Friday, July 29, 2011

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories

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

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Adirondack Fish and Game Report (July 28)

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.

** MAIN MOOSE RIVER PLAINS ROAD REOPENS
The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road), will be fully open to motor vehicles beginning Friday, July 29. The area was hit hard during the historic flooding which occurred across the Adirondack Park this spring, with the eastern portion receiving significantly more damage. 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..

** REMAINING BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES
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; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds. The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently opened, will be closed Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement will be closed to the public starting Monday August 1st. The Jessup and Miami River bridge project will kickoff on Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead from August 1st through September 6th. Access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will remain open to the public during this project.

** 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 [email protected]

** WATERS AT NORMAL LEVELS
Most rivers in the region are running at normal levels for this time of year. 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.

** ADIRONDACK WATERFEST
Lake Placid: Adirondack Waterfest, a free family event, will be held Friday July 29, 2011 at the Lake Placid Town Beach from 10 am – 4pm. Held in partnership with the Mirror Lake Watershed Association, the Lake Placid Shoreowners’ Association and the Mill Pond Neighborhood Association, Adirondack Waterfest will include an array of exhibitors including The Wild Center, the Nature Conservancy, the Lake Champlain Basin Program, and local River and Lake Associations. Individuals can learn about local water resources, recreation, water quality, water monitoring, shoreline management and more. Fiddlehead Creek Native Plant Nursery will be selling an array of native plants for your garden. A Kids Area will be offered with activities, games, prizes, t-shirt printing and a bouncy house. There will also be live music throughout the day supplied by local radio station WSLP.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN BORDER INSPECTIONS
Each weekend through August 14, boaters entering the United States from Canada at Rouses Point can expect to be inspected by U.S. Border Patrol. The New York Naval Militia is helping the Border Patrol by making contact with vessels that don’t report at the Customs and Border Protection inspection station, just north of the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge between Rouses Point and Alburg, Vermont, and directing them there.

** 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.

NEW BOB MARSHALL WILD LANDS COMPLEX MAP
Local and state officials have announced a cooperative effort among 24 villages and hamlets in the western Adirondacks to promote the half million acre Bob Marshall Wild Lands Complex. “The Bob”, as it is also known, is a mix of public and private land larger than the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and almost as large as Yosemite. The Bob includes more than 100,000 acres of Old Growth forests; More than 1,400 lakes and ponds; hundreds of miles of flat and white-water paddling including portions of the Moose, Independence and Oswagacthie rivers; More than 400 miles of hiking trails; and blocks of private land, including remote interior communities like Big Moose, Conifer, Stillwater and Beaver River. The Bob is named after Robert Marshall, who first proposed special protection for the area in the 1930s. The only travel corridor that bisects the entire Bob is the former Adirondack Railroad line that stretches from Remsen (north of Utica) to Lake Placid. Most of the public lands are open to hunting and fishing. More information can be found online.

** INDEPENDENCE RIVER WILD FOREST CHANGES
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced its plans to amend the Independence River Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP). The Independence River Wild Forest includes over 79,000 acres in Lewis and Herkimer counties. The draft amendment proposes the rerouting of several trails or trail segments to reduce environmental impacts and the designation of several old roads as new snowmobile trails. Additionally, the amendment will classify all snowmobile trails as Class I, Secondary Trails or Class II, Community Connector Trails, as defined in Adirondack Park Snowmobile Management Guidance [pdf]. Comments will be received until August 3, 2011. The proposed amendment can be found by visiting the DEC website and navigate to the UMP webpage.

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 protected] 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.

BITING INSECTS
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks so Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and/or Midges 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 begun ticketing violators of this 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: Chance of showers and thunderstorms. Cloudy, high near 75.
Friday Night: Chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, low around 54.
Saturday: Mostly sunny, high near 79.
Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 52.
Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 81.

ADIRONDACK FISHING REPORTS

** Stocking
Annual spring stocking has been completed.

Current Seasons
Open seasons include Trout, Landlock Salmon, Pike, Pickerel, Tiger Muskie, Walleye, Yellow Perch, Crappie and Sunfish. Muskellenge and Black Bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) seasons reopened June 18. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

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.

** New State Record Brook Trout Caught
An angler from Forestport, in Oneida County, is the new holder of the state record brook trout according to DEC. Dan Germain reeled in the record-breaking fish on June 15, while fishing South Lake in Herkimer County in the southwest corner of the Adirondack Park. Caught on a Lake Clear Wobbler and worm, the brook trout weighed in at 5 pounds, 8 ounces and measured 22 inches, surpassing the previous state record set in 2009 by 3.5 ounces. Germain submitted details of his winning fish as part of DEC’s Angler Achievement Awards Program. Through this program, anglers enter freshwater fish that meet specific qualifying criteria and receive official recognition of their catch and a distinctive lapel pin commemorating their achievement. The three categories that make up the program are: Catch & Release, Annual Award and State Record. More information about the Angler Achievement Awards Program, including a downloadable application form, can be found online

** Round Whitefish in Little Green Pond, Franklin County
In mid-May, DEC Fisheries staff set up offshore nets at three sites and conducted night electrofishing surveys around half the shoreline of Little Green Pond in Franklin County. Little Green Pond is closed to fishing as it is a broodstock water that has been stocked three times from 2004-2006 with endangered round whitefish species to help promote breeding. The three offshore nets captured 30 adult round whitefish. These fish were sent to the DEC Rome Fish Disease Control Unit for disease testing. Electrofishing efforts revealed an equal number of adult round whitefish located in the nearshore areas of the pond. Unfortunately, no young round whitefish were seen or captured. Other species seen during the survey included an abundance of rainbow smelt nearshore, as well as brook trout, golden shiner, and one white sucker. Round whitefish otoliths (inner ear bones), were sent to Dr. Geoff Steinhart to determine the age of the captured fish.

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 ([email protected]; 518-564-3037).

Revised Baitfish Regulations
DEC regulations that formerly banned the overland transport of uncertified baitfish by anglers, including baitfish that were personally collected have been revised effective June 29th. The new rules allow for the overland transport of personally-collected baitfish within three specified transportation corridors, provided the baitfish are used in the same water body from which they are collected. The three transportation corridors include: the Lake Erie-Upper Niagara River; the Lower Niagara River-Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River; and the Hudson River from the Federal Dam at Troy downstream to the Tappan Zee Bridge. While overland transport is allowed within these defined areas, the use of uncertified baitfish is restricted to the same water body from which it is collected. Only certified disease-free baitfish may be transported in motorized vehicles outside of the transportation corridors specified in the amended regulations. A prohibition on transport of baitfish remains in effect outside the designated transportation corridors. Details of the modifications may be viewed on DEC’s website.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

Current Seasons
All waterfowl, turkey, big and small game seasons (with the exception of Snapping Turtle) are closed. All trapping seasons are closed.

** Snapping Turtle Hunting Opens 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 beginning July 15th. The season remains open through September 30, 2011. For details on size and bag limits during the season, please check the Reptile Hunting page online.

Public Meetings Scheduled on Champlain Waterfowl Zone
Two public meetings on the status of waterfowl populations and waterfowl hunting seasons for Lake Champlain in New York and Vermont will be held by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. A meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 9, will be held at Skenesborough Rescue Squad building in Whitehall, Washington County, NY. A meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 10, will be held at the University of Vermont’s Billings Lecture Hall in Burlington, VT. Both meetings will run from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Those attending the Burlington meeting should park off Colchester Avenue. Topics to be discussed include the status of waterfowl populations and fall waterfowl flight forecasts, federal frameworks and proposed 2011-2012 Lake Champlain Zone waterfowl hunting season options, among other items. The current Lake Champlain Waterfowl Zone, established in 1988, includes all of Lake Champlain and an additional narrow strip of shoreline in both Vermont and New York. Under federal regulations, waterfowl seasons, bag limits, and shooting hours in the Lake Champlain Zone must be uniform throughout the entire zone. Therefore, waterfowl seasons in New York’s portion of the Lake Champlain Zone must be identical to the waterfowl season in Vermont’s portion of the Zone. Comments received at the August meetings, as well as input and recommendations from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and New York DEC will be reviewed by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board. To provide comments or obtain additional information about waterfowl management and seasons in the Lake Champlain Zone, contact: Lance Durfey, Region 5 Wildlife Manager, NYSDEC, PO Box 296, Route 86, Ray Brook, NY 12977-0296 or call (518-897-1291). Comments must be received by close of business August 19. Waterfowl seasons and bag limits for New York’s waterfowl zones, including the Lake Champlain Zone, will be posted on DEC’s website.

Tentative 2011-12 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons
DEC has announced the tentative schedule for many of New York’s 2011-2012 migratory game bird seasons, allowing sportsmen and sportswomen to plan outdoor activities well in advance. Tentative season dates for ducks, geese, woodcock, snipe and rails can now be found on the DEC website. Tentative dates for the Lake Champlain Zone will be determined by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board following public meetings likely to be held in August in Whitehall, NY and Burlington, Vermont. DEC encourages New York waterfowl hunters who frequent the Champlain Zone to attend one of these meetings; details will be announced later this summer. Comments and suggestions about the Lake Champlain Zone may also be submitted to any DEC season-setting team member or by e-mail to [email protected]

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

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


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (July 28)

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.

ALL ROCK CLIMBING ROUTES HAVE REOPENED
Peregrine falcon nesting activity has ended for the season and all rock climbing routes are now open. Peregrine falcon nest monitoring efforts will be completed in the next couple of weeks. However, it is already clear that 2011 was a difficult year for falcon nesting in the Adirondacks, with many nest failures and very few nests producing more than one chick. This is most likely due to the severe rainstorms and flooding early in the nesting season. DEC appreciates the assistance and cooperation of the rock climbing community and thanks the climbers that assisted in monitoring cliffs and nest sites. Thanks also to climbers for their patience and understanding and not climbing closed routes. If you observe a peregrine falcon exhibiting defensive or distressed behavior while climbing, please descend immediately and report your observations to the DEC Region 5 Wildlife Office at 518-897-1291. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** MAIN MOOSE RIVER PLAINS ROAD REOPENS
The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road), will be fully open to motor vehicles beginning Friday, July 29. The area was hit hard during the historic flooding which occurred across the Adirondack Park this spring, with the eastern portion receiving significantly more damage. 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..

** REMAINING BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES
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; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds. The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently opened, will be closed Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement will be closed to the public starting Monday August 1st. The Jessup and Miami River bridge project will kickoff on Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead from August 1st through September 6th. Access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will remain open to the public during this project.

** WATERS AT NORMAL LEVELS
Most rivers in the region are running at normal levels for this time of year. 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.

** RAQUETTE RIVER AWARENESS WEEK (7/30 – 8/6)
From Saturday, July 30th through Saturday, August 6th The Raquette River Blueway Corridor has scheduled a week of events for Raquette River Awareness Week. From flea markets to Class V whitewater kayaking, the communities along the Raquette River hope to introduce residents and visitors alike to the beauty of the Raquette River and the communities that line its banks. More information can be found online.

** ADIRONDACK WATERFEST
Adirondack Waterfest, a free family event, will be held Friday July 29, 2011 at the Lake Placid Town Beach from 10 am – 4pm. Held in partnership with the Mirror Lake Watershed Association, the Lake Placid Shoreowners’ Association and the Mill Pond Neighborhood Association, Adirondack Waterfest will include an array of exhibitors including The Wild Center, the Nature Conservancy, the Lake Champlain Basin Program, and local River and Lake Associations. Individuals can learn about local water resources, recreation, water quality, water monitoring, shoreline management and more. Fiddlehead Creek Native Plant Nursery will be selling an array of native plants for your garden. A Kids Area will be offered with activities, games, prizes, t-shirt printing and a bouncy house. There will also be live music throughout the day supplied by local radio station WSLP.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN BORDER INSPECTIONS
Each weekend through August 14, boaters entering the United States from Canada at Rouses Point can expect to be inspected by U.S. Border Patrol. The New York Naval Militia is helping the Border Patrol by making contact with vessels that don’t report at the Customs and Border Protection inspection station, just north of the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge between Rouses Point and Alburg, Vermont, and directing them there.

** 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 so Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and/or Midges 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 begun ticketing violators of this 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: Chance of showers and thunderstorms. Cloudy, high near 75.
Friday Night: Chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, low around 54.
Saturday: Mostly sunny, high near 79.
Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 52.
Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 81.

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

** NPT Lake Durant/Stephens Pond Area Volunteers Needed: Volunteers are sought on Monday, August 1st and 8th to remove numerous blowdowns (varying in size from small to quite large trees) with hand tools in the Lake Durant / Stephens Pond area. Each day will involve several miles of hiking along with 5 to 7 hours of strenuous work. Volunteers should bring a crosscut saw, an axe, bowsaw, or pruning saw if they have them; several hand tools including a crosscut saw will be available. Volunteers will meet at the shower building at the Lake Durant Campground at 9 am and return around 5 pm. Brief instruction on axe and saw work will be provided for those not proficient with those tools. Participants should bring plenty of water, lunch, and clothing appropriate for the weather. Volunteers will work rain or shine. If interested contact: Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at [email protected]
or 518-429-0049.

Chubb River Crossing: Due to deterioration and damage of the “Flume” bridge, the last stringer on the bridge crossing over the Chubb River on the Northville-Placid Trail north of Wanika Falls is very dangerous. For safety, hikers may want to wade the river to cross at this point. The bridge will be replaced this summer.

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 flooded 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 washed out. Wading the creek is the only option. The water in Mud Creek will vary from ankle deep to knee deep. The Wakely Dam Camping area is closed.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About a half mile north of the Lake Durant trailhead at Route 28/30 the trail crosses several flooded boardwalks. Use extreme caution as the boardwalk is not visible and may shift. Expect to get your boots wet and use a stick or hiking pole to feel your way along to avoid falling off the boardwalk.

Lake Durant to Long Lake: About 4 miles north of the Tirrell Pond the trail is flooded by beaver activity. The reroute to the east is now also flooded in spots.

Duck Hole to Averyville Rd. and Lake Placid: Beaver activity has flooded the trail about 3 miles south of the Averyville trailhead and will require a sturdy bushwhack.

ADIRONDACK CANOE ROUTE / NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL

** Expect Heavy Use: The Northern Forest Canoe Trail, a water trail extending from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine is hosting the Second Annual 740 Miles in A Day event this Saturday, July 30. Recently named “America’s Best Canoe Trail 2011” by Outside Magazine, NFCT is hosting the 740 Miles in A Day event to get paddlers out on the water at any point along the trail to raise awareness of trailside businesses and communities. To show your support, the organizers ask that you pre-register and report back on the mile or miles you paddled. The goal is to have multiple paddlers across the Trail contributing a total number of miles paddled that meets or exceeds 740 miles. To register and learn more visit their webpage.

Waters have returned to normal.

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

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.

Little Porter Mountain: The bridge has been replaced over Slide Brook on the Little Porter Mountain 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 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.

Preston Pond Trail: The first bridge west of Henderson Lake on the trail to Preston Ponds and Duck Hole went out with an ice jam and is now impassible.

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, although not along the Northville-Placid 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

** NPT Lake Durant/Stephens Pond Area Volunteers Needed: Volunteers are sought on Monday, August 1st and 8th to remove numerous blowdowns (varying in size from small to quite large trees) with hand tools in the Lake Durant / Stephens Pond area. Each day will involve several miles of hiking along with 5 to 7 hours of strenuous work. Volunteers should bring a crosscut saw, an axe, bowsaw, or pruning saw if they have them; several hand tools including a crosscut saw will be available. Volunteers will meet at the shower building at the Lake Durant Campground at 9 am and return around 5 pm. Brief instruction on axe and saw work will be provided for those not proficient with those tools. Participants should bring plenty of water, lunch, and clothing appropriate for the weather. Volunteers will work rain or shine. If interested contact: Brendan Wiltse, Trails Committee Chair, NPTrail Chapter of ADK, at [email protected]
or 518-429-0049.

** Moose River Plains Road Reopens: The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road), will be fully open to motor vehicles beginning Friday, July 29. The area was hit hard during the historic flooding which occurred across the Adirondack Park this spring, with the eastern portion receiving significantly more damage. 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: The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently opened, will be closed Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement will be closed to the public starting Monday August 1st. The Jessup and Miami River bridge project will kickoff on Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead from August 1st 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.

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.

** Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: The Jessup River Road north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently opened, will be closed Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement will be closed to the public starting Monday August 1st. The Jessup and Miami River bridge project will kickoff on Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead from August 1st through September 6th. Access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will remain open to the public during this project.

** Independence River Wild Forest: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced its plans to amend the Independence River Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP). The Independence River Wild Forest includes over 79,000 acres in Lewis and Herkimer counties. The draft amendment proposes the rerouting of several trails or trail segments to reduce environmental impacts and the designation of several old roads as new snowmobile trails. Additionally, the amendment will classify all snowmobile trails as Class I, Secondary Trails or Class II, Community Connector Trails, as defined in Adirondack Park Snowmobile Management Guidance [pdf]. Comments will be received until August 3, 2011. The proposed amendment can be found by visiting the DEC website and navigate to the UMP webpage.

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

** Lake Champlain Border Inspections: Each weekend through August 14, boaters entering the United States from Canada at Rouses Point can expect to be inspected by U.S. Border Patrol. The New York Naval Militia is helping the Border Patrol by making contact with vessels that don’t report at the Customs and Border Protection inspection station, just north of the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge between Rouses Point and Alburg, Vermont, and directing them there.

** Thirteenth Lake: Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake is open to the snow plow turn around about a quarter mile before the trailhead.

** Sacandaga River Loosetrife Control: On July 7, Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District staff released 200 Galerucella beetles along the Sacandaga River in the town of Lake Pleasant to control Purple Loosestrife, an invasive wetland plant. Explosive populations of Loosestrife kill choke out native vegetation that wildlife depend on for food, shelter, and nesting. Adult plants produce 2.5 million seeds annually that are dispersed by water, wind, and animals. New plants also spring up from fragments and rhizomes. According to Soil and Water Conservation District officials, “Galerucella beetles are voracious herbivores that feed on the leaves and stems of Purple Loosestrife, but do not harm native wetland vegetation or garden ornamentals. As their food source declines, the bugs will die out.”

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.

Tongue Mountain: In the Tongue Mountain Range, signs and markers for the Fifth Peak lean-to at the junction of the Blue Trail and Yellow Trail were replaced in May. Several large trees down on the Tongue Mountain Trail have been removed from the trail.

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

** Lake Champlain Border Inspections: Each weekend through August 14, boaters entering the United States from Canada at Rouses Point can expect to be inspected by U.S. Border Patrol. The New York Naval Militia is helping the Border Patrol by making contact with vessels that don’t report at the Customs and Border Protection inspection station, just north of the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge between Rouses Point and Alburg, Vermont, and directing them there.

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.

Moose Pond: The Town of St. Armand has opened the Moose Pond Road, the waterway access site can now be accessed by motor vehicles.

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: Significant work on campsites was conducted last year. 14 new campsites were created, 18 campsites were closed and rehabilitated, 5 campsites were relocated to better locations, 5 campsites were restored to reduce the size of the impacted area and to better define tent pads, and one lean-to was constructed. This summer DEC and the Student Conservation Association will continue work on this project, but the number of campsites involved will not be as significant. As described in the St. Regis Canoe Area Unit Management Plan this work was needed to bring the campsites into compliance with the quarter-mile separation distance required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and to address negative impacts that have occurred through use of the campsites. Maps depicting the current location of campsites are available online [Map 1 – Long Pond Region (PDF) and Map 2 – St Regis Pond Region (PDF)].

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.

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.

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

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

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


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bill McKibben Updates ‘Fight for a Stable Climate’ Monday

Internationally-acclaimed author, educator and environmentalist Bill McKibben will present a program entitled “The Most Important Number in the World: Updates on the Fight for a Stable Climate,” on Monday, August 1, 2011 at the Adirondack Museum. The program is part of the museum’s Monday Evening Lecture series.

McKibben will share news of the latest science around global warming, its effects on the Adirondack region, and the growing global movement to do something about it. In the past two years his group 350.org has coordinated what CNN called “the most widespread days of political action in the planet’s history.” He will share with the audience what those fighting for a stable climate across the planet are doing.

Bill McKibben is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, and author of a dozen books about the environment, including The End of Nature, which is often called the first book for a general audience about climate change. Time Magazine has described him as “the planet’s best green journalist” and the Boston Globe has called him “perhaps the nation’s leading environmentalist.” He has spent much of his adult life in Johnsburg in Warren County, N.Y.

The presentation will be held in the Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. The lecture will be offered at no charge to museum members; the fee for non-members is $5.00. For additional information, visit www.adirondackmuseum.org or call (518) 352-7311.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Paul Smith’s College VIC August Schedule

The Paul Smith’s College VIC has issued their schedule for the remaining summer season. The VIC is located at 8023 State Route 30 in Paul Smiths. For more information about the events listed here or the VIC in general contact Brian McDonnell at (518) 327-6241

July 29 – August 28: “Life on the Lakes” Juried Art Show

The Paul Smith’s College VIC has asked Caroline Thompson, Executive Director of The Arts Council of The Northern Adirondacks, to be the juror of our first juried art show. Artists from around the region have been invited to submit their works for consideration. The Opening Reception will take place from 5 to 7:00 PM on July 29th in the Great Room of the VIC. In addition to the juror selected awards, a “People’s Choice” selection determined through visitors voting for their favorite artist’s work. The balloting will be a fundraiser to support the development of art programming at The VIC.


July 30 – NOLS Comes East

The National Outdoor Leadership School, based in Lander, Wyoming, has utilized the Paul Smith’s College VIC as its eastern outpost for the month of July. NOLS is the recognized leader of “hard skills” in outdoor education and recreation. Come listen to Jack Drury, a former NOLS instructor and well known outdoor educator, give a historical perspective of NOLS followed by a presentation by Adirondack based NOLS logistics coordinator Lindsay Yost on plans for NOLS coming East with their wilderness programs.

August 6: Adirondack Wildlife Festival

The Paul Smith’s College VIC will continue the tradition of hosting the Adirondack Wildlife Festival on August 6 from 10 AM to 8 PM. There will be presentations on all creatures great and small, from Bears to Salamanders. We’ll have live music with Roy Hurd, Native American storytelling with David Fadden of the 6 Nations Indian Museum, Mark Manske’s bird on hand demonstrations, fun and games, visits to the butterfly house and a very special presentation on Loon Conservation in America by Dr. Jim Paruk, The Director of Biodiversity Research Institute’s International Center for Loon Conservation and Research.

August 12: Mindfulness Meditation Yoga Walk

Mary Bartel, ERYT, of Inner Quest Yoga and Wellness Center, will lead a silent walk from 10 AM to Noon to awaken your senses and participate in gentle flowing yoga movements on the trails at The VIC. Preregistration is required. The fee is $25.

August 13: Joe and Jessie Bruchac

Father and son Abenaki singers and storytellers, Joe and Jessie will perform their Native American themed stories and music in the Whispering Pines Amphitheatre at The Paul Smith’s College VIC at 2 PM. Sponsored by the Adirondack Center for Writing.

August 19: Adirondack Plein Air Festival Paints the VIC

Come out to the VIC on Friday August 19th to view artists in various locations around the VIC. The public is welcome to visit artists as they create art on the trails and in the woods. Three of the Plein Air artists have donated paintings to the VIC to raise awareness of the festival and to generate funds for the center. We thank them for their generous commitment to growing The Arts presence at The VIC. We will sell tickets at the front desk. The drawing will take place at the Plein Air Festival.

August 28: Monarchs in The Meadow

The benefit concert will start at 2 PM, and outdoor fun all afternoon for friends and families of the Paul Smith’s College VIC. Join us in the meadow next to the butterfly house to celebrate the migration of the Monarch butterfly and wind down the summer in style.

Regular programs and Activities:


Farmer’s Market

Check out the goods under the pavilion from local farmers on Fridays from 2 to 5 PM.

The Paul Smith’s College VIC Butterfly House

The popular butterfly house is open and staffed 7 days a week from 10:00 to 4:00 PM throughout the summer. Visitors can view native butterflies up close and learn about the life stages and migratory patterns of these colorful insects. The Butterfly House is made possible with significant support from the Adirondack Park Institute (API.) For more information contact The VIC at 327 – 6241.

The Paul Smith’s College VIC Fun Runs – Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday of the summer The Paul Smith’s College VIC offers Free Fun Trail Runs from 6:00 to 7:30. Join area runners on the great trails at The VIC. Sarah Keyes will talk training, nutrition and techniques for adding distance to your running.

First Sunday Series of Trail Races

The “First Sunday” Series will continue with a “Predator and Prey 10K” on August 7. Every month the distance for the First Sunday Series will progressively increase. September 4th we will offer a 15k Trail Race and on October 2nd we’ll offer a 13.1 mile half marathon. There will be also be a 5k option every month. “First Sunday Series” Trail Races begin at 9:00 AM. Register: www.active.com Sponsors include Lake Placid Pub & Brewery, Mac’s Canoe Livery and Paul Smith’s College. For more information contact The VIC at 327 – 6241.

Naturalist led Back Country Paddles – Every Tuesday of the summer.

The Paul Smith’s College VIC offers a guided back country canoe trip every Tuesday of the summer. Trips are suitable for families. MAC’S Canoe Livery, in Lake Clear, will furnish the boats and equipment. Trips meet at The VIC at 10 AM and return by 4 PM. Trip fee is $75 for adults. Reservations are required. For a complete schedule, more information or to make a reservation for these popular trips 327 – 6241.

Explore the Adirondack ALPS – Every Thursday of the summer.

The Paul Smith’s College VIC offers a series of day hikes up the “Adirondack Low Peaks” in close proximity to The VIC. Trips meet at The VIC at 10 AM and return by 4 PM. Trip fee is $50 for adults. For a complete schedule, more information or to make a reservation for these popular trips, contact The VIC at 327 – 6241.

Naturalist led hikes and paddles at The VIC – Every day of the summer

Come explore nature at The Paul Smith’s College VIC! The trails are open and free to the public all the time! To enhance your experience, join one of The VIC naturalists for an investigative two hour hike in the woods or paddle on the waters of The VIC. Groups meet at 10 AM and 2 PM daily. Trip fee is $20 for adults. For a complete schedule, more information or to make a reservation for these popular trips, contact The VIC at 327 – 6241.

“Fun with Fungi” Mushroom walks

The Paul Smith’s College VIC will host naturalist led mushroom explorations on the trails and in the woods of the 3000 acre VIC campus. Come investigate “anything fungal” with mushroom specialist Susan Hopkins on Thursday, July 21, and August 4. We will meet at the VIC Visitor’s Building at 10:00AM for an introduction on what you might expect to see at this time of year; followed by a two hour walk of identification and collection. After the walk we will return to the center and those interested can sort out and discuss the various fungi collected on the tour. Susan will explain the various field guides and simple keys she uses to identify the various local mushrooms. The Fun with Fungi Interpretive Workshop is $20 per person. Preregistration is required.

Yoga on the deck at The VIC

Jackie Foster, RYT, will lead sessions on the deck at the VIC to awaken your senses to the natural world. Wednesdays through 8/31 from 9:30 to 10:45 AM. $15 per session


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Second Asian Clam Infestation Found in Lake George

A new infestation of the invasive species Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea) has been discovered in Lake George in Boon Bay in the Town of Bolton. The new infestation was discovered as part of the FUND for Lake George’s Eurasian watermilfoil management and control program in cooperation with the Lake George Park Commission. Initial survey work by the RPI Darrin Fresh Water Institute in Boon Bay estimates the population to be 3.75 acres – 5 acres in size.

This is the second infestation discovered in Lake George. Last fall a 5-acre infestation in the Village of Lake George was discovered. The Lake George Asian Clam Rapid Response Task Force organized to combat this infestation and a treatment effort has been underway in the Village since late April under permits from the Adirondack Park Agency and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Over 725 benthic barriers have been installed to suffocate the clams. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

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 [email protected]

Photo: Family Fishing at Cascade Lake (1973, Anne LaBastille-EPA Photo).


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Big Moose Inn, Eagle Bay

The Big Moose Inn and Restaurant, located directly on Big Moose Lake in Eagle Bay was the first stop on our Old Forge Summer Tour, more aptly defined as the Old Forge Pub Crawl. Ours was one of just a few cars in the parking lot, but it was early afternoon and we had a long day ahead of us.

The dramatic view of the grand covered porch, dotted with rocking chairs and expanding outward to a vast open deck overlooking the lake, inspires a feeling reminiscent of summer vacations of years past. Several small docks on Big Moose Lake capture attention, drawing the eye along an expanse of lawn to the lake and small beach. Quiet and secluded, The Big Moose Inn has an air of sophistication and Adirondack lore, evoking a sentimental yearning for simpler times. Its timelessness captures the imagination. A novelist could come here to spend a week and leave with a finished manuscript.

Work to be done, we grudgingly entered the tavern, leaving an early summer afternoon behind. The tavern, cool and dark with walls of wood and brick, complemented the exterior charm. We half expected to see Ernest Hemingway entertaining friends in one of the booths, or John Irving alone at the bar, having strayed from his New England comfort zone.

Spot lights shone gently on the dark plank bar which seated about 14, with ample room for standing patrons too. Each of three booths on the opposite wall were illuminated overhead with Tiffany lamps; a cozy room with brick fireplace was tucked away beyond, and provided more private seating.

As Pam’s eyes adjusted to the darkness, Kim immediately pointed out the business cards adorning the ceiling. Skewered with straws, swizzle sticks and cocktail picks, the ceiling was almost completely obscured by thousands of business cards. Hard to describe because of their multitude, some of the cards were obviously yellowed with age. Though barely visible, the ceiling was tile. Mark, the most recent owner, later advised that they came with the inn; that some had been there for thirty years. He felt compelled to leave them for their nostalgic significance, despite criticism from state authorities. Can’t blame him, we would leave them too.

We took a seat at the bar and were immediately greeted by Melinda, the bartender. Upon inquiry regarding drinks unique to the establishment, Melinda offered Pam a Big Moose Manhattan, proudly laced with Adirondack maple syrup. The maple syrup sank to the bottom and Pam showed no shame occasionally enjoying it through the swizzle stick. Just good to see her sipping since this was only our first stop. A variety of flavored vodkas are available, indicating a better than average selection of drinks. Several wine, draft and bottled beer choices are also offered.

Big Moose Inn’s Big Moose Manhattan:
1 part Seagram’s VO
1 part sweet vermouth
Drizzle with real maple syrup and garnish with two cherries

Melinda was courteous, friendly and knowledgeable about the history of the Big Moose Inn, offering a book on the history of Big Moose Lake to help support our questions. She was busy tending to both the bar and the deck patrons, but still took time to alert the proprietor of our presence.

Owner Mark Mayer came out to introduce himself. Obviously quite proud of the Big Moose Inn, Mark spent several minutes sharing history, trivia, hauntings, and his family’s acquisition of the inn. Perhaps the most famous Adirondack ghost, stories of Grace Brown attracted TV’s Unsolved Mysteries several years ago.

Offering 16 rooms, the inn is open year round and entertains summer vacationers and winter snowmobilers. The Big Moose Tavern is open from noon to midnight and Happy Hour drink specials are available from 4 to 6 p.m. They do offer music on occasion, featuring solo artists. Summer and winter hours vary, but claim winter is the best time to visit. We had trouble with this proclamation, given the beautiful view of the lake, the sandy beach and massive porch and deck. The tavern is only open four days, including weekends, after the summer season.

Reluctantly, we left the Big Moose Inn in search of our next destination. One down. Seven to go. In an effort to catch up, we plan to review some of the Old Forge area bars first on the Adirondack Almanack and others on our blog. Lake Placid reviews of The Cottage, Lisa G’s and Dancing Bears have all been completed and posted.

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, July 27, 2011

Gear: The Smallest Personal Locator Beacon Available

Outdoor electronic equipment is not immune to the trend toward smaller and lighter electronics, which was apparent with the official unveiling of ACR Electronics’ newest personal locator beacon (PLB), the ResQLink™.

On July 21, 2011, the FCC gave its final approval for ACR’s ResQLink, the smallest and lightest PLB currently on the market. Consequently, the ACR ResQLink went on sale soon after the announcement. The ACR ResQLink is now the smallest, full-powered, GPS-enabled rescue beacon specifically designed for anglers, pilots and, especially, back country enthusiasts.

Personal locator beacons are electronic devices used to notify search and rescue personnel of an individual in distress who is far away from normal emergency services such as 911 (e.g. bushwhacking somewhere deep in the Adirondack backcountry). These devices interface with the COSPAS-SARSAT, the international satellite system for search-and-rescue (SAR), and can often be individually identified and precisely located when GPS equipped.

Personal locator beacons have saved numerous people’s lives in the back country and should be carried on any adventure off the beaten path, especially by solo explorers. By giving a precise location of an injured person these devices save time, money and reduce the risk to SAR personnel.

The ACR ResQLink is now the smallest and lightest PLB currently on the market (a distinction previous held by the McMurdo FastFind 210). The ResQLink measures at 1.3 inches by 1.9 inches by 3.9 inches, making it comparable to the size of a cell-phone. In addition, it weighs a mere 4.6 ounces. This makes it smaller and lighter than most people’s wallets!

At this size and weight, the ResQLink can easily be stowed almost anywhere in a backpack. Just make sure it is placed somewhere accessible and not at the very bottom of an overly-stuffed backpack. It could even be carried in a shirt or pant pocket!

Although small in size, the ResQLink has the full capability of a serious PLB. With the ResQLink, ACR has packaged GPS positioning, a 406 MHz signal and 121.5 MHz homing capability into a little package that can rapidly and accurately relay your position to the search and rescue satellite system in case of an emergency. The 66-channel GPS can even guide rescuers to within 100 meters or less of your position. In addition, an integrated strobe light provides greater visibility in the case of a nighttime rescue.

Like most ACR PLBs, the ResQLink is extremely easy to use. Just deploy the antenna and press the exposed ON button, preferably somewhere with a clear view of the sky. When not in use the metal blade antenna lies wrapped around the case and the ON button is hidden behind the plastic base of the antenna. This device is so easy to use that it can even be operated with a single hand.

The ResQLink provides two built-in tests to verify the device is functioning properly. With just a push of a button either the internal electronics or the GPS functionality can be tested before heading into the backcountry. These tests can reduce the anxiety regarding the device functioning properly after an entire winter in storage.

Unlike some other PLB products, the ResQLink requires no paid subscription but through ACR’s optional 406Link.com website it does have some limited messaging capability.

The ResQLink is made right here in the USA, comes with a 5-year limited warranty and has a suggested retail price of $325. But a cursory scan of the internet yielded typical prices as low as $279.

As a matter of full disclosure, I have not had the opportunity to use (or even touch) a ResQLink yet. The information for this article is a compilation of my experience with ACR’s MicroFix (a larger and older PLB), the literature provided by ACR on their website and some reviews on the Internet (including this excellent one).

The combined size and weight make the ACR ResQLink easier to carry than any other PLB on the market, especially compared to those previously offered by ACR. Since a PLB can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency, there is increasingly no excuse to avoid carrying one especially one as small and lightweight as the ResQLink.

Photos: ResQLink by ACR Electronics.

Dan Crane blogs about his bushwhacking adventures at Bushwhacking Fool.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

John Sheehan: Snowmobile Trails Plan Goes Too Far

The Adirondack Council will file comments with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) this week objecting to serious flaws in the Unit Management Plan (UMP) for the Independence River Wild Forest.

The Independence River Wild Forest is an area of public land and waters west of Stillwater Reservoir in Herkimer and Lewis counties, extending to the park’s western border. It is bounded by the Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness to the south, Pepperbox Wilderness to the north, and Pigeon Lake Wilderness to the east. Comments on the unit management plan are due to DEC by July 29.

There are two main problems with the plan, both of which involve the DEC’s decisions to ignore current legal protections for the Forest Preserve. Both problems seem to be caused by the DEC’s rush to accommodate the wishes of snowmobile clubs and boosters who are applying local political pressure. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park comes to the Adirondacks in many forms this summer from the Adirondack Shakespeare Company’s five-week tour of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) to the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts traveling performance of Romeo and Juliet. The one theatre presentation set apart from the others is The Depot Theatre’s annual Shakespeare program for young people.

For the tenth year Westport’s The Depot Theatre has introduced Shakespeare to those children from 7th grade and older to the wonders of the Baird. Directed and instructed by theatre educators Lindsay Pontius and Scott Gibbs, The Depot Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park do not hold formal auditions but use word of mouth and The Depot website to let interested children know when rehearsals will start happening for the annual Ballard Park performance. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

DEC Annouces NY 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.

“The value of our forests cannot be underestimated,” Commissioner Joe Martens said in a prepared statement. “In addition to providing clean air, clean water and places for wildlife to live, thousands of people are employed in the forest products, outdoor recreation and tourism industries, thanks to New York’s wealth of forest.”

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.

Submitted photos should capture all aspects of forests and trees in five different categories:

1. Nature (wildlife, plants, natural landscapes, etc.)

2. Enjoying the forest (hunting, fishing, trails, camping, hiking, etc.)

3. Trees where we live (parks, streets, yards, etc.)

4. Forest products (maple syrup, lumber, baseball bats, furniture, etc.)

5. State-owned Forests (State Forests, Forest Preserve lands, forested Wildlife Management Areas, Campgrounds)

Contest details, rules and necessary forms can be found on DEC’s website.

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. DEC has non-exclusive rights to use submitted photos on DEC’s website, in the Conservationist magazine, in brochures and in other publications promoting forests and DEC. The photographer will retain ownership of the photo.

The winner in each category will receive a framed print of their photo. Winning photos will be announced on or about December 1, 2011.

Photo: State Forest Boundary Sign Near Ticonderoga (John Warren Photo).


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Phil Brown: East Branch of St. Regis Should be Wild

On Sunday, I took a delightful canoe trip on the East Branch of the St. Regis in the northwestern Adirondacks. It was so enjoyable that I didn’t stop until I reached the end of public land, making for a round trip of twenty miles from Everton Falls.

Four years ago, I had paddled the East Branch in early spring before the greening of the alders and the grasses. On that day the riverside scenery was a bit drab.

How different things are in July. Hues of green were everywhere—in the grasses dancing in the breeze, in the trees beyond the floodplain, and in the river grass bowed by the current. Wildflowers provided dashes of color: the purple whorls of joe-pye weed, the yellow globes of the pond lilies, the drooping scarlet petals of the cardinal flower, the violet spikes of pickerelweed, and the glistening white arrowhead. Add in a blue sky with puffy clouds, and you have the perfect day.

Soon after putting in along Red Tavern Road, I heard one or two passing cars, but as I journeyed farther upstream, I penetrated deeper into the wild where the only sounds were natural: a beaver plopping into the river, the one-note whistle of a red-winged blackbird, a merganser skittering over the water to flee a human intruder.

In ten miles I encountered no development. It’s no wonder that researchers for the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) recommended back in the 1970s that most of this stretch (some eight miles) be designated a Wild River in the state’s Wild, Scenic, and Recreational River System (WSR).

All rivers in the WSR system receive a degree of protection, but Wild is the most protective designation. State regulations prohibit the construction of dams, vehicular bridges, or other structures within a Wild River corridor—not even lean-tos are permitted. The only exceptions are footbridges. Just as important, no motorboats are allowed on Wild Rivers.

If you check the APA land-use map, though, you’ll see that roughly the first fifteen miles of the East Branch, including the stretch I paddled, are designated Scenic and that the rest of the river is designated Recreational. Both are less-restrictive classifications, allowing some development, such as vehicular bridges, and motorboat usage.

Usually, the APA followed the recommendations of its field researchers in classifying rivers. Why not in this case?

In his classic guidebook Adirondack Canoe Waters: North Flow, Paul Jamieson writes that the classification was downgraded “probably at the insistence of a paper company and its lessees” (that is, hunting clubs).

Jamieson’s book came out many years ago. Since then, New York State has purchased this part of the river from Champion International and added it to the forever-wild Forest Preserve. In other words, the original objection to designating part of the East Branch a Wild River no longer obtains. APA spokesman Keith McKeever conceded as much in an article I wrote after my earlier trip up the East Branch. “The big impediment to that classification was that it was private land, and that’s no longer the case,” McKeever said.

Well, then, let’s change the classification to Wild. This would ensure that the river corridor stays pristine and that motorboats will not upset the natural serenity with their noise and pollution.

It also would bestow upon the East Branch a cachet that might attract a few more paddling tourists to a neglected corner of the Adirondack Park.

Of the 1,200 miles of Adirondack rivers in the WSR system, only 155 are designated Wild (about 13 percent). Indeed, there are only thirteen river segments in the entire Park that are classified Wild. They tend to be remote and/or rocky. Only one of them—a long stretch of the Main Branch of the Oswegatchie—is easily accessible and navigable by the average paddler. The East Branch would be in rarefied company.

In truth, I don’t know of any plans to build lean-tos, bridges, or other facilities on the river. And I doubt that motorboats often ply the East Branch. Thus, the reclassification might be seen as more symbolic than practical. But symbolism has its place. Designating the East Branch a Wild River would acknowledge its unspoiled beauty. It’s the least we can do.

Photo by Phil Brown: the East Branch of the St. Regis River.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine. Subscribers can read his original story on the East Branch in the publication’s online Adventure Planner.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Adirondack Insects: Paper Wasps

While working around the house this summer, it is not unusual to notice the papery nest of a wasp tucked under the eaves, hidden behind a loose shutter, or placed in some other protected spot. While an encounter with this type of structure may temporarily disrupt a painting project or home repair work, such a sanctuary is vital to the summer success of these familiar yellow and black insects, and should be left alone if at all possible as wasps play a role in helping to control the populations of numerous insects, spiders and other bugs.

Out of an entire summer colony, only a few females that are born in late summer with adequate stores of fat are capable of surviving the winter in the Adirondacks. After abandoning their nest and mating with a male, these individuals typically burrow into the soil, or seek shelter inside a thick, hollow log that will eventually become buried by snow.

During mid spring, when conditions improve, these females emerge from their winter dormancy and begin to search for a sheltered spot in which to construct their papery nest. By chewing on softened pieces of partially rotted wood, and mixing this mass with chemicals in their mouth, the females, known to some as queens, fashion the mixture into a sheet that dries and forms a grayish papery substance. Initially, a small collection of hexagonal cells are produced to house the first eggs laid by the fertile female.

It takes about a week for the eggs to hatch into the tiny, worm-like larvae which remain within the papery walls of their nursery. Because the larvae require a diet high in animal protein, the matriarch of the colony goes in an almost constant search for small insects and other types of invertebrates to appease their appetite.

It takes almost two weeks before the immature wasps are ready to enter the pupa stage, and then nearly two more weeks before the transition into an adult wasp is completed. During this period, the female may add more cells to her infant colony and lay more eggs in order to increase the number of individuals that eventually will inhabit the nest.

By the start of summer, her first in a series of adult offspring emerge from their cells. All of these are females, and they instinctively assume the various chores that must be carried out to maintain the colony. The fertile female eventually settles into the role of simply laying eggs in cells constructed by the recently hatched workers.

During the early summer, wasp colonies are relatively small and contain only a limited number of females. As the number of residents increase, the colony’s need for small insects and other bugs to feed the developing larvae increases correspondingly.

While the larvae require a diet rich in protein, the adults need fluids that contain a high caloric content. Nectar from flowers and juices that develop within fruits and berries, like raspberries and blackberries, are traditionally sought out by adult wasps when they want to satisfy their own hunger.

As summer starts to wane in another few weeks, the fertile female slows the rate at which she lays eggs within her paper covered nursery. Since the increased number of worker wasps now has fewer larvae to feed, their search for bugs eventually turns to a search for the more sugary items that they favor. (In late summer, wasps prefer visiting a table with an opened can of soda, a cup of fruit juice, or some flavorful topping dripping from a burger rather than picking aphids or caterpillars from plants in a garden.)

As the fertile female’s source of sperm dwindles, she will lay a few eggs that fail to become fertilized. These eggs still hatch, but the resultant wasps have only a half set of chromosomes. These individuals are males, and their sole purpose is to mate with those females with an excess of fat in their system that are capable of surviving the winter.
While wasps are noted for the painful sting they can inflict, these insects do help the environment by controlling bug populations. Destroying a papery nest in mid summer before the individuals that can survive the winter develop could impact a wasp population in an area. This in turn allows other bugs the freedom to propagate with fewer checks on their numbers. A simple rule that I try to follow whenever I encounter a wasp nest while painting is: leave the painting project until next spring and go out on the lake.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia.


Monday, July 25, 2011

The Life Struggles of Dean Clute (Part Two)

Having planned for his condition of blindness and near total paralysis, Dean Clute forged forward without missing a beat. Other patients who were mobile and had attained some measure of literacy were enlisted to read aloud to him. There were plenty of folks to choose from, since the hospital was filled with a wide range of society’s unfortunates—the poor, the sick, and the physically disabled.

City Hospital patients were sometimes referred to by the decidedly un-PC term, “wrecks,” and some who were placed there entertained little hope of ever leaving. There was no avoiding it—Welfare Island was a notoriously dreary place to be.

Yet this paralyzed, completely blind young man had a transformative effect on the hospital. Poor readers were recruited and became good readers; nearby listeners joined the book discussions on a range of subjects; and as stories circulated through the hospital corridors, others were intrigued by this unique discussion group. The daily gathering around Dean’s bed grew, spilling out onto the hospital yard in times of good weather.

The contents of book after book had been poured into his being, and Clute’s brain, like a vessel waiting to be filled, was overflowing with knowledge. He had made himself into a scholar, and by natural progression arrived at the obvious conclusion—he must also become a writer. And so he began to dictate to his friends who recorded his words and submitted them for publication.

Among those to view his work was legendary writer and editor H. L. (Henry) Mencken, who had recently launched a new literary vehicle, The American Mercury (a magazine that ran from 1924–1981). Among other things, Mencken was an expert in the use of language, a subject he had written on extensively. He pronounced Dean’s satirical, witty writing as “good stuff.”

[In an odd bit of circumstance, Mencken was also known as a voracious reader, and 20 years later, he would suffer a stroke, leaving him similarly disabled—unimpeded mentally, but unable to read or write, and barely able to speak.]

In August 1929, Mencken published Dean’s story, “Salvation on the Brink,” in The American Mercury, and that opened the door. Others soon came calling, and the poor, blind, paralyzed young man from the North Country gained a measure of celebrity. In the next year, Dean followed with a half-dozen more articles, along with plans for a book of his own.

The remarkable story of Clute’s decade-long personal struggles reached the media and gained momentum, earning him the status of a minor cause célèbre. Prominent journalist Earl Sparling visited Dean in June 1930 and filed a story that included the following excerpts:

The man who made Welfare Island go literary lies in his wheelchair in the yard of City Hospital. Around him, soaking up the sunshine, are a dozen wrecks in gray hospital pajamas. One of them, Art by name, is reading—or trying to. The book he is reading, or trying to, is Isaac Goldberg’s The Fine Art of Living. Art never got through the eighth grade in school. He runs a heavy finger along the lines as he reads, and every second line or so comes upon a word he can’t even manage to mispronounce.

“Spell it, Art,” suggests the blind man in the wheelchair. “It’s another jaw-breaker,” growls Art, stretching his pajama-clad legs. “I’d just as soon try to say it as to spell it.” But he spells it out, haltingly, and the blind man tells him and the audience the pronunciation and the meaning. And the education of Dean Clute, the literatus of Welfare Island—and incidentally of his comrades in pajamas—continues.

Dean Clute is stone blind, and so crippled he can scarcely wiggle a finger. He has been flat on his back from arthritis for fifteen years. He has been in City Hospital for six of those fifteen. Using others in City Hospital as eyes, he has gotten through most of the philosophers, most of the lasting literature of the world, and has managed meanwhile to keep track of current book lists, with interesting results.

Today, as you wander through the wards of City Hospital, you can hear wrecks who arrived there from the Bowery discussing such things as the indebtedness of Schopenhauer to Hoffman, the modernism of Dickens’ critique of America, and the sad case of Dr. John Dewey.

It has gotten so that the nurses, interns, and the doctors are beginning to develop cultural inferiority complexes. What is a poor doctor to answer when, while thumping some patient’s backbone, he is asked, “Do you go in for Humanism, Doc?”

As Dean described it, “We start in at 8 o’clock and we stay out here in the sunshine, reading and talking until night. I’ve learned how to be happy. … I hope to have a book shop in Manhattan one day. Then I can devote myself seriously to writing. I want to write my autobiography. They say a man shouldn’t do that until he is forty. But I can’t wait. I may never get that far.”

It was truly remarkable—such inspiration arising from one of the most depressing parts of the city, and from a man who had every right and reason to throw in the towel, to give up on life altogether. But Dean Clute had given up only on his body and instead focused on his mind, developing a completely new identity. Never known as a great student, he had achieved the rarest of transformations—from a happy-go-lucky, standout athlete to a deep-thinking intellectual.

And the man had dreams. Writing articles and working on a book would have been enough, but operating his own bookstore? Impossible, sure … just like everything else he had accomplished so far.

The dream, in fact, was already on its way to reality. Working as a team, Clute and his cohorts in pajamas wrote and mailed several hundred letters to his friends and acquaintances, describing “a unique book service which presumes to deliver any book published in America to any address in the United States within six days.”

Available titles included many that the new reading group had favored, including the works of Aldous Huxley, H. L. Mencken, and Bertrand Russell. In the first two weeks they received 24 orders, which were handled by his four friends, three of whom were fellow patients.

Photo: City Hospital on Welfare Island, NY (ca. 1925).

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.



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