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 3, 2021

Bears already?

black bearIt’s not too early for New York homeowners to think about bear-proofing their properties. While most of our bears are still in their dens, some may be out searching for food. These bears will seek easy meals from bird feeders or unsecured garbage.

In most years, we see bears leaving their dens beginning around mid-March. Folks who feed birds in bear country should begin emptying feeders and cleaning up dropped seed before then, or anytime you observe bear signs. It’s also a good time to make sure garbage cans are secured and stored in a sturdy building.

Photo of black bear by Pete Patrick.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Snowmobiler dies following Lake George crash through the ice

forest ranger reportsRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Lake George
Warren County
Ice Rescue:
 On Feb. 25 at 4 p.m., Forest Ranger Donegan was notified of a snowmobile accident on Lake George with the snowmobiler still in the water. Ranger Donegan responded to the scene adjacent to a local marina while Forest Rangers Kabrehl, Perryman, and Lt. Kallen responded to a launch site with Airboat 54. Ranger Donegan donned a cold-water rescue suit, went into the water to look for the man, but could not immediately find him. A diver with the North Queensbury Fire Department then located the 35-year-old man from the Bronx, and together with Ranger Donegan and members of the Bay Ridge and Lake George fire departments, removed him from the water. Ranger Donegan and a Sheriff’s Deputy immediately began life-saving measures. The individual was turned over to the local EMS and transported to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Rangers stayed on scene with the airboat to assist the Warren County Sheriff’s Office with the investigation.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Recreation Highlight: Prepare for Variable Weather

fifth lake skiingThe Adirondacks are set to see the warmest temperatures of 2021 so far this weekend. With temperatures creeping into the lower 40s at base elevations and rain expected in some areas, conditions for hikers, backcountry skiers, and other winter recreationists will change significantly.

Variable weather such as is forecast for this weekend can create dynamic conditions for outdoor recreation. Warm days and below freezing temperatures at night create a freeze/thaw cycle that can lead to increased instability in the snowpack and may increase the risk of avalanches.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Outdoor Conditions (2/26): ADK info center now reopen

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:

  • Colden Caretaker Report 02/24/21: Approximately 2 feet 9 inches of snow has accumulated at the Colden Caretaker cabin and 5 or more feet of snow remains on summits. Snowshoes are needed on all trails, starting at parking lots. Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are frozen. The trail from Marcy Dam to Lake Colden is skiable.

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Now Hiring Boat Stewards for 2021 Season

boat stewardsNew York State’s Watercraft Inspection Steward Programs are now recruiting boat stewards for the 2021 season. If you like working outdoors, interacting with the public, and want to help protect New York’s waters from aquatic invasive species, please check out the SLELO PRISM (St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management) website for a list of positions across the state.

Photo: Boat stewards assist the public with checking their watercraft for aquatic invasive species. They also provide education and at some locations, free boat washes. (Photo by Adirondack Watershed Institute, Paul Smith’s College)

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Prevent the spread of invasives: upcoming webinars

Hemlock woolly adelgidUpcoming Learning Opportunities

Each of the following presentations will take place online.

Take Action Against Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Part 2) (Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program) – Wednesday, March 3 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Participants will learn how to adopt a trailhead, carry out self-guided HWA field surveys, and collect environmental data using iMapInvasives, a free, easy-to-use, mobile mapping tool. Register in advance onlinePart 1 of this webinar will occur on 2/25 from 3-4:30 pm.

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Search and rescue for overdue snowshoe hikers

forest ranger reportsRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Feb. 16 at 5:37 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch was notified of three overdue snowshoe hikers who left from the Garden parking area to hike Johns Brook Valley and had not returned. The hikers from Albany, NY, and Topeka, KS, did not have lights, overnight gear, or appropriate clothing for anticipated zero-degree temperatures. Forest Ranger Lewis responded to the location and confirmed the subjects’ vehicle was still at the trailhead. When interviewing family members, Ranger Lewis learned that one of the individuals has asthma and did not have her inhaler. Ranger Lewis retrieved the subject’s inhaler before responding to Johns Brook Lodge. Forest Rangers O’Connor and Martin also responded to the location with snowmobiles to extricate the unprepared snowshoers. On Feb. 17 at 1:20 a.m., Rangers and the three hikers were out of the woods and back at the trailhead.

ECOs Conduct Multi-Day Snowmobile Detail – Fulton County
On Feb.12, Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) Manns, Hilliard, Shaw, Toth, and Pasciak began a series of multi-day snowmobile details to ensure riders are complying with state regulations. The Officers started off conducting a snowmobile checkpoint on the trail system in the town of Broadalbin and shifted to trails in the village of Mayfield that evening after receiving complaints from landowners about snowmobilers going off trails and into fields, threatening crops in at least one case. ECOs received assistance from Troopers from the New York State Police’s Mayfield Station. The following day, ECOs Pasciak and Klein conducted a snowmobile patrol and checkpoints in the town of Caroga. The two-day detail resulted in six tickets issued for unregistered snowmobiles and modified exhaust systems, and one warning for attempting to ride on a closed trail section. For more information about snowmobile safety recommendations go to NYS Parks website.

Monday, February 22, 2021

The Iconic Monarch Butterfly 

monarch caterpillarMany are familiar with the monarch butterfly, but did you know these important pollinators are in trouble? Over the past 20 years, the number of monarchs in North America has declined by over 90 percent! Loss of breeding and overwintering habitat, increased pesticide use, and climate change are some of the risks monarchs face. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that listing the monarch as an endangered or threatened species was “warranted but precluded,” meaning there are other species in greater trouble that need to be listed first.

Every fall, millions of monarchs across the northeast begin a journey to their wintering grounds in Mexico—a migration of up to 3,000 miles! However, don’t expect to see the same butterflies return to your backyard next year. You’re more likely to see their great-grandchildren or great-great-grandchildren. Every year, there are four generations of monarchs. When the fall migrants leave the wintering areas and head north in the spring, they will stop and breed as soon as they reach areas with milkweed—the only plant the monarch caterpillar eats—long before reaching the Northeast. The next two generations will continue to move north as the monarchs settle into their summer range. The fourth generation becomes the new fall migrants, starting the cycle over again. » Continue Reading.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Recreation highlight: Snowshoes in the High Peaks

snowshoeing at the wild centerIf you’re planning to hike in the High Peaks region this winter, you may have heard that snowshoes are required to be worn once snow depths reach eight inches. But why is that, and what does it mean for you?

Snow can get very deep in the High Peaks Wilderness. Currently, there is close to three feet of snow at base elevations and five to six feet on summits. When snow gets this deep, staying on the surface is vital to your safety and the safety of others.

Snowshoes redistribute weight and help hikers float on the surface of deep snow. This prevents the deep holes, known as postholes, created by bare boots. Note that carrying snowshoes with you is not sufficient – they must be worn to prevent falls and postholing.

It might seem like snowshoes are unnecessary when trails become packed down from repeated travel, but that is not the case. Snow alongside the hardpacked trails will still be soft. Imagine stepping off to the side to let another group pass and falling feet down into the snow. Such falls can lead to injury and leave dangerous traps along the trail. Even on hardpacked trails bare boots can still create holes and divots in the snow that might cause others – especially skiers – to fall.

There are some instances when you might have to switch your snowshoes for other traction devices. When you encounter thick, steep ice, swap out your snowshoes for crampons. As soon as you are past the ice, put your snowshoes back on.

It takes practice to be able to walk in snowshoes comfortably. Practice at home, in familiar locations, and on short walks before attempting a big hike. Using trekking poles can help with balance.

Almanack file photo

Friday, February 19, 2021

Outdoor conditions: High Peaks Info Center closure

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.

Saranac Lake Wild Forest: The C7 snowmobile trail between Tupper Lake and Lake Clear can be used by snowmobiles. Work on the rail removal project is paused until spring. Riders should pay attention for any caution or warning signs.

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Lake George Boating Access Survey for Mossy Point and Roger’s Rock Boat Launches

Rogers Rock Campground provided by DECDEC is conducting a survey to elicit public feedback on the overnight gate closure program for Lake George at Mossy Point and Roger’s Rock boat launches. The information gathered will inform a more permanent program for future boating seasons and support the state’s ongoing efforts to protect Lake George from invasive pests.

We encourage boaters that have used either access sites to take a brief survey. The survey and comment period will remain open until March 12, 2021. Comments may also be submitted by email to

DEC photo

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Rangers respond to snowmobile mishap, accident

Snowmobile Stuck in Lewey Lake. DEC photoRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions: Lewey Lake Hamilton County Public Service: On Feb. 14, Forest Rangers Temple and Thompson were on snowmobile patrol in the Jessup River Wild Forest. While on patrol crossing Lewey Lake, the Rangers observed two abandoned snowmobiles that appeared to be broken down and stuck on the ice. The Rangers took the information from the snowmobile’s registration stickers and did a cursory search of the area looking for any signs of the snowmobile operators. With no signs of anyone in distress and the snowmobiles frozen in the surface slush of the lake, the Rangers continued their patrol and attempted to locate the operators through other means. On Feb. 15, Forest Rangers Thompson and Nally again patrolled the area and observed three individuals in a UTV attempting to recover the snowmobiles. The Rangers interviewed the group and learned that one of the snowmobiles broke down and was being towed out by the second when it began to have mechanical issues causing both sleds to get stuck. Prior to the Rangers’ arrival, the group attempted to remove the snowmobiles without proper equipment and got their UTV stuck in the surface slush, as well. Rangers proceeded to Moffitt Beach campground to gather equipment and returned, freeing all three machines from the slush. The Rangers then escorted the group off the ice. Due to one of the snowmobiles not being registered, the operator was issued a summons returnable to the Lake Pleasant Court. » Continue Reading.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

DEC advises backcountry users of High Peaks avalanche risk

Avalanche anatomy illustrationBackcountry downhill skiers, snowboarders, and others who may traverse slides or steep, open terrain in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks should be aware of and prepared for avalanche conditions, advises the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

Avalanche danger increases during and immediately after major snowfalls and during thaws. The High Peaks have received approximately five to six feet of snow, with the majority accumulating over the last two weeks. Due to high winds, snow depths are deeper on leeward slopes or areas of snow deposits, such as gullies. As snow accumulates over time it develops distinct layers formed by rain and melt/freeze cycles. When new snow falls onto previous snowpack, it adds weight and downward pressure. Lower snow layers may be reactive to the added stresses of recent snows, creating conditions conducive to avalanches.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, February 12, 2021

DEC winter recreation tips: Food and water storage

thermosWinter recreation is fun and exciting. It can also be challenging and dangerous. Whether you’re going for a hike, a ski, snowmobiling or ice fishing, Hike Smart NY can help you prepare with a list of 10 essentials, guidance on what to wear, and tips for planning your trip with safety and sustainability in mind.

Food & Water Storage

Proper nutrition and hydration are key to a safe and successful hike, but winter’s cold can bring challenges. In extremely cold temperatures food and water can freeze in your pack. This makes it hard or even impossible to consume what you need to stay hydrated and energized. To avoid food and water freezing, try the following:

» Continue Reading.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Outdoor Conditions (2/12): Ice and snow at McKeever Trail parking lot

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, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.

Black River Wild Forest: The Wolf Lake Landing Road in McKeever is a groomed snowmobile trail during the winter. This includes where the McKeever Trailhead Parking Area is located. Vehicles should not attempt to drive into the McKeever Trailhead, nor down the Wolf Lake Landing Road, when the road is covered with snow and/or ice. Multiple vehicles have become stuck when attempting to drive in and needed to be towed out. There is no official winter parking at this location.

» Continue Reading.

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