The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) is now hiring to fill out its 2024 stewardship crew. A total of seven positions are available: six paid internships and one crew leader for the Allagash field team. The stewardship crew works with the NFCT‘s year-round staff and volunteers across New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire, and Maine to complete projects that enhance access and protect against environmental degradation along the 740-mile waterway trail that begins in Old Forge, NY, and ends in Fort Kent, Maine.
When it comes to the Adirondacks and the “forever wild” provision of our state constitution, a number of us just lost a great, very determined, and very influential teacher in that field of green. Charles C. “Charlie” Morrison died this week in his mid-90s. After a long career as a natural resource planner with the federal Bureau of Outdoor Recreation and, starting in 1967 with NYS Conservation Department and then in 1970 the Department of Environmental Conservation, Charlie’s retirement years were devoted to the not-for-profit world. These included (but by no means were limited to) board and committee service, all voluntary, with the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, the Club’s Adirondack group, the Environmental Planning Lobby, now Environmental Advocates of NY, the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, Protect the Adirondacks, and Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.
Starting today [January 11], Climate Matters will reach your inbox on Thursdays instead of Fridays. Happy reading!
This week I have a story on forest restoration using genetically-modified trees. The American chestnut tree, found in many pieces of art and literature, used to be abundant in Eastern forests. A fungus introduced in the 1900s, now known as chestnut blight, wiped out much of the population.
Although the Adirondacks were never home to a high population of the tree, climate change may have altered its range as the park’s environment has become warmer, a researcher told me.
At this link: A high-stakes restoration process that could take generations to accomplish, with some bumps along the way.
The Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force in September released its long-awaited recommendations to rein in the region’s road salt use, but a central question remains. What next?
The Adirondack Explorer will be hosting a discussion on Feb. 15 at the Wild Center beginning at 10 a.m. to dive into that question and many others with a panel of government leaders, task force members and independent experts.
We hope you will join us to learn more about the report and the path forward. The Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation have scheduled officials to join and talk about how their agencies are working to implement the report’s proposals.
On January 12, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced three Winter Weekend events will be held in 2024 at the historic Camp Santanoni in the town of Newcomb in the Adirondacks. Hosted by DEC and Friends of Camp Santanoni, along with partners Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the town of Newcomb, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Adirondack Interpretive Center, the Winter Weekends invite visitors to enjoy winter recreation and exclusive winter access to the preserved buildings of the former great camp.
The 2024 Winter Weekend events will take place during the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday weekend, Jan. 13-15; Presidents’ Day holiday weekend, Feb. 17-19; and the weekend of March 16-17.
Keene Valley, NY– The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program’s (APIPP) 2024 educational webinar programming will begin Thursday, Jan. 18, with “Adirondack Forest Ecology.”
APIPP’s terrestrial and aquatic partner meetings will be held Feb. 7 and 8, respectively, and the “Adirondack Lake Ecology” webinar will follow on March 6.
“Adirondack Forest Ecology” will be a comprehensive discussion on Adirondack forests and how they could be negatively impacted by hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive forest pest.
Mark Lesser, associate professor with the Center for Earth and Environmental Science at Plattsburgh State University, will give a detailed overview of what makes Adirondack forests
look and function the way they do. The talk will include the roles hemlock and beech trees play in Adirondack forests and what could happen if we lose those species to forest pests and
pathogens. » Continue Reading.
A momentous step toward conservation and environmental stewardship has been taken with the successful closure of a $1 million land deal, securing the future of Snake Hill—Saratoga Lake’s largest unprotected shoreline property. The Snake Hill Formation holds a unique distinction as a remnant of the Taconic Mountain lowlands, dating back 450 million years and boasting trees that have stood for over two centuries. Known by its indigenous name, Tor-war-loon-da, meaning ‘hill of storms,’ this landform is mentioned in several indigenous stories and has historical significance. Covering nearly 30 acres within the town of Stillwater, Snake Hill will now be permanently protected.
Lawmakers are back in Albany for a busy session before November’s elections. We have a round-up of some of the bills and other forest preserve-related business we are watching here.
Gov. Kathy Hochul is set to deliver her State of the State address [Jan. 9] in the Assembly chambers. She revealed some of her priority initiatives in press conferences over the last couple of weeks. Some of them include more state investment in swimming opportunities, establishing paid prenatal leave, addressing how literacy is taught in schools and protecting consumers from unfair business practices.
Connecting the Dots
Back in primary school in the ‘70s, we learned about nature’s “food chain.” In this linear model, which I assume was devised by surveyors who normally lay out rail lines and utility corridors, a tiny creature, let’s say a minnow, gets eaten by a bigger fish, and so on until the biggest fish of all eventually dies and its rotting carcass is maybe nibbled on by vengeful small fish.
After a while, someone recognized that life on Earth was probably more complex than a straight line, and thus the “food web” template was born. The food web, which preceded the world-wide web, was meant to fully explain how nature worked, or at the very least, how spiders make a living.
Scottish-American naturalist John Muir, who founded The Sierra Club and helped create the U.S. National Park system, wrote about nature’s interconnectedness more than a century ago. In 1911 he famously said “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” This suggests something more complicated than a web – a tapestry, for instance. » Continue Reading.
Bolton Landing, NY – The Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) has been given a donation of 4.4 acres of undeveloped land in the Town of Lake George. This property borders the LGLC’s 12-acre East Brook Preserve and includes more than three acres of wetlands and 600 feet of forested steam corridor that help to naturally protect water quality.
The “East Brook Addition” donation was gifted to the LGLC by Karen Azer and her late mother Helene Horn.
“I am glad the parcel will remain forever wild,” said Karen Azer, “not only benefitting water quality but also protecting habitat for wildlife.”
Keene, NY – The Adirondack Land Trust is pleased to announce the following free, virtual events, open to all. To register, visit https://adirondacklandtrust.org/get-involved/events-field-trips/.
Caught in the SNOWstorm
Thursday, January 11, 2024 | 7-8 p.m.
This event features author, researcher and Pulitzer Prize finalist Scott Weidensaul who will share the story of Project SNOWstorm. The winter of 2013-14 saw the largest invasion of snowy owls into the eastern United States in perhaps a century and marked an unprecedented opportunity to learn more about these mysterious Arctic hunters. It led to Project SNOWstorm, a collaborative research effort focused on snowy owls that came together in a few frantic weeks, funded with the help of people from around the world. A decade later, the project continues to make discoveries and unexpected insights into the life and ecology of this great white raptor. » Continue Reading.
Last winter in the Adirondacks saw relatively mild temperatures and unstable ice. By February 2023, one skater said he would have traversed 200 miles of ice by then. But conditions caused Dan Spada, a retired supervisor in the natural resources department at the state Adirondack Park Agency, to lose about a fourth of that mileage.
Lake Champlain, a favorite wild ice skating spot of Spada’s, has yet to fully freeze this winter, he said. Human-caused climate change is spiking temperatures across the globe, leading to thin ice and rainy winters in climes like the Adirondacks.
The park, along with the entire Northeast, is already feeling the effects of climate change.
By Louis Curth
Retired forest ranger Gary Lee’s recollections about the life that he and Karen shared at the West Canada Lakes Ranger Station tell an important story about the vital role of forest ranger wives back in the 1960s. In those days, [female] forest rangers were scarce to non-existent. It was no secret that the Conservation Department favored hiring married men for ranger positions. Married men were viewed as more reliable and better able to fit into the rural community lifestyle of most of the assigned ranger districts. On top of that, the department obtained the many additional services performed by the ranger’s wife for free!
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is seeking public comment on the draft Recreation Management Plan (RMP) for the Big Moose Tract Conservation Easement in the town of Webb, Herkimer County. The RMP outlines public recreation opportunities and facilities that are proposed on the conservation easement and is available for public comment until Feb. 2, 2024.
The Big Moose Tract is approximately 23,850 acres and contains commercially managed forestland, several small ponds, portions of Birch, Fourth, Sunday, and Twitchell creeks, the Independence River, and the West Branch of the Beaver River. Under the terms of an interim RMP, a trail to the Stillwater Mountain fire tower and 12.4 miles of public snowmobile trails are open to the public.
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