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, August 7, 2020

Outdoor conditions (8/7): Take care in the High Peaks

The Adirondacks contain some of New York’s rarest plants. They are found in tundra-like habitats resembling those of the Arctic. This condition is encountered on the State’s highest peaks and the total area covered by alpine vegetation approximates 40 acres on 19 peaks, 18 of which are in DEC’s High Peaks Wilderness. To protect this ecosystem, DEC reminds visitors to the High Peaks Wilderness of the rules and recommendations in place that include but are not limited to:

  • No campfires in the Eastern Zone of the High Peaks Wilderness
  • Group Size Maximums: Day Trip maximums are 15 people. Overnight maximums are 8 people. Permits for oversized groups are not available in the High Peaks Wilderness
  • No camping on summits
  • No camping above 3,500 feet (except at lean-to)
  • No camping in areas with “No Camping” signs present

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Thursday, August 6, 2020

Trapped Timber Rattlesnake Surprises Vacationers

On August 2, ECO LaPoint responded to a residence in the town of Hague, Warren County, for a report of a trapped timber rattlesnake at residence where a family was vacationing. Upon arriving at the home, ECO LaPoint located the snake outside trapped under a tote. Using snake tongs issued by DEC, along with a cloth bag and bucket lid, he safely secured the rattlesnake in the bucket and removed it from the premises.

ECO LaPoint transported the rattlesnake to DEC’s Green Island maintenance facility where it was temporarily held until it could be released to a suitable location. Timber rattlesnakes are a threatened species in New York. For more information visit DEC’s website.

ECO LaPoint with a timber rattlesnake in Warren County/DEC photo


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

DEC fights wildfires in St. Lawrence County; conducts helicopter bucket training

Recent DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Malta
Saratoga County
Wildland Helicopter Bucket Training:
 On July 27, DEC’s Forest Rangers and the Army National Guard Air Assault Battalion out of the Albany Airport conducted specialized wildland firefighting training on Round Lake using two Army UH60-A Blackhawk Helicopters outfitted with 660-gallon Bambi Buckets. Forest Rangers and Army National Guard Crew Chiefs and Pilots simulated aerial firefighting tactics on the lake. Rangers communicated with the pilots from within the helicopter and from the ground, guiding them during a hover of the lake to fill buckets and drop water on a simulated fire line. View the photos on DEC’s Flickr album.

Photo of fire training over Round Lake taken by the New York National Guard

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Monday, August 3, 2020

Signs of Southern Pine Beetle

The DEC’s Forest Health Team has seen great success in preventing the southern pine beetle from destroying the pine barrens of Long Island. (Visit this link for more information). If you live on Long Island or the Hudson Valley, be sure to keep your eyes open for signs of the southern pine beetle, which is active and flying around now. Some common signs of this beetle include a group of pine trees with needles yellowing at the same time, pitch tubes or popcorn-shaped clumps of resin on the tree’s bark extending all the way up the tree, and tiny scattered holes on the bark of a tree.

It is not yet established whether the southern pine beetle is in the Hudson Valley, and the DEC asks for help in finding any potential infestations early in order to keep it this way.

If you have seen any signs or suspect and activity in either of these regions of New York, please submit a report of your findings to NY iMapInvasives on their free mobile app, or their online system, available for viewing here.

View photos of the southern pine beetle and find more information on the DEC’s website.


Sunday, August 2, 2020

DEC Seeks Swimming Pool Owners for Citizen Science Survey of Invasive Beetle

The early discovery of Asian Long Horned Beetle infestations saves money and trees.

State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos is encouraging the citizens of New York, especially those that own swimming pools, to engage in the DEC’s Annual Asian Long horned beetle Swimming Pool Survey.

Asian long horned beetles (ALB) emerge as adults during the late summer and become the most active outside of their host trees. The goal of this survey is to pinpoint the locations of these infestations before they cause detrimental damage to our state’s forests and trees.

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Saturday, August 1, 2020

DEC releases anti-litter PSA

In response to increased litter left behind by visitors to New York’s natural areas, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today released a new PSA to remind outdoor adventurers to follow the principles of Leave No Trace. The PSA features images of trash in the Catskills and the Adirondacks with a reminder that litter is not only unsightly, but can be deadly to New York’s wildlife.


Friday, July 31, 2020

Outdoor Conditions (7/31): Take care on the Trap Dike

Recent Notices

Included here are notices reported in the past week. 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: The Trap Dike route up Mount Colden is not a trail, it is rock climbing route. DEC Forest Rangers have had to rescue numerous people in recent weeks that have become stuck on the climb.

Madawaska Pond/Quebec Brook Primitive Area: Only four-wheel drive pickups and SUVs or other high clearance vehicles should use the Madawaska Pond Road due to a significant washout. Pickups and SUVs should use caution when crossing the washout.

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

How to Identify Giant Hogweed

Giant Hogweed is an invasive plant which blooms across many parts of New York State, and summer is the ideal time to spot this harmful invasive. Giant Hogweed is a large flowering plant from Eurasia with sap that can cause painful burns and scarring. Adult Giant Hogweed plants are 7 to 14 feet tall with umbrella shaped clusters of white flowers up to 2.5 feet wide. Its stem is green with purple splotches, and coarse white hairs. Its leaves are large and can be up to 5 feet across. They are incised and deeply lobed. Visit the DEC’s site for more identification tips, including a table of lookalikes by clicking here.

If you suspect that you have found a Giant Hogweed plant, be sure not to touch it. From a safe distance take photos of the plant’s stem, leaves, flowers, seeds, and then the whole plant. Report your siting to the DEC by emailing photos (or calling DEC staff at (845) 256-3111) and reporting location information here:  [email protected]. DEC staff will help you confirm if you have found Giant Hogweed, and work with the landowners of confirmed sites to provide information on the plant, and how to control its spread.Ss


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Second trap dike rescue in week’s time

forest ranger logoRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On July 24 at 12:45 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch was contacted about two 19-year-old hikers from Rye, New York, and Louisville, Kentucky, who were trapped on the Western slope of the Trap Dike. Forest Rangers Burns, DiCintio, Mecus, and Praczkajlo responded with the help of the New York State Police Aviation Unit for a hoist rescue operation. Ranger Burns and Climbing Specialist Crofoot flew from Lake Clear to Lake Placid and picked up Forest Rangers Mecus and Praczjaklo at 2:30 p.m. From there, the officers flew and lowered the rescue team to the Trap Dike to the hikers’ location high up on the slide. At 3:30 p.m., contact was made, and using a series of technical rope systems, the hikers were lowered to safety. At approximately 6:30 p.m., the rescue team was at the base of the Trap Dike along with the hikers who were then able to walk out on their own.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Tips for reducing your plastic waste

As the Plastic Free July challenge winds down, DEC has an update on how their participants are faring with their own personal goals. Here are some of the creative things they have been doing:

Kayla’s Goal: Reduce plastic meal packaging, beverage jugs, and toiletries

“One of my goals during Plastic Free July was finding and using sunscreen that doesn’t come in a plastic tube or bottle. After a lot of research I found the choices were limited, so I decided to contact sunscreen companies to start a conversation about their packaging. I personalized and tailored each correspondence, making sure to research the company beforehand to include persuasive facts about their sustainability practices and sunscreen usage facts in general. I contacted…

  • Four major sunscreen brands and another major skin care brand that offers sunscreen and focuses on sustainability. Within a few hours, I received general replies from three of these companies. A few days later I received a similar reply from the fourth company.
  • A smaller sunscreen company with sustainability in mind. They informed me of positive strides they’ve made with their sunscreen containers, such as incorporating post-consumer recycled content, and challenges they faced in moving away from plastic packaging. I now plan to delve into this further as it may be part of the reason why plastic packaging is so prevalent for sunscreen. They were also open to future suggestions about this topic.
  • A small business that offers plastic free options. They don’t sell sunscreen yet but informed me of their interest in reducing their plastic use potentially through offering a refill option.

Prior to this experience, I had never directly contacted a company about environmental issues and found it to be inspiring, especially when I heard back, and would encourage others to do the same. I always thought, ‘they’ll never listen to me’, but my experience showed me companies are willing to listen and share thoughts and experiences to start a conversation in an effort to make positive changes for the future of our environment.”

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 26, 2020

DEC Announces Agreement to Protect Grasse River Habitat

Grasse RiverArconic to Provide More Than $2.25 Million to Protect and Restore Habitat, Including Critically Important Freshwater Mussels
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced a landmark agreement (PDF) between DEC and Arconic, Inc. Under the agreement, Arconic will provide more than $2.25 million to protect and restore critical habitat at the Grasse River Federal Superfund site in Massena. Arconic is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up contamination in the Grasse River, but was not being held to New York State’s stringent standards for habitat protection, driving DEC to reach this agreement and help save critically important freshwater mussels and other natural resources.

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Saturday, July 25, 2020

Home Composting 101

Vermicomposting uses worms to decompose waste courtesy Wikimedia user ChristopheFinotThe summer weather isn’t the only thing heating up, so is your compost pile. Unlike our garbage or recycling, composting allows us to directly manage our own wasted food and turn those food scraps into compost. Composting takes some care; add your greens, browns, water and air. Learn more about home composting whether you’re a beginner or a bit more experienced.

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Friday, July 24, 2020

Outdoor Conditions (7/24): Pack it in, pack it out

Included here are notices reported in the past week. 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.

Trash in the Backcountry: DEC is receiving increased reports of visitors leaving trash behind after trips to State lands, waters, and facilities in the Adirondacks. Outdoor adventurers are reminded to follow the principles of Leave No Trace, and keep New York’s environment clean by properly disposing of waste.

Travel: Check 511NY for road closures and travel conditions. If you plan on hiking in the High Peaks, use 511NY to check the status of parking lots along the busy Route 73 corridor. Have back-up plans in place and, if the parking lot at your desired destination is full, move on to your back-up plan. Status of parking lots is being updated throughout the day on weekend days by patrolling DEC Forest Rangers and Forest ranger assistants.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 23, 2020

DEC Offers New Online Bowhunter Education Course

ECOs Nicols and Brassard with the buck and crossbowStarting July 15, the NYS DEC began offering its new online bowhunter education certification course, DEC commissioner Basil Seggos announced. “DEC began offering online hunter education courses this spring, and the response has been fantastic. I encourage all experienced and aspiring bowhunters to take advantage of this opportunity and sign up to take the bowhunter education course online.” Seggos went on to say.

If you wish to bow hunt deer or bear in New York State, a bowhunter education course along with a mandatory hunter education course are both required before the purchase of a hunting license. All of the DEC’s in person bowhunter education courses have been cancelled this year as a result of the State’s ongoing COVID-19 response. This new online course allows for new bowhunters to complete their required certifications in time for the fall hunting season. More than 30,000 people have completed the DEC’s new online hunter education course since its April 15 announcement.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Rangers come to aid of hikers stuck on Trap Dike

Recent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On July 18 at 11:30 a.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for two hikers stuck on the Trap Dike. The hikers exited the Trap Dike too soon and became stranded on the south side. The pair was advised to stay put and not try to go back due to the steepness of the terrain. Two Forest Rangers responded to assist. The Lake Colden caretaker saw the hikers but could not establish voice contact. Forest Rangers and the New York State Police (NYSP) Aviation unit performed a hoist rescue to bring the hikers safely to the base of the Trap Dike so they could hike out. The Lake Colden caretaker then paddled the stranded hikers and Forest Ranger Robbi Mecus to the end of Avalanche Lake where they started the hike back and were out of the woods by 8:02 p.m.Town of North Elba.

» Continue Reading.