Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Adirondack Family Activities: The Corn Maze

This year we will be hunting space aliens in Gabriels. Yes, crop circles have been found in the Adirondacks, though this time they can be proven the direct result of human effort, not the paranormal. For the fourth year in a row the design for the maze at Tucker Farms is from the artistic work of Scott Rohe. He didn’t even have to perpetuate any crop circle myth by going out in the dead of night to complete the large-scale land art. He just came up with the design so the Tuckers could plant the corn in a grid-like pattern. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Curious Tales of Lake Champlain Towns

One of the most creative contributors to Adirondack Life is Tom Henry. You never know where one of his travelogues is going to go, and I don’t think he knows, either, until the trip is done and the story finished.

Henry teaches music in Charlotte, Vermont, and is a writer and historian by avocation. A Port Henry Henry, he has made a specialty of exploring the recreation and past of the eastern Adirondacks, often at the same time. He wrote a chapter for Lake Champlain: An Illustrated History (2009, Adirondack Life) and will deliver a slide presentation Saturday, October 3 at Northwoods Inn, in Lake Placid, entitled “Exploring Old Port Towns Along Lake Champlain: Curious Stories Behind Their Relics.”

The following details are from a press release describing the event:

From Shelburne’s elegant passenger steamships to Bridport’s world-famous 19th-century racehorses to Moriah’s strange subterranean world of railroads and iron mines, this slideshow of now and then images from old port towns around Lake Champlain will help us visualize many of the 400-square-mile lake’s unusual early enterprises.

2009 marks the 400th anniversary of European discovery of the lake with the arrival of Samuel de Champlain. Lake Champlain: An Illustrated History celebrates America’s most historic lake and offers stunning photos, vintage postcards, paintings, maps and military history. Tom Henry’s portion of the book, “Towns Along the Lake,” provides some of the book’s most interesting writing. He highlights each of Lake Champlain’s principle shoreline communities and describes their link to the lake’s history.

The evening begins at 6:30 with a half hour cash bar cocktail reception. Mr. Henry will deliver his presentation at approximately 7 p.m. Following, we invite any of our guests to join us in our Northern Exposure restaurant for dinner with Mr. Henry. More information is available at www.northwoodsinn.com.
 
The Northwoods Inn is a 92-room hotel located at 2520 Main Street, the heart of downtown Lake Placid. The hotel includes a sidewalk café, two restaurants and “The Cabin,” a cozy fireplace bar overlooking Main Street. A rooftop deck offers views of town plus the High Peaks and Whiteface Mountain.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Study: Coy-Wolves Evolved To Hunt Local Deer

A new study by scientists from the New York State Museum shows how local coyotes have evolved to be bigger and stronger over the last 90 years, both expanding their geographic range and becoming the top predator in the Northeast – by interbreeding with wolves.

The study of eastern coyote genetics and skull morphology demonstrates that remnant wolf populations in Canada hybridized with coyotes expanding north of the Great Lakes, and helped turn coyotes from mousers of western grasslands to deer hunters of eastern forests. The resulting coy-wolves are larger, with wider skulls better adapted to killing lager animals like whitetail deer.

Dr. Roland Kays, the state museum’s curator of mammals, and Dr. Jeremy Kirchman, curator of birds, co-authored an article on their research that appears in the peer-reviewed journal Biology Letters. The other author was Abigail Curtis, who conducted the study an undergraduate at SUNY Albany, and is now a graduate student at UCLA.

According to the study’s authors “the North American coyote evolved as a hunter of small prey in the Great Plains, but rapidly colonized all of eastern North America over the last half-century.” Earlier research had suggested that the spread of agriculture and the extinction of wolves aided coyote expansion, but the question of as to whether remnant wolves and coyotes interbred remained unanswered until now.

A media release form the State Museum notes that “Historical records of the coyote population expansion indicated that movement along the northern route was five times faster than along the route south of the Great Lakes. Populations of pure western coyote and coy-wolf hybrids are presently coming into contact in areas of western New York and Pennsylvania.”

The study was based on DNA from 696 eastern coyotes and the measurements of 196 skulls from State Museum specimens. According to State Museum officials “they also tested three very large animals that looked more like large, full-blooded grey wolves. Two of the animals had the western grey wolf genetic signature and one had a Great Lakes wolf signature, suggesting that a few full-sized wolves have recently migrated into New York and Vermont, but are not breeding here. Only one of the 696 coyote samples was closely related to domestic dogs, showing that coyotes are not frequently breeding with domestic dogs in the region and the popular moniker ‘coydog’ is technically inaccurate.”

The research also indicates that whitetail deer accounted for about a third of the coyote’s diet and they have made extensive use of forested areas.

The State Museum has the longest continuously operating state natural history research and collection survey in the United States, It was begin in 1836 – you can read more about that here.

NCPR addressed the issue of coy-wolves in the Adirondacks back in June, but this is the first study to parse out the local genetics.

Photo: A coy-wolf, courtesy Eastern Coyote Research.


Monday, September 28, 2009

St. Lawrence’s Peak Weekend: High Peaks Tradition

I crossed paths with a group of hikers on September 27, 2003 while traversing the High Peaks of the Dix Range near Keene Valley. The cloud ceiling that day was hanging at about 3500’ which put it well below the altitude of the herd paths and the rain was blowing sideways under heavy winds. There were no views, but the enthusiastic hikers were focused on a different goal. They were students from St. Lawrence University and comprised one of many groups scattered throughout the Adirondacks at that time.

Each was playing a role in a collaborative effort to put at least one St. Lawrence student on the summit of all forty-six High Peaks over the course of three days.

The annual tradition called Peak Weekend was initiated by the university’s Outing Club in 1982. and coincides closely with autumn’s foliage peak, either the last week of September or the first week of October (though their first effort was attempted in the spring of 1982). An Outing Club meeting held the week prior enables all the participants to choose their objective, meet the group leaders and discuss logistics.

While autumn’s peak foliage hadn’t quite reached its full spectrum, September 25th marked the beginning of this year’s St. Lawrence University Peak Weekend. The weather during the end of last week made for the perfect autumn hiking conditions with most of the adventure taking place on Saturday. Crisp Adirondack blue skies free of summer’s humidity enunciated the splendor of autumn’s colors. Group sizes this year ranged from two to the DEC limit of sixteen, including some staff and faculty. The total participation was roughly 260 including three St. Lawrence athletic teams. Several groups camped Friday night in conditions below freezing while others met early Saturday morning to day-hike their objectives. Routes included both maintained trails and some less traveled routes including Mt. Colden’s Trap Dike which was ascended by a large group of first-year students. The coordinated effort has not always achieved its goal, though according to the Outing Club’s website, 2009 marked success for the fifth consecutive year.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Welcome Kevin MacKenzie, Outdoor Recreation Writer

Beginning tomorrow the list of Adirondack Almanack contributors will grow once again with the addition of our first dedicated outdoor recreation writer – Kevin MacKenzie, known as “MudRat” at several hiking forums where he is active (including Summitpost and ADK High Peaks Forum).

MacKenzie will be offering a weekly contribution on a variety of outdoor sports topics, including covering issues around access, events, sensitive flora and fauna issues for the back country, DEC camping policy, and more. His regular reports will appear on Monday afternoon at 3 pm.

Kevin’s love of the Adirondacks began, he says, “even before I was born, when my family bought a small bit of property across from the Ausable’s East Branch.” Only a half day’s drive away from where he grew up, the Adirondacks became a central theme to all his family vacations. Time spent in “the mountains,” MacKenzie told me, made an impression that intensified throughout his childhood and into his adult years. “The only problem was,” he said, “by that point, I’d lived on west coast of Florida for nearly twenty
years and was pretty entrenched.”

Kevin finally returned for good to the Lake Placid area in 2003 after encouragement from a Lake Placid friend (who he now calls his wife); he is Assistant Registrar at St. Lawrence University in Canton.

Kevin’s focus is on exploring the High Peaks back-country and slides, always with a camera in hand. He has been combining his photography and writing and describes his explorations at http://www.mackenziefamily.com/46/46r.html; he constantly adds pictures to the archives of his photography business Creative Nature Photography.

Please join all of us at the Almanack in welcoming Kevin MacKenzie.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

When is it Apple-picking Time?

For the first time, I have apples that are perfect! Admittedly, I only have a few (okay, four), but that’s more than I’ve had in the past. I’ve been on the fence, however, about picking them. Last year I finally picked my Northern Spies out of desperation—we were expecting snow. I made tarts and took them to our Book Club meeting, but they really weren’t ripe. Unlike most people I know, I do not like green fruit (green as in “unripe”, not green as in color, although the two can be synonymous).

This year there was enough rain that the apples grew well. The sunny days of late August and September made the fruit grow. No scab appeared, and only a few were attacked by insects. But each day the fruits remain on the tree is one more day for something to happen. When should I pick the apples?

It all depends on what type of apples you have. Some varieties ripen early in the season (some, I’ve read, as early as July), while others linger until almost Thanksgiving. Up here in the North Country, that can be a problem; by Thanksgiving the tree could be buried in snow!

Your best bet is to find a local orchard and find out what apples are being picked and when. Sure, you could go on-line and find picking dates, but unless the orchard you select is in the same climate as you, you cannot count on the accuracy of those dates.

But suppose you don’t have any local orchards. There are certainly plenty of orchards along the Champlain Valley, but that’s the banana belt compared to the central Adirondacks. No one in his right mind has an orchard in our neck of the woods. Sure, there are lots of “wild” apple trees, but you can’t necessarily go by them. These were likely planted by early settlers as a source of fruit for making apple jack, a fermented tangy cider (not the sweet cider that you get with your donuts when you go pumpkin picking). They didn’t care what the apples tasted like or what condition they were in. No, you can’t go by these wild apples. The bears may like them, and the deer, but most of them are not for the likes of you and me.

So you stand there staring at the fruit on your tree. Do you go by color? If it’s red, is it ripe? Well, suppose your tree doesn’t bear red apples – what if they are yellow, or green? Can you trust color?

The answer is yes, sort of. First, you need to know what color your apples are supposed to be. Unless they are green apples, you can use color as a guideline. You want to look at the color of the skin near the base of the stem. If this area is green, the apple isn’t ripe yet. Once it turns red, or yellowish, then it is probably safe to pick.

You can also go by firmness. If your apple is hard as a rock, it isn’t ripe. If, however, it has a little bit of give to it when you give it a gentle squeeze, go ahead and pick.

You can test readiness by the ease of of the apple’s release from the tree. When you pick an apple, it should pluck easily, almost falling into your hand. If you have to tug and wrench it off, it’s not ripe.

Now, suppose a heavy killer frost is coming, and your apples are still on the tree. What do you do? You have to make a decision. Are they ripe enough that if you pick them and place them in a cool, dark place they will continue to ripen? If so, pick away. If not, then you might want to cover your tree, just like you would your pumpkins and squash.

Up here in the mountains growing perfect apples can be frustrating. Some years you might succeed, and other years your crop may be a complete failure. The best thing you can do it relax; after all, there isn’t much you can do about the weather. Get to know your trees, learn what varieties you have, and check the picking dates at the nearest orchard(s). From there you can only use common sense. With a little luck, you will have apples to enjoy throughout the cold and grey days of winter – a little taste of fall.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Adirondack Harvest Benefit Dinner Announced

The Lake Placid Lodge’s Chef Kevin McCarthy and DaCy Meadow Farm will be hosting an Adirondack Harvest Dinner on Tuesday, September 29th at 6:00pm at the St. Agnes School Auditorium in Lake Placid. This unique dining experience will feature ingredients supplied by local Essex County farmers. According to the official event announcement, “dinner will feature beverages, an appetizer, Dogwood Bread Company bread, soup, garden salad with maple balsamic vinaigrette, an entree featuring a selection of local, pasture-raised meats and fresh vegetables, and a dessert created with pure maple sugar.”

A keynote speaker, noted food and restaurant consultant Clark Wolf, will discuss developments in the local and healthy food movements and how the Adirondack region can move towards a more sustainable agricultural-based economy.

Ticket prices are $30 for adults and $15 for students and all proceeds will benefit Adirondack Harvest and Heifer International. Seating is limited to 150 people and reservations are required (call Dave Johnston at (518) 962-2350 or email djohnston [AT] dacymeadowfarm [DOT] com. Checks should be made payable and mailed to: DaCy Meadow Farm, Box 323, Westport, NY 12993


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Appreciating Adirondack Grasses

Are you one of those people who, when driving down the Northway, notices the various colors of the grasses growing in the median? If you aren’t, then you should slow down a bit and take a peek, for this time of year, especially in the early morning sunshine, they are quite beautiful: clouds of delicate purples, patches of russet oranges. I find it very tempting to pull over, get out of the car, and wade in amongst them. Since I’m sure the state troopers are not as likely to share my enthusiasm, I never have.

Grasses have caught my attention for years. They have wonderful flowerheads (inflorescences) that come in a great many varieties, and the colors, when seen en masse, can be quite the delight for the eye. I actually love to see lawns that have been allowed to go wild, for they fill an otherwise boring green expanse with delightful colors and textures.

Recently I was out botanizing with a friend who, among other things, really knows her grasses and sedges. Most of us wouldn’t know the difference between a grass, a sedge, or a rush if our lives depended on it. Sure, perhaps we recall the rhyme “Sedges have edges and rushes are round, and grasses have nodules where elbows are found” (or some variation thereof), but in practice, they all look like “grass” to the untrained eye. I asked my botanically-inclined friend if she knew of any good books for grass ID, but she said no.

I, however, have two grass ID books in my rather large collection of natural history books. One I’ve had in my Naturalist Daypack for quite some time, but I’ve never taken the time to actually read it. Until now. Inspired by my friend’s knowledge, and never one to want to be left behind in the proverbial dust, I decided to crack the book and learn me some grasses.

As with many natural history and species ID adventures, at first it seemed intimidating, an almost insurmountable task. They all look the same! I’ll never be able to tell them apart! But by taking the time to actually read the text, the small details, those clues that tell one species from the next, soon become apparent.

To begin with, many sedges, but not all, have triangular stems (edges). Many rushes have cylindrical, or round, stems. And grasses, as a whole, have joints, or nodules, where their leaves join the stem. After learning this, you can start to study some of the other distinguishing factors. The book I’m currently reading, Grasses by Lauren Brown, starts off with a dichotomous key, which many people find intimidating, but which I find a relief to use. From there, she’s grouped the plants by visual similarities. The simple pen and ink illustrations point out key traits for quick identification. Unlike many ID guides (try some of the moss or fern books), this one is written for the layperson. Technical jargon is explained – it’s not assumed you are working towards your PhD in botanical sciences.

The only real “work” will be memorizing the scientific names. Most real botanists forego common names and with good reason: they are not standardized. What you may call Indian Paintbrush is known as Hawkweed to someone else, and that person applies Indian Paintbrush to an entirely different plant. But the reason for learning the scientific names goes beyond this, for many grasses (sedges, rushes) and other plants, like mosses and lichens, have no common names. The common man has given most of them very little attention, and if you aren’t paying attention to something, you aren’t going to give it a name. If it weren’t for the scientists, these plants would have no names at all.

I think that for some time now Grasses will join my Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide as a passenger in my car. I’m actually eager, now that I have inspiration, to get out in the field and start getting to know my grassy neighbors. Armed with my field guide and a hand lens, I hope to soon have names like Anthoxanthum ordoratum and Cyperus esculentus tripping off my tongue.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Weekly Adirondack Blogging Round-Up


Friday, September 25, 2009

Can Ralph Lauren Save the Adirondacks?

New York State’s Secretary of State had never been north of Albany until she visited Lake George, a village official told me recently.

State Senator Betty Little likes to tell a story about another state official, who grew alarmed when told that people were living in the park—the Adirondack Park, that is.

“People being forced to sleep in the park? How awful!” the official reportedly said.

No wonder the Association of Adirondack Towns and Villages decided to sponsor the Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Report.

At the very least, it reminds Albany that the Adirondack Park contains 130,000 people living in more than one hundred communities, which need viable economies (and perhaps some additional state aid or at least broad band) if they are to survive. Statistics about the park’s aging population and declining school enrollments are not, however, the only way to tell the story of the Adirondacks.

Walk into a Ralph Lauren Home store in New York or Milan this fall and you’ll see, displayed on a library table or console, portfolios of Lake George paintings and guidebooks by Seneca Ray Stoddard.

You’ll also see rustic Adirondack furniture and plaid fabrics given Adirondack names.
The rooms have been installed in stores throughout the United States and Europe to showcase Ralph Lauren’s new collection of furniture and home furnishings, which the company calls “Indian Cove Lodge,” after a mythical Adirondack camp.

It is, to be sure, an idealized version of the Adirondacks. It’s a backdrop for a story playing in Ralph Lauren’s mind, about what, one can only imagine – how Marjorie Merriweather Post spent August, perhaps.

Nevertheless, whoever created these backdrops wanted them to be as authentic as possible. They even contain copies of the Lake George Mirror to link the collection to the Adirondacks. (Last winter, I was told, Black Bass Antiques owner Henry Caldwell and rustic furniture impresario Ralph Kylloe were visited by a team from Ralph Lauren, who spent hours selecting items that would complement the new collection.)

“Snowshoes, antique skis, fishing creels, canoe paddles: they bought a truckload of things,” said Kylloe, who’s furnished Ralph Lauren’s private homes as well as his showrooms for years.

Attention from retailers like Ralph Lauren helps the Adirondack brand remain vital, said Kylloe.

Lisa Foderaro, who frequently covers the Adirondacks for the New York Times, made a similar contribution to that effort last week with a story about Jay Haws’ and Steve Pounian’s Dartbrook Lodge in Keene.

They’ve converted a roadside cottage colony into a retreat that is, Foderaro said, “at once rustic and hip.”

There may be, as Ralph Kylloe suggests, some economic benefits from this kind of exposure in the form of increased tourism.

Other effects may be more problematic, such as a renewed demand for second homes and hence the rising costs of housing for year-round residents.

Another potential effect – and whether it’s a negative or positive one will depend upon your perspective – is a new constituency for the protection of he Adirondacks.
But at the very least, campaigns like these broaden awareness of the Adirondacks, and if those anecdotes about Albany’s lack of awareness of the region are true, that’s as necessary now as it ever was.

Photo: Indian Cove Lodge bedside table.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Hickory Ski Center and Big Tupper on Track to Open

Adirondackers will have two new old places to ski this winter. Hickory Ski Center in Warrensburg will hold a volunteer work day Saturday to get the hill in shape for its re-opening. Another group of volunteers is trying to get a chairlift running again for skiing at Big Tupper, in Tupper Lake.

Hickory Hill has been closed for four years, so it won’t need an Adirondack Park Agency permit to resume business; however, Big Tupper has not been operational for more than five years, so it will need approval from the state land use agency.

“Everything seems to be falling into place,” Hickory president Bill Van Pelt said this week. A previous volunteer work day on Sept. 12 attracted about 30 people, who repainted buildings, tuned lifts, drilled a new well and created a new drop-off area, he said. Hickory’s new owners, a group of mostly local shareholders, are also pursuing snowmaking, he said, and they expect to have at least a partial system in place this year, but details are still being worked out.

Ticketing will be electronic, Van Pelt said, so when a skier passes through an archway to get on a lift, sensors will keep a tally of how many vertical feet the person has skied this season. Ticket prices are now available here.

To volunteer at Hickory Saturday contact operations manager Shawn Dempsey at skihickory@gmail.com. Dempsey advises: plan to come prepared with a lunch, hiking boots, gloves and any brush-clearing equipment, shovels, rakes.

Van Pelt said Hickory’s opening date will depend on snow and snowmaking. In Tupper Lake, volunteer organizer Jim LaValley said Big Tupper’s opening date is set for December 26. The mountain will go without snowmaking for now, LaValley said, but he’s optimistic about the forecast. “It’s going to be a good year because you’ve got El Nino spinning and the sunspot cycle has made its shift.”

APA staff made a site visit Wednesday, and LaValley said he expects to receive the operating permit by November or December. Volunteers are working continuously on getting a chairlift ready for inspection, improving the base lodge and electrical systems. There will be a call for a volunteer work day in the next few weeks, LaValley said, but in the meantime people who wish to pitch in can contact him at jim.lavalley@lavalleyrealestate.com or (518) 359-9440. Ticket prices have not yet been set. For future information a Web site is being developed at skibigtupper.org.

You can read more about Hickory’s and Big Tupper’s years of limbo here.


Friday, September 25, 2009

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories

  • Study: Local SUNY Huge Economic Boost
  • DEC: Cormorant Control Successes
  • Paterson Urged to Reject Lows Plan
  • McHugh Begins Army Secretary Job
  • Invasive Milfoil Found In Lake Champlain
  • 2009 Black Bear Forecast
  • Spiegel APA Suit Dismissed
  • Local Man Killed in Afghanistan
  • Overcrowding in Local Prisons an Issue
  • St. Lawrence County Eyes $2.5M Cuts
  • Moose Enter Wanderlust Season

  • Thursday, September 24, 2009

    Adirondack Music Scene: Organs to Opera and Rock and Roll

    Cooler weather and changing colors seems to bring out the classical concerts (my that’s a lot of “c’s”). There are so many great performances to choose from this weekend. I feel a bit more intelligent just writing about them; imagine how you’ll feel if you actually get out to hear these great musicians and instruments.

    Tonight in Jay is a meeting of the Acoustics Club at the Amos and Julia Ward Theatre at the junction of routes 9N and 86 next to the Village Green. The meeting starts at 7 pm and is for beginner musicians to play, learn and share experiences with music and sound in a casual setting. Any and all instruments, including the voice, are invited. Call Janet Morton at 946-7420 with any questions.

    Friday in Glens Falls a Beeman Organ Concert will be held at the First Presbyterian Church. Organist Alan Morrison will play at 7:30 pm. Mr. Morrison has a very impressive resume having played at most of the fine concert halls and cathedrals in the States and Canada. You can call 793 – 2521 or go to www.fpcgf.org for more information.

    In Lake Clear on Friday, local favorite Steve Borst will be performing at Charlie’s Inn. Steve has written some lovely original songs and is great at taking requests. He starts at 6:30 pm and you can call 891 – 9858 for more information.

    Saturday in Keene Valley, Adirondack Brass will be holding a concert at the Congregational Church at 4 pm. Check out their myspace page – they sound great. Keene Valley has some cool restaurants to check out after going to what is sure to be an inspirational evening of music. The event is sponsored by The East Branch Friends of the Arts. For more information call 576-4769. A donation is appreciated.

    On Saturday in Saranac Lake, High Peaks Opera will be performing Italian Opera at Will Rogers. This is the same group that blew folks away in Tupper Lake earlier this year and features Metropolitan Opera bass George Cordes. What a fantastic voice—I’ve heard him before and you can check it out for yourself by clicking on the link. The performance starts at 7:30 pm. A donation is appreciated.

    Later on Saturday in Saranac Lake at the Waterhole the Rev Tor band gets going around 10 pm. This is in the great-to-play Upstairs Music Lounge, where the cocktails start flowing at 9 pm when the doors open. There aren’t a lot of places to sit, but at that hour it’s usually more fun to dance and sway then stay planted anyway. Rev Tor has some fine musicianship going on in their band. I’m particularly impressed with the keyboards and guitar solos.

    Also on Saturday in Glens Falls the Saratoga Chamber Players are giving another Degas and Music concert at 3 pm. The performance is at the Hyde Collection Art Museum located at 161 Warren St. Call 584-1427 for more info.

    You have two chances to hear Dan Gordan “International Man of Saxophone.” The link I connected to is all about a book he wrote detailing his journeys as a street musician in Europe. It looks fun—I’d like to read it—and it gives a little insight as to why he considers himself an international man of sax. This is the beginning of the new Piano By Nature season, which means that pianist Rose Chancler—who will be accompanying Mr. Gordon—is back presenting and giving concerts in her community. The Saturday concert starts at 7 pm and the Sunday one at 3 pm; both take place in the Hand House Parlor in Elizabethtown. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for 15 and under. Reservations are required due to limited seating: 518-962-2949.

    Lastly, there are two chances for some open mic action this weekend: First, there is an ongoing Coffee House and Open Mic that happens on the last Saturday of every month at the Universal Unitarian Church in Queensbury. It is held 7:30 – 10 pm and you can call 793-1468 for more details. Then on Sunday at 7 pm there is an Open Mic being held in Lake Placid. The Luna Java Coffee Shop is located at 5794 Cascade Road. I can’t find a phone number for them so… I’ve no other details other than to say, Go and perform or cheer on the local talent. Thriving open mic scenes are essential for a musical community.

    Photo: Alan Morrison


    Thursday, September 24, 2009

    Adirondack Winter Finch Forecast

    We birders (those who watch birds) eagerly await an e-mail that comes about this time every early fall. It’s a message that’s filled with information that can be good news or bad news. The good news can fill a birdwatcher’s heart with anticipation of a wonderful winter with colorful sightings. The bad news can mean a not-so-good winter with few of these colorful sightings. However, the bad news for us in the Adirondacks turns out to be good news for others.

    All this I am referring to is the long-awaited Winter Finch Forecast given by naturalist/ornithologist Ron Pittaway of the Ontario Field Ornithologist group: www.ofo.ca/reportsandarticles/winterfinches.php » Continue Reading.


    Thursday, September 24, 2009

    DEC Proposes Fishing Regulations Changes

    The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced proposed changes to the state’s freshwater fishing regulations. The agency will be accepting public comments on the changes until November 2, 2009. According to a DEC press release: “The proposed regulations are the result of careful assessment of the status of existing fish populations and the desires of anglers for enhanced fishing opportunities. The opportunity for public review follows discussions held with angling interest groups over the past year.”

    The following are highlights of the proposed changes in the Adirondack region provided by DEC:

    * Apply the statewide regulation for pickerel, eliminating the “no size” limit regulation in: Essex, Hamilton, Saratoga, Warren and Washington County waters.

    * Apply the statewide regulation creel limit of 50 fish per day for yellow perch and sunfish for Clinton, Essex, Franklin and Hamilton Counties, as well as for Schroon Lake, as this limit will help protect against overexploitation.

    * Eliminate special regulation prohibiting smelt fishing at Portaferry Lake in St. Lawrence County as no smelt runs have been reported in many years.

    * Delete the 5+5 brook trout special regulation (Regions 5, 6 & 7), which allows for an additional 5 brook trout under 8 inches as part of the daily limit, as there is no basis for retaining this special regulation for this species.

    * Prohibit fishing from March 16 until the opening of walleye season in May in a section of the Oswegatchie River in St. Lawrence County to protect spawning walleye.

    * Ban possession of river herring (alewife and blueback herring) in the Waterford Flight (Lock 2-Guard Gate 2) on the Saratoga County side of the Mohawk River, where blueback herring, declining in numbers, are especially vulnerable to capture.

    * Allow the use of alewives and blueback herring as bait in Lake Champlain, Clinton County, Essex County, Franklin County, Warren County, Washington County and Canadarago Lake (Otsego County).

    * Add new state land trout waters to bait fish prohibited list for Essex, Hamilton, and Washington Counties to guard against undesirable fish species introductions and preserve native fish communities.

    * Allow ice fishing for rainbow trout in Glen Lake, Warren County.

    The full text of the proposed regulation changes are available on DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/57841.html.

    Comments on the proposals being submitted by e-mail should be sent to fishregs@gw.dec.state.ny.us or mailed to Shaun Keeler, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Fisheries, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753.

    After full review of the public comments, the final regulations will go into effect October 1, 2010.

    Artwork of Brook Trout by Ellen Edmonson from Inland Fishes of New York, a publication of Cornell University and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation



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