Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland was chock-a-block full of whimsical characters such as a hookah-smoking caterpillar and a bloodthirsty Queen of Hearts playing-card. Although animals and some objects in the story are able to speak, somehow the idea of a talking mushroom was too far-out even for Carroll’s rich imagination. The book depicts a colorful hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom on which Alice dines (without so much as a parental warning) to become large or small. But while the Cheshire cat is chatty, the mushroom remains mum.
by Lisa Salamon, Adirondack Pollinator Project
The iconic Monarch butterfly was added to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species in July. The List, known as the IUCN Red List, founded in 1964, is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. It uses a set of precise criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and is recognized as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity.
ADIRONDACKS—Beech leaf disease is in the Adirondacks, and scientists need help gathering data on the newly emerging forest pest. To teach community scientists how to identify and report beech leaf disease, the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program will host a free webinar from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 15, called “Forest Pest Hunters: Surveying for Beech Leaf Disease.”
Beech leaf disease was first detected in Ohio in 2012 and in New York state in 2018. In 2022, the state Department of Environmental Conservation confirmed the presence of beech leaf disease in over 30 counties in New York including Herkimer County, the first documented infestation in the Adirondack region. Beech leaf disease can kill mature beech trees in six to 10 years, while young trees can be killed in as little as two to three years.
We got plenty of rain in the last week and it is still falling. One storm brought us over an inch and a half overnight, and the next one gave us nearly two inches in a couple hours. This wet down the woods in good shape, as not much of it ran off. My pond drain is flowing again, and that made the trout happy enough to start feeding again. For a few days they didn’t want to surface into the warmer water for food. Some folks as close as Forestport never got a drop out of the bigger storm. There was very little wind (just rain) so the power didn’t go out, but some folks lost their telephone service. The big storm shut off our dish signal for over half an hour one time, and then on-and-off for the next hour.
More than of the state’s bear population lives in the Adirondack region. So it’s no big surprise to have some bear/human interactions in our communities.
This year, however, the activity is either on the rise or the number of “problem bears” has increased. It’s not good news, regardless, as it has resulted in a higher number of dead bears. So far in 2022, the DEC has euthanized 16 bears in northern New York, compared to just two last year.
It’s an issue we’re looking further into and invite you to share your stories. Have you had a negative bear encounter? What steps do you take to “bear proof” your home and yard? What are your thoughts on euthanization? Should we be doing more to educate visitors about bears? Send your thoughts to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment here.
Photo: Black bear in Raquette Lake by Jeff Nadler, archive photo.
From palm-reading to watching Fox News, humans throughout the ages have sought knowledge through some decidedly irrational means. But every now and then, superstition pays off. For example, studying the pattern of coffee grounds in the bottom of one’s cup, a practice known as tasseomancy, will nearly always reveal that someone forgot to put a filter in the coffeemaker basket. And haruspicy, the study of the fresh entrails of a gutted animal, is consistently right in concluding the animal is dead.
Here’s a glimpse of what is planned for SUNY-ESF’s Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) for the remainder of September, heading into October. Programs include a variety of walks, hikes, and a Halloween-themed educational program called Skull Skills. Pre-registration is required for all programs.
Saturday, September 10th – 9:30 to 11:00 am
Black Bear Woods Walk
Come along for an easy guided walk as we learn about black bears in the Adirondacks. We’ll look for signs of bears on our trails, discuss the implications of a changing climate on black bears, and learn about bear safety. Bring your trail shoes and your best bear stories.
click here to register
The rain last week sure helped with the forest fire situation. However, the lightning storms could have hit a dry stub or two which could burn for a long time before being detected, and may even go undetected. Many times, I’ve gone through the woods hunting and found where a fire had burned for some time and had either died out by itself or was put out by rain. It may happen this time, as we will be getting more rain this week when a cold front comes through bringing thunderstorms. There’s no one up in fire towers watching anymore, but they may be seen by an airplane flying around the area.
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.
Wait, before you go,
sign up for news updates from the Adirondack Almanack!