Almanack Contributor NYS DEC

Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Outdoor Conditions (2/17): Fluctuating temps lead to variable ice conditions on Adirondack waters

outdoor conditions logoThe following are only the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry webpages for a full list of notices, including seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.


High Peaks Wilderness:

  • Snow Report (02/16): The following report describes conditions as of Thursday, 02/16. Changing weather may affect conditions. There is 27.6 inches (2.3 feet) of snow at the Colden Caretaker Cabin and deeper accumulations at higher elevations. Snowshoes are required to be worn in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness when snow accumulations reach 8 inches. Microspikes and crampons are needed for traction on ice. The Marcy Dam Truck Trail is skiable. Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden have variable ice conditions and crossings near inlets/outlets are dangerous – always exercise caution on or near ice. Camping adjacent to the Opalescent River at the south end of Lake Colden is discouraged due to recent flooding.

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Great Backyard Bird Count slated for Feb. 17-20

northern cardinal

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a fun event for bird watchers of all ages and abilities, from beginners to experts. The GBBC will be held Friday, February 17, through Monday, February 20, 2023. To help, you will need to count the birds you see or hear for at least 15 minutes (or longer if you wish) for one or more days of the four-day event. You can participate from your backyard, or anywhere in the world. For more information visit the GBBC website.

Photo at top: Northern cardinal. Photo by John Mack. Photo courtesy of the NYS DEC.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Rangers participate in wildfire prevention presentation at Keene Central School

forest ranger reportTown of Keene
Essex County
Public Outreach:
 On Feb. 10, Forest Rangers DuChene and Foutch participated in a wildfire prevention presentation at Keene Central School. Charlie, the student of the week, requested a visit from Smokey Bear for his third grade class. Smokey, the Rangers, and DEC Forester Barber gave a presentation about the history of Smokey Bear and wildfire prevention. After the classroom visit, Forester Barber and Ranger DuChene showed the class how to safely build a campfire and enjoyed some s’mores.

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

DEC is Hiring Staff for the 2023 Summer Camps Program

DEC summer camps

The NYS DEC is actively recruiting Directors, Assistant Directors, Waterfront Directors, Cooks, Nurses, EMTs, Counselors, and Camp Aides for the 2023 Summer Camps Program. All positions offer competitive salaries, plus room and board for the summer.

Locations of DEC Summer Camps:

  • Camp Colby in Saranac Lake;
  • Camp Pack Forest in Warrensburg;
  • Camp Rushford in Caneadea; and
  • Camp DeBruce, near Livingston Manor.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Recreation Highlight: Leave No Trace on State Lands this Winter

Leave no trace graphic

Everyone who recreates on New York’s State lands has a responsibility to adequately prepare themselves and protect natural resources for future generations. Following the Seven Principles of Leave No Trace™, set forth by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, is one-way visitors are encouraged to Love Our New York Lands.

Plan Ahead and Prepare

Proper planning is vital to a safe winter adventure. Know personal limits, set realistic goals, and choose an experience appropriate for everyone in the group. Research trails and routes before setting out and contact DEC or other knowledgeable parties with questions.

» Continue Reading.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

New York’s moose population steady, possibly growing


Moose in winter in NY

Moose have been present in the northern portion of New York since the Pleistocene (period of time spanning about 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago). However, by as early as the 1860s overhunting and habitat degradation had eliminated moose from New York. In response, a handful of small-scale moose restoration efforts were undertaken between 1870 and 1902 by private landowners and the NYS Fish, Forest and Game Commission, but were not successful. Over the next eighty years there were periodic moose sightings, but it wasn’t until 1986 that DEC staff documented a small population of resident moose in the Adirondacks that may have immigrated from Vermont, Massachusetts, or Quebec. Around 2010, it was thought that the population that started with only 6-11 individuals had grown to many as 400.

» Continue Reading.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

DEC Recreation Highlight: Green Staycations

Hiker in the woods during winter time

With its holidays and school breaks, February is a popular time of year for vacations. Luckily, you don’t need to leave New York to enjoy a fantastic green vacation. Whether it’s a day, a week or even longer, enjoy some of the great recreational activities the Adirondacks–and all of New York–has to offer. Need inspiration? Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Visit Camp Santanoni for a Winter Weekend Event. Take in the natural beauty of the Adirondacks with this winter adventure. Upcoming dates include:
    • President’s Holiday weekend, February 18-20.
    • March 11-12

» Continue Reading.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Outdoor Conditions (2/10): Loon Lake Mountains Saddle Trail closed due to logging operations

outdoor conditions logoThe following are only the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry webpages for a full list of notices, including seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information


High Peaks Wilderness:

  • Snow Report (02/09): The following report describes conditions as of Thursday, 02/09. Changing weather may affect conditions. There is 28 inches (2.3 feet) of snow at the Colden Caretaker Cabin and deeper accumulations at higher elevations. Snowshoes are required to be worn in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness when snow accumulations reach 8 inches. Microspikes and crampons are needed for traction on ice. Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are frozen – always exercise caution on or near ice.

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

BearWise: A glimpse at early lives of bear cubs

bear cubs

If bears had birthday parties, they’d all be in January and February. That’s when winter dens across the country turn into nurseries as most pregnant bears give birth to cubs weighing in at less than a pound that would easily fit into your hands. Human moms would probably envy a mother bear’s ability to give birth to one, two, or three or more tiny cubs while half-asleep.

Even though cubs are born with their eyes closed, unable to hear or smell and weak and uncoordinated, they instinctively find their mom’s nipples and start nursing. Soon the den will be filled with mom’s snores and the happy sounds of cubs humming and purring while they snuggle up to mom and their siblings and fill their tummies with a steady diet of rich, warm milk. Bear’s milk has a fat content around 33%, so nursing cubs have no problem gaining weight.

Over the next several weeks, cubs will keep eating, sleeping and growing and eventually start cautiously exploring their winter quarters. As winter slowly gives way to spring, their eyes will open, their teeth will come in and the fine hair they’re born with will be replaced by fur coats.

To find out how many cubs are usually born, what a very large litter could mean, and more fascinating facts, keep reading at!

Story courtesy of BearWise. Editor’s Note: Text and photo above were published in the NYS DEC’s Feb. 1 Wildlife, Fish, and Marine Life Newsletter.

Photo at top by Emily Carroll of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Monday, February 6, 2023

Take Part in the DEC Informational Kiosk Survey

Kaaterskill Falls trail restoration press event.

Interested parties are welcome to provide feedback for a chance to win a gift card to a sporting goods store. The NYS DEC is gathering the public’s opinion on their informational kiosksKiosks are small, open wooden structures that provide cover for educational/informational signs. These kiosks are located at various state properties such as state forests, wilderness areas, conservation easements, wildlife management areas (WMAs), boat launches, and more.

Take the survey to let the DEC know what you think and be entered to win a $50 sporting goods store gift card and a free subscription to the Conservationist magazine. Winners will be announced each month from January 2023 through January 2024. A grand prize winner will be announced in January 2024 and will receive a $200 sporting goods store gift card and a free magazine subscription. By providing input, you can help the DEC to help improve your outdoor experience. For prize rules and regulations, please visit DEC’s website.


Photo at top: Kaaterskill Falls trail restoration press event. DEC photo.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Recreation Highlight: Winter on the Adirondack Rail Trail

Portion of the Adirondack Rail Trail

This past fall, ground was broken on the future Adirondack Rail Trail, a 34-mile multi-use recreation trail that will stretch from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid, connecting communities of the North Country and providing a world-class outdoor destination to locals and visitors alike. In December, construction on the Lake Placid to Saranac Lake segment of trail paused for the season, allowing for interim winter recreation until construction resumes in the spring. This provides an exceptional winter recreation opportunity for snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, snowshoers, birders and other winter users, and a glimpse at what the rail trail will offer year-round once it is fully completed in 2025.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Outdoor Conditions (2/3): Northern NY under windchill warning through Sat., windchill temps -30°F to -45°F

outdoor conditions logo

Special Weather Warning: (02/02) – A wind chill warning for northern New York is in effect from 1 a.m. Friday until 1 p.m. Saturday. Dangerously cold wind chills are expected, with wind chill temperatures reaching as low as -30°F to -45°F at base elevations. The dangerously cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes.

Conditions will be even more severe at higher elevations. Higher elevations will see stronger winds in the 30-40 mile per hour range and wind chill temperatures dipping into the -60°Fs. For reference, these conditions are more severe than what is forecast for the South Pole of Antarctica – please take these conditions seriously.

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

DEC: Consequences of Feeding Deer in Winter

Deer in winter

Now that white-tailed deer hunting seasons have ended throughout most of New York State, it may be tempting to begin feeding deer to “help” them through the winter. However, feeding deer during the winter or other times of the year is unnecessary, prohibited in New York, and can have very negative consequences for deer, your neighbors, and surrounding wildlife habitat.

During the winter, deer mainly rely on woody vegetation (known as woody browse) for their nutritional needs. The digestive enzymes in a deer’s stomach change in the winter to better digest this browse. If deer are provided with unnatural food sources such as corn or hay after this change in diet has occurred, it can result in deer becoming ill or even dying. Deer will eat the unnatural food source, but can develop acidosis (grain overload disease) or enterotoxemia (Clostridium overgrowth) disease because they can’t digest the food properly. Both diseases can result in the rapid illness and death of deer even though their stomachs are full.

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Rangers respond to snowmobile accidents in Herkimer County

forest ranger reportTown of Wilmington
Essex County
Avalanche Safety Training:
 On Jan. 27, Forest Ranger Mecus participated in a three-day avalanche safety course conducted by the National Ski Patrol at Whiteface Ski Center. Ranger Mecus was among 17 students from across the Northeast. The course focused on basic avalanche science, understanding the snowpack and how it relates to avalanche danger, and essential techniques for reaching subjects in the event of an avalanche.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, January 30, 2023

DEC: Free Lifeguard Qualifying Procedures to Begin Feb. 4

dec logoOn January 24, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that its free lifeguard qualifying procedures begin Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023.

Individuals 15 and older interested in lifeguarding positions at DEC facilities this summer are eligible to register. Candidates who qualify will be considered for employment. The qualifying procedure consists of two parts: a Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) skills component; and a water skills evaluation. Candidates may attend the qualifying location most convenient to them and the results will be forwarded to their preferred work location.

» Continue Reading.

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