Saturday, December 5, 2020

DEC: Give the gift of the outdoors this holiday season

Are you looking for gift ideas this holiday season? DEC’s lifetime sporting licenses make a great gift for outdoors enthusiasts. In addition, for a limited time DEC is offering a one-year subscription to its award-winning Conservationist magazine at half price, as well as gift cards to DEC operated campgrounds.

Sporting licenses

Lifetime Licenses are available to New York State residents who have resided in New York for at least one year prior to purchase (proof of residency required). Lifetime licenses may be purchased at any license-issuing agent, by phone (866-933-2257), or online with a current NYS DMV driver or non-driver ID containing a valid New York State address. Allow 14 days for delivery of Lifetime Licenses purchased online or by phone.

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Friday, December 4, 2020

Ski centers gear up for a different kind of season

Some years ski season is in full swing by late November. That isn’t the case this year, but that hasn’t kept me from considering where I’ll be headed during the upcoming ski season.  And I’m wondering where everyone else will be headed.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Backcountry rescue for injured hiker on Buck Mountain

forest ranger reportsRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Fort Ann
Washington County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Nov. 28 at 1:06 p.m., Warren County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch requesting assistance for a 57-year-old male hiker from Clifton Park with a possible leg fracture one mile from the summit of Buck Mountain. Forest Ranger Lt. Ganswindt and three Forest Rangers responded to assist. After locating the hiker, the Rangers splinted his injured leg and proceeded to carry him to a waiting ATV to drive him out of the woods. Once back at the trailhead, the hiker declined further medical assistance and the incident concluded at 5:14 p.m.


Saturday, November 28, 2020

OSI Protects Warren County Property in Southern Adirondack Foothills

Newly protected property, located west of the West Mountain Ski Area, aids in clean water protection and efforts to fight climate change

The Open Space Institute (OSI) has announced the permanent protection of land in the Town of Lake Luzerne- building on over thirty years of land protection in and around the Adirondack Park Preserve. The town is composed of hard and softwood forests and wetlands, within the Hudson River watershed. This acquisition will be providing protections for clean water, as well as contributing to the fight against climate change via the capture of carbon.

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Friday, November 27, 2020

Saratoga PLAN opens former dog-sled training grounds as public trails

This Thanksgiving weekend, Saratoga PLAN will be opening their latest public trail system, the Barkersville Trails, located in the Towns of Galway and Providence. Formerly grounds for sled-dog training, the Barkersville Trails are still privately owned by Dolores Arste and her husband David Hickey, and consist of relatively flat to hilly terrain, with winding pathways through moss-covered boulders and brooks.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Outdoor tips for winter hiking and other excursions

winter gearEarlier in 2020, Explorer intern Zach Lawrence wrote a series of articles that aim to help beginners get started with winter hiking.

Here they are, for a reference, as we gear up for the start of snow season:

Food essentials: Packing the proper—and right amount—of food for your backcountry winter excursions can be overwhelming when you’re first starting out. You can get ideas online, but the bottom line is you have to find out what works best for you.

Everyone’s dietary preferences and needs are different, but there are items everyone should include. This guide provides a baseline. READ MORE

Footwear: In the winter, there are several pieces of footwear that will be necessary depending on the activity you are interested in as well as the conditions of the trail you want to explore. What you put on your feet will be dependent on variables such as snow depth, ice, and the difficulty of your planned excursion. READ MORE

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Sunday, November 22, 2020

HISTORICAL PROFILE: Coon Mountain of Westport

Continuing my hikes and bushwhacks to various peaks in the Adirondacks and exploring their history,  I paid a visit to Coon Mountain in the Town of Westport, Essex County. From the trailhead located off a dirt road called Halds Road, I made the short, 0.7-mile hike along the leaf-littered trail to the bare-rock lookout point. From the lookout, I found a nice view of Lake Champlain and North West Bay (below), and the Green Mountains of Vermont across the lake. I should note that the true summit of Coon Mountain is about 0.25-miles north-northwest of the lookout point and requires a bushwhack to get to.

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Sunday, November 22, 2020

Paul Smiths adds trap shooting team to extracurricular sports activities

Paul Smith’s College, the College of the Adirondacks, offers 27 different varsity sports, including woodmen’s sports. Its most recent addition to that lineup is the Bobcats trap shooting team. The sport of trap shooting dates back to the 1900 Summer Olympics; it was started at the school in 2019 with the financial assistance of numerous area businesses.

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Friday, November 20, 2020

Key things to consider when choosing Cross-Country Skis

As a new homeowner a few decades ago, I needed a ladder and foolishly bought a heavy-duty fiberglass 28-footer that could reach the highest point.   That was a bad move; other than once I’ve never needed to reach that high; the ladder is unwieldy and even fully retracted it’s too long for most jobs. Later and a little wiser, I acquired a lightweight 16-foot extension ladder which I now use for almost everything.

Many of my friends make the same mistake when they shop for cross-country skis, buying for the most extreme conditions they’ll ever encounter.   In the store they convince themselves they need wide, back-country skis with metal edges, in case of deep powder or an icy traverse.   They ski-trudge that heavy-duty gear on ordinary trails and easy roads like the one to Great Camp Santanoni.  They even take them to groomed Nordic centers.  Instead, their primary pair should have been a light-touring setup that’s good for almost everything except the rare extremes.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Rangers come to aid of 84 year old hiker with chest pains

forest ranger reportsRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Nov. 10 at 4:36 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an 84-year-old male hiker from Rochester with chest pains on Mt. Jo. Forest Ranger Lt. Burns and Forest Ranger van Laer responded, along with the Lake Placid Fire Department and Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Service. The hiker was treated by Lake Placid EMS and assisted to the ambulance. Forest Rangers were clear of the scene at 6 p.m.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Adirondack 46ers support crucial high peaks stewardship programs

adk mountain club logoThe Adirondack 46ers have increased their support of critical stewardship programs in the High Peaks Wilderness after another busy year in the Adirondacks. Last week they announced a $41,000 commitment to the ADK’s (The Adirondack Mountain Club’s) professional trail crew. This pledge was the second from the 46ers, announced shortly after a pledge of $75,000 to be distributed over three years from 46ers, effectively doubling down on their efforts to support the ADK Mountain Club’s stewardship program. The Stewardship Program is managed in partnership with the NYS DEC, and the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

Over the last 20 years, the 46ers have donated nearly $350,000 to the ADK’s trails program, $298,000 of which in the last 8 years alone, when visitor use has reached its peak.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Paul Smith’s VIC to open Dec. 5 for ski season

Weather dependent, the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Information Center plans to open its doors on Saturday the 5th of December for the winter season.
Ski passes are on now on sale (season passes available here), which gives users access to more than 40K of groomed ski and snowshoeing trails. Click here for details on the fees for day use and season passes.
Please note: You can opt out of shipping and pick up your pass at the front desk. You’ll need to sign a NYS ski waiver. If you’d prefer to print an application and mail it to us, you will find the form and address online as well.
With users’ help and cooperation, staff aim to keep the building open throughout the season. Details on what to expect when you arrive at the VIC are forthcoming.
Photo courtesy of Paul Smith’s VIC

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Documenting historic High Peaks hikes

Bethany and KatieIn September, Katie Rhodes and Bethany Garretson added their names to Adirondack hiking lore by doing an unsupported trip through the High Peaks in just over seven days.

According to fastestknowntime.com, a website that tracks and verified hiking challenges around the world, the pair are the first women to do this style of trip through the High Peaks, at this pace. Unsupported means they carried their supplies from the start to the finish and didn’t get any help along the way from anyone else. Supported speed hikers receive assistance from others on their trip.

They were at least the second pair of women to thru-hike the Adirondack High Peaks this fall. Sarah Keyes and Alyssa Godesky did a supported version of the Adirondack 46, with Godesky setting the women’s record in 3 days, 16 hours and 16 minutes.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Hiker injuries on Bear Den, Wright Peak

forest ranger reportsRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Minerva
Essex County
Wilderness Search:
 On Nov. 7 at 12:30 p.m., Forest Ranger Quinn contacted DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch advising he was commencing a search for a lost hunter on Northwoods Club Road. Forest Rangers Kabrehl and Sabo were also contacted and responded to assist. At 3:34 p.m., Forest Rangers located the 19-year-old hunter from Wilton based on coordinates he provided, which placed him on the southwest side of Pine Mountain in the Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area. The hunter and Rangers proceeded out of the woods and at 5:30 p.m. The hunter was reunited with his hunting party and Forest Rangers cleared the scene.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Chasing waterfalls

How to celebrate a birthday on a chilly, rainy, late autumn day during Covid-19? Visit the waterfalls on the Grass River in the Tooley Pond Tract, of course.

It was not raining when Bruce and I left our house in Keene that mid-October day. A drizzling rain began falling after arriving in Saranac Lake, becoming more intense at Cranberry Lake. The rain had let-up some by the time we reached the trail to the first waterfall, Copper Rock.   

The Tooley Pond Tract includes a Forest Preserve parcel of 6,000 acres, including 20 miles along the South Branch of the Grass River in the northwestern Adirondacks. Our goal was to explore the six waterfalls along the route, an area an Adirondack Explorer article called “A cascade of riches,” noting that most of the falls cannot be viewed from the road. I first visited the falls shortly after reading this 2004 article written by Mark Bowie that welcomed readers on a waterfall hopping venture. Going again after all these years was on my bucket list. 

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