Heroes are defined in many ways—strong, brave, quick to act, selfless—and for the most part, we expect those traits to be found among the ranks of mature, responsible adults. But in 1927, in a span of less than thirty days, the North Country played host to two acts of heroism. Added together, the age of this remarkable pair of courageous children comes to just 19.
One incident involved a pair of teenage boys from Jay, New York, who were the victims of an accident at about 10 o’clock one morning. As they rode together on a wagon loaded with firewood, drawn by a single horse, something spooked the animal.
The horse panicked, broke free of the wagon, and ran off. The boys and the load of wood were hurled violently to the ground. The left leg of 16-year-old Francis Chabbott was badly broken, while 15-year-old Asa Darrah’s right leg suffered the same fate. Darrah remained alert after the fall, but Chabbot was knocked unconscious.
The spill occurred about a mile and a half from the Chabbott farm, and Asa, in agonizing pain himself, feared his friend would die. No one was within sight or hearing distance of the accident scene, and rather than wait for help to arrive, Asa began crawling.
It’s hard to appreciate the grit, determination, and physical pain he must have endured, but young Darrah refused to quit. Three hours later—bruised, beaten, and exhausted—he reached the farmhouse and alerted the family. While Mr. Chabbott rushed to tend to his stricken son, a doctor was summoned from Ausable Forks to tend to both boys’ injuries. They survived, but suffered intensely, and for his efforts, Darrah was justly lauded as a hero.
The other incident occurred in the town of Martinsburg in Lewis County on the farm of Harold and Viola Hills. Viola was nearly nine months pregnant, about to deliver their third child. When mom went to town one day to shop for necessities, Katherine, 4, and Kenneth, 2, stayed with their father.
In order to still perform the day’s work, Harold took the children with him to the fields. It was a dicey proposition, attempting farm chores while watching his two young offspring. It wasn’t long before little Kenneth wandered off and found his way into nearby Whetstone Creek.
The water was still high from spring flooding, and as the two-year-old was drawn into the water, he cried out for help. The father was oblivious to what had happened, but his four-year-old daughter responded like a true hero.
With no regard for her own survival, and not knowing the depth or power of the stream, she entered the water and waded to where Kenneth was drowning. Katherine then plucked him from the water, but the footing on the riverbed was shaky at best, and the weight of her brother made it too dangerous to attempt walking back to shore.
Realizing her predicament, she held the baby above the water and screamed for help. This alerted Mr. Hills, who managed to reach the children before Katherine’s strength gave out. A catastrophe was avoided due to the quick thinking and bravery of a tiny child.
Though child heroes are uncommon, these two North Country youths performed their feats just 29 days apart. Asa Darrah’s story, with elements of grit, friendship, and character, was lauded in the press. And it’s a pretty safe bet that Harold Hills was properly chastised by Viola for his careless brand of child care.
Lawrence Gooley has authored nine books and many articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004. He took over in 2010 and began expanding the company’s publishing services. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.
Following a spring of historic flooding and two minor earthquakes, the Adirondacks has been slammed by the remains of Hurricane Irene leaving behind a changed landscape, isolated communities, disastrous flooding and epic damage to local infrastructure, homes, businesses, roads, bridges, and trails.
Damage from the remnants of Hurricane Irene is widespread across the Eastern Adirondacks from Moriah, which suffered extensive damage during the spring flooding that had still not been repaired, to the entire Keene Valley and into the Lake Placid region. Trails in the Eastern High Peaks, Giant Mountain and Dix Mountain wilderness areas have been closed through the Labor Day weekend. The bridge over Marcy Dam has been washed away and the Duck Hole Dam breached. Every town in Essex County suffered damage officials say, but Upper Jay, Jay, AuSable Forks, and all hamlets in the town of Keene have been devastated by flooding of the AuSable, which rose to a record 12 feet over flood stage. Essex County Highway Department Tony Lavigne told the Press Republican that “the flooding is way worse than this past spring and much more widespread.” Mountain Health Center in Keene suffered heavy damage and has been closed. In Upper Jay, the historic remains of Arto Monaco’s Land of Make Believe are gone. Flood waters also raged through Lake George Village and closed dozens of roads in Warren, Washington, and Saratoga counties. [Lake George Photos via Lake George Mirror].
Tom Woodman, who reported on the situation in Keene for the Almanack, wrote that “The hamlet of Keene is an astonishing and deeply saddening sight. The fire station has been torn in half by rampaging waters of a tributary of the East Branch of the Ausable. Buildings that house the dreams of merchants and restaurateurs, who have brought new life to Keene, are battered, blanketed in mud, and perched on craters scoured out by the flood waters.” North Country Public Radio‘s Martha Foley posted photos of the devastation in Keene.
Route 73 has been washed out and undermined in several places, closing the main artery into the High Peaks and Lake Placid from the east. Carol Breen, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation told Woodman that Route 73 should reopen before winter. Route 9N between Keene and Upper Jay is expected to be reopened in a few days.
Although criticized at the time by many for being premature and unnecessary, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation warned recreationists to stay out of the backcountry and closed its campgrounds and other facilities across the Adirondacks on Saturday. That closure was fortuitous, as damage in some areas has stranded campers and has closed the Giant, Dix, and Eastern High Peaks wilderness areas. More than a dozen DEC campgrounds and day-use areas remain closed. These closures are expected to continue through the upcoming Labor Day weekend.
The historic dam at Duck Hole has been washed away, closing off only recently acquired access by canoe or guideboat into the High Peaks via Henderson Lake and Preston Ponds. Phil Brown has posted DEC photos of Duck Hole draining.
DEC District Forester Kris Alberga, who was among the first to see the widespread destruction in the backcountry during a flyover of the High Peaks Monday afternoon, reported that the bridge over Marcy Dam has been washed away and the dam is leaking seriously. “There are numerous washouts on the Marcy Dam Truck Trail,” Alberga said in a e-mail forwarded to the Almanack, “Marcy Brook between Marcy Dam and Avalanche Camps jumped its banks, carved a new channel and wiped out much of the trail. The Van Hovenberg trail above Marcy Dam is eroded 1-3 ft deep in many places. The handrails on the suspension bridge on the Calamity Pond trail are gone and the trail is not passable.” Phil Brown reported today that the level of Marcy Dam pond has dropped, revealing mud flats. The trails along Lake Colden are reported to be underwater and the trail to Avalanche Pass made impassable.
The bridge on the Adirondack Loj Road south of South Meadows Road has been washed out, cutting off the Loj and stranding some 31 visitors and Adirondack Mountain Club staff there. The access to the Garden Trailhead at Interbrook Road is no longer passable beyond the bridge over Johns Brook.
Phil Brown traveled to Marcy Dam Monday afternoon and snapped a photo of a new slide on Wright Peak, near Angel Slide. Other new slides reported include those on Mount Colden (including at the Trap Dike), Basin, Haystack, Upper and Lower Wolfjaw, in the Dixes, and on Giant Mountain.
Although reports have not been received from the Santanoni and Seward ranges, it appears that the Western and South-Central Adirondacks have not been seriously impacted. Backcountry users in those and other areas of the Adirondack Park should, however, expect blowdown and eroded trails, washed-out bridges and new landslides.
At a press conference held in front of the destroyed Keene Volunteer Fire Department, NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that DEC and the Adirondack Park Agency will suspend special permitting requirements to aid in a speedy rebuild.
Photo: Duck Hole Pond is draining after the dam went out. Photo courtesy NYS DEC.
What follows is a special report by Tom Woodman, publisher of Adirondack Explorer, who resides in Keene.
I live in the Town of Keene just outside the hamlet and so I had an idea of how damaging Irene was. Starting with our rain gauge, which measured 11 inches of rainfall from the storm and including seeing the shower of pine branches brought down on our house by the winds, it was clear we were in the middle of something bad.
But it wasn’t until I grabbed a camera and started surveying the area on Tuesday morning that I understood what we had experienced.
The hamlet of Keene is an astonishing and deeply saddening sight. The fire station has been torn in half by rampaging waters of a tributary of the East Branch of the Ausable. Buildings that house the dreams of merchants and restaurateurs, who have brought new life to Keene, are battered, blanketed in mud, and perched on craters scoured out by the flood waters.
I headed east on Route 73, which has been closed to traffic, to see what damage I could reach and how bad it is. In Keene Valley, shops had piles of merchandise outside for drying and cleaning. Before I got to the road-closing near the Ausable Club, I parked near the entrance to and headed out on foot to explorer St. Huberts, a small community tucked on the banks of the East Branch. It’s badly hurt. A bridge that carried the one road over the river is collapsed into the waters. Upstream the river has cut under a house, leaving an addition and part of a garage hanging in air. The roadway is buried in mud a foot or more deep and trees and utility poles lean at sharp angles.
From the west, Route 73 is closed at the entrance to the Ausable Club. Parking there, I again set out on foot. Within sight of that entrance are two washouts at least four feet deep and chewed most of the way across the two-lane highway. One has Roaring Brook tumbling through it, the river having changed its course during the flood so that it now flows where the highway is supposed to be.
Several other washouts eat into the highway between the Ausable Club and the overlook for Roaring Brook Falls. A couple cut deeply into at least half the width of the road. Others are slides at the edge of the highway. Guard rails dangle over these, the ground that had held them, resting fifty feet or more below them in the river’s valley.
I’m not qualified to estimate how long it will be before this road, the major entry to the High Peaks Region from the south, will reopen. But it seems months away at best.
Carol Breen, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, assured us this afternoon that despite the heavy damage Route 73 will reopen before winter. That’s good news for Keene Valley, Lake Placid, and the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area. Breen said DOT expects to reopen Route 9N, which connects Keene and Upper Jay, in a few days.
For news on the storm’s damage to the backcountry, check out these posts on the Outtakes blog on the Adirondack Explorer website (the most recent is listed first):
It is difficult to believe that a week ago my husband led two different groups over Marcy Dam bridge to climb into the Adirondack High Peaks backcountry. I joined him on a day hike up Marcy and lingered on the bridge to admire the view of Mt. Colden. Now the iconic bridge has been washed away by residual flooding from Hurricane Irene.
With this backlash from Hurricane Irene Adirondack campgrounds are closed and extensive damage continues to be assessed throughout the High Peaks, Catskills and lower regions of the Adirondack Park.
DEC Region 5 Citizen Participation Specialist David Winchell says, “We closed down the trail systems for the Eastern High Peaks, Giant, and Dix Mountain Wilderness regions and continue to evaluate other areas. We want people to understand that by willingly entering the forest preserve hikers may encounter massive blow-down, washed out foot bridges, and landslides.”
Winchell states that the first bridge on the Klondike trail is gone, the Duck Hole Dam has been breached and the trails along the shoreline at Lake Colden are under water. He admits that at this time the number of new slides are too numerous to count. He does list new slides at Wright, Colden-north, Trap Dike, Haystack, Wolfjaws, Dixes and Giant.
“When hikers encounter a bad situation we encourage people to turn around and not press on over treacherous terrain, says Witchell. “We don’t want to be searching for additional people. Our focus is on helping the communities and existing stranded hikers and backcountry campers.”
According to Winchell, the Western and Central Adirondacks have not been as severely impacted by ramifications of Hurricane Irene. Trail closure and campground information will be updated and posted on the DEC trail website.
Marcy Dam bridge has been a landing point for many backcountry hikers as well as a day hike destination for those just wanting an easy 2.4 mile walk from the Adirondack Loj. Phil Brown of The Adirondack Explorer, filed an extensive High Peaks area damage report, places to hike and pictures of the missing bridge.
Remember the first rule of thumb when venturing into the backcountry is safety. There is so much damage around the towns of Jay, Keene, Keene Valley and AuSable that emergency personnel is needed to pursue the necessary clean-up to aid those communities while the DEC continues to do what is necessary to be able to open Adirondack trails for all.
For those wishing to enjoy a family-friendly wilderness experience there are many smaller hikes not part of the Eastern Adirondack High Peaks that are open.
From the Elk Pass Lycopodium Ponds herdpath to bottom of Nippletop Slide slide is, but for a few short sections, extremely easy to follow. This .75-mile section took us 40 minutes while enjoying the beautiful scenery of this miniature canyon. Starting out and walking around a good size beaver pond it was mostly flat, but turned steep starting from the outlet. In places the numerous and large mossy boulders reminded us of Indian Pass. Walking in the drainage itself never appeared to us a better option; we were able to stay on the same East bank side all the way. Actually it was never enticing, only pretty to look a every step of the way. » Continue Reading.
Lake Placid is a mecca for elite athletes, and often hosts athletes from different countries and sports. Two of these are Olympic legends, and train tirelessly from June until early November in the Olympic Center.
I am referring to the legendary Protopopovs. Oleg and Ludmila Protopopov are the 1964 and 1968 Olympic champions in Pairs Skating for Russia, and call Lake Placid their home.
This year, the Skating Club of Lake Placid is hosting a show in their honor. “A Tribute to the Protopopovs” will take place on Saturday, September 3rd in the 1980 arena. Joining local skaters of all ages and levels will be special guests, such as Dick Button. Himself a Lake Placid figure skating icon (Button trained in Lake Placid with Gus Lussi in the 30s and 40s), Button will be on hand to help celebrate the achievements of the husband and wife pairs team.
Oleg and Ludmila Protopopov’s rise to figure skating prominence was not effortless. The Soviet Skating Association discounted them as “too old” for serious training, even though they were only in their teens. Not to be limited by the Association, the Protopopovs trained independently, often skating outdoors in sub-zero temperatures. Their dedication paid off when they won the 1964 and 1968 Olympic title in Pairs skating, as well as four World Championship titles from 1965-1968.
After the Olympics, they were routinely rejected by the Soviet Skating Associations because of their derivative style. The Leningrad Ice Ballet did not want to give them a job, because they were too athletic, and the skating federation did not want them because they were too artistic. They turned professional, and started touring professionally throughout the United States. The Soviet Skating Federation’s continued ill treatment, however, was constant. For example, they skated in a show at Madison Square Garden for the fee of 10,000 dollars, but all they were allowed to keep was 53 dollars. In 1979, they defected from the Soviet Union and became citizens of Switzerland; this change of citizenship permitted them to tour with the Ice Capades.
The love of their sport is evident, and now in their 70s, the Protopopovs continue training every day. Nothing is able to stop them from participating in their sport; not even a stroke. Oleg Protopopov suffered from a stroke in 2009, but a few weeks after the event started skating again. He is still skating, and has regained his skills. Residents of Lake Placid, it is not uncommon to see the Protopopovs walking or riding their bikes through town, or training on one of the 3 ice surfaces. After November, the Protopopovs travel to Switzerland and Hawaii, skating in Switzerland and surfing in Hawaii. No matter what, the Protopopovs always strive to keep healthy and fit.
The show will be a display of all ages and abilities. Admission is $10.00 for Adults (13-64), $8.00 for Youth (7-12) and Seniors (65+). Children age 6 and under are free. All proceeds benefit the Skating Club of Lake Placid. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.
Visitors can meet timber wolves, coyote, fox, bobcat, and opossum up close, along with owls, hawks, osprey and falcons. Naturalists will show how wildlife interact with each other and with the natural environment. The event starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. There is no admission charge, although donations are welcome.
Steve and Wendy Hall own and operate the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge & Rehabilitation Center under state and federal permits for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education. They are able to help injured creatures with the help of community donations. » Continue Reading.
Facts are stubborn things. So are traditions, and patterns of use. These all lay at the heart of the recent Lows Lake court decision in Albany County Supreme Court which upheld a Wilderness classification for Lows Lake and the Bog River Flow.
Verplanck Colvin, the great Adirondack explorer and surveyor, came to what is now Lows Lake in the late 1890s, just before inventor A.A. Low dammed the Bog River in two places as part of extensive industrial enterprises that lasted less than 15 years. Colvin’s survey of 1898-1899 was his last (published by the Adirondack Research Center of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks in 1989). » Continue Reading.
What follows is a guest essay contributed by the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership, a coalition of Adirondack organizations building on the Leave No Trace philosophy:
If you are traveling into the backcountry beyond the trailhead these tips are important to keep in mind:
* Be prepared, consider what you need to do to protect yourself and to protect the park.
* Plan ahead. Let friends of relatives know where you are going, when you plan to return and what to do if you do not return on time.
* Avoid traveling alone.
* Dress in layers to protect yourself from the wind, rain and cold. Wear clothing made of synthetic fibers or wool and do not wear cotton in cold or rainy weather.
* Carry a lightweight, waterproof tarp for use as an emergency shelter. A storm proof tent is necessary for overnight trips.
* Carry lightweight foods and cooking gear. Use trail food such as nuts, dried fruit, candy, and jerky for nibbling. Carry extra food and water.
* Carry a portable stove. Stoves heat more quickly and useful in wet weather.
* Stop to make camp well before dark or at the first evidence of bad weather.
* Do not take unnecessary chances. Abandon the trip if anyone becomes ill or if bad weather sets in.
* If you think that you are lost, stay calm. Stop and try to determine your location. Do not continue traveling until you know where you are. Use your head, not your legs!
* Three of anything (shouts, whistles, fires, flashes of light, etc.) is a standard distress signal. Use these only in an emergency situation.
* In a backcountry emergency contact the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Dispatch at 518-891-0235
When traveling in the backcountry, be sure to take these essential items along:
* Sturdy boots, fleece layers and rain/wind gear (even on a sunny day!)
* In winter included snowshoes, hat and gloves or mittens
* Map and compass
* Flashlight / Headlamp
* Water bottle, water purification tablets or other means of purifying your water
* Extra food
* Pocket knife or multi-purpose tool
* Bivy sack or sleeping bags
* Matches and/or lighter with fire starter (such as a candle)
* First aid kit and insect repellent during bug season
* Whistle – Three blasts is a distress signal. Please use only in an emergency
* Pencil and paper – to write notes in an emergency
This guest essay was contributed by the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership, a coalition of Adirondack organizations building on the Leave No Trace philosophy. Their goal is to provide public education about the Forest Preserve and Conservation Easements with an emphasis on how to safely enjoy, share, and protect these unique lands. To learn more about AFPEP visit www.adirondackoutdoors.org.
“Thatcher’s Peak Finders for Ten Historic Fire Towers in the Adirondacks” is now available. The new Peak Finder deck identifies the summits and landmarks seen from ten popular Adirondack fire towers: over 8,000 square miles of mountains, lakes, history, and watersheds, including 42 of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks.
“Steel fire towers were installed on these ten Adirondack peaks almost 100 years ago, and they have been a destination for hikers of all ages ever since,” said Thatcher Hogan, designer and publisher of the popular series of Peak Finder guides. “But only now is there a guide to help hikers identify what they are looking at.” » Continue Reading.
The Governor’s Office has announced a state government-wide mobilization of resources to prepare for the coming of Hurricane Irene which is currently expected to come ashore east of New York City on a track towards Hartford, Connecticut as at least a Category 1 or 2 hurricane. The storm is expected to begin impacting the Adirondack region early Sunday.
Widespread tree and powerline damage is likely and large scale power outages possible, especially from the Adirondacks eastward. The Adirondack Park and Catskill Preserve Campgrounds will be closed and evacuated by noon on Saturday. DEC has also issued a warning urging the public to not attempt to use hiking trails or backcountry camping areas throughout the Adirondacks from Sunday 8/28 through Monday 8/29.
Widespread heavy flooding rainfall and possibly damaging winds are expected, particularly on the eastern slopes of the Adirondacks, the Hudson River and Lake Champlain valleys and into Vermont.
The National Weather Service is forecasting widespread heavy rainfall Sunday into Sunday night ending by Monday morning. Amounts will likely range from less than an inch in the St. Lawrence Valley, 1-3 inches in the Adirondacks, and 2-5 inches in the Champlain Valley. Significantly more rain is expected to fall from the Green Mountains into eastern Vermont.
The biggest areas of flooding concern will be in the eastern Adirondacks and Vermont, especially Sunday night into Monday.
Sustained wind speeds of 30 to 45 miles per hour are expected, with gusts 35 to 50 MPH in the Adirondacks and 45 to 65 MPH across Vermont. The most dangerous winds are expected to occur in the Champlain Valley on Sunday evening and night, and in Vermont later Sunday night and early Monday morning.
Throughout the Adirondack region Hurricane Irene is expected to generate extremely high winds and heavy rainfalls which could result in local flooding, heavy erosion of trails, falling trees and limbs and, possibly, landslides on steep slopes. Already saturated soils could also increase the potential for blow-downs.
Waterfront property owners and contractors should cover and stabilize any exposed soils to keep them from washing into lakes. Sediment and stormwater runoff is harmful to lake water quality. Spread mulch or straw over bare soils. Install silt fences on the down slope of any project area where soils might be loose.
Button down your waterfront. High winds and waves might wash equipment and furniture into the lake creating navigation hazards. Secure rafts and float toys, and be sure they are labeled in case they break loose.
Be extra cautious on lakes after the storm passes. Watch out for floating debris.
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.
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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.
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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.
** EXTREME WEATHER EXPECTED SUNDAY AND MONDAY
Due to anticipated hazardous weather from Hurricane Irene the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a warning urging the public to not attempt to use hiking trails or backcountry camping areas throughout the Adirondacks from Sunday 8/28 through Monday 8/29. Hurricane Irene is expected to generate extremely high winds and heavy rainfalls which could result in flooding, heavy erosion of trails, falling trees and limbs and, possibly, landslides on steep slopes. Already saturated soils could also increase the potential for blow-downs.
POTENTIAL FOR TOXIC ALGAE BLOOMS IN LAKE CHAMPLAIN
Recent hot and humid weather produced a number of potentially toxic algae blooms in Lake Champlain and the current weather conditions continue to be excellent for algae growth. Algae accumulations or “blooms” will move around with changing winds and weather fronts. Health and environmental officials believe the number and extend of algae blooms could be higher than normal this summer following large amounts of phosphorus being washed into the lake by record spring flooding. Take the following precautions: Avoid all contact (do not swim, bathe, or drink the water, or use it in cooking or washing) and do not allow pets in algae-contaminated water. The latest status of Lake Chaplain algae blooms can be found at the Vermont Department of Health’s website.
** LOCAL WATERS RUNNING AT NORMAL LEVELS
All the region’s rivers are running at normal levels for this time of year. Sunday and Monday’s storm will quickly raise the level of rivers so consult the latest streamgage data.
** ROUTE 9N CLOSURE
A small section of State Route 9N between Jay and AuSable Forks, a quarter-mile north of State Route 86, will be closed from August 15 to September 1 for two weeks to replace a culvert. A short detour via John Fountain Road has been marked.
HUNTING AND TRAPPING LICENSES NOW ON SALE
Hunting and trapping licenses are now on sale for the 2011-12 license year (the new license year begins October 1). Find out how to purchase a sporting license on the DEC website. Information about the 2011 Sporting Seasons is also available online. Some small-game seasons begin in early September before last year’s license period ends. Early bear season begins September 17. The bow season for deer begins September 27.
** BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES
Moose River Plains: The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) has been reopened, as has the Otter Brook. Indian River Road is open to the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead. However, Rock Dam Road and Indian River Road beyond the Brooktrout Lake Trailhead remains closed at this time. The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed. Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake is open to the snowplow turn-around. Parking there will ad about a quarter-mile walk to the trailhead. In the Eastern Lake George Wild Forest The Dacy Clearing Parking Area and Dacy Clearing Road remain closed due to washouts; Work continues to reopen the road and parking area in the near future. In the Hudson River Recreation Area Gay Pond Road, River Road and Buttermilk Road remain heavily rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the roads at this time. The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road. The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently reopened, has been closed again for two bridge replacements. The Jessup and Miami River bridge projects began Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead through September 6th. Access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will remain open to the public during this project.
** DRAFT PUBLIC RIGHT OF NAVIGATION AND FISHING POLICY
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) has prepared the draft Program Policy: “OGC-9: Public Right of Navigation and Fishing”. This draft program policy is intended to address staff’s need for guidance regarding the public rights of navigation and fishing. As such, this document will serve as General Counsel Policy with respect to Office of Public Protection officers, including both Environmental Conservation Officers and Forest Rangers, to carry out their enforcement responsibilities. The draft Program Policy can be found online. Written comments on the draft Program Policy will be accepted for 30 days from the date of publication of this notice. Written comments should be addressed to Kenneth Hamm at the below-mentioned address. In addition, comments may be submitted via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
** AuSABLE RIVER ASSOCIATION DIRECTOR STEPS DOWN
After 4 years as Executive Director of the Ausable River Association (AsRA), Carol Treadwell is resigning her position to relocate with her husband John Steitz to Montana to pursue opportunities there. Carol will guide the organization until a qualified replacement is found. Carol’s imminent departure has prompted a search for a qualified individual to lead the work of the conservation group that prides itself on a cooperative approach to stewarding the exceptional resources of the Ausable River and its watershed.
** Deer River Primitive Area: The Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands webpage has been updated and a new webpage has been developed for the http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/70572.html. Both include information about the Deer River Primitive Area and its recreational opportunities.
** Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area: The Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands webpage has been updated to include information about the Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area and its recreational opportunities.
** Paul Smith College Conservation Easement Lands: A new webpage has been developed for the Paul Smith College Conservation Easement Lands which includes information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
** Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: A new webpage has been developed for the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands with information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
** Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): The Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands webpage has been updated with information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.
TURKEY SURVEY INPUT SOUGHT
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is encouraging New Yorkers to participate in the Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey, through the month of August. Since 1996, DEC has conducted the Summer Turkey Survey to estimate the number of wild turkey poults (young of the year) per hen statewide. Weather, predation, and habitat conditions during the breeding and brood-rearing seasons can all significantly impact nest success, hen survival, and poult survival. This index allows DEC to gauge reproductive success and predict fall harvest potential. The Adirondacks are currently in the third year of poor poult production. During the month of August, survey participants record the sex and age composition of all flocks of wild turkeys observed during normal travel. Those interested in participating can download a Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey form along with instructions and the data sheet. Survey cards can also be obtained by contacting a regional DEC office, calling (518) 402-8886, or by e-mailing email@example.com (type “Turkey Survey” in the subject line).
SPORTSMEN EDUCATION WEEKEND PLANNED
Cornell Cooperative Extension will be working in cooperation with Sportsmen Education Instructors and the Warren County Conservation Council to host various sportsmen education classes on Saturday, September 17th and Sunday, September 18th. Three classes are being offered each day; Sportsman Education, Bow Hunter Education, or Trapper Education (you may choose ONLY ONE class per day). These Sportsman and Bowhunter Education classes are being offered as home study course and all materials need to be picked up at Cornell Cooperative Extension Education Center. All classes are FREE and will be held from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm at PACK FOREST in Warrensburg. Lunch will be available at the site for a fee of $6 and will include hamburgers or hotdogs; a drink; and a chips. The proceeds of the lunch are going to support the Warren County Conservation Council’s efforts in education and advocacy. This fee can be paid when you pick up the course materials; PLEASE BRING EXACT CHANGE. Registration is required and classes will fill quickly. For more information, please contact the CCE Education Center at (518) 623-3291 or 668-4881 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
BECOMING AN OUTDOORSWOMAN PROGRAM
There are several opportunities left through DEC’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program. On September 17, you can hike with a licensed guide to the summit of an Adirondack high peak. These and other Beyond BOW events are open to all, and are not limited to women. For information on cost and registration, and to view additional upcoming events, visit the Beyond BOW Workshops Schedule on the DEC website. Details of each event are also available online (PDF).
2011 YEAR OF THE TURTLE
Because nearly half of all turtle species are identified as threatened with extinction around the world, the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) along with other Conservation groups have designated 2011 as the Year of the Turtle. Despite their long evolutionary history, turtles are now in danger of disappearing due to a variety of threats including habitat loss, exploitation, pet trade, hunting for use in traditional medicine, by-catch, invasive species, disease, and climate change. The 2011 Year of the Turtle is an opportunity to raise awareness of these threats and to increase conservation actions to help reduce problems turtles face. To get more details and identify ways to help in conservation efforts, visit the PARC Year of the Turtle website.
DEC PREPARING TUG HILL NORTH PLAN
DEC will begin developing a unit management plan (UMP) for the 42,408-acre unit called Tug Hill North. The Unit is located in the Lewis County towns of Harrisburg, Martinsburg, Montague and Pinckney and the Jefferson County towns of Lorraine, Rodman, Rutland and Worth. Opportunities for public review and comments will be available after a draft is prepared. The Tug Hill North Management Area is comprised of 8 state forests (SF) and one wildlife management area. The unit is a patchwork of state owned parcels located west of Lowville, South of Copenhagen and east of Adams and includes Sears Pond, Grant Powell Memorial State Forest, Cobb Creek SF, Lookout SF, Granger SF, Pinckney SF, Tug Hill SF, Gould’s Corners SF, and the Tug Hill Wildlife Management Area. Any individual or organization interested in providing comments or receiving additional information about the development of the management plan can contact Andrea Mercurio at NYSDEC 7327 State Hwy 812, Lowville, New York 13367or call (315) 376-3521 or e-mail email@example.com. Comments received by August 31 can assist in the preparation of the draft UMP.
BE AWARE OF INVASIVE SPECIES
Boaters on Adirondack waterways should expect to be questioned about whether they are transporting invasive species at local boat launches. Watershed stewards will stationed throughout the region to inspect boats, canoes, kayaks and other craft entering and exiting the water for invasive species, remove suspicious specimens, and educate boaters about the threats of invasive species and how to prevent their spread. Aquatic invasive species are a growing threat in the Adirondacks, making such inspections increasingly important to combating their spread. At least 80 waters in the Adirondack Park have one or more aquatic invasive species, but more than 220 waters recently surveyed remain free of invasives. The inspections are currently voluntary, but more than a half dozen local municipalities have passed or are considering aquatic invasive species transport laws.
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks. Now until the end of summer Mosquitoes, Deer Flies and/or Midges (No-see-ums) will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.
** 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.
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.
** Fire Danger: MODERATE
Be sure campfires are out by drowning them with water. Stir to make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again. If you do not have water, use dirt not duff. Do not bury coals as they can smolder and break out into a fire at a later time.
** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather
Friday: Mostly sunny, high near 73.
Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 46.
Saturday: Mostly sunny, high near 77.
Saturday Night: Chance of showers; partly cloudy, low around 58.
Sunday and Monday: Due to anticipated hazardous weather from Hurricane Irene DEC is urging the public to not attempt to use hiking trails or backcountry camping areas throughout the Adirondacks on Sunday and Monday. Hurricane Irene is expected to generate extremely high winds and heavy rainfalls which could result in flooding, heavy erosion of trails, falling trees and limbs and, possibly, landslides on steep slopes.
ADIRONDACK FISHING REPORTS
** Changes to Allowable Lines Rules
The number of allowable lines for angling in freshwater in New York State has been increased to three, with the exception of Lake Champlain where the limit remains two.
Open seasons include Trout, Landlock Salmon, 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.
Fish Have Gone Deep With Warmer Weather
Reports indicate that fishing has slowed with recent unsettled weather. Fish are being caught in deeper water with flies and flashers, larger-bait and spoons. Fish depths can change daily with deep water temperature.
Trout Season Report
Trout (brook, rainbow, brown and hybrids, and splake) and landlocked Salmon season opened April 1st, but the season suffered from high and cold waters which delayed stocking and high heat last year could be contributing to the reported lower trout numbers in the Southeast part of the Adirondacks. Papa Bear’s Outdoors provides regular trout conditions for the AuSable here.
** Feds Will Take Over Sea Lamprey Control
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will assume management of lamprey control in Lake Champlain with federal USFWS biologists conducting most of the work including seeking permits for lamprey control from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. Eel-like sea lampreys attach themselves to lake fish, often killing them. In 2006, nearly all lake trout had lamprey wounds, but that number has been reduced to about 45 percent through lamprey control efforts. Lamprey damage to Atlantic salmon has fallen to about 15 percent. About $700,000 will be spent on lamprey control.
** New DEC Region 6 Fishing Maps Available
Thirteen new maps have been added to the North-Central New York Public Fishing Rights (PEF) Maps webpage. These new maps will help guide anglers to trout fishing streams throughout DEC’s Region 6, covering Herkimer, Lewis, Oneida, St. Lawrence, and Jefferson Counties. These areas called Public Fishing Rights (PFRs) are permanent easements purchased by the DEC from willing landowners, giving anglers the right to fish along stream banks on the landowner’s property.
Lake Champlain Bass Tournament Dispersal Study
Growing interest of Lake Champlain’s bass fishery has led to a new study that will analyze bass dispersal after release during tournaments held in Plattsburgh. Scientists from the Lake Champlain Research Institute at SUNY Plattsburgh are tagging bass during 2011 and 2012 tournaments with external plastic tags and internal radio transmitters. Researchers will be tracking tagged bass in the lake to assess fish movement patterns. Anglers who recover tagged fish are encouraged to send an e-mail to the address on the tag, and indicate the date, tag number, and approximate location of recovery (i.e., Main Lake, Missisquoi Bay, Northeast Arm, etc.). Please release any tagged fish back to the lake if possible. Questions about the study may be directed to Mark Malchoff at SUNY Plattsburgh (firstname.lastname@example.org; 518-564-3037).
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.
Sacandaga Lake Fishing Pier Opens
There is a new 40 foot long fishing access pier on Great Sacandaga Lake in Northhamption, adjacent to the state boat launch on Route 30. The new pier will be dedicated on August 19th, at noon. The pier is expected to be in the lake each year by the first Saturday of May, and removed at the end of November.
Hudson River Rogers Island Pool Boat Launch
The floating dock has not been installed Rogers Island Pool.
Saranac River System
Both the Lower Locks, between Oseetah Lake and First Pond, and the Upper Locks, between Lower Saranac Lake and Middle Saranac Lake, are open for public usage.
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.
2011 Local Stocking Lists
The list of 2011 Spring Stocking Targets are now available online. Some recent stockings were in the North Branch of the Saranac River, Saranac River, Moose Pond (Town of St. Armand), Salmon River (Franklin County), Canada Lake, Lake Eaton, East and West Branch of the Ausable River, 13th Lake, and the Batten Kill.
2010 Fish Stocking Numbers Available
The 2010 Fish Stocking List which provide the numbers of freshwater fish stocked by county for last year’s fishing season is now available online. The fish are stocked to enhance recreational fishing and to restore native species to waters they formerly occupied. Each year, DEC releases over one million pounds of fish into more than 1,200 public streams, rivers, lakes and ponds across the state.
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
** Hunting License Are Now On Sale
Hunting and trapping licenses go on sale for the 2011-12 license year Monday, August 15. The new sporting license year will begins October 1. Find out how to purchase a sporting license on the DEC website. Information about the 2011 Sporting Seasons is also available online.
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.
Snapping Turtle Hunting Open Statewide
Hunters will need a Small Game Hunting License (http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/365.html) and may harvest snapping turtles by means of a firearm or bow through September 30. For details on size and bag limits during the season, please check the Reptile Hunting page online.
All waterfowl, turkey, big and small game seasons (with the exception of Snapping Turtle) are closed. All trapping seasons are closed. Some small-game seasons begin in early September before the last year’s license period ends. Early bear season begins September 17 and runs through October 14. The bow season for deer begins September 27. A week-long muzzleloader season runs concurrently with the muzzleloader deer season from October 15 to 21, followed by a regular season October 22 to December 4. The deadline for applying for a Deer Management Permit is October 1.
** New Crossbow Season This Year
Crossbows may now be used for hunting big game (deer and bear) during the early bear season, regular firearms seasons, the special January firearms season in Suffolk County, and all late muzzleloading seasons. See Crossbow Hunting (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/68802.html) for more information and the Certificate of Qualification.
** 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 email@example.com (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.
** Report: Deer Most Popular Hunted Game
A new US Fish and Wildlife Service report confirms that deer hunting is by far the most popular type of hunting in the U.S. [pdf] According to the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, there were 10.1 million deer hunters in 2006, which is nearly four times great than the second most hunted species: wild turkey. Some of the findings for New York include: 92% of NY hunters hunt deer; they spent roughly 60% of their total hunting time hunting deer, on average, 13 days hunting deer in 2006; 11 days for unsuccessful deer hunters and 17 days for successful hunters.
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.
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