On June 29, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that DEC is working to help protect natural resources by identifying management solutions to address the adverse impacts of the expansion of informal trail networks on Catskill High Peaks (over 3,500 feet) previously considered to be ‘trailless.’ Informal trails created over time are having an impact and consistent with the Catskill Strategic Planning Advisory Group’s (CAG) preliminary recommendations to address increased public use in the region, DEC is seeking public input in this preliminary stage of management plan development.
“DEC is conducting a multi-year monitoring effort that is already identifying management concerns on many of these Catskill High Peaks,” said Commissioner Seggos. “DEC will be working outside of the conventional unit management planning process to develop a single document that will outline intervention strategies to help address adverse impacts in multiple areas as quickly as possible. We will be providing a variety of opportunities for public participation, including a public information session in the fall once the 2022 field monitoring season is complete.”
Lake Placid, NY — The Adirondack High Peaks Summit Stewardship Program has started its 33rd season of protecting New York’s alpine ecosystem. Summit stewards will be educating hikers on high peaks summits—namely Marcy, Algonquin, Wright, and Cascade—through Indigenous People’s Day. During this time, they will also be focused on expanding the program’s photopoint monitoring, which is key to showcasing the link between educational outreach and alpine vegetation recovery.
“We are excited to continue the important work of protecting New York’s alpine ecosystem,” said Kayla White, ADK Stewardship Manager. “The Summit Stewardship Program has been and continues to be one of the best examples we have of an outreach effort that has successfully shown people how to protect sensitive ecosystems while they enjoy them.”
Since the program’s founding in 1989, summit stewards have educated over 600,000 hikers about alpine vegetation and how to protect it. The result has been a remarkable recovery in vegetation on alpine-carrying summits in the High Peaks region, a trend that has held despite increases in visitor use over the last decade.
Loon enthusiasts are encouraged to join retired NYS DEC Forest Ranger, and avid naturalist, birder, and photographer, Gary Lee, as he shares stories during an informational session about banding loons in the Adirondacks.
The presentation will take place on Friday, July 1 at 7 p.m. in the meeting room of Inlet Town Hall located at 160 State Route 28. The program is free and open to the public. For more information about this event, call (315) 357-5501.
Gary lives with his wife, Karen, at Eight Acre Wood in Inlet where he was the Forest Ranger for 35 years, working in the Moose River Wild Forest Recreation Area and West Canada Lakes Wilderness Area. Now retired, Gary works summers for the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, observing, catching and banding loons.
The author of a column Daybreak to Twilight in local papers from 1986 to 2019, he now writes his Outdoor Adventures in a weekly blog, which can be seen on The Adirondack Almanack and View Arts Center websites. In 2008, Gary coauthored a book with John M.C. “Mike” Peterson, “Adirondack Birding- 60 Great Places to Find Birds.”
Photo at top: Gary Lee with loon. (Town of Inlet website photo.)
The idyllic 75-acre hillside property in the town of Bolton will host a birthday party featuring fun activities involving Up Yonda staff, volunteers and numerous local organizations, including Adirondack Mountain Club, Lake George Land Conservancy, Friends of Up Yonda Farm, Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Southern Adirondack Beekeepers, among others.
There will be something for the whole family, with Tres Mijas Food Truck on site and special programs, exhibits, and booths from partner organizations to mark the occasion.
11 different organizations have committed to being part of the event, featuring a variety of outdoor recreation, environmental and educational topics to go along with Up Yonda’s offerings.
“Up Yonda Farm is a great place to spend a day with the family, get some exercise and learn about our region’s environment. We hope our residents and visitors can join us on July 30th for a fun day commemorating this 25-year milestone for Up Yonda as a resource for all of Warren County,” said Kevin Geraghty, Chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors.
Admission is free, no reservations are needed, and there will be food, vendors and activities on site from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information, including a full list of organizations that will be part of the event, check out the attached flier or log on to upyondafarm.com.
About Up Yonda Farm:Located on Route 9N just west of Lake George’s western shore, Up Yonda Farm was donated to Warren County by Alice and John Scott of Bolton in 1993, and opened to the public in 1997. The Scotts also set up a trust fund that helps fund its operations. Up Yonda features an auditorium, museum, sugar house, and a butterfly exhibit during the summer months, and hosts many types of educational programs for all ages. The property’s farmhouse has an educational space, live turtle exhibit and a small gift shop area featuring locally produced honey and maple syrup as well as field guides. There are natural history exhibits and wildlife viewing opportunities throughout the property and series of hiking and snowshoeing trails provide access to a scenic vista of Lake George. Warren County Department of Parks, Recreation and Railroad oversees the property.
Photo at top: Up Yonda Farm view. (Photo provided by Don Lehman, Director of Public Affairs for Warren County)
DEC asks the public to report moose sightings via an online form as part of ongoing efforts to monitor moose distribution across New York. While the Adirondacks are home to most New York moose, some live in the eastern part of the state along the Vermont and Massachusetts borders. Moose can also occasionally be found in southeastern New York and the Catskills, but these are usually individuals that have dispersed from other areas.
Moose are the largest land mammal in the state. In the summer, when most sightings occur, moose typically spend a lot of time in ponds and wetlands feeding on submerged aquatic plants. During the rest of the year in cooler weather, they browse on leaves, twigs, and buds of trees and shrubs. Favored browse species include willows, birches, maples, balsam fir, viburnums, aspen, and mountain ash. Bulls weigh up to 1,200 pounds and stand up to six feet tall at the shoulder. Cows weigh anywhere from 500 to 800 pounds and usually give birth to one or two calves in late May or early June.
Thunderstorms rumbled all around us the other night and even shut off the TV dish for a while, but we only got a quarter inch of rain that night. One mostly-wet day was Thursday, June 16, but then it was only light rain that fell and didn’t even keep me out of weeding in the garden. The wind has been the big thing, with white caps on most of the big lakes most all week into the weekend. Even some of the smaller ponds were tough to travel on in a small craft like a Hornbeck boat.
My 17- foot canoe had all it wanted on the Cedar River Flow on Friday, June 17, with three-foot swells and white caps, which the wind blew the tops off. I stayed along the north shore, and it wasn’t too bad as the wind was strong out of the NW. I saw an older fella (actually he was younger than me) in his rehabbed canoe he found at the dump out on the flow. He kept close to shore on the north side and made it back to the landing just as I got there on my return trip.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Division of Law Enforcement enforces the 71 chapters of New York State’s Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), protecting fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality across New York. In 1880, the first eight Game Protectors proudly began serving to protect the natural resources and people of New York State. In 2021, 282 Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) and Investigators across the state responded to 26,207 calls and worked on cases that resulted in 11,562 tickets or arrests for violations ranging from deer poaching to solid waste dumping, illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.
Drone Training – Oneida County
From June 2 to 5, members of DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement drone team, along with New York State Police and the Town of Colonie Police Department, presented at the 2022 New York State Technical Rescue Conference at the State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany. ECOs presented on the critical role of drones during investigations. ECOs demonstrated scenario-based and hands-on drone training, ranging from hazmat responses and emergency operations, to structural collapse situations and flooded environments. This is the first time drones were a topic of discussion at the conference.
The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) is inviting volunteers to join its Lake Protectors program and is kicking off summer with its first (of three) Lake Protectors training sessions from 9-11:30 a.m. on June 28.
“Being a Lake Protector is fun, easy and a great way to help Adirondack lakes,” said Brian Greene, APIPP’s Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator.
Since the program’s inception in 2002, hundreds of volunteer Lake Protectors have surveyed more than 460 lakes in the Adirondacks, of which more than 75-percent do not have invasive species present.
Participation in the program is simple. After taking a training course, every volunteer is encouraged to adopt a waterbody of their choice and commit to surveying that pond or lake at least once during the summer. Many Lake Protectors, like Saranac Lake author Caperton Tissot, view the program as a way to spend time on a favorite waterbody while also helping to protect it from the threat of invasive species. Tissot has been a volunteer Lake Protector since 2009. In an interview last summer, she said her favorite place to survey is Barnum Pond in Paul Smiths because there are no buildings nearby, she rarely sees another boat and the shoreline varies from rocky outcrops to forests and bogs.
Pollinator Week is June 20-26. It is an annual celebration in support of pollinator health, established and managed by Pollinator Partnership. This week is a prime time to raise awareness for pollinators and also to spread the word about what people can do in order to protect them. Those interested are encouraged to celebrate Pollinator Week get involved by taking part in a variety of activities such as planting for pollinators, hosting garden tours, participating in online bee and butterfly ID workshops, and more.
Pollinators are essential to our environment, and they provide an ecological service for the reproduction of over 85% of the world’s flowering plants, including more than two-thirds of the world’s crop species.
The U.S. alone grows more than 100 crops that either need or benefit from pollinators.
The economic value of native pollinators is estimated at $3 billion per year in the U.S.
Pollinators are keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems. Fruits and seeds derived from insect pollination are a major part of the diet of approximately 25% of all birds and of mammals.
The judge agreed with the association’s lawyer who argued the herbicide plan could be delayed without impacting the current state of the lake, but if the commission was allowed to carry out its plan, any outcome of the lawsuit would be meaningless. Next step in the case: a conference later this month to come up with a briefing schedule.
LAKE GEORGE – With the water quality threats facing Lake George varying in type and intensity at different points along its 32-mile length, the Lake George Association (LGA) is presenting a series of educational programs to help property owners understand what’s ailing the water quality in their neighborhood and what they can do to help. The LGA’s 2022 Bay-by-Bay Summer Event Series will kick off on Tuesday, June 14, and Wednesday, June 15 at Warner Bay in the town of Queensbury.
A walking tour will be held on June 14 beginning at 4 p.m. This one-hour tour will introduce the priority issues facing the Bay. Attendance is limited to 12 participants and registration is required. The starting location for the tour will be provided upon registration. On Wednesday, June 15, from 4-6 p.m. at the North Queensbury Fire House, the LGA will present a detailed presentation on the greatest threats facing Warner Bay and provide specific guidance on actions residential and commercial property owners can take on their properties as Lake Protectors to safeguard water quality.
With the shooting in the Buffalo Tops Market, killing 10 and three wounded, and the Uvalde, Texas Robb Elementary School shooting, in which 19 children and two teachers were killed, not much was heard of the fires still burning in New Mexico (largest ever) and the first Hurricane Agatha to hit Mexico. It first killed 11 and thirty missing, then traveled across the Gulf of Mexico and hit southern Florida with 12 to 15 inches of rain as Tropical Storm Alex. Many people seem to be living in a bubble, yet ducking COVID, which is still catching lots of people by surprise.
Back to the first two on the list. I was a Hunter Safety Training Trainer for the DEC for over twenty-five years, and it was only near the end of that time, that the AR-15 was just showing up on the public market. I never saw it as a hunting weapon, and still don’t. It’s a killing machine invented for war, which is now being waged on children in schools and public events and places where there are lots of people.
Some beneficial wild plants suffer from reputation: To nettle someone means to annoy them, and nettle plants are in fact covered with hollow micro-spikes that inject a skin irritant. But nettles are also an early-spring cooked green par excellence.
Other plants are victims of poor branding. Critical to the survival of monarch butterflies, milkweed is delicious when cooked. Jewelweed, native to wetlands, contains a sap which counteracts poison ivy, and its orange or yellow orchid-like flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Yet both plants have names which define them as undesirable.
The Lake Champlain Basin Program – a federal program established to guide and fund research, restoration and protection of the lake – on Friday released the latest 5-year update to its guiding plan.
The plan outlined continued threats like high phosphorus levels, harmful algae blooms (HABs), toxic substances and pathogens, and aquatic invasive species. It championed the more than $20 million in grants to more than 600 groups and individuals the program has made to reduce pollution, educate the public, and research the lake and its health.
The new iteration will increase the focus on climate change impacts in the basin and seek to engage a more diverse group of stakeholders.
There’s plenty more happening on the water beat this time of year.
ESSEX, NY — The Essex Community Fund (ECF) at AdirondackFoundation today announces that Dr. H. Nicholas Muller III will receive the 2022 Francisca Irwin Award for Community Service. The name of the award honors Francisca “Frisky” Paine Irwin, who served as the fund’s first chair and recognizes the precedent she established for extended selfless service to benefit Essex.
Muller, the fourth recipient of the Irwin Community Service Award since it was established in 2019, is recognized for decades of service to his community. As part of the award, he will direct a $1,000 grant from the Essex Community Fund to High Peaks Hospice and Palliative Care. His name will be also added to a plaque that hangs in the Essex Town Office listing previous recipients Donna Sonnett, Sally Johnson and Ron Jackson.
“Dr. Muller, who we all know better as Nick, has been instrumental in the founding and success of ECF over many years,” said Norma Goff, current chair of Essex Community Fund. “He is now retired, and it is a pleasure to see him recognized for all his efforts, and have his name added to the special plaque.”
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