For the safety of all visitors and to reduce the community spread of COVID-19, DEC and State Parks are undertaking steps to reduce public density:
Closing all playgrounds;
Limiting access to athletic courts and sporting fields
Canceling all public programs and events at state parks, lands, forests and facilities until further notice;
Closing all indoor visitor facilities, such as nature centers, environmental education centers, visitor centers, and historic houses to the public until further notice;
State Parks has closed all State Parks golf courses;
DEC is closing access to DEC-controlled fire towers to the public. Trails and the summits to the towers remain open, but the towers themselves present a potential risk with multiple people climbing the stairs, in close quarters, unable to appropriately socially distance, and using the same handrails; and
Limiting parking. If the parking lot is full, visit a different location to recreate responsibly. For visitor safety and the safety of others, do not park on roadsides and only park in designated parking areas.
If you must “shelter in place”, the North Country is a good place to do so. Those of us fortunate to live in New York’s great Adirondack Park are already accustomed to “social distancing”, and generally have ample space to get fresh air and exercise – thanks to the good work of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and regional land trusts in protecting millions of acres of wild lands and waters. We are also fortunate to have thousands of brave neighbors continuing to go to work to provide us essentials, like groceries, heating fuel, and health care.
Still, even we lucky Adirondackers – nearly as much as our fellow New Yorkers down-state wishing they could be up here – likely have more time alone now than we usually have. Quiet time affords us chances to read. Here is a quick list of books of regional interest and/or environmental bent that I’d suggest to neighbors sheltered at home through this upsetting pandemic.
Now that face masks are deemed “essential,” (and required in public to help stop the spread of COVID-19), a group of volunteers in Indian Lake have been making cloth masks and distributing them free of charge. As of Friday, April 17, they are available for pick up at Pines Country Store in Indian Lake and in the vestibule of the Adirondack Lakes Center for The Arts in Blue Mountain Lake. The contributors ask people to only take one per person. Those willing to help out with the effort by donating masks can drop them off at the Pines Country Store.
The DEC and State Park’s staff work every spring to install docks at all sites before the opening day of fishing season. Docks are being installed at boat launches statewide, and schedules for installations are dependent on water levels, weather, and ice conditions. Sites are still available for public use regardless of dock installations, but boaters are encouraged to call their regional fisheries office or the state park to check the status of a boat launch.
Restrooms will remain closed at these facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and boat launches at DEC campgrounds will remain closed as well.
Saranac Lake’s Lake Flower boat launch will remain closed due to ongoing construction.
This season the DEC wants to make sure that when boating or fishing, you follow the COVID-19 public health crises recommendations. Please avoid busy waters, congested parking lots and fishing spots, avoid contact and maintain 6 feet of social distance.
The Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter has shared the following activities for joining in the online festivities on this 50th anniversary of Earth Day:
Learn About Nature: some parents are finding it stressful to take on the roles of their teachers while the schools are closed, but the NCAC has created a Nature Lab to help children and parents alike to take part in nature related activities, in turn learning the science behind nature and what we can do to preserve it. View the Nature Lab’s resources for K-12 students here.
During the quarantine, Pendragon Theatre is hosting a “Germ-Free Season” series of virtual events, productions, and alternative performance formats. First up is an encore presentation of Pendragon’s 2015 production of “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen. Streaming 24/7 at www.pendragontheatre.org.
“The Snow Queen” is directed by Matt Sorensen and features his own puppet creations. In fact, he credits that show as launching his interest in puppet making. In that vein, Sorensen has produced and posted two stay-at-home puppet camp sessions, sponsored by Adirondack Health. Children can learn how to build and perform with shadow puppets, rod puppets, sock puppets and toy theater, using common household supplies.
Join Sorensen for a unique “Sock and Sip” online event on Friday May 1, from 6-8 p.m. Sorensen will walk step by step through making a sock puppet, using basic supplies (which can be found here). It costs $25 to sign up via zoom, and all proceeds go to support Pendragon’s free virtual workshops. Click here to sign up.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, everyone is invited to take part in a national virtual action event. Today through Thursday, activists, performers, thought leaders, and artists will all be collaborating on a 3-day live stream. Organized by the US Climate Strike Coalition and Stop The Money Pipeline Coalition, who together are made up of over 500 organizations, have come together to organize Earth Day Live.
Town of Keeseville Essex County Protecting Peregrines: On April 11, Forest Ranger Sarah Bode cited two rock climbers for Failure to Obey a DEC sign. The tickets were written to a 31-year-old man from Bernardsville, New Jersey, and a 32-year-old woman from New York City for climbing closed routes on Poke O Moonshine. DEC wildlife staff closes certain cliffs and climbing routes to allow peregrine falcons to breed, select a nesting site, and encourage the birds to return to their nesting sites. Once nesting has begun, DEC wildlife staff work with Forest Rangers and other DEC programs in notifying the climbing community and public of these closures and may open climbing routes that can be used without disturbing the nesting falcons and their young. After the young falcons have fledged, climbing routes are opened. The rock climbing community has been cooperative with DEC’s efforts and climbers have volunteered to be observers, monitoring falcons and nesting activity. DEC last issued tickets to climbers for climbing on the closed routes in the early 2000s, and Forest Rangers continue to patrol and enforce these routes.
NY invests in environment, public health infrastructure, bond act;
Trump’s Federal Government tearing down 50 years of progress
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in the Adirondacks today, we see a state and a nation going in opposite directions in terms of environmental and public health protections.
In New York, we are seeing unprecedented support for environmental progress from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s team, lawmakers and citizens. Not only does New York have the most aggressive climate change law in the nation – the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act – but it is backing up its greenhouse gas reduction commitment with funding from a $300-million Environmental Protection Fund and a proposed $3-billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act.
Every day is Earth Day. That’s what folks knew and said to each other on April 23, 1970 – and ever since. Fifty years on, April 22, 2020, it’s obvious as well as vital to act accordingly since life support systems on our fragile earth have been torn and rendered by human activity and population growth since 4/22/70. This Coronavirus COVID-19 is novel to human beings. Today’s atmospheric carbon concentrations are novel for all life on earth – and only existed some 3.5 million years ago.
The Lake Champlain – Lake George Regional Planning Board is helping the region’s small businesses by offering working capital micro-loans for enterprises within Clinton, Essex, Hamilton, Warren, and Washington Counties. The loans will be available for businesses that have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The funds are not to be used to pay off existing debt, refinancing other loans, acquire a position in business, purchase of equipment, investments, expansion, or personal expenses. Other restrictions also apply and more information can be found here.
We are keeping a close look on popular Adirondack area attractions and putting together this list of closures/delays. This is where we’ll add openings, too as they happen (scroll to the bottom of the list).
Feel free to contribute in the comments section and/or send notices to [email protected]
Fishing tournaments (Massena) — The Town of Massena and Fishing League Worldwide are canceling two major FLW tournaments that were to have been held in Massena this summer. The Toyota Series 2020 Tournament (July 9 to 13) and Pro Circuit Championship (Aug. 24 to 29) are both canceled.
Ironman (Lake Placid) — Both the full triathlon and half triathlon canceled for 2020. Next full tri takes place July 25, 2021; half tri canceled for 2021 as well.
Ausable Chasm (Port Kent) — While adventurous activities, like tubing and rock climbing, aren’t yet available, the park’s five miles of scenic trails have been opened for hiking and exploring since June 15.
The Almanzo Wilder Homestead in Burke, NY is now open for private tours by appointment Thursday through Monday. The Visitor Center is open to the public.
Tupper Arts Center (Tupper Lake) has a target reopening of July 15.
Fishing tournaments: The 2020 SiteOne Bassmaster Elite tournament on the St. Lawrence is slated to take place July 23-26. The following week, from July 30-Aug. 2, Bassmaster Elite tournament takes place on Lake Champlain.
The Lake Champlain Basin Program is providing watershed organizations located within the Basin with emergency funding of up to $5,000. The grants are intended to provide relief for those adversely affected by COVID-19, so they may continue to operate throughout this turbulent time. The grants are a one-time award and will be made available for immediate relief. Projects must begin within a week of notification of award and be completed within 90 days.
The LCBP has awarded over $10 million to more than 1,300 projects since 1992 within New York and Vermont, and all applications will be reviewed by independent volunteers.
The deadline of the grant proposals are due April 24 and should be sent to [email protected].