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.


Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Rangers conduct snowmobile training


forest ranger reportRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Indian Lake
Hamilton County
Snowmobile Training:
 On March 4, Forest Rangers from Region 5 helped train members of the 103rd Rescue Squadron on backcountry snowmobile operations. The 103rd Rescue Squadron is a unit of the New York Air National Guard stationed on Long Island. The pararescue jumpers utilize areas in the Adirondacks to train for cold weather remote travel and overnight survival skills. Forest Rangers instruct participants in advanced snowmobile operation skills, including troubleshooting disabled snow machines, off-trail deep snow traversing, proper techniques to free stuck snowmobiles, crossing rivers and drainages, hill climbing, and towing gear and disabled snowmobiles.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Dirty 30 – Mylar Balloon Pollution Collected by Herkimer County Office

30 balloonsDEC Region 6 colleagues in the Herkimer County office have collected at least 30 mylar balloons in 2021. Nicknamed the dirty 30, coincidentally, the giant 3-0 balloon corresponds with the number of balloons in the pile. Herkimer County staff collected the mylar balloon trash while doing their daily jobs in both wilderness areas and local state forests.

“I’ll bet most of our regional field staff could collectively quadruple this number if they started saving balloons,” said Steve Heerkens, DEC Wildlife Biologist.  DEC staff often encounter littered balloons. Littered balloons can be found on the ground, stuck in trees, in water bodies, and other sensitive ecosystems.

If you celebrate with balloons, make sure they are tied down tightly and avoid balloon releases. Dispose of balloons properly in the trash. Balloons do not belong in the recycling bin. Consider alternatives to balloons such as bubbles, bells, paper or fabric garlands, or planting a tree for remembrance.


Friday, March 4, 2022

Outdoor conditions (3/4): Beware of water crossings


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 03/02: Lake Colden and Avalanche Lake are frozen. There is over 3ft of snow (100cm) at the Lake Colden Outpost with more at higher elevations. The Opalescent River crossing is very hazardous. Note: Conditions may have changed since last report.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 3, 2022

Now Hiring Boat Stewards for the 2022 Boating Season


boat inspectionNew York State’s Watercraft Inspection Steward Programs have begun recruiting stewards for the 2022 boating season. If you like working outdoors, interacting with the public, and want to help protect New York’s waters from aquatic invasive species, be sure to check out the SLELO PRISM website for a listing of positions across New York State.

Photo of a watercraft inspection steward by the Adirondack Watershed Institute, Flickr


Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Rangers assist with snowmobile, ATV accidents

forest ranger reportRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Lake George
Warren County
ATV Incident:
 On Feb. 22 at 12:30 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch requested Forest Ranger assistance for a subject stranded on the ice in the Mother Bunch Islands area of Lake George. The 52-year-old from Florida was on an ATV and struck a heave in the ice, trapping the ATV. Rangers Kabrehl, Perryman, and Quinn, and Environmental Conservation Police Officer (ECO) LaPoint responded on an airboat. With 50-degree temperatures and rain, the ice was not safe for a snowmobile or ATV. Rangers brought the subject to safety and worked with ECO LaPoint to attempt to remove the ATV. The ATV was stuck too deep in the ice, so the responders attached ice buoys and a floating marker so they could return later when conditions were better to retrieve the machine.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, February 25, 2022

Outdoor Conditions (2/25): Many snowmobile trails in poor/variable condition due to recent thaws, rain, and flooding


outdoor conditions logo

The 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.

New:

Snowmobile Trails: Recent thaws, rain, and flooding have left many snowmobile trails in poor or variable conditions. Forecast snow may improve trails, but riders should proceed with caution, especially near water and at water crossings, and be prepared to find alternate routes. Check local club, county, and State webpages and resources, including the NYSSA Snowmobile web map, for up-to-date snowmobile trail information.

High Peaks Wilderness:

  • Snowshoes or skis are now required to be worn as snow depths exceed 8 inches.
  • Water crossings in John’s Brook Valley are currently dangerous, especially on the Phelps Trail to Slant Rock.
  • Due to unsafe ice conditions and high water, river crossings on the trail to Allen Mountain should not be attempted and are considered impassable at this time.
  • The cable bridge on the trail to Mt. Adams may be affected depending on water levels and ice jams. Plan for alternative hikes if encountered.
  • Ice conditions on the Flowed Lands are unsafe and should not be crossed.
  • Crossings of the Opalescent River around Lake Colden are unsafe and should not be attempted.
  • Snow report as of 02/24: Lake Colden is frozen. The south side of Avalanche lake is now open. There is over 2ft of snow at the Lake Colden Outpost with more at higher elevations. Trails are passable from the Adirondack Loj to the Colden Outpost, but the Opalescent River is impassable due to high water at this time. Note: With significant snowfall expected overnight, expect conditions to change.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Look for Wildlife Tracks this Winter


wildlife tracksNow is a great time to search for winter tracks (PDF) or other animal signs visible in the snow. It can be fun to be a detective and figure out what animals have been walking through your yard or across a trail. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Snow conditions can make a difference in a track’s appearance—wet snow captures a print better than powdery snow.
  • Members in the dog family (coyote, fox, or dogs) will usually leave claw prints above the toes, while the cat family (bobcat, housecat) will not. You should see four toes on both front and back feet for both families.
  • Rodents, such as squirrels, chipmunks, mice, muskrats, and voles, usually have four toes on the front feet and five on the back. Claws may or may not be seen.
  • Bring a notebook, camera, or field guide with you.
  • Sometimes an animal’s droppings, or scat, can help you identify it—a rabbit’s looks like small balls of sawdust.

Find out more in the Become a Winter Wildlife Detective (PDF) issue of Conservationist for Kids.

Check out the video on winter wildlife tracks and scat identification on DEC’s Facebook page.

Photo of ruffed grouse tracks by Sandy Van Vranken/DEC


Friday, February 18, 2022

Outdoor conditions (2/18): High water and avalanche warning


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 Water and Avalanche Warning: Backcountry users in the Adirondacks, especially the High Peaks Region, should be aware of potential avalanche and high water risk following mild temperatures, high winds, and rain. Warmer weather and rain will melt existing snowpack, swelling waterways and making water crossings dangerous. High winds and a return to colder temperatures will then result in re-freezing. Avalanche danger increases during thaws and snow becomes increasingly unstable as it undergoes freeze/thaw cycles.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Snowmobiles fall through the ice in Long Lake

forest ranger reportTown of Long Lake
Hamilton County
Snowmobiler Rescue:
 On Feb. 9 at 3:03 p.m., the Long Lake Fire Chief requested Forest Ranger assistance after a report of two snowmobiles breaking through the ice on the south end of Long Lake. Before Ranger Milano’s arrival, the fire chief called with an update that one snowmobile and snowmobiler were out of the water. Environmental Conservation Police Officer (ECO) Pierce also responded from a nearby patrol. The remaining 76-year-old from Pennsylvania was not able to get out of the water. Career firefighters/EMTs from Gates were passing by and saw the subject in distress. They threw in a rope, pulled the subject out, and stripped off their wet clothing to begin the warming process. Ranger Milano provided more clothing and a blanket. Long Lake EMS arrived, but the subject refused further medical attention. ECO Pierce and the Long Lake Fire Department retrieved the snowmobile from the lake. ECO Pierce then transported the subject and his friend back to their camp in Indian Lake. Resources were clear at 4:12 p.m.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, February 14, 2022

Be a ‘Snow Birder’ This Winter

grosbeaks

While the chilliest months of the year may seem like the hardest time to venture outdoors, it can be a great time to go birding. Layer up and head out to your backyard, local park, or other public space and observe some of the bird species that you may not normally see during warmer months. Winter raptors (PDF) including snowy owls (PDF)short-eared owls, barn owls, and hawks migrate south from the Canadian tundra and can be observed near open bodies of water and large grasslands. Some species of woodpeckers may be easier to hear or see in their winter homes. Black-capped chickadees remain in Northern climates due to their ability to survive the ultra-cold weather. Winter is also the best time to observe bald eagles!

Use a website like eBird to see what species have been detected near you. The free Merlin Bird ID app can help you identify unfamiliar birds and add even more new species to your lists.

If you do brave the cold and snow, properly preparing for winter conditions is essential for a more enjoyable and safe experience. Check out our latest YouTube video on layering for winter, and read up on some of our winter hiking safety tips that can be for any outdoor trip.

Stay tuned for future announcements on the New York State Birding Trail to find locations across the state to go birding.

Photo of grosbeaks by Randy Fredlund.


Sunday, February 13, 2022

Join the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Winter Mapping Challenge


hwa invasive mappingDid you know that winter is the best time to check for hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA)? We need your help monitoring this invasive species, particularly along the “leading edge” of the distribution that runs across the state.

Now through March 12, NY iMapInvasives and the NYS Hemlock Initiative are hosting NY’s first statewide Winter Mapping Challenge. Join the challenge to help monitor this invasive species and compete to win a prize!

To participate: Get outside, find some hemlock trees, check for white “fuzz balls” on the undersides of twigs, and report your findings to NY iMapInvasives – earning the coveted champion title could be that easy! The top reporter of presence and not-detected records for HWA from February 12 through March 12 will win the challenge.

Visit iMap’s website to learn more about the challenge and connect with HWA mapping efforts in your area.

Photo submitted to iMapInvasives by Observer #22202

» Continue Reading.


Friday, February 11, 2022

Outdoor conditions (2/11): Snowshoes and skis required in High Peaks


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 02/10: Trails to Marcy are skiable, with some areas requiring crampons and microspikes. The Van Ho trail is skiable with some icy sections. Both Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are frozen. There is 3.5ft of snow at the Lake Colden Outpost and 4-5ft of snow at higher elevations. Note: Conditions may have changed since last report. Expect additional snow.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 10, 2022

Ice fishing lingo and tips


ice fishing
Ice Fishing Lingo

If you’ve ever been ice fishing, you may have noticed that ice anglers practically speak their own language. To clear up any confusion, we thought we’d cover some commonly used terms you may hear being thrown around the next time you’re out on the ice. Enjoy!

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Rangers respond to snowmobile accidents, conduct enforcements

forest ranger reportRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Old Forge
Herkimer County
Snowmobile Training:
 From Jan. 31 to Feb. 4, Forest Rangers Hettenbaugh, Jahn, Hanno, and Allwine attended the New York State Snowmobile Law Enforcement Development School (NYS SLEDS) in Old Forge. The five-day course included instruction in snowmobile operation, Snowmobiling While Intoxicated (SWI) detection, checkpoints, and speed enforcement. Participants were instructed in snowmobile laws and handling on-trail emergencies. Students also completed an extensive Emergency Vehicle Operations Course. Multiple agencies and departments participated in the training, including New York State Police, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, and the Onondaga, Warren, and Lewis County Sheriffs’ Departments.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, February 7, 2022

Save the Date – 2022 Free Fishing Days


ice fishingMark your calendars for this year’s free fishing days. On these days anyone can fish in New York without a fishing license, so it’s the perfect opportunity for you to introduce fishing to a friend or family member.

This year’s free fishing days:

February 19-20
June 25-26
September 24
November 11

 



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