Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dave Gibson: Building Rights for ACR?

Most American communities will ultimately develop according to how they are zoned. Absent state or federal regulatory protection of wetlands, for instance, or other legal protection or zoning overlays, land in R-1 or other residential zoning will ultimately, some day be valued, bought, sold, and developed consistent with the number of houses allowed there under the local zoning code.

Of course, towns are legally allowed to plan for their futures, and regulate development in a far more creative fashion, but few in my area seem to use that authority. I live outside the Adirondack Park in Saratoga County, and found out that the allowable density under the zoning law in my town far outweighed the presence of a lot of small (read unregulated) wetlands, wet soils, lots and lots of trees, and well adapted critters like hawks and owls.

An out of state developer was, therefore, “entitled” to 18 homes and 18 separate driveways on 18-wooded acres in this R-1 residential zone. Any questioning of this formula resulted in assertions by the town attorney that the applicant has vested rights in that number of lots. Lo and behold, the planning board actually asserted its authority and knocked out two lots, but I suspect that was only because a bunch of neighboring citizens, including my family, sued the town for failing to conduct a meaningful environmental review (the suit proved ultimately unsuccessful).

The neighbors walked and photographed the land in question in all seasons, and predicted that building over such a high water table would require expensive engineering vulnerable to failure, subjecting the neighbors to flooded cellars, and requiring sensitive wildlife “to move.” Any sympathy at town hall evaporated after the lawsuit. The board felt they had bent over backwards by knocking out two lots. Why this swampy land full of wood frogs was wrapped into the adjoining R-1 district was the town board’s, and not the planning board’s responsibility.

In contrast, the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) must interpret development density in the context of complicated regional legislation called the APA Land Use and Development Plan whose purpose is to “insure optimum overall conservation, protection, preservation, development and use of the park’s unique resources.” Under the APA law, there are no land use zones. In fact, you can not even find the word “zoning,” or zone in the definitions section. There are, instead, “land use areas.” Each of these six areas is described as to their character, purposes, policies and objectives. Each has a different guideline for the overall intensity of development which, according to the law’s logic, is compatible with and help to perpetuate the existing character, purposes, and uses of the land.

For instance, under the Resource Management (RM) land use area (whose basic purpose, quoting from the Act, is “to protect the delicate physical and biological resources, encourage proper and economic management of forest, agricultural and recreational resources, and preserve the open spaces that are essential and basic to the unique character of the park”) the overall intensity of development “should not exceed approximately fifteen principal buildings per square mile.” Hence, the oft-used expression that in this largest and most protected of private land use areas there is “43-acre zoning,” or one principal building allowed per 42.6 acres.

“43-acre zoning” is a serious misreading and misapplication of the APA law. This is because mathematical achievement of the overall intensity guidelines should only be viewed in context with other criteria for determining project approvability, including whether or not a development project would be compatible with the purposes, policies and objectives of the land use area in question, or whether it would cause an “undue adverse impact” upon the resources of the park which, in turn, must be assessed according to numerous and defined development “considerations” for water, land, air, noise, critical resources, wildlife, aesthetics, historic factors, and lots more defined in regulation. Knowing this makes the “shall not exceed approximately” language of the overall intensity guidelines more understandable. The Act is clearly not like my town’s zoning law. 43-acres per principal building in RM are not a vested right, but a guideline judged in context with other equally weighted criteria needed to comprehensively assess a given project.

Some APA applicants, particularly if they have attorneys representing them, misread the APA Act purposefully and speak of these intensity guidelines as a legal, vested, valuable (in dollars) right. Even the APA can forget the context of its own law. For instance, as the Adirondack Club and Resort (ACR) hearing got underway in March, APA hearing staff issued a draft document attempting to stipulate how many mathematical “building rights” the applicant Michael Foxman had in the two affected land use areas, Resource Management and Moderate Intensity Use. This language was objected to by a variety of parties, and APA quickly conceded the point and from then on used the term “principal building opportunity.”

Foxman’s ACR attorney Tom Ulasewicz never conceded the point, and used the term “building rights” repeatedly, even at the last day of the hearing in late June. At no point do I recall APA staff correcting him, or objecting to his frequent assertion of “building rights” in the hearing record. This tolerance for language that so distorts the law’s purposes may be a pet peeve of mine, but I fear it’s a symptom of a lowering of standards for project review at the park agency.

Does the fact that ACR’s Michael Foxman proposes to build 82 new principal buildings on nearly 4800 acres of Resource Management mean he is in the clear as far as this aspect of the law goes? Applying the overall intensity guidelines math (“43-acre zoning”) means he could “potentially” build 111 new homes on RM. As ACR attorney Ulasewicz frequently pointed out, his client is far below the “legal threshold.” There are 29 “additional principal building opportunities” which ACR is “not using” he pointed out at frequent intervals.

The answer to such a distorted view of the law should be that after weighing the hearing evidence and its law, the APA would be completely within its legal rights to declare that, for instance, all or large portions of the RM land should remain as it is, undeveloped, so that this land use area can continue to serve its legally defined purposes, policies and objectives, and so that a variety of undue adverse impacts may be avoided.

Photo: APA Staff at a 2007 field trip to the ACR site.


Monday, July 18, 2011

The Turkey Vulture: A Welcome Invasive Species?

Over the past several centuries, there have been numerous additions to the Adirondack flora and fauna. The recent Invasive Species Awareness Week highlighted some of the many forms of life that have invaded the region and are currently wreaking havoc with the established members of the region’s plant and animal communities. However, not all organisms from outside the area adversely impact the environment like Eurasian milfoil or the zebra mussel. One of the largest transplants to the North Country is the turkey vulture, a bird that occupies a niche for which few other creatures are so well suited. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 18, 2011

The Life Struggles of Dean Clute

Perspective. It is a singular word that can determine a life’s path, quality, and value to others. Those born to all manner of social and financial advantage, but with little change or improvement during their own lifetimes, can be perceived as relative failures, while those who strive to overcome physical, mental, or financial handicaps are viewed as accomplished, no matter what their ultimate achievement might be.

By that measure, one of the most successful citizens to ever have graced the North Country is largely unknown. He was an ordinary man blessed with athletic talent, and raised in a family of outstanding musicians. In the end, it was courage that defined him.

Dean Clute was born in Morristown, New York, on the shores of the St. Lawrence River in October 1893. The fourth of Amos and Henrietta Clute’s seven children, he was an average boy who enjoyed the usual pursuits along the river, as well as in Nicholville, a small settlement in the town of Hopkinton where the family lived for many years.

They also lived in Potsdam, but for most of Dean’s teen years the family resided in Ogdensburg. There he attained a measure of local fame for his skill on the baseball field. After high school, he found work on a Great Lakes lighthouse tender, a ship charged with servicing and maintaining the region’s lighthouses.

Among the many ports he visited was Rochester, and in June 1912, a marriage license was issued there to Dean Clute, 18, and Eva McLennan, 25, a girl with family in Ogdensburg. The two soon married, but just seven months later, in January 1913, Eva passed away at home. (It’s likely she died during childbirth. Dean told interviewers years later that he married at 18 but had lost his wife and child on the same day.)

It was an enormous tragedy to endure, but Dean soldiered on. Eventually he found work in a profession he knew quite well: baseball. Over six feet tall and sturdily built, he immersed himself in the sport and became a pitcher of wide repute in Buffalo, Rochester, and Watertown.

Manager John Ganzel (of Michigan’s famed Ganzel baseball family) liked what he saw and signed Dean to play for the Rochester Hustlers of the International League in 1914. This was no small shakes—the International League was Triple-A ball, just one step below the major leagues. Things were once again looking pretty good for the boy from Morristown.

Prior to the season, though, and less than a year after losing his wife and child, Dean began experiencing unusual aches and pains. The diagnosis was arthritis, a disease not generally associated with young, strong, twenty-year-old athletes.

And this was no ordinary case. The effects were so sudden and so debilitating that Dean was unable to honor his baseball contract. He visited several doctors and treatment centers, but no one could do anything to arrest the arthritic attack that seemed bent on consuming his body.

Within a year he was confined to a wheelchair, and as the disease progressed, Dean became bedridden. He moved to Watertown where he could be with family (his father and brother had established a successful contracting business there and built several commercial structures).

After three years of focusing on his own suffering and watching his limbs become gnarled and useless, Clute had an epiphany. His body was dying, but his mind was as clear as ever—so why not use it? His eyes could still move, which meant he could read, even if he needed someone to turn the pages for him. And so he began to read voraciously, ranging from philosophy to the great classics of literature.

As Dean’s condition deteriorated, it became apparent that home care was insufficient to meet his ever-growing needs. In 1922 he moved to New York City in hopes of finding a cure. Within two years, younger brother Walton (twin of Wilton) joined him there.

Despite every effort on his behalf, Dean’s health continued to decline, and by 1924 he was forced to enter City Hospital on Welfare Island (it was renamed Roosevelt Island in 1973). At various times Welfare Island hosted hospitals, insane asylums, and prisons. City Hospital housed hundreds of poor and chronically ill patients who were unable to care for themselves. Dean Clute, almost completely paralyzed from head to toe, had nowhere else to turn.

More than anything else, it appeared he had gone there to die. The loss of his wife and child, the disappointment of a sports career cruelly snatched away from him, and now a virtual prisoner within his own body—it was almost too much for any man to bear.

And then it got worse. In the hospital, Dean had maintained his heavy reading program, which seemed to be all he had left to live for. But arthritis, as cold-blooded and brutal as many other diseases, wasn’t content with paralysis. Clute soon developed problems with his vision, and as the condition worsened, he was given the stunning diagnosis: total blindness was inevitable.

Doctors told him it would happen in a year, perhaps two. How much could one man take? For Dean, even suicide was impossible—he couldn’t move! And yet ending it all was never a consideration.

His reaction to certain loss of vision was to ramp up his reading program and consume every bit of knowledge possible in the time he had left. The one-time athlete had surrendered to physical helplessness, but he existed within a brain still vibrant with energy. Dean’s growing intellect was now insatiable, and he read like a man possessed.

By 1926, after two years at City Hospital, total blindness enveloped him. His life now consisted of darkness and immobility—virtually every person’s nightmare scenario.

But there was that word again: Perspective. Dean focused on what he COULD do rather than what he couldn’t. He could still talk and he could still learn.

Next week: Part 2 of 3.

Photo: Dean Van Clute with two attendants. The inset in the upper right is a closeup of Dean’s face (1932).

Lawrence Gooley has authored nine books and many articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004. He took over in 2010 and began expanding the company’s publishing services. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Wilderness, Our Community of Life

What follows is a talk given at the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks’s Arthur M. Crocker Lecture Series in 2006.

It somehow takes the pressure off public speaking to know that one stands up here, rather than sits out there only by accident of birth. That is to say: my father Howard Zahniser, who died four months before the 1964 Wilderness Act became law, was the chief architect of, and lobbyist for, this landmark Act that created the now 106-million-acre National Wilderness Preservation System. I am up here because of his accomplishments. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Transporting Firewood: Don’t Spread Invasive Species

What follows is a guest essay from the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership (AFPEP).

On the heels of additional discoveries of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer beetle in forests in multiple parts of New York including the Catskill Forest Preserve, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) urges all New Yorkers and visitors to comply with the state’s stringent regulations prohibiting the movement of untreated firewood, the major vector for the introduction of this insect. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

LGLC Honors Margaret Darrin At ‘Peggy’s Point’

The Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) held a dedication ceremony recently in honor of Mrs. Margaret A. Darrin for the newly named Peggy’s Point in Hague. The dedication of Peggy’s Point was made in recognition of Mrs. Darrin’s contributions to the Lake George Land Conservancy, including her donation of the 1.9-acre park in 2005.

Nearly 100 people came to witness the celebration of Darrin at the Hague Community Center, including Peggy’s three sons and their wives, and six grandchildren. Among those who spoke during the ceremony were Hague Town Supervisor Dan Belden, historian Judy Shultz, LGLC Board President John Macionis, LGLC Executive Director Nancy Williams, and Peggy’s sons Drake and David and granddaughter, Hannah Darrin.

“Peggy is a great inspiration,” said Macionis, adding “I hope we can all follow her lead to find our own ways in which we as individuals can contribute to the protection of the lake.”

Drake Darrin read from a prepared speech of fond personal memories he shared with his mother, including the many swimming lessons from their dock. “Your love of the lake over the years is contagious.”

Williams spoke to the group of the park’s Friendship Garden, of which she said, “the rules of the garden are simple. It is here for you.” To Peggy, she added a personal thank you, sharing that the garden project was responsible for reconnecting her with her brother, to whom she hadn’t spoken in 30 years.

Williams also took several minutes to go through the many names of individuals and businesses that contributed to the park and its Friendship Garden, in materials, time or monetary donations. Among them were Dan Belden, the Town of Hague and staff, David and Joanne DeFranco and team at DeFranco Landscaping, Judy Shultz and the Hague Historical Society, the entire Darrin family, Julia Beaty, Mary Lou Doulin, Peter Foster, Doug Langdon, Rich Morgan, Ray Murray, Scott and Alice Patchett, Betty Hans Rettig and the Carillon Garden Club, Nancy Scarzello, CL Williams, and the LGLC Stewardship Assistants who worked for weeks to the fence, path and garden, Mike Cerasaro and Jack Willis. In addition, plants for the garden were provided by Emily DeBolt of Fiddlehead Creek Native Plant Nursery and Mark Perry of Sweet Pea Farm Perennials and Art Gallery.

The ceremony ended with a champaign toast and cake, after which those in attendance then visited the property and contributed plants to the Friendship Garden.

The public is invited to add to the Friendship Garden; it is intended to provide a location for local residents and other Lake George visitors to memorialize or honor a loved family member, friend, memory or event with the planting of a perennial or small shrub. Plants may also be marked with small identifying plaques. For more information see www.lglc.org/naturepreserves/peggyspoint or call Sarah at 518-644-9673.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Jerry Jenkins to Receive Hochschild Award

The Board of Trustees of the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, New York has announced the selection of Jerry Jenkins as the recipient of the 2011 Harold K. Hochschild Award.

The Harold K. Hochschild Award is dedicated to the memory of the museum’s founder, whose passion for the Adirondacks, its people, and environment inspired the creation of the Adirondack Museum. Since 1990 the museum has presented the award to a wide range of intellectual and community leaders throughout the Adirondack Park, highlighting their contributions to the region’s culture and quality of life.

The Adirondack Museum will formally present Jerry Jenkins with the Harold K. Hochschild Award on August 4, 2011.

Jerry Jenkins is an ecologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Adirondack Program (WCS). An accomplished botanist, naturalist and geographer, he has almost forty years of field experience working in the Northern Forest. Over the course of his career, his work has included conducting biological inventories for The Adirondack Chapter of the Nature
Conservancy, surveying rare plant occurrences for the State of Vermont, chronicling the environmental history of acid rain with the Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation, and understanding and interpreting historical changes to boreal lowland areas in the Adirondacks with WCS. His enthusiasm for natural history has also led him to study plant diversity and distribution across various forest types – from the Champlain Hills to large working forest
easements, and from old growth forests to high elevation alpine communities.

His most recent and notable accomplishments with the Wildlife Conservation Society are his collection of Adirondack publications. Together with Andy Keal, Jerry Jenkins co-authored The The Adirondack Atlas: A Geographic Portrait of the Adirondack Park, considered one of the most significant Adirondack book in a generation. Some 300 pages in length, the Adirondack Atlas contains 750
maps and graphics, and represents the most comprehensive collection of regional data brought together in a single source. The park’s geology, flora and fauna are featured, as well as the history and the dynamic nature of the park’s human communities. Bill McKibben describes the atlas as a “great gift…that marks a coming of age.”

In his newest book Climate Change in the Adirondacks the Path to Sustainability, Jenkins demonstrates how climate change is already shifting the region’s culture, biology and economy, and provides a road map towards a more responsible and sustainable future. He provides the first comprehensive look at both the impacts of, and the potential solutions to, climate change across the Adirondack region. This compilation, along with his other regional contributions, prompted Bill McKibben to offer that “Jerry Jenkins has emerged as the information source for our mountains…and we are all in his debt.”

Photo Courtesy Leslie Karasin, Wildlife Conservation Society.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

John Brown Lives! Concert Promotes Cultural Exchange

On Wednesday, July 20, 2011, John Brown Lives! (JBL!) is presenting “desert blues” musician, Bombino, live and in concert, at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. for a 7:30 p.m. performance. Omara “Bombino” Moctar is a young Tuareg singer from Niger, Africa, on his first North American tour. He has received advance praise as a “guitar wizard” likened to Jimi Hendrix (KCRW), who plays “some of the most sublime guitar licks you’ll hear in 2011” (NPR).

The concert is an outgrowth of JBL!’s Dreaming of Timbuctoo Exhibition detailing a black settlement effort in the Adirondacks in the mid-1800s. It is also inaugurates the Timbuktu Sahara * Timbuctoo Adirondack Project, a cultural exchange initiative John Brown Lives! is developing to link schoolchildren and communities in the Adirondacks with a Tuareg village on the outskirts of Timbuktu, Mali. A share of proceeds from this concert will benefit the Scarab School in the desert village of Tinghassane.

The Tuareg, often called the “Blue Men of the Desert” by outsiders, are a nomadic people descended from the Berbers of North Africa. In his short life, Bombino, and many Tuareg, have endured drought, rebellion, tyranny, and exile. Fusing traditional rhythms of nomadic peoples of the Sahara and the Sahel with the drive of rock and roll and songs about peace, Bombino plays an influential role today in educating the Tuareg about the importance of the fragile democracy in Niger while maintaining their rich cultural heritage.

John Brown Lives! is a freedom education project founded in 1999 to promote social justice through the exploration of issues, social movements and events, rooted mainly in Adirondack history, and their connection to today’s struggles for human rights.

Individual tickets are $18 in advance or $20 at the door. Children under 12 are admitted for $5. Sponsor tickets are also available at $160 for a book of 10 tickets. Tickets are available at the LPCA Box Office 518-523-2512. For sponsor tickets, please call 518-962-4758 or 518-576-9755.

For more general information, contact John Brown Lives! at [email protected] or 518-962-4758. To learn more about Bombino and the Tuareg, check out these links (1, 2).


Friday, July 15, 2011

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights


Friday, July 15, 2011

Adirondack Events This Weekend (July 15)

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

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

Region-wide Events This Weekend

Around & About in Lake George This Weekend

Lake Placid Region Events This Weekend

Old Forge Area Events This Weekend


Friday, July 15, 2011

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories

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

Subscribe! More than 6,000 people get Adirondack Almanack each day via RSS, E-Mail, or Twitter or Facebook updates. It’s a convenient way to get the latest news and information about the Adirondacks.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Adirondack Fish and Game Report (July 14)

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

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

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** WATERS AT NORMAL LEVELS
All rivers in the region are running at or below normal for this time of year with the Sacandaga and beaver rivers running notably low. Occassional storms can quickly raise the level of rivers so consult the latest streamgage data.

** INVASIVE SPECIES AWARENESS WEEK
Advocates of combating invasive species in the Adirondacks are hoping local residents and visitors will become familiar with invasive species during the 6th annual Adirondack Invasive Species Awareness Week which continues through Sunday (July 16). Look for events highlighting the threat of invasive plants and animals, ways to prevent their spread and management options. Interpretive walks and paddles, identification support, invasive species talks, workshops for all ages and more are planned throughout the Adirondacks [calendar of events. Invasive species are a growing threat in the Adirondacks, making their early detection increasingly important to combating their spread. Adirondack Almanack regularly covers the issue of invasive species in the Adirondacks [link].

ROAD CLOSURES
A number of secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed including some in the Lake George and Moose River Plains Wild Forests. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road remain closed at this time. Other closed roads include The Jessup River Road in Hamilton County; Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest; Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake, preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead; and Lily Pond Road near Brant Lake. 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.

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]. A public meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 19, 2011, from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Lowville DEC sub-office located at 7327 State Route 812. The public will have an opportunity to offer comments regarding the draft amendment. 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: LOW

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Sunny, high near 79.
Friday Night: Clear, low around 47.
Saturday: Sunny, high near 82.
Saturday Night: Mostly clear, low around 55.
Sunday: Sunny, high near 83.

ADIRONDACK FISHING REPORTS

Stocking
The majority of the annual spring stocking has taken place at this time.

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.

** DEC Free South Bay Fishing Event Sat., July 16th
A “Free Fishing Event” will be held on Saturday, July 16, from 9 am to 1 pm at the John A. Brooks Memorial Fishing Pier at South Bay on Lake Champlain. Participants will not need a fishing license in order to fish during the event. The South Bay Fishing Pier is a 300-foot-long universally accessible designed fishing pier located on Lake Champlain off State Route 22, near Whitehall, Washington County. Accessible parking is also available at the site. Bait, tackle, and adaptive fishing equipment will be made available to participants. However, the amount is limited so participants are encouraged to bring their own gear if possible. DEC Fish Biologists, Environmental Conservation Officers and members of the Washington County Federation of Sportsmen Clubs will provide instructions on the use of gear, fishing techniques, and information on aquatic biology, fish identification and habitat protection. For more information about the event, contact event organizer Joelle Ernst at 518-402-8891. Visit the DEC website for a listing of currently posted events, and be sure to check back periodically in the future as events may be added.

** The Ausable Point Day Campground Reopens
More than 90 of the 123 campsites at the Ausable Point Campground on Lake Champlain will be open Friday July 15th. The Ausable Point Day Use Area with its large beach and picnic pavilion opened last week. The campground, the day use area and the access road were underwater for almost two months during the historic flooding of Lake Champlain. The waters and wave action caused extensive erosion and other damage. The area was inaccessible during this period. Once the water levels receded below flood stage, DEC staff began clean up and repair of flood damage on the road, the campground, beach and other facilities. Many of the campsites have been previously reserved for this weekend. It’s recommended that campers call ahead at 518-561-7080 to learn the availability of campsites.

** 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.

Hudson River Recreation Area
Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area is open, but the road is still in rough condition. 4-wheel drive and other high clearance vehicles are recommended.

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.

Thirteenth Lake Proposed Regulation
A proposed regulation that would limit motorized boating on Thirteenth Lake to electric motors only has been released for public comment by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Interested parties have until July 2 to provide comments. read more about the proposal here.

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.

Freshwater Fish Regulation Changes
DEC is considering changes to current freshwater fishing regulations. The proposed changes are available for public review and feedback. Changes being considered include modifications to the current seasons, size limits, and creel limits on certain waters for popular game fish species such as trout, salmon, walleye, black bass, pickerel, muskellunge, and tiger muskellunge. Additional suggested changes pertain to ice fishing on certain waters, as well as for establishing specific gear requirements for certain angling practices. The proposed changes are on the DEC website which provides instructions on how to submit input and quick email links to easily submit comments online. Comments will be accepted through June 24, 2011, regulation changes would become effective on October 1, 2012.

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 are closed. All trapping seasons are closed.

** 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.

Draft Deer Management Plan Released
DEC’s proposed five-year deer management plan is now available for public review and comment. The plan is available online and DEC will be accepting public comment on the draft through Thursday, July 28. The plan includes a number of specific management proposals that have been under discussion with the public for several years. Among the recommendations included in the plan, and related to the Adirondack region are: Include an index of deer impact on forests when setting deer population objectives; Establish deer management focus areas with liberalized antlerless harvest rules in areas with overabundant deer; Establish a special youth deer hunting weekend in early October for junior hunters to aid in the recruitment of new deer hunters; Comments may be submitted in writing through July 28 to DEC Deer Management Plan, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754 or by email to [email protected] using “Deer plan” in the subject line.

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 14, 2011

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (July 14)

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.

** MUDDY AND WET TRAILS
Trails in exposed areas are drying out but trails in deep woods, near water and in lows spots may still contain mud and water on trails. All trails may be wet and muddy following heavy rain events. Hikers should be prepared for mud and water on trails by wearing waterproof footwear and remembering to walk through – not around – mud and water to prevent eroding and widening the trail.

** WATERS AT NORMAL LEVELS
All rivers in the region are running at or below normal for this time of year with the Sacandaga and beaver rivers running notably low. Occassional storms can quickly raise the level of rivers so consult the latest streamgage data.

** INVASIVE SPECIES AWARENESS WEEK
Advocates of combating invasive species in the Adirondacks are hoping local residents and visitors will become familiar with invasive species during the 6th annual Adirondack Invasive Species Awareness Week which continues through Sunday (July 16). Look for events highlighting the threat of invasive plants and animals, ways to prevent their spread and management options. Interpretive walks and paddles, identification support, invasive species talks, workshops for all ages and more are planned throughout the Adirondacks [calendar of events. Invasive species are a growing threat in the Adirondacks, making their early detection increasingly important to combating their spread. Adirondack Almanack regularly covers the issue of invasive species in the Adirondacks [link].

ROAD CLOSURES
A number of secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed including some in the Lake George and Moose River Plains Wild Forests. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road remain closed at this time. Other closed roads include The Jessup River Road in Hamilton County; Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest; Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake, preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead; and Lily Pond Road near Brant Lake. 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.

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.

ROCK CLIMBING CLOSURES
Due to active peregrine falcon nesting rock climbing routes remain closed at the Labor Day Wall in Wilmington Notch and at the Lower Washbowl. Routes at Willsboro Bay Cliff and on the Nose of Pok-o-Moonshine Mountain have reopened. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

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: LOW

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Sunny, high near 79.
Friday Night: Clear, low around 47.
Saturday: Sunny, high near 82.
Saturday Night: Mostly clear, low around 55.
Sunday: Sunny, high near 83.

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

** 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

** 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.

No Fires in Eastern High Peaks: Fires of any kind are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks

Bear Resistant Canister Required: 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.

** New Beaver Brook Mountain Bike Trails – Wilmington Wild Forest: A 3.5-mile system of multi-use trails has been opened for mountain biking and hiking on the Beaver Brook Tract off the Hardy Road in the Town of Wilmington. More information and a map is now available online.

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

Giant Mountain Wilderness: All rock climbing routes on Upper Washbowl Cliffs have reopened. Peregrine falcons are nesting at the Lower Washbowl Cliffs and they remain closed. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

** Johns Brook Valley: The Deer Brook Lean-to has been relocated 100 yards up the brook from its former location. A sign at the former location directs campers to the new location. The Bear Brook Lean-to has been removed and will not be replaced.

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

** 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 encompasses a number of preexisting management ares, including the Five Ponds, Pepperbox, William C. Whitney, Round Lake, Pigeon Lake and Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness areas together with the Aldrich Pond, Watson’s East Triangle, Fulton Chain, Sargent Ponds, Independence River and Cranberry Lake Wild Forest areas. 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. More information can be found online.

Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The main Moose River Plains Road (Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) remains closed at the Cedar River Headquarters end. The Limekiln Lake road at the western end near Inlet is open to the Lost Ponds access road. Also the Otter Brook Road is passable to motor vehicles to the Icehouse Pond trailhead. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road remain closed at this time. The open section of the road provides access to 30 roadside campsites and numerous waters popular with anglers including Icehouse Pond, Helldiver Pond, Lost Ponds, Mitchell Ponds and Beaver Lake.

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 remains closed due to washouts and soft spots, preventing motor vehicle access to the Spruce Lake trailhead.

** 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]. A public meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 19, 2011, from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Lowville DEC sub-office located at 7327 State Route 812. The public will have an opportunity to offer comments regarding the draft amendment. 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

** The Ausable Point Day Campground Reopens: More than 90 of the 123 campsites at the Ausable Point Campground on Lake Champlain will be open Friday July 15th. The Ausable Point Day Use Area with its large beach and picnic pavilion opened last week. The campground, the day use area and the access road were underwater for almost two months during the historic flooding of Lake Champlain. The waters and wave action caused extensive erosion and other damage. The area was inaccessible during this period. Once the water levels receded below flood stage, DEC staff began clean up and repair of flood damage on the road, the campground, beach and other facilities. Many of the campsites have been previously reserved for this weekend. It’s recommended that campers call ahead at 518-561-7080 to learn the availability of campsites.

** 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).

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.

** Western Lake George Wild Forest: All ADA accessible roads are now open for motor vehicle access to people with a Motorized Access Permit for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD). Permit holders must remember to check the allowable vehicle type and call the Warrenburg office (518-623-1209) for the current combination and conditions. Recently opened MAPPWD roads include: Scofield Flats, Pikes Beach, Darlings Ford, Huckleberry Mountain Route, and the Palmer Pond Access Route.

** Hudson Recreation Area: The two designated accessible campsites at Scofield Flats and the two designated campsites at Pikes Beach are open for camping. People with a Motorized Access Permit for People With Disabilities (MAPPWD) may access these campsites with motor vehicles. Call the Warrenburg office (518-623-1209) for the current combination and conditions. See the Hudson River Special Management Area webpage for more information and maps on the facilities, including ADA accessible facilities, in this area.

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

** Hudson River Recreation Area: Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area is open, but the road is still in rough condition. 4-wheel drive and other high clearance vehicles are recommended.

** Western Lake George Wild Forest: Gates on Lily Pond Road remain closed but are expected to open soon.

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: Lean-to #6 was recently destroyed by fire. You can see video here. This is a stern reminder to properly extinguish fires and never leave a fire unattended.

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

** Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands: A new accessible fishing/waterway access sites has been constructed on Fishhole Pond. The facility is compliant with the American Disabilities Act and provides outdoor recreational opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. The features that provide accessibility for people with disabilities include: universally accessible parking area designed to accommodate up to five vehicles; ADA compliant access ramp; and universally accessible platform designed for getting in and out of boats, canoes and kayaks. Contact the Region 5 Lands & Forests Office (518-897-1291) for more information and directions to these facilities.

McKenzie Mountain Wilderness: Peregrine Falcons are nesting on the Labor Day Wall. All rock climbing routes on Labor Day Wall are closed. Climbing routes on Moss Cliff are open. See Adirondack Rock Climbing Route Closures for more information.

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.

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

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


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Envisioning a Future for the Adirondack Park

The Common Ground Alliance of the Adirondacks will meet in Long Lake this Wednesday, July 20, for an interactive forum that will focus on future scenarios to assist the Park’s communities, their economies and the environment.

More than 100 participants are expected to attend the event, including local, state and federal officials, small business owners, non-profit leaders and citizens from across the Adirondack region.

Local businessmen and scenario experts Dave Mason and Jim Herman will present six possible scenarios for the future of the Park. Mason and Herman are the entrepreneurial team that brought affordable broadband telecommunications to Keene and Keene Valley. “We hope to stimulate people to think more strategically about the difficult and complex issues facing the Park”, Mason said. “We want people to think hard about what they want the Park to become in the future.” “Scenarios are a great way to expand the scope of ideas under consideration and improve the conversation” according to Jim Herman. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Exhibit Honors Theme Park Designer Monaco

A new exhibit, “IMAGINING MAKEBELIEVE: An Exhibition Honoring Arto Monaco” will open with a reception at the Tahawus Lodge Center (14234 Rte 9N, Main St, Au Sable Forks, NY) on Friday, July 22, 2011, 6-9pm.

From 1954 to 1979, the Land of Makebelieve captivated visitors young and old. This summer, the Arto Monaco Historical Society invites you to remember the Land of Makebelieve, an enchanting, child-sized theme park, and its creator, Arto Monaco.

Born in Ausable Forks in 1913, Monaco designed not only the Land of Make Believe but Santa’s Workshop and Charley Wood’s Storytown and Gaslight Village. The Arto Monaco Historical Society was created after Monaco’s death in 2003 to preserve his legacy.

The exhibition in Au Sable Forks will feature images and artifacts from the original theme park, formerly located in Upper Jay but now closed to the public. The exhibition will also include plans for a new park that’s under consideration for the former Land of Makebelieve site.

Photo: The Land of Makebelieve in 2006 before volunteers began work on the abandoned theme park.



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