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.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

DEC Announces Start of Annual Tree and Shrub Seedling Sale

saratoga tree nurseryMore than 50 Species Available from Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the start of the Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery annual spring seedling sale, which is open to the public and runs until May 13. Each year, the nursery offers low-cost, New York-grown tree and shrub species for sale to encourage conservation plantings and foster the next generation of forests.

There are many environmental, economic, and social reasons to plant trees. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making them a powerful tool in the fight against climate change. Trees also lower heating and cooling costs, provide food and shelter for native wildlife, improve water quality by filtering runoff, prevent erosion, and increase overall public health and well-being.

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Friday, January 21, 2022

Outdoor conditions (1/21): Snowshoes required in High Peaks Wilderness

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:

  • Snowshoes or skis are now required to be worn as snow depths exceed 8 inches.
  • Snow report as of 01/20: The Van Ho and South Meadows trails to Marcy Dam are skiable. Both Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are frozen, though there are soft spots on Lake Colden. There is approximately 25 inches of snow at the Lake Colden Outpost and 3-4 feet of snow at higher elevations like Algonquin and Colden. Note: Conditions may have changed since the last report.

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Thursday, January 20, 2022

 2021 Round Whitefish Egg Collection Complete

roundfish egg collectionIn December, Bureau of Fisheries staff from DEC’s Adirondack Fish Hatchery completed its annual egg collection for round whitefish. Based on the time of year they spawn, collecting them can be a bit of a challenge if ice starts to form. That wasn’t the case this year, but staff braved the chilly waters to net 119 fish and collect a total of 77,000 eggs from Little Green and Cascade Ponds.

When the round whitefish reach certain sizes, they’ll be stocked next year in select waters in the Adirondacks as part of an experimental stocking program to restore populations of this endangered species.

To learn more about round whitefish visit DEC’s website.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Man collapses at Bolton lean-to, later dies

forest ranger reportRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Bolton
Warren County
Wilderness Recovery:
 On Jan. 16 at 12:15 p.m., Forest Rangers were called to assist with a 58-year-old hiker who collapsed at the Five Mile Mountain lean-to. His hiking partner and other hikers, including a member of Lower Adirondack Search and Rescue, began CPR on the subject. Ranger Kabrehl hiked in with members of the Bolton Police Department. Helicopter transport was also dispatched to the incident and at 2:10 p.m., the subject was loaded into the helicopter and later pronounced deceased by EMS. Ranger Kabrehl hiked out with the rest of the hiking party.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hike Smart NYAdirondack Backcountry Information, and Catskill Backcountry Information webpages for more information.

If a person needs a Forest Ranger, whether it’s for a search and rescue, to report a wildfire, or to report illegal activity on state lands and easements, they should call 833-NYS-RANGERS. If a person needs urgent assistance, they can call 911. To contact a Forest Ranger for information about a specific location, the DEC website has phone numbers for every Ranger listed by region.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

DEC to Continue River Otter Surveys

otter tracksHave you ever seen a river otter in New York? Prior to the 1990s, river otter were absent from most of central and western New York. That all changed between 1995–2001, when DEC worked with trappers and other groups to reintroduce 279 otter to 16 different sites in central and western parts of the state.

To evaluate the success of this effort and to gain a better understanding of otter populations throughout New York, DEC staff conducted over 2,000 winter sign surveys across the state in 2017 and 2018. During these surveys, biologists and technicians looked for otter tracks, latrines, and other signs of otter presence on the landscape. These surveys found that otter were well-established across the entire state and could be found in almost all suitable habitat!

This winter, DEC staff are repeating the winter sign surveys. We will compare the results to the previous surveys, allowing us to get a better idea of otter population trends and help us better guide otter management into the future.

How You Can Help

In addition to the survey data, DEC collects public sighting data for river otter and other furbearer species. If you have seen an otter, fisher, bobcat, weasel, marten, or snowshoe hare in Upstate New York (or otter, beaver, gray fox, weasel, mink, coyote, or skunk in Long Island/NYC), we encourage you to report your sighting.

Photo: River otter tracks and slides in the snow.

Monday, January 17, 2022

DEC installs new Five Ponds Wilderness footbridge

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has replaced a 30-year-old footbridge in the Five Ponds Wilderness Area in the town of Fine, St. Lawrence County. The newly installed Glasby Creek footbridge is located on the High Falls Loop Trail, which is part of the popular Cranberry Lake 50 trail system.

To complete the project, DEC staged bridge materials at the SUNY ESF Ranger School in Wanakena and DEC staff canoed up the Oswegatchie River to reach the construction site and replace the bridge with materials and equipment delivered by a New York State Police Aviation helicopter. The materials to replace the bridge cost approximately $2,000 supported by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund.

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Friday, January 14, 2022

DEC Advises Backcountry Visitors of Winter Conditions

winterOutdoor Adventurers Encouraged to Prepare for Snow, Ice, and Cold
Current snow and cold weather are providing good conditions for winter outdoor recreation in the Adirondacks, Catskills, and other backcountry areas. To ensure a safe and enjoyable winter experience, visitors are advised to plan ahead and prepare with proper clothing and equipment for snow, ice, and cold.

Snow depths range greatly throughout the Adirondacks, with the deepest snow at higher elevations in the High Peaks region and on mountains over 3,000 feet. Snow depths are thinner in the southeastern and northwestern Adirondacks. Ice is also present on high elevation trails, as well as many low-lying trails. Much of the Catskill Mountains are covered in snow, with icy trail conditions.

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Friday, January 14, 2022

Outdoor conditions (1/14): Extreme winter weather in effect

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.

Extreme Weather Warning: Looking ahead to this weekend, the National Weather Service issued a wind chill watch in effect for northern New York, with dangerously cold wind chills as low as 30 to 40 below zero possibly.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Forest Ranger-led crew find body of missing 33-year-old on Jan. 8 in Saratoga County

forest ranger report

Recent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Johnsburg
Warren County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Jan. 5 at 6:25 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Warren County requesting Forest Ranger assistance to locate a 30-year-old stranded off trail on Crane Mountain. Forest Ranger Perryman responded to the coordinates provided and reached the hiker within the hour. The hiker was in good condition, but had lost the trail with only a phone for light. Ranger Perryman provided the hiker with a headlamp and assisted her back to the trailhead. Resources were clear at 7:42 p.m.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2022

DEC Launches 2nd Year of Lake Champlain Ice Fishing Creel Surveys

ice fishingIce fishing creel surveys will be conducted for a second year on the New York waters of Lake Champlain starting January through March, 2022.

This ice fishing survey is part of a larger, two-year effort to survey both ice and open water anglers. Data gathered during these surveys will serve as a baseline to help DEC Fisheries biologists better understand angler use and expectations, while also informing management actions on Lake Champlain.

The 2022 ice fishing survey will take place at four access points: Plattsburgh Boat Launch on Cumberland Bay; Willsboro Bay Boat Launch; Bulwagga Bay Campground; and South Bay Boat Launch. Anglers coming off the ice will be asked to participate by providing information about their day of fishing and allowing DEC creel clerks the opportunity to collect biological data on their catch. Collected data will include target species, number caught, and size. Voluntary participation in the survey gives anglers the opportunity to contribute to future Lake Champlain management decisions.

Participation in the program is voluntary but encouraged, as the data collected will help DEC develop Lake Champlain management practices that benefit anglers and the fishery. As an incentive to participate, anglers will be entered into a drawing for several ice fishing gear prizes, including a jet sled, jigging rod, rechargeable aerator, and an insulated bait bucket.

A copy of the Lake Champlain Ice Fishing Creel Survey plan can be found on DEC’s website. A report summary of the 2021 survey results will be made available in January 2022. The 2022 survey results will be made available later in 2022.

Anglers are reminded to always follow best practices for ice safety.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Find and Report Invasive Tree of Heaven

tree of heaven

Have you seen tree of heaven plants in your neighborhood? This fast-growing invasive tree is easy to identify and found all over NY, particularly in urban areas. Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is the preferred host plant of the spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect being found in more and more parts of NY that could have severe impacts on our state’s agriculture and forests. Finding and reporting tree of heaven to NY iMapInvasives can help supplement state efforts to prevent negative impacts from these two species.

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Friday, January 7, 2022

Outdoor conditions (1/7): Gulf Brook Rd bridge work complete

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.

Boreas Ponds Tract: Work on three bridges along Gulf Brook Road is complete. Due to weather conditions, the road is closed for the winter season to motor vehicles but skiing and snowshoeing is allowed. The road will be open to public motor vehicles as far as the Fly Pond Parking Area after the spring mud season, generally in late May.

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Thursday, January 6, 2022

Virtual hike challenge helps look out for invasive insect

Hemlock with HWA egg masses_Connecticut Agricultural Experiment StationCalling all hikers, xc skiiers, and snowshoers in the Saint Lawrence/Eastern Lake Ontario (SLELO) Region! Our friends at SLELO PRISM invite you to take a hike to protect the region’s hemlocks (and win cool prizes) this winter through their Virtual Hike Challenge. The challenge is running now through March 1st, and you can participate any time you get outside. All you need to do is take a hike, check a hemlock for signs of invasive hemlock woolly adelgid, and take a photo. Share a photo of your experience on Facebook with the hashtag #VirtualHikeChallenge for a chance to win prizes!

You can find more information about the challenge, including featured trails, on the SLELO PRISM website. Brush up on hemlock ID, and take a quiz to test your knowledge on the New York State Hemlock Initiative website. Happy trails!

Photo: White woolly egg masses of invasive HWA on a hemlock branch

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Drunk teens at Marcy Dam call for rangers on New Year’s Eve

forest ranger reportsRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Forestport
Oneida County
Wilderness Search:
 On Dec. 27 at 2:41 p.m., Forest Ranger McCartney overheard a radio call for a search for a 14-year-old who had run away from her parents and into the woods. Rangers McCartney and Bills responded to help the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department. At 3:57 p.m., Ranger McCartney found the subject and walked her out of the woods to a waiting ambulance for further medical assistance. New York State Park Police and New York State Police (NYSP) assisted in this response.

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Monday, January 3, 2022

DEC Announces 2022 Exam Dates for Licensed Guides Program

paul smiths

Exams to be Held Online
The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that examinations are scheduled for individuals seeking to become licensed guides in New York State. The exams being offered are for guiding in the following categories: camping; fishing; hiking; hunting; whitewater; rock climbing; ice climbing; and certified skilled with boats and canoes.

A guide is a person at least 18 years of age who offers services for hire, part or all of which include directing, instructing, or aiding another individual in fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, whitewater rafting/canoeing/kayaking, or rock and ice climbing.

DEC’s Special Licenses Unit administers licensing of outdoor guides. Applicants need not be a resident of New York State to receive a guide’s license.

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