It’s officially spring! Warmer weather, longer days, and green leaves are headed our way. That means there’s just a short window of time left to practice your winter tree identification skills in the forest!
Did you get a chance to tune into our walk in the woods with DEC foresters last month where they provided winter tree ID tips for common New York State species? If not, be sure to check it out on our Facebook page.
Photo: Foresters from DEC’s Division of Lands and Forests provided a tour of common New York State trees during a Facebook Live in February.
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.
Northern Adirondacks: There is a flood watch in effect for the northern regions of the Adirondacks this weekend. Heavy rainfall combined with continued snowmelt is expected to swell rivers and waterways. Use extreme caution when driving or walking near waterways and at water crossings. Do not attempt to drive through flooded roads or flooded waterways.
Sing on, sing on you gray-brown bird, Sing from the swamps, the recesses, pour your chant from the bushes, Limitless out of the dusk, out of the cedars and pines. Walt Whitman, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”
A whole year has gone by since we first heard the word “Covid.” We are coming full circle, and soon the hermit thrush will sing again.
With windows shut, curtains drawn, and doors firmly latched against a long cold winter, no one heard her come on a breeze scented with sunshine and earth. She wore a fluttery light green dress that left her slim arms bare. Her slippered feet appeared to float over the hardened snow and in her wake birds, like bridesmaids, flew, singing their joy in following her.
If they had been looking they’d see how the drifts parted as she came down the mountain pass.
North Wind noticed and was not pleased with the ease she slipped in, softening his winter’s work. He reigned with a force that snapped trees as though they were twigs. Everything sought shelter and shivered when he howled. They cowered when he blustered. But this one … she didn’t lower her head in proper acquiesces when he blew.
The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) in cooperation with the communities of Wilmington, Jay, Upper Jay, and Au Sable Forks, is undergoing a branding study and is looking for stakeholders, residents, and visitors to complete an online survey.
The survey is designed to help better understand what motivates people to visit the Whiteface Region in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. Respondents are asked questions about their perception of particular activities, such as hiking, fishing, mountain biking, dining, and visiting area attractions.
Elizabeth W. Little was born in 1884, probably in the grand home that her grandparents built in Menands on the south side of the Menand Road in the 1860’s.
She was the daughter of Charles W. Little and Edith Elizabeth Herbert. Elizabeth was the youngest of three daughters born to the C.W. Little family. Elizabeth’s grandfather was Weare C. Little, who was born in Bangor, Maine but moved to the Albany area and established a very successful book publishing and selling business on State Street in Albany by 1828. By 1868, Weare C. Little’s name appears in the Albany City Directories as residing at Menands. Tax records of 1870-71 show that he owned 46 acres of land with buildings in Menands.
The W.C. Little’s publishing company was very profitable, enabling him to purchase the 46 acres of very desirable land on the south side of the Old Menand Road just west of the present day entrance to the Sage Estate. His land continued westward up the old Menand Road to a point about opposite of the present day intersection with Schuyler Road.
Closures due to Spring Thaw Effective Monday, March 22, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 6 began closing all mud gates to snowmobile trails and seasonal access roads on Forest Preserve, State Forest, and Conservation Easement lands, due to spring thaw and muddy conditions. Gate closures are expected to be completed by Friday, March 26.
Motor vehicle use during the spring mud season damages roads, resulting in road opening delays. DEC will reopen the roads once they become dry enough to safely handle motor vehicle traffic and any necessary maintenance is completed.
Region 6 is comprised of Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Herkimer, and Oneida counties.
Town of Fort Ann Washington County Wilderness Rescue: On Mar. 20 at 8:11 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for Forest Ranger assistance from Warren County 911 for a report of three 19-year-old hikers from Saratoga Springs lost on Buck Mountain in the Lake George Wild Forest. The reporting party stated the hikers had no light source and were cold. Forest Rangers St. Claire and Donegan responded to the trailhead and hiked into the woods, locating the lost group at 9:44 p.m. The hikers were in good condition and able to hike out on their own. All parties involved were cleared of the incident at 10:15 p.m.
As the old saying goes, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” During this transition, overwintering insects begin to reanimate. One insect that will soon regain mobility is the woolly bear, Pyrrharctia isabella Smith (Lepidoptera: Erebidae). The life cycle of this insect is complex, but if it is properly understood, then lepidopterists will have a much better chance of seeing one in the wild.
The woolly bear overwinters as a larva. As the temperature gets cooler, the woolly bear larva will bask in the sun, using its dark coloration to gather heat. When the autumnal temperatures drop too low for basking to be sufficient, woolly bears ensconce themselves in leafy detritus. Snowfall serves to further insulate the moth from biting winter winds. Woolly bears are further protected by the chemical glycerol, which is produced by their bodies to protect them from extreme cold. This chemical is found in some antifreeze brands, and can be used in cars. Through strategic selection of overwintering sites and the use of glycerol, the woolly bear can survive temperatures as low as -60 oF.
Their survival can be put at risk if they are brought out of dormancy by unseasonal warmth, because they stop producing the chemicals necessary to protect themselves. Therefore, if a woolly bear is encountered in the wintertime, it is recommended that nature enthusiasts leave it alone.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that hunter education courses will be resuming their in-person format on April 1. The DEC will also continue to offer online hunter education courses.
In-person courses will be free and are taught by volunteer Hunter Education Program instructors. You may take a class in hunting, bowhunting, trapping, and waterfowl education. Registration is required for both online and in-person courses, and the in-person courses require mandatory homework which must be completed prior to the course.
Registration for the Thursday, March 25 event is free and open to all
The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) and the Northern Forest Center invites community members to join their winter meeting on Thursday, March 25 at 12:30 p.m. The free virtual event will update the community on progress since the 2020 CGA Annual Forum and present the Strategy for Attracting New Residents to the Adirondacks.
Advance registration is required for the one-hour event, which will be held on Zoom Webinar.
Public Encouraged to Remove Birdfeeders, Feed Pets Indoors The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminds New Yorkers to avoid conflicts with bears by taking down bird feeders and securing garbage.
DEC has already received a few reports of bear sightings across the state. As bears emerge from their dens, they use their sensitive noses to find food. Human-related food sources such as bird feeders, pet food, and garbage can attract bears and lead to potential conflicts. Feeding bears either intentionally, which is illegal, or unintentionally through careless property management, has consequences for entire communities, as well as the bears themselves.
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