Sunday, May 16, 2021

The Bear Dance: A Three Part Camp Adventure

American black bearPart I :  Bear Essentials

Wednesday, July 11, 2018, 3:30 pm-  My cell phone rang.   It was my brother Ray, calling from the lean to on Bull Rush Bay.

“Hey- I’m in camp for the day.   Pepper’s with me. Two food bins are missing from the lean to and  the Yeti is tipped over.”

We ran down the list of potential culprits- vandals, raccoons, bears.  Missing food bins didn’t fit any known raccoon MO. It would have taken Racczilla to tip over that Yeti.  Scratch raccoons.  That left two suspects- vandals, or bears.

I said “Vandals would have stolen the Yeti, and the beer.  Bears leave drag marks.  Be careful, especially with that pup!  Keep your eyes peeled for drag marks. Call me back.”

3:42 pm.  My phone rang again.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 16, 2021

When it comes to baby animals, ‘if you care, leave them there’

fawnNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos reminds New Yorkers to appreciate wildlife from a safe distance and resist the urge to touch or pick up newborn fawns and other young wildlife. Human contact with wildlife can carry unintended consequences detrimental to the animals people intend to help.

“At this time of year, New Yorkers may encounter young or newborn wild animals in their yards and mistakenly think they need help to survive,” Seggos said. “While a baby rabbit or a recently fledged bird might appear abandoned, a parent is likely nearby, trying to remain out of view. Please do not touch a wild baby animal; instead, enjoy encounters with wildlife from a distance. Remember-if you care, leave it there.”

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 16, 2021

Weekly news headlines

A collection of interesting reads:

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 15, 2021

AdkAction to fund 11 new pollinator gardens

Pollinator Garden This summer, AdkAction’s Mobile Pollinator Garden Trailer (also affectionately known as the Pollinator-Mobile) will rove the Adirondacks, planting community pollinator gardens and leaving blooms, bees, and butterflies in its wake. Eleven new garden sites in and around the Adirondacks have been chosen to receive gardens as part of our hands-on pollinator conservation efforts.

What is a pollinator garden?

A pollinator garden is one planted mostly with flowers that provide nectar or pollen for a broad range of pollinating insects. Native flowering plants are best, and pesticides and other chemicals are avoided. These habitats can be beautiful and they attract birds and other wildlife in addition to pollinators. This year’s pollinator gardens will include bee balm, milkweed, white turtlehead, mountain mint, phlox, and other pollinator-friendly pesticide-free native plants.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 15, 2021

MAKE IT: Sweet Roasted Chickpeas

chickpeasThese crispy sweet roasted chickpeas are the perfect choice for your snack craving! Rich in B vitamins and folate, chickpeas also provide a decent amount of iron, fiber, protein, and healthy fatty acids.

If you do not want a sweet snack, you can switch out the sugar and cinnamon for other spice combinations (curry powder, cayenne pepper/chili powder, za’atar, and more!).

These chickpeas can be kept for a day in an airtight container, but do tend to lose their crispiness fairly quickly. However, they are so delicious, that you won’t have to worry about leftovers!

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 15, 2021

Poetry: Painting in Morning

Painting in Morning

Perfect light reveals

Deep texture in a canvas sky.

Finest of brush hairs dot a mosaic landscape,

A seascape, devoid of birds.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, May 14, 2021

OPINION: For Elise Stefanik, Lying Pays Off

In the days before the riots at our nation’s Capital that temporarily stopped certification of Joe Biden’s election as President, I wrote a piece for the Almanack detailing all the ways that our Adirondack and North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik had lied to her constituents about the 2020 election. Then, after the rioters were cleared from the Capitol on January 6th, which included dead bodies, Elise Stefanik took to the floor of the House of Representatives and lied some more.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, May 14, 2021

Give Turtles a Brake

turtleOur native turtles are on the move in May and June seeking sandy areas or loose soil to lay their eggs. In New York, thousands of them are killed each year when they are struck by vehicles as they migrate to their nesting areas. If you are traveling to the Adirondacks for an adventure, be especially mindful of turtles near water crossings, roadside water access points, swamps and marshes, and sandy soil areas.

What you can do to help:

  • If you see one on the road, please give turtles ‘a brake’. Slow down to avoid hitting it with your car.
  • If you can safely stop your vehicle, please consider moving the turtle to the shoulder on the side of the road in the direction it was facing.
  • Picking it up by its tail may frighten or injure it. Most can be picked up by the sides of the shell.
  • Use caution when moving snapping turtles; either pick her up at the rear of the shell near the tail using two hands or slide a car mat under her to drag her across the road.
  • Please do not take them home. All native turtles are protected by law and cannot be kept without a permit. All 11 species of land turtles that are native to New York are declining. Even losing one mature female can have a negative impact on a local population.

Photo of painted turtle by Jennifer Doyle-Ashline, provided by DEC


Friday, May 14, 2021

Outdoor conditions (5/14): Low fire danger, wet trails

outdoor conditions logoThe following are the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for comprehensive and up-to-date information on seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.

Speculator Tree Farm: Elm Lake Road, Long Level Road and the second half of Fly Creek Road are open.

Perkins Clearing Tract: Perkins Clearing, Jessup River Road are open. Old Military Road is not open yet.

Essex Chain Wilderness: All roads are now open.

West Canada Lakes Wilderness: Cedar River Flow Road is open to the Wakely Dam

» Continue Reading.


Friday, May 14, 2021

Latest news headlines

Here’s a look at news from around the Adirondacks this week:

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 13, 2021

Gypsy moths: The destroyers

Gypsy mothLike a B-grade horror film sequel, the aliens have awakened once again. Perhaps we felt a glimmer of hope at the end of the 2020 version when an entire generation of ruthless monsters died off in droves and left us in peace. But remember that closing shot of their disgusting, furry egg-mass blobs cleverly hidden out of sight? Well they’re hatching now.

If you missed last year’s gypsy moth performance, you have a better chance of catching it this season. Unfortunately. Based on egg-mass sampling, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation predicts that areas in central and western NYS which saw moderate to severe gypsy moth outbreaks last year can expect heavy damage this year. NYSDEC’s gypsy moth page can be found here.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 13, 2021

Wildlife advocate John Davis to join Adirondack Council

John DavisThe Adirondack Council hired John Davis, a renowned national wildlife advocate with Adirondack conservation experience, to advocate for wild land restoration and reconnected wildlife pathways that have been disturbed by roads, buildings and other obstacles, to benefit nature and communities.

Davis served as Conservation Director of the Council from 2005 till 2011.  He rejoins the staff as Rewilding Advocate.

“We are very pleased to welcome John Davis back after a decade away from our offices,” said Executive Director William C. Janeway.  “We and others have kept tabs on John’s work as he helped to introduce the idea of ‘rewilding’ to the national lexicon. He has been all over North America talking about it and we are excited to add him to our talented and growing conservation team.”

“It is a privilege to bring John, a renowned rewilding expert, back onto the Conservation team to add capacity and expertise to our efforts,” said Vice President for Conservation Megan Phillips. “His experience and vision will amplify the Council’s voice as a strong advocate for the wild character of the Park and the myriad species that call this national treasure home, as a complement to our efforts with others to foster more vibrant human communities.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 13, 2021

This week’s APA meeting and the tree-cutting decision

fish creekWe have another jam-packed Adirondack Park Agency meeting to look forward to this week.

The board will hear from staff about solar projects in the park, upgrades to the Fish Creek Pond Campground and the long-awaited visitor use management and wildlands monitoring guidance that has been delayed the last couple of meetings. I have a preview of the meeting up on our website. I’ll be covering the meetings, too, for you.

If you’d like to listen in for yourself, go to apa.ny.gov for the agenda and the virtual meeting info.

It’s not on the agenda, but I’m also wondering if the Adirondack Park Agency will discuss the Court of Appeals ruling that was handed down Tuesday last week. The state’s highest court ruled that Class II community connector trails, which are trails big enough and graded to accommodate snowmobiles, were unconstitutional. The majority said the trails required cutting too many trees and violated the “forever wild” clause of the state constitution. The 4-2 decision was in favor of Protect the Adirondacks, which brought the suit against the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Adirondack Park Agency.

What we don’t know yet is how far-reaching this decision is. Protect the Adirondacks and several environmental organizations in favor of its side have said they believe the decision only impacts these community connector trails. Others worry that the decision will impact more than that, including hiking trail maintenance, new hiking trails and campground maintenance. So far the APA and DEC are consulting with the state Attorney General’s Office to get guidance on that. As we learn more, we’ll have more information for you.

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Gwen’s weekly “Adirondack Report” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

Fish Creek Pond Campground photo by Mike Lynch/Explorer


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Long eared owls always look surprised

Long Ear OwlOwls are birds of prey of the order Strigiformes, which are divided into two main families. Strigidae has 220 wide ranging species, for example round faced owls filling all possible sizes between the great horned owl and the elf owl. Tytonidae has 20 species, distributed worldwide everywhere but the polar regions and northern regions from Canada through eastern Russia, for example, heart faced owls like the barn owl.

Eight owls are found in the Adirondacks: Snowy owl seasonally, Great Horned owl, Barred owl, Long eared owl, Short eared owl, Barn owl, Eastern screech owl and Northern saw whet owl, all year-round residents.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Lake Champlain trout rebound

spawning lake troutTypically, invasive species get cast as villains, coming into places and upending the native plants and animals.

But as I was checking in on plans to reduce the amount of trout being stocked in Lake Champlain by New York’s hatcheries, I found that sometimes invasive species might have unexpectedly positive roles.

Hatchery officials who once worried they weren’t stocking enough trout now have to worry they’ll stock too many, because the trout are beginning to breed on their own in the lake. There are now perhaps 100,000 or 200,000 trout in the lake. Too many trout in one lake could collapse the food chain, if too many eat too much.

Why? Some new theories suggest Lake Champlain trout may be rebounding in part of changes in the lake driven by invasive species giving them new food and forcing them to breed in better parts of the lake.

Those twin changes — the rebound of wild trout in the lake and the potential role of invasive species in that rebound — prompted a quick piece that’s now online from the current print issue of Adirondack Explorer, which you can read here.

Photo of lake trout courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

This first appeared in Ry’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.



Wait, before you go,

sign up for news updates from the Adirondack Almanack!