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.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Green camping tips

packing tipsKeep these tips in mind when packing your suitcase or backpack:

  • Do-it-yourself (DIY) travel-size toiletries. Save small containers, rinse them out, and fill with shampoo, conditioner, and other products needed for your trip. Reuse for your future packing needs.
  • Pack a cooler. Bring beverages and snacks from home — this can reduce waste since many convenience items are packaged.
  • Pro-tip: save cans and bottles so you can get your 5-cent deposit back.
  • Use solar power. Small solar power banks are available for travel to charge phones and other electronics.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Outdoor Conditions: be prepared

outdoor conditions logoBackcountry hiking trails can be rugged and rough – they are not maintained as park walkways – and wilderness conditions can change suddenly. Hike Smart NY provides expert information on how to properly prepare and ensure a safe outdoor experience. Follow all state land use rules for hiking and primitive camping and Leave No Trace principles (leaves DEC website) to minimize your impacts on the natural resources and others users.

Volunteer to help preserve, maintain and enhance New York’s outdoor recreation. Individuals or groups can enter into a Volunteer Stewardship Agreement to maintain trails, lean-tos, boat launches, or other recreational infrastructure.

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Summer Nature Exploration Activities

girl at summer nature programNeed fun ways to explore nature this summer? DEC’s got you covered! Get started by checking out our Conservationist for Kids 50 outdoor activities (PDF) for all ages and levels that are perfect for the whole family. Stuck inside? Find ways to “go fishing” indoors. Take an I Bird NY 2021 Challenge to get started with one of the fastest growing outdoor activities. Play bingo with family and friends using Discover Nature Bingo (PDF), also available in Spanish (PDF) and Mandarin (PDF). Keep track of your nature discoveries by using an app like iNaturalistMerlin, or eBird. Check out our caregiver, parent and educator resources webpage while at home. Rainy day? Print the Sustainable Living coloring pages (PDF).

We want to hear about your explorations this summer! Have a story you would like to share? Email

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Hoist rescue in the Trap Dike

The following are recent search-and-rescue missions performed by forest rangers. The information was provided by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Town of Rochester
Ulster County
Wilderness Rescue: On June 29 at 1 p.m., Forest Ranger Slade overheard a 911 call regarding a missing 70-year-old man at VernooyKill Falls. Ranger Slade responded to the location along with Forest Rangers Stratton, Franceschina, Lieutenant Morse, Ulster County Sheriff’s Deputies, the Accord Fire Department, and the Kerhonkson/Accord First Aid Squad. The hiker had been dropped off at the Upper Cherrytown Road lot by his wife at approximately 9 a.m. When the subject had not returned by 1 p.m., the caller became concerned and flagged down a passing motorist to call 911. Once on scene, Ranger Slade set up a command post at the trailhead on Upper Cherrytown Road, while Rangers Stratton and Franceschina searched the area. At 2:40 p.m., Rangers located the missing man from Harpursville and transported him back to the trailhead by ATV where EMS evaluated and released him. The hiker became disoriented when he attempted to return from the falls and ended up 2.5 miles from the falls when search crews reached him. All units were clear of the scene at 3:30 p.m. » Continue Reading.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Hinckley Reservoir Day Use Area Beach is Closed to Swimming

hinckley day use areaUse of Pavilions by Reservation Only
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced recently that swimming is currently prohibited at the Hinckley Reservoir Day Use Area in Herkimer County. For public safety, the beach at Hinckley is open to visitors but closed to swimming unless a lifeguard is on duty.

In addition, beginning Saturday, July 3, use of the pavilions at the Hinckley Reservoir Day Use Area will require a reservation. Additional recreation opportunities at Hinckley include picnicking and paddling. To make a reservation for a pavilion, call (315) 826-3800. For more information about the Hinckley Reservoir Day Use Area, visit the DEC website.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Say ‘No’ to Mulch Volcanoes

mulch around treesHave you seen a mulch volcano recently? We bet you have! Mulch volcanoes are created when mulch gets piled high against a tree. This traps moisture against the trunk and can lead to decay, pest damage, or even tree death.

Proper mulching is easy, and it doesn’t just lead to healthier trees, it also leads to more money in your pocket because you’ll be buying less mulch. You’ll also save money on future tree care costs by preventing pest damage and rot.

Follow these tips to keep your new tree healthy when mulching:

  • use mulch to cover the ground as far out as the tree’s branches reach,
  • keep the mulch depth to just 2-4 inches, and
  • don’t let it touch the trunk of the tree.

For more information on proper tree planting and care, visit DEC’s website. For everything you’ve ever wondered about mulch – and more! – visit the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County website.

Photo of correct mulching is courtesy of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County

Friday, July 2, 2021

Shuttle Drivers & Front Country Stewards Wanted

keene shuttleDEC, Essex County, and the Town of Keene are working together to implement a shuttle pilot system this summer that will explore how shuttles may help manage sustainable visitation along the Route 73 corridor and in the High Peaks.

Some important details remain, including hiring necessary and properly certified shuttle operators and trail stewards, as well as finalizing route information, but we are continuing to collaborate and reach out to our partners to help make the shuttle successful. Qualified individuals interested in the hiring opportunities available can contact the Town of Keene, and additional information will be made available as the shuttle system details are finalized.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Outdoor conditions (7/2): Beware aggressive raccoons

outdoor conditions logoThe 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.

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

DEC update on Gypsy Moth Caterpillar Outbreak

gypsy moth pupaThis spring, DEC has been receiving reports of larger-than-usual gypsy moth populations and leaf damage in several parts of New York State. Gypsy moths are non-native but are naturalized, meaning they will always be around in our forests.

Their populations spike in numbers roughly every 10 to 15 years, but these outbreaks are usually ended by natural causes such as disease and predators. Because of this, DEC and its partners typically do not manage it. At this time, DEC does not provide funding for treating gypsy moths on private property.

The caterpillars you are seeing now will begin to disappear around mid-July when they pupate and become moths. Spraying insecticides is not effective at this late stage of caterpillar development.

This time of year, you may choose to use or make a trap on your trees to catch caterpillars while they are still crawling, though this will not erase the population. Please monitor your traps regularly for unintended wildlife that may pass through. In winter, you can help DEC predict next year’s population numbers by conducting egg sampling surveys.

In spring, you may scrape egg masses to prevent some hatching, though that will also not erase the population. The spikes in gypsy moth numbers are an unfortunate but cyclical part of NY’s forests.

Pictured here: Gypsy moth caterpillars going into the pupa stage. Photo by Diane Parmeter Wills of Peru.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Moffitt Beach Campground suffers storm damage

forest ranger reportsThe following are recent forest ranger highlights provided by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Town of Lake Pleasant
Hamilton County
Storm Damage Response:
 On June 21, Forest Rangers Nally, Thompson, and Kerr responded to a call for Forest Ranger assistance from the caretaker at Moffitt Beach State Campground. The caretaker reported several impassable roadways, downed trees and phone lines, and power outages in the area.

Rangers helped clear storm damage in and around the campground and assisted local fire departments, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, and highway officials with localized storm impacts.

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

On the Hunt for Invasive Species

Adult Asian longhorned beetle in a poolNew #OnesToWatch Map Helps Protect our Lands and Waters

Making sure the lands and waters you love to hunt and fish stay healthy is one of the best ways we can support wildlife. Invasive species are plants and animals that not only harm our forests and waterways, they can harm New York’s fish and wildlife. Hunters, anglers, and wildlife watchers like you can be a first line of defense, and there’s an easy way for you to know what to look for: DEC’s #OnesToWatch interactive map!

The #OnesToWatch map makes sure you know what invasive species we are looking for in your area, how you can identify them, and makes it easier for you to quickly report them to us. Click on your region of the map to see the species DEC is tracking in your neck of the woods. Then follow the link for each species to find more detailed information, including info on how to easily report sightings. Your reports can help protect the places you know and love for generations to come!

For more information on DEC’s #OnesToWatch campaign and the successes we’ve had as a result of people like you getting involved, visit our find and report page.

Photo: Adult Asian longhorned beetle in a pool/DEC photo

Sunday, June 27, 2021

NYS Announces First-Ever Loyalty/Reward Program for Campgrounds

alger island campground dec photoReservations Now Open for 2022 Camping Season

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the first-ever Camper Loyalty/Reward Program for overnight stays at state campgrounds across New York. The introduction of the new Loyalty program coincides with the opening of the nine-month online reservation window for the 2022 Camping Season.

» Continue Reading.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

DEC releases final management plan for Hinckley Reservoir

hinckley day use areaThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced the finalization of the Unit Management Plan (UMP) for the Hinckley Reservoir Day Use Area. The DEC intends to transform the Hinckley Reservoir Day Use Area into a public campground, available for use in the southwestern Adirondacks.

The campground will be located on the southern shore of the Hinckley Reservoir in Herkimer County, and will include a beach, woods, a pavilion, a spacious lawn, a picnic area and a volleyball court. The UMP will call for the construction of 150 campsites, a boat launch, and miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as access and loop roads, and a comfort station.

“Hinckley Reservoir Day Use Area is already a popular spot providing access to outdoor recreation for many visitors,” said Randall C. Young, Region 6 Regional Director. “Enhancing the facilities at this location will increase opportunities for recreation at Hinckley and expand the number of people who can enjoy this beautiful location.”

Read more about the plans to enhance recreation at Hinckley Reservoir Day Use Area on DEC’s website.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Outdoor Conditions: Hiker Information Stations

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.


Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: A bridge on the Pharaoh Lake Trail from the Pharaoh Lake Road trailhead was damaged by a fallen tree. The railing was damaged, but the bridge remains in usable condition. Please use caution. » Continue Reading.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

DEC releases final deer management plan

deer planThe “Management Plan for White-tailed Deer in New York State, 2021-2030” is the product of public input, expert review, and sound science that will improve the management of white-tailed deer across New York State. This second-edition deer plan, available on DEC’s website, outlines strategies to manage deer populations across a range of abundance levels and diverse deer-related impacts in rural, urban, and suburban areas.

The plan enhances DEC programs that provide relief to landowners and the public experiencing deer damage and conflicts, seeks to protect New York’s deer from the devastating potential of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) particularly – in light of the recent announcement about a confirmed detection in bordering Warren County, Pennsylvania – and enhances the state’s deer hunting traditions. In addition, the plan provides information about how DEC determines population objectives, sets harvest quotas, calculates annual deer harvest, and describes the effectiveness of various management strategies for reducing impacts from overabundant deer.

Draft Regulations Proposed to Implement Key Plan Provisions

To begin the implementation of portions of the management plan, DEC proposed rule changes that will improve deer management, simplify big game hunting, expand hunting opportunity, and increase hunter safety. To view the proposed regulations and provide comment, visit the Fish and Wildlife Proposed Regulations webpage. DEC will accept written public comments through August 8, 2021.

Wait! Before you go:

Catch up on all your Adirondack
news, delivered weekly to your inbox