The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is setting baited traps in ash trees across upstate New York in an effort to search for possible infestations of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a tree-killing beetle. You will soon be seeing the purple prism traps deployed in treelines throughout New York, with a concentration in areas adjacent to neighboring states and Canadian provinces that have already detected this potentially devastating invasive species, including several Adirondack counties. » Continue Reading.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County is working with Cornell University and the Workforce Development Institute of New York to host a Green Jobs forum on Thursday, June 25, 10:00am to Noon. The forum will be broadcast to Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations located in 14 counties across New York State via Cornell’s distance learning network. The forum is free and open to the public. Information on the following topics and issues will be addressed:
* what is meant by the term “green jobs”
* where and in what sectors of the economy do they exist
* information on available training programs
* what does the future look like for the “green jobs sector”
General information about the workforce development institute and information about what services are available to the public will also be discussed.
The Green Jobs Forum will also provide information on starting a home performance / home energy audit business. New York State currently has training programs in place and some financial incentives available to entrepreneurs and home improvement contracting firms that want to expand into the home energy audit field.
Seating for the Green Jobs Forum is limited so if you are interested in attending, please phone Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County at 668-4881 or 623-3291 to reserve a seat.
Most of us are familiar with monarch butterflies, those stunning Hallowe’en-colored insects that make phenomenal migration flights from the northern parts of North American to the hidden forests in Mexico. But if you mention painted ladies, people are more likely to think of old Victorian houses with bright new paint jobs, or women with questionable reputations, than they are butterflies. Likewise, thanks to ads for a popular sleeping remedy, luna moths are easily recognized by much of the American population, while Isabella moths remain mostly unknown (woolly bear caterpillars turn into Isabella moths). » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, June 11 and Friday June 12 at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook. The June meeting will be webcast live via a link on the Agency’s homepage at www.apa.state.ny.us. Here is the meeting agenda:
The Full Agency will convene on Thursday morning at 9:00 for the Acting Executive Director’s monthly report.
At 9:15 a.m., the Regulatory Programs Committee will consider Brandreth Park Association’s large scale residential development project proposed for an 8,670 acre tract of land surrounding Brandreth Lake in the Town of Long Lake, Hamilton County. The applicant requests authorization, over a 100 year period, for new residential sites to accommodate up to 80 single family dwellings, a caretaker’s residence, a “gathering house”, five commonly owned guesthouses and up to four boathouses on portions of the tract. The creation of building sites is considered a subdivision under the APA Act.
At this time the committee will consider just the first proposed section which includes the subdivision into sites for construction of up to 44 single family dwellings and one or more of five planned guesthouses. Building footprints for these structures will not exceed 2,500 square feet or 35 feet in height.
Any future proposed land use and development will require separate Agency approval. All proposed development will be clustered within a 442 acre development area at the northern end of Brandreth Lake. No new land use or development is planned for the remaining 8,230 acres (95%) which will remain as open space forestland.
Next the committee will consider a second permit renewal for a convenience store, deli and gas station in the town of Greig, Lewis County.
Following this discussion the committee will consider approval for two general permit applications, one for structural stabilization of shorelines as watershed management projects or involving wetlands and a second for residential subdivisions involving regulated wetlands.
The committee meeting will conclude with a staff presentation summarizing cellular projects constructed along the Adirondack Northway.
At 11:30, the State Land Committee will consider a proposed classification and reclassification of certain State lands under the jurisdiction of the NYS Department of Transportation to State Administration.
At 1:00, the Park Policy and Planning Committee will hear a presentation on the Agency’s map amendment process. Planning staff will explain the criteria used in approving map amendment requests, review Ticonderoga’s recent amendment which resulted in expansion to their Hamlet area and provide an example of a possible future Hamlet expansion in the Town of Westport, Essex County.
At 1:45, planning staff will demonstrate to the Local Government Services Committee a land use mapping tool developed internally to assist local governments with community planning and zoning efforts. This application takes advantage of a commonly used digital file format and will allow local communities to tap into the Agency’s computer mapping capabilities without incurring extensive software and training costs.
At 2:15, the “Community Spotlight” segment will feature Town of Bellmont Supervisor Bruce Russell. Supervisor Russell will provide an overview of his community and highlight important issues facing this northern Franklin County town.
At 3:00, the Enforcement Committee will come to order for an administrative enforcement proceeding related to alleged violations resulting from the operation of a junkyard without an Agency permit. These violations are alleged to have occurred along State Route 73 in the Town of Keene, Essex County.
On Friday morning at 9:00, the Economic Affairs Committee will convene for a follow-up to its April 2009 presentation on three successful manufacturing businesses in Essex County. This month’s focus is on small business development assistance that is available through the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) and the North Country Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Plattsburgh State. The committee will be briefed by Mike Conway, Adirondack Economic Development Corporation Executive Director, and Rick Leibowitz, Regional Director for the Small Business Development Centeron on small business assistance programs.
At 10:00, the Legal Affairs Committee will receive an update on the Agency’s proposed legislation involving affordable housing incentives, permit reforms and community planning funds. Staff will also provide a status update on current regulatory revision.
At 10:30, the Administration Committee will review proposed revisions to the Agency’s Policy & Guidance System.
The Full Agency will convene at 11:00 to take actions as necessary and conclude the meeting with committee reports, public and member comment.
Meeting materials are available for download from the Agency’s website at: http://www.apa.state.ny.us/Mailing/0906/index.htm
The next Agency meeting is July 9-10, 2009 at the Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.
August Agency Meeting August 13-14, 2009, Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.
Evening walks in the spring are utterly enjoyable, despite the blackflies and mosquitoes. Every trip out the door is like opening a gift: the anticipation of some wondrous thing, the joy of seeing it for the first time. Even though we expect certain events at certain times of the year (because they occur regular as clockwork), they still delight us when we see them. I suspect this is something that harkens to our primitive selves, like watching the flickering flames of a campfire.
Tuesday evening Toby and I took our walk down to the Hudson River, checking some of “my” nestboxes along the way. The sun was out and a nice breeze was blowing – almost enough to keep the insects away. We toured around the Information Center at the river’s edge, noted that the water level is back down, and then turned around, heading for home. I was thinking that fairly soon we should start seeing the wood turtles wandering the roadsides in search of good nest sites, but I figured that it was still a bit too cool, thanks to the recent cold front.
Suddenly Toby stopped, sniffing the road. We investigated the pavement, which yielded nothing that I could see, and just as I was turning back around to continue our walk, I spotted her: the first wood turtle of the season. She was on the side of the road, her back to us, standing completely still. She wasn’t very large; her carapace maybe eight inches long. I greeted her and stroked her shell, which she didn’t seem to appreciate for she tucked in her legs, tail and head, doing her best to disappear. A quick scan of the sandy road shoulders didn’t turn up any evidence of recent digging, so I’m not sure if she had already laid her eggs or if she was just starting to search for a site.
This is the time of year when turtles of all stripes emerge from the woods and waters to lay their eggs. They search for good sandy soil that is easily dug. Using their powerful hind legs, they scoop out holes and fill them with ping-pong-ball-like eggs. The soft, leathery shells allow the eggs to drop without sustaining any damage. Once they finish laying, the turtles push the sand back over the eggs, completely hiding all evidence of their labors, and then wander off to continue their lives in the woods (or waters) they call home.
But turtle survival is a tenuous thing. Temperature is important for the development of the eggs (it also determines the sex of the embryos). If the weather is cool and wet all summer, they may not develop at all. Then there are the predators. Like warm-blooded metal detectors, foxes, raccoons and coyotes sniff out turtle nests along the roadsides; when one is located, they dig it up and devour the contents. Sometimes nests are laid in sandy roadbeds only to later on be paved over by road crews. In the almost nine years I have lived here, have never seen a wood turtle hatchling. Snappers, yes, we see baby snapping turtles every year (they must be hardier souls), but never a baby wood or painted turtle.
From late spring throughout the summer I tell people to be on the lookout for turtles. If you see a turtle crossing the road, do your best not to hit it. Better yet, you can be a turtle’s best friend if you pull over and assist it in its travels. Most turtles you can pick up, gently, like you are holding a sandwich, and just carry across the road – take them in the direction they were heading and let them go. Larger snappers, however, you might want to lift with a shovel (I always have one in the back of my car – good for snow removal in winter, turtle removal in summer). And if you should find a turtle that was not so lucky, and was hit by a car but is still alive, put it in a box and call a rehabilitator. You’d be surprised what they can do with fiberglass and super glue these days!
Remember, too, that many turtles are protected by state law. This means you cannot legally collect them, either to sell or to keep as a pet. Likewise, if you should have a pet turtle, like a red-eared slider for example, never turn it loose in the wild! This is how non-native populations become established. Some non-native species are not problematic, but too many others become invasive, using up natural resources and pushing out native species which cannot compete with the aggressive newcomers.
Our native wildlife and plants are having a tough enough time surviving in today’s changing world – let’s not make things more difficult for them by introducing additional competitors.
Photo by Steve Silluzio.
- Hueltt’s Current: Amelia Earhart & Huletts
- Adirondack Athlete: Prep For The Mountaineer’s Trail Race
- Burlington Free Press Blog: Want Public Transit? Village Density Helps
- The In Box: Is McHugh A Pawn in White House Politics?
- Nigel Beale Nota Bene Books: Hanging out in Bookstores
- Birds, Words, & Websites: Great Adirondack Birding Celebration – THIS weekend!
- Live from New York: Round Lake Outlet
- Northern New York Follies: Let The Wailing Begin
- Along the Ausable: Robot Deer at Ausable Club
- Adirondack Theatre Festival: Meet the Cast of ‘Ordinary Days’
- MTV Films TV Show in Webb
- Landowners Oppose Sacandaga Access
- Candidates For McHugh’s Seat Emerge
- PCB Levels Low After Early Dredging
- Protest: International Bidge Remains Closed
- Americade Kicks Off in Lake George
- APA Proposes Boathouse Regulations
- Verizon: 90 Towers Total In 2009
- Ontario Border Guards Flee Mohawks
- Hard Freeze Warning Issued
- New Border Crossing Rules Monday
- First State Mountain Bike Trail Opens
This weekend boasts an interesting mixture of professionals and amateurs. From an All-Star Open Mic to an African drumming and dance troupe, both incorporate experienced and inexperienced performers. Often jams and sessions have that kind of mix too – in this way everyone learns something. Amateurs learn to improve their skills and pros learn to improve their patience.
But first . . . there is nothing amateur about the band Atlantic Crossing, which will be at The Amos and Julia Ward Theater in Jay on Friday at 7 pm. They play a mixture of traditional songs and instrumentals from New England, the Celtic British Isles and French Maritime Canada. Music to get your feet tapping and spirits soaring.
On Saturday June 6 you have a choice:
The All-Star Open Mic Night, at BluSeed in Saranac Lake; all the winners and some of the hosts of the past season will be performing, the Dust Bunnies and the Starlights among them. What fun – you get to hear an eclectic mix of poetry and songs. Performers travel from all around the region for these democratic events. Some of the newer performers have a chance to let go of some of their first time stage-fright jitters because this will be their second time in front of an audience – they’re pros now, right? Since this is also a chance to support BluSeed the cover charge will be $6 instead of the usual $3. The performances start at 7:30 pm and will be well worth it.
At the Amos and Julia Ward Theater in Jay there will be a performance by Wulaba Drumming and Soma Beats Dancing. Show starts at 6:30 pm. I saw these folks doing their thing at the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Rotary Show this year and it was great – very energetic and uplifting, made me want to join the class. Admission is $5.
Sunday June 7:
There is a recital to be given by the students of the accomplished Saranac Lake multi-instrumentalist Sue Grimm – obviously it’s not professional but so cute! It’s being held at BluSeed at 2 pm. You never know, you might see a future star just starting to shine.
In Long Lake at The Quakenbush Long View Lodge on Deerland Road there will be an open jam held from 4 – 6 pm. Call (518) 624-3879 for details.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reminding campers, hikers and homeowners to take precautions against unwanted encounters with black bears. There are approximately 4,000 – 5,000 bears in New York’s northern bear range, primarily in the Adirondacks. Bear populations have been increasing in number and expanding in distribution over the past decade.
Black bears will become a nuisance and can cause significant damage if they believe they can obtain an easy meal from bird feeders, garbage cans, dumpsters, barbecue grills, tents, vehicles, out-buildings or houses. When bears learn to obtain food from human sources, their natural foraging habits and behavior are changed. » Continue Reading.
The 4th Annual Adirondack Center For Writing (ACW) Literary Awards Ceremony will be held this Sunday, June 7, in Blue Mountain Lake, 3-5 pm at the Blue Mountain Center. The Adirondack Literary Awards is a juried awards program that honors books published in or about the Adirondacks in the previous year. The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to ACW (phone or email) if you plan to attend.
Juried awards will be given in fiction, poetry, children’s literature, and nonfiction, plus a People’s Choice Award. ACW members are encouraged to send in their votes for their favorite book of the year via email, phone, or mail. A complete list of submissions by category is below. Voting is also permitted at the awards ceremony itself. Most of the books considered for awards are made available for purchase at the ceremony by the authors, and they are happy to sign their books. Questions may be directed to ACW at 518-327-6278, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entries of Books Published in 2008 :
The Wettest County in the World , Matt Bondurant, Scribner
Orebed Lake, Russell Hall , Lighthall Books
Chant , Rick Henry, BlazeVOX Books
Brio, Mary Randall , Mary Randall
Christmas in Port Davis, (Stories by multiple authors) , RA Press
Wilder Ponds , Kirby White, Fox Creek Press ;
Reasons to Hate the Sky, Stuart Bartow , WordTech Editions
Threat of Pleasure , Philip Memmer, Word Press
Lemon Peeled the Moment Before: New and Selected Poems 1967-2008, Roger Mitchell , Ausable Press;
The Long Fault: Poems, Jay Rogoff , Louisiana State University;
Butternuts for Rexford, Tom Adessa , SassyKat Books
March Toward the Thunder, Joseph Bruchac , Dial Books
Skylar, Mary Cuffe-Perez , Philomel Books
Adirondack Gold II: A Summer of Strangers, Persis Granger , Beaver Meadow Publishing
Champlain and the Silent One, Kate Messner, North Country Books
Catch the Wind and Spin, Spin, Spin , Thomas M. Schneeberger, PublishAmerica
When Thunder Rolls: The Underground Railroad and The Civil War , Irene Uttendorfsky , Spruce Gulch Press
The Adirondack Kids 8: Escape from Black Bear Mountain , Justin and Gary VanRiper, Adirondack Kids Press
In Stoddard’s Footsteps: The Adirondacks Then & Now, Mark Bowie and Timothy Weidner, Stories, Food, Life, Editor, Ellen Rocco , North Country Public Radio
Historic Images of the Adirondacks, Compiled by Victoria Verner Sandiford
Adirondack Hotels and Inns , Donald Williams , Arcadia Publishing
Stepping Out; A Tenderfoot’s Guide to the Principles, Practices, and Pleasures of Countryside Walking, Eleanor Garrell Berger , Tenderfoot Press
Forest Enterprises of the Adirondacks, Steven Bick , Forest Enterprise Institute , North Country Books
At the Mercy of the Mountains: True Stories of Survival and Tragedy in New York’s Adirondacks , Peter Bronski , The Lyons Press
Adirondack Attic #5 , Andy Flynn, Hungry Bear Publishing
One Foot Forward; Walks in Upstate New York , Richard B. Frost, Bloated Toe Publishing
Breaking Out of Prison: a guide to consciousness, compassion, and freedom, Bernice Mennis, iUniverse
Log Marks on the Hudson, Richard Merrill , Nicholas K. Burns
Echoes In These Mountains, Glenn Pearsall , Pyramid Publishing
Adirondack Birding, John M.C. Peterson, Gary Lee, Adirondack Mountain Club, Lost Pond Press
Stories, Food, Life, Editor, Ellen Rocco , North Country Public Radio , Adirondack Museum, North Country Books
Freedom in the Wilds: An Artist in the Adirondacks, about Harold Weston, Syracuse University Press
You just never know what will dash in front of your car up here in the Adirondacks. The other day I was driving towards civilization, cruising past a couple of marshlands, and a bittern flew across the road in front of me. The American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) is one of those really cool birds that few people get to see, thanks to its solitary nature and its stupendous blending capabilities.
A member of the heron family, the bittern stands about two feet tall. Like all herons, it has long skinny legs and a long, spear-like bill, which it puts to good use catching its prey. Chances are, if you see a bittern it will be busily hunting. Not that you can tell, for it will be standing stock still, waiting for food to come by. When a fish, frog, snake or yummy-looking insect gets too close, the bittern’s long neck snakes down quick as a flash and the unlucky food item is snared. After a killing bite, or a vicious shake, the food is swallowed head first.
If, however, the bittern sees you first, it will likely go into its blending act. Bitterns are denizens of wetlands (bogs, marshes, wet meadows), and they hang out where emergent vegetation is tall (cattails and bulrushes). When they feel slightly threatened, these small herons thrust their beaks straight up towards the sky, exposing their striped necks and breasts. Now, instead of seeing a bird-shaped thing, you see a collection of plant stems, for the stripes are tan and blend right in with all the surrounding vegetation. If you look closely, you may see the two bright yellow eyes peering back at you around the sides of the beak – a bizarre sight if ever there was one.
But the best (and strangest) thing about this bird, in my humble opinion, is its vocalizations. Pliny, that great philosopher of old, thought the bittern (that would be the Old World bittern, not the American bittern) sounded like the roar of a bull, which in Latin was/is Boatum taurus. From this we get the genus name of bitterns everywhere: Botaurus. I’ve listened to bittern calls, both recordings and in the wild, and to me they don’t sound at all like a bull. For me the sound brings to mind the soundtrack accompanying a slow motion drop of water hitting a pond. Others claim it sounds like congested plumbing. Some of the bittern’s additional common names are suggestive of the sound: thunder-pumper, mire-drum. In order to make these strange sounds, the bird’s throat/neck goes through some stunning contortions; a friend commented to me that when he witnessed this he thought for sure the bird would give itself whiplash. To hear the bittern’s call, follow this link http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Bittern/id and look down the left side of the website for the button that says “Typical Voice”; press play.
If you want to hear (or see) a bittern yourself, hie ye to a nearby wetland with tall emergent vegetation around dawn or dusk (take your bug shirt). Find yourself a comfortable spot near some cattails and water, and wait. If bitterns are around (and they are fairly common), you are bound to hear them “booming” before too long. If you are really lucky, you may even catch sight of one as you peer into the cattails. Beware; it might just be peering back at you.
The border closing this week at the Cornwall bridge, prompted by Akwesasne Mohawks protesting the Canadian government’s new policy to arm border agents, offers a distant echo of the unwelcome introduction of firearms to Mohawk lands in northern New York from north of the border 400 years ago.
According to David Hackett Fischer’s book Champlain’s Dream, Samuel de Champlain’s incursion into the valley that now bears his name was in fact a military campaign to confront Mohawks, who had been disrupting trade routes along the St. Lawrence river. At the end of July 1609, Champlain and two French soldiers allied with a coalition of northern Indians — Montagnais, Algonquin and Huron — ventured deep into Mohawk territory, engaging a superior force of the legendary warriors at the southern end of the lake.
Champlain and his French soldiers brought to the seemingly lopsided battlefield the latest advances of European ammunition: the arquebus, a short shoulder-fired gun. Champlain packed his firearm with multiple balls. By Fischer’s account, Champlain’s first shot brought down two Mohawk chiefs and a third warrior. The two flanking soldiers fired into the Mohawk ranks, felling a third chief. The warriors left the field, pursued by the gun.
This month marks the 100th anniversary of the destruction by fire of the Fort William Henry Hotel in Lake George. On June 24, 1909, the day before the hotel set to open for the season, it was destroyed in a blaze that started in the early morning hours.
According to Bryant Franklin Tolles’ Resort Hotels of the Adirondacks, “It was here that tourism in the Adirondack region originated and the first foundations of a substantive hospitality industry were firmly established.” » Continue Reading.
In time for planning those summer reads and outdoor activities, here is a list of the current ten best-selling Adirondack books according to Amazon.com.
1 – 50 Hikes in the Adirondacks: Short Walks, Day Trips, and Backpacks Throughout the Park, Fourth Edition by Barbara McMartin (May 2003).
2 – At the Mercy of the Mountains: True Stories of Survival and Tragedy in New York’s Adirondacks by Peter Bronski (Feb 26, 2008).
3 – Adirondack Trails High Peaks Region (Forest Preserve Series, V. 1) by Tony Goodwin and Neil S. Burdick (April 13, 2004).
4 – The Adirondack Book: Great Destinations: A Complete Guide, Including Saratoga Springs, Sixth Edition by Annie Stoltie and Elizabeth Folwell (April 21, 2008).
5 – The Adirondack Atlas: A Geographic Portrait of the Adirondack Park by Jerry C. Jenkins and Andy Keal (Jun 30, 2004).
6 – Adirondack Home by Ralph Kylloe (Oct 19, 2005).
7 – The Adirondacks: A History of America’s First Wilderness by Paul Schneider (Sep 15, 1998).
8 – Adirondack Wildlife: A Field Guide by James M. Ryan (April 30, 2009).
9 – Adirondacks (Hardcover – April 25, 2006).
10 – Adirondack: Wilderness by Nathan Farb (Jun 16, 2009).