land on either side of the road is private, trespass on these lands is prohibited.

Norton Peak Cave / Chateuagay Woodlands Conservation Easement Lands: Norton Peak Cave has been reopened to the public following the expiration of the cave closing order on March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. DEC is considering whether to close all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population. It’s best to stay out of caves at this time.

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Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation and trail conditions can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The DEC Trails Supporter Patch is available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

DEC Accepting 2012 Summer Camp Applications

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will be accepting applications for its 2012 Summer Camp Program starting January 28.

The summer camp program offers week-long adventures in conservation education for children ages 11-17. DEC operates four residential camps for youth ages 11-13: Camp Colby in Saranac Lake, Franklin County; Camp DeBruce in Livingston Manor, Sullivan County; Camp Rushford in Caneadea, Allegany County and Pack Forest in Warrensburg, Warren County. Pack Forest and Camp Rushford also feature Teenage Ecology Week, an environmental studies program for 14-17-year-old campers.

“As the parent of a son who spent a week at Camp Colby, I can personally attest to the quality of the camp experience for teenagers and the valuable environmental lessons learned at a DEC summer camp,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “Many DEC camp alumni have followed their interests into careers in the environment and wildlife conservation throughout our 64 years of operating DEC summer camps.”

Campers learn about environmental stewardship through hands-on experience in the outdoors. They participate in a wide variety of activities including fishing, bird watching, fly-tying, archery, canoeing, hiking, camping, orienteering and hunter safety education. Campers also learn about fields, forests, streams and ponds through fun, first-hand experiences in these habitats. DEC counselors teach youth conservation techniques used by natural resource professionals, such as measuring trees and estimating wildlife populations.

Changes for the 2012 camp season:

Youth camp attendees now range from age 11 to 13.

Teenage Ecology Week attendees now range from age 14 to 17 and will be offered at Pack Forest from weeks 1 through 5 and at Camp Rushford during week 5.

All four camps will run for seven weeks, beginning July 1.

Children who have attended camp in the past may register for any of the weeks within their age range.

Campers may attend for more than one week. The fee for the total number of weeks must be included with the application (Note: campers may not stay at camp on Saturday night, so parents should make alternate arrangements if two consecutive weeks are selected).

DEC is also encouraging sporting clubs, civic groups and environmental organizations to sponsor a child for a week at camp. Those groups who sponsor six paid campers will receive one free scholarship when all applications are sent together.

Applications from both sponsors and parents can be postmarked starting January 28, 2012. The cost for camp remains at $350 a week.

For complete information, including when applications will be accepted, visit DEC’s website or call 518-402-8014. Interested parents may also sign up for the camps’ listserve on the same web page, visit the camps’ Facebook page at “NYS DEC Summer Camps” or contact DEC in writing at DEC Camps, 2nd Floor, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-4500.

Photo: A fishing lesson at Camp Colby. Courtesy DEC.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Wilmington Snowmobile Connection to State Land

A new snowmobile trail segment has been completed connecting the hamlet of Wilmington’s business district with a trail that leads to the remote Cooper Kiln Pond in the Wilmington Wild Forest.

The new three-mile trail segment will allow snowmobilers to travel from the Essex County hamlet, connect with the previously existing Cooper Kiln Pond Trail and travel another three miles to the pond. It creates a 12.6-mile round trip snowmobiling opportunity. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Museum to Present ‘Big Cats of the Adirondacks’

The second program in the Adirondack Museum’s 2012 Cabin Fever Sunday series, “Big Cats of the Adirondacks” will be held on Sunday, January 29, 2012.

Adirondack Museum as wildlife biologist Paul Jenson will explore the ecology, conservation, and management of big cats in the Adirondacks. Big cats once roamed the wilds of the Adirondacks and some still do – fascinating the naturalist with their secretive behavior and stirring emotions of all who catch a glimpse of these awesome predators. Learn about the current and historical distributions of Canadian lynx, bobcat, and mountain lions in New York State and the Northeast. Hear about their current populations, the effect of landscape and climate change, and how these species may fare in the 21st Century. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Deer’s Head Inn, Elizabethtown

The Deer’s Head Inn, according to the sign in front, was established in 1806, though its current location is not the original. Fire, reconstruction, relocation and renaming have all taken place in the past two hundred years.

What remains is a charming inn, owned by JoAnne and Matthew Baldwin since 2006, bursting with history. We entered through the front door, into the intimate tavern, and were at once greeted with a sense of comfort, familiarity and warmth. We took a seat at the tiny bar, tucked neatly into a snug little nook in the back of the small room.

Our initial impression on entering the pub area of the Deer’s Head Inn was that it was more a destination than a neighborhood restaurant, and it may well be, but the patrons all seemed to know one another, exchanging greetings and news as they came and went. The courthouse and municipal building across the street may be the main attraction luring visitors (willing or not) into E’Town. The Adirondack Northway routed travelers away long ago and the GPS has since taken most of those who may have inadvertently meandered through. Maps are simply lines in a cold, two-dimensional space. The GPS does its job, efficiently calculating time and distance; but it is the populace that gives a mere pinpoint its third dimension. People fill a space and give it history, personality, warmth and life. Does your GPS know that two presidents stayed here, as did John Brown’s widow? Will it show you their signatures in the inn’s guest registers? Locate Ben Stetson’s Prohibition stash?

Though a sign over the bar boasts “Martini Lounge”, Cosmopolitans are a house specialty at the Deer’s Head as the array of more than a dozen flavored vodkas attests. Pam decided on a Maple Manhattan, with Maker’s Mark whisky and local maple syrup. The beer lineup contains a few interesting choices including St. Pauli Girl, Amstel Light, Newcastle Brown Ale, Lake Placid Ubu Ale, Stella Artois, Kaliber (non alcohol from Guinness), and Wild Blue (a blueberry lager produced by Anheuser-Busch) and several domestic brands. Two regional craft brews (currently Magic Hat Howl and VT Switchback) are always available on tap.

The Deer’s Head Inn is open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and serves lunch until 2:30; dinner from 5 p.m. until 8 or 9 p.m. Hours vary so be sure to check times on their website. They offer an extensive wine list, with prices by the glass from $5.00 to $8.00 or they can be purchased by the bottle.

The Inn consists of three dining rooms, each with its own characteristics, and although the bar only seats six, there seemed to be ample room for standing. The bar top has old postcards of Elizabethtown attractions safely held in time under layers of “glaze”. From the bar, an old oak phone booth, with original Bell Telephone insignia and beveled glass, can be seen in the hallway. Our bartender, Joyce, laughingly advised that the booth is reserved as her “office”.

Though perhaps more often a service bar for the restaurant, the pub at Deer’s Head Inn is an intimate place for quiet conversation, reflecting on the past, or escaping the crowds of Lake Placid. Joyce seems to enjoy having company at the bar, adding interest beyond serving drinks to diners she might never see. You’ll be welcome whether just stopping in for a drink or whetting your appetite before a good meal. Next time you’re heading to Lake Placid, be sure to set your GPS “via” point to Elizabethtown along the way.

The sun’s daytime shift had already ended when we arrived, so we were not able to photograph the Deer’s Head Inn’s exterior. Not wanting to intrude on the privacy of the patrons in the busy tavern, we abstained inside as well. Photos were obtained at the Deer’s Head Inn’s website.

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, January 18, 2012

Phil Brown: The Future of Resource Management Lands

Environmentalists raised many objections to the Adirondack Club and Resort, but perhaps the biggest is that the project will fragment Resource Management lands on and near Mount Morris in Tupper Lake.

In hearings last year, Michale Glennon and other scientists raised concerns about the loss of wild habitat. The argument is that the construction of roads, driveways, homes, and lawns will change the suite of wildlife that now occupies the woods. We might, for example, see more blue jays and fewer hermit thrushes.

Yet Brian Mann reported last fall for the Adirondack Explorer and North Country Public Radio that it’s unclear whether the fragmentation will have much impact in the greater scheme of things, given that the lands in question are adjacent to tens of thousands of acres of protected forestland. In short, hermit thrushes are not about to disappear from the Adirondack Park.

Dave Gibson of Adirondack Wild and others contend that Brian gave too much credence to outside experts. One of these experts, Hal Salwasser, dean of Oregon State College of Forestry, called the proposed resort “a blip on the landscape in a regional scale.”

Reading that the biggest development ever reviewed by the Adirondack Park Agency is a “blip” is sure to rankle opponents of the project. But the man said what he said. Quoting Salwasser does not make Brian biased. Indeed, if he had not quoted him, that would have been evidence of bias. (Click here to read the story in question. You also can click here to read another story by Brian in the latest Explorer.)

As far as we know, there is nothing special about the woods where the developers want to build. They have been logged for decades. That said, it is shocking that the developers failed to undertake a comprehensive wildlife survey—and that the APA failed to require one. Even if there were little chance of finding anything significant, it should have been done.

Most people seem to think the APA will approve the project this week. If so, we hope it demands a wildlife survey as a condition of the permit.

Looking ahead, the bigger question—even bigger than this project—is what will become of the rest of the Resource Management lands in the Park. How many “blips” like the Adirondack Club and Resort can the Park withstand?

The Adirondack Park Agency Act defines Resource Management lands as “those lands where the need to protect, manage and enhance forest, agricultural, recreational and open space resources is of paramount importance because of overriding natural resource and public considerations.” Examples of “primary uses” of such lands include forestry, agriculture, hunting, and fishing.

Nevertheless, the construction of single-family homes is allowed as a “secondary use.” Under the law, landowners may build fifteen principal structures for each square mile, which works out to one every 42.7 acres.

The Adirondack Club and Resort falls well within the density guidelines: the developers intend to build 83 principal structures on 4,740 acres of Resoure Management lands—or one for every 57 acres. Still, critics say the resort’s design fails to meet the law’s requirement that homes on Resource Management lands be built “on substantial acreages or in small clusters.” Unfortunately, the APA has never come to grips with what this language means.

The Adirondack Park has 1.5 million acres of Resource Management land. Some of these lands are protected by conservation easements, and others might be undevelopable. For the sake of argument, let’s say that leaves a million acres of RM lands where a house could be built. According to the APA’s building-density guidelines, landowners could construct up to 23,255 houses.

In a 5.8-million-acre Park, each house would be a truly small blip, but if they all get built, these 23,255 homes, with their driveways, lawns, and lighting, would have a much bigger impact on habitat and wildlife than the Adirondack Club and Resort will.

Some would argue that it’s improbable that all the Resource Management lands will be developed, but it is undeniable that more of them will be developed in the years ahead. It’s time to take a hard look at the APA Act and ask whether it adequately protects the privately owned backcountry.

Photo by Carl Heilman: site of proposed Tupper Lake development.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.


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