Sunday, January 10, 2021

When it comes to giant hornets, there is great news about bad news

My son, wise beyond his years it would seem, taught me an invaluable lesson when he was a teenager living at home. Any time I got worked into a froth about a broken car, leaky roof or other serious, but non-cataclysmic setback, he’d put things in perspective for me: “Pops, it could always be worse – you could be on fire.”

This is a good model to apply to invasive species. Depending on the situation, they can wreak some genuine havoc, but sometimes the perception of danger is so far overblown that other problems ensue.  It’s important to place an issue in the proper scale, beyond the fact that we are hopefully not surrounded by flames at the moment.

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Sunday, January 10, 2021

MAKE IT: Easy Cinnamon Rolls

Easy Cinnamon Rolls


These cinnamon rolls are a holiday breakfast staple in my home. Don’t let the number of steps in this recipe keep you from trying it – this is actually quite easy to make. Although I usually use traditional, animal-based ingredients when I make them for my family, I have also successfully made these cinnamon rolls using only vegan ingredients – and my family never knew the difference (shhhh!).

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Sunday, January 10, 2021

Weekly news round up

A collection of interesting reads:

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Saturday, January 9, 2021

Bobcats: Shy, nocturnal and successful 

In the weeks before Christmas, friends of a friend told me about a bobcat sighting they had, while hiking on a trail in southern Essex County. And, not long after that, a very dear friend of mine who lives in the same area sent me a couple of photographs she’d taken of a mound and scratch marks she’d discovered in her yard. She told me that she’d also found what appeared to be claw marks on a nearby tree trunk. A bit of research confirmed that both were signs of a bobcat.

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Saturday, January 9, 2021

Thousand Islands Land Trust acquires parcels along St. Lawrence River

DEC and the Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT) recently announced TILT’s acquisition of 527 acres in the Town of Alexandria as part of the Crooked Creek Preserve Water Quality Initiative. This acquisition will protect the surface water quality of the St. Lawrence River. TILT acquired the parcels with New York State Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) funding that provides resources to protect source waters.

The St. Lawrence River serves as a drinking water source for many nearby communities. As shoreline development and agricultural expansion continues along the River, the potential for water contamination of this widely used source water increases. The acquisition includes three parcels in the Goose Bay/Crooked Creek complex:

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Saturday, January 9, 2021

Call to Artists – NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery Virtual Juried Show

The NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery, located in the heart of Saranac Lake, will be hosting an upcoming juried art show, and is currently seeking artists to submit content under the theme of “The Healing Wilderness,” inspired by the healing power of the Adirondacks.

The village of Saranac Lake is the birthplace of the fresh air cure for tuberculosis, and since the turn of the 20th century the village has been revered for its healing powers.

Selected works will be placed on display in digital form at the NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery during Saranac Lake’s “Winter Carnival”, attended by thousands of people every year. Selected works will also be featured on their website as well, and shared within NorthWind’s extensive social media audience.

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Friday, January 8, 2021

Pine Cones: Nature’s (useful) seed bearers

As the landscape here in the Adirondacks changes from a sea of green to a frozen wonderland, coniferous trees now become the highlight of the forest flora. The cones that are produced come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the species of pine, and are prolific throughout the mountains as decorative items we see on wreaths, baskets arrangements and swags both inside and outside the homes of residents. Aside from their decorating uses, pine cones play an important role in nature. Like all plant parts, they have a very specific function in the plant world. There are approximately 6 species of pine tree in the Adirondacks that are identified by their needle like leaves, seed bearing cones and the bark.  Each cone produced has its unique size and shape and seed capacity. » Continue Reading.


Friday, January 8, 2021

DEC Recreation Highlight: Foxy Brown X-Ski Trail

The Foxy Brown X-Ski Trail is a 5.6-mile trail located within the Jessup River Wild Forest. After traveling along the Piseco Airport runway, the trail routes users primarily through a northern hardwood forest. To complete the loop, users must cross the runway, so be sure to check for oncoming aircraft before traveling back to the trailhead and parking area.

In 2019, DEC entered into a Volunteer Stewardship Agreement with Piseco Lake Association (PLA) allowing PLA to maintain the trail. During the 2020 field season, DEC Lands & Forest staff and PLA volunteers made the following improvements:

  • Construction of a 150’ ski bridge
  • Replacement-in-kind by the PLA board of a 25’ ski bridge
  • Repairs to an existing bridge
  • Brushing and blowdown removal on the 6.2-mile trail
  • Installation of new signage and trail markers, including mileage markers every quarter-mile
  • Removal of foot snags and large rocks from the trail tread

Friday, January 8, 2021

Outdoor Conditions (1/7): Latest Adirondack snow depth numbers

The following are the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for comprehensive and up-to-date information on seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.

High Peaks Wilderness: Colden Caretaker Report 01/06/21: 11.5 inches of snow has accumulated at the Colden Caretaker cabin. An estimated two feet of snow has accumulated on summits. Snowshoes are needed, including to get to Avalanche Lake. Skiing is minimal, with marginal conditions on the Truck Trail and in the Avalanche camp area. Both Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden are frozen.

Moose River Plains Complex: The entrance gates to the Moose River Plains on Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road are now open to snowmobile traffic only. Conditions remain poor due to minimal snow accumulation. The roads remain closed to public motor vehicles for the winter season.

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Friday, January 8, 2021

Latest news headlines

Here’s a look at news from around the Adirondacks this week:

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Thursday, January 7, 2021

HISTORICAL PROFILE: Bartonville Mountain of Brant Lake

Brant Lake in the Town of Horicon, Warren County, offers opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast to kill some time and enjoy a relaxing day. One can indulge in canoeing, kayaking, or fishing on the lake, or venture to Bartonville Mountain to go mountain biking, trail running, hiking, or, in the winter, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The trailhead for Bartonville Mountain is in back of a business called The Hub, located on 27 Market Street in Brant Lake, by Mill Pond. The Hub is a bike shop, restaurant, and bar, so after expending some energy outdoors, one can head to The Hub to enjoy a good lunch or refreshment.

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Thursday, January 7, 2021

DEC seeks public input on Three Lakes Tract management planning

The Three Lakes Tract is an area of commercially managed forestland, composed of northern hardwood forest, Hitchcock, Grass, and Moose Ponds. It shares around 4.1 miles of boundaries with the State Forest Preserve lands (the Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness and Independence River wild Forest) as well as 2.5 miles with the Big Moose Tract Conservation Easement.

Until January 13, The NYS DEC will be seeking public input on the development of a draft Recreation Management Plan (RMP) for the Three Lakes Tract Conservation Easement. The conservation easement is privately owned and extends over 3,350 acres in the town of Webb, in Herkimer County.

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Thursday, January 7, 2021

Local power: Paul Smith’s electricity now 100% from nearby sources

Azure Mountain Power in St Regis FallsPaul Smith’s College electricity accounts are now 100%  sourced from local hydroelectric power stations, effectively transitioning over 40% of the colleges energy needs to renewable sources. That’s according to a recent news release from Northern Power and Lights (NP&L) and the college.

NP&L began supplying power to Paul Smith’s College in March after the college subscribed to electricity from the Azure Mountain Power Facility in St. Regis Falls. An addition of electricity from the Sissonville hydro station on the Raquette River allowed them to move to all-locally generated power.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

The year in photos: Adirondack highlights

There’s no question about it: 2020 was a challenging year due to the pandemic. But luckily, at the Explorer, we sometimes get to escape the realities of the pandemic and go on adventures in the scenic and wild backcountry of the Adirondacks.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Reduce food waste with this 30 day challenge

We look at January 1st as a new chapter, a time to start fresh. However, if you find the idea of drafting up a new list of New Year’s resolutions a bit too abstract, our 30-day wasted food challenge might be a fit, focusing on doing small tasks each day in order to build habits that will stick.

Forty percent of all food produced in the US goes uneaten. Wasted food is a major contributor to multiple environmental and social problems that we face today – and most of this waste is happening right under our noses! ReFED estimates US households alone waste 76 billion pounds of food annually, costing each household an average of $1,800 per year!

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