A Brook Trout Conservation Field day presented by Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Hamilton and Herkimer Associations will be held on June 4-5 in collaboration with Trout Power and Great Camp Sagamore. The Field Day invites all to come to learn about the tremendous strides in research and conservation practices that are helping to restore the heritage strains of brook trout that were once abundant throughout the Adirondacks.
The program presents to the public the work of the Adirondack Fishery Research Program (AFRP) of Cornell University. For over 60 years Cornell researchers have been researching the impacts of environmental change on Brook Trout and other cold water fish species in the Adirondacks. The work of AFRP has helped set policy to protect and preserve the natural heritage of our region’s waterways including documenting the effects of acid rain and climate change impacts.
The event will be held in the Historic Great Camps SMA (HGCSMA) that immediate surrounds Sagamore’s National Historic Landmark complex in Raquette Lake, NY. The event begins at 7pm on the evening of June 4th with a talk at 7pm by Dr. Cliff Kraft of Cornell University on “A Century of Brook Trout Conservation in Changing Environmental Conditions.”. The talk will be held at Sagamore’s historic barn and is free and open to the public.
In itself, Great Camp Sagamore is both a site of great significance to both the Adirondacks human and natural history. A National Historic Landmark, it is the finest example of Adirondack Great Camp architecture open to the public and also the place where the Vanderbilt family entertained some of the most important figures of the 20th century as diverse as political leaders like General George C. Marshall, Madame Chiang Kai Shek and entertainers Hoagy Carmichael and Gary Cooper. Fishing was always an integral part of camp life with Sagamore’s Grand Dame, Margaret Emerson often bringing in the prized catch of the season.
The waters surrounding Sagamore is also a place where early Adirondackers like guide Alvah Dunning and New York City physician and sportsman Dr. Arpad Gerster came to fish and live in the back country for months at a time. Gerster was a diarist who loved the Adirondacks and extensively documented its changing nature during the booming Gilded Age years in the wilderness.
Recently, a group of committed outdoor enthusiasts formed Trout Power, a Citizen Science non-profit that works with scientists to document native trout populations and advocate for environmentally safe fishing practices. Some of their pioneering studies were done at Sagamore Lake and its watershed.
Continuing on Saturday, June 5th are a series of free activities in the HGCSMA surrounding Sagamore, between 10am and 3pm including:
- A nature hike looking at the changing natural history of Adirondack waterways along the Powerhouse trail by Sagamore’s Assistant Program Director Andy Bonelli. This tour includes a look at Sagamore’s abandoned hydro-electric plant and associated camp infrastructure. Tours at 11am & 2pm.
- Streamside demonstration of environmentally safe fishing practices and streamside citizen science by Keith Tidball of Cornell University. On-going from 10am – 3pm
- Introduction to Fly Fishing by professional guide Mike Crawford of Upstate Guide Services. On-going from 10am – 3pm
- Demonstration of citizen science research project underway by Trout Power in Lake Sagamore’s watershed by Chris Murphy of Trout Power. On-Going from 10am – 3pm
- An Angler’s perspective of Sagamore’s early history including a walk along the camp’s historic carriage road, now the Lakeside Trail by Garet Livermore of Herkimer CCE. Tours at 10am & 1pm.
Participants are invited to come to Sagamore’s Chalet Building Entrance on the Sagamore Road, approximately 4 miles from the intersection of Route 28 in Raquette Lake. Come prepared for an adventure as Sagamore is located in one of the most remote wilderness areas in the Adirondacks and is stunning beautiful, but like all of the Adirondacks in June has black flies aplenty.
Sagamore will offer tours of its National Historic Landmark complex at 1:30pm on June 5th which is available for a separate admission fee. As a capstone to the weekend’s activities on Saturday June 5th Great Camp Sagamore will present a concert by Adirondack Folk Musician Dan Berggren singing Music Inspired by Nature at 7:30pm in the camp’s historic barn. Both the concert and preservation tours of Sagamore require an admission fee. All proceeds support Sagamore’s on-going restoration efforts.
These CCE events are free and open to the public no registration is necessary. For more information, https://blogs.cornell.edu/cceherkimer/natural-resources/
Photos by Eileen Randall/Cornell University