Saturday, May 30, 2020

From the Archive: Fire season

fire

The recent rash of wildfires reminds us of fires from the past that altered the natural and physical landscape:

From 2018: The Long Lake West Fire was not the first major forest fire in the Adirondacks, nor would it be the last. But the fire in 1908 caused the most property damage, writes Mike Prescott: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2018/09/adirondack-wildfire-the-destruction-of-long-lake-west.html

From 2015: Sheila Myers shared information about “Yellow Day” fires in the late 1880s-early 1900s: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2015/05/yellow-days-adirondack-forest-fires-and-air-quality.html

From 2011: A fire at Spencer Boatworks in Saranac Lake, in which many historic, antique boats were destroyed: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2011/05/spencer-boatworks-fire-update.html. That fire reminded contributor Mark Wilson about a fire in 1919 that saw similar loss of watercraft: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2011/05/spencer-boatworks-fire-recalls-1919-blaze.html

Photo: Rangers fight wildfires over Memorial Day Weekend/DEC photo

 


Friday, May 29, 2020

Bumblebees: Out of the Shadows

bumblebeeWhen it comes to pollination it seems that honey bees are give the spotlight, but they’re not the only bees that shine for their ability to pollinate.  Bumblebees have their own unique abilities that honey bees don’t. 

Bumblebees are long tongued bees with tongues 15mm – 20mm long and are capable of pollinating tuberous flowers with deep corollas such as cucumber, tomatoes, melons, squash, thistle, honeysuckle among many others. 

In contrast, honey bees are short tongued bees with tongues 5mm – 8mm long and pollinate flowers that are flatter and shallow such as, coneflowers, daisies, apples, cherries, raspberries, cranberries along with a variety of others.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, May 29, 2020

The Adirondack Pollinator Project: 2020 Plant Sale

AdkAction’s Adirondack Pollinator Project will be offering its annual “Pollinator Plant” sale again to help the hummingbirds, butterflies and bee population.

They have teamed up with Cook & Gardener Nursery and chose plants that can thrive in the Adirondacks. The plants offered have been sourced or grown from seeds to ensure no contact with neonicotinoids (a class of insecticides harmful to pollinators) and will help efforts to rebuild the monarch butterfly population, attract hummingbirds, and reinforce the native bee and moth population.

Plant orders are available online until June 15,  or while supplies last.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, May 29, 2020

Adirondack Outdoor Conditions (5/29): Campgrounds update

Information courtesy of the NYS DEC
DEC campgrounds and pavilions are closed to overnight visitation through June 7. (Note: this does not mean that campgrounds will be opening on that date.) DEC has suspended all new camping reservations for the 2020 season until further notice. We are assessing campground status on a daily basis. Visitors who wish to cancel an existing reservation may do so and receive a full refund or can transfer the reservation to the 2021 season. Thank you for your patience as we work to protect the safety of our visitors and staff.

Water-access campsites at DEC campgrounds remain closed to overnight visitation until DEC’s campgrounds reopen. This includes, but is not limited to:

» Continue Reading.


Friday, May 29, 2020

DEC: Avoid the high-elevation trails

Adirondack High Peaks Trail Mud SeasonDEC Issues Late Season Muddy Trails Advisory 
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) urged hikers to be cautious and postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet until high elevation trails have dried and hardened. North-facing trails have retained snow and ice late into the season this year. As snow and ice continue to melt at high elevations, steep trails pose a danger to hikers, thin soils are susceptible to erosion, and sensitive alpine vegetation is easily damaged.

Despite recent warm weather, high-elevation backcountry trails are still covered in slowly melting ice and snow. These steep trails feature thin soils that become a mix of ice and mud as winter conditions melt and frost leaves the ground. The remaining compacted ice and snow on trails is rotten, slippery, and will not reliably support weight.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, May 29, 2020

Latest news headlines


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Dumping milk while people go hungry

 

Co-written with ANCA Executive Director Kate Fish

This April, shoppers throughout the country faced empty milk shelves in their grocery stores, while at the same time, North Country dairy farmers dumped tens of thousands of gallons of their herds’ daily production down the drain. 

Why did this happen? Why are farmers dumping milk when store shelves just a few miles away are empty? 

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Rangers have busy Memorial Day weekend

Recent Forest Ranger Actions

forest ranger logoTown of Waverly
Franklin County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On May 18 at 5:43 p.m., Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch from two hikers lost on Azure Mountain in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest. The 18-year-old female and 19-year-old male from Massena went off trail on the way up the mountain and failed to find the trail again on the way back down. Forest Ranger Scott Sabo responded to the trailhead off Blue Mountain Road. Coordinates obtained through 911 placed the hikers about 0.6 miles north of the trailhead and 0.5 miles from Blue Mountain Road. At 7:12 p.m., Ranger Sabo located the lost hikers and escorted them back to the trailhead to their vehicle.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Rangers urge caution as wildfires flare across the region

NYS DEC rangers have been called out to help fight forest fires that have started over the past few weeks. Here is a recent report from the DEC:

fireTown of Brasher
St. Lawrence County
Wildland Fire:
 On May 18 at 2:56 p.m., Region 6 Forest Rangers overheard a call by St. Lawrence County 911 about a five- to six-acre fire off Murray Road in the town of Brasher. Forest Rangers assisted 10 area fire departments using ATV firefighting apparatus and hand tools. A Ranger drone mapped the fire at 14 acres as the fire spread through dry vegetation in swamps and wooded areas. Low humidity and high temperatures, before the leaf growth, helped to spread this fire caused by the landowner burning brush.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Not Us Versus Them; It needs to be WE

I was driving to an appointment with my family and we had to make a few scheduled stops.  I saw many people not wearing masks. (Now, keep in mind people do not need to wear masks while practicing social distancing. I know you all know, but I digress.) The gas station even had a sign on their front entrance requiring all patrons to only enter if wearing masks. It was difficult to miss since you have to push on the sign to get through the door. Yes, there were people inside not wearing masks. Yes, some of those people mocked those of us wearing masks.

I found it ironic on Memorial Day weekend, a time to remember people who have died–not served– but died for our country there are people still putting their individual rights before the collective whole. You can wear a poppy on your lapel for a person who lost his/her life, but you can’t wear a mask to protect someone from actually dying? That doesn’t even make sense.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Red Fox: Nature’s Rodent Control

A smaller member of the Canidae family, which includes wolves and coyotes, red foxes are found in multiple habitats throughout North America, Europe and Asia, their numbers increasing in areas where their larger canid cousins have been hunted, trapped or otherwise extirpated.

Just as wolves, limiting competition for smaller prey, hold down coyote numbers, both wolves and coyotes keep fox numbers in check. Red foxes were introduced into Southern Australia in the 19th century, and to parts of the southern United States in the 18th century, to provide sport for hunters, and, as you’d expect, with the loss of predators, they are a problem in some areas in their impact on older native species.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Poll: NYers worry about reopening too quickly

By a margin of 65-32 percent, voters say moving too quickly to loosen stay-at-home orders  is a bigger danger than moving too slowly to loosen those orders. The concern is that reopening could spread the virus faster, resulting in more lives being lost, resulting in a worse economic impact and more jobs being lost.

That’s according to a new Siena College Poll of registered New York State voters released today.

Other findings include:

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

ADK Offers Free Memberships to Frontline Workers

johns brook lodgeADK is offering free one-year memberships to frontline, essential workers in recognition of the risks that they have taken to save lives and keep essential services available to the general public. Based on the definition provided by New York State, the following industries qualify as essential work:

*   Grocery stores
*   Public transportation
*   Healthcare
*   Emergency services

Membership benefits include a digital subscription to Adirondac magazine and discounts on outdoor skills workshops, wilderness Adirondack lodging and camping, and parking at the Heart Lake Program Center, which hosts numerous trailheads that lead into the High Peaks Wilderness. (Pictured here: Johns Brook Lodge)

If you are a frontline worker, please contact ADK’s membership department at membership@adk.org.


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Should the Adirondacks discourage visitation during COVID-19?

Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Parkway in Lake GeorgeEditor’s note: As the coronavirus pandemic swept New York this spring, Adirondack Explorer staff asked those who know and love the Adirondacks for opinions on the upcoming season. Their timing spanned late-March to mid-April, and a roundup of online and emailed submissions were published in the May/June 2020 issue of the Adirondack Explorer magazine (subscribe here). What follows is some of the responses. With Memorial Day behind us, we feel this conversation continues to be one worth having. We welcome your thoughts in the comments below.

It’s Debatable: Should the Adirondacks discourage visitation during COVID-19?

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Amending the APA Map and the burden of proof

George Davis is a visionary and practiced land use planner and ecologist. In the early years of the Adirondack Park Agency, George helped to conceive, draft, and implement the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and the park’s Private Land Use and Development Plan.

George Davis comes to my mind now because of several proposed amendments to the APA’s Adirondack Park private land use map, the so-called “fruit salad” map displaying the private and public land classes. The proposed amendments to the map now up for a decision are for 34 acres to go from Moderate Intensity Use to Hamlet in Lake Placid, sponsored by the Town of North Elba, and for 105 acres to go from Rural Use to Moderate Intensity in Lake Luzerne, sponsored by that town.

» Continue Reading.