July 28th-8am-My cell phone rang. It was Ray. “Hey- got a call last night from my neighbor- he’s camped on site 66, just above us. He said “BEAR!” Came about 4am. He says they tried yelling at it, but it completely ignored them. So they shot fireworks at it- That’s all they had. He said he thought there might be two. They saw the small one. I’ve got the chickens and the pontoon boat- what’s the plan?”
“Robin, Mom and I will meet you at the State Bridge at 11. We’ll go cook chickens. Anyone staying with you tonight? You’re gonna have bears.”
But in case you missed it, we had two stories published online last week on Adirondack Park Agency happenings. One included a look at what the state Department of Environmental Conservation is hoping to do to its largest campground, Fish Creek Pond. The DEC’s proposal is out for public comment, this time looking for feedback on how the proposal meshes (or does not) with the Adirondack Park Agency’s rules and regulations. Here’s the story.
We also had a look at the APA and DEC’s presentation on managing visitors to the Adirondack Park and monitoring wildlands. It was interesting to hear from staff that the scientific method has been missing, at least in a consistent way, from state management of the forest preserve. While there’s no formal public comment period for these guidelines released last week, the APA and DEC still want to hear your thoughts. Click here to read more and to learn how to comment.
Courtesy of: Your Friendly Neighborhood Adirondack Outlaw
Greetings! As I made a quick trip out from camp for a food/water re-supply before heading back in for a long stint in camp through the Memorial Day holiday with our family, I thought a quick scouting report might be something folks find useful as they prepare to head into the Adirondacks for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.
The Adirondack Experience (ADKX), a sprawling 121-acre campus in the heart of the Adirondacks, will open its 2021 summer season in two phases. From May 28 through June 27, ADKX members will be able to access both the onsite art and history museum and full range of outdoor activities on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
This early access benefit is available to existing members as well as individuals and families who sign up in the coming months. On July 1, ADKX will open to the public, with the campus available every day from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. As organizations continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, ADKX is operating under state-mandated capacity limits and will require visitors to wear masks, both in and outdoors. ADKX also encourages visitors to purchase advance timed tickets, especially for any groups of more than two. Ticket purchase will also be available onsite. Additional information regarding visitation is available on ADKX’s updated website at theadkx.org.
I recently walked the stretch of the Remsen to Lake Placid Railroad corridor from where it crosses the Old Military Road near the firehouse in Lake Placid to where the Scarface Mountain hiking trail crosses the tracks. It’s a bit over four miles. The rails have been removed, and there were small piles of them stacked on the rail side, and many of the ties were loose. There were steel plates that held the rails to the ties and lots of railroad spikes were strewn on the disheveled ties. The removal of the steel rails is the first stage of the transformation of this long-defunct railroad into a public multi-use recreation trail.
The railroad corridor is thickly forested, mostly typical northern upland forest at the Lake Placid end, but cuts through boreal habitat and wetlands with some stands dominated by red pines. The rail corridor shares space in this stretch with the utility lines to Lake Placid. The poles have all been recently rebuilt and the new fiber optic line hangs on them.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced that DEC’s 56 campgrounds and Day Use areas will be open to the public on May 21. Reservations for the 2021 camping season are at an all-time high as more New Yorkers and visitors from out of state prepare to head outdoors to take advantage of recreational opportunities in the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves.
In addition and in preparation for the upcoming camping season, DEC announced improvements at campgrounds across the state to help improve the visitor experience. While two DEC campgrounds opened earlier this spring-Wilmington Notch in Essex County on May 7, and Fish Creek in Franklin County on April 2-most DEC campgrounds open on May 21, the weekend prior to the Memorial Day Holiday.
This spring, I paddled out across Kiwassa Lake to see the volunteers at Lean2Rescue put the finishing touches on a newly restored lean-to shelter. They had moved it, piece by piece, from Middle Saranac Lake, so they could replace the roof and some rotting logs at the base. And they left in its place a new lean-to for Middle Saranac.
This is what these guys do. They told me I could do it too, if I had an IQ in the range of a “bag of hammers.” It’s their joke for the mania that drives them to head out into the wilderness to move 400-pound logs around. What they do is no joke, though. It keeps a certain local architectural heritage alive, and gives paddlers and backpackers shelter in the woods.
Wednesday, July 11, 2018, 3:30 pm- My cell phone rang. It was my brother Ray, calling from the lean to on Bull Rush Bay.
“Hey- I’m in camp for the day. Pepper’s with me. Two food bins are missing from the lean to and the Yeti is tipped over.”
We ran down the list of potential culprits- vandals, raccoons, bears. Missing food bins didn’t fit any known raccoon MO. It would have taken Racczilla to tip over that Yeti. Scratch raccoons. That left two suspects- vandals, or bears.
I said “Vandals would have stolen the Yeti, and the beer. Bears leave drag marks. Be careful, especially with that pup! Keep your eyes peeled for drag marks. Call me back.”
Town of North Elba/Keene Essex County Wilderness Rescue: On May 8 at 10:48 a.m., Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an injured hiker on the summit of Mt. Marcy. The hiker, a 52-year-old woman from Bailey, CO, had slipped on the ice and suffered a hip injury. Nine Forest Rangers and two volunteers from the Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks (SARNAK) responded to the Adirondak Loj to evacuate the injured hiker. New York State Police Aviation was requested, but unfavorable weather conditions prevented any flights. At 4:39 p.m., Forest Rangers Mecus and LaPierre reached the subject and determined the injury was non-weight bearing. While waiting for additional resources to arrive on scene, Rangers stabilized the injury and constructed a small shelter to prevent further cold exposure.
The Adirondack Forest Preserve is celebrated as one of the world’s best-protected wilderness reserves, but of course this is New York State, not the distant, untrodden surface of Venus; with precious few exceptions all of the lands that are now “forever wild” were once privately owned, and many parcels were developed to one degree or another before the state acquired them for the Forest Preserve. If you’ve enjoyed any of the Adirondack Park’s “blockbuster” purchases over the last quarter-century, such as Little Tupper Lake, Round Lake, the Essex Chain of Lakes, Boreas Ponds, or Madawaska Flow, you have explored land that was once populated by dozens of modest hunting camps.
I was an early visitor at all of these properties, exploring their secrets while the ink was still wet on the deeds. In 1998, just weeks after the “William C. Whitney Area” opened to the public, I found a small cabin on the north shore of Little Tupper Lake that even DEC staff didn’t seem to know about. At Madawaska Flow in 2004 and Round Lake in 2006, I ventured into recently abandoned cabins that stood on expired leases, quietly awaiting their demolition. These structures reminded me that what I had come to explore as “wilderness” had been perceived and used as something slightly different a few years earlier.
Because of these experiences, as well as my interest in Adirondack history, I have never been deluded into thinking our wilderness is a people-less place; it may be the natural landscape that attracts me and fills my daydreams, but I am also familiar with (and fascinated by) the human story that haunts the Forest Preserve.
Town of Webb Herkimer County Wilderness Search: On April 30 at 10:57 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Herkimer County 911 requesting Forest Ranger assistance in locating a 66-year-old man from Erieville. The man’s vehicle was located by family and New York State Police at his camp earlier in the day, but the subject was nowhere to be found. Forest Rangers, along New York State Police using a drone, State Police K-9, Town of Webb Police Department, and Herkimer County agencies, searched the area during the night with negative results. At 9 a.m. on May 1, a State Police K-9 search team located the missing man near West Pond, a short distance from his camp. The subject had suffered an injury and was extremely cold. Search personnel immediately warmed and fed the man before transporting him out to Old Forge Ambulance where he was taken to a local hospital for medical treatment.
Town of Fort Ann Washington County Wilderness Rescue: On April 24 at 12:15 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Warren County 911 reporting a 51-year-old woman from Malta with an ankle injury was approximately one mile up the Buck Mountain Trail. Forest Ranger Baker responded along with Pilot Knob Fire and EMS. Once on scene, Ranger Baker assisted with the carryout of the hiker to the trailhead where she was transferred to EMS and transported to a local hospital for medical treatment.
Town of Dannemora Clinton County Law Enforcement Action: On April 16 at 12 p.m., Forest Ranger Booth overheard New York State Police emergency radio traffic advising of a domestic situation involving a loaded firearm. Ranger Booth responded to the location, and once on scene, quickly sized up the situation. From a position of cover, the Ranger encouraged the male subject, who had access to a loaded firearm, to calmly come outside. After complying with Ranger Booth’s request, the unarmed subject was taken into custody and turned over to the State Police.
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