June 6th is National Trails Day and Adirondack region hikers will have an opportunity to volunteer, at Cranberry Lake in the western Adirondacks. Each year, the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) sponsors an event in conjunction with the American Hiking Society’s celebration of National Trails Day. This year, ADK’s event will celebrate the Cranberry Lake 50, the recently completed 50-mile loop around the lake.
According to the ADK: “Volunteers will spend the day performing trail-maintenance work, such as cutting brush, removing blowdown and building waterbars and rock steps, under the supervision of an ADK trail professional. One crew will tour the lake by motorboat, with state Department of Environmental Conservation personnel, to move outhouses and clean up campsites. There will also be a project for kids, planting tree saplings near the Streeter Lake lean-to.” » Continue Reading.
Since the tree has thrived at an elevation of about 2,000 feet for longer than anyone living in this neighborhood can remember, it must be a pretty cold-hardy variety. But a deep freeze at blossom time really threatens to thin the crop. So we called Bob Rulf, who owns Rulf’s Orchards, in Peru. He said it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to light charcoal in a couple of grills beneath the tree (this is a pretty big tree) and keep the smoke rising. Between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. is the coldest part of the night, Rulf said.
The temperature is only supposed to get down to about 29 degrees in Peru, the more-temperate apple basket of the Adirondacks. Cornell Cooperative Extension advises that when an apple blossom is tight and in the pink it can stand 30 degrees F for an hour; when it’s wide-open white it can stand 28 degrees for an hour, which seems counterintuitive, Rulf said.
His orchard is not equipped with wind machines or any large-scale equipment for dealing with frosts, so he’ll take his chances with the apples. However Rulf does plan to tow a furnace around the strawberry patch tonight with helpers riding along to blow hot air on that crop.
Photograph: Our apple tree in bloom
The New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) will soon be re-opening the Olympic venues for the summer and fall seasons. Facilities scheduled to open in the coming weeks include the Whiteface Mountain Highway, the Olympic Sports Complex, the Olympic Jumping Complex, Whiteface Ski Center, and the Olympic Center skating rink. A variety of events, tours, and opportunities are being offered,
The Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway in Wilmington kicked-off the openings on Friday (May 15). The highway allows visitors to drive to the top of the fifth-highest peak in the Adirondacks. The highway is an eight-mile drive from Wilmington to the summit, where a castle made of native stone and an in-mountain elevator await. The highway will be open daily from 9 am – 4 pm thru October 12.
The Olympic Sports Complex, where the combined bobsled/luge/skeleton track and the 1980 Olympic Bobsled Track are located, began summertime venue tours Saturday (May 16). Tours will be available daily thru October 12 from 9 am – 4 pm. The Lake Placid Bobsled Experience consists of a ½-mile wheeled bobsled ride with a professional driver and brakeman through awe-inspiring turns, a 4”x6” photo, commemorative pin, a team gift and more. The LPBE is scheduled to begin May 30 for weekends only from 10 am – 4 pm through June 21. Starting June 27, bobsled rides will be available Thursday through Monday until September 6.
Mountain biking on the cross country ski trails at the Olympic Sports Complex begins May 23 with the trails open on weekends only thru June 21, with daily operation beginning June 27. The venue offers over 20 miles of trails for riders from beginner to intermediate. High Peaks Cyclery runs the mountain bike center at the venue and offers lessons, rentals, and trail passes. The trails will be open from 10 am – 5 pm, and rentals are available.
The “Be a Biathlete” clinics begin June 27 at the Olympic Sports Complex Biathlon Range. Participants learn the basics of the sports of biathlon, are taught gun safety, and then get to shoot a .22 caliber rifle at the same targets used during the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano. This program is offered Thursday through Monday from 10 am – 4 pm.
The Olympic Jumping Complex, home to the 90-meter and 120-meter ski jump towers and the freestyle aerial training facility, is currently open 9 am – 4 pm Thursday-Sunday. The complex offers a 26-story elevator ride to the Sky Deck atop the 120-meter tower for spectacular views of the Adirondacks, and on May 23 opens the chairlift from the base lodge to the base of the ski jump towers as well. The chairlift and elevator are open Friday-Sunday until June 26, when both the chairlift and elevator will be open daily.
The Olympic Jumping Complex is also home to the Soaring Saturdays and Wet and Wild Wednesdays jumping series. Each Saturday, beginning July 4 and running thru August 22, top Eastern ski jumpers take to the hill in hopes of landing the longest jumps of the day. The season ends with the Flaming Leaves Festival October 10-11.
At the freestyle aerial center, aerialists of all types launch from one of three kickers high into the air, performing twists, flips and turns before splashing down in the 750,000-gallon pool. The pool opens for the summer training season in June. The center is home to the weekly Wet and Wild Wednesday aerials shows, beginning July 8 and running through August 26. Another highlight at the pool is the annual Huck & Tuck Summer Freestyle Competition, slated for August 29.
The Whiteface Ski Center will open for the summer season on June 19. The mountain offers scenic Cloudsplitter gondola rides which take guests to the summit of Little Whiteface, lift-serviced downhill mountain bike trails for pedalers of all abilities. For further mountain biking information go to www.downhillmike.com. Whiteface also offers an hour and a half nature trek to the beautiful Stag Brook Falls. Gondola rides and mountain biking are available daily from 10 am – 4:30 pm thru September 7. Nature treks depart the base lodge each day at 11 am from June 26 to September 17.
The Olympic Center is celebrating the 77th Anniversary of the Summer Skating Program. In addition to being named “The Best Summer Skating Camp for Kids” by Sports Illustrated For Kids magazine, the Olympic Center also offers basic skills lessons, hockey power skating classes, and hosts the weekly Citizens Bank Skating Series, including Freaky Friday and Saturday Night Ice Shows. This year the Olympic Center is host to the annual Lake Placid Free Skating Championships and the Ice Dance Championships, as well as the USA Hockey Junior Men’s Camp.
For more information on ORDA venues and events and for web cams from five locations visit www.whitefacelakeplacid.com.
Believe it or not, some of your vegetables will benefit from the application of an innoculant. We’re not talking vine flu here, or spinach pox, but the addition of a few beneficial bacteria to give your veg an extra boost. And not just any veg: legumes.
Legumes are those vegetables that have nitrogen-fixing nodules on their roots, which enable them to access naturally occurring nitrogen much more readily than plants that don’t have them. Your basic legumes are peas, beans, peanuts, and fava beans. And with the probable exception of the peanuts, all can be grown here in the North Country.
The bacteria in question is Rhizobia. It is a naturally occurring bacterium, but apparently it isn’t terribly active. In order for it to be of tremendous benefit to your plants, you need lots of it! This is where the innoculant comes in. Innoculant can be ordered from almost any seed catalogue. It does have an expiration date, so you should check to be sure that what you purchase is good for the year you want to use it. I bought some last year but never used it. I found it in a drawer of my fridge this spring and decided to see if it was still viable. I’ll let you know.
So, you get this little packet of Rhizobia (millions and millions of them in one tiny packet). How you apply it is up to you. You can shake it onto your seeds after you plant them, you can shake your seeds in a bag with it, or you can mix it up as a slurry and soak your seeds in it. I did the latter: 4.5 oz water and the bacteria. It was like mixing up mushroom spoors in water: a very fine black powder. If you go the water route, you must be sure to not let it dry out – use within 24 hours. Don’t let the wind dry your seeds, either. If the innoculant dries, the bacteria are dead.
The only real downside that I discovered in doing the slurry method is that my fingers and hand ended up coated with the black slurry of bacteria as well. Hm – I wonder if I’ll absorb more nitrogen this summer as well.
Do you have to use innoculant? Of course not. I never have before now, my parents never did, and I doubt my grandparents did either. But sources claim that you can have up to 77% more peas/beans/peanuts if you do use it! Hm. I picked an awful lot of peas last year. I planted even more this year, and I used the innoculant. I may be overrun with peas. Wouldn’t that be a shame?
Deciding whether to log or not and how is complicated by a number of factors according to Master Forest Owner Program Director Gary Goff and Cornell Cooperative Extension Forester Peter Smallidge. Most private forest land in New York State will eventually be logged and sold for saw timber; the question is when and how. Goff and Smallidge reviewed the details at the 2009 Master Forest Owner Training.
Stumpage is the price offered by a logger for a standing tree. DEC issues Stumpage Price Reports twice a year that can serve as a guide (if you know what you’re looking at) for landowners wondering how much their timber is worth.
A basic rule of thumb: A 20-inch diameter tree at breast height (dbh) generally contains two 16-foot merchantable logs. The same tree, cut down to four inch pieces, will yield about one cord of firewood (a cord is 4-feet tall, 8-feet long, and 4-feet wide).
Timber quality is the most important factor affecting the value of standing timber, but there are a number of other factors, including things like the volume per acre, the terrain, market demand, time of year, costs of harvesting, size, species, insurance, etc.
Another rule of thumb: a 12-14 inch tree can be graded to a 2-3 grade; 16 inches, 2 grade; 18-20 inches, 2-1 grade; 24-28, 1 grade. The bottom 16 feet on a tree holds two-thirds of the value of tree.
Other impacts on the decision to log include the rate of inflation, potential damage, rate of growth, market trends, changes in tax law, other goals and owner objectives (trails, wildlife improvement, etc.), social license (do I care what my neighbors think?), municipal ordinances (town, county, APA, DEC, etc.), supervision (do I need a forester?), state of stand (maintaining biodiversity and good regeneration, in other words, a stewardship plan).
Expenses to consider when logging include fixed costs like your mortgage, taxes, and insurance and variable costs like surveys, inventory, management plan, timber stand improvement, stand access improvement, and timber sale expenses. The bottom line is: management matters and can provide as much as twice the value.
Always have a contract between logger, forester, and landowner. Contracts should include who is selling what to whom and for how much, when, where, and with what restrictions. Payment options could include up-front stumpage, pay as you cut (certain dollar per thousand board feet), roadside (you haul ’em to the landing), or percentages. Contracts could also include best management practices, penalties for damaging residual stands, cutting of non-merchantable trees, a performance bond, non-transferability.
i won’t cover it here, because it’s complicated and really requires a forester, but those thinking about logging should understand what high-grading is and how to avoid it (of course the best way is to hire a professional forester).
Land owners should visit www.forestconnect.com for more about saw timer sales (and a lot more), and then begin thinking about a forest management plan.
Water quality best management practices are an important component for logging operations. Potential problems include sedimentation of streams and other water bodies, thermal pollution (damage by exposing stream beds to full sun for example), and biogeochemical changes (changes in soil chemistry). Forester Peter Smallidge notes that “cutting trees does not cause erosion, disturbing soil causes erosion.” Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Logging roads and skid trails should follow contours in the land.
Disturb as little soil as possible, especially along streams and stream beds. Skid in winter.
Deal with small amounts of slow moving water such a rain events by using waterbars, sediment barriers, and culverts.
Avoid streams whenever possible. Always cross streams at right angles.
At MFO training, agro-forestry expert Bob Beyfuss talked about income opportunities for forest owners that don’t include logging. Here are a few things folks can do according to Bob:
Recreation: hunting leases, cabins, and cottages for various seasons. Take a look at www.aplacetohunt.net and www.woodlandowners.org.
Silvapasture is leasing for grazing or browsing. Although now somewhat limited for elk and deer due to Chronic Wasting Disease and it’s not for sheep or cattle (they cause too much forest damage), there are opportunities for goats. Goats love burdock, beech, and especially poison ivy. They still may need to be fed if they are grazing in strictly forested lands.
Maple syrup production – I’ve already covered that here.
Ginseng, goldenseal, bloodroot, black cohosh, ramp/wild leeks, and fiddleheads are just a few of the botanicals that can be managed on forest lands for profit. Contrary to popular belief, while nothing can be taken from state land, only ginseng and goldenseal are regulated on private land. Old ginseng can sell for $1,700 a pound. Other opportunities include native ornamental plants like foam flower, maidenhead fern, and a lot more. In 1900, there were 5,000 ginseng farms in New York State and New York was the leading producer.
Mushrooms: chanterelles and morelles can be gathered, but oysters and shitakes can be grown at home (shitakes can bring $16 a pound).
Bob recommends two books:
Also check out Marketing Special Forest Products in New York State
I never really understood that little ditty when I was a kid. I mean, why would you tell this specifically to a ladybug, as opposed to a bumblebee or a dragonfly?
As it turns out, there is a reason. A quick search on the Web turned up a neat little website on nursery rhymes: http://www.rhymes.org.uk/ladybug_ladybug.htm. It seems that in merry ol’ England it was traditional to burn the fields after the fall harvest to cut down on potential future insect infestations. The farmers knew that this beetle, which they call a ladybird, was the farmer’s friend (they are ravenous aphid-eaters), so this was essentially a courtesy call made to tell the insects to leave the fields before they set them on fire.
Today we find ladybugs mostly in our houses in the winter and spring. This is because these insects seek out good hidey-holes for hibernation (cracks along the outside of the house), and when they detect the warmth and light inside, they move on in. Ladybugs are totally harmless, but they can exude a foul-smelling orange goo from their legs if they are pestered. This is a defense mechanism meant to drive away predators, but to them a broom is just as aggressive as a bluejay, so if you try to sweep them away, they may leave this exudate on your walls and curtains. The majority of the ladybugs that turn up in your house are probably non-natives, the Halloween ladybug being the most common perpetrator. This species is orange and black, and often shows up in the fall.
Despite this apparent evidence to the contrary, many native ladybug species are in rapid decline. Back in 1986, when the nine-spotted ladybug was proposed as New York’s state insect, it was common, but by 1988 its population was in a tailspin. One hasn’t been seen in New York now since the late ‘80s. Only one specimen has been found since then in all of the eastern US, and that was discovered by two children in Virginia.
What can YOU do? Cornell University, home to many a citizen science project, has started the Lost Ladybug Project (www.lostladybug.org). This is a great hands-on project for kids, families, or adults. All you do is go out, look for ladybugs, take their pictures, and send the photos in to Cornell, along with the particulars of where you found the ladybug, when you found it, etc. There are three species they are especially interested in finding: nine-spotted, two-spotted, and transverse ladybugs. If you go to their website, they have lots if photos and color print-outs that can help you succeed in this mission.
I know that I’m going to add ladybug hunting to my list of outdoor activities this summer. I have a patch of tansy that in the past has been loaded with ladybugs, both adults and their larvae (which are strange-looking beasts). Chances are most of these will be introduced species, but you never know…lurking among the immigrants there just might be a native or two.
Well, I’ve heard of the technique, but like most folks who’ve felled trees I’ve been doing it more dangerously than necessary. New York State Extension Forester Peter Smallidge educates on the wedge method that puts the tree right where you want it without chasing it down with a back cut. He cut his notch, then used the plunge method to leave all but the hinge.
A couple of wedges are placed in the backcut – one just as a safety measure to be sure your saw doesn’t get pinched – and the other to safely and slowly drop the tree. The top should generally never move (no rattling top and falling branches) until you drive the wedge home. Then it falls right on the mark. Take the “game of logging” training Smallidge gives to learn to do it right. He also runs forestconnect.com, Cornell Cooperative Extension site for all things forestry that includes plenty of resources for forest owners, including regular webinars.
- Adirondack Adventures and More: Mt. Skylight Solo – 5/13/2009
- Suite 101: The Evolution Of Kirsten Gillibrand
- Small Pines: A New Deal for the Adirondacks, at 4,810 feet
- Adirondack Lifestyle Blog: Adirondack Snowy Spring Surprise
- Round Robin: 2009 World Series of Birding Results
- Lake Stewardship Blog: Loss of Peat Bogs Affects Climate Change
- The Albany Project: Final Tally in NY-20: Murphy by 726
- The Albany Project: Gillibrand vs. Pataki?
- Adirondack Base Camp: Sable Highlands – Interim Recreation Management Plan
- Along the Ausable: Alpacas Getting Haircuts
When the first bucketload of oily Hudson River muck rises today, ten miles south of the Adirondack Park Blue Line in Fort Edward, it will mark the end of a quarter century of preparation, study, legal skirmishing and no small amount of foot-dragging. Throughout, the goal has remained consistent: the removal of approximately 2,650,000 cubic yards of Hudson Riverbed sediment laced with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Here is a timeline of the delays:
September 1984 EPA formally places the Hudson River PCBs Superfund site on the National Priorities List. EPA chooses to take no remedial action, citing possible environmental risks posed by stirring up the PCB deposits. Babies born around this date will have graduated with advanced degrees in environmental sciences by the week clean-up actually begins. Unfortunately, considerably more babies will have graduated with degrees in law and public relations.
December 2000 After more than a decade of study and advances in remediation technology, EPA proposes a dredging plan to remove PCB pollution from a 40-mile long stretch of Hudson River between Hudson Falls and Troy NY. A final act of the Clinton Administration’s EPA.
(image right: In a last-ditch effort to derail the inevitable multi-million dollar expense of dredging, GE launches a PR campaign to convince the public and lawmakers to just let the PCBs be.)
August 2001 Following an extended public comment period EPA administrator Christine Whitman agrees to go ahead with the plan.
(image right: The decision by Whitman to back the dredging plan exposed a rift in the traditionally pro-industrial GOP. On the Hudson, the future of the river ran between Governor Pataki and his one-time protege Congressman John Sweeney.)
February 2002 EPA issues its official Record of Decision for a phased dredging project. Dredging scheduled to begin Spring 2005.
(image right: In March 2002 the EPA gets off to an impolitic start, siting the project field office in Saratoga Springs, 21 miles from the dredging site in Fort Edward. The decision is hastily reversed, prompting delays.)
October 2002 The war over cleaning up the Hudson River is eighteen years old, over twice the length of The War for American Independence.
March 2003 EPA issues an adjustment to the dredging schedule to accommodate negotiations with GE on payment for and conduct of the dredging operations. Dredging scheduled to begin Spring 2006.
July 2006 EPA Region 2 Administrator Alan Steinberg cites delays in the delivery of specialized dredging equipment. Dredging scheduled to begin Spring 2008.
November 2006 EPA and GE agree to a Consent Decree that will begin dredging.
2008 EPA approves design of Phase I implementation plan.
Jan 2009 Modification to 2006 Consent Decree stipulating payment for clean water supplies for affected communities during the dredging operations. Dredging scheduled to begin May 2009.
May 15, 2009 In time for the 400th anniversary of the first chronicled exploration of the Hudson by Europeans, the innovative minds that helped build General Electric into one of the mightiest industrial empires in human history have finally run out of excuses to not clean up the river. Or so we believe. . .
(Cartoons originally appeared in the Glens Falls Post-Star, and Hill Country Observer)
Just got back from the Tupper Lake Hardwood mill, the only hardwood mill left in the the Adirondack Park. Our guide, a sixth generation Canadian mill worker, told us that the company is facing tough economic times. Of their three mills only two are currently operating and the Tupper mill is only running one shift a day (16 employees).
The mill sells almost everything that comes onto the lot. Chips are sent to the International Paper mill in Ticonderoga for fine-grade paper, the sawdust is sold for bedding and other specialized uses. The worst grade of lumber (3 Common) goes into pallets and the better grades are shipped mostly to Europe and Asia (55%) and around the United States (after being trucked to Montreal to be kiln dried). The mill produces about 9 million board feet a year when running at full capacity, but is currently running at half that. The logs are all supplied by about 60 suppliers from within about 50 miles of the mill; minimum log size is 9 inches.
Quite a place – we also took the time to try out some tree scaling and grading.
We’re about to start tree identification. I’ll try to post again after dinner.
There’s a little something for everyone this weekend. You can experience dinner with some opera, bluegrass in Jay, free blues in Long Lake and music from the French Revolution in Redford. Musicians can perform at an open mic, and fans can give back to one of our most talented Adirondack musicians, Dan Duggan. He is a generous man whose health crisis has created the need for a benefit. The options, times and venues are listed below.
Tonight P2’s Irish Pub in Tupper Lake holds an open mic from 7 pm to 10 pm.
Also tonight a performance of music from Italian operas will be presented at Little Italy in Tupper Lake, 144 Park Street. Tickets are $22, which includes the performance and a pasta dinner. Update: This event has sold out.
On Friday JEMS presents the Covered Bridge Coffeehouse (located in the Amos and Julia Ward Theater in Jay). The Homegrown String Band (a mom, dad and two daughters, one of whom reportedly plays a smokin’ fiddle) takes the stage to perform bluegrass, country and folk at 7 pm. Call (518) 946-7824 for more information.
A BluSeed Benefit concert for Dan Duggan begins at 7:30 pm Friday, $15. Reservations recommended. Roy Hurd, Dan Berggren, Jamie Savage, Rustic Riders and Joey Izzo. Another update: This concert has sold out. If you want to help Dan, please send a check payable to Dan Duggan care of BluSeed Studios, 24 Cedar St., Saranac Lake, NY 12983
In lieu of Bluseed you could listen to live Irish Music Friday night at O’Reilly’s Pub in Saranac Lake, 33 Broadway. Call (518) 897-1111 or email Morgans11Pizza@gmail.com for more information.
Blues legend Ernie Williams and his band will perform Saturday @ 2 pm at Quakenbush’s Long View Wilderness Lodge in Long Lake on Rt. 30. The 3-hour show is free of charge.
The Champlain Ball, a Champlain Quadricentennial Celebration event, will be held at 8 pm Saturday at the Plattsburgh Elks Lodge. The ball will feature authentic social dance popular in France and England in the 16th and 17th Centuries; Dance historian Michel Landry of Montreal will lead the dances and give preliminary classes at 2 pm. The Baltimore Consort will provide music. Call (518) 293-7613 or visit Hill and Hollow’s Web site for reservations and information.
Last but not least: Early music ensemble The Baltimore Consort presents “La Rocque ‘n’ Roll: Popular Music of the French Revolution,” a Hill and Hollow event, on Sunday May 17 at 3 pm at The Church of the Assumption in Redford. Tickets are $15 and it’s free to kids twelve and under.
Photograph: The Homegrown String Band will perform in Jay Friday night.
This morning we heard from DEC forestry and wildlife representatives from Region 5 (which covers most of the Adirondacks). Tom Martin, DEC Forester, kicked it off with a discussion of the explanation of the role the agency plays in local forests, public and private. Martin was followed by a DEC Wildlife Biologist who pointed out a number of important resources for landowners, including a few cool internet tools.
Region 5 contains more potential commercial forest land (about 3 million acres) than forest preserve land. The region has three part-time people who handle private land services who are basically foresters who help people develop land management plans.
Martin reviewed recent large land transfers in Region 5. “Every single large forest products company has sold their land,” he said. Those include Champion, International Paper, Domtar, and Finch Pruyn. Lands not bought outright by the state (or a third party like the Nature Conservancy) have been purchased by timber management investment companies which Martin said have much shorter term financial goals (and shorter tenure) than the original owners.
By the way, DEC has paid full taxes on land the state owns in the park since the 1880s. The companies that have sold their land all enjoyed 480a tax breaks that reduced their assessments by 80% (that includes state, county and school taxes).
Following Martin, Region 5 Wildlife Biologist Paul Jensen reviewed DEC resources for forest owners including the agency’s beaver damage management program. The program includes nuisance beaver permits that allow trapping and killing of nuisance beaver and the removal of beaver dams; the DEC no longer traps beaver for relocation. Jensen also briefly touched on whitetail deer management, a significant factor in understory regeneration.
Here are a few resources Jensen pointed us to for getting a closer look at public and private forest lands:
Environmental Resource Mapper – enter your property location and find about wetlands, significant natural communities, and rare plants and animals.
Landowner Incentive Program – provides information and access to funds and/or tax breaks for forest land owners whose land contains at risk species.
PDF – provides a lot of information on state lands.
We’re off to Tupper Lake for a sawmill visit, then back here for tree identification. This evening – Adirondack mammals. I’ll report again after dinner.
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