Monday, October 10, 2011

Astronomy: The October Night Sky

Here are some naked eye objects for the month of October. All of these objects, although small, should be visible without the help of binoculars or a telescope, so long as you have clear dark skies.

Light pollution is a killer for seeing these objects with your naked eye. To find out how dark your location is, use the Google Map Overlay of light pollution. If you are in a blue, gray or black area then you should have dark enough skies. You may still be able to see some of these objects in a green location. If you aren’t in a dark sky location you may still be able to see these objects with a pair of binoculars or telescope.

You can find help locating the night sky objects listed below by using one of the free sky charts at Skymaps.com (scroll down to Northern Hemisphere Edition and click on the PDF for October 2011). The map shows what is in the sky in October at 9 pm for early October; 8 pm for late October.

If you are not familiar with what you see in the night sky, this is a great opportunity to step outside, look up, and begin learning the constellations. The sky is beautiful and filled with many treasures just waiting for you to discover them. Once you have looked for these objects go through the list again if you have a pair of binoculars handy, the views get better!

Meteor Showers
This post was a bit late for the Draconids, which peaked on October 8th. The peak was during our daylight hours and we (as far as I could see) didn’t get much of a show. I looked but saw maybe one that was a Draconid meteor. However, from what I’ve read Europe, Northern Africa, and the middle East got a pretty good show as it was dark for them during the peak hours of the meteor shower.

Orionid Meteor Shower peaks on the 21st and 22nd. With the peak you can expect to see as many as 20 fast although faint meteors per hour. This shower should be easier to spot than Draconids and Perseids since this shower will have a thin crescent moon that will rise in early morning. Orion will rise in the east around 11pm and that is when I would suggest to start looking for meteors, although they may be better as Orion is higher in the sky at 2am. Remember the darker the site for viewing the better your chances are of seeing them. I also suggest to bundle up since October is quite chilly.

The Moon
The moon will be full on the 11th, as with every full moon it rises at sunset and sets and sunrise.

On the 11th, and the 12th there will be a close encounter again between the moon and Jupiter. Around 8pm on the 11th you’ll see Jupiter just below the Moon. Throughout the night you will see Jupiter and the moon getting closer. On the 12th the two will be about a degree closer together.

The Last Quarter Moon is on the 19th which will be visible from midnight into the morning.

On the 21st and 22nd the Moon and Mars will be about 10° apart (a fist-width at arm’s length) with Mars above the Moon.

New Moon on the 26th.

Mars
Mars is still a morning object for this month rising around 2am. Before sunrise it will be about 45° above the horizon below Gemini and in Cancer.

Jupiter
Jupiter is rising just a little after sunset in the East and will be in the sky all night. In the West around sunrise. If you happen to have a pair of binoculars I suggest pointing them at Jupiter to check out some of it’s moons which change their position every day. The moons you can see are Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.

Lyra the Harp, Cygnus the Swan and Aquila the Eagle
Due to earlier dark hours this month these constellations still remain directly overhead after sunset, around 7:00pm. These three constellations contain 3 of the brightest stars in the summer sky which form what is called The Summer Triangle. The star Vega in Lyra, Deneb in Cygnus and Altair in Aquila. If you are in a really dark area you should be able to see the Milky Way passing through the constellations Cygnus and Aquila. Again, if you have a pair of binoculars and want to be wowed (even from a light polluted spot) look towards the Milky Way and look at all the stars that pop out at you.

Delphinus
If you have spotted The Summer Triangle, look to the left (East) of the star Altair to find a small kite shaped constellation called Delphinus, the Dolphin.

Pleiades
A great grouping of stars in the constellation of Taurus the Bull. Looking at it has always reminded me of a smaller version of the little dipper. In dark locations you can see anywhere from 5-7 and possibly a few more stars in this grouping. It has also been called the seven sisters and is actually a Messier object, number 45. These are very hot blue and extremely luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. This grouping of stars has quite a bit of history in mythology. It rises about 45 minutes earlier than Orion in the East.

Andromeda
Although it may be easier to view later in the night around midnight or later – The Andromeda Galaxy cataloged as M31 is visible to the naked eye in the northeast. The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest galaxy to the Milky Way lying about 2.5 million light-years away. If in a dark enough location the light produced by this galaxy is roughly the diameter of 5 moons in our sky.

Perseus
The Double Cluster, cataloged as NGC 869 and NGC 884 is a beautiful cluster that shows quite a group of stars with the naked eye. M34, which you may need to wait until around 11pm for it to be high enough to see is nearly a moon-diameter wide and is a fairly easy to see open cluster.
Look for a grouping of stars around the brightest star in Perseus, Mirphak.

Sagittarius
M8 is an open star cluster and nebula complex, also known as the Lagoon Nebula . Visible to the naked eye as a small hazy patch. Bright enough that it is visible even in suburbia. It may look small with the naked eye, but it is actually quite large nearly two moon diameters across. I’m not sure if any of the other objects are visible to the naked eye, although Sagittarius is a beautiful sight as it lays in the Milky Way.

Aquila
The Great Rift is a non-luminous dust cloud that can be seen splitting the Milky Way in two separate streams. It stretches from Aquila to the constellation Cygnus although it is more prominent in the constellation Aquila.

Hercules
Messier Object 13 (known as M13) is a globular cluster. It will have a small hazy glow to it. Hercules is getting lower in the sky so M13 may be difficult to spot through the haze of the atmosphere.

Cygnus
North America Nebula (NGC7000) – The unaided eye sees only a wedge-shaped star-cloud which may be quite dim, or not visible at all. In dark skies it should pop out a bit. Located near the star Deneb. M39 an open cluster patch of stars northeast of the star Deneb. The Northern Coalsack spans across the sky between the stars Deneb, Sadir, and Gienah in the northeastern portion of Cygnus. If you don’t know which stars of Sadir and Gienah just find Deneb with the map and look to the east northeast.

Ursa Major
Very low in the North at sunset and low at sunrise. Mizar and Alcor is a double star in the handle of the Big Dipper. Was once used as a test of good eyesight before glasses. Mizar resolves into a beautiful blue-white and greenish white binary (double star system). They are labeled on the map I linked to above.

Photo: The radiant of the Orionid Meteor Shower taken from the astronomy freeware Stellarium.

Michael Rector is an amateur astronomer with his own blog, Adirondack Astronomy.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ausable River Restoration Walk and Talk

Carl Schwartz, US Fish and Wildlife Service and John Braico, NYS Trout Unlimited will lead a walk of the Ausable River on October 24 focused on rebuilding and repairing streams effected by flooding. Funds recently secured by the Ausable River Association (AsRA) for restoring tributaries damaged during Irene flooding are being considered for allocation.

Both Schwartz and Braico have worked extensively throughout New York to repair rivers and restore aquatic habitat. Schwartz works actively on river restoration projects and operates an excavator to build natural channels.

The Ausable River Association and the Essex County Soil and Water Conservation District are inviting and encouraging Citizens, Town Council members, Town DPWs, County DPW, DOT, DEC, and NonGovernmental Organizations to attend.

Date: October 24, 10 AM; Meet at the mouth of John’s Brook at the Rt. 73 bridge in Keene Valley; 2 PM Meet at the Gazebo in Ausable Forks.

For more information, contact the Ausable River Association.


Friday, October 7, 2011

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights

On Friday afternoons Adirondack Almanack compiles for our readers a collection of the week’s top weblinks. You can find all our weekly web round-ups here.

Subscribe! More than 7,000 people get Adirondack Almanack each day via RSS, E-Mail, or Twitter or Facebook updates. It’s a convenient way to get the latest news and information about the Adirondacks.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Adirondack Events This Weekend (Oct 7)

Visit the Almanack on Fridays for links to what’s happening this weekend around the Adirondacks.

The Almanack also provides weekly backcountry conditions and hunting and fishing reports for those headed into the woods or onto the waters this weekend.

Region-wide Events This Weekend

Lake Placid Region Events This Weekend

Old Forge Area Events This Weekend


Friday, October 7, 2011

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories

Each Friday morning Adirondack Almanack compiles for our readers the previous week’s top stories. You can find all our weekly news round-ups here.

Subscribe! More than 7,000 people get Adirondack Almanack each day via RSS, E-Mail, or Twitter or Facebook updates. It’s a convenient way to get the latest news and information about the Adirondacks.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Adirondack Fish and Game Report (Oct 6)

Adirondack Almanack provides this weekly Hunting and Fishing Report each Thursday afternoon, year round. The Almanack also provides weekly backcountry recreation conditions reports for those headed into the woods or onto the waters.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** WATERS RUNNING ABOVE NORMAL
The level of the region’s rivers and streams remain above normal, except for those rivers on the western slopes of the Adirondacks such as the Beaver, Black, Independence, Oswagatchie, and West Canada Creek which are at normal levels for this time of year. Rivers east of West Canada Creek are running high. Low water crossings, even on smaller streams, may not be accessible. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

** WET AND MUDDY TRAILS
Due to recent rainfalls, trails have mud and/or puddles in many locations. Hikers are advised to wear appropriate footwear and to stay on the trail – hike through muddy areas and puddles to avoid widening the trails or creating “herd paths” around those areas. The rains have also raised the water levels of many streams. Low water crossings may not be accessible.

EXPECT COOLER WEATHER – SHORTER DAYS
Cooler temperatures have arrived in the mountains. Night-time and morning temperatures in the 30s or colder may be experienced, especially in higher elevations. Be prepared before entering the woods. Pack extra non-cotton clothes, including a hat, in addition to your usual equipment. Take off and put on layers of clothing to regulate body heat. Remember the sun sets earlier this time of year. Plan trips accordingly and carry a flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries.

** BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES
The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed with no current timetable for reopening (though it is likely to reopen next year). A few roads in the Hudson River Recreation area are open but have significant washouts and should only be accessed by 4-wheel drive and other high clearance vehicles, these include: River Road; Buttermilk Road north of the Town line; and Gay Pond Road before Campsite #13. The following roads or sections of roads remain closed to motor vehicles due to damage caused by Hurrican Irene, they are passable on foot: Buttermilk Road Extension north of the Gay Pond Road; Gay Pond Road past Campsite #13; and the access road to Darlings Ford Waterway Access Site. In the Moose River Plains all roads designated for public motor vehicle use are open and in good shape. The public should use caution as the road is also being used by log trucks to haul forest products from League Club property. The Otter Brook – Indian Lake Road is open to Squaw Lake which is the permanent termination point for motor vehicle usage in accordance with the approved Moose River Plains Complex Unit Management Plan. A temporary barrier has been placed just past the Squaw Lake Trailhead, a gate will be installed in the future. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

** NUISANCE BLACK BEARS
DEC has received complaints of nuisance bears getting into garbage and destroying bird feeds. Homeowners should take down all bird feeders and take steps to secure garbage to prevent problems with bears. New regulation prohibits feeding bears, people that leave out bird food, garbage, pet food and other substances that bears may feed upon can be ticketed after a warning.

** MOTORIST ALERT: WHITETAIL DEER
The peak period for deer-vehicle collisions is October through December, with the highest incidences occurring in November. This corresponds with the peak of the annual deer breeding cycle when deer are more active and less cautious in their movements. Approximately 65,000 deer-vehicle collisions occur throughout NYS each year and two-thirds of the annual collisions occur during this three month period. Most of the collisions occur between 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Motorists are advised that the best way to avoid a collision with a deer is to reduce speed and be alert for their presence on or near the highway.

** MOTORIST ALERT: MOOSE
There are upwards of 800 Moose in the Adirondack region, up from 500 in 2007. Motorists should be alert for moose on the roadways at this time of year especially at dawn and dusk, which are times of poor visibility when Moose are most active. Much larger than deer, moose-car collisions can be very dangerous. Last year ten accidents involving moose were reported. DEC is working to identify areas where moose are present and post warning signs.

** PHARAOH LAKE WILDERNESS VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
DEC is seeking volunteers to work on trails and trail infrastructure in the Pharoah Lake Wilderness. For more information or to volunteer, please contact DEC Senior Forester Tate Connor at 518-623-1278 or e-mail r5info@gw.dec.state.ny.us

** KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
Check the weather before entering the woods or heading onto the waters and be aware of weather conditions at all times. The National Weather Service (NWS) at Burlington and Albany cover the Adirondack region.

** Fire Danger: LOW

SECONDARY ROAD CLOSURES
Although State Route 73 and Route 9N have reopened, several secondary roads, particularly in Essex County, remain closed as well. Essex County is maintaining an updated list of road closures.

EXPECT BLOWDOWN
Tropical Storm Irene contributed considerable blowdown. Trees may be toppled on and over backcountry roads, trails and campsites.

** SOME CAMPGROUNDS NOW CLOSED
Fall camping is available through Columbus Day Weekend at 20 Adirondack DEC Campgrounds. A list of phone numbers for all campgrounds and their associated Regional Offices can be found online.

NEW SPORTSMEN LICENSE YEAR HAS BEGUN
The 2011-12 sportsmen license year began October 1. Find out how to purchase a sporting license on the DEC website. Information about the 2011 Sporting Seasons is also available online.

FIREWOOD BAN IN EFFECT
Due to the possibility of spreading invasive species that could devastate northern New York forests (such as Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Wooly Adeljid and Asian Longhorn Beetle), DEC prohibits moving untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source. Forest Rangers have been ticketing violators of the firewood ban. More details and frequently asked questions at the DEC website.

ADIRONDACK FISHING REPORTS

** Current Seasons
Open seasons include Trout (for one more week), Pike, Pickerel, Tiger Muskie, Walleye, Yellow Perch, Crappie, Sunfish, Muskellenge and Black Bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass). For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

** Salmon Running
Salmon are running in both the Saranac River and Boquet River. Thus far 54 salmon have been processed and released at the Willsboro Fish Ladder. Stream temperatures have been running in the lower 50’s but will change when warmer are temps arrive this weekend.

** Long Pond Brook Trout Restoration Project
The Adirondack Park Agency has issued a permit for Fisheries to reclaim Long Pond in the Lake George Wild Forest, Warren County. Expectations are to reclaim the pond during October to eliminate non-native fishes. The pond would be restocked with brook trout during the spring of 2012.

Brook Trout Waters Surveyed on Finch Lands
The recent land acquisition on Finch, Pruyn Lands in Hamilton County will help improve access to Barker Pond and Cranberry Pond in the Town of Indian Lake to the north of Lake Durant. The DEC’s Bureau of Fisheries staff hiked into both ponds in early July to evaluate the current brook trout population. The results indicated that both waters remain relatively unchanged from previous surveys conducted in the mid-1980s at Baker Pond and late 1990s in Cranberry Pond. Brook trout were abundant and in good health and brown bullhead were also present, but seemed less abundant than in the past. The stocking policies for Barker Pond and Cranberry Pond will remain unchanged, and road access will likely extend to within one-half mile of these ponds.

New Downtown Plattsburgh Boat Launch
The new Downtown Plattsburgh Boat Launch Site on was opened Thursday, September 15th. The opening ceremony was held in conjunction with the start of the Lake Champlain FLW Bass Fishing Tournament. The boat launch is located at 5 Dock Street on the shore of Lake Champlain just south of the mouth of the Saranac River. The $627,000 boat launch facility includes three launching and retrieval lanes. DEC designed the boat launch and oversaw its construction; the City of Plattsburgh is responsible for management and maintenance.

New Warren County Invasive Species Transport Law
The Warren County Board of Supervisors voted almost unanimously to pass an invasive species transport law following a public hearing. The law makes the introduction and transport of aquatic invasive species into Warren County waterbodies illegal. It is the first county law of its kind to pass in New York State. The law imposes a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 15 days in jail for violators. Some marina owners opposed the law; Chestertown Supervisor and Executive Director of the Local Government Review Board Fred Monroe was the only no vote.

Ausable and Boquet River Changes
Due to the recent Tropical Storm Irene anglers should be advised that there was significant debris washed into both the Ausable and Boquet Rivers. Anglers should be aware of new hazards underwater. Also some changes in the river course and topography may be present. New pools may formed where there was previously riffles and riffles may be found where there was previously pools.

West Lake Boat Launch
The West Lake Boat Launch in Fulton County is presently not suitable for launching of trailered boats. Storm runoff resulting from Irene deposited a large quantity of gravel in the area of the ramp. Car top boats can still be launched.

Champlain Lampry Control in Sept, Oct
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will be applying lampricide the delta complex at the mouths of the Little Ausable and Ausable rivers, and the Boquet River, Mount Hope Brook, and Putnam Creek in New York. The Poultney River, which borders both states, including its Hubbardton River tributary in Vermont, will also be treated. Treatments are scheduled to begin with the delta complex in New York on September 7th. Lake level and weather conditions may affect scheduling and could result in the last treatment extending into October. These treatments are part of the Cooperative’s long-term sea lamprey control program for Lake Champlain. While trout and salmon populations of the lake are the primary beneficiaries of these efforts, lake sturgeon, walleye, and many other species also profit from sea lamprey control. Temporary water use advisories will be in effect for each of the treatments to minimize human exposure to affected waters. Each state’s Department of Health recommends that the treated river and lake water not be used for drinking, swimming, fishing, irrigation, or livestock watering while the advisories are in effect. A toll-free number (888-596-0611) provides information on the treatment schedule for each of the treatments, progress reports, updates on treatments, and water use advisories.

Annual 2011 Coldwater Season Forecast
Stocking was late with high cold waters into early June. The prospects for catching holdover trout are low due to drought and high temperature episodes last summer. In particular, trout kills or stressed trout were reported in the main stem of the Ausable River near Ausable Forks, the Saranac River, the St. Regis River, and in the Batten Kill. Trout anglers should look to small streams and upland headwaters for wild brook or brown trout. Use drifting worms or salted minnows when streams are high and cold and focus on eddies or back waters where fish congregate to escape fast water. Brook trout pond fishing may still be viable as waters are still cold. Unlike the rivers, most area lakes and ponds provided good fishing last year with no reports of trout die offs.

Annual 2011 Warmwater Season Forecast
Adirondack waters include some of the most productive walleye fisheries in the state, including Tupper Lake, Union Falls Flow on the Saranac River, Saratoga Lake, Great Sacandaga Lake, and the Oswegatchie River. High quality pike waters include Tupper Lake, Schroon Lake, Lake George, the Saranac Lakes, Cranberry Lake, First through Fourth Lakes in the Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Upper Chateaugay and the St. Regis Chain of Lakes. A number of 20 lb+ pike have been caught on Great Sacandaga Lake in recent years. Look for tiger muskie in First through Fourth Lakes in the Fulton Chain, Horseshoe Lake and Hyde Lake. Pickerel hot spots include Lake George, Brant Lake, Saratoga Lake, Lake Champlain and the Black River. Look to Lake Champlain for Black Bass and Lake Champlain, Great Sacandaga Lake, and Brant Lake for crappie. Surface trolling for salmon and lake trout is a good bet on the larger lakes as the water warms up. A complete listing of 2011 warmwater fishing hotspots recommended by DEC biologists can be found online.

Hudson River Rogers Island Pool Boat Launch
The floating dock has not been installed Rogers Island Pool.

Lake Clear
The gate for the road to Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp is open, but due to the condition of the road until further notice it should only be used by pickup trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with high clearance. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.

Kings Bay Wildlife Management Area
The gate to access Catfish Bay has been closed. Road improvement work and logging to improve habitat are underway.

Use Baitfish Wisely
Anglers using fish for bait are reminded to be careful with how these fish are used and disposed of. Careless use of baitfish is one of the primary means by which non-native species and fish diseases are spread from water to water. Unused baitfish should be discarded in an appropriate location on dry land. A “Green List” of commercially available baitfish species that are approved for use in New York State has now been established in regulation. A discussion of these regulations and how to identify approved baitfish species is available online. Personal collection and use of baitfish other than those on the “Green List” is permitted, but only on the water from which they were collected and they may not be transported overland by motorized vehicle. Anglers are reminded that new regulations for transportation of baitfish are currently under consideration, and these proposed regulations can be viewed online.

Preventing Invasive Species and Fish Diseases
Anglers are reminded to be sure to dry or disinfect their fishing and boating equipment, including waders and boots, before entering a new body of water. This is the only way to prevent the spread of potentially damaging invasive plant and animal species (didymo and zebra mussels) and fish diseases (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) and whirling disease). Methods to clean and disinfect fishing gear can be found online.

Lake Champlain Anglers
Warmwater anglers on Lake Champlain are requested to report any catches of sauger to Emily Zollweg at the DEC Region 5 office in Warrensburg at (518) 623-1264. The status of sauger, a close relative of the walleye, has been unknown in the lake for a quite some time, until a single sauger was caught in a DEC survey last spring. Sauger can be distinguished from walleye by the three to four saddle-shaped dark brown blotches on their sides, the distinct black spots on the first dorsal (back) fin and the lack of a white tip on the lower lobe of the tail fin.

Health Advisories on Fish
The NYSDOH has issued the 2010-2011 advisories on eating sportfish and game. Some of fish and game contain chemicals at levels that may be harmful to human health. See the DEC webpage on Fish Health Advisories for more information and links to the Department of Health information.

ADIRONDACK HUNTING REPORTS

DEC 2011 Deer Hunting Forecasts Now Available
The DEC’s 2011 deer hunting season forecasts are now on their website. They include brief descriptions of the landscape and deer population trends within each Wildlife Management Unit.

** Some Small Game Seasons Open
A number of small game seasons are now open including: Grey, Black and Fox Squirrel, Crow, Snipe, Rail, Gallinule, Ruffed Grouse, Cottontail Rabbit, Pheasant, Woodcock, Coyote, and Varying Hare (Varying Hare in all Region 5 WMUs, except 5R, 5S & 5T where it opens December 12).

** Wild Turkey Season Open
The fall Turkey season opened October 1 in all Region 5 WMUs. The season closes October 21 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5R, 5S & 5T where the season closes November 18. See the DEC’s Turkey Hunting webpage for more information on rules, regulations, safety and hunting tips.

Upcoming Small Game Seasons
Bobcat season opens October 25 in all Region 5 WMUs, except 5R which does not have a season; and Fox, Raccoon, Skunk, Opossum and Weasel seasons open October 25. See the DEC Small Game webpage for more information on seasons and regulations.

** Canada Goose Hunting Seasons
Canada Goose hunting seasons in the Northeast Hunting Area are closed but will reopen between October 22 to December 5) and is also closed in the Lake Champlain Hunting Area (it will reopen there between October 20 to December 3). DEC Canada Goose hunting info is online. Note that the boundary between the Northeastern and the Southeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zones now runs east along Route 29 to Route 22, north along Route 22 to Route 153, east along Route 153 to the New York – Vermont boundary.

** Bear Season Open (WMUs 5A,5C,5F,5G,5H & 5J)
Early bear season opened September 17 and closes October 14; Bowhunting season opened September 27 and closes October 21; Muzzleloading season opens October 15 and closes October 21; Regular season opens October 22 and closes December 4. See the DEC’s Big Game webpage for more information on seasons and regulations.

** Pheasant Season Open
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released approximately 30,000 adult pheasants on lands open to public hunting. The pheasant hunting season began on October 1 in northern and eastern portions of New York. The pheasants were released on state-owned wildlife management areas and cooperative hunting areas open to public hunting at the following local locations: Westport, near the junction of Lake Shore and Clark roads on state land; Brownville at the Perch River Wildlife Management Area; Greenfield in Daketown State Forest; Chazy at the Lake Alice Wildlife Management Area; and in Canton at Upper and Lower Lakes Wildlife Management Area.

** Northern Zone Deer Seasons
Bowhunting season opened September 27 and closes October 21; Muzzleloading season opens October 15 and closes October 21; Regular season opens October 22 and closes December 4; Late Muzzleloading season opens December 5 and closes December 11 in Region 5 WMUs 5A, 5G and 5J. See the DEC’s Big Game webpage for more information on seasons and regulations.

** Waterfowl Seasons
In the Lake Champlain Waterfowl Hunting Zone Snow Goose season opened October 1 and closes December 29; Brant season opens October 12 and closes November 30; Duck seasons open October 12 and close October 16; then reopen October 29 and close December 22. In the Northeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zone Ducks season opened October 1 and closes October 10; then reopens October 22 and closes December 10; Snow Goose season opened October 1 and closes December 31, then reopens February 24 and closes April 15; Brant season opened October 1 and closes November 19. Note that the boundary between the Northeastern and the Southeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zones now runs east along Route 29 to Route 22, north along Route 22 to Route 153, east along Route 153 to the New York – Vermont boundary.

2011 Duck Season Outlook
Most duck populations in New York are doing well this year due to excellent habitat conditions across the continent for waterfowl nesting and brood-rearing. However, breeding populations of eastern mallards and wood ducks – the two most commonly harvested ducks in New York – were lower this spring than in 2009, and Atlantic Flyway biologists are concerned about a long-term decline in eastern mallards that became more apparent in recent years. Sixty-day duck seasons were approved by federal and state authorities for another year, but this situation will be closely monitored in the future. Bag limits for all duck species will be the same as in 2010-11 and can be seen at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28888.html.

2011 Goose Season Outlook
September Canada goose seasons have just ended, but hunters can look forward to another 45 days or more (depending on area) to pursue these popular game birds later this fall and winter. Resident geese remain abundant in many areas of the state, and migratory populations that pass through New York were estimated to be higher last spring. Hunters are reminded that Canada goose seasons are set for different geographic areas of the state than other waterfowl seasons; therefore maps should be closely reviewed. A special spring season for snow geese will continue for the fourth year in all of upstate New York. These birds have become so abundant that they are causing harm to wetland habitats throughout their range. Special spring seasons have been established in many eastern states and provinces to increase hunter harvest and help reduce this population. The daily limit for snow geese is 25 per day.

Migratory Bird Hunting Requirements
Hunters 16 or older must have a 2011 federal duck stamp to hunt during any of the 2011-2012 seasons. Federal duck stamps cost $15 and are available at most post offices and some sporting goods stores. They are also available by calling toll-free 1-800-852-4897 or at www.duckstamp.com. Stamps must be signed across the face by the hunter before they become valid, but they do not have to be attached to the hunting license. All migratory game bird (waterfowl, woodcock, snipe, rails and gallinules) hunters, including junior hunters (age 12-15), must register with New York’s Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) prior to hunting in any of the 2011-2012 seasons. Hunters must register every year and for each state in which they plan to hunt migratory game birds, and also must carry proof of compliance whenever going afield. To register in HIP, call toll-free 1-888-427-5447 (1-888-4 ASK HIP) or visit www.NY-HIP.com.

Waterfowl Consumption Advisory
The New York State Department of Health (DOH) periodically evaluates data on chemicals in wild waterfowl to ensure that hunter harvested birds can be eaten without concerns about adverse effects on human health. The current advisory states that “Mergansers are the most heavily contaminated waterfowl species and should not be eaten. Eat no more than two meals per month of other wild waterfowl; you should skin them and remove all fat before cooking, and discard stuffing after cooking. Wood ducks and Canada geese are less contaminated than other wild waterfowl species and diving ducks are more contaminated than dabbler ducks. The latest DOH advice on consumption of waterfowl and other game can be found online.

Junior Bowhunting Age Requirement Lowered
Recent legislation lowered the minimum age for youth hunters to purchase a Junior Bowhunting license for big game hunting from 14 to 12 years of age. See the Junior Hunter Mentoring Program for detailed information on youth hunting requirements.

Bowhunter Sighting Log
Bowhunters are invited to participate in DEC’s Bowhunter Sighting Log by keeping a diary of your bowhunting activity and the number of animals you see. This data helps DEC track deer and other wildlife populations (in deer season forecasts for example). To participate, e-mail fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us (include “Bowhunter Sighting Log” in the subject line) and provide your name, address, hunter ID (back tag number), a list of the counties where you hunt, and whether or not you have participated in New York’s bowhunter log in any previous year.

Upcoming Trapping Seasons
Fisher season opens October 25 and closes December 10 in all Region 5 WMUs; Marten season opens October 25 and closes December 10 in all Region 5 WMUs, except 5R, 5S & 5T where there is no trapping season; Bobcat season opens October 25 in all Regkion 5 WMUs except 5R where there is no trapping season; The season closes December 10 in all Region 5 WMUs, except 5S & 5T where it closes February 15; Mink and Muskrat season opens October 25 and closes April 15 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5R, 5S & 5T where it opens November 10 and closes April 7; Coyote, Red Fox, Gray Fox, Raccoon, Skunk, Opossum and Weasel season opens October 25 and closes February 15 in all Region 5 WMUS. The use of bait or lure is prohibited with body gripping traps set on land between December 11 and February 15 in all Region 5 WMUs, except in WMUs 5R, 5S & 5T. Otter season opens November 1 and closes April 7 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5S & 5T where it opens November 10 and closes February 28. There is no trapping season in 5R. Beaver season opens November 1 and closes April 7 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5R, 5S & 5T where it opens November 10 but still closes April 7.

——————–
Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park hunting, fishing, and trapping information can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The DEC Habitat/Access Stamp is available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Stamp proceeds support the DEC’s efforts to conserve habitat and increase public access for fish and wildlife related recreation. A Habitat/Access Stamp is not required to hunt, fish or trap, nor do you have to purchase a sporting license to buy a habitat stamp.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Oct. 6)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to sometimes drastic changes.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack also publishes a weekly Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** EXPECT HIGH USAGE THIS WEEKEND
Due to the combination of the Columbus Day and Canadian Thanksgiving Holidays this weekend, and expected good weather, visitors to the High Peaks Region should be aware that trailhead parking lots and interior campsites may reach capacity by Friday afternoon. Visitors should plan accordingly and are advised to seek backcountry recreation opportunities in other areas of the Adirondack Park. Suggestions for other places to visit can be found here.

** EASTERN ADIRONDACKS TRAIL ADVISORY
Just a few trails remain closed in both the Eastern High Peaks and the Dix Mountain Wildernesses due to significant blowdown, washed-out bridges and eroded and cobbled trails – see details below. Trails that are not closed still may have bridges washed out, eroded sections or flooded areas. Pay close attention as many trails have been rerouted to avoid heavily damaged sections and eroded drainages can be mistaken for trails. The ability to navigate with a map and compass is important. Plan accordingly and be prepared to turn back when conditions warrant. Hikers should be able to navigate by map and compass. Full coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene is available here.

** WATERS RUNNING ABOVE NORMAL
The level of the region’s rivers and streams remain above normal, except for those rivers on the western slopes of the Adirondacks such as the Beaver, Black, Independence, Oswagatchie, and West Canada Creek which are at normal levels for this time of year. Rivers east of West Canada Creek are running high. Low water crossings, even on smaller streams, may not be accessible. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.

** WET AND MUDDY TRAILS
Due to recent rainfalls, trails have mud and/or puddles in many locations. Hikers are advised to wear appropriate footwear and to stay on the trail – hike through muddy areas and puddles to avoid widening the trails or creating “herd paths” around those areas. The rains have also raised the water levels of many streams. Low water crossings may not be accessible.

EXPECT COOLER WEATHER – SHORTER DAYS
Cooler temperatures have arrived in the mountains. Night-time and morning temperatures in the 30s or colder may be experienced, especially in higher elevations. Be prepared before entering the woods. Pack extra non-cotton clothes, including a hat, in addition to your usual equipment. Take off and put on layers of clothing to regulate body heat. Remember the sun sets earlier this time of year. Plan trips accordingly and carry a flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries.

** NUISANCE BLACK BEARS
DEC has received complaints of nuisance bears getting into garbage and destroying bird feeds. Homeowners should take down all bird feeders and take steps to secure garbage to prevent problems with bears. New regulation prohibits feeding bears, people that leave out bird food, garbage, pet food and other substances that bears may feed upon can be ticketed after a warning. The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, and recommended throughout the Adirondacks, between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear-resistant canisters.

EXPECT BLOWDOWN
Although much of the blowdown has been cleared on the most heavily used trails, Tropical Storm Irene contributed considerable blowdown to the Eastern Adirondacks. Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites, especially in lesser used areas. Also expect blowdown in the Western High Peaks Wilderness and in the Sentinel and Seward Ranges. A hiker had to be rescued this summer from Mount Emmons in the Seward Range after losing his way while negotiating blowdown [LINK].

** MOTORIST ALERT: WHITETAIL DEER
The peak period for deer-vehicle collisions is October through December, with the highest incidences occurring in November. This corresponds with the peak of the annual deer breeding cycle when deer are more active and less cautious in their movements. Approximately 65,000 deer-vehicle collisions occur throughout NYS each year and two-thirds of the annual collisions occur during this three month period. Most of the collisions occur between 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Motorists are advised that the best way to avoid a collision with a deer is to reduce speed and be alert for their presence on or near the highway.

** MOTORIST ALERT: MOOSE
There are upwards of 800 Moose in the Adirondack region, up from 500 in 2007. Motorists should be alert for moose on the roadways at this time of year especially at dawn and dusk, which are times of poor visibility when Moose are most active. Much larger than deer, moose-car collisions can be very dangerous. Last year ten accidents involving moose were reported. DEC is working to identify areas where moose are present and post warning signs.

SOME CAMPGROUNDS NOW CLOSED
Fall camping is available through this Columbus Day Weekend at 20 Adirondack DEC Campgrounds. A list of phone numbers for all campgrounds and their associated Regional Offices can be found online.

** KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods. The National Weather Service (NWS) at Burlington and Albany cover the Adirondack region. NWS Burlington provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: LOW

ACCIDENTS HAPPEN, BE PREPARED
Wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry as conditions at higher elevations will likely be more severe. All users should bring flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

FIREWOOD BAN IN EFFECT
Due to the possibility of spreading invasive species that could devastate northern New York forests (such as Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Wooly Adeljid and Asian Longhorn Beetle), DEC prohibits moving untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source. Forest Rangers have been ticketing violators of the firewood ban. More details and frequently asked questions at the DEC website.

PRACTICE ‘LEAVE NO TRACE’
All backcountry users should learn and practice the Leave No Trace philosophy: Plan ahead and be prepared, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of others. More information is available online.

SOME HUNTING SEASONS OPEN
Hunting seasons have begun. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution. Adirondack Almanack issues weekly Adirondack Fish and Game Reports each Thursday evening for those practicing these traditional sports.

NEW YORK FOREST PHOTO CONTEST
In recognition of the importance of forests to the health and well being of society, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced a contest to celebrate New York’s forests. The contest is designed to increase awareness of and appreciation for all types of forests, urban and rural, large and small, public and privately owned, across the state. In the 19th century conservationists recognized the importance of nature as a refuge from the noise and bustle of city life. Modern technology has disconnected many people from the outdoors. Virtual pastimes now rival natural, outdoor activities. Taking and sharing pictures is one of the most popular activities in this country. Through this contest, New Yorkers are encouraged to reconnect with the natural world. Photos must be taken in New York State. Photos will be accepted through November 1, 2011. A maximum of three photos may be submitted by a photographer, each with a submission form found on the DEC website, via e-mail or on a CD via regular mail. You can read about the details here.

CAVE AND MINE CLOSURES
White nose syndrome, the fungal disease that’s wiping out bat populations across the northeast has spread to at least 32 cave and mine bat hibernation sites across the New York state according to a recent survey. Populations of some bat species are declining in these caves and mines by 90 percent. White nose was first discovered in upstate New York in the winter of 2006-2007 and is now confirmed in at least 11 states. An order closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population expired on March 31. DEC is reconsidering whether continuing the closing to protect the bat population is warranted. At this time it’s best to stay out of caves that may contain bats.

ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS BY REGION

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

Northville Placid Trail Information / Volunteers: The Northville-Placid Trail Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club maintains a website of resources and information about the trail. ADK is seeking volunteers to help with blowdown removal using crosscut saws, hand saws and axes. Anyone interested in future work events should contact Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at wiltseb@gmail.com or 518-429-0049.

Blowdown Update: blowdown has now been removed from the NPTrail with the exception of West Canada Creek north to Sucker Brook Trail and from Tarbell Rd. trailhead north to Shattuck Clearing. Those areas still have some major blowdowns but are passable. The rest of the trail may have a few blowdowns but in general are clear with the exception of wet and muddy areas.

Ouluska Pass and Duck Hole Breech: The Ouluska Pass Brook bridge is damaged and unusable. Hikers will have to ford across the Brook. The Ouluska Pass lean-to experienced some foundation damage following the Duck Hole Dam breach. The other lean-tos along the Cold River escaped damage as did the suspension bridges over the Cold River and Moose Creek.

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers and may be impossible this weekend. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Upper Benson to Whitehouse: About 1.8 miles north of the Silver Lake lean-to and just south of the Canary Pond tent camping area, the trail will likely be flooded as it is during periods of high water and may require wading through water and mud.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Chick-a-dee Creek in the middle of a former lumber camp clearing. The Creek is 4 to 5 feet deep and 6 feet across. It may be possible to cross on the remains of the bridge in low water situations. The alternative is a reroute to the east that also may be flooded in spots.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Waters are running high. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters. Expect eroded trails and blowdown on carries.

HIGH PEAKS – LAKE PLACID REGION
Including, Wilmington, Keene, Western High Peaks

** All trails in the Eastern High Peaks are clear of blowdown unless otherwise stated below. A DEC Map (PDF, 497 kb) depicts closed, open and cleared trails as of 9/28).

Marcy Dam Footbridge Reroute: The footbridge over Marcy Dam was washed away. A reroute has been created to low water crossing below the dam. The crossing involves hopping from rock to rock to cross Marcy Brook. Hikers concerned about “rock hopping” can use the Marcy Truck Trail from South Meadows Trailhead to access the Mt. Van Hovenburgh to Mt. Marcy and other trails beyond Marcy Dam. Also the crossing may not be passable during high water. Tom Martin, regional forester for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, has told the Adirondack Explorer‘s Phil Brown that the state will either rebuild the bridge over Marcy Dam at the dam site itself, or nearby. The project is not expected to begin before winter.

Closed Adirondack Mountain Reserve Trails: Trails in or accessed from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve that remain closed include the first (northernmost) two cross over trails between the East River Trail and the West River Trail. The other three cross over trails and bridges are open and must be used to travel between the East River and West River Trails. Also closed are the Carry Trail, the trials from Warden’s Camp to the Sawteeth Trail and to the Haystack Trail, and the Haystack Brook Trail.

Deer Brook Trail: The Deer Brook Trail from Route 73 remains closed.

Johns Brook Valley: The Southside Trail from the Garden Trailhead to John’s Brook Outpost remains closed due to landslides. Due to the significant erosion caused by Ore Bed Brook the Ore Bed Brook Trail from John’s Brook Valley to the Range Trail (between Saddleback and Gothics) is open but may not be recognizable. Pay close attention to trail markers and watch for reroutes.

Cold Brook Trail: The Cold Brook Pass Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass remains closed.

** Elk Lake – Panther Gorge Trail: The Elk Lake to Marcy Trail via Panther Gorge is now open, though mild blowdown remains on the trail through Panther Gorge.

** East River Trail: The bridge over the Hudson River on the East River Trail to Mt Adams and Allen Mountain remains out, use the flagged low water crossing.

** East River/ Hanging Spear Falls Trail: The East River Trail/Hanging Spear Falls Trail is clear of blowdown and open from end to end. A 1/3 mile reroute near the campsite, just north of the state land boundary line is complete.

Klondike Trail: The bridge near South Meadow Road on the Klondike Trail is out. The Mr. Van Trail and the Marcy Truck Trail will need to be used as a detour to reach South Meadow Road. The Mr. Van Trail is clear of blowdown between the lean-to and the Klondike Notch Trail, however there are a number of bridges out.

Trails And Blowdown: The Mount VanHovenberg Trail contains blowdown. There is heavy blowdown on the trail between Feldspar Lean-to and Lake Arnold. The southern trail to Rooster Comb may contain blowdown. The Snowy Mountain to Rooster Comb may contain blowdown. The trail over Lower Wolfjaw Mountain between the two trail junctions contains blowdown. The Indian Pass Trail contains blowdown between the Wall Face Bridge and the Henderson Bridg; the Wall Face Bridge is out and the Henderson Bridge is damaged. The Scott and Wallface Ponds Trail may contain blowdown. The Lake Colden to Algonquin Mountain Trail may contain blowdown. The Avalanche Pass Trail to Lake Colden may contain blowdown. The Lake Colden Eastside and Westside Trails may contain blowdown. The trail between Feldspar Lean-to and the Four Corners may contain blowdown. The Trail to Allen Mountain is passable but has some blowdown. The Rooster Comb Trail has two clusters of blowdown within the first mile, but it is passable.

Indian Pass: The Indian Pass Trail is clear of blowdown to the Wall Face Bridge, but the Wall Face Bridge is out and the Henderson Bridge is damaged. All bridges encountered on the Indian Pass Trail from Upper Works are gone, the trail has been rerouted to low water crossing in many locations.

** Duck Hole: The Roaring Brook Bridge near Duck Hole is out. One side of the Duck Hole Dam has washed away and the pond has dewatered. The bridge over the dam had been previously removed due to its deteriorating condition. A low water crossing (ford) has been marked below the dam near the lean-to site. This crossing will not be possible during periods of high water. Note: This affects the Bradley Pond Trail and not the Northville Placid Trail.

Calkins Creek Horse Trail: The Calkins Creek Horse Trail has two bridges out, making it impassable for horse drawn wagons and difficult for horses.

Dix Mountain Wilderness: The Dix Mountain Wilderness is open to public recreation however some trails remain closed. The main Adirondack Mountain Reserve Trailhead at the Ausable Club is open. All trails in the Dix Mountain Wilderness are open and clear of blowdown except the following: The Carry Trail from Adirondack Mountain Reserve to the Colvin Range Trail remains closed. The Colvin Range Trail from the summit Blake Peak south to Pinnacle and beyond. The the Indian Head, Fish Hawk Cliffs and Lake Road to Blake Peak Trails are open. The Hunter Pass Trail has a small slide approximately 1 mile below the junction with the Round Pond to Dix Mountain Trail. The Round Mountain Loop Trail has some minor erosion.

Giant Mountain Wilderness: The Giant Mountain Wilderness is open to public recreation. The Roaring Brook Trail is clear of blowdown. The Ridge Trail is clear of blowdown and the bridge near the Giant Washbowl has been extended. The Roaring Brook Falls Trailhead is open though some DOT equipment remains on site. The North Trail to Giant Mountain from 9N is clear of blowdown up to the lean-to and drainages have been cleared of snags that were diverting water across the trail. Beaver activity has flooded the trail past the lean-to.

Hurricane Mountain Wilderness: The Jay Mountain Road between Jay Mountain Wilderness and the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness is closed. The Hurricane Mountain Road is closed except for local traffic, therefore The Crows Trailhead and O’Toole Road Trailhead are closed at this time. Hurricane Mountain may be accessed from the Route 9N trailhead or the Hurricane Mountain Lane trailhead. The bottom third of the East Hurricane Mountain Trail from Hurricane Mountain Lane has some minor wash but is easily passable. The middle third of the trail has blowdown but hikers can scramble through most of it. Only two places required minor bushwack. The top of the trail had only minor debris on the trail.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Blowdown remains the McKenzie Mountain Trail above the intersection with the Jack Rabbit trail. The Connery Pond Roadway suffered some minor erosion, but it is passable. Connery Pond Truck Trail is in good shape with minor erosion and minor scattered blowdown. Hikers accessing Whiteface Landing should park at the newly developed and paved parking area along Route 86 immediately west of the bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable. A trail connects the parking area and Connery Pond Road.

** Wilmington Wild Forest / Flume Trail System: The Flume Parking Area adjacent to the Route 86 bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable River will be closed until October 7 while the Town of Wilmington repairs and upgrades the parking area. The River Trail at the Flume is still washed out and impassable due to debris deposited there by the Ausable River. The 0.2 mile trail reroute on the Wilmington Trail up Whiteface Mountain has been created to bypass a large washout. The bridge at the Wilmington Reservoir is shored up and safe for use.

SOUTHERN-CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS
West Canada Lakes, Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Speculator, Indian Lake

Black River Wild Forest: The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed with no current timetable for reopening (though it is likely to reopen next year).

Blue Mountain Wild Forest: Hikers report moderate blowdown between Lake Durant and Long Lake on the Northville-Placid Trail.

** Moose River Plains: All roads designated for public motor vehicle use are open and in good shape. The public should use caution as the road is also being used by log trucks to haul forest products from League Club property. The Otter Brook – Indian Lake Road is open to Squaw Lake which is the permanent termination point for motor vehicle usage in accordance with the approved Moose River Plains Complex Unit Management Plan. A temporary barrier has been placed just past the Squaw Lake Trailhead, a gate will be installed in the future. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.

Sargent Ponds Wild Forest: The Outlet Bay Lean-to on Raquette Lake is damaged and in poor condition from a tree fallen on its roof.

Silver Lake Wilderness: There is heavy blowdown on the Northville Placid Trail between Benson and Silver Lake.

West Canada Lakes: Two through hikers on the Northvillle Placid Trail report plenty of blowdown north of Spruce Lake and also from Stephens Pond to Lake Durant.

West Canada Creek: The bridge over West Canada Creek on the Northville-Placid Trail was washed away this spring. The 45 foot span bridge had replaced one that was lost in 2001. Crossing West Canada Creek now requires very careful crossing that may be intimidating to some hikers. Bridge replacement is expected to begin this fall and be completed in summer, 2012.

Wolf Lake: The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles.

EASTERN-SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS
The Hudson, Schroon, Lake George, Champlain, Sacandaga, Washington Co

New Warren County Invasive Species Transport Law: The Warren County Board of Supervisors voted almost unanimously to pass an invasive species transport law following a public hearing. The law makes the introduction and transport of aquatic invasive species into Warren County waterbodies illegal. It is the first county law of its kind to pass in New York State. The law imposes a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 15 days in jail for violators. Some marina owners opposed the law; Chestertown Supervisor and Executive Director of the Local Government Review Board Fred Monroe was the only no vote.

New Downtown Plattsburgh Boat Launch: The new Downtown Plattsburgh Boat Launch Site on was opened Thursday, September 15th. The opening ceremony was held in conjunction with the start of the Lake Champlain FLW Bass Fishing Tournament. The boat launch is located at 5 Dock Street on the shore of Lake Champlain just south of the mouth of the Saranac River. The $627,000 boat launch facility includes three launching and retrieval lanes. DEC designed the boat launch and oversaw its construction; the City of Plattsburgh is responsible for management and maintenance.

Eastern Lake George Wild Forest: Dacy Clearing Road and the Dacy Clearing Parking Area are now open to motor vehicle traffic. A snowmobile bridge near Black Mountain has been washed out. There are a few blowdown trees on the trail between Dacy Clearing and Bumps Pond. There are a few blowdown trees on the trail to Sleeping Beauty Mountain. Most trailheads along the main roads in Washington County are accessible. The Shelving Rock Road/Inman Pond area has minor road washouts. Pike Brook Road is closed but Black Mountain Trailhead is still accessible from County Rt. 6; the trailhead parking lot is clear of trees.

** Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Challis Pond Trail, off the Ensign Pond Road), has 5 large pine trees down in first portion of trail. The Lindsey Brook Trail remains closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: The Hoffman Notch Trail is clear of blowdown its complete length from the Loch Muller Trailhead to the Boreas Road Trailhead. Half of the Big Pond Trail is cleared of blowdown starting at the junction of the Hoffman Notch Trail and from the Big Pond Trailhead to the north end of Big Pond. The trail to Bailey Pond is clear of blowdown.

** Hudson Gorge Primitive Area: Water levels are higher than usual for this time of year (see High Waters Warning above).

** Hudson River Recreation Area: A few roads in the Hudson River Recreation area are open but have significant washouts and should only be accessed by 4-wheel drive and other high clearance vehicles, these include: River Road; Buttermilk Road north of the Town line; and Gay Pond Road before Campsite #13. The following roads or sections of roads remain closed to motor vehicles due to damage caused by Hurrican Irene, they are passable on foot: Buttermilk Road Extension north of the Gay Pond Road; Gay Pond Road past Campsite #13; and the access road to Darlings Ford Waterway Access Site.

** Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Volunteers Needed: DEC is seeking volunteers to work on trails and trail infrastructure in the Pharoah Lake Wilderness. For more information or to volunteer, please contact DEC Senior Forester Tate Connor at 518-623-1278 or e-mail r5info@gw.dec.state.ny.us

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: Blowdown is minimal on the Spectacle Pond Trail and all bridges are intact. The Gull Pond Trail is clear of blowdown. The Pharaoh Mountain Trail from Crane Pond is clear of blowdown. The bridge over Mud Pond Outlet between Putnam Pond and Treadway Mountain Trail has been washed down stream. It is possible to cross the stream in spots without the bridge. The Treadway Mountain Trail is clear of blowdown. The Pharaoh Mountain Trail from Pharaoh Lake and from Crane Pond both have light blowdown. The trails along the northern and western sides of Pharaoh Lake (the two trails between the Lake and Glidden Marsh) have extensive blowdown in the sections along the lake. The Rock Pond Trail has moderate blowdown but is passable. The Crab Pond to Lilypad Pond Trail has moderate blowdown. The Springhill Pond Trail has extensive, large-sized blowdown along the entire length from parking area on West Hague Road to Pharaoh Lake. The Goose Pond Trail is in fair condition. The Bear Pond Trail has extensive blowdown but is passable. The Berrymill Pond Trail (from Putnam Pond) is fine with minimal blowdown. The Grizzle Ocean Trail is clear to southern end of Putnam Pond. The Clear Pond Trail is clear of blowdown. The Rock Pond to Lillypad Pond Trail has moderate blowdown. The Glidden Marsh Trail has mild blowdown but the downed trees are large. The Blue Hill Trail has larger sized blowdown (greater than 2 feet diameter)and some minor trail washout from streams jumping banks. The trail is very wet with flooding in some areas deeper than the top of hiking boots. All bridges are in fine condition. The Sucker Brook Horse Trail contains extensive blowdown and is need of brushing out. The Oxshoe Pond Trail is clear of blowdown. Mill Brook is flooded 100 yards up Beaver Brook Road; water is 2 feet over the road and old parking lot. The Mill Brook Bridge on the Pharaoh Road Trail is out and currently floating downstream from far abutment. The crossing on beaver debris at bridge site is 3 feet deep and the Mill Brook Bog Bridging has shifted more than 4 feet and is floating in spots. The bridge is out over Pharaoh Lake Brook halfway in to lake. Beaver dam upstream from bridge is breached and dewatering the pond behind it. DO NOT attempt to cross the stream as the water volume is too high. The Putnam Pond Campground Access Road is washed out. This road provides vehicle access trailheads for Berrymill Pond, Grizzle Ocean, and Rock Pond. The bridge at Pharaoh Lake Outlet is intact. All bridges on the Spectacle Pond Trail are intact and the trail is passable.

Santanoni Historic Preserve: The trail around Newcomb Lake is clear of blowdown on its full length. The road to Great Camp Santanoni and Newcomb Lake is clear and open for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

** Siamese Ponds Wilderness: The Long Pond Trail from Cisco Brook Trailhead to Long Pond has moderate blowdown – travel will be slower. The East Branch Sacandaga Trail from Old Farm Clearing to Cross Brook is clear of blowdown. The Peaked Mountain Trail is clear of blowdown from the Thirteenth Lake Trailhead to the beaver pond below Peaked Mountain Pond. There is blowdown on the trail from the beaver pond to the summit of Peaked Mountain. The Siamese Ponds Trail between Sacandaga Lean-to and the Siamese Ponds is passable but has moderate blowdown. Botheration Pond Loop from Old Farm Trailhead has a moderate amount blowdown that will slow travel. The East Branch Sacandaga Trail from Eleventh Mountain Trailhead to Siamese Ponds has significant blowdown but is passable. The bog bridging north of Diamond Brook Bridge, however, sustained damage.

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: The Oregon Trail has minor blowdown between Baldwin Springs and North Bend, the North Bend Bridge is flooded but intact. The Spur Trail between West Stony Creek Road and Baldwin Springs has extensive blowdown. The Cotter Swamp Trail, Griffin Connector Trail and Crane Mountain Trails are passable with minor blowdown. The Hadley Mountain Trail has been cleared of blowdown. There is substantial blowdown on the Stony Creek Trail to Wilcox Lake beyond that to the east Stony Creek bridge; blowdown continues up the trail to Wilcox Lake. The lean-tos and both bridges are in good shape. Mud Pond Road has been cleared of trees to the Mud Pond Trail Head, due to washouts it is recommended that it be used by trucks only. West Stoney Creek Road is open to Baldwin Spring and the bridge at Baldwin Springs is intact. Harrisburg Road is open for motor vehicles to the Arrow Trail, however there are trees on powerlines. There are multiple trees down on the Pumpkin Hollow Road at the Wilcox Lake Trailhead preventing access to the Wilcox Lake Trail, the Murphy Lake Trail and the Pine Orchard Trail. The bridge over a small stream just north of Fish Ponds on the Bartman Trail is out. The bridge over Georgia Creek on the Cotter Brook Trail is under water due to beaver activity as is the Pine Orchard Trail .5 mile south of Pine Orchard. The Dayton Creek bridge is out on the trail from Brownell Camp (at the end of Hope Falls Road) to Wilcox Lake. During low water conditions crossing can be made by rock hopping. The Murphy Lake Trail is brushy and difficult to follow along the east shore of the lake from the lean-to to the outlet and is also flooded at the north end of Murphy Lake.

NORTHERN-NORTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS
Santa Clara, Tupper and Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila

Lake Champlain Islands: All trails and campsites on Valcour Island are clear of blowdown and open for use. Water levels are higher than usual for this time of year. Poke-O-Moonshine day use area has significant damage from blowdown. The docks at the Peru Dock Boat Launch were damaged but are still usable, the pump station remains closed.

Lyon Mountain – Chazy Highlands Wild Forest: The re-route of the top section of the Lyon Mountain Trail is complete and the trail is clearly signed and marked. Hikers should use the new trail and avoid the old trail which is not maintained and is in poor condition due to erosion.

Poke-O-Moonshine: The hiking trails to the summit of Pok-o-Moonshine Mountain (the ranger trail from camp ground and Jeep Trail) are both open and usable. There is quite a lot of blowdown on the Ranger Trail but it is passable. The Jeep Trail has less blow down but the bridge approach, while usable, is muddy. The Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower is closed for the season.

Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The Barnes Pond Public Use Area assessment of the campsites has been completed. Campsites #1-3 on the Barnes Pond Road are available for use, however the privy on campsite #2 remains knocked over. DEC crews will right and reset the privy in the near future. Campsites #4-6 on the Barnes Pond Road are currently inaccessible due to a road washout. Access to these sites will not be reopened until road repairs can be made and the road beyond the washout is assessed for storm damage and cleared of blowdown. The three furthest campsites along the True Brook Road are inaccessible due to poor road conditions

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The Deer Loop Trail is mostly clear of blowdown; the section between Route 30 and the bridge. The trail at Whiteface Landing is clear of blowdown and the register has been replaced.

Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest: Access to the Split Rock area can be difficult for people unfamiliar with area roads due to the numerous closings. Trails are open and usable with some blowdown.

** Taylor Pond Wild Forest: Access to Catamount Mountain is not possible; a road is washed out 1 mile from trailhead. Forestdale Road has been closed by the Town of Black Brook. In Terry Mountain State Forest both the Red Road and the Tower Road have been repaired and are open to public motor vehicle use.

St. Regis Canoe Area: A section of the canoe carry about half way between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers. This will required a short paddle across the beaver pond. Significant work on campsites in the Canoe Area was conducted last year. A new webpage has been created to provide information including maps and recreational opportunities.

Norton Peak Cave / Chateuagay Woodlands Conservation Easement Lands: Norton Peak Cave has been reopened to the public following the expiration of the cave closing order on March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. DEC is considering whether to close all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easements to protect the bat population. It’s best to stay out of caves at this time.

——————–
Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation and trail conditions can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The DEC Trails Supporter Patch is available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Online Snowmobile Trails Map Available

The New York State Snomobile Association (NYSSA) has partnered with JIMAPCO, makers of road maps and mapping software, to provide snowmobilers with an online snowmobile trail guide. The online map was derived from the trail information provided by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The map includes all corridor and secondary trails funded through the NYS Snowmobile Trail Fund that have been mapped by GPS so far. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rebuilding Trails After Hurricane Irene

Trail work calls many a climber but with life getting in the way it’s only a lucky few who actually get to enjoy this dream job. One needs time and energy to spare to fully enjoy climbing a peak all the while trimming, chopping, and tossing. For us stalwarts, trail work is a kind of luxury. Year after year we observe the effects of weather and people on the mountains while marveling at the ever evolving beauty of wild flowers and other vegetation as our slow pace allows us to monitor the progress of spring and fall.

Sometimes we get too close to a branch and drop blood on the trail, or suddenly become a delicious buffet for a hive of Yellow Jackets. Gushing head wounds are the best as patient and caregiver take a break from the trail to partake in murder mystery and general hospital all in one. Obviously the audience is limited but one day when retiring from trail work we will be more than ready for the big screen.

Repellent works nicely thank you against black flies and by the time deer and horse flies abound summer has arrived and trail work pauses. Anyway, we have to admit that but for a handful of spring days black flies do not harass volunteer trail workers since they much prefer “fresh” peak baggers!

Let’s mention the invaluable fringe benefits of a tree hugging job: mud caking, soaking dew showers, balsam needles coating, pitch smears, spruce scratches: all combined to keep one forever young and cute.

There are countless ways to participate in trail work depending on one’s availability. It’s all under DEC governance and rules but mostly via the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), Adirondack Trail Improvement Society (ATIS) and the 46ers. Volunteers can either register for one or several of the trail days organized every year by the ADK and the 46ers or become the steward of a particular section of trail, an agreement renewed on a yearly basis. Being a steward is more of a commitment but it gives the adopter schedule flexibility.

Luckily, as there is much more to do than volunteers can undertake, the DEC, ATIS and ADK have professional trail crews in the field every year for a certain number of weeks depending on projects and funding.

Tony Goodwin has been Director of ATIS (founded in 1897) for 25 years and never lacks for things to be done. As he is known to utter, “Trail work is never done”. In his capacity he takes care of 105 miles of public trails and walks most of them once every year! At the ADK (founded in 1922), from early spring to late fall, Wes Lampman, Director of Field Programs, does not have a minute to himself either. The ADK oversees close to 200 miles of trails.

As for the 46Rs (founded in 1948) volunteers clear 36 miles of trail every year. The toughest job for volunteers is no doubt adopting a herd path as some have been doing since 2004. The relatively high turnover in stewards testifies to the mental and physical fortitude it takes to actually do herd path maintenance. Most herd paths are far from trailheads and often consist of roots, mud and steep ledges galore. One volunteer in particular, Matt Clark, deserves our admiration for his unfailing commitment (8 years and counting) to the Redfield path.

Then the occasional hurricane re-routes trails and brooks not always for the best. Following Irene’s furry, the DEC sent a large and experienced trail crew composed from the various neighboring regions staff to clear trails during most of September allowing the re-opening of the High Peaks in record time.

As a result of Irene’s massive destruction, many a brook and a river found themselves occupied by heavy machinery trying to restore the past in an attempt to temper future flooding. The resulting uniform landscape seen from every bridge is not getting a round of applause and the jury is still out on the efficiency of the work. Below is a picture (A) of the new and improved Roaring Brook bed (New Russia side of the Giant Wilderness) as it goes under Route 9 to enter the Boquet. Photo B shows the same brook 20 yards upstream from the brook work where a house partially collapsed during the tropical storm. Photos C and D are views of the same brook 100 yards upstream!

Irene did have one positive impact. The Orebed Trail ladders had been in need of extensive repairs for years until finally thanks to Kris A. Alberga, District Forester (DEC), Wes Lampman (ADK), Ranger Jim Giglinto and a few generous climbers, rebuilding began in mid-August. The work progressed until Irene decided to take control of the situation. The newly built ladders (E) resisted Irene’s onslaught but the environment was drastically re-organized (F). Consequently, upon close inspection, Ranger Giglinto determined that the new gentle and stair-like slide above would make for an easy enough climb without any further manmade assistance. Unused funds earmarked for this work will be available for other projects.

The numerous bridges and dams which were crushed or pushed aside may make fall and winter travel tougher than usual as it will take time (and money) to re-position and rebuild them (if at all in certain cases). Duck Hole (photos G & H) will no doubt be an ongoing story for months if not years as the debate will rage about the pros and cons of rebuilding the historic dam. However, there seems to be a consensus about the urgency of rebuilding Marcy Dam.

In the meantime, we wish you and ourselves many more years of trail work and all joys and rewards that come with it. Photos (I & J) show Gary Koch and Pete Biesemeyer doing just that along the Upper Range Trail this past spring. Pete has been doing trail work every year since 1954 while Gary adopted his first lean-to in 1986 and became a trail steward in 1989. Both would easily convince any passer-by they are not a day over seventeen!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Philosophy: Protest Poems and Adirondack Light

The first thing I noticed was how the light fidgeting on the water moved, like jazz. Usually, autumn Adirondack mornings have more of a classical come-on, in a way that brings Walt Whitman to mind with his longing recollections of halcyon seasons enough to conjure this jigsaw of ochre and red around the pond and up the mountains; this deep and satisfying breeze whispering shhhhhh.

Yet, this morning something about the landscape looked like Carl Sandburg’s poems feel when read aloud. Sandburg, with his 1916 Chicago cadence was on the wind making oozing trombones of those same trees, going husha-husha-hush. A subtle difference sure, but still enough to make me wonder at it.

In a while I cracked on NCPR and let the world into my wood stove morning to shouts of “we are the 99 percent!” I listened, still looking out at the unsettled light and wondered at a world where a protest hundreds of miles away could change the rhythm of this morning, deep in the northern forest. Sandburg, indeed.

How many times have I read aloud in the voice of the “workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world’s food and clothes?” With a soft slam down in emphasis right at the beginning as the subject reveals herself boldly, as if stepping out from the same morass of humanity now gathering on Wall Street “I am the people–the mob–the crowd–the mass.”

Further on gaining momentum in a kind of surrender with the repeated act of forgetting:

I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand
for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me.
I forget. The best of me is sucked out and wasted.
I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and
makes me work and give up what I have. And I forget.
Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red
drops for history to remember. Then–I forget.

Then beyond forgetting, lifting the emphasis and re-placing it on a new narrative of resistance:

When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the
People, use the lessons of yesterday and no longer
forget who robbed me last year, who played me for
a fool–then there will be no speaker in all the world
say the name: “The People,” with any fleck of a
sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision.
The mob–the crowd–the mass–will arrive then.

In the lull between radio reports I realized that I had been quietly reciting this poem to the morning, keeping time with the rat-a-tat-tat of light off the pond and the staccato chanting of protesters. Sometime later, this morning’s tempo eased back into the familiar cadence of Whitman making sense of how each of these stories across hundreds of miles are one:

On solid land what is done in cities as the bells strike midnight together,
In primitive woods the sounds there also sounding

Photo of Carl Sandburg is in the public domain.

Quoting from Carl Sandburg’s I Am The People The Mob and Walt Whitman’s Our Old Feullage

Marianne is a philosopher living, writing and teaching in the Adirondack Park.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: CB’s Spirits, Warrensburg

If it’s friendly staff, loquacious patrons and reasonable prices you’re looking for, CB’s Spirits on River Street may be just the place when you’re in Warrensburg. The two-story frame building of unknown age sits unpretentiously on the edge of the Schroon River. It’s not all about the ambiance here, but basic comforts prevail and the clientele are welcoming.

We weren’t strangers to a few of the customers and were acquainted with Sue, bartender and sister of owner Chuck Bederian. Though the atmosphere in the tavern is no frills, no fuss, we were impressed by the upscale attire and professionalism of the bartender. Maybe you’ll catch Sue sporting our Happy Hour in the High Peaks hat on “casual” days.

Warrensburg’s World’s Largest Garage Sale had just about reached its cold, rainy conclusion and we were ready for a drink. We joined the ten or twelve people already seated at the bar. No draft beer, but Kim ordered a Michelob Ultra from the modest selection of mostly domestic bottled beers while Pam tried to figure out what to have. Pear vodka was suggested and Sue and Pam brainstormed, settling finally on the pear vodka, cranberry juice, and 7-Up.

CB’s is a true local bar, though it didn’t take long before we felt like locals ourselves. Oh yeah, we are locals ourselves! Kim was soon immersed in conversation with Gordon, a regular who claims he’s here every day. His wife Cathy joined in as they tried to trace the history of CB’s. Known previously as the Wayside Inn (at least as far back as 1965), we learned very little but were encouraged to contact “Antique Bill”, a gentleman in town who apparently knows everything about every bar that’s ever been in the area. Armed with his phone number, references, and cautionary advice from Gordon and Cathy, we look forward to meeting him. Pam met and interviewed a man who is new in town, there temporarily on a construction job for a few months, who claims that the bartender is “the most fun ever” and that he has felt welcome at CB’s since day one. Partial to their hamburgers with bakery fresh rolls, he gets his lunch there daily and visits often after work. The tavern serves a simple menu of pizza, burgers and sandwiches at very reasonable prices. The special listed on the blackboard that day was the Chickentender Sandwich with lettuce, tomato and chips for $5. Not a bad deal.

As is her custom, Pam stepped out to survey the grounds. A bulletin board outside posted several upcoming local music and biker-related events. The handwritten list of October birthdays for CB’s regulars and staff was a nice personal touch. A picnic table offers seating outside by the Schroon River, with a nice view of the new Milton Avenue Bridge and the serenity of flowing water.

The bar seats up to 16 with two booths and a pub table in the main room. A smaller adjacent room has three regular size booths and two over-sized booths for additional seating when needed. Quick Draw is available at CB’s and a lottery ticket vending machine entices a little game of chance. Darts, a pool table, and Big Buck hunting games are also on hand for games of skill. Open 365 days a year with no black out dates, the hours are generally Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until midnight or later, and opening on Sunday at noon. Happy Hour is offered Monday through Friday and during Sunday football games with several drink specials. CB’s occasionally features live music, but not on any fixed schedule. The sale of raffle tickets to benefit local cheerleaders is evidence of the establishment’s community involvement.

There’s something difficult about trying to review a bar in one’s own hometown. Preferences, prejudices and habits stand in the way of an unbiased viewpoint. Within minutes of our arrival we were able to shed our preconceptions and enjoy the good-natured surroundings in this somewhat cluttered but tidy bar. Like the temperatures registered on the collection of vintage thermometers displayed throughout the room, the readings varied from -6 to 110 degrees, with most at a comfortable 70 degrees. If you’re in the mood to meet some locals, it shouldn’t be hard to strike up a conversation that might last throughout your visit.

Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog, or follow them on Facebook, and ADK46barfly on Twitter.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Five Ponds Wilderness: Cracker, Gal and West Ponds

The Adirondacks are dotted with many small lakes and ponds. Many of these are remote wilderness water bodies lacking any roads or trails to them. Since these water bodies have no obvious attractions, few people ever visit. Recently, I visited three such ponds: Cracker, Gal and West Ponds.

These three ponds are located in the Five Ponds Wilderness, south of the Robinson River and west of the upper East Branch Oswegatchie River. The nearest trail lies at least two and a half miles through dense forest to the west. The only way to reach these ponds is via bushwhacking through some of the most challenging terrain in the Adirondacks due to the extensive blow downs from the 1995 Microburst.

Although there are no trails near these ponds, this was not always the case. A trail once existed just east of Cracker Pond and eventually crossed Gal Pond’s outlet before climbing over Greenfield Mountain on its way to High Falls along the Oswegatchie River. After a cursory search during my recent trip, I found no sign of this trail remaining along the outlet. The trail has most likely been reclaimed by the surrounding forest. A historical topographic map of the area can be found here.

Cracker Pond is the southernmost and largest of the three ponds. It is irregularly shaped, with an island connected to the shore by a thick strip of vegetation. Snags and small shrub-covered islands are scattered near shore while many stately white pines tower over the pond along its perimeter. A series of several smaller beaver ponds lie off to the southwest.

Gal and West Ponds are in close proximity to each other about a half mile north of their southern neighbor. They are similarly shaped and connected to each other via a swampy stream. Unlike Cracker, these two ponds have a significant amount of open water with no snags or shrub-covered islands. They both have open rocks along the shore and at least one protruding from the water’s surface.

Gal Pond is unlike the other two ponds with respect to its aquatic vegetation. Pickerel weed and yellow-flowered water lilies are plentiful along its northwestern shoreline.

These lakes are reported to have low pHs due to acidification from acid rain. They are reported to be devoid of fish. However, this condition has not limited hooded mergansers from raising their young. Two different merganser families with multiple young were observed on Cracker and West Ponds. Hooded merganser’s primary diet consists of small fish, although they also eat aquatic invertebrates and amphibians.

Apparently the low pH has not impacted all aquatic life. Whirlygig beetles were common along the northern shoreline of West Pond. Based on the prodigious presence of the blood-sucking adults, the ponds are hospitable to the aquatic larvae of mosquitoes, black flies and deer flies. Amphibians were well represented as well, with green frogs, mink frogs, bullfrogs and spring peepers commonly heard calling during all hours of the day.

Evidence of beaver is plentiful at all three of the ponds. Several remnant dams were present at Cracker Pond, while both Gal and West had obvious beaver lodges. Gal Pond was reported to once have a 654-feet long and 4 feet wide beaver canal leading from the pond to a grove of yellow birchs and other hardwoods. But during my recent visit I observed no recent sign of any beaver activity in at the ponds.

Moose find the area favorable as well. An abundance of moose scat was present between Cracker Pond and its northern neighbors as well as along the northern shores of Gal and West Ponds.

These three ponds represent the very best wilderness experience the Adirondacks have to offer. Their remoteness ensures a peaceful respite from hustle and bustle of the modern world if one has the fortitude to reach them.

Photos: Peninsula at West Pond, Cracker Pond and Gal Pond by Dan Crane.

Dan Crane blogs about his bushwhacking adventures at Bushwhacking Fool.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Local College Enrollments On The Rise

Enrollment at the region’s educational institutions is growing. The number of new students at Paul Smith’s College gained for the second consecutive year toward a 30 year high set in 1981. SUNY ESF’s Ranger School in Wanakena saw a 50 percent enrollment increase, and Clarkson University welcomed the largest number of first-year students in the institution’s history this August, breaking a 1984 record. Plattsburgh State saw a rise this semester, especially among foreign students. Clinton County Community College enrollment went up almost 5 percent, 14 percent higher than 2008-09. SUNY Adirondack (formerly Adirondack Community College) saw a slight decrease in enrollment. Enrollment was expected to have risen slightly at North Country Community College.

At Paul Smith’s College a new $8 million 93-bed residence hall designed to LEED standards is accommodating the growth. Enrollment at the Ranger School was given a boost by a new AAS-degree program in Environmental and Natural Resources Conservation, according to longtime professor and Almanack contributor Jamie Savage.

At Clarkson some of the rise is attributed to increased enrollment in pre-physical therapy and engineering programs, including environmental engineering which has seen growth of more than 100 percent.

Photo: Students walk by Bertrand H. Snell Hall at Clarkson University (Courtesy Clarkson University).


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Oktober Pet Fest in Long Lake

This Saturday, October 8, two fall festivals have combined forces for what is shaping up to be a fun family event. The Long Lake Harvest Fest and The Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts Pet Fest will be held at the ball field in Long Lake from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m..

“We have been working with the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts to make this an event for everyone,” says Long Lake Event Coordinator Denise Gagnier. “It is the third year for the Pet Fest and we wanted to work with our neighbors at The Center to provide an active event for the Columbus weekend.”

According to Gagnier, the Long Lake Oktober Pet Fest will host a variety of unique activities geared toward pet owners. There will be a pet agility course with everything from seesaw to hurdles. Owners can register their pets for a maze and the pet show. Prizes will be awarded for Best Pet Trick, Most Unique Pet, Look Like Your Pet and Best Stuffed Pet.

The stuffed pet can be anything from toy to taxidermy. Don’t worry there is plenty to do in addition to the pet activities. One unusual event will be the “Punkin’ Chunkin’. In years past the Harvest Fest held a pumpkin drop but this year “pumpkins will be flying.”

“We have made the event, in many ways, like a carnival,” says Alexandra Verner Roalsvig, Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for Long Lake. “There are various activities that will require a $1 ticket. Other events are free. The Punkin Chunkin is new this year. We are asking that people design their own catapult and we provide the pumpkins. That activity is free and we are hoping to see some real originally being shown while participants see who can launch their pumpkin the farthest.”

There are rules for the Punkin’ Chunkin‘ Each participant will receive three pumpkins with a misfire being treated as a foul. Each pumpkin will weigh approximately 8-10 lbs. so plan accordingly. No cannons, ignitables or explosives, if that is where your mind is running. Eye protection and hard hat is provided.

Roalsvig is hoping the combined festivals will appeal to visitors and local residents. By keeping the ticket price for various activities at the one-dollar mark, people can pick and choose where to spend their money.

“The Kids’ Zone is going to have Magician Bob Shelley, pumpkin painting, bounce house and T-shirt painting. Each activity will require a ticket but it will be well worth the price,” says Roalsvig.

“The craft fair will be held under the tent and that is free. This year we invited the Long Lake Artisans to be part of the craft fair,” says Roalsvig. “We have wonderful handmade crafts like fishing flies, table runners, Christmas decorations, rustic furniture, fabric arts and a variety of candles. We insist that the products are homemade crafts. Boat builder Bunny Austin just refurbished a guideboat and will have it on display. It has an historic reference so people are encouraged to stop and talk to him about the guideboat and its story.”

Traditional German fare as well as maple cotton candy, Kettle Corn, gourmet desserts and a Saranac Root Beer tasting can be enjoyed while listening to the acoustic music of Adam Reynolds and John Hill.

Parking for the Long Lake Oktober Pet Fest can be found at the St. Henry’s Parking Long and the Long Lake Central School Parking Lot off Route 30. Call 518-624-3077 for additional information.

Photo: Chandler Seaman with his Prized Pumpkin at Harvest Fest in Long Lake. (Photo provided).

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Absolutely Adirondack Apple Season

Pairing a crisp autumn day with the first crunch of a freshly-picked apple is my idea of perfection. During my teen years good times with friends might include a drive up from Van Nostrand’s Orchard in Mayfield (now Lake View Orchards, 518.661.5017), munching on crisp and sweet Macs while taking in the foliage.

While the rain of the past weekend dampened my enthusiasm to go out apple picking, I was invited to be a judge at the Cambridge Valley Apple Pie Bake-Off at the Cambridge Hotel, said to be the home of pie à la mode. The cast of judges included the hotel’s own Chef Rich, Sara Kelly as representative of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, Sally King, a decades-long baker and former owner of the King Bakery in Cambridge, and Chloe, an 11 year-old pie aficionado. » Continue Reading.


Page 448 of 660« First...102030...446447448449450...460470480...Last »