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.


Saturday, July 11, 2020

Wildlife Spotlight: the Gray Treefrog

The last species of Anuran (frog) to breed in New York, from late May into July, is the gray treefrog (Dryophytes versicolor). The species overwinters in forests, where they spend most of their lives. They make their way to wetlands, where males call to attract mates. Females then deposit fertilized eggs on vegetation in the wetland. After breeding they will return to their forested haunts, and can be heard calling periodically throughout the summer.

Patterning and coloration are variable, but they are generally covered in ragged dark blotches over a gray to light green background. Gray treefrogs have a light spot bordered by a dark edge beneath the eye and bright yellow coloration on the inside surface of their thighs. Adults are 1.5-2 inches, and have toe pads that act as a suction cup for climbing.

Their call is an unmistakable, powerful trill that varies in length between individuals. To some, this call may be reminiscent of a raccoon, minus the random chatter. The call is so powerful, that to the human ear the pulse of their trill can be felt reverberating through the bones of the inner ear! Check out this video of a gray treefrog calling.

Photo by William Hoffman.


Friday, July 10, 2020

Outdoor Conditions (7/10): Beat the heat, avoid bears

This bulletin provides only the most recent notices. Check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for more detailed information on access, outdoor recreation infrastructure, and conditions.

DEC Campgrounds
Updated: All DEC Campgrounds and Day Use Areas in the Adirondacks are open except for the Hinkley Reservoir Day Use Area. All Campgrounds and Day Use Areas have restrictions and rules to protect visitors and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. DEC is accepting new reservations for dates on or after July 10, 2020. To maintain social distancing and reduce the density of facilities and protect visitors, DEC is not currently accepting walk-in camping.

Backcountry Camping
Permits are available for groups of fewer than 10 people who plan to stay more than three nights at a primitive campsite. DEC has temporarily stopped issuing permits for backcountry camping for groups of 10 or more. Use of lean-tos should be restricted to members of a single household at a time to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 9, 2020

DEC adds 241 acres to Catskill Forest Preserve

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently announced the acquisition of 241 acres in the Catskills, including 208 acres adjoining existing Forest Preserve lands in the Bluestone Wild Forest that will preserve critical open space and expand recreational opportunities to support the local economy. The purchases of the two properties were made possible through a partnership with the Open Space Institute (OSI) and $758,000 from New York’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 9, 2020

Upcoming exams for Falconry, Wildlife Rehabilitation, and more

The DEC has announced that exams for those looking to become wildlife rehabilitators, practice falconry, or use leashed tracking dogs to locate wounded or injured big game animals will be held on Aug. 14 with a registration deadline of July 24.

In region 5, the exams will be held at DEC offices in Ray Brook  and Warrensburg, with two exam times offered: 10 am – noon and 2-4 p.m.

DEC Regional Offices and their locations can be found at the DEC website, as well as exam registration forms.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Rangers educate river guides; assist lost and injured hikers

Recent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Hudson River
Indian Lake
Hamilton County

On Sunday, July 5, two Forest Rangers from Region 5 Zone D, Hamilton County, conducted outreach and education for New York State-licensed rafting guides on the Indian/Hudson River. On this day, 182 customers hired licensed guides to raft them down the Indian and Hudson River Gorge. Rangers inspected 40 licensed guides, educating and assisting them with any violations observed.

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On June 30 at 7:48 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker reporting that her hiking partner was overdue coming off Lower Wolfjaw Mountain. The hiker had last seen her friend at a junction labeled for Lower Wolfjaw on their descent at approximately 4:45 p.m., when the caller took both of their gear and proceeded ahead to make things easier for her slower companion. Forest Ranger Rob Praczkajlo headed to the security house at the Ausable Club and proceeded to drive down the lake road to the start of the Wedge Brook trail for Upper and Lower Wolfjaw. At 10:05 p.m., Ranger Praczkajlo advised that he was with the 45-year-old hiker from Gloversville. The woman had hiked down the trail and followed Wedge Brook, off trail, down to the Ausable River. A group of hikers found her at the river and assisted her back to the trail where they were met by Ranger Praczkajlo who then escorted her down to the lake road and gave her a courtesy ride to join her friend at the gate house.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Watchable Wildlife – 2020 I Bird NY Challenges

DEC recently kicked off the 2020 “I BIRD NY” challenges for beginner and experienced birders. The I BIRD NY program was launched in 2017 to build on the State’s efforts to increase access to New York’s vast natural resources and promote low-cost opportunities to explore the great outdoors and connect with nature.

Birdwatching is one of the fastest growing outdoor recreational activities in the U.S. Backyard birding, or watching birds around the home, is the most common way people engage in birding. New York State is home to a wide range of habitats that support more than 450 different bird species throughout the year. There are also 59 designated Bird Conservation Areas to safeguard and enhance bird populations and habitats on State lands and waters across New York. Check the map to find the bird conservation areas in your region. The State’s I Bird NY program provides resources for New Yorkers who want to get outdoors and engage in birding all year long. People from all economic backgrounds experience the joy of birdwatching. While binoculars can help, you can enjoy birds without any special equipment.


Saturday, July 4, 2020

DEC to open camping reservations on Monday, 7/6

News update from NYS DEC:

DEC IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE OPENING OF RESERVATIONS FOR THE 2020 SEASON. RESERVATIONS FOR DATES ON OR AFTER JULY 10 WILL BEGIN AT 8AM ON MONDAY, JULY 6. DUE TO EXPECTED VOLUME, WE ENCOURAGE CUSTOMERS TO BOOK RESERVATIONS ONLINE.

WALK-IN CAMPING IS NOT PERMITTED AT THIS TIME.

As part of the COVID-19 guidelines, and for the courtesy of other visitors and our staff, face masks must be worn when outside your campsite area at any place where social distancing cannot be maintained. All patrons shall practice social distancing.

Only registered campers will be allowed in campground areas, no day visitors will be permitted.

In order to assist with enhanced cleaning, Check-in time is now 2pm and Check-out time is 10am.

There may be limited shower and/or restroom facilities and they may periodically be closed to allow for enhanced cleaning.

Use of facility amenities such as, but not limited to playgrounds, pavilions and day use areas may be restricted or prohibited at certain locations.

Retail sales such as firewood and ice as well as other services such as boat rentals may be restricted or prohibited at certain locations.

To achieve density reduction in our facilities, day use sales and bather capacity number will be reduced.


Friday, July 3, 2020

Learn About our State Reptile, the Snapping Turtle

This time of year many people are seeing snapping turtles digging in their yards or swimming in home ponds. Snapping turtles and other turtles make their nests in easily dug soil, so they may lay their eggs in backyards and gardens. If the nest can be allowed to remain, hatchlings will emerge in August or September but sometimes overwintering until spring. If the area where the nest has been laid must be disturbed, contact your regional wildlife office for guidance.

Snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) are often described as aggressive, but a better term is defensive. They try to avoid confrontation and are more likely to defend themselves on dry land. When they are on land, try to give them some extra space, and they will move on. In fact, if you see one on land it is usually a female who is looking to lay eggs. Snappers spend most of their lives in the water, where they will generally swim away from people when encountered and are usually docile.

Unfortunately, like many turtle species, snapping turtles face serious threats—being struck while crossing roads or collection for the food and pet trade. It is illegal to collect or relocate a snapping turtle without a permit, and they can only be hunted in season with a valid hunting license.

Learn more about snapping turtles in the April 2017 Conservationist (PDF).

Photo by Marcelo del Puerto.


Friday, July 3, 2020

Outdoor Conditions (7/2): Increased bear activity

This bulletin provides only the most recent notices. Check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for more detailed information on access, outdoor recreation infrastructure, and conditions.

Emergency Situations: If you get lost or injured; keep calm and stay put. If you have cell service, call 911 or the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch, 518-891-0235.

DEC Campgrounds
Updated: All DEC Campgrounds and Day Use Areas in the Adirondacks are open except for the Hinkley Reservoir Day Use Area. All Campgrounds and Day Use Areas have restrictions and rules to protect visitors and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To maintain social distancing and reduce the density of facilities and protect visitors, DEC is currently not accepting additional reservations or walk-in camping for the 2020 season – only existing reservations will be honored at DEC campgrounds. Only reservations for the 2021 season may be made now.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

DEC issues fire danger warning for July 4th weekend

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today urged New Yorkers to practice the utmost safety during the upcoming holiday weekend. Dry weather throughout the month of June has increased the risk of fires.

There are currently three active wildfires in the state: one in St. Lawrence County; one in Herkimer County; and one in Tompkins County. Collectively, these fires are burning nearly 11 acres of land, and in some cases are 18 inches deep, requiring a pump operation with large volumes of water. Two other fires in St. Lawrence County over the weekend burned another 11 acres of land.

The majority of the state remains at a moderate risk for fires, meaning that any outdoor fire can spread quickly, especially if the wind picks up. Campfires are among the top five causes of wildfires. Fireworks are in the top 12. According to the National Safety Council, each year in the U.S. fireworks are responsible for more than 18,000 fires.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Rangers fight backcountry fires in Old Forge, St. Lawrence Co.

Recent DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Webb
Herkimer County
Wildland Fire:
 On June 24 at 1:40 p.m., Herkimer County 911 contacted DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch requesting assistance with a backcountry wildfire on Panther Mountain. Four Forest Rangers responded to assist the Old Forge Fire Department with a one-acre smoldering wildfire in the cliffs and rocks at the Panther Mountain overlook, burning in deep spruce duff 0.6 miles from a private road. Volunteer firefighters and Rangers knocked down the fire, preventing its spread. Over the following three days, seven Rangers utilized a State Police Aviation helicopter with water bucket drops, hand tools, and set up a half-mile water hose pumping operation up 600 vertical feet in elevation to continually douse several areas of the fire with water. The fire is now in patrol status.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Discover Wildflowers Right Outside Your Door

You can find wildflowers just about anywhere! Look for wildflowers at your local park, in your backyard, in fields and forests, and along roadsides. Not only are they nice to look at, but can be food for wildlife, including pollinators.

Learn more in the Conservationist for Kids pollinator issue (PDF). Wildlife may eat the leaves, flowers, seeds or stems.

Below are some species of native wildflowers:

» Continue Reading.


Friday, June 26, 2020

Outdoor Conditions: Fire towers reopen; campground update

This bulletin provides only the most recent notices. Check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for more detailed information on access, outdoor recreation infrastructure, and conditions.

Emergency Situations: If you get lost or injured; keep calm and stay put. If you have cell service, call 911 or the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch, 518-891-0235.

DEC Campgrounds
Updated: Many DEC Campgrounds and Day Use Areas in the Adirondacks are open this weekend and most others are scheduled to open July 1. Check the current status
of DEC Campgrounds and Day Use Areas.

To maintain social distancing and reduce the density of facilities and protect visitors, DEC is currently not accepting additional reservations or walk-in camping for the 2020 season – only existing reservations will be honored at DEC campgrounds. Only reservations for the 2021 season may be made now.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, June 26, 2020

What’s in a name: Joe Pye weed

Purple weed named Joe Pye June 22-28 is National Pollinator Week! To celebrate, we’re highlighting Joe Pye weeds (Eutrochium spp.), native essentials for any pollinator garden. There are several Joe Pye weed species. All have tall leafy stems with flat or rounded heads of small but bountiful shadowy pink flowers. Joe Pye weeds are an attractive garden choice not just because of their popularity with bees and butterflies, but also because of their hardiness. These tough perennial flowers can withstand a wide range of conditions including high summer temperatures and a lack of water. In ideal conditions, they do prefer slightly moist soils, and in the wild, you can often find them growing in wetlands. The flowers bloom in late summer when many other flowers begin to wane.

Have you ever wondered who Joe Pye was? According to legend, Joe Pye was a Native American herbalist who used a local plant to cure a variety of illnesses including typhoid fever. For years, it was unknown if Joe Pye was a real person or a botanical myth until research confirmed the plant’s name originated from the nickname of Joseph Shauquethqueat, a Mohican chief who lived in Massachusetts and New York in the 18th and early 19th centuries (Pearce, Richard B and Pringle, James S. (2017). Joe Pye, Joe Pye’s Law, and Joe-Pye-Weed: The History and Eponymy of the Common Name Joe-Pye-Weed for Eutrochium Species (Asteraceae), The Great Lakes Botanist, 56(3-4):177-200.). 

Celebrate National Pollinator Week by adding some native plants to your backyard or container garden. We’ve got you covered for some ideas to start with – check out our website for a list of native suggestions (PDF).

Photo by Danielle Brigida, Flickr


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Salmon stocking update

Five waters in the Adirondacks (DEC’s Region 5) will be stocked with landlocked Atlantic salmon in the coming weeks. Ranging 2-6 pounds, the broodstock fish (used for spawning purposes) are from a hatchery operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Vermont.

Over 2,500 of these salmon will be stocked into Lake George, Schroon Lake, Moose Pond (Town of St. Armand), Taylor Pond (Town of Black Brook) and Lake Colby. Anglers are reminded that established fishing regulations for landlocked salmon apply to these waters

DEC photo



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