LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. — The Lake George/Warren County region is preparing to welcome visitors this Memorial Day weekend – in a cautious, safe and respectful manner.
Memorial Day weekend is the traditional kickoff of the region’s summer tourism season. Because the world has changed, this year it will be accompanied by a vastly increased emphasis on the safety and wellbeing of guests, employees and the community as the region progressively reopens under the New York Forward Reopening Plan.
Water-access campsites at DEC campgrounds remain closed to overnight camping until DEC’s campgrounds reopen. This includes, but is not limited to:
Saranac Lake Islands Campground;
Indian Lake Campground;
Lake George Islands Campground
Tioga Point Campground;
Forked Lake Campground; and
Alger Island Campground.
Boaters and other day users should continue to social distance on the water and on shore and avoid crowded sites. Boaters and day use visitors should use mainland bathroom facilities before going out on the water, as outhouse facilities at DEC day use sites and campsites are not currently maintained or sanitized.
Primitive tent sites outside of DEC campgrounds remain available for those who are recreating locally but are limited to a maximum of three nights with nine people or less from the same household. Additional information about camping can be found at: https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/camping.html
The following are forest ranger highlights provided by the state Department of Environmental Conservation on May 19.
Town of Chesterfield Essex County Wilderness Rescue: On May 17 at 10:10 a.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a group of hikers on Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain. The caller said a 16-year-old female in the group fell, hurt her ankle, and could not continue down the mountain. Forest Ranger Lt. Brian Dubay and Forest Rangers Sarah Bode, Marie Arnold, Robbi Mecus, and Jared Booth responded. At 2:20 p.m., Rangers placed the hiker from Chazy in a UTV and started down the mountain. At 2:45 p.m., the group was back to the trailhead and the hiker advised she would seek medical attention on her own for the ankle injury.
“As a region we have established a joint agreement on beaches in NY, NJ, CT and DE. State beaches will open Friday of Memorial Day weekend with strict precautions. Beaches will be at 50 percent capacity & masks will be required when social distance not possible. Staff will enforce.”
Town of Benson, Hamilton County Swiftwater Rescue: On May 4 at 12:30 p.m., while conducting a fly-over patrol, New York State Police (NYSP) Aviation noticed a vehicle in West Stony Creek and notified Forest Ranger Lt. Dave Kallen. Ranger Kallen responded to the location and found a 61-year-old man from Northville trapped in a vehicle about 25 feet from shore down a 15-foot embankment.
Following Governor Cuomo’s announcement of a more detailed New York Forward reopening plan for New York State, ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club) is postponing the reopening of its lodging facilities until the North Country is allowed to reopen its businesses and New York reaches Phase 3 of the state reopening process. At this time, ADK is cancelling all lodging reservations through June1 and will continue to monitor the recommendations of the state and federal government across our region.
Earlier this spring, I asked the state Department of Environmental Conservation for a list of lesser known hikes in the Adirondacks in an effort to provide people with options outside of the more popular trails. (As I recently wrote about the challenges that surround social distancing on well-traveled routes.) Part of that list ran in the May-June issue of the Adirondack Explorer, but the entire list can be found below. Many of the trails are relatively flat and go to ponds, a type of route that tends to attract few people but can be just as rewarding as a summit hike.
This list will provide you with the hikes. You can use other tools to find the details of each hike, such as maps, guidebooks, and the DEC’s website.
Anyone paying attention to the rapid rise of tick-borne diseases has heard the advice on avoiding tick bites. The advice we are hearing is not wrong, just very incomplete.
Most information to the public suggests wearing light colored clothing, tucking your pants into your socks, and checking your body carefully after possible exposure. The intent is to keep ticks away from your skin, and to remove them promptly if they succeed in attaching. This was sufficient when Lyme disease was the only real worry, since research has shown the Lyme disease organism is not transmitted until the tick has been attached for hours.
Town of Bolton Warren County Wilderness Rescue: On April 29 at 4:30 p.m., Warren County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a 75-year-old man from Gansevoort who became disoriented while hiking on Thomas and Cat mountains and was unsure about which path to take to get back. After obtaining the disoriented hiker’s cell phone number, Forest Ranger Evan Donegan contacted him and gave instructions on how to return to the trailhead on the north side of the mountain. Meanwhile, Ranger Donegan made his way into the woods to intercept the man and assist him the rest of the way out. At 6:28 p.m., Ranger Donegan reached the mountain’s summit, but had not found the hiker. Forest Ranger Joe Hess also responded to start in from the southern trailhead at Edgecomb Pond. At 7:09 p.m., the hiker’s daughter called Dispatch reporting her father was back on the trail with her husband. Ranger Donegan was notified and reached the two men by 7:19 p.m. He escorted the pair back to the trailhead and all Rangers were cleared from the scene.
19-year-old Garrett Beckrich from Grand Rapids, Minn., member of USBA’s Junior National Team and Top Biathlete has enrolled in Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks. Beckrich is a member of the USBA’s Junior National Team and has been participating in biathlon since 2017. He has competed in three Youth/Junior world championships.
Beckrich intends to pursue a degree in biology, and to keep up with his training at Paul Smith’s in the hopes of traveling overseas to compete in races without too much academic interference.
Tim Burke, four-time Olympian from Paul Smith’s, and Director of Athlete Development for the US Biathlon had this to say about Beckrich’s enrollment in the college: “Garrett has always been known for his hard work. I look forward to seeing this pay off both on the field of play and in the classroom.”
Getting fresh air is more important than ever this coming summer during the public health crises, but it would be wise to remember that both ticks and people are going to be active and outside. Laura Harrington, a professor of entomology, vector biologist, and Director of the CDC Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector Borne Diseases (NEVBD) has shared some tips on how to avoid ticks.
A bacterial infection that causes Lyme disease is the most important tick-borne human infection in the U.S., with around 200,000-300,000 reported cases per year. The blacklegged tick or ‘deer tick’ is the vector of Lyme disease in most of the U.S. It can also transmit other pathogens to people and pets, including the agents that cause babesiosis, anaplasmosis and Powassan disease. Blacklegged ticks are most common in forested areas and shaded trail edges with abundant leaf litter and shrubby plants, Harrington says.
Harrington recommends a few personal protection measures to keep ticks from biting, such as tick repellent, first and foremost. She also recommends light-colored clothing, and to tuck your pantlegs into your socks. It also wouldn’t hurt to treat your clothing with permethrin, or to purchase permethrin-treated clothing. Remember to check yourself for ticks often as well, both while hiking and after you get home! It only takes 24-48 hours after the tick attaches before it can begin to transmit Lyme disease. For other pathogens like the Powassan virus, transmission can happen quickly, so it is good to check as often as possible.
Check for ticks all over your body, including your back, neck, and hairline. If you happen to find a tick, carefully remove it with sharp tweezers by grasping as close to the point of attachment as possible and pulling. Once you are back inside, place your clothes in the dryer for at least 20 minutes, and take a shower (a good place to perform a tick check). You can also place your clothes in a sealed garbage bag to dry later.
A new campaign aims to educate and inspire users of the Adirondack Park to recreation in an environmentally responsible way. The “Love Your ADK pledge” and corresponding website has been organized and launched in a collaboration of the Adirondack Mountain Club, Adirondack Council, New York Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST).
The Pledge is a list of eight values which tourists, visitors, and residents are asked to consider while in the Adirondacks. Taking the pledge indicates the user’s commitment to follow the principles of the pledge, to support responsible environmentally friendly recreation, and to learn and follow “Leave No Trace” guidelines.
Town of Lake George Warren County Wilderness Rescue: On April 24 at 4:29 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from two 21-year-old women from Saratoga who became disoriented while traversing the Berry Pond Loop in the Lake George Wild Forest Area. Forest Ranger Chuck Kabrehl responded to their location, hiked into the woods, and located the women at 6:20 p.m. He then escorted them out to the trailhead where they had parked. The women told Ranger Kabrehl that they had started the hike around 4 p.m., and became lost at about 4:30 p.m. The incident concluded at 7 p.m.
Saratoga PLAN (The Preserving Land and Nature land trust in Saratoga County) has received a $500,000 grant from the Sarah B. Foulke Charitable Fund. The donation will go to the planning, design, and stewardship of over 20 miles of permanently conserved trails in the 40,500-acre Southern Palmertown Range, an area that stretches north of Skidmore college in Saratoga Springs to the Hudson River.
It is the largest private cash gift ever made to the 17-year old conservation organization.
Saratoga PLAN aims to design Friendship Trails that will provide enjoyment through an inclusive spectrum of outdoor activities: walking, running, wheelchairing, dog-walking, mountain-biking, horseback-riding, bird-watching, botanizing, forest-bathing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and learning about nature and local history. Saratoga PLAN will announce new trail segments as they open to the public over the next several years, beginning in late 2020 if public health restrictions are lifted.