Thursday, January 20, 2022

We’ll Always Remember Her This Way

Wendy Hall

On January 16, 2022, the heavens opened and welcomed home an angel, her name is Wendy Hall.

She blessed this Earth for 70 years, touching lives where ever she went.  Wendy was so many things, to us a mentor and beloved friend.  How fortunate we are to have spent time and space with her, having known her made us better people.  There weren’t many days that Wendy didn’t drive up to us on the Refuge in her little grey car to say Hello, and share her dreams of what she wanted to implement for the betterment of this World.

Her days were filled with thoughts and ways of how to touch people and compel others to care for God’s amazing creations.  We were birds of feather and we surely flocked together.  Wendy’s love for nature compelled us to use every skill we had for the good of creatures great and small and some of the accomplishments we are most proud of were because Wendy encouraged us along the way.  She had an amazing way of making us feel like geniuses and idiots all at the same time.  God only knows she knew so much more than we did but she never made us feel insignificant in her presence.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 20, 2022

 2021 Round Whitefish Egg Collection Complete

roundfish egg collectionIn December, Bureau of Fisheries staff from DEC’s Adirondack Fish Hatchery completed its annual egg collection for round whitefish. Based on the time of year they spawn, collecting them can be a bit of a challenge if ice starts to form. That wasn’t the case this year, but staff braved the chilly waters to net 119 fish and collect a total of 77,000 eggs from Little Green and Cascade Ponds.

When the round whitefish reach certain sizes, they’ll be stocked next year in select waters in the Adirondacks as part of an experimental stocking program to restore populations of this endangered species.

To learn more about round whitefish visit DEC’s website.


Thursday, January 20, 2022

Herkimer County Soil and Water Conservation District announces 2022 Tree and Shrub Sale

Herkimer County tree and shrub saleHerkimer County Soil and Water Conservation District (HCSWCD) staff are pleased to announce that the organization’s annual tree and shrub sale, an earned income program held in the spring, is currently underway. The Herkimer County Soil and Water Conservation District is taking orders for trees, shrubs, and other items through Monday, March 25. This year, the group is bringing back many popular species along with a few new items for guests to consider. Available for planting this spring are low-cost bare root evergreen seedlings and transplants, deciduous trees, a variety of bushes and shrubs, semi-dwarf apple trees, and wildflower seeds. Grown by private commercial nurseries, these plants provide an economical source of conservation landscaping materials, windbreaks, and quantities for reforesting.

Also available are bluebird nest boxes and rain barrels. Among the many planting accessories being offered are tree mats and tree shelters, hardwood stakes, compost, fertilizer tablets and animal repellent. The goal of this program is to provide an opportunity for landowners to continue toward improving their property by providing a variety of programs and services, one of which is the Tree and Shrub Program. Offering these trees, shrubs and plants helps support conservation planting projects, wildlife enhancement, erosion control and windbreak development needs throughout the area. 

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The next APA executive director – a lot at stake for Kathy Hochul, John Ernst and the rest of us

terry martino

After a dozen years, Terry Martino is retiring as the executive director of the NYS Adirondack Park Agency. Terry is an admirable person who has had a difficult job of balancing the pressures from APA applicants, staff, members and the Cuomo administration – and much else.

But for more than a decade she – like many others – loyally saluted as a member of Team Cuomo, the Governor who:

  • put up those banners in Ray Brook that the Park was Open for Business;
  • weakened both the Private Land Use and State Land Plans;
  • weakened the APA and was satisfied with token environmentalism on its board;
  • steered APA further off course from its mission as a planning agency in an era when climate change accelerates the urgent need for better land use planning.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Man collapses at Bolton lean-to, later dies

forest ranger reportRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Bolton
Warren County
Wilderness Recovery:
 On Jan. 16 at 12:15 p.m., Forest Rangers were called to assist with a 58-year-old hiker who collapsed at the Five Mile Mountain lean-to. His hiking partner and other hikers, including a member of Lower Adirondack Search and Rescue, began CPR on the subject. Ranger Kabrehl hiked in with members of the Bolton Police Department. Helicopter transport was also dispatched to the incident and at 2:10 p.m., the subject was loaded into the helicopter and later pronounced deceased by EMS. Ranger Kabrehl hiked out with the rest of the hiking party.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hike Smart NYAdirondack Backcountry Information, and Catskill Backcountry Information webpages for more information.

If a person needs a Forest Ranger, whether it’s for a search and rescue, to report a wildfire, or to report illegal activity on state lands and easements, they should call 833-NYS-RANGERS. If a person needs urgent assistance, they can call 911. To contact a Forest Ranger for information about a specific location, the DEC website has phone numbers for every Ranger listed by region.


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The Wild Center adds snowshoeing, kicksledding, and ice fishing to winter programming, continues to host Wild Lights exhibit

The Wild Center has recently announced a few additions to its winter programming including free snowshoe and kicksled rentals, guided ice fishing on its Greenleaf Pond and three ice sculptures which have been arranged around the campus. These experiences – and more – are available Fridays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with timed ticket reservations.

The Wild Center continues to host its Wild Lights exhibit presented by Merrill L. Thomas, Inc. on Friday and Saturday evenings from 5 to 7 p.m. when the 115-acre campus is transformed into a winter wonderland with thousands of dazzling lights. During the week of February 18- 26, The Wild Center will be open every day and will remain open in the evenings for guests to enjoy the Wild Lights exhibit.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Remembering Wendy Hall

ken rimany

Wendy Hall, founder of the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, which she ran alongside her husband Stephen Hall (who also is a long-time Almanack contributor), passed away on Sunday.

Ken Rimany, a partner with Adirondack Wild, shared this recollection:

Incomparable champions of all wildlife, big and small, Wendy and Steve Hall have always been, and always will be to me. Wendy’s legacy of her passion and limitless love for taking care of and rehabilitating so many of God’s creatures over the past twenty years at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge & Rehabilitation Center – continues to still shine bright.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

A salty solution

hague

The salt pollution challenge can be daunting: years and years of salt use have already penetrated surface and groundwater and will stick around for years to come. And salt is still the No. 1 way of keeping winter roads safe.

But the small highway crew in Hague, on the western shores of Lake George has started to show that if you use less salt on the roads, less salt will show up in the water. After the Hague crew reduced its salt use by nearly 70% over the last five years, researchers with RPI’s Darrin Fresh Water Institute have found an average 4% annual reduction in chloride concentrations in Hague Brook. More study is needed but it’s a positive sign that Hague is reducing salt on the roads and in the waters.

Read more about what Hague has been up to and my recent visit to their garage. I also spoke with North Country Public Radio Adirondacks reporter Emily Russell this week about the latest on the state’s road salt reduction task force.

The road salt issue has also started to draw more national coverage in recent weeks after a scientific research review published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment highlighted the dire public health and environmental downsides of rampant salt use – which has tripled in the last 45 years.

Photo: Hague plow operator Tim Fiallo mixing a brine solution at the Hague garage. Photo by Zachary Matson

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Zach’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Adirondack Park Agency: Still Business as Usual!

white lake quarry

By Ralph A. Cossa

In his Jan. 11 commentary in the Adirondack Almanack, Peter Bauer asked the question “Will the new boss be the same as the old boss?” in questioning whether the Adirondack Park Agency Board, under new chairman John Ernst, would finally start holding adjudicatory hearings regarding contentious issues, or would it continue to avoid this process which allows citizens’ and experts’ views to be heard and questions answered. The issue in question was the White Lake Quarry Application (APA2021-0075) which called for extensive mining operations directly over the community’s aquifer and within 1000 feet of their pristine spring-fed lake, in the middle of a tourist-oriented residential community of some 400 homes and small businesses.

Adjudicatory hearings used to be a regular occurrence; between 1973-2008, there were 151, or roughly 4-5 per year. Since 2008, not a single adjudicatory hearing has been held as the APA has become more and more inclined, especially during the Cuomo era, to support business activities in the Park it is sworn to protect. Governor Hochul has pledged to change that mind-set. Obviously, the word has yet to trickle down to the APA.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

DEC to Continue River Otter Surveys

otter tracksHave you ever seen a river otter in New York? Prior to the 1990s, river otter were absent from most of central and western New York. That all changed between 1995–2001, when DEC worked with trappers and other groups to reintroduce 279 otter to 16 different sites in central and western parts of the state.

To evaluate the success of this effort and to gain a better understanding of otter populations throughout New York, DEC staff conducted over 2,000 winter sign surveys across the state in 2017 and 2018. During these surveys, biologists and technicians looked for otter tracks, latrines, and other signs of otter presence on the landscape. These surveys found that otter were well-established across the entire state and could be found in almost all suitable habitat!

This winter, DEC staff are repeating the winter sign surveys. We will compare the results to the previous surveys, allowing us to get a better idea of otter population trends and help us better guide otter management into the future.

How You Can Help

In addition to the survey data, DEC collects public sighting data for river otter and other furbearer species. If you have seen an otter, fisher, bobcat, weasel, marten, or snowshoe hare in Upstate New York (or otter, beaver, gray fox, weasel, mink, coyote, or skunk in Long Island/NYC), we encourage you to report your sighting.

Photo: River otter tracks and slides in the snow.


Monday, January 17, 2022

Synthetic Photosynthesis

Every so often, an obscure technical innovation really lights me up. In mid-October of this year, a team of German scientists published a report on their work injecting tadpole noggins with algae. This enabled the tiny brains (of amphibians, not researchers) to photosynthesize when exposed to light, flooding neurons with oxygen and rendering the frog-babies more intelligent. Or at least not brain-dead, which those tadpoles were before being converted to plant-imals. 

In an October 13, 2021 entry in the journal iScience, lead author Hans Straka of Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich explained that he’d been happily noodling along, measuring how much oxygen that an African clawed frog tadpole brain uses. He doesn’t elaborate on why he was doing this, but I’m guessing it was simply because he found someone nerdy enough to underwrite his efforts. 

The fun part began when Dr. Straka had lunch – and maybe a few drinks, from the sound of it – with a botanist, and a crazy-cool science experiment was born. In Straka’s own words, “For many people, it sounds like science fiction, but after all, it’s just the right combination of biological schemes and biological principles.” Pretty sure this idea was decidedly scheme-heavy, at least to start out. 

» Continue Reading.


Monday, January 17, 2022

DEC installs new Five Ponds Wilderness footbridge

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has replaced a 30-year-old footbridge in the Five Ponds Wilderness Area in the town of Fine, St. Lawrence County. The newly installed Glasby Creek footbridge is located on the High Falls Loop Trail, which is part of the popular Cranberry Lake 50 trail system.

To complete the project, DEC staged bridge materials at the SUNY ESF Ranger School in Wanakena and DEC staff canoed up the Oswegatchie River to reach the construction site and replace the bridge with materials and equipment delivered by a New York State Police Aviation helicopter. The materials to replace the bridge cost approximately $2,000 supported by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, January 17, 2022

This day in Adirondack Almanack history: Boreas Pond

boreau pondA look back at some of the top stories from five years ago, when the Boreas Pond land classification dominated the headlines:

Boreas Ponds debate: The Adirondack Park Agency held public hearings on Boreas Ponds at eight different locations around the state in November and December. Hundreds of people spoke, offering a potpourri of opinions. But one constant was a sea of green T-shirts bearing the slogan “I Want Wilderness.” READ MORE

‘What is Wilderness’, commentary by Dave Olbert: What is Wilderness, Wild Forest, Primitive, and so on as we apply these terms to our Adirondack Park? They are labels we give to parcels of land within a line drawn on a map. These terms only regulate what we can and can’t do within the corresponding boundaries on the lands that all New Yorkers own. READ MORE

More on the classification: Ethan Winter writes to urge the APA to reject the classification alternatives it has proposed in lieu of a designation for the Boreas Tract that ensures uncompromised Wilderness and a buffer of at least one mile for the Boreas Ponds. READ MORE

Boreas Ponds photo taken by Phil Brown, June 2016


Sunday, January 16, 2022

It’s Debatable: Infrastructure priorities

ohio bridge debatable infrastructure

 

Editor’s note: This commentary is in the Jan/Feb 2022 issue of Adirondack Explorer magazine, as part of our “It’s Debatable” feature. In this regular column, we invite organizations and/or individuals to address a particular issue. Click here to subscribe to the magazine, available in both print and digital formats: www.adirondackexplorer.org/subscribe.

The question: What are the top priorities in the park for billions coming to NY in federal infrastructure money?

The $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill means $170 billion is slated for New York.

Working with the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages, we asked 100 municipalities what they see as the top project in their communities. (Stay tuned for a full report.)

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, January 16, 2022

Lake George Historical Association awarded grants to support 2022 programming

Lake George Historical Association

In 2021, the Lake George Historical Association (LGHA) was awarded the following grants for implementation in 2022:

  • The Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) awarded the LGHA $7,500 for a 2022 Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (CVNHP) Conservation Community Grant to the Lake George Historical Association for its “Called by the Water” room. This grant provides the LGHA with the capacity to reformat content interpreting the cultural, historical and recreational aspects of the lake itself, including a panel which focuses on the Clean Water Act (2022 is the 50th Anniversary of the act) and how Lake George pollution is regulated. Six large interpretive retractable exhibit panels will be on display in the room for summer season 2022 and will become available for schools and historical venues, including libraries, for loan as a travelling exhibition.
  • The Alfred Z. Solomon Foundation has awarded the Lake George Historical Association $15,000.00 toward the enhancement of a children’s interactive exhibition installation in the “Called by the Water” room.
  • The LGHA is sponsoring a Touba Family Foundation grant for $2500 to support area musician Hui Cox to create a musical piece with a video based on the climate countdown clock message of urgency about the climate crisis. An opening rehearsal performance will be produced at the LGHA museum in late spring/early summer 2022 and at a local Glens Falls venue.

» Continue Reading.



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