Thursday, August 18, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (August 18)

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.

** 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.

** MANY WATERS RUNNING WELL ABOVE NORMAL

Heavy rains in some areas this week have raised water levels. Most rivers in the region are running above normal or well-above normal with the notable exception of the Indian River, which is running below normal. The Oswegatchie, Raquette, Boquet, and Saranac Rivers are all running well above normal. Occasional storms can quickly raise the level of rivers so consult the latest streamgage data in the event of storms and use caution when crossing swollen rivers after storms.

** BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES

The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) is open, however Rock Dam Road, Indian River Road and Otter Brook Road beyond the bridge over the South Branch Moose River remain closed at this time. Also campsites near Wakely Dam remain closed due to ongoing repair work on the dam. 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.

** 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.

** SNOW-MAKING IMPROVEMENTS AT GORE MOUNTAIN

130 new high-efficiency tower snow-making guns will be added to Gore Mountain’s inventory. The new 30’ guns will be concentrated on Gore Mountain’s core terrain such as Sunway, Otter Slide, Sleighride, 3B, and Quicksilver, and also the Wild Air Terrain Park and Burnt Ridge Mountain’s Sagamore trail. Gore is also expected to purchase 30 shorter 10’ guns for the Showcase trail. Gore Mountain management says they will relocate some of the existing tower gun inventory to the North Side, including the Pete Gay and Sleeping Bear trails. New fan gun outlets are expected to go online for the base area Arena trail; ground guns that were previously used there and on the North Side are expected to be moved to summit trails. The mountain is also unveiling the natural Hudson trail and Hudson glades on Little Gore Mountain, which are located north of the new Hudson Chair, which connects Gore with the Historic North Creek Ski Bowl.

EARLY SNOWFALL FORECAST FOR WINTER 2011-12

Accuweather weather forecaster Henry Margusity has posted a map suggesting heavy snowfall for the winter of 2011-12. Margusity is predicting a weak La Nina that will forming this fall and continue through winter. He says “I am not convinced that blocking will be prevalent across Greenland this winter, however, with the trough axis predicted to be in the Midwest, that will lead to storms developing along the East coast and racing northeast.” The forecast is preliminary and will be updated in October. Each week during the upcoming winter the Almanack’s Outdoor Conditions Report includes snow depth and ice conditions, along with downhill, cross-country, and backcountry skiing, ice climbing, and snowmobiling conditions. (Hat Tip to Harvey Road).

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 fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us (type “Turkey Survey” in the subject line).

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.

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, 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.

EXPECT BLOWDOWN

Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites, especially in lesser used areas and side trails. 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].

BITING INSECTS

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.

BEAR CANISTERS NOW REQUIRED IN HIGH PEAKS

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.

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.

BE AWARE OF INVASIVE SPECIES

Boaters on Adirondack waterways will be a lot more likely to be questioned about whether they are transporting invasive species at local boat launches this year. 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.

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.

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.

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: Slight chance of showers, thunderstorms; mostly sunny, high near 79.

Friday Night: Slight chance of showers, thunderstorms; mostly clear, low around 48.

Saturday: Slight chance of showers, thunderstorms; sunny, high near 79.

Saturday Night: Chance of showers, thunderstorms; mostly cloudy, low around 51.

Sunday: Chance of showers, thunderstorms; partly sunny, high near 75.

The National Weather Service 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]

LOCAL ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS

NORTHVILLE PLACID TRAIL

Northville Placid Trail Information: The Northville-Placid Trail Chapter of the ADirondack Mountain Club maintains a website of resources and information about the trail.

NPT Volunteers Sought: The NPTrail Chapter of 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.

** Chubb River Crossing: The “Flume” bridge, over the Chubb River on the Northville-Placid Trail north of Wanika Falls, located 5.9 miles south of the Averyville Rd., Lake Placid Trailhead, has been replaced by the Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail Crew.

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.

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 is may be flooded at certain times of the year and after heavy rains and may require wading through water and mud.

** West Canada Lakes to Wakely Dam: The bridge over Mud Creek, northeast of Mud Lake, has been replaced by the Adirondack Mountain Club Professional Trail Crew after being washed out this spring. The Wakely Dam Camping area remains closed.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond lean-to, a bridge is out that crosses Peek-a-Boo 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.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity may flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead at certain times of the year and may require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Waters are running above normal or well above normal. See water level notice above.

HIGH PEAKS – LAKE PLACID REGION

Including, Wilmington, Keene, Western High Peaks

Visitors can expect capacity conditions in the Eastern High Peaks to exist on holiday weekends, and most good weather weekends for the remainder of August. Check with DEC Forest Rangers (518/897-1300) prior to any weekend trip to the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness and consider visiting other, less used areas of the Adirondack Park.

Group size regulations are in effect throughout the High Peaks Wilderness. Group size for overnight campers is 8 or less and for day use it is 15 or less.

** 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.

Duck Hole Dam: The bridge over the dam has been 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.

Sentinel Range Wilderness: The Copperas Pond/Owen Pond Loop Trail was impacted by serious winds resulting in significant blow down. While most of the blowdown has been cut out, some downed trees and limbs are still present. The Owen Pond Trailhed located on Route 86 between Lake Placid and Wilmington has been relocated approximately 0.2 miles north (towards Wilmington) of its former location.

East River Trail: The first bridge on the East River Trail (the trail from Upper Works that

crosses the Opalescent River (once known as the East River) on its way to Allen Mountain and Flowed Lands) has been washed away, high waters make crossing risky.

Lake Arnold Trail: A section of the Lake Arnold Trail, just north of the Feldspar Lean-to is nearly impassable due to mud and water. Hikers may want to seek an alternate route during and after heavy rains or during prolonged wet weather.

Bushnell Falls: The high water bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed, the low water crossing may not be accessible during high water.

Algonquin Mountain: Significant amount of blowdown is present in the higher elevation of all trails on the mountain.

Newcomb Lake-Moose Pond: A bridge on the Newcomb Lake to Moose Pond Trail has been flooded by beaver activity. The bridge is intact, but surrounded by water.

Western High Peaks Wilderness: Trails in the Western High Peaks Wilderness are cluttered with blowdown from a storm that occurred December 1st. DEC has cleared blow down along the Corey’s Road, and in most areas accessed from the that road, including the Seward Trail.

Caulkins Creek Truck Trail/Horse Trail: While the blowdown has been cleared from the Caulkins Creek Truck Trail from Corey’s Road to Shattuck Clearing, bridge crossings between Corey’s Road and Shattuck Clearing may be unsafe for horse traffic – use caution.

SOUTHWEST-CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS

West Canada Lakes, Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Speculator, Indian Lake

** Moose River Plains: The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) has been reopened, however, Rock Dam Road, Indian River Road and Otter Brook Road beyond the bridge over the South Branch Moose River remain closed at this time. Also campsites near Wakely Dam remain closed due to ongoing repair work on the dam.

Jessup River Road Closed: 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.

Wakley Dam Area Closed: Wakley Dam is being refurbished and significant damage from flooding to the Cedar River Road and the camping area has forced the closure of the Wakely Dam Area. It’s believed the project will be completed in September. The Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road is currently closed. Workers are at the dam during the week and block the trail with equipment during non-work hours and on weekends.

Black River Wild Forest – West Canada Creek: Haskell-West River Road is closed along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds and the work is not expected to be completed this year.

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.

EASTERN-SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

The Hudson, Schroon, Lake George, Champlain, Sacandaga, Washington Co

** Lake Champlain Toxic Algae Blooms Possible: 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.

Sacandaga Lake Fishing Pier Now Open: 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.

Great Sacandaga Lake – Broadalbin Boat Launch Site: The town swimming beach is now closed by decision of the town. DEC will now manage the parking area of the former beach for fishing access and car-top boat launching and retrieval only. Boaters without trailers are encouraged to launch their boats in the former beach area and park in the nearby parking area rather than using the main section of the Broadalbin Boat Launch Site. The area will be open from 5 am to 10 pm to reduce littering, vandalism and other illegal activities at the site. The change in operation is expected to reduce congestion in the main section of the popular Broadalbin Boat Launch Site.

Siamese Ponds Wilderness: There is a culvert out on Old Farm Road preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead – park at the snowplow turnaround. The bridge over Chatiemac Brook on the Second Pond Trail as is the bridge over William Blake Pond Outlet on the Halfway Brook/William Blake Pond Trail. DEC will be replacing both bridges with natural log bridges. The southern end of the East Branch Sacandaga Trail was brushed out this spring from Eleventh Mountain to Cross Brook. Beavers have a built a dam directly above the foot bridge over Cisco Creek, both ends of the bridge may be flooded at times. The Puffer Pond – Kings Flow Trail (Upper Trail) to Puffer Pond is blocked by beaver ponds. A temporary reroute has been marked to the north and upstream of the beaver dam. Hikers can also take the King Flows East Trail to the Puffer Pond Brook (Outlet) Trail to reach Puffer Pond.

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: 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.

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.

Hudson River Recreation Area: Gay Pond Road, River Road and Buttermilk Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area remain heavily rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the roads at this time.

Hammond Pond Wild Forest: The Lindsey Brook Trail is closed due to flooding by beaver activity.

Hoffman Notch Wilderness: Some stream crossings do not have bridges and may be difficult to cross in high water conditions.

Pharaoh Lake Wilderness: The bridge over Wolf Pond Outlet on the East Shore Pharaoh Lake Trail was replaced. There is a short reroute between the bridge and the intersection for the Swing Trail. The Glidden Marsh-Pharaoh Lake Trail on the northside of the lake has been moved up hill from the lake. Follow the Blue Trail Markers.

NORTHERN-NORTHWESTERN ADIRONDACKS

Santa Clara, Tupper and Saranac Lakes, St. Regis, Lake Lila

** Special Access to Jefferson, St. Lawrence County Wetlands: The public will have a special opportunity to visit restricted portions of three Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties starting Saturday, Aug. 20 and continuing through Wednesday, Aug. 31. During the 12-day period, Perch River WMA in Jefferson County (off Route 12 near Brownville, Orleans and Pamelia) and Upper and Lower Lakes (two miles west of Canton along Route 68) and Wilson Hill WMAs (six miles west of Massena off Route 37) in St. Lawrence County, including their wetland restricted areas, will be open to visitors. This is the 16th year DEC will open the WMA wetlands for expanded public access. For most of the year, these wetlands are off limits to the public to provide feeding and resting areas for migratory waterfowl. The restricted wetland areas are also used by a number of New York State’s endangered, threatened, and rare species including bald eagles, black terns, and northern harriers (marsh hawks), among others. By late August, the nesting and brooding season is mostly complete and the fall migration period has not yet begun, enabling DEC to allow public access. However, ongoing habitat management and monitoring projects on the WMAs should still be avoided. Due to duck population studies, Perch Lake itself will only be open from noon until 9 P.M. each day. For additional information, bird lists and maps, contact DECs Regional Wildlife Office at 315-785-2263 or visit the DEC webpage.

** 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.

** 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.

Chazy Highlands Wild Forest: Trailhead signs and a trail register box have been installed at the parking area for the Lyon Mountain Trail. Also a sign identifying the entrance road to the trailhead parking area has been installed on the Chazy Lake Road. They were installed by the Town of Dannemora Highway Department.

Connery Pond Road – Whiteface Landing: Connery Pond Road is open, however 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.

Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: The gate on the Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp Road 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.

** 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.

** Whitney Wilderness/Lake Lila: The Lake Lila Road is open but rough in some areas – use caution. Do not block the gate at the Lake Lila Parking Area. A Whitney Wilderness webpage has been updated with information about the unit and its recreational opportunities.

** Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: The three furthest campsites along the True Brook Road are inaccessible due to poor road conditions. A new webpage has been developed for the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands with information about the unit and its 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.

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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, August 18, 2011

DEC Region 5 Forest Ranger Report (Mid-Summer)

What follows is the Mid-Summer Forest Ranger Activity Report for DEC Region 5, which includes most of the Adirondack region. Although not a comprehensive detailing of all backcountry incidents, these reports are issued periodically by the DEC and printed here at the Almanack in their entirety. They are organized by county, and date. You can read previous Forest Ranger Reports here.

These incident reports are a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry and always carry a 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.

The Adirondack Almanack reports current outdoor recreation and trail conditions each Thursday evening. Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Conditions Report on Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and on the stations of North Country Public Radio. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Adirondack Fish: American Eel

The mysterious, unique, native populations of the American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) have drastically declined in the Adirondacks from historic populations. Surprisingly, individuals can still be found in tiny creeks buried in gravel and mud or under rocks. It has been recommended that the American eel be placed on the Endangered Species list due to alterations to migration routes and loss of habitat, mainly caused by dams along the migration routes.

American eel’s are elongate and very flexible. They have no pelvic fin and their anal and dorsal fins are joined forming one fin that runs around their body. The mouth is terminal, with a projecting lower jaw.

Eels are catadromous, meaning they live most of their adult life in freshwater and return to the sea to spawn and die. American eels are among the longest-lived fish species in North America. A female American eel held in captivity was recorded to be 88 years old prior to her death. The females are larger than the males, averaging three feet long while the males generally reach 1.5 feet long. The females, which have not yet reproduced, are generally what are caught in freshwater systems. The largest eel taken in New York State was seven pounds and 14 ounces, from Cayuga Lake in 1984. At maturity a female can lay between 10-20 million eggs.

The migratory nature of eels means that they can travel thousands of miles upstream, lakes, up and around waterfalls and small dams. They can even travel overland during rainy nights, creating the myth that they come out of the water and crawl across the land. Larval eels that are located out at sea are called leptocephali, they are transparent, ribbon-shaped and are poor swimmers. At age one, the leptocephali swim to shore along the coast of the United States and transform into elvers or glass eels. During this process, they gain their coloring and shrink in size. At this time females will migrate great distances upstream to mature, while males will stay closer to the coast.

After 20-50 years in freshwater the eels transform again into silver eels and move back out to the spawning area, the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean to spawn and then die. The mating behavior of the American eel has never been witnessed. The diet of eels varies by size; the smaller eels eat insects such as mayflies and caddisflies, the larger eels will eat fish and crustaceans, They are most active at night, spending their days hiding under rocks and in the mud.

Eels are considered commercially important in New York and are frequently caught by anglers. American Eels were historically caught for their skins, which were used to bind books or for their oils which were used for medicinal purposes. Today Eels may contain high levels of PCB’s and cannot be commercially sold. Throughout New York State, except the Hudson River, St. Lawrence River, Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and tributaries to these waters, you can fish for American Eel all year. The minimum length is 6 inches with a daily limit of 50.

Corrina Parnapy is a Lake George native and a naturalist who writes about the environment and Adirondack natural history for the Adirondack Almanack.

Photo: An American Eel caught by US Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist Steven Smith holding an eel caught while night electrofishing for salmon in Whallon Bay, Lake Champlain. Photo courtesy USFWS.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Olympic Museum Changes Name to Reflect Collection

What’s in a name? Take the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Museum as an example. When guests visit the museum, located in the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., they believe that they’ll only view and experience artifacts from both the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Winter Games, but there’s so much more. Not only does the museum feature items from the two Games held in Lake Placid, displays also include pieces from every Olympic Winter Games dating back to 1924. That’s why the museum worked with the U.S. Olympic Committee to obtain International Olympic Committee (IOC) approval to change its name to the Lake Placid Olympic Museum.



“Visitors to the museum often said the collection represented more than the two Games held in Lake Placid and we agree that the name should reflect that,” said New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) president/CEO Ted Blazer. “The museum’s collections have grown over the years to encompass representation from each of the Olympic Winter Games, as well as the Olympic Games. With that expansion we felt it was important that the name of the museum mirror the breadth of the museum.”

Established in 1994, the Lake Placid Olympic Museum is the only one of its kind in the United States. In fact, it holds the largest Winter Games collection outside of the IOC’s Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. It’s also the only museum to have received the Olympic Cup, which is the oldest award given by the IOC.

“As the collections have grown and the presentations have become wider in scope, so has the need to change the name,” added museum director, Liz De Fazio. “As we move forward in getting this museum to be a full member of the IOC’s Olympic Museum Network, I feel this will bring us closer to that international look and feel.”

While touring the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, guests can view the first Olympic Winter Games medal ever won, a gold medal, earned by speedskater and Lake Placid native Charles Jewtraw during the 1924 Winter Games. Displays also feature athletes’ participation medals from every modern Olympic Games and Olympic Winter Games, as well as Olympic Team clothing and competition gear from several Games, including the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

The museum’s collection also includes costumes from Olympic figure skating legend Sonja Henie and several world cup and world championship trophies captured by U.S. bobsled and luge athletes, artifacts from the famed 1980 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team, as well as Olympic medals.

The Lake Placid Olympic Museum is located at the box office entrance of the Olympic Center at 2634 Main Street and is open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for juniors and seniors, while children six and under are free. For more information about the museum, log on to www.whiteface.com/museum.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Tony Harper’s Too, Old Forge

The Old Forge (and vicinity) Pub Crawl Part II was reaching its conclusion. For those of you who are just joining us, that Saturday in July was a productive one. The first part started at the Big Moose Inn, then on to the Way Back Inn and the Red Dog Tavern.

We took a break for a lunch meeting then drove out to Daiker’s, then continued back toward Old Forge, stopping at Slicker’s. We dropped the car off and continued on foot to the Tow Bar. Our next stop: Tony Harper’s Too, a.k.a. Pizza Clams for the visually impaired. The “Tony Harper’s Too” portion of the sign is barely visible, but the owner’s husband Don, whom we had met at Slicker’s, had already advised us of its location.



Located on Main Street in Old Forge, across from the Tow Bar, the unique exterior is hard to miss. Stone and brick, outside and in, a semi-circular façade extends the confines of the interior, creating a sense of being outside while in, (or vice versa). The three-sided bar, built of corrugated metal topped with a polished hardwood top continues outdoors, creating a breezy open feel. This was not your typical pizza and clam shack. An acoustic duo played near the entrance as a few of the patrons danced informally outside. There was no seating left at the bar and the restaurant tables were full.

We crowded up to the bar to order a drink. Finding plenty of beer choices, both bottled & draft, Kim chose an Apricot Wheat from the Ithaca Beer Company. As busy as she was, the bartender took our order right away. While we awaited our drinks, a woman returned to her seat at the bar and looked annoyed that we had infringed on her space. Pam tapped Kim’s shoulder and gave her a look that said, “Get out of her way.” Kim moved aside, and they both smiled apologetically to her. Who can resist those sincere smiles?

Moments later we introduced ourselves to the woman and were in the thick of one of those shouting conversations that take place over live music. The bartender came from behind the bar and delivered our drinks. Eventually we politely escaped the conversation, the woman’s boyfriend or husband having tired of being ignored, and got back to the review we had come for.

Pam recognized a few men she had first seen at Daiker’s, then at Slicker’s and who were now here at Tony Harper’s Too. We said hello and decided to try being on the outside looking in. No seats were available out there either, but we were able to stand at a pub table. The music was just as good to hear outside and many young people stood around on the patio, talking, dancing and just enjoying themselves. We spotted Don, who tried to introduce us to his wife and owner, Lisa, but she just wouldn’t be distracted from her conversation with friends. Don’s construction company, D.E. Murphy Constructors, designed the bar and the building and we admired his workmanship from where we stood. Looking up into the turret-like structure, the ceiling was a spoke-work of pine, an enormous metal chandelier hanging from its center.

Tony Harper’s Too is open from 11 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. during the week; until midnight on weekends. The website includes entertainment schedules, the history of Tony Harper’s and full menus, so check there for more detailed information. Armed with the knowledge that this was a fun place to go, we excused ourselves and headed across the street to the Tow Bar, having promised earlier to return there for a couple of drinks – off the clock.

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, August 17, 2011

Mountain Men Encampment at the Adirondack Museum

The Adirondack Museum will host the annual American Mountain Men Rendezvous on Friday, August 19 and Saturday, August 20, 2011. The event features educational interpreters in period dress showcase a variety of historical survival skills.

Visitors will see demonstrations of firearms and shooting, tomahawk and knife throwing, fire starting and campfire cooking. There will be displays of pelts and furs, clothing of eastern and western mountain styles, period firearms and much more.



All of the American Mountain Men activities and demonstrations are included in the price of regular Adirondack Museum admission. There is no charge for museum members. The museum is open 7 days a week from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., including holidays.

Participants in the museum encampment are from the Brothers of the New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts segment of the national American Mountain Men organization. Participation in the encampment is by invitation only.

Mountain men are powerful symbols of America’s wild frontier. Legends about the mountain man continue to fascinate because many of the tales are true: the life of the mountain man was rough, and despite an amazing ability to survive in the wilderness, it brought him face to face with death on a regular basis.

The American Mountain Men group was founded in 1968. The association researches and studies the history, traditions, tools, and mode of living of the trappers, explorers, and traders known as the mountain men. Members continuously work for mastery of the primitive skills of both the original mountain men and Native Americans. The group prides itself on the accuracy and authenticity of its interpretation and shares the knowledge they have gained with all who are interested.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wildlife Handiwork: Beaver Dams

As more frequent rain begins to replace the prolonged dry periods of early to mid summer, water levels in streams and rivers slowly start to rise from their early August lows. Yet, back country paddlers that are hoping to encounter fewer surface rocks and other obstacles that become present during times of low water are likely to be confronted with a new navigational hazard.

During the latter part of August, the awakening urge in the beaver to erect a series of dams, and to repair and heighten any stick and mud barrier that already exists in various waterways, can cause frustration to anyone hoping to encounter an unobstructed flow of water. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: McCauley Mountain Chairlift

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

There are only 60 chairs on the double chairlift at McCauley Mountain in Old Forge, down about 20 from its winter route. All the unused chairs are lined up, freshly painted and repaired waiting for the start of the winter season.

It is a smooth and steady 2,200’ ride to the top. It does seem odd to be riding a chairlift in summer. The children are lined up waiting their turn, pretending they are going to hit the moguls on the way down. We even encounter the prerequisite lost lift item request from a couple already lift bound. We retrieve the shoe and are thankful it’s just a kicked off flip-flop and not a ski buried in the snow.

It is a leisurely ride to the top so we are able to glance around at the view of the Fulton Chain of Lakes, Old Forge and Grey Lake. Our exit is uneventful without the cumbersome addition of ski gear. Cinderella is patiently waiting at top for her lost shoe. Picnic tables and Adirondack chairs are scattered about. The children run about finding playmates to explore the backside of the summit.

Though some people decide to hike the short trek down the mountain, we decide to take the lift back down this time seeing the beauty of the lakes and mountains around us. The leaves have not started to turn but there are occasional indicators that fall will be here soon.

The Fulton Chain of Lakes is a portion of a river system that extends to Lake Ontario and was first dammed in the late 1700s. According to the Fulton Chain of Lakes Association the present dam at Old Forge holds back 6.8 billion gallons of water. Lower Fulton Chain starts at Old Forge Pond and travels to First Lake, Second, Third, Fourth Lakes to the Towns of Eagle Bay and Inlet and ending sequentially with Eighth Lake.

If you still have time or energy after riding the lift, there are still 20 km of XC ski trails that can be accessed right at the base of the main lodge. There is also a large playground and plenty of benches. McCauley Mountain is located in Old Forge. The Scenic Chairlift is open daily (except Tuesdays) through Labor Day from 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. with shortened hours during autumn. Adults are $6, juniors (6-16) and seniors (+65) $5 and children 5 – under are free.

Photo and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane 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) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The North Country SPCA Needs A New Home

What follows is a guest essay by Margaret Miller Reuther, past President of the North Country SPCA and now co-chair of the capital campaign to build a new animal shelter for Essex County. The Almanack asked Margaret to explain why we need a new shelter.

Since its doors opened in 1969, the North Country SPCA has helped literally thousands of surrendered, abandoned and abused cats and dogs find loving homes. Now, after more than 40 years of helping others, we need your help.

A new shelter is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. The current shelter in Westport is so old and rundown that our only option is to start over. In our small shelter we must put up to four cats in a cage that’s half the size the Humane Society recommends. Our dog cages are about a third of the recommended size. Also, we are forced to keep dogs and cats in the same room. This creates high stress levels, making the animals less adoptable because they are either more aggressive or very shy. And our shelter has no place to isolate sick cats and dogs, putting all of our animals at risk.



The North Country SPCA plans to build a new shelter in Elizabethtown. The new facility has been designed by ARQ Architects, a small firm which has revolutionized the field of animal care with major shelters in New York City and San Francisco.

The new facility will be a prototype for smaller shelters nationwide. It will feature animal housing which meets modern criteria for animal care, a get-acquainted room where people can spend time with a pet before adopting, and an energy-efficient “green” building that will save money as it uses up to 30% less energy. Finally, studies show that modern shelters increase adoption rates by 50 to 100 percent, so our new building will help many more cats and dogs, puppies and kittens find a second chance at a loving home.

Representative Teresa Sayward says “Our cat, Harriet, and I ask that you help us build a new facility that is properly equipped to house the dogs and cats that are awaiting a family of their own. Your tax-deductible donation will be greatly appreciated.” Senator Betty Little concurs. “A new facility is now needed and incorporating environmental and energy-efficient standards is the right long-term approach.”

We are 80% of the way to our goal, but we still need $250,000. To put us over the top, we recently received a Challenge Grant and until October 1st, all gifts will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to a total of $125,000. Please be generous and help us build a new home for the many needy dogs and cats in Essex County.

Westport vet David Goldwasser says “The woefully inadequate facility in Westport can no longer serve the needs of our homeless animal population. I am thrilled that we will finally have a new facility which we can be proud of.” Ticonderoga vet James Mack agrees, “A new shelter is a welcome and needed addition to the North Country.” And Sue Russell at the Westport Veterinary Hospital says “The 1960’s building has outlived its usefulness. A new shelter is a necessity.”

The NCSPCA does not received state or federal funding. Private donors provide 85 percent of our annual budget while adoption fees and town contracts account for only 15 percent.

The NCSPCA is the only SPCA animal shelter in rural Essex County. We are a no-kill shelter that provides refuge to over 400 dogs and cats each year. Some are brought in by owners who can no longer care for them. Others are strays. Numerous cats and kittens are dropped at our doorstep in the middle of the night. And the police bring us animals that are victims of unspeakable abuse.

For more information, log on to www.NCSPCA.org, or Facebook.com/North Country SPCA. You can also watch the video overview of this campaign on YouTube.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dave Gibson on Birding: The Tale of the Veery

Summer has flown. Bird song no longer greets our sunrise. Many Adirondack migratory songbirds are starting to fly to their wintering grounds in Central and South America and the Caribbean islands this month. I take account of one very familiar bird I really missed this summer. Since we moved to Saratoga County in 1984, the flute-like, descending song of the male Veery ( Ve-urr, Ve-urr, Ve-urr) penetrated from our woodlands, beginning in late May and lasting well through the summer. The bird bred and raised young here for at least 25 years, and probably for centuries before that.

Veery, one of our familiar upstate thrushes, was a constant in our summer lives until this year when I only began to hear Veery in our woods in mid- July, long after this species usually nests. Its immediate habitat hadn’t changed. With this 50-acre patch of forest habitat more or less unchanged, I conjecture there were simply fewer breeding Veery in the area to fill its favorable habitat, and a non-breeding adult came to these woods late in their season. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 15, 2011

John Dunlap: Emperor John the First?

In 1870, Watertown’s John L. Dunlap was named as a candidate for Congress, and in 1872 he declared once again for the presidency. When General William Tecumseh Sherman toured the North Country, Dunlap met with him and suggested they become running mates. Included in his proposed platform was a single term of only four years for any president, and the elimination of electors in favor of counting the peoples’ votes.

An Ogdensburg newspaper supported his candidacy with these words: “Dr. Dunlap is a staid and conservative old gentleman. If elected, he would lend honor, virtue, dignity, and character to the party.” The Watertown Re-Union added, “Whatever may be said of the other candidates, Doctor Dunlap is a genuine Jackson Democrat, one of the real old stock.”

Of eight candidates, the Ogdensburg Journal said Dunlap was “the most consistent, if not the ablest, of all named. … If the people should be so fortunate as to elect him as their President, they will find him a true man.”

In Albany, the doctor’s old haunts prior to 1850, a Dunlap Club of 6,000 members was organized, and in Vermont, adjacent to his longtime home in Washington County, N.Y., he enjoyed strong support. For a campaign with meager resources, things were going quite well.

But then, as if to legitimize his candidacy, the unthinkable happened: an assassination attempt. The Troy Weekly Times reported that an effort to shoot Dr. Dunlap had failed, and that he had also been offered money in exchange for withdrawing his candidacy. Other newspapers denied the bribe story.

Meanwhile, the good doctor continued giving speeches in major cities (including his old July 4th oration from two decades earlier, which was ever popular) and continued selling his medicines. He sought the nomination at several different party conventions, but was unsuccessful. Just weeks after the 1872 election, Dunlap was off to Europe.

It was at this point in his life that certain events occurred, events that would somewhat cloud his career and paint him as truly eccentric—and for good reason. Through his decades as a Washington County physician, his years of selling medicines to anyone that he met, and a lifetime of politics, Dunlap had always been a vigorous self-promoter.

He loved the limelight, and it seemed to love him as well. The media was more than happy to offer the latest news on Dunlap’s unusual life. Yes, he was different, but he was clearly an intelligent man who enjoyed living life to the fullest.

Out of Europe came a cable from the doctor, informing his hometown friends that Louis Thiers, president of France, had welcomed and befriended the North Country’s most prominent physician and statesman. So impressed was Thiers with Dunlap’s support of the common man that, according to the doctor’s telegram, a statue was to be erected in his honor.

A detailed description of the sculpture was provided, to be done in the finest Carrara marble and placed in the Capitoline Museum in Paris or “beside that of the Apollo of the Belvidere in the Vatican at Rome.” In keeping with Dunlap’s politics, the sculpture’s inscription was to read, “The will of the people is the supreme law.”

The cost of commissioning Cordier was placed at nearly $70,000 for the five-year job, and the unveiling was scheduled for March 4, 1877—the day John Dunlap planned to be sworn in as America’s 19th president. Now that’s advertising.

Yes, it was all starting to sound a bit bizarre. On the other hand, it may have been a clear-minded effort aimed at self-promotion, truly the doctor’s forte.

Raising the bar a bit, Dunlap had begun claiming that he was engaged to Queen Victoria. In July 1873 was held the grand opening of the Thousand Island House, a spectacular hotel at Alexandria Bay. Since it was the social highlight of the summer season, Dunlap informed the media that he would be in attendance—and planned to meet Queen Victoria there.

The event was huge, with an estimated 10,000 visitors. Dignitaries from across New York State and Quebec were invited to the gala, and some did attend. Newspaper coverage humored readers with a report on Dr. Dunlap’s appearance.

“The doctor came down from the city for the purpose of meeting Queen Victoria, who, from some unexplained cause, did not arrive. Several scions of English nobility were introduced to the Doctor, and were much pleased with his scholarly attainments, his commanding figure, and splendid personal appearance, as well as the extempore remarks made by him on that occasion. The Doctor wears next to his heart a beautiful likeness of the Queen, presented by her at the time of their betrothal.”

Did this behavior suggest a mental problem, as some have claimed, or was this just an old man (he was 74) having a lot of fun and enjoying the attention?

In early 1874, Dunlap was taken ill, but managed to recover and mount another run for governor. The Watertown Times offered its support, noting that “The Doctor was swindled out of his matrimonial engagement with the British Queen and cheated out of the Presidency, and yet it is said he will accept the office of Governor of the Empire State.”

At the July 4 celebration at Sackets Harbor, General Grant was expected to speak (he had served two stints there). Dr. Dunlap was invited to give another of his stirring talks, this time on Stephen Douglas, Lincoln’s famous debate opponent.

In August of that year, the newspapers had more fun with this report: “We are informed that Alexander, Emperor of Russia, has abdicated in favor of Hon. John L. Dunlap of this city, who will henceforth be known as Emperor John the First.”

At the time, it may have been all in good fun. Dunlap was a likable guy and unabashedly open, providing great copy for newspapermen. After all, his medicinal claims, political forays, decades of seeking the presidency, and supposed connections to foreign leaders were very entertaining.

Viewed 150 years later, they suggest an oddball character, and maybe someone not playing with a full deck. But perhaps the truth lay in his love of attention, his devotion to politics, and his great talent for promotion. What seemed eccentric or erratic may well have been a carefully contrived personal marketing plan.

Whatever the case, it worked. Throughout his life, John Dunlap was prominent in the media, a successful physician, and financially well-off from the sale of his medicines. In December 1875, he died at the home of his son and daughter in Parish (Oswego County). His estate was valued at about $30,000, equal to approximately a half million dollars today. He apparently was doing something right all those years.

Four days after his death, the Jefferson County vote totals from the most recent elections were published. True to form right to the end, Dunlap had received a single vote for Poorhouse Physician, tied for last with “Blank” (representing a blank ballot) behind four other doctors.

There’s no doubt that John Dunlap was an unusual man. His contemporaries referred to his “harmless idiosyncrasy” and his fervent love for and involvement in politics. They smiled at his loquaciousness, his many love letters to the queen, and his insistence that the people truly wanted him as president, but that political parties had constantly foiled his efforts.

But even at his death, there were those who suspected he was perhaps “crazy like a fox,” as indicated in one writer’s eulogy. “And yet, despite these singular mental aberrations, the doctor was a moneymaker. He would never pay anything to advance his political or marital schemes. Herein was ground for the belief of many that the doctor only feigned his peculiarities, the better to be able to sell his medicines, for no matter with whom he talked on the subject of politics or the like, he was sure before the end of the conversation to pull out a bottle of his medicine, urge its efficacy, and try to make a sale.”

John L. Dunlap—tireless salesman, dyed-in-the-wool patriot, presidential aspirant, and Watertown legend—truly a man of the people.

Photo: Advertisement for one of Dunlap’s syrups (1863).

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.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Scaroon Manor and Accessible State Lands

During the opening ceremony of the new Scaroon Manor Campground and Day Use Area on Schroon Lake, State Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward told a short story. Standing at a podium under a newly built pavilion on the sweeping grounds of the former resort turned DEC Campground, Sayward told a small crowd that when she was young, she “couldn’t afford to come here.” Once, she said, on a school field trip she had come to the Scaroon Manor resort by bus for the day and was amazed by what she saw. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Doug Fitzgerald: Recreation Has Value For Everyone

What follows is a guest essay by Doug Fitzgerald of the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership (AFPEP). Fitzgerald, a licensed guide, retired in 2010 after 26 years at the Department of Conservation’s Division of Operations as a Conservation Supervisor. Fitzgerald is also Scoutmaster Emeritus for Boy Scouts of America Troop 12 in Paul Smiths.

Recreation plays a valuable role in our lives. Getting outdoors and having fun are not luxuries; they are a necessary part of life. The benefits of recreation include physical fitness, good health, self-worth, joy, friendship and an appreciation for the environment. Playing outdoors enhances our lives through increased enjoyment and learning.

For people with disabilities, these benefits are equally important. Positive recreational experiences can be life changing. My son John is a perfect example, here is his story. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Astronomy: August Night Sky With The Naked Eye

Here are some naked eye objects for the month of August. 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 August 2011). The map shows what is in the sky in August at 9 pm for early August; 8 pm for late August.

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!

A few new items added to the list to view this month, along with some of the previously mentioned ones from July.

Perseid Meteor Shower

This is definitely the highlight this month every year. The full moon may interfere with your view of some of the dimmer meteors but the brighter meteors should still be visible with the moon light this year. The peak of the Perseid’s is on August 12, and 13th, between midnight and an hour before sunrise, and I mean the morning hours after midnight – not that night. The meteors will be radiating out of the constellation Perseus (marked on the map link provided above), although you should be able to see them looking anywhere in the sky except towards the moon.

Jupiter

Jupiter starts to rise in the east at 11:45pm early in the month of August, and around 11pm later in the month. It will be the brightest object in the sky, other than the moon. NASA has just launched the spacecraft Juno which is making it’s way to the gas giant. It will take Juno 5 years to reach Jupiter.

Uranus

You will need to be in a very dark location, a gray or black location on the light pollution map posted above. Uranus will be in the constellation Pisces, rising at 10pm and 9pm later in the month. May be a very hard target to spot if light pollution is present, and if it is too low on the horizon when looking.

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.

Scorpius

Messier Object 7 (M7) is an open star cluster near the stinger of Scorpius is a small, hazy patch known since antiquity. Visible enough that the Greek astronomer Ptolemy cataloged it. M6 an open star cluster is nearby to the north of M7 and is a little smaller and fainter. M6 is also known as the Butterfly Cluster.

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.

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

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: Picture of the planet Jupiter from NASA’s Solar System Exploration. Bottom, the radiant of the Perseid Meteor shower from a screenshot of astronomy freeware Stellarium.

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


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Lake George Shipwrecks and Sunken History

A new book, Lake George Shipwrecks and Sunken History, was published this spring by The History Press. Written by Joseph W. Zarzynski and Bob Benway, the book is a collection their columns previously published in the Lake George Mirror along with additional material. Zarzynski and Benway helped establish Bateaux Below, which works to preserve shipwreck sites in Lake George.

The depths of Lake George hold an incredible world of shipwrecks and lost history. Zarzynski and archeological diver Bob Benway present the most intriguing discoveries among more than two hundred known shipwreck sites. Entombed are remnants of Lake George’s important naval heritage, such as the 1758 Land Tortoise radeau, considered America’s oldest intact warship. Other wrecks include the steam yacht Ellide, and excursion boat Scioto, and the first Minne-Ha-Ha (including some new findings). Additional stories include an explanation behind the 1926 disappearance of two hunters, John J. Eden and L. D. Greene, of Middletown, and pieces on the lake’s logging history and marine railways.



Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.