Almanack Contributor NYS DEC

NYS DEC

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


Friday, April 15, 2022

NYS DEC issues annual muddy trail advisory for Adirondacks

Mud Season Muddy Trail Adirondacks (Adirondack Mountain CLub Photo)

Hikers advised to temporarily avoid high elevation trails and prepare for variable conditions on low elevation trails.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today urged hikers to postpone hikes on Adirondack trails above 2,500 feet until high elevation trails have dried and hardened. DEC advises hikers on how to reduce negative impacts on all trails and help protect the natural resources throughout the Adirondacks during this time.

High elevation trails: Despite recent warm weather, high elevation trails above 2,500 feet 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. “Monorails,” narrow strips of ice and compacted snow at the center of trails, are difficult to hike and the adjacent rotten snow is particularly prone to postholing.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, April 15, 2022

Outdoor conditions (4/15): Snow and mud

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

High Peaks Wilderness: Snow Conditions, 04/11: Snowshoes are still required for most higher and north-facing trails where snow remains deeper than 8 inches. Crampons and microspikes are advised for all trails above 2,500 feet. Please avoid all trails above 2,500 feet while DEC’s muddy trails advisory is in effect.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Rangers locate lost hiker on Cat, Thomas mountains

forest ranger reportTown of Bolton
Warren County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On April 10 at 8:15 p.m., Warren County 911 requested Forest Ranger assistance regarding a group hiking Cat and Thomas mountains. One of the members got separated and called for help. Ranger Kabrehl responded to the coordinates provided by 911 and located the subject approximately one-half mile from the Edgecomb Pond trailhead. Ranger Kabrehl assisted the 18-year-old from the Bronx to the trailhead where the subject was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Resources were clear at 11:30 p.m.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, April 11, 2022

NYS DEC issues guidance to reduce conflicts with bears

On April 5, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminded New Yorkers to take down bird feeders and secure garbage to avoid potential conflicts with black bears.

Bears are emerging from their dens, and now is the time to take steps to reduce potential conflicts throughout the spring and summer. Bird feeders, unsecured garbage, and outdoor pet and livestock feed can attract bears and lead to potential conflicts for homeowners. Repeated access to bird feeders and garbage can make bears bolder, seeking additional sources of human-related foods inside vehicles or buildings, particularly when natural foods are scarce.

Feeding bears intentionally is illegal. Unintentional feeding through bird feeders and unsecured garbage also has consequences for communities and may ultimately be deadly for the bear if the bear becomes a greater threat to people and property after exposure to these sources of food. It is important to properly manage attractants to avoid human-bear conflicts.

The DEC advises everyone residing in or visiting bear country (most of upstate New York) to remove any attractants. People should take down bird feeders and clean up any remaining bird seed now, begin storing garbage inside secure buildings until the morning of collection, and feed pets indoors. By taking these simple steps, New Yorkers can help ensure bears will find food naturally, which protects people, property, and bears.

For more information, please visit DEC’s webpage on reducing human-bear conflicts.

An interview with DEC Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Hurst discussing ways to avoid human-bear conflicts and a video of a bear destroying a bird feeder can be found on the DEC’s website, interview/video coverage courtesy of the NYS DEC.

Photo at top: Black bear in Raquette Lake. Photo by Jeff Nadler, archive photo. 

 

 


Saturday, April 9, 2022

DEC to offer free waterfront lifeguard course April 19-22 in Fulton County

On Wednesday, March 23, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced a free waterfront lifeguard course will be offered April 19 through 22 in Gloversville, Fulton County. Individuals looking for seasonal summer employment who enjoy the outdoors are encouraged to learn more about DEC’s summer recreation opportunities.

“Joining the team of lifeguards at DEC campgrounds and day use areas during the summer season offers an excellent opportunity to help visitors safely enjoy the great outdoors in New York’s beautiful Catskill and Adirondack forest preserves,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “I encourage all eligible New Yorkers with a passion for nature and an interest in becoming a lifeguard to learn more.”

» Continue Reading.


Friday, April 8, 2022

Outdoor conditions (4/8): Muddy trails but still snowy on mountain tops

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.

Muddy Trails Advisory: DEC today issued a muddy trail advisory for Adirondack trails, especially those over 2,500 feet in elevation. Please avoid the following high elevation trails until trails conditions have dried and hardened:

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 7, 2022

How to Scrape Spongy Moth Eggs

spongy mass eggsHave you noticed spongy moth egg masses in your neighborhood? Last year was a boom year for spongy moth (formerly known as gypsy moth) caterpillar populations, especially in Central and Western NY. Egg masses contain 600-700 eggs each and will hatch around May. If you find them now, you can scrape them off trees or buildings and drop them into a container of detergent to prevent the eggs from hatching.

Spongy moths are non-native, but are naturalized, meaning they will always be around in our forests. They tend to spike in numbers roughly every 10-15 years but outbreaks are usually ended by natural causes such as predators and disease. Removing their egg masses is not a cure for spongy moth infestations, but it is a small step you can take to help protect trees in your neighborhood. To learn more about this species and management efforts throughout the year, visit our website.

Pictured: spongy moth egg masses on a tree


Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Injured hikers on Big Slide, Auger Falls trails

forest ranger reportRecent NYS DEC actions:

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On April 3 at 9:30 a.m., Forest Rangers Evans and Lewis responded to a call for an injured hiker on Big Slide Mountain. At 11:25 a.m., Ranger Evans found the 34-year-old from Scotia, splinted the hiker’s injured shoulder, and helped her to the trailhead. Ranger Lewis and Keene Valley EMS were hiking up from the Garden trailhead and met the group to provide pain medication. Rangers assisted the subject back to the trailhead at approximately 1 p.m.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Catskills Fire Tower Challenge: DEC encourages experienced hikers to visit all 6 fire towers during 2022

For nearly a century, observers watched the forests of New York State–including the Catskill and Adirondack forest preserves– from more than 100 fire towers perched atop the highest peaks, searching for the dangerous, telltale signs of forest fires. The Catskills Fire Tower Challenge encourages experienced hikers to visit the region’s remaining five historic fire towers, as well as a new sixth fire tower that was opened at the Catskills Visitor Center in the fall of 2019.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 2, 2022

Be on the Lookout for Amphibians Crossing the Road

amphibiansWith the arrival of spring temperatures, amphibians have begun their annual migrations to woodland pools to breed. Often, they must cross roads to reach these pools. In New York, this migration usually occurs on rainy nights in early April, when the night air temperature is above 40 degrees. When these conditions exist there can be explosive, “big night” migrations, with hundreds of amphibians on the move. Volunteers can help document these locations and help amphibians like wood frogs, spotted salamanders, American toads, or spring peepers safely cross the road. Drivers on New York roads are encouraged to proceed with caution or avoid travel on the first warm, rainy evenings of the season. Amphibians come out after nightfall and are slow moving; mortality can be high even on low-traffic roads.

Photo of wood frog by Laura Heady. 


Friday, April 1, 2022

Outdoor conditions (4/1): Even though it’s April Fool’s mud season is no joke

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.

High Peaks Wilderness:

  • Trails are a mix of ice, slush and mud. Higher elevations have 6-12 inches still on trail. Snowshoes are still required at high elevations. Crampons and gators should be carried and worn when needed.
  • Snow report as of 03/31: There is just over 2 feet of snow at the Lake Colden Outpost. Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden have spots of open water and slush and are considered unstable in parts. Rivers are crossable but hazardous.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 31, 2022

ECOs help catch bank robbers, assist with ice fishing contest

ECOs iceRecent NYS Environmental Conservation Officer actions:

Walleye Challenge – Great Sacandaga Lake, Fulton/Saratoga/Franklin/Essex Counties
On Feb. 18, ECOs and Sheriff’s Deputies in Fulton and Montgomery counties conducted patrols on Great Sacandaga Lake the evening before the annual Walleye Challenge ice fishing contest. Officers checked ice ridges on the lake and alerted event organizers about safety hazards and open water. On the morning of Feb. 19, ECOs were joined by local law enforcement from the New York State Police, Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office, and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office to monitor the challenge, which drew 2,000 participants. Using snowmobiles, ATVs, and UTVs, the Officers focused on public safety. Throughout the day, the ECOs responded to four calls for machines and individuals through the ice and into the water; all who fell through made it out safely. A half-submerged snowmobile was recovered, as well.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Rangers take part in avalanche training at Whiteface Mountain

forest ranger report

Recent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Mayfield, Fulton County, River Search:

On March 21 at 3:40 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch requested Forest Ranger assistance with a potential search after a kayak was seen floating down the Kennyetto River. Forest Rangers Kerr, Morehouse, Nally, Scott, and Thompson were joined by New York State Police, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, and Mayfield Fire. At approximately 5:30 p.m., the kayak was retrieved.

The search concluded after Rangers determined the kayak had been tied to a tree and likely broke free after the ice melted.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, March 25, 2022

Outdoor conditions (3/25): Roads closed for mud season

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.

New:

High Peaks Wilderness:

  • Snowshoes or skis are now required to be worn as snow depths exceed 8 inches.
  • Snow report as of 03/16: There is almost 3 feet of snow at the Lake Colden Outpost. Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are frozen. Rivers are crossable but hazardous. Channels with high flow are soft or melted. Ice is currently falling off rock faces. People should take care around Avalanche Lake. Note: Conditions may have changed since the last report.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: All snowmobile trails are closed.

Debar Mountain Wild Forest: All snowmobile trails are closed.

Wilmington Wild Forest: The Wilmington Snowmobile Trail is now closed.

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: All snowmobile trails are closed.

Lake George Wild Forest:

  • Jabe Pond Road and Lily Pond Road are closed to vehicle traffic for spring mud season.
  • Dacy Clearing Road in Shelving Rock is closed to vehicle traffic for spring mud season.

Adirondack Rail Trail: The trail is now closed to snowmobile use for the season.

Region 6 is closing all mud gates to snowmobile trails and seasonal access roads on Forest Preserve, State Forest, and Conservation Easement lands due to spring thaw and muddy conditions.

Kushaqua and Sable Highlands Easements: Mud locks will be in place by April 1st to protect the integrity of the roads until further notice.

Watson’s East Triangle Wild Forest (Croghan & Oswegatchie Conservation Easement Tracts): All mud gates in Watson’s East Triangle Wild Forest as well as those on the Croghan Tract and Oswegatchie Conservation Easement will be shut starting the week of 3/21/2022.  Roads will be reopened when they are dry and firm enough to support motor vehicle traffic.

Independence River Wild Forest (Stillwater Reservoir, Big Moose & Three Lakes Conservation Easement Tracts): DEC staff will begin shutting mud gates in the Independence River Wild Forest the week of 3/28/2022.  Roads will be reopened when they are dry and firm enough to support motor vehicle traffic.

All snowmobile gates on Macomb State Forest, Taylor Pond Campground, and Taylor Pond Wild Forest have been closed for the season.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest: Powley Road is closed for mud season until further notice.

Moose River Plains Wild Forest:

  • The entrance gates to the Moose River Plains are closed for mud season until further notice.
  • The seasonal portion of Cedar River Rd. which accesses the Wakely Mtn Trailhead is closed for mud season. The road is closed where the pavement ends, approx. 7 miles from Route 30.
  • A 200’ section of the West Mtn Trail is flooded due to beaver activity at the Beaver Brook crossing in Moose River Plains Wild Forest. Until the flooding is addressed, it is recommended to access the West Mtn summit from the Constable Pond trailhead off Higby Road (Pigeon Lake Wilderness).

Silver Lake Wilderness: West River Rd. that provides access to Whitehouse/Northville Placid Trail is closed for mud season until further notice.

All snowmobile trails in the town of Newcomb are closed (C8A & C7B)

Essex Chain Lakes: All mud gates are closed.

Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest: The Campsite Road gate is closed for mud season

Corinth Edinburg Conservation Easement: Snowmobile trails in the western Saratoga County area are now closed. (Saratoga Snowmobile Club)

Speculator Tree Farm Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement, Jessup River Wild Forest: Snowmobile trails in the Speculator region are closed as of Saturday, March 19.


General Notices

Visit the main Adirondack Backcountry Information page for more trip-planning resources, including travel information, weather resources, and seasonally-specific information about Adirondack recreation.

Hike Smart NY can help you prepare with a list of 10 essentials, guidance on what to wear, and tips for planning your trip with safety and sustainability in mind

Check the Weather: Check the forecast for your destination and pack and plan accordingly. Check the National Weather Service Northern Adirondacks and Southern Adirondacks Mountain Point Forecasts for select summit forecasts. Check both daytime and nighttime temperatures and remember that temperatures will drop as you gain elevation. Check wind chill temperatures and prepare for colder, windier summits.

Spring Conditions: Be prepared for a mix of winter and spring conditions. Snow and ice are still present throughout the region, but warmer temps have brought high waters and muddy trails in low elevations. Be prepared with warm, waterproof layers, extra layers, and proper gear for snow and ice, including snowshoes, microspikes and crampons. In the High Peaks Wilderness, snowshoes or skis are still required to be worn where snow depths exceed 8 inches. Remember that conditions will change as you gain elevation, and cold, wet weather poses a significant risk of hypothermia.

Avalanche Advisory: Backcountry downhill skiers, snowboarders, and all outdoor adventurers who may traverse slides or steep, open terrain should be aware of and prepared for avalanche conditions. If you are planning a trip to avalanche-prone territory, research the route ahead of time and contact a local DEC Forest Ranger for specific safety and conditions information, or contact a local guide. Before going into the backcountry, be equipped with avalanche safety tools and knowledge, such as participation in an avalanche safety course. Additional information on avalanche danger, preparedness, and safety precautions is available on DEC’s website.

Muddy Trails & Monorails: As snow begins to melt on lower elevation trails, be prepared for mud and monorails. Monorails are thin strips of hardpacked snow and ice in the center of trails, surrounded by minimal or no snow on the sides. Monorails can create difficult walking conditions. Microspikes and trekking poles can assist with traction and balance. Where trails are muddy, walk directly through mud instead of around it to help minimize trail widening and trailside damage.

Seasonal Roads: Some seasonal access roads are beginning to close for spring mud season, while others are still open for snowmobile use only. Where seasonal access roads are open to public motor vehicles, the use of four-wheel drive vehicles is strongly recommended.

Snowmobiles: Be prepared for variable conditions. Visitors are advised to plan ahead and check local club, county, and state webpages and resources, including the NYSSA Snowmobile web map, for up-to-date snowmobile trail information.

Pack & Prepare: Winter hikes can be lots of fun, but they can also be dangerous if you’re not prepared. Take a moment to watch DEC’s How To Pack and Prepare for a Winter Hike video for a review of what gear to pack and the steps to take as you plan your hike.

Layer Up: Temperatures can change significantly depending on your location, the time of day and your elevation. Stay safe and warm by wearing non-cotton, moisture-wicking base layers, insulating layers, and waterproof, windproof outer layers. Wear a hat, mittens or gloves, and a buff. Gaiters can help keep your lower legs warm and prevent snow from getting in your boots. Bring additional layers. Wear sturdy waterproof boots that are already broken in. Learn more about layering for cold weather by watching DEC’s How To video.

Share the Trails: Many multi-use trails are enjoyed by a variety of users in the winter. Be respectful of everyone’s experience by following winter trail etiquette. Wear snowshoes to prevent postholing and keep ski and snowshoe tracks separate when possible. Move to the right to let faster users pass and yield to downhill traffic. When stopping, step to the side of the trail to make way for other users. Snowmobiles should ride single file, keep to the right, pass on the left only when the trail is clear, and yield the right-of-way to skiers, snowshoers and other non-mechanized forms of travel as well as those passing or traveling uphill.


Thursday, March 24, 2022

$1.35 Million Available to Conserve Forested Land

newly conserved land on Upper Saranac Lake courtesy Adirondack Land TrustDEC Announces New Forest Conservation Easements for Land Trusts Grant Program

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the first round of competitive grants for the Forest Conservation Easements for Land Trusts (FCELT) Grant Program. In partnership with the Land Trust Alliance, a total of $1.35 million in grant funding is available for DEC to award to eligible, accredited land trusts to purchase conservation easements on forested land for the purpose of protecting these lands from future development. The goal of the grant program is to increase the pace of forest land conservation to keep forests as forests and combat climate change.

Applicants may apply for up to $350,000 to fund the acquisition of conservation easements on forest land in New York State. To apply, a 25 percent match of grant funding requested is required and land trusts must be accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.

Funding for the grant program is provided by the State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). In the 2022-23 Executive Budget, Governor Hochul proposed increasing the EPF to $400 million, the highest level of funding in the program’s history. The EPF provides funding for critical environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, enhanced recreational access, water quality improvement, and an aggressive environmental justice agenda.

FCELT grants will further goals/strategies identified in the New York State Open Space Plan, the New York State Wildlife Action Plan, the New York State Forest Action Plan, and/or other local, regional or statewide land protection plans.

FCELT has a two-step application process, which includes a letter of interest followed by a full application. Letters of interest are now being accepted and are due by May 16, 2022. Full applications are by invitation only. Applicants invited to submit a final application will be notified by June 13, 2022, after which final applications will be due by July 28, 2022. Complete details about this grant opportunity including eligibility requirements and other program elements can be found on the FCELT webpage.

Photo: Land conserved on Upper Saranac Lake, courtesy of Adirondack Land Trust



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