Thursday, September 22, 2011

Adirondack Fish and Game Report (Sept 22)

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.

** WATERS RUNNING HIGH
The level of the region’s rivers and streams remain high, except those rivers on the western slopes of the region such as the Beaver, Black, Independence, and Oswagatchie, which are at normal levels for this time of year. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

** EXPECT COOLER WEATHER – SHORTER DAYS
Cooler temperatures have arrived in the mountains. Night-time and morning temperatures in the 30s or colder may be experienced, especially in higher elevations. Be prepared before entering the woods. Pack extra non-cotton clothes, including a hat, in addition to your usual equipment. Take off and put on layers of clothing to regulate body heat. Remember the sun sets earlier this time of year. Plan trips accordingly and carry a flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries.

** 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

SECONDARY ROAD CLOSURES
Although State Route 73 and Route 9N have reopened, several secondary roads, particularly in Essex County, remain closed as well. Essex County is maintaining an updated list of road closures.

** ADDITIONAL BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES
In the Moose River Plains the Indian River Road beyond the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead remain closed. The Otter Brook – Indian Lake Road is open to Squaw Lake which is the permanent termination point for motor vehicle usage in accordance with the approved Moose River Plains Complex Unit Management Plan. A temporary barrier has been placed just past the Squaw Lake Trailhead, a gate will be installed in the future. 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).

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

SOME CAMPGROUNDS NOW CLOSED
21 of the 41 Adirondack DEC Campgrounds have closed for the season as regularly scheduled. Fall camping is available through Columbus Day Weekend at 20 Adirondack DEC Campgrounds. A list of phone numbers for all campgrounds and their associated Regional Offices can be found online.

HUNTING AND TRAPPING LICENSES NOW ON SALE
Hunting and trapping licenses are now on sale for the 2011-12 license year (the new license year begins October 1). Find out how to purchase a sporting license on the DEC website. Information about the 2011 Sporting Seasons is also available online. Some small-game seasons begin in early September before last year’s license period ends. Early bear season begins September 17. The bow season for deer begins September 27.

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

ADIRONDACK FISHING REPORTS

Current Seasons
Open seasons include Trout, Pike, Pickerel, Tiger Muskie, Walleye, Yellow Perch, Crappie, Sunfish, Muskellenge and Black Bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass). For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

** New Downtown Plattsburgh Boat Launch
The new Downtown Plattsburgh Boat Launch Site on was opened Thursday, September 15th. The opening ceremony was held in conjunction with the start of the Lake Champlain FLW Bass Fishing Tournament. The boat launch is located at 5 Dock Street on the shore of Lake Champlain just south of the mouth of the Saranac River. The $627,000 boat launch facility includes three launching and retrieval lanes. DEC designed the boat launch and oversaw its construction; the City of Plattsburgh is responsible for management and maintenance.

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

** Rome Fish Hatchery Ribbon Cutting
DEC Director of Fish Wildlife and Marine Resources Patricia Riexinger will host a ribbon-cutting at the recently expanded and renovated Rome Fish Hatchery, the state’s 2nd largest hatchery Friday September 23, at 11 am. The state-of-the-art, energy-efficient building houses an early fish rearing area – “hatch house” -, a visitors’ center, offices, a conference room, a workshop and storage areas. Tours of the hatchery and visitors’ center will be available. The Rome Fish Hatchery is located on Fish Hatchery Road, off State Route 46 two miles north of Rome, NY.

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

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

** Champlain Lampry Control in Sept, Oct
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will be applying lampricide the delta complex at the mouths of the Little Ausable and Ausable rivers, and the Boquet River, Mount Hope Brook, and Putnam Creek in New York. The Poultney River, which borders both states, including its Hubbardton River tributary in Vermont, will also be treated. Treatments are scheduled to begin with the delta complex in New York on September 7th. Lake level and weather conditions may affect scheduling and could result in the last treatment extending into October. These treatments are part of the Cooperative’s long-term sea lamprey control program for Lake Champlain. While trout and salmon populations of the lake are the primary beneficiaries of these efforts, lake sturgeon, walleye, and many other species also profit from sea lamprey control. Temporary water use advisories will be in effect for each of the treatments to minimize human exposure to affected waters. Each state’s Department of Health recommends that the treated river and lake water not be used for drinking, swimming, fishing, irrigation, or livestock watering while the advisories are in effect. A toll-free number (888-596-0611) provides information on the treatment schedule for each of the treatments, progress reports, updates on treatments, and water use advisories.

Annual 2011 Coldwater Season Forecast
Stocking was late with high cold waters into early June. The prospects for catching holdover trout are low due to drought and high temperature episodes last summer. In particular, trout kills or stressed trout were reported in the main stem of the Ausable River near Ausable Forks, the Saranac River, the St. Regis River, and in the Batten Kill. Trout anglers should look to small streams and upland headwaters for wild brook or brown trout. Use drifting worms or salted minnows when streams are high and cold and focus on eddies or back waters where fish congregate to escape fast water. Brook trout pond fishing may still be viable as waters are still cold. Unlike the rivers, most area lakes and ponds provided good fishing last year with no reports of trout die offs.

Annual 2011 Warmwater Season Forecast
Adirondack waters include some of the most productive walleye fisheries in the state, including Tupper Lake, Union Falls Flow on the Saranac River, Saratoga Lake, Great Sacandaga Lake, and the Oswegatchie River. High quality pike waters include Tupper Lake, Schroon Lake, Lake George, the Saranac Lakes, Cranberry Lake, First through Fourth Lakes in the Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Upper Chateaugay and the St. Regis Chain of Lakes. A number of 20 lb+ pike have been caught on Great Sacandaga Lake in recent years. Look for tiger muskie in First through Fourth Lakes in the Fulton Chain, Horseshoe Lake and Hyde Lake. Pickerel hot spots include Lake George, Brant Lake, Saratoga Lake, Lake Champlain and the Black River. Look to Lake Champlain for Black Bass and Lake Champlain, Great Sacandaga Lake, and Brant Lake for crappie. Surface trolling for salmon and lake trout is a good bet on the larger lakes as the water warms up. A complete listing of 2011 warmwater fishing hotspots recommended by DEC biologists can be found online.

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

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

Kings Bay Wildlife Management Area
The gate to access Catfish Bay has been closed. Road improvement work and logging to improve habitat are underway.

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

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

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

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

ADIRONDACK HUNTING REPORTS

Hunting License Are Now On Sale
Hunting and trapping licenses go on sale for the 2011-12 license year Monday, August 15. The new sporting license year will begins October 1. Find out how to purchase a sporting license on the DEC website. Information about the 2011 Sporting Seasons is also available online.

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

Snapping Turtle Hunting Open Statewide
Hunters will need a Small Game Hunting License (http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/365.html) and may harvest snapping turtles by means of a firearm or bow through September 30. For details on size and bag limits during the season, please check the Reptile Hunting page online.

** Some Small Game Seasons Open
A number of small game seasons are now open including: Grey, Black and Fox Squirrel, Crow, Snipe, Rail, Gallinule and Ruffed Grouse (in all Region 5 WMUs, except 5R, 5S & 5T where it opens October 1). The Youth Pheasant Hunt is September 24 & 25. Keep in mind that you will need a 2010-11 hunting license through September 30, and a 2011-12 hunting license beginning October 1. DEC small game hunting info is online.

** Upcoming Small Game Seasons
Ruffed Grouse opens October 1 in Region 5 WMUs 5R, 5S & 5T; Cottontail Rabbit, Pheasant, Woodcock, Coyote, and Varying Hare seasons open October 1 (Varying Hare in all Region 5 WMUs, except 5R, 5S & 5T where it opens December 12); Bobcat season opens October 25 in all Region 5 WMUs, except 5R which does not have a season; and Fox, Raccoon, Skunk, Opossum and Weasel seasons open October 25. See the DEC Small Game webpage for more information on seasons and regulations.

** Canada Goose Hunting Open
Canada Goose hunting seasons began September 1 in the Northeast Hunting Area but closes Sunday (it will reopen between October 22 to December 5) and opened September 6 in the Lake Champlain Hunting Area (but closes Sunday (it will reopen there between October 20 to December 3). DEC Canada Goose hunting info is online. Note that the boundary between the Northeastern and the Southeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zones now runs east along Route 29 to Route 22, north along Route 22 to Route 153, east along Route 153 to the New York – Vermont boundary.

** Bear Season Opens (WMUs 5A,5C,5F,5G,5H & 5J)
Early bear season opened September 17 and closes October 14; Bowhunting season opens September 27 and closes October 21 (last year’s tag are required until Oct 1); Muzzleloading season opens October 15 and closes October 21; Regular season opens October 22 and closes December 4. See the DEC’s Big Game webpage for more information on seasons and regulations.

** DEC to Release 30,000 Raised Pheasants
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that approximately 30,000 adult pheasants will be released on lands open to public hunting for the upcoming Fall pheasant hunting season. The pheasant hunting season begins on October 1 in northern and eastern portions of New York. Junior hunters (12-15 years old) have the opportunity to hunt pheasants the weekend prior to the opening of regular pheasant hunting season. In northern and eastern New York, the youth pheasant hunt weekend is September 24-25. All current pheasant hunting rules and regulations remain in effect during the youth hunt. The pheasants will be released on state-owned wildlife management areas and cooperative hunting areas open to public hunting at the following local locations: Westport, near the junction of Lake Shore and Clark roads on state land; Brownville at the Perch River Wildlife Management Area; Greenfield in Daketown State Forest; Chazy at the Lake Alice Wildlife Management Area; and in Canton at Upper and Lower Lakes Wildlife Management Area.

** Upcoming Northern Zone Deer Seasons
Bowhunting season opens September 27 and closes October 21; last year’s tag are required until Oct 1; Muzzleloading season opens October 15 and closes October 21; Regular season opens October 22 and closes December 4; Late Muzzleloading season opens December 5 and closes December 11 in Region 5 WMUs 5A, 5G and 5J. The deadline for Deer Management Permit applications is October 1. See the DEC’s Big Game webpage for more information on seasons and regulations.

** Upcoming Wild Turkey Season
The fall Turkey season opens October 1 in all Region 5 WMUs. The season closes October 21 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5R, 5S & 5T where the season closes November 18. See the DEC’s Turkey Hunting webpage for more information on rules, regulations, safety and hunting tips.

** Upcoming Waterfowl Seasons
In the Lake Champlain Waterfowl Hunting Zone Snow Goose season opens October 1 and closes December 29; Brant season opens October 12 and closes November 30; Duck seasons open October 12 and close October 16; then reopen October 29 and close December 22. In the Northeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zone Ducks season opens October 1 and closes October 10; then reopens October 22 and closes December 10; Snow Goose season opens October 1 and closes December 31, then reopens February 24 and closes April 15; Brant season opens October 1 and closes November 19. Note that the boundary between the Northeastern and the Southeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zones now runs east along Route 29 to Route 22, north along Route 22 to Route 153, east along Route 153 to the New York – Vermont boundary.

Junior Bowhunting Age Requirement Lowered
Recent legislation lowered the minimum age for youth hunters to purchase a Junior Bowhunting license for big game hunting from 14 to 12 years of age. See the Junior Hunter Mentoring Program for detailed information on youth hunting requirements.

Bowhunter Sighting Log
Bowhunters are invited to participate in DEC’s Bowhunter Sighting Log by keeping a diary of your bowhunting activity and the number of animals you see. This data helps DEC track deer and other wildlife populations (in deer season forecasts for example). To participate, e-mail fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us (include “Bowhunter Sighting Log” in the subject line) and provide your name, address, hunter ID (back tag number), a list of the counties where you hunt, and whether or not you have participated in New York’s bowhunter log in any previous year.

Upcoming Trapping Seasons
Fisher season opens October 25 and closes December 10 in all Region 5 WMUs; Marten season opens October 25 and closes December 10 in all Region 5 WMUs, except 5R, 5S & 5T where there is no trapping season; Bobcat season opens October 25 in all Regkion 5 WMUs except 5R where there is no trapping season; The season closes December 10 in all Region 5 WMUs, except 5S & 5T where it closes February 15; Mink and Muskrat season opens October 25 and closes April 15 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5R, 5S & 5T where it opens November 10 and closes April 7; Coyote, Red Fox, Gray Fox, Raccoon, Skunk, Opossum and Weasel season opens October 25 and closes February 15 in all Region 5 WMUS. The use of bait or lure is prohibited with body gripping traps set on land between December 11 and February 15 in all Region 5 WMUs, except in WMUs 5R, 5S & 5T. Otter season opens November 1 and closes April 7 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5S & 5T where it opens November 10 and closes February 28. There is no trapping season in 5R. Beaver season opens November 1 and closes April 7 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5R, 5S & 5T where it opens November 10 but still closes April 7.

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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, September 22, 2011

19th Annual Taste of the North Country Festival

The 19th Annual Taste of the North Country food festival will take place on Sunday, September 24th from 11 am to 3 pm in City Park in downtown Glens Falls. The event, which draws thousands each year, will feature specialty items prepared and served up by 40+ area restaurants, entertainment and activities for kids, culinary demonstrations, and an apple dessert contest.

Included this year will be many returning restaurants as well as several new eateries. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under age 18. Food coupons cost 50¢ each, and samples are priced at one or more coupons. Coupons may be purchased at gazebos located near the event entrance gates. A complete list of restaurants participating can be found online. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Future of the Adirondacks Panel Discussions

A plan to reinvent the Adirondack Park Agency and revitalize communities that appears in the October 2011 issue of Adirondack Life has generated discussions, letters to editors, blog posts and op-ed pieces. “The Other Endangered Species” by Brian Mann has sparked debate in all corners of the six-million-acre Adirondack Park and beyond.

To continue dialogue on political, economic and quality of life issues raised by Saranac Lake-based reporter Mann, Adirondack Life is sponsoring two panel discussions that are free and open to the public. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Adirondack Museum’s Harvest Festival

The annual Harvest Festival at the Adirondack Museum will be held on Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2. The event will include wagon and pony rides, music, arts and crafts, demonstrations, a giant leaf pile, and much more. The Adirondack Museum offers free admission to year-round residents of the Adirondack Park in the month of October.

On Saturday, October 1, Radio Disney Albany will be on hand with music, games, and activities with a Harvest twist. Don’t miss Pumpkin Roll Relay, Best “Yee-hah”contest, Guess the Harvest Crop Gross, Scarecrow and Me Contest and more. Plus dress up in harvest themed costumes for a Costume Parade to get a special prize. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Adirondack Bar & Grill

Barely inside the Blue Line, the Adirondack Bar and Grill on Route 149 in Queensbury is our southernmost venue in the eastern part of the Adirondack Park. Known as Len & Peg’s nearly 10 years ago, and in the ‘70s as Two Squires, the Adirondack Bar and Grill has been owned by Jim Valastro for the past 9 years. Known for their community involvement, they host fundraisers throughout the year for the well-known Make-A-Wish Foundation and the lesser known Leather and Lace motorcycle club.

Spacious, grassy grounds with a few mature trees provide the comfort of shade in an otherwise sunny backyard. The parking lots on two sides can readily accommodate a large crowd for fundraising activities and serve as a launch pad for snowmobiles. On this early September afternoon, the deck out back appeared to have potential for plenty of seating, but was not set up for use.

Rustic wood and mounted wildlife and fish are the theme for the bar area. Unfinished plank walls brighten the interior and lend their piney scent. With seating for 16 to 18 patrons, the long bar could easily seat more if needed. Several tables dispersed around the bar offer additional seating for overflow or just a little more privacy.

Our Adirondack Bar and Grill guide for the afternoon, avid hunter and Adirondack outdoor writer Dan Ladd, places this tavern among his favorite local meeting places any time of year, categorizing it as a workingman’s bar and a traveler’s restaurant. (We still haven’t determined if we are related to Dan, but we definitely have some interests in common.) You can follow Dan online at Adkhunter.com. During the summer, the restaurant is most often populated with people passing to and from eastern New York and other easterly states. In the winter, the Adirondack Bar and Grill is a popular spot on the Warren and Washington County snowmobile trail. Once the dead end of Washington County’s sled route, the trail now connects with Warren County’s, opening access all the way to Maine. Locals and tourists can comfortably co-mingle at the bar.

The bar is open year round, 7 days per week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays, and 11 a.m. to 12 or 1 a.m. on the weekend. They are closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Single and duo acoustic entertainment is featured regularly on Fridays and occasionally on Saturday, and our host, Dan, has been known to appear here as a soloist himself. Happy Hour is from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and the complimentary hors d’oeuvres are purported to be beyond the ordinary Happy Hour offerings.

Although they don’t boast unique drinks, our bartender, Laurie, was happy to create something unique for Pam based on her base request for flavored vodka. It’s generally a beer and basic mixed drink bar, but they seemed willing and able to accommodate special orders. A modest variety of drafts and over 20 bottled beers are served here. Although Kim didn’t get to try anything new to her, the Sam Adams Seasonal hit the spot.

A wide selection of bar fare is served including sandwiches, burgers, nachos (we had them loaded) and chicken wings, all in the $6 to $10 range. Thursday is wing night: $4.95 a dozen, starting at 6 p.m. (no takeout for this deal) and a prime rib dinner is featured on Saturdays.

Whether stopping in for a drink, food or both, the Adirondack Bar and Grill meets a variety of tastes and preferences. Like so many we have visited before, this one deserves a wintertime visit.

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, September 21, 2011

Five Ponds Wilderness: Oven Lake

There are many places well off the beaten path in the Adirondacks. But there are few as remote or as difficult to get to as Oven Lake in the Five Ponds Wilderness. But for those willing to put the effort in, Oven Lake can be well worth the trouble.

Oven Lake is a highly remote wilderness lake located near the eastern edge of the Five Ponds Wilderness in the northwestern Adirondacks. The lake is nearly a mile long, oriented roughly southwest to northeast and has a unique shape. An undulating shoreline partitions the lake into several different parts. The lake’s inlet is a half mile long, straight channel connecting it to its southeastern neighbor Grassy Pond.

Oven Lake’s wild character is greatly enhances by its remoteness. The lake is located several miles from the nearest trail in the Five Ponds Wilderness. It is approximately two miles north of the terminus of the Red Horse Trail and over three miles east of the Sand Lake Trail. The lake’s distance from any marked trail is a significant reason for its lack of human visitors.

Oven Lake’s remoteness is not the only reason for its lack of visitation. The lake is nearly surrounded by significant blow down from the 1995 Microburst. The forests along both the lake’s eastern and western shores were highly impacted by the intense wind of the 16-year old storm.

The impact of this storm along the shoreline of Oven Lake can clearly be seen from aerial photographs available via Bing or Google maps. These blow downs make a nearly impenetrable barrier keeping all but the most ambitious or insane backcountry adventurer from visiting its shore.

The lake’s many unusual features make it ideal for exploring with a kayak or canoe. Unfortunately, its remoteness and surrounding aggressive terrain are difficult hurdles to overcome in getting a boat onto this wilderness lake.

I made the effort to bushwhack through some of the most arduous backcountry conditions to camp near Oven Lake for two nights this past summer. This trek required hiking into the Five Ponds Wilderness using a network of herd paths, and unmarked and marked trails before bushwhacking several miles through the vast interior. The off-trail portion involved bushwhacking through hardwood, conifer and mixed forests, over hills and around cliffs, avoiding thick blow down, crossing the Robinson River on an abandoned beaver dam and following along a series of stygian beaver swales.

On this trip I gained access following a series of beaver swales from the Robinson River located between Toad Pond and Crooked Lake. The beaver swales were fed by a boggy wetland located just a short distance from the southern portion of Oven Lake. This route allowed me to avoid most of the worst of the blow down along the eastern and western shoes of Oven Lake. My exit from the lake was via the northern end of the lake as I headed northeast toward Cracker Pond.

I spent two nights in the Oven Lake area; one night near the southern portion of the lake and the other near its northern terminus. The remoteness of the lake was accentuated by the presence of common loons, beaver, several river otters and a prodigious amount of moose droppings. The only evidence of human activity in the area was the remnants of a Mylar balloon found near its shore to the southwest.

Oven Lake is a perfect place to explore for a backcountry enthusiast looking for a true wilderness experience unlikely to be disturbed by the presence of other people. With its remote location and difficult surrounding terrain there is little chance of seeing another soul at Oven Lake except for the truly dedicated bushwhacker.

Photos: Southern portion of Oven Lake, hardwood regeneration along eastern shore of Oven Lake and River otters near northern terminus of Oven Lake by Dan Crane.

Dan Crane blogs about his bushwhacking adventures at Bushwhacking Fool.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Artist at Work Studio Tour Begins Friday

Sept 23 – 25 will be the fifth annual free Artist at Work Studio Tour. Nearly 50 artists at locations in Wilmington, Jay, Onchiota, Rainbow Lake, Gabriels, Paul Smiths, Tupper Lake, Lake Placid, and Saranac Lake will be participating. Every year the artists create new artwork plus new artists are added. Most of the artists are voluntarily donating a percentage of their sales to the funds that have been established to aid the victims of Hurricane Irene flooding.

Painters, photographers, printmakers, carvers, sculptors, ceramic, fiber, a blacksmith, and mixed media and jewelry artisans will be on hand. New this year will be readings of original poetry.

You can find all the details on the tour’s website, or stop at Tour headquarters – the Adirondack Artists’ Guild Gallery at 52 Main St., Saranac Lake and pick up one of the free Studio Tour booklets (or download a pdf copy here). Online or in print you will find maps, examples of each artists’ work, descriptions, contact information and directions.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Free Museum Day Saturday

Each year Smithsonian Magazine teams with museums around the country to host its seventh annual Museum Day, allowing everyone to enter special organizations that cater from everything from the history of the Adirondacks to the Olympics.

Free admission is only available for those that sign online and download the ticket form. The ticket is good for two people per mailing address and valid email.

For our family it isn’t a matter of participating in Museum Day but which museum to attend. My son wants to venture far afield and go aboard the USS Slater. Unfortunately that particular adventure will have to be timed with a trip to Albany. Since we will be attending Indian Lake’s Great Adirondack Moose Festival, a trip to the Adirondack Museum will fit right into the plan.

Once again the Adirondack Museum will offer anyone signed on for a Museum Day ticket the right to enter its doors free of charge. (New for 2011, year-round residents of the Adirondack Park are admitted free every Sunday during the Adirondack Museum’s season as well as any open days in October.)

The Adirondack Museum houses twenty buildings on 32 acres of land, beautiful gardens and ponds. There are many interactive elements like the Rising Schoolhouse filled with paper crafts and era-specific wooden toys, a treasure hunt in the “Age of Horses” building, or explore “The Great Outdoors.” Keep in mind all paid admissions are valid for a second visit within a one-week time period.

Another museum offering a free pass is the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. This nod to Lake Placid’s Winter Olympic history offers great insight into the magnitude the Olympics played on the growth of Lake Placid in the Olympic arena. Guests can view an array of Olympic torches, an evolution of sporting equipment and a special video documenting the 1980 historic USA hockey gold medal win.

There are more museums just beyond the Blue Line that are participating as well. Take this opportunity and explore new areas or old favorites this Saturday, September 24th.

(Even though museums are generously offering a free day to all keep in mind it still costs money to run these wonderful establishments. A small donation can go a long way to help continue to provide these excellent facilities.)

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Protecting Hamilton County from Spiny Water Flea

A year ago Sacandaga Lake was added to a growing list of New York State waterbodies infested with a new invader, the Spiny Water Flea. The Spiny Water Flea hitchhiked from Eurasia to Lake Huron in 1984 in ship ballast water, and since then, has spread to Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the Great Sacandaga Lake, Peck Lake, and Stewarts Bridge Reservoir, threatening aquatic ecosystems, fishing, and tourism. The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District is taking action to combat this tiny critter that could mean big changes for our lakes. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Adirondack Wildlife: The Vocal Moose

Most of the mammals that populate our wilderness, including the moose, are not known to produce much in the way of sounds. Like the white-tailed deer, the moose is viewed as silently moving through our woodlands, except for the snapping of twigs and the rustling of leaves that it steps on, and brushes against as it meanders about the forest. However, in the early autumn, the moose becomes more vocal, as it occasionally utters distinct sounds in its attempt to communicate with other moose that may be in the general area. » Continue Reading.


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