Saturday, March 31, 2012

Forest to Fields: Champlain Valley Agriculture History

A short booklet, From Forest to Fields: A History of Agriculture in new York’s Champlain Valley published by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Essex County and the Lake to Locks Passage Scenic Byway highlights the rich history of the Champlain Valley with a focus on the region’s farms and fields.

From Forests to Fields is authored by Anita Deming, who has more than 30 years experience as an agricultural extension agent with CCE, and Andrew Alberti, Program Manager for Lakes to Locks Passage since 2008 (where he focuses on 21st century technology applications and local and regional interpretation and planning). Alberti is also editor for the Lakes to Locks Passage and National Geographic Geotourism website. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: How is Lost Brook Still Wild?

As a boy in the Adirondacks I would explore the undeveloped woods on or near Blue Mountain Lake with all sorts of wilderness fantasies as my companions. Being as imaginative as the next kid I was certain that most of the islands and shoreline were akin to the Yukon. I particularly relished imagining that my footfalls were landing when no human foot had trod before.

A few years ago as a man in my forties I enjoyed the same kind of fantasy on a bushwhack to Redfield Mountain with my son Adam. After navigating blowdown too horrible to describe we came to a small streamlet with green, grassy banks that fed the gorgeous tarn at Redfield’s southern base. It was so far away from anything, so isolated and difficult to get to that it was easy to imagine we had stopped to eat a sandwich where no one had ever stopped before. Given that this basin was logged, the water courses mapped long ago and – as it turns out – there was even a trail to Redfield from this direction early in the twentieth century, that imagination was certainly fiction. But such fantasies are not easily outgrown. » Continue Reading.


Friday, March 30, 2012

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights

On Friday afternoons Adirondack Almanack compiles for our readers a collection of the week’s top weblinks. You can find all our weekly web round-ups here.

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


Friday, March 30, 2012

Adirondack Events This Weekend (March 30)

We’ve gathered the best links to regional events calendars all in one place. Visit the Adirondack Almanack every Friday to find out everything that’s happening around the Adirondacks.

The Almanack also provides weekly back-country conditions and hunting and fishing reports for those headed into the woods or onto the waters this weekend.

Region-wide Events This Weekend

Lake George Region Events

Lake Placid Region Events This Weekend

Old Forge Area Events This Weekend

Tupper Lake Region Events This Weekend


Friday, March 30, 2012

‘Old Ski Train to North Creek’ Begins Thurman Speaker Series

Local historian Milda Burns, popular for costumed presentations stuffed with intriguing and often amusing details, will launch the John Thurman Historical Society’s 2012 speaker series with her program “Old Ski Train to North Creek.”

Burns, who grew up in North River the daughter of Finch Pruyn’s River Superintendent Jack Donohue, remembers well the D & H trains of the 1930s which brought weekend skiers to North Creek Depot. From there local families picked them up and shuttled them to boarding houses and homes with spare rooms, and ferried them to the new Ski Bowl for the novel “ride up, slide down” experience.

By one estimate, sometimes there were almost as many skiers as there were residents in the whole town. This past winter Burns was on hand to greet passengers riding the inaugural run of the new ski train operated by Saratoga and North Creek Railway.

The public is invited to attend this free program 7 pm, Tuesday, April 3rd at the Thurman Town Hall; refreshments will be served.

For more information, call Joan Harris, 623-2007. Thurman Town Hall is located at 311 Athol Road, Athol, just six miles from the Warrensburg Health Center via NYS route 418 and Athol Road.

Photo: A ski train at the D & H’s North Creek Depot in 1935. Courtesy The Adirondack Branch.


Friday, March 30, 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. You can also now follow us on Tumblr. It’s a convenient way to get the latest news and information about the Adirondacks.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Adirondack Fish and Game Report (Mar 29)

Adirondack Almanack provides this weekly Hunting and Fishing Report each Thursday evening, year round. The Almanack also provides weekly backcountry recreation conditions reports for those headed into the woods or onto the waters.

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

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** SPRING CONDITIONS COOLER WEATHER
Temperatures are back to expected normals for this time of year with daytime temperatures in the 30s and 40s and night time temperatures below freezing through the weekend. Trails are a patchy mixture of snow, ice, and mud. Lake ice, and snow and ice bridges at water crossings have melted. Low water stream crossings in High Peaks may not be passable; use caution crossing streams and stay off what remains of ice on water. Backcountry users should continue to be prepared for cold weather by wearing a waterproof outer shell, and appropriate layered clothing, along with waterproof footwear and gaiters.

** OPEN BURNING BAN; FIRE RISK ELEVATED TO MODERATE
This past week, the National Weather Service and DEC have issued a number of fire danger warnings in the northern Adirondacks and Vermont due to the potential for wildfires. At least 9 fires have burned 42 acres so far this year in DEC Region 5. Five fires began as a result of debris burning. The annual statewide spring ban on open burning is in effect until May 15. DEC Region 5 Environmental Conservation Officers have already issued more than a dozen tickets and warnings to people burning brush since the ban went into effect. Be sure campfires are out by drowning them thoroughly with water.

** EXPECT SNOW, ICE, MUD AND WATER
Low to mid elevation trails have a variable mix of ice, hard pack snow, and mud. High elevation trails and wooded mid elevation trails contain variable hard pack snow and ice. The Lake Colden Interior Cabin has dusting of new snow, otherwise snow is patchy. Be prepared for these conditions by carry traction devices, and wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters. Remember to walk through – not around – mud and water on trails. Now is a good time to choose lower elevation drier trails over adding to the damage caused by hiking on wet and muddy trails.

** WINTER SPORTS SEASON HAS ENDED
The 2011-2012 winter sports season has ended. Whiteface closed for the season Sunday, March 25 after 123 days. Gore closed last week. Cross-country and back-country skiing season also ended last ended last week, as did snowmobiling and ice climbing.

** WATERS GENERALLY RUNNING BELOW NORMAL
The levels of streams throughout the region is generally below normal or well below normal for this time of year, except waters that drain the High Peaks and central Adirondacks. Low water stream crossings in High Peaks may not be passable. Rivers running at normal levels for this time of year include the Raquette, Ausable and Saranac Rivers, the Indian River, and the upper reaches of the Hudson and Sacandaga rivers. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

** PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICES (PFDs) REQUIRED
Canoers, kayakers and boaters are reminded that all persons, regardless of age, must wear a personal flotation device from November 1st to May 1st in boats under 21′ in length.

** 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: MODERATE
Be sure campfires are out by drowning them with water. Stir to make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again. If you do not have water, use dirt not duff. Do not bury coals as they can smolder and break out into fire later.

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.

** BECOMING AN OUTDOORSWOMAN (BOW) WORKSHOPS
Registration is now open for the June 29 through July 1 Becoming an Outdoorswoman (BOW) workshop at Silver Bay YMCA on Lake George. Of the 46 classes being offered, participants can choose four. New classes offered this year include wild mushroom foraging, birding basics, nature crafts, Adirondack ecology, car camping and beginner crossbow. Classes fill quickly, and the registration fee increases by $40 after April 20. Visit DEC’s BOW webpage for workshop details and registration information.

** DEC BIOLOGIST ADDED TO OUTDOORSMAN HALL OF FAME
Scott Cornett, a DEC Region 9 Fisheries Biologist and eight other individuals were recently voted into the New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame. Cornett was recognized for his long-standing efforts planning and construction of habitat improvement projects in trout streams in western New York. The Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame is located at the Wildlife Sports and Educational Museum in Vail Mills, NY. This year’s induction ceremonies will be held at the organization’s annual banquet in Canastota, NY, on April 28. Visit the Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame website at www.nysohof.org for more information.

ADIRONDACK FISHING REPORTS

** Water Temperatures
Water temperatures in many of the Adirondack waters are beginning to rise into the upper 30s, colder water temperatures can be expected in higher elevation waters. Lake Champlain water temperature is 35 degrees.

** 2012 Trout Stocking List Now Online
Each year, from March through May, DEC, along with help from county Federated Sportsmen clubs stock more than 1,200 public streams, rivers, lakes and ponds across the state with brown, rainbow and brook trout. You can find the anticipated distribution of trout by county on DEC’s Spring Trout Stocking webpage. Also, check back for the complete 2011 stocking list of all muskellunge, walleye, trout and salmon species by county, which will be available soon on DEC’s Fish Stocking Lists webpage.

** Trout Season Opens April 1st
Trout (lake, brook, rainbow, brown and hybrids, and splake) and landlocked Salmon seasons opens statewide April 1. Warm weather has moved up hatches. All of the Adirondack trout rivers and streams and most Adirondack lakes and ponds are expected to be open and accessible. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

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

** Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) Required
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.

Free Fishing Day Clinics for 2012 Announced
Each year DEC offers free fishing day clinics at various locations statewide. This means participants can enjoy a day of fishing without the need to purchase a fishing license. In addition, participants learn about fish identification, fishing equipmentand techniques, DEC fisheries management, angling ethics and more. Free Fishing Clinics are scheduled for May 19 at Hawkins Point, Massena, at Remington Pond and all waters on Ft. Drum, and on June 30 and July 1 at Silver Bay YMCA on Lake George (pre-registration required). A full list of DEC’s 2012 Free Fishing Day clinic locations is available online.

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

Some Fishing Seasons Open, Some Closed
Open seasons include Pike, Pickerel, Tiger Muskie, Walleye seasons are now closed (they reopen May 15). Perch, Sunfish, Eel, Bullhead, Catfish and other panfish are open year round. Black Bass season is closed but catch-and-release fishing for bass is allowed in the following Region 5 Counties; Clinton, Essex, Warren, Washington, Saratoga, and Fulton Counties. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

Lake Clear
The gate for the road to Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp is shut for the mud season. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.

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

** Spring Turkey Season Opening May 1
The Spring Turkey hunting season opens May 1. Only bearded turkeys may be taken. There is two turkey limit for the season – one turkey per day. A Spring Youth Hunt will be held on April 21 & 22.

** Small Game Seasons Closed
Small game season are now closed with the exception of crow season, which closes March 31. See the DEC Small Game webpage for more information on seasons and regulations.

Most Trapping Seasons Closed
Fisher, Martin, Coyote, Red Fox, Gray Fox, Raccoon, Skunk, Opossum, Weasel, and Bobcat seasons are now closed in all Region 5 WMUs; Mink and Muskrat season closes April 15 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5R, 5S & 5T where it closes April 7. Otter season closes April 7 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5S and 5T where it closed February 28 and in 5R where there is no trapping season. Beaver season closes April 7 in all Region 5 WMUs.

Snow Goose Season Now Open
In the Northeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zone Snow Goose season reopened 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.

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.

——————–
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, March 29, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Mar 29)

This weekly Adirondack conditions report is issued on Thursday afternoons, year round.

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 weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** SPRING CONDITIONS COOLER WEATHER
Temperatures are back to expected normals for this time of year with daytime temperatures in the 30s and 40s and night time temperatures below freezing through the weekend. Trails are a patchy mixture of snow, ice, and mud. Lake ice, and snow and ice bridges at water crossings have melted. Low water stream crossings in High Peaks may not be passable; use caution crossing streams and stay off what remains of ice on water. Backcountry users should continue to be prepared for cold weather by wearing a waterproof outer shell, and appropriate layered clothing, along with waterproof footwear and gaiters. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Emily DeBolt: Preparing for Spring Planting

Well, spring has been officially here for more than a week now – and the unusually warm temperatures sure have me ready to get out in the garden and get planting. And I don’t think I’m alone. Nurseries and garden centers in the area are scrambling to get their plants in earlier than usual to meet customer demands. But this recent cold front has helped snap me back to my senses, at least for a few days. We might be having an early spring, but we still have a good while until the threat of spring frosts are over. Not that a little frost bothers our hardy North Country native plants.

Labrador violet (Viola labradorica), a great native groundcover with beautiful purple flowers and foliage, was flowering through the snow at the nursery last fall on October 29 and it is already flowering this spring! Now that is what I call one tough little plant.

So instead of rushing out and buying a bunch of plants, now is a great time to do some planning if you haven’t already. Just like you should have a grocery list when you go to the store to keep yourself from buying too many unhealthy (but all too tempting) snacks, you should have a plan before you arrive at the nursery (And of course part of that plan should be to buy native plants – but more on that in future posts). Otherwise, those displays of pretty flowers will suck you right in!

Remember, when selecting plants for the garden, whether native or not, always keep in mind site conditions such as sun, soil, and water. You also want to be sure to think about your zone. If you keep these things in mind, they can help stop you from those impulse plant purchases for plants that may look pretty in the catalog or on the shelf, but just aren’t meant to grow in our area. If the right plant isn’t in the right place, you can have the greenest thumb in the world, but still not be able to make it grow.

Plant Hardiness Zone Maps help gardeners determine which plants are most likely to thrive in a location. Even when gardening with native plants, you have to keep zones in mind. For example New York State covers zones 3-7. So there might be plants native to southern New York zones 6 or 7, but they aren’t for us – since the park is mostly zone 4.

If you are an experienced gardener, you are probably very familiar with what zone you are gardening in – or at least you might think you are! In late January the USDA released a new version of hardiness zone maps for 2012.

Hardiness zones are based on the average low winter temperature. Zones are divided by 10 degree increments, with a and b subsections for 5 degree increments. In the new 2012 maps many locations across the country shifted and became a subsection warmer. So if you were a 4a you might now be a 4b, and if you were a 4b you might now be a 5a. This new map is based on 30 years of temperature data, from 1976-2005, and was created with new and improved algorithms that took elevation and other terrain features into account. The old maps were based on a shorter and older temperature record, and simpler modeling, so they had become outdated. The new maps are much more accurate for our current conditions.

Another great thing about the new map is that it is also now interactive – so it is much easier to see exactly what zone you are in. You can just enter your zip code and ta-da – the site will tell you what your new zone is! Click here to go to the USDA website and enter your zip code to try it out.

Take a look at the map and see if your zone shifted. If it did, there might be some new plants that you might want to go ahead and try out this year that you hadn’t tried before. I wouldn’t go out and plant a dozen of something new, but maybe get a few and see how they do. I know I might add some Sweetspire, Itea virginica, a great native alternative to the popular non-native butterfly bush, to some of my own gardens and see how it does. According to the new maps – it should do just fine! But I think I will do some testing on my own first for my own specific site conditions. After all, algorithms and equations are great, but they aren’t Mother Nature!

More info on local weather and gardening from Cornell Cooperative Extension can be found online.

Photos: Labrador violet flowering in the snow last October, and already again this spring.

Emily DeBolt and her husband Chris own Fiddlehead Creek Farm and Native Plant Nursery in Hartford, NY where they grow a wide variety of plants native to New York and the Adirondacks for sustainable landscapes.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Contributor: Emily DeBolt on Native Plants

Please join us in welcoming the Almanack‘s newest contributor, Emily DeBolt. Emily is committed to promoting native plants and landscapes. She and her husband Chris own Fiddlehead Creek Farm and Native Plant Nursery in Hartford, NY (just outside the blue line in Washington County) where they grow a wide variety of plants native to New York and the Adirondacks for sustainable landscapes.

Emily graduated from Cornell University and received a Masters Degree at SUNY-ESF, falling in love with the Adirondacks during her time in Newcomb at the Huntington Wildlife Forest. Readers may recognize Emily’s name from her work as Director of Education at the Lake George Association.

Emily is a member of the New York Nursery and Landscape Association, the New York Flora Association and a member of the newly formed Adirondack Botanical Society.


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