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.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

DEC to Host Annual Children’s Holiday Party at Ray Brook Headquarters, Dec. 16

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 5 invites the public to attend a Children’s Holiday Party at their regional headquarters in Ray Brook on Friday, Dec. 16, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Children and their families can meet Santa and Smokey Bear, enjoy complimentary refreshments, and participate in a variety of activities including face painting and coloring.

“We are excited to once again invite local children and their families to join us at our regional headquarters for a celebration of the holiday season,” said DEC Region 5 Regional Director Joe Zalewski. “After two years of cancelled events due to the pandemic, our staff looks forward to welcoming the community in person for such a joyful occasion.”

The DEC Region 5 headquarters are located at 1115 NY Route 86, Ray Brook, NY 12977. The event will take place in the building’s lobby and main conference room. Please park in the lot directly in front of the building and enter through the front doors. The event is free and open to all members of the public with no RSVP required.


Photo at top: Wikimedia Commons photo.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Ceremony held for 38 graduates, rangers recognized for courageous, dedicated service

forest ranger reportTowns of Franklin and Santa Clara
Franklin County
Illegal ATV Use:
 On Dec. 1, Ranger Praczkajlo followed ATV tracks in the town of Franklin and determined the operators were riding the ATVs illegally on Forest Preserve land. When the Ranger located the operators, he issued two tickets to each, including for driving unregistered ATVs. On Dec. 2, Ranger Praczkajlo followed other ATV tracks and found an operator from Bloomingdale driving an unregistered ATV illegally on a public easement. He issued two tickets. An ATV must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles if it is operated anywhere in New York State, including the owner’s property.

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Monday, December 5, 2022

DEC Recreation Highlight: Ditch the App, Bring a Map

Winter hiking

Knowing the fundamentals of how to read a map and use a compass should be at the core of your outdoor skills. GPS tools or apps are great to have, but they aren’t a replacement for a paper map and compass and the ability to use them. Even if you have top of the line technology for wayfinding, a map and compass should still always be among the essentials in your pack.

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Friday, December 2, 2022

Outdoor Conditions (12/2): Snowshoes suggested for high summits, trails messy & slippery due to thin ice coverage

outdoor conditions logoThe following are only the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry webpages for a full list of notices, including seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information


High Peaks Wilderness Snow Report (12/01): There is approximately 5 inches of snow at the Colden Caretaker Cabin. Higher summits have approximately a foot of snow – bring snowshoes. Ski trails are not in good condition at this time. Trails in general are messy and slippery due to thin ice coverage. Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are not crossable.

William C. Whitney Wilderness: Public access to Lake Lila is closed for the winter season.

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Thursday, December 1, 2022

DEC Announces More Than $500,000 Available for Grants to Support Eligible Dam Repairs

dec logoOn November 30, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced $564,925 in grant funding is now available to assist eligible dam owners with infrastructure repair costs. Funding is provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) High Hazard Potential Dam grant program. DEC is accepting applications for grants to assist with technical, planning, design, and other pre-construction activities associated with the rehabilitation of eligible dams classified as High Hazard dams.

“Ensuring dam safety is a top priority for DEC and we encourage eligible dam owners to take advantage of this important funding,” said Commissioner Seggos. “The grants announced today [Nov. 30] will support pre-construction engineering and design activities as part of an overall program to help municipal and not-for-profit owners of High Hazard dams make necessary repairs and improve public safety.”

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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Hunter dies after suffering cardiac issues walking to Buck Mt. trailhead

forest ranger reportTown of Webb
Herkimer County
Illegal Tree Cutting:
 On Nov. 26 at 1:06 p.m., Ranger McCartney heard someone approaching him on the trail while he was checking the register at Moss Lake. Ranger McCartney observed a subject dragging a freshly cut spruce tree and carrying a saw toward a pickup truck in the parking lot.

Once the subject loaded the tree into his truck, Ranger McCartney interviewed the 58-year-old from Old Forge and educated him about regulations prohibiting the cutting of trees by the public on State land, regardless of its potential use in holiday celebrations. The subject was issued an appearance ticket.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

DEC: New York Hunters are Enjoying More Older Bucks


Whether you hunt white-tailed deer primarily for fresh venison, the experience and memories, or a set of antlers, many hunters appreciate being able to observe and harvest larger, older age class bucks. In 2016, DEC launched the “Let Young Bucks Go and Watch Them Grow” educational campaign. The campaign promotes individual choice and voluntary restraint to shift the age composition of bucks harvested by hunters in New York State towards older age classes, while still providing hunters the freedom to harvest any buck they desire.

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Monday, November 28, 2022

DEC Wishes Hunters an Enjoyable, Safe, and Successful Hunting Season


Hunting season, and particularly deer season, evokes many feelings for hunters across New York. With the firearms seasons now open in both the northern and southern zones, hunters are once again enjoying the beauty of our fields and forests pursuing white-tailed deer. Deer are by far the most popular game animal in the state, and over 550,000 people buy licenses each year for an opportunity to hunt them.

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Saturday, November 26, 2022

DEC Announces Start of Lows Lower Dam Rehabilitation in Town of Piercefield, St. Lawrence County

dec logoOn Tuesday, November 22, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the gate on the access road leading to the Bog River Dam, also known as Lows Lower Dam, will be closed starting Dec. 6, to allow for construction to maintain the dam. The road will remain closed through the 2023 field season. All vehicles must be removed from the access road to dam and parking area near the dam by 12 p.m. Dec. 6.

The project is necessary to bring the dam into compliance with New York State dam safety regulations. Construction activities will affect recreational users of the Horseshoe Lake, Hitchins Pond, and Lows Lake areas, including the cartop boat launch and parking area at the Lower Dam. The river access and parking area at Lows Lower Dam, located near the end of State Highway 421, will be closed beginning Dec. 6, and the road will remain closed for the duration of the construction project. Construction activities may take place seven days per week and are expected to last at least through the 2023 field season.

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Friday, November 25, 2022

Outdoor Conditions (11/25): Snowshoes or skis required for high summits, trails messy with thin snow/ice coverage

outdoor conditions logoThe following are only the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry webpages for a full list of notices, including seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information


High Peaks Wilderness Snow Report (11/23): 13cm at the Colden Caretaker Cabin. High summits have enough accumulation for snowshoes or skis to be required. Low elevation ski trails do not have adequate coverage for skiing. In general, trails are messy with thin snow and ice coverage. Avalanche and Colden lakes have some ice present but coverage is not complete or consistent. 

Lake George Wild Forest: The Cat Mountain Red Trail from Edgecomb Pond Road to the summit is currently undermarked due to hikers taking trail markers as souvenirs. The trail is difficult to follow in winter conditions without proper marking. Please, leave trail markers where you find them for the safety of other hikers. The Blue Trail offers a well-marked alternate route to the summit.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Hiker and dogs lost on Marcy; people stranded in Tug Hill snowstorm

forest ranger reportTown of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Nov. 15 at 2:45 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch requested Forest Ranger assistance with the search for a hiker on Mount Marcy. The 35-year-old from Toronto became lost while hiking with her two dogs. After speaking with the hiker, Ranger Curcio determined she had started from the Adirondak Loj, took the high water route, and crossed Indian Falls. Rangers Curcio and DiCintio headed into Marcy Dam to begin a linear search.

Dispatch called the Rangers with a new set of coordinates during their search, placing the hiker approximately 500 feet east of Indian Falls. At 6:24 p.m., Rangers made audio contact with the hiker and found her off trail in thick spruce. Rangers warmed the subject and escorted her and her dogs down to Marcy Dam and then to the Loj. Resources were clear at 9 p.m.

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Saturday, November 19, 2022

Public comments sought on draft Recreation Management Plan for land in Edwards

easement land

Draft Plan Creates Public Recreational Opportunities on Easement Lands

DEC is seeking public comment on a draft recreation management plan (RMP) for the Western Lassiter Conservation Easements, in the town of Edwards, St. Lawrence County. The Western Lassiter Conservation Easement RMP consists of the 1,336-acre Beers Lot Conservation Easement and the 834-acre Pine Hill Conservation Easement. The public comment period on the draft RMP is open until Nov. 30.

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Friday, November 18, 2022

Outdoor Conditions (11/18): Longway Trail in Shelving Rock impassable due to blowdown, Pharaoh Lake Trail bridge is out

outdoor conditions logoThe following are only the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry webpages for a full list of notices, including seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information


Boreas Ponds Tract: Gulf Brook Road is closed to motor vehicle traffic for the winter season starting at the Blue Ridge Parking Area. The Blue Ridge Parking Area will remain open – plowing of the lot is subject to the Town’s plowing schedule.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: A bridge on the Pharaoh Lake Trail is out. Crossing may not be possible during high water – users should be prepared to turn back if conditions are unsafe. The bridge is at a curve in the trail, with steep approaches from both directions. Winter users should be prepared to stop completely at this location to assess conditions before crossing.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Rangers locate overdue hunter in Dickinson, assist Buck Mountain hiker with injured wrist

forest ranger reportTown of Dickinson
Franklin County
Wilderness Search:
 On Nov. 8 at 7:50 p.m., Forest Rangers Booth, Bronson, Praczkajlo, and Russell responded to a report of an overdue hunter in the town of Dickinson. The reporting party found the 79-year-old’s vehicle near Mosier Hill, but could not find the subject. Rangers searched the hunter’s usual hunting location with negative results. At approximately 1:45 a.m., while conducting linear searches, Ranger Praczkajlo noticed something shiny in the woods. It was the hunter’s rifle.

Ranger Praczkajlo radioed the other Rangers and they started searching the area. Rangers found the subject approximately 50 yards from the rifle, scratched, bruised, and hypothermic after falling into a swamp.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2022

DEC Reminds Outdoor Enthusiasts, Hunters to Share the Woods Safely this Season

With the Southern Zone regular big game season beginning Saturday, Nov. 19 throughout much of the southern part of New York State, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos is encouraging outdoor enthusiasts to respectfully share the woods and follow common-sense safety precautions this fall and winter.

“With most public land across New York State open to multiple forms of recreation, from hiking and nature photography to hunting and trapping, visitors should be cautious, courteous, and responsible when sharing the woods to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience,” said Commissioner Seggos. “DEC encourages all visitors to review the safety guidelines for hunting and recreating in the woods before going afield and respectfully sharing the outdoors with others.”

DEC requires big game hunters using a firearm to wear hunter orange or pink and encourages non-hunters to wear blaze orange, blaze pink, or another bright color during fall and winter months to be seen more easily and from greater distances. In addition, wearing bright colors makes it easier for Forest Rangers, Environmental Conservation Police Officers, and other rescue personnel to find lost, sick, or injured people afield.

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