On August 25, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the grand opening of the final three regions of the New York State Birding Trail, highlighting the state’s world-class and wide-ranging birding opportunities. The Adirondacks-North Country, Catskills, and Southern Tier segments bring the total number of birding trail locations across the state to more than 300, providing a variety of quality birding experiences for New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy.
Deciduous trees, ice-cream stands, and marinas close each fall for the same reason: as daylight dwindles and cold creeps in, they become less profitable. When income dips down to equal the cost of doing business, a wise proprietor will turn out the lights and lock the doors until spring. Some enterprising holdouts stay open longer. Perhaps they have less competition, or a better location. Conversely, a few close shop at the first whiff of autumn. Those are the ventures which just scrape by at the height of summer. I’m talking about trees here, of course. Trees whose leaves show color ahead of their same-species peers are doing so because they are barely breaking even.
The 9th Annual Fire Tower Lighting event is scheduled for Saturday, September 3 from 9 to 9:30 p.m. and will include several fire towers in the Adirondacks and Catskills. On the evening of the event, volunteers will light fire tower cabs with high-powered lights, and invite people to visit locations where they could look up, see the light on the horizon, and pay homage to fire observers who would stand watch in the towers, protecting the community and surrounding forest.
Established in 2014, this statewide event is the brain child of Doug Hamilton of the Red Hill Fire Tower Committee, and is meant to showcase the history of fire towers around the state. They were erected in the early 20th century, as fires ravaged hundreds of thousands of square miles of wild forest.
I’m not one to shed a tear when authoritarian rulers die, but once they’re gone, picnics become a lot more dangerous. As summer wanes, the original queen in every yellowjacket wasp colony dies – having a few thousand babies in the course of one season is enough to tire any Queen Mum to death. The colony raises new queens as the old one starts to forget the names of her offspring and where she left her reading glasses. But when the feisty new regals emerge, the young queens run off with the nearest male wasps for an mating orgy, after which they hide in rotten logs or nearby attics for the winter. With no one to keep the kids in line, social order disintegrates within the colony.
Adirondack Council weighs in on NYSERDA’s draft Climate Scoping Plan, importance of wild forests and farms
ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y. – As owners of the largest intact temperate deciduous forest on Earth, New Yorkers have an awesome responsibility to save the Adirondack Park from the ravages of climate change. But that “forever wild” forest is also New York’s greatest weapon in the fight to prevent global overheating, the Adirondack Council told the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority recently.
The Adirondack Park’s largest environmental organization was commenting on NYSERDA’s draft Climate Scoping Plan, which will spell out how the state intends to combat climate change and comply with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. The Act requires New York to stop emitting all greenhouse gases by 2050.
By Hallie Bond, Town of Long Lake Historian
The Adirondack Canoe Classic, known to many of us as The 90-Miler, is coming up! On September 10, we can stand on the bridge over Long Lake and cheer on those brave souls who are paddling or rowing all the way from Old Forge to Saranac Lake. They will be traveling an ancient route, one that has seen the full range of propulsion options, from human to the gasoline engine. The death this summer of Tom Helms, proprietor for nearly half a century of Helms Aero Service, reminds us that in one Long Lake family we can see most of this evolution happening on this lake over the past 160 years.
We got several hit or miss showers last week, some with lightning and thunder. I went down to Sand Lake at the Adirondack League Club last week with Don Andrews to check on the Loon family there. The forecast called for a clear day and no rain. It was beautiful all morning (even at 50 degrees with a little fog) as we went across Woodhull Lake. We got down to Sand Lake and rowed around the many islands there looking for a used Loon nest, but we didn’t find one with egg chips in it.
The male Loon from the pair came up to the north end to see who was on his lake. We went out into the main lake and found the female with two chicks more than half grown with mostly gray feathers. They stuck to mom like glue. The male came by, said almost nothing and went on his way, leaving the female to defend her chicks. We took a few pictures using a long lens, as the sky to the north turned rather black with a few thunder rumbles.
KEENE, NY — The Adirondack Land Trust at its annual meeting in North Creek recognized two Volunteers of the Year: Jess Grant, of Willsboro, and Jon Kislin, of Wilmington.
Grant, a former land trust Intern for the Future of the Adirondacks, was recognized for the key role she plays in building and co-leading the land trust’s Next Gen Council. The Next Gen Council engages a variety of individuals—primarily in their 20s and 30s—in environmental conservation. With different career fields, backgrounds and identities, Next Gen Council members have in common a deep interest in the health and sustainability of the Adirondack Park and are committed to helping to ensure it is a place for all to enjoy and care for. Grant represented the council this summer during two events on the land trust’s porch in Keene that attracted more than 50 interns and young professionals.
On Tuesday, August 23, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) for Valcour Island will continue in 2022. The program, launched in the fall of 2020, offers opportunities to take antlerless deer on Valcour Island with antlerless deer tags.
Old Forge, New York — Looking to add a new piece to your art collection? Come to View, the Center for Arts & Culture in Old Forge, on September 3 and find your next masterpiece at the 13th Annual Plein Air Paint Out Art Auction starting at 4 p.m.
Over 40 participating artists in the 3-day Plein Air Paint Out event will donate at least one painting for the live auction. The artists will spend Thursday to Saturday moving around the Old Forge area looking for the perfect Adirondack scene to capture with their paints. Each artist may also offer consignment paintings (pay and take) that are on display starting September 1 at View and will be available for purchase from through September 3, after the auction.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature recently added the migratory monarch butterfly, known for their flight to California and Mexico during the winter, to their “Red List,” a compilation of animals that they deem endangered. The native populations of this butterfly have shrunk by at least 22% in the past decade, due to numerous factors, including deforestation, pesticides, and climate change.
Deforestation in Mexico and California to clear the way for urban spaces, has destroyed much of the monarch’s shelter. Pesticides and herbicides used in large-scale agriculture have killed butterflies and milkweed, the plant that the larvae feed off of. Drought, wildfires, and extreme weather and temperatures caused by climate change has also damaged these butterflies’ homes, as well as killed many of them.
In celebration of these beautiful creatures, Paul Smith’s VIC has organized a Monarch Fest which is scheduled for September 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
If you believe we’re the master of our actions, think again. Better yet, have a fungus, bacterium, or protozoan tell you what to think. Jedi mind tricks are nothing compared to what microbes can do to animals, human and otherwise. You’ve likely heard that mice and rats infected with Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, lose their fear of cats because the pathogen initiates “epigenic remodeling.” In other words, T. gondii changes the expression of rat DNA to its advantage. As a result of this “remodeling,” infected rats and mice become sexually aroused by cat urine and seek it out, to their detriment obviously. In this way, T. gondii infects more cats.
The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) — with support from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), the Lake Champlain Basin Program and volunteers — has completed long overdue maintenance of campsites on the historic Valcour Island.
Valcour Island, located southeast of Plattsburgh near Lake Champlain’s western shore, offers abundant opportunities for paddlers, campers and anglers. The NFCT’s stewardship crew rehabilitated more than 10 campsites over the course of six days, and made numerous improvements elsewhere on the island.
“Valcour Island is one of Lake Champlain’s finest recreation areas and is an important tourist destination,” said Noah Pollock, NFCT’s stewardship director. “We were happy to put our crew and volunteers to work to help the NYSDEC complete a variety of important maintenance tasks.”
Lake Placid, NY — Earlier this month, New York State Senator Dan Stec presented ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club) with a legislative resolution recognizing ADK’s 100 years of teaching people how to explore and protect New York’s public lands and waters. The resolution acknowledges the many ways in which ADK has achieved this over the last century, including through educational outreach, stewardship programs, and trail work.
The resolution was sponsored by Senator Dan Stec in the Senate, Assembly member Matt Simpson in the Assembly, and co-sponsored by Assembly members Jones, Ashby, Byrne, Salka, Mikulin, DeStefano, Hawley, Manktelow, Cusick, McDonald, Smullen, McMahon, and Walsh. A physical copy was given to ADK Deputy Executive Director Julia Goren during an event at the Adirondack History Museum.
I visited all my Loon lakes this last week, including some that I hadn’t been to all summer. I was happy to find some of those pairs had chicks. One was Woodhull Lake where there are five pairs of Loons, and a few of them are banded. A Loon called right off the dock while I was putting the boat into the water, but it didn’t have any chicks. Going up the lake, I got all the way to Brooktrout Point before I heard another Loon. I looked ahead, and I could see two Loons with a single chick. I didn’t even get close, and the male was penguin-walking to distract me from the chick and then both were up and penguin walking. I kept going toward the landing at the end of the lake and I bumped right into another pair with two bigger chicks, and they did nothing but swim away from me.
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