Friday, May 14, 2021

Outdoor conditions (5/14): Low fire danger, wet trails

outdoor conditions logoThe 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.

Speculator Tree Farm: Elm Lake Road, Long Level Road and the second half of Fly Creek Road are open.

Perkins Clearing Tract: Perkins Clearing, Jessup River Road are open. Old Military Road is not open yet.

Essex Chain Wilderness: All roads are now open.

West Canada Lakes Wilderness: Cedar River Flow Road is open to the Wakely Dam

» Continue Reading.


Friday, May 14, 2021

Latest news headlines

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

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 13, 2021

Gypsy moths: The destroyers

Gypsy Moth CaterpillarLike a B-grade horror film sequel, the aliens have awakened once again. Perhaps we felt a glimmer of hope at the end of the 2020 version when an entire generation of ruthless monsters died off in droves and left us in peace. But remember that closing shot of their disgusting, furry egg-mass blobs cleverly hidden out of sight? Well they’re hatching now.

If you missed last year’s gypsy moth performance, you have a better chance of catching it this season. Unfortunately. Based on egg-mass sampling, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation predicts that areas in central and western NYS which saw moderate to severe gypsy moth outbreaks last year can expect heavy damage this year. NYSDEC’s gypsy moth page can be found here.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 13, 2021

Wildlife advocate John Davis to join Adirondack Council

John DavisThe Adirondack Council hired John Davis, a renowned national wildlife advocate with Adirondack conservation experience, to advocate for wild land restoration and reconnected wildlife pathways that have been disturbed by roads, buildings and other obstacles, to benefit nature and communities.

Davis served as Conservation Director of the Council from 2005 till 2011.  He rejoins the staff as Rewilding Advocate.

“We are very pleased to welcome John Davis back after a decade away from our offices,” said Executive Director William C. Janeway.  “We and others have kept tabs on John’s work as he helped to introduce the idea of ‘rewilding’ to the national lexicon. He has been all over North America talking about it and we are excited to add him to our talented and growing conservation team.”

“It is a privilege to bring John, a renowned rewilding expert, back onto the Conservation team to add capacity and expertise to our efforts,” said Vice President for Conservation Megan Phillips. “His experience and vision will amplify the Council’s voice as a strong advocate for the wild character of the Park and the myriad species that call this national treasure home, as a complement to our efforts with others to foster more vibrant human communities.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 13, 2021

This week’s APA meeting and the tree-cutting decision

fish creekWe have another jam-packed Adirondack Park Agency meeting to look forward to this week.

The board will hear from staff about solar projects in the park, upgrades to the Fish Creek Pond Campground and the long-awaited visitor use management and wildlands monitoring guidance that has been delayed the last couple of meetings. I have a preview of the meeting up on our website. I’ll be covering the meetings, too, for you.

If you’d like to listen in for yourself, go to apa.ny.gov for the agenda and the virtual meeting info.

It’s not on the agenda, but I’m also wondering if the Adirondack Park Agency will discuss the Court of Appeals ruling that was handed down Tuesday last week. The state’s highest court ruled that Class II community connector trails, which are trails big enough and graded to accommodate snowmobiles, were unconstitutional. The majority said the trails required cutting too many trees and violated the “forever wild” clause of the state constitution. The 4-2 decision was in favor of Protect the Adirondacks, which brought the suit against the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Adirondack Park Agency.

What we don’t know yet is how far-reaching this decision is. Protect the Adirondacks and several environmental organizations in favor of its side have said they believe the decision only impacts these community connector trails. Others worry that the decision will impact more than that, including hiking trail maintenance, new hiking trails and campground maintenance. So far the APA and DEC are consulting with the state Attorney General’s Office to get guidance on that. As we learn more, we’ll have more information for you.

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Gwen’s weekly “Adirondack Report” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

Fish Creek Pond Campground photo by Mike Lynch/Explorer


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Long eared owls always look surprised

Long Ear OwlOwls are birds of prey of the order Strigiformes, which are divided into two main families. Strigidae has 220 wide ranging species, for example round faced owls filling all possible sizes between the great horned owl and the elf owl. Tytonidae has 20 species, distributed worldwide everywhere but the polar regions and northern regions from Canada through eastern Russia, for example, heart faced owls like the barn owl.

Eight owls are found in the Adirondacks: Snowy owl seasonally, Great Horned owl, Barred owl, Long eared owl, Short eared owl, Barn owl, Eastern screech owl and Northern saw whet owl, all year-round residents.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Lake Champlain trout rebound

spawning lake troutTypically, invasive species get cast as villains, coming into places and upending the native plants and animals.

But as I was checking in on plans to reduce the amount of trout being stocked in Lake Champlain by New York’s hatcheries, I found that sometimes invasive species might have unexpectedly positive roles.

Hatchery officials who once worried they weren’t stocking enough trout now have to worry they’ll stock too many, because the trout are beginning to breed on their own in the lake. There are now perhaps 100,000 or 200,000 trout in the lake. Too many trout in one lake could collapse the food chain, if too many eat too much.

Why? Some new theories suggest Lake Champlain trout may be rebounding in part of changes in the lake driven by invasive species giving them new food and forcing them to breed in better parts of the lake.

Those twin changes — the rebound of wild trout in the lake and the potential role of invasive species in that rebound — prompted a quick piece that’s now online from the current print issue of Adirondack Explorer, which you can read here.

Photo of lake trout courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

This first appeared in Ry’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Winter-like conditions on Marcy make for difficult rescue

marcy rescueRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of North Elba/Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On May 8 at 10:48 a.m., Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting an injured hiker on the summit of Mt. Marcy. The hiker, a 52-year-old woman from Bailey, CO, had slipped on the ice and suffered a hip injury. Nine Forest Rangers and two volunteers from the Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks (SARNAK) responded to the Adirondak Loj to evacuate the injured hiker. New York State Police Aviation was requested, but unfavorable weather conditions prevented any flights. At 4:39 p.m., Forest Rangers Mecus and LaPierre reached the subject and determined the injury was non-weight bearing. While waiting for additional resources to arrive on scene, Rangers stabilized the injury and constructed a small shelter to prevent further cold exposure.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The last patrol

Scott van Laer

The May/June Adirondack Explorer now landing in subscribers’ mailboxes contains two profiles of forest rangers, Julie Harjung and Scott van Laer, by reporter Gwendolyn Craig. Both of these rangers have worked the woods for 25 years and are now retiring. Gwen visited van Laer as he wrapped up is work, and shot the short video that you can view here.

These stories honor the work these public servants have done to keep us and every Adirondack visitor safe and educated. Gwen revisits their careers, including the lives they saved, the rescues that sadly turned to recoveries, the work that van Laer did in advocating for the ranger corps, and the paramedic experience that Harjung put to work in training colleagues and others to become wilderness first responders.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Understanding Timber on Protected Lands  

Abbott: Put that out.  There’s no smoking in here. 

Costello: What makes you think I’m smoking? 

Abbott: You’ve got a cigar in your mouth! 

Costello: I’ve got shoes on…. It doesn’t mean I’m walking.”   – One Night in the Tropics, 1940 

“Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance  deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has  been carefully hidden.” – Phaedrus, 428-348 B.C.

Usually, when I hear someone refer to a “philosophical problem,” it is safe to assume they have stumbled upon  something contested or murky. Anything without clean  borders and an obviously correct side that good people can  agree on is often dismissed as a “philosophical problem.” Also  consigned to this fate are questions that seem simple until you  look closely and discover a thicket of overlap and conflicts.  In my experience this is usually because what appears to be  the question is either not the real question or not the whole  question. I’m going to try to untangle a situation that falls into the latter category, but before you chuck this column onto the philosophical slash heap, stay with me, and let’s talk timber. 

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

May 15 cleanup day planned for Lake Luzerne

Lake Luzerne signMorgan Duke Conservation Society today announced a tree planting and litter clean-up event at the Hudson River Recreation Area on River Road in Lake Luzerne, beginning at noon on May 15. The community is invited to participate in this free event. A check-in table will be located at the big parking lot between the Lake Luzerne-Warrensburg line, by the kiosk. Hand sanitizer, bags, snacks, and water will be provided. Participants are required to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing.

Participants and visitors can walk the campsites and trails, including the Bear Slide trail, and other areas to help pick up garbage. Orange garbage bags and gloves will be provided. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will lead a tree planting program at approved locations in the Hudson River Recreation Area. A limited number of shovels and gloves will be available – the community is encouraged to bring their own gloves and shovels. DEC is providing the trees, which will be coming from the Colonel William F. Fox Memorial Saratoga Tree Nursery.

Please RSVP by visiting www.morganduke.ngo/events. Participants under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian present to sign them in.

Welcome to Lake Luzerne sign photo by Gwendolyn Craig/Adirondack Explorer


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Adirondack Foundation amplifies philanthropy, awards nearly $600K

adirondack foundation logoAdirondack Foundation this year awarded $590,000 in Generous Acts grants to meet pressing needs and support important initiatives in local communities across the Adirondack region.

“Generous Acts isn’t just a grant program — it’s a unique approach to philanthropy that invites donors and partners to work together to strengthen communities and help our neighbors,” said Cali Brooks, Adirondack Foundation’s president and CEO.

Grant awards ranged from $1,000 to $20,000. Recipients are broken out and listed according to the following needs and opportunities: 

» Continue Reading.


Monday, May 10, 2021

In historic move, Ward Lumber transitions ownership to cooperative

ward lumberThe employees of Ward Lumber have made history by purchasing the 130-year-old business as a worker-owned cooperative. The transaction marks the first employee ownership transition of its kind in the North Country region of New York State. 

The lumber products and hardware store, which has locations in Jay and Malone and employs over 50 local people, has been in Jay Ward’s family for four generations. Ward, who will continue his leadership role as the company’s chief executive officer, completed a contract with his employee team that makes Ward Lumber the largest worker-owned cooperative in the region. 

» Continue Reading.


Monday, May 10, 2021

NNY Audubon funds bird projects across the region

bluebirdNorthern New York Audubon (NNYA) is pleased to announce that funds will be awarded to several regional organizations as part of the annual Joseph & Joan Cullman Conservation Grants.

The projects approved by NNYA were submitted by the following non-profits, local environmental organizations, and higher education institutions: Adirondack Interpretive Center at Newcomb, Ausable River Association, Wildlife Conservation Society, Adirondack Watershed Institute, St. Lawrence Land Trust, SUNY ESF Adirondack Ecological Center, Dr. Alyssa Gleichsner of SUNY Plattsburgh, and Jesse Rock of Paul Smith’s College master’s program.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, May 10, 2021

A ‘Wild Idea’

wild idea eventHear about the wild ideas that became “A Wild Idea: How the Environmental Movement Tamed the Adirondacks” by Brad Edmondson.

Adirondack Explorer Editor Brandon Loomis will interview Edmondson about his 19-year project interviewing the people who fought for and against the Adirondack Park Agency Act that culminated in the book and a special series for the Adirondack Explorer Regulators and rebels: The forever wild fight.

Presented by Adirondack Explorer and Adirondack Center for Writing 7 p.m. Thursday, May 13.

Sign up here