Friday, January 6, 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 5, 2012

Adirondack Fish and Game Report (Jan 5)

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 exist throughout the Adirondacks. Day time and night time temperatures are mostly below freezing, though are expected to rise above freezing this weekend in the lower and middle elevations. Will chill on summits this weekend is expected to be in the low single digits. There are up to 6 inches of snow at the lower elevations, and 12 inches or more in the higher elevations. A mixture of mud, water, ice and snow may be found on trails in lower elevations, while snow and ice will be present in the higher elevations. Be prepared by wearing appropriate footwear and outerwear including a hat and gloves or mittens. Pack and use snowshoes and ice traction devices (cross country skis are not generally recommended in the backcountry at this time). Dress in layers of wool and/or fleece (Not Cotton!) clothing. Drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food to avoid hypothermia.

** SNOW DEPTH REPORT
Snow depths around the region vary, from a foot or more along the Tug Hill Plateau, 4 to 6 inches in the Northern and Western slopes of the Adirondacks and two to four inches of snow in the Southestern Adirondacks, more above 2,000 feet. Twelve inches of snow is being reported at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin; 5 inches at Paul Smiths, 4-6 inches at lower elevations in the High Peaks and along the Northern and Eastern slopes of Adirondacks, 2-4 inches around Old Forge and Indian Lake, 6-10 inches in the Moose River Plains with up to a foot toward Inlet, and an 2-4 inches in Warren County.

** ICE ON WATER
Ice has formed on lakes and ponds. 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 2 to 4 inches on many smaller lakes at lower elevations. 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.

** MOST SNOWMOBILE TRAILS REMAIN CLOSED
Most of the region’s snowmobile trails remain closed, the best opportunity to ride this weekend will be in the Moose River Plains and toward Inlet which has begun grooming (although Indian Lake has not). Perkins Clearing is not recommended at this time. 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.

** BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES
The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed with no current timetable for reopening (though it is likely to reopen next year). A few roads in the Hudson River Recreation area are open but have significant washouts and should only be accessed by 4-wheel drive and other high clearance vehicles, these include: River Road; Buttermilk Road north of the Town line; and Gay Pond Road before Campsite #13. The following roads or sections of roads remain closed to motor vehicles due to damage caused by Hurrican Irene, they are passable on foot: Buttermilk Road Extension north of the Gay Pond Road; Gay Pond Road past Campsite #13; and the access road to Darlings Ford Waterway Access Site.

** MOOSE RIVER PLAINS
Currently there are 8 to 10 inches of snow on the roads in the Moose River plains, with the higher amounts toward Inlet. Motor vehicles (cars & trucks) should not be using the road system. There is not enough snow at this time for groomers to operate on the snowmobile trail system at the Indian Lake side, but groomer are operating in the Inlet area. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

** 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.

** STATE FOREST PHOTO CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED
DEC’s Division of Lands and Forests has announced the winners of the 2011 “Celebrating New York’s Forests” photo contest. More than 530 photos were submitted and judged. The winners’ and semifinalists’ photographs for each of the five categories: “Enjoying the Forest,” “Trees Where We Live,” “Forest Products,” “State-owned Forests,” and “Commissioner’s Choice,” can be viewed by going to the Celebrating New York’s Forests – Photo Contest webpage on DEC’s website.

ADIRONDACK FISHING REPORTS

** Ice Fishing Has Begun on Smaller Lakes
Ice fishing season has begun on smaller lakes and ponds. Ice depths are reported between two and 6 inches around the region. 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 38 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 gate to access Catfish Bay has been closed. Road improvement work and logging to improve habitat are underway.

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

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

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

** 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.

** 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 5, 2012

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Jan 5)

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 exist throughout the Adirondacks. Day time and night time temperatures are mostly below freezing, though are expected to rise above freezing this weekend in the lower and middle elevations. Will chill on summits this weekend is expected to be in the low single digits. There are up to 6 inches of snow at the lower elevations, and 12 inches or more in the higher elevations. A mixture of mud, water, ice and snow may be found on trails in lower elevations, while snow and ice will be present in the higher elevations. Be prepared by wearing appropriate footwear and outerwear including a hat and gloves or mittens. Pack and use snowshoes and ice traction devices (cross country skis are not generally recommended in the backcountry at this time). Dress in layers of wool and/or fleece (Not Cotton!) clothing. Drink plenty of water and eat plenty of food to avoid hypothermia.

** SNOW DEPTH REPORT
Snow depths around the region vary, from a foot or more along the Tug Hill Plateau, 4 to 6 inches in the Northern and Western slopes of the Adirondacks and two to four inches of snow in the Southestern Adirondacks, more above 2,000 feet. Twelve inches of snow is being reported at the Lake Colden Interior Cabin; 5 inches at Paul Smiths, 4-6 inches at lower elevations in the High Peaks and along the Northern and Eastern slopes of Adirondacks, 2-4 inches around Old Forge and Indian Lake, 6-10 inches in the Moose River Plains with up to a foot toward Inlet, and an 2-4 inches in Warren County.

** ICE ON WATER
Ice has formed on lakes and ponds. 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 2 to 4 inches on many smaller lakes at lower elevations. 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
Nights have been cold enough for snow making, and warm days make for some great skiing. Whiteface and Gore Mountain are open with top to bottom skiing on about half of their trails. McCauley Mountain in Old Forge has a few trails open and Mt. Pisgah will open this weekend with some limited skiing and there is at lead one run open at Oak Mountain near Lake Pleasant. No skiing yet at Big Tupper and Hickory in Warrensburg. Adirondack Almanack has also published previews for the cross-county, backcountry, and downhill ski seasons here.

** CROSS-COUNTRY & BACK-COUNTRY SKI REPORT
The region’s cross-country ski areas will all be open this weekend, albeit on a limited number of trails and thin cover, except for Lapland Lake, which would be your best ski area bet. The Lake Placid area has about 4 to 6 inches of snow so the Whiteface Highway is skiable and some sections of the Jackrabbit Trail are skiable with caution. The peninsula section from Saranac Avenue to the Whiteface Club is a good bet. Marcy Dam Truck Trail not skiable, but Meadow Lane to the summer parking lot is reported barely skiable, as is the Main Loop at Henry’s Woods on Bear Cub Lane in lake Placid. Newcomb Lake Road to Camp Santanoni is skiable as are the trails at the Paul Smith’s VIC where five inches of snow make that a good choice as is the Hayes Brook and Fish Pond truck trails. There is not enough snow cover yet in the High Peaks. Updated cross-country and 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, the popular ones reported crowded. The Chapel Pond canyon climbs are in and Chapel Pond is frozen, but avoid the inlet and outlets areas. Cascade Falls (reported to be improved following Tropical Storm Irene widening) is claimable. There is decent climbing reported on the North Side of Pitchoff at Multi-Gulley, Chillar Pillar and in the southern Adirondacks / Lake George region. Roaring Brook should be in soon, but there are some climbs now at Poke-O-Moonshine, Mineville Pillar, Underwood Canyon. No climbing reported yet at Pharaoh Mountain or on the North Face of Gothics, but the Palisades on Champlain is being climbed. Updated climbing conditions are available online via Adirondack Rock and River Guide Service.

** MOST SNOWMOBILE TRAILS REMAIN CLOSED
Most of the region’s snowmobile trails remain closed, the best opportunity to ride this weekend will be in the Moose River Plains and toward Inlet which has begun grooming (although Indian Lake has not). Perkins Clearing is not recommended at this time. 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.

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.

** 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.

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.

** STATE FOREST PHOTO CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED
DEC’s Division of Lands and Forests has announced the winners of the 2011 “Celebrating New York’s Forests” photo contest. More than 530 photos were submitted and judged. The winners’ and semifinalists’ photographs for each of the five categories: “Enjoying the Forest,” “Trees Where We Live,” “Forest Products,” “State-owned Forests,” and “Commissioner’s Choice,” can be viewed by going to the Celebrating New York’s Forests – Photo Contest webpage on DEC’s website.

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

** Snow and Ice: Winter conditions exist throughout the Adirondacks. Day time and night time temperatures are mostly below freezing, though are expected to rise above freezing this weekend in the lower and middle elevations. Will chill on summits this weekend is expected to be in the low single digits. There are up to 6 inches of snow at the lower elevations, and 12 inches or more in the higher elevations. Snowshoes may be needed above 3,000 and traction devices for ice should be packed and used when warranted.

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) is icy and treacherous. Hikers should 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.

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: DOT equipment has been removed from the Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead and parking there is restored. 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 Hurricane Mountain Road and the O’Toole Road have reopened to all traffic, therefore The Crows Trailhead and O’Toole Road Trailhead have reopened. 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 / Flume Trail System: The River Trail at the Flume has been repaired.

Whiteface Mountain Toll Road: The Whiteface Mountain Toll Road is closed to motorized traffic for the season.

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

Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands: Mossy Vly Snowmobile Bridge on the Carpenter Hill Trail, an important snowmobile connector trail in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands, has been was replaced by the DEC. Carpenter Hill Trail connects the Mud Lake Road and the Jessup River Road in the Town of Lake Pleasant. The bridge has traditionally been used to bypass winter logging of easement lands. Replacing the bridge eliminates the need for hazardous ice crossings. The new bridge is 60 feet long, 12 feet wide and was built with steel stringers set on abutments of timber cribbing. The bridge is bigger, much sturdier and should have a longer life span than the previous bridge. The previous bridge was 47 feet long, 11 feet wide and built with five 18-inch thick birch and spruce supporting stringers. The stringers were rotted and one had broken apart making the crossing unsafe. The 40,000-acre Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement Lands are located just north of the Village of Speculator and Route 8 in the towns of Arietta, Lake Pleasant and Wells in Hamilton County. The 14,332 acre Perkins Clearing Tract lies west of Route 30 and the 21,648 acre Speculator Tree Farm Tract lies east of Route 30.

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: Currently there are 6 to 10 inches of snow on the roads, more towards Inlet. Motor vehicles (cars & trucks) should not be using the road system. There is not enough snow at this time for groomers to operate on the snowmobile trail system on in the Indian Lake end but groomers are operating on the Inlet side. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

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.

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

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

** 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

** New Paul Smith’s College VIC Trails: The Paul Smith’s College VIC has nearly doubled their winter sports trail system, and currently has five inches of snow. To help defray the cost of the trail improvements and the purchase of grooming equipment, VIC patrons will be required to purchase a day or season pass to the trails. Access to the VIC trails will remain free during the non-winter months. Three categories of trails, for snowshoeing, classic and skate skiing, will be maintained and marked for daily use from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Snowshoe trails will be packed primarily for snowshoeing but may also be skied on when conditions permit. Some trails will also be designated for skijoring. Trail users will be asked to register at the visitor’s building. Trails will be monitored by a trained volunteer first-aid ski patrol, and a courtesy patrol to assist people with directions. More information van be found here.

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 begun forming on smaller ponds, bays and along shorelines. 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 5, 2012

Adirondack Ice Fishing Gets Underway

One of the great traditional Adirondack wintertime pastimes kicked of this past week – ice fishing. The stalled winter has had hard-water anglers itching to hit the ice, although a few hardy (some would say fool-hardy) early adventurers found just enough ice here and there to safely fish two weekends ago. All that is behind us now, as many smaller lakes have the minimum of three to four inches considered safe to travel ice on foot. The ice shanties are being readied, tip-ups and jig poles tested, new lines and leaders in place. This weekend will see small congregations of anglers sprinkled across the frozen surface of local lakes. According to a recent DEC survey, ice fishing participation has doubled over the past 10 years.

“Everyone is anxious to get out, as early ice often produces some of the best fishing opportunities of the season,” local guide Joe Hackett told me last week. Joe said he saw anglers on Lake Colby, Rollins Pond, Connery Pond and most of the smaller waters in the Tri-Lakes region last weekend. “I’d stay off the big lakes for a while yet,” he cautioned, “especially around the inlets and outlets”.

This year, there will be an expanded opportunity to improve the catch. In waters where a full compliment of ice fishing gear is permitted, anglers are now allowed up to three lines and five tip-ups. The previous limit was two lines and five tip-ups.

DEC reminds anglers to take these important guidelines when ice fishing:

Follow the bait fish regulations to prevent the spread of harmful fish diseases and invasive species. Bait fish may be used in most but not all waters that are open to ice fishing.

Use only certified disease-free bait fish purchased at a local tackle store or use only personally collected bait fish for use in the same waterbody in which they were caught.

Check for sufficient ice thickness before venturing onto the ice and frequently as you travel to new areas.

Remember, ice thickness varies on every body of water and anglers should be particularly wary of areas of moving water and around boat docks/houses where bubblers may be installed to reduce ice buildup. Snowmobile tracks or footprints should not be taken as evidence of safe ice – always check ice conditions for yourself and avoid situations that appear to present even a remote risk.

More information on ice fishing, ice safety, and places to ice fish can be found online. Read all of the Almanack‘s stories about ice here.

Photo: Above, Mike Todriff of Chestertown shows off a salmon caught last year on Lake George; below, Shannon Houlihan of Chestertown tries her luck with a jig pole in 2011.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

DEC Issues New State Fishing Map

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Bureau of Fisheries is offering a new, full color map free of charge for individuals who fish in the freshwaters of New York. 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.

“Research shows one of the primary reasons people do not fish more often is because of a lack of information concerning where to fish,” said Kathy Moser, assistant commissioner, DEC Office of Natural Resources. “Our comprehensive map provides all the information needed to have a quality freshwater fishing experience, and is part of our agency’s overall efforts to help connect New Yorkers and others to our natural resources.”

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 the fish species present, the type of access provided and who owns it, whether or not it is open to ice fishing, the availability of fishing piers, marinas or local campsites and any permits or other restrictions that apply.

Guidance on how to buy a fishing license, register a boat or make a camping reservation in New York is also included, along with information for anglers desiring to fish the Great Lakes for wild trout, wilderness brook trout or black bass. 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.

The I FISH NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New York State was completed using Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration grant funds and can be obtained free of charge by visiting any DEC regional office, or by mail. 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.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month

January is National Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month, dedicated to learning a new snow sport. New York has more ski and snowboard areas than any other state and hundreds of alpine and Nordic ski resorts in 22 states will be offering free and discounted lessons, rentals and lift tickets for new skiers and riders.

The goal is to get American families on the slopes and enjoy a healthy winter lifestyle. Organizers are hoping that more than 150,000 children and adults will take ski and snowboard lessons from a professional instructor. Last January an estimated 75,000 children and adults participated in the program.

During the National Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month, Whiteface will be offering a mid-week special for just $59, including lessons, rentals and a lower-mountain lift ticket. Lessons begin at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and are available for skiers and riders 13 and older.

More information about the January Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month can be found online.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: The Belvedere, Saranac Lake

We discovered this unfinished review while compiling stats for our annual report and wondered how it had gone unfinished for so long. We visited the Belvedere Restaurant on the recommendation of patrons at Grizle-T’s as part of an August (hence the kayaks) day trip to Saranac Lake. Our holiday hiatus will be over next week, when we’ll be back on track with a new venue and perpetually unbridled enthusiasm for our subject.

The Belvedere is a restaurant with a bar, but has the potential to be a bar with a restaurant at any given moment. Patrons are apt to come in for a meal, but stop at the bar for a drink first and stay for more than one before dinner. The bartender might have to take the blame for that. His genuine, comfortable manner made us want to stick around longer than we expected.

The bar offers a modern array of choices while maintaining the old classics. One might be inclined by the atmosphere to select something more nostalgic and simple like a martini, a rye and ginger, or the lost-but-not-forgotten whisky sour. Spying the flavored vodkas, a twinkle appeared in Pam’s eye as she spotted the grape vodka. She never seems to have any idea what to drink as Kim makes her predictable survey of the sparse selection brews on tap. Not stricken with a bout of creativity, Pam helpfully instructed Bob the bartender, a 20-year veteran of the Belvedere, on the proper proportions of a grape crush, a Barking Spider specialty and Pam’s go-to beverage when unimaginative. Draft beers available at the time of our visit were Long Trail Ale, Blue Moon and Molson Canadian. An additional 18 or so bottled beers include most of the popular domestics along with the more interesting Peroni and Duvel. Several sparkling, white and red wines are available by the glass for between $4.50 and $6.00 a glass; $14.00 to $16.00 for a half carafe.

To get to the ladies’ restroom, one must pass through the dining room. Even if you weren’t visiting the Belvedere for a meal, the smells that greet you, seafood on this particular evening, will be very hard to resist. We could picture wives returning to their husbands at the bar, pleading with them to move on to the restaurant, the men reluctantly following, beer pints in hand. The Belvedere’s Italian/Continental menu features a wide variety of pasta, seafood and carnivorous offerings, priced between $13.00 and $22.00, but the bar prices are somewhat lower than what we’re used to, and that’s really why we’re there.

Depending on where you gaze, the Belvedere has the appearance of being frozen in time, somewhere between 1950s and the 1970s. A classic ’50s refrigerator squats behind the horseshoe-shaped, formica-topped bar. Oak cabinetry and pine-paneled walls add warmth between the slate floor and low suspended ceiling. A pool table occupies the center of the room and three booths provide seating away from the bar. There is a separate area outside for smokers, distinctly set apart from the entrance, allowing a comfortable smoke to be enjoyed with your drink at the risk of offending no one. Deck seating is available, though parties of more than six will not be accommodated on the deck. No exceptions. There is comfort in the Belvedere’s non-modern motif that states “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. More comfort can be taken in the fact that, as a patron, you are not paying extra for the upgrades.

Established in 1933 and family-owned for three generations, the Belvedere has survived at least two fires and holds the second-longest continuous liquor license in Franklin County. We’re not sure who holds the number one spot, but intend to find out! Located in a residential area just outside Saranac Lake’s business district in a two-story frame house, the Belvedere is a friendly home-town bar where all are welcome. Drink prices are reasonable, the bartender is personable and the patrons are friendly. The Belvedere is open at 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday for dinner and serves lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Call to confirm hours of operation. Just leave your credit cards at home – the Belvedere accepts cash only.

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 4, 2012

Local Winter Athletes Competition Update

The holidays are over and it’s back to racing for several Lake Placid – Saranac Lake area athletes. You can find all the Adirondack Almanack‘s winter sports coverage here.

Alpine Skiing

Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tommy Beisemeyer (Keene, N.Y.): Weibrecht did race during the holiday period. He participated in the FIS alpine World Cup downhill stop, Dec. 19, in Bormio, Italy, where he finished 49th. Beisemeyer is now back on the Nor-Am tour.

Biathlon

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.), Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): The IBU World Cup tour is scheduled to resume Friday, Jan. 6, in Forni Avoltri, Italy. Bailey is ranked ninth in the overall Cup chase, while Burke is 37th. Meanwhile, Cook competed in Obertilliach, Austria, Dec. 14-17. She was 60th in the 7.5 km sprint and did not complete the 10 km pursuit. Cook did help anchor the U.S. squad to a 14th place finish in the mixed team relay.

Bobsled

John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.): The FIBT World Cup bobsled series starts its second half this weekend in Altenberg, Germany. Napier is 15th in the overall two-man rankings and 12th in the chase for the four-man crown.

Luge

Chris Mazdzer (Saranac Lake, N.Y.), Emily Sweeney (Suffield, Conn.): The holiday break is over for the International Luge Federation’s World Cup athletes. Racing resumes this weekend in Koenigssee, Germany for Mazdzer and Sweeney, the sister of 18 year old 2010 Olympian Megan Sweeney (they grew up in of Suffield, Connecticut, but their father is from Saranac Lake). Mazdzer, a 2010 Olympian, returns to the tour after spending the first half of the season in Lake Placid testing equipment. Sweeney opened the season winning two junior World Cup crowns before joining the senior squad in Calgary, Canada.

Nordic Combined

Bill Demong (Vermontville, N.Y.): Demong and Ryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) teamed up to compete in the FIS World Cup Nordic combined team sprint, Friday, Dec. 16. The two combined to finish sixth in the HS 109/2×7.5 km event. This weekend’s World Cup stop in Schonach, Germany has been canceled. The tour’s next event is the following weekend in Chaux Neuve, France.

Ski Jumping

Peter Frenette (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): Frenette made is FIS Continental Cup debut, Dec. 22-28, in Engelberg, Switzerland. He was 69th in Tuesday’s event and 52nd Wednesday. He’s getting ready to jump again, Jan. 7-8, in Kranj, Slovenia.

Photo: Emily Sweeney watches the action after her second run at Calgary. Courtesy USA Luge.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Adirondack Paintings on Exhibit in NYC

After moving to Saratoga Springs thirty-five years ago, Anne Diggory started looking for scenic landscapes to paint and soon gravitated to the Adirondacks. She’s been painting them ever since.

Over the years, Diggory has created several hundred paintings of mountains, lakes, and streams in the Adirondack Park. Starting this week, fifteen of them went on display at the Blue Mountain Gallery in New York City. The exhibit, titled “Turbulence,” will run through January 28.

Why “Turbulence”? Diggory, who majored in art at Yale, explained that she tried in these works to capture the energy of the natural world—whether a stormy sky, a frothy stream, or a wind-whipped lake. “I have a real interest in things that are moving or changing,” she said.

Depending on circumstances, she will paint on the spot or work from her sketches or photos. For Ripple Effect II, the painting of Rogers Rock shown above, she shot video from her Hornbeck canoe on Lake George. Later, she watched the video at home and created a seventy-inch-wide painting. (For a portrait of the artist at work,check out this New York Times story.)

Other Adirondack places depicted in “Turbulence” include Lake Clear, Lake Durant, and the Saranac River. The exhibit also includes paintings from beaches on Long Island and in South Carolina.

She made several of the paintings last summer while working as an artist-in-residence at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. (The name of the gallery is just a coincidence.)

Fortunately, you don’t have to travel to New York City to see the paintings in “Turbulence.” Most of them can be viewed on Diggory’s website. Just click here.

Not surprisingly, Diggory is an enthusiastic hiker and paddler. She and her husband used to take their daughters, Ariel and Parker, on camping trips when the girls were young. Ariel went on to earn a master’s degree in conservation biology from the State College of Environmental Science and Forestry and now works at the Adirondack Park Agency.

One of Diggory’s favorite Adirondack paintings depicts the view of Panther Gorge from Mount Marcy, the state’s highest summit. So far, she has climbed seven or eight of the forty-six High Peaks.

“I’m not going to climb all of them, but I’ll paint them all,” she remarked.

The Blue Mountain Gallery will host an opening reception 6-8 p.m. Thursday (January 5) and a closing reception 4-6 p.m. Saturday, January 28. The gallery is located at 530 West 25 Street in Manhattan.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: The Au Sable Bridge

Located near Au Sable Chasm, the Au Sable Bridge in itself is a child’s playground. After coming out of the woods from a hike we passed through Clinton County via Route 9 when both my children yelled for us to stop the car.

The water rushing over the falls is breathtaking so we pull over at the nearby parking area and go for a stroll. I watch my kids run across with snowball in hand to toss over the side.

I am leery of heights, to put it mildly. I can climb mountains and sit on the edge of a cliff but my brain is never at ease on a manmade object of any significant height.

This highway bridge that spans the gorge dates from 1934 so my children are quick to reassure me of their safety. (What about me?)

We find out this isn’t the first bridge near this spot. The earliest bridge was built in 1793 of logs and located about one mile downstream. Various other wooded bridges were built but consumed by flooding or rotted from the mist from the falls. In 1890 a one-lane iron bridge was erected and can still be seen upstream from the 1934 stone bridge.

The current bridge’s most distinguishing features are the 212’ steel arch span and the concrete arches faced in local granite and sandstone. My children’s eyes start glazing over with the history lesson. They always amaze me with their ability to retain information while acting disinterested only to parrot back information later to their friends.

For now they just want to watch snowballs drop and disappear into the rushing waters of the Au Sable River. According to the Au Sable Chasm website the Route 9 bridge was the main route that connected the northern communities such as Plattsburgh and Montreal to the southern sectors like Albany and New York City before in the Interstate was built in the mid 60s. It is said that remnants of the original railroad bed foundation is underneath the existing bridge but I wasn’t about to peer over the side to look for it.

Photo: Au Sable Bridge (Courtesy Diane Chase)

 Diane Chase is the author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 activities. Her second book of family activities will cover the Adirondack Lake Champlain coast and in stores summer 2012.


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