Monday, August 17, 2009

Adirondack Birding: 60 Great Places to Find Birds

It’s not every day that we get a book here at the Almanack that reaches my list of Adirondack must-haves. John Peterson and Gary Lee’s Adirondack Birding:60 Great Places to Find Birds (Lost Pond Press, softcover, 240 pages, $20.95) is the kind of book that you will want to have on your shelf – even if you’re not that into birds. Peterson (of Elizabethtown) and Lee (who hails from Inlet), are two of the Adirondack region’s most skilled birders. They drew on decades of experience in selecting the sites for this, the first comprehensive guidebook to birding hot spots in the Adirondacks.

Experienced birders can use the book to search for the Park’s most-coveted species, including boreal birds not found in the state outside the Adirondacks as well as uncommon winter visitors and rare migrants. What I find amazing about this book however, is that it offers the non-birder like me an opportunity to find natural places were I can see a lot of great birds – even if I don’t yet know what they are. If an afternoon exploration to a spot likely to be teeming with birds is what you’re after more than working to complete your birding checklist – this is a great book for you. That’s not to say the experienced birder won’t have something to learn here as well. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Commentary: Local Paper Returns to Paid Online Service

Schenectady’s Daily Gazette has told its online readers to find their news elsewhere. After a failed attempt to charge online readers ended in 2007, the Gazette‘s online traffic exploded to 1.5 million page views monthly (according to Managing Editor Judy Patrick). No matter, those in charge at the paper apparently think the future is in print media and charging people for what they can find elsewhere for free.

Just for fun, you can read the story at the still online Albany Times Union which reported that beginning last week “the Schenectady paper will reserve the free section of its Web site for blogs, breaking news and some other features. Only paying subscribers, meanwhile, will have access to expanded online content, including articles that appear in the print edition.”

The new pay plan is showing that those running the Gazette are confused and scared. Just ask Gazette reporter Jason Subik, who reported in January 2008, just after the paper went online for free, and in an article titled “Newspapers’ free online content gives readers what they want, brings needed revenue boost,” that “Today newspapers are finding new ways to compete and rethinking what it means to scoop the competition, as they publish online as well as in print….” – that’s all you get, because I’m not paying for a nearly two year old slanted piece of self-service “news.”

My guess is that the Gazette’s return to the pay model will mean fewer subscribers, fewer links to their web page, and less involvement of the local community in their news. The Gazette will lose its standing as Schenectady’s newspaper of record, at least online.

I suspect that tens of thousands of links to the Gazette will be broken across the internet. Dozens of links from Adirondack Almanack will be broken, and future readers of this site will be pointed to the reports from other places.

Those who rely on the online edition of the paper because their print edition (yesterday’s news anyway) wouldn’t arrive before they head off to work will find other news sources.

Those who place obituaries will think twice if loved ones across the country can’t read the obit online.

But the bottom line is the move to a pay site will do nothing to stem the tide of lost revenue, began with loss of print subscribers that followed the advent of widespread cable television and 24-hour news channels in the early 1990s – ten years before blogs and news aggregators came to the fore.

Newspapers get most of their revenue from advertising – when they produce quality content that people want to read they grow their audience and garner more advertising dollars. You’d think it would be obvious that cutting access to the paper doesn’t grow its audience. As one commenter to the paper put it simply – “That’s hilarious. Good luck with that.”

I expect they will come out of the woodwork now – the “nothing is free” crowd – to tell me how we shouldn’t expect news for free. That idea is laughable.

Radio news is free. Television news is free. Plenty of books, magazines, and newspapers are all free at the library, cafes, and a hundred other places, even the dentist office. They all carry news – local, national, and international.

In this day and age those who make money from subscribers for general news delivery are a dying breed.

Here’s the problem for the Gazette as it relates to just one subject – the Adirondacks. Many of the links to the paper over the years here at the Almanack were related to the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, which has been based (in part at least) in Niskayuna, just outside Schenectady. Now that we can no longer link to the Gazette, we’ll have to go here, or here. That’s what good online journals do best – they find the news at its source, not filtered through the biases of local reporters, editors, and publishers.

Soon enough, most municipalities in America will have at least two online writers reporting on what happens with their local politics from differing perspectives. Specific subjects, like the Supreme Court, New York Politics, and the Adirondacks, already have active online journals that cover their areas, often more thoroughly, or more widely, or with a more independent mind, then any local paper ever could or will.

When that trend – individual independent citizens reporting on their own from all walks of life – is finally entrenched, we’ll look back and laugh at how naive people were to think that it was “buy a newspaper, or don’t get news.”

Some think that site’s like the Adirodnack Almanack rely on free local news online, but they’re off the mark. We get our news just like everyone else in the media does – through investigative legwork, media releases, and research. We curate what’s happening in the Adirondacks and show people where to find it. Rarely does that require a local newspaper, which, after all, the Almanack is not.

I’m sorry to see the Gazette go – but go it will. The print newspaper era is waning, the monopoly of the old media is nearly over. As papers like the Gazette leave the online world – and make no mistake, that is what they are doing – others will take their place.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ross Whaley on ‘Private Lands in a Park’ at Adk Museum

On Monday, August 17, 2009, Ross Whaley, past Chairman of the Adirondack Park Agency, will present a program entitled “Private Lands in a Park: An Historical Accident, A Mistake, or an Asset” at the Adirondack Museum. Whaley will discuss the importance of private land stewardship in defining the character of the Adirondack Park, as well as the challenges of maintaining a park that is unique in the world.

Part of the museum’s Monday Evening Lecture series, the presentation will be held in the Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. There is no charge for museum members. Admission is $5.00 for non-members.

Ross S. Whaley is President Emeritus, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Since October of 2007 Dr. Whaley has served as Senior Advisor to the Adirondack Land Owners Association. He assumed this post after serving as Chairman of the Adirondack Park Agency for four years. He brought to these positions more than 30 years experience as a university teacher, researcher and administrator. He also served as Director of Economics Research for the US Forest Service for six years. Whaley holds a bachelor’s degree in forestry and a PhD in natural resource economics from the University of Michigan.

From 1984-2005 Dr. Whaley was associated with the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, 16 years as its President and subsequently as University Professor. As Professor his interest focused on the political economy of sustainable development.

Ross Whaley has served as a consultant to or member of several state, national, and international commissions devoted to natural resource and environmental issues. In recognition of these activities he has been awarded the Pinchot Medallion by the Pinchot Institute for Conservation, the Professional Conservationist Award by the New York Conservation Council, the Heiberg Memorial Award by the New York Forest Owners Association, and is an Honor Alumnus of Colorado State University.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fooling Wasps in the Garden

“What is that green papery thing you have hanging next to the back door?” my mother asked. “It’s a paper wasp nest,” said I. An artificial wasp nest made of paper, as opposed to a nest made by paper wasps.

“What’s it for?”

“To keep away wasps.”

“Does it work?”

Ah…that’s the question. Several gardening catalogues sell these Chinese paper lantern type wasp nests as wasp deterrents, and others sell ones made of fabric. The theory is that you hang them in areas where you don’t want wasps. Supposedly, paper wasps are very territorial and will not build a nest in an area where one already exists. So, you hang up these artificial nests and voila! no wasps.

But does it work?

Well, I routinely had wasps build nests next to one of my sheds. And while I’ve come to terms with bees, I’m not so trusting of wasps. Some, like the bald faced hornet, are very aggressive and don’t need much (if any) provocation to attack. As soon as I would see the beginnings of a paper wasp nest, I would knock it down. Luckily, this worked, but I knew that the battle would only repeat every year unless I took some other measure.

Enter the fake nest.

I purchased a two-pack of paper nests a couple years ago. They lie flat and squashed in the package. All you have to do is stretch them out and lock the wire frame in place. Instant wasp nest. Then you hang it in a strategic location. I placed one next to the back door, easily within viewing distance of the corner by the shed. The other I hung inside the porch (a double assurance against wasps coming into the house – or at least this was the plan).

For two years I have followed this routine, and for two years I’ve had no wasps nests built near my shed (or anywhere along that side of the house). Could it be this really works, or is it merely coincidence?

According to www.wasps.net, fake nests are good for up to 5000 ft. away. The folks over at http://iberianature.com/britainnature/tag/fake-wasps-nest/ also agree: fake nests are an environmentally friendly way to control wasps around your house and gardens.

So there you go! A chemical-free, pet- and child-friendly, totally non-toxic way to control undesireables. If only every pest could be so easily fooled!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lake Placid to Host 2010 Division III Men’s Hockey Championship

The NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Committee recently announced that Lake Placid will host the 2010 NCAA Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Championship March 19-20 or March 20-21, depending on the television broadcast schedule. The event will be held in the 1980 Rink Herb Brooks Arena. The Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) and Plattsburgh State University College of New York are the co-hosts for the tournament.

Lake Placid has hosted the past two Division III Men’s Ice Hockey Championships, first partnering with State University of New York at Potsdam and then last year with SUNY Plattsburgh. The event features the two semi-final games on the first day, followed by the championship title match on the second day. Other activities associated with the event include a Fan Fest, which features live music, prize give-aways, and vendors.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Where are the Monarch Butterflies?

Last month I was asked why we aren’t seeing any monarch butterflies this year. I had no answer. Well, I had an answer, but it wasn’t the answer this person was likely seeking. I looked back through my records of when monarchs are first seen each year, and discovered that when I first started keeping track, we didn’t really see monarchs until mid- to late summer; in other words, mid-July and August. Two years ago I saw my first one at the end of May.

This year, however, July came and went with only a couple monarch sightings. Now August is chugging along towards the halfway mark, and I can still probably count on one hand the number of monarchs I’ve seen. Milkweed plants are conspicuously unmunched, as are the butterfly weeds all around my gardens. » Continue Reading.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Pieces of Fort Edward Revealed During Hudson Dredging

A piece of historic Fort Edward, site of the Great Carrying Place portage between the Hudson River and Lake George and prominent in the history of the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, is reported to have been brought up while dredging the Hudson River for PCBs according to the Glens Falls Post Star.

“Neal Orsini said he was awakened at 4 a.m. by the noise of a clamshell dredge pulling the piece of wood, which he estimated to be about 14 feet long, from his property,” the paper reported. “There was a breakdown somewhere in the system and they took a piece of old Fort Edward out of the bank they weren’t supposed to be touching,” Orsini said, “It was really loud.”

Orsini also told the paper that a clamshell dredge removed a section of riverbank. “It left a gaping hole in my river bank,” he said. The paper is reporting that archeologists are on the scene and a “survey is being performed on the pieces taken from the area.”

Fort Edward was built in 1755 on “The Great Warpath” between Albany and the head of northward navigation at Lake George. It’s three components, the fort itself, a fortified encampment on Rogers Island, and a Royal blockhouse built in 1758 across the river was Britain’s largest military outpost in North America during the French and Indian War housing more than 15,000 troops. An earlier stockaded area named Fort Nicholson was located there in 1709 during Queen Anne’s War; it was rebuilt as Fort Lydus (primarily the trading post of John Lydus) and in 1731 was rebuilt as Fort Lyman. It was renamed For Edward by Sir William Johnson during the French and Indian War in 1755.

Although the historic site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it has been largely forgotten, after the area was heavily contaminated with PCBs, and has fallen into disuse except for the Rogers Island Visitors Center. The Associated Press reported this week that three entities are hoping to purchase parts of the site including the Archaeological Conservancy, the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and archeologist David Starbuck, who has been excavating the site since at least 2001.

Rogers Island was also the base camp of Major Robert Rogers and his company of Rangers and it was there that he composed his “Ranging Rules” which form the basis of military tactics adopted by irregular fighting forces all over the world. The site is considered the birthplace of the U.S. Army Rangers. The fort fell to British forces under John Burgoyne in 1777 during the American Revolution.

The dredging project is in its fourth month of removing approximately 2.65 million cubic yards of Hudson Riverbed sediment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). General Electric is believed to have dischargeed more than 1 million pounds of PCBs from its plants in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward into the Hudson River. The company then fought a legal, political, and media battle to avoid cleanup for nearly 20 years. GE fought the Superfund law in court and conducted a media campaign to convince the public that cleaning the toxic waste from the river would stir up PCBs. This week high levels of PCBs downriver slowed the dredging. GE was ordered by the EPA to clean up a 40-mile stretch of the Hudson River it contaminated in 2002.

Photo: Fort Edward from “A Set of Plans and Forts in Americas, Reduced From Actual Surveys” [1763]


Friday, August 14, 2009

Questions for Dr. Edward Hixson:Weight and the North Country

Dr. Hixson is medical director of Adirondack Medical Center’s Bariatric and Weight Loss Program, based in Saranac Lake, which has facilitated loss of 100,000 pounds over the past ten years. The Adirondack Almanack sat down with him to discuss a Centers for Disease Control report that found Northern New Yorkers are heavier than their counterparts elsewhere in the state.

AA: Please tell us about the bariatric/weight program’s history and its goals.

EH: This program was founded in 1999 and is devoted to weight loss, no matter how you do it, surgically or not. We have two thoracic surgeons, a bariatric nurse/nurse practitioner/coordinator, a physicians assistant, plus we have two doctors, David Merkel and myself, who started the program, and we do administrative work and see patients. We also have a nutritionist and we developed a weight-loss program that is potentially as effective as surgery for those who stick with it — one of our previous operating room nurses is running that.

We’ve done it now for ten years and have had over a thousand people have surgery. Our surgical doctors have been responsible for more than a hundred thousand pounds of weight loss.

A year and a half ago we were designated as a Center of Excellence by the Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, which is the gold standard in the country today.

We are dealing with a chronic disease, treatment for life, and it really demands commitment and a lot of effort. The reward, when you see somebody lose 120 pounds — it’s a big difference. The average weight loss among people who have had the surgery, we found, is 117 pounds. Not everybody reaches their desired weight, but most people become healthier and less susceptible to weight-related diseases like diabetes, high-blood pressure and high cholesterol.

AA: When you founded the program, were you responding to a need in the community?

EH: Yes, Dr. Merkel and I had been talking about it. Weight was becoming a problem. We knew the need. When we became aware that there was a good solution for it, then we felt that it should be available up here, and that of course was surgery. We started with a few patients in 2000, and now we get about a hundred a year.

AA: Are they all North Country residents?

EH: We have a few from Canada, but most are from here. And there’s a basic premise of any critical treatment for weight anywhere, and that is: if you’ve got the problem you need treatment for life, whether it’s medical or surgical. There is no cure. The goal is control. And if you get control you have to make sure you keep control. Our rule from the beginning is follow-up for life.

AA: Were you surprised to see the Centers for Disease Control statistics that North Country residents are on average heavier than those elsewhere in the state?

EH: Well, I knew that, I had preached this ten years ago. The statistics are there. They’re not really new. We know that two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and half of those are morbidly obese. And this has been a problem of increasing magnitude for ten or twenty years. The fastest growing group of those who have a weight problem are children, which is discouraging because very heavy children grow into heavy adults. The other rapidly growing group are the morbidly obese. This is worrisome too because they are the ones with the most severe problems. About 4 percent of the country are morbidly obese; in Franklin County it’s 7 percent— there may be newer numbers than that, but that was a few years ago.

The heaviest state in the country is Mississippi, and the best state in the country as far as weight is Colorado.

AA: I was going to ask, is there something about the rural way of life that encourages weight gain?

EH: No not really. If anything it’s good for you. To a certain extent the rate is related to your population mix; obesity is more a problem among Native Americans, for instance, but really it’s related also to poverty and income level. It’s more of a problem to the people who can least afford to get out of the problem. This is not an affluent area, and I think that’s largely responsible.

AA: Do you see any signs the trend is reversing?

This is getting a lot of publicity. But on the other hand look at the huge amounts of money spent by the food industry on advertising. Then you look at the amount of money that is spent on health in schools or advertising; you are talking thousands-to-one.

The morbidly obese generally live a decade or decade and a half less than their normal-weight counterparts. The problem is getting worse quicker than we are solving it. More people are becoming obese than we are helping.

Shakespeare really hit it right on the nail: “Diseases desperate grown are by desperate appliance oft relieved, or not at all.” And that often applies to obesity. Surgery is often the most effective tool for controlling weight. And that’s why we started the bariatric surgery program.

My goal was, hey, can we do what a major medical center has trouble doing, in a small community hospital out in the woods, and I think we’re the smallest most rural place in the country that has this certification.

[He pulls a framed photograph of a woman on top of Hough Peak off the shelf.] This is one of our patients. She just gave me that the other day. She was morbidly obese, and here she is completing her 46 [High Peaks]. She doesn’t look like she’s unhealthy or heavy, does she?

If there’s a goal, we have a lifestyle up here that’s active physically, and there’s a movement to buy local food. Our environment is great, it’s healthy. If we could go from a 7 percent morbid obesity — one of the highest in the country and the highest in the state — if we could turn that around and be right up there doing better than Colorado, and to do it in a rural area, with very little monetary resource, if we do it on our own, grass-roots work, then that to me is a good goal.

I don’t think we’d do it with everybody having surgery, but if we can change things for the kids, time will change that. You can correlate the weight problem with the kids to the number of hours they spend in front of a computer and a television set. Chances are if you can drag kids away from a computer, there’s something outside they like to do.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Weekly Adirondack Blogging Round-Up


Friday, August 14, 2009

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene:Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub, Zydeco Moshers, Blues, and Irish

Shamim is away this week, so I’ll be offering up some tips to the great music events to be found in the Adirondacks this weekend. If you’ve only got time for a few shows check out Captain Squeeze and the Zydeco Moshers tonight in Luzerne, The Spirit of Degas opening on Friday, or Saturday’s Bert Phillips Memorial Chamber Music Concert in Luzerne. Here are the details for those and other great upcoming musically opportunities:

Tonight (Thursday, Aug 13) at 7 pm in the Town Park in Lake Luzerne you can check out (for free) Captain Squeeze and the Zydeco Moshers.

Also tonight you can check out the popular local rhythm and blues based Stone Man Blues Band at the Wilmington Beach in Wilmington. The show starts at 7 pm, and is free.

The Lake Placid Sinfonietta will perform this Friday August 14th, 2009 at 7:00pm at the Amos and Julia Ward Theatre in Jay, NY at the junction of 9N and 86. Robert Franz will be conducting. The Program will include Mozart “Symphony No.29 in “A” and “Overture to Figaro” also works by Grainger, Offenbach, and Strauss. Tickets are $20.00 and available at the Jay Craft Center or at 6:15pm on the day of the performance.

Somewhat musically related is the exhibit “In the Spirit of Degas: Art Inspired by Music” which opens with a reception on Friday (August 14) 5-7 pm at the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council’s Lapham Gallery in Glens Falls. The exhibit, which runs to October 4th, features the artwork of 49 artists who work was selected based on these instructions: “The artwork need not emulate Degas’ work or thematic content but should be the individual artist’s own interpretation of, emotional response to, inspiration from, conceptualization and influence by any musical genre, theme, or performance.” This exhibition is in conjunction with The Hyde Collection’s “Degas & Music” exhibit running through October 18. On September 17th Dr. Sheldon Hurst of Adirondack Community College will give a free talk on Degas in America within the context of Degas’ stay in New Orleans.

The Music By The River series is continuing in North Creek on Saturday (Aug. 15) with Giant Panda Guerrilla Dub Squad. This Rochester based roots and dub band promises to be the highlight of the By The River Series; the free show starts at 7 pm.

Saturday August 15 at 6:30 PM: Celia Evans and Bruce Brough and Co. An ecologist by profession, Celia’s folk music is inspired by the natural world of the Adirondacks. This event will be held at the Amos and Julia Ward Theatre in Jay, NY at the junction of 9N and 86.

On Monday, August 17, the Bert Phillips Memorial Concert will be held at the Lake Luzerne Chamber Music Festival. Members of the Phildelphia Orchestra’s Cello Section, the Luzerne Chamber Players, and special guests will perform works by Schubert, Mahler, Brahms, and Martinu. Bert Phillips was the Founder and Director of the Luzerne Music Center and founder of the Luzerne Festival who passed away last year. For information contact www.luzernemusic.org or call 1-800-874-3202.

Wednesday, August 19, the great Irish party band Hair of the Dog will be at Shepherds Park in Lake George Village for a free show starting at 7 pm.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Adirondack Bloom Index Part IV: August and September

Ed Miller, an enthusiastic naturalist from Rexford, likes to say he has a special fondness for late bloomers, being a bit of one himself. After retiring from work as an engineer at GE, he threw himself into another life, of paddling, botanizing and exploring.

Now that August is in full swelter Adirondack late bloomers are showing their colors. Following are Adirondack Upland Flora’s median bloom dates for 2,000-foot elevations in August and September (The book, by then Paul Smith’s College professor Dr. Michael Kudish, was published in 1992.)

August 1 Green woodland orchid
August 3 Meadowsweet, pickerel weed, elliptical St. Johnswort
August 4 Sundews and pondweed
August 5 Skullcap and water lobelia
August 12 Swamp loosestrife and steeplebush
August 15 Bog goldenrod
August 17 Closed gentian
August 18 Eel grass and bugleweed
August 22 Large-leaved goldenrod, jointweed, claspingleaf pondweed
August 23 Water milfoil
August 25 Rough bedstraw and northern willow herb
August 26 Joe pye weed; red maple leave turning red on dying branches and stressed trees
August 29 Marsh bellflower
August 30 Water smartweed, mint and swamp beggars-ticks
September 1 Most goldenrods and asters
September 4 Clearstem
September 11 Panicled aster
September 14 Autumn ladies’ tresses

Not many people have seen it, but early August is when the rare Prenanthes bootii (alpine rattlesnakeroot) blooms on a few high Adirondack summits. Mid-August is the time to look on mountaintops for flowering mountain sandwort, three-toothed cinquefoil, closed (or maybe narrow-leaved) gentian and sheep laurel; those species that also grow at lower elevations bloom later on the cold summits.

Hall of Fame pitcher Christy Mathewson noted these flowers around Saranac Lake August 5-12, 1922: Rattlesnake plantain, white avens, agrimony, purslane, ladies thumb, common mallow, climbing false buckwheat, husk tomato, chamomile, Oswego tea, large purple-fringed orchis, hog peanut, climbing bittersweet, waxwork, tall coneflower, mayapple, boneset, peppermint, burdock, teasel, bergamot, cardinal flower, fringed loosestrife, sow thistle, milkwort, thimble weed, Indian tobacco, butterfly weed, English plantain.

This concludes our series on bloom dates for this season, sadly. (Past bloom posts can be seen here, here and here.)


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bill McKibben, Bat Expert Al Hicks in Newcomb Saturday

Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature, has been rallying support from around the world to call for a fair global climate treaty. Wildlife biologist Al Hicks trying to prevent the extinction of bats in the Northeast. McKibben (left) will be the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and the Adirondack Land Trust on Saturday, August 15, at the Newcomb Central School in Newcomb, NY. Hicks’s lecture, The End of Bats in the Northeast?, is one of three field trip/educational opportunities being offered before the meeting formally kicks off at 1:00. The event is free and open to the public. Participants are asked to register in advance.

McKibben is founder of 350.org, which according to the website, “is an international campaign dedicated to building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis–the solutions that justice demand.” Their stated mission is to”inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis–to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet.” The number 350 refers to parts per million, and represents the level scientists have identified as the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere.

The meeting will also feature a conservation update from Michael Carr, delivering the latest news on historic land protection projects involving the former Finch, Pruyn & Company lands and the Follensby Pond tract—175,600 acres in all. Attendees will find out how sustainable forestry fits into part of the conservation plan.

At 11:00 a.m. in the Newcomb Central School Auditorium, state wildlife biologist Al Hicks will give an up-to-the-minute account of “white-nose syndrome,” a mysterious affliction causing bat populations in the Adirondacks and at least nine northeastern states to plummet. Hundreds of thousands of bats, including animals from well-established colonies in the Adirondacks, have already died. Hicks has been on the frontlines of this environmental crisis since the outbreak was first discovered in 2007.

Participants should plan to arrive around noon for the annual meeting, or before 11:00 a.m. to attend the special lecture. Bring a bag lunch or call ahead to reserve an $8 lunch from Newcomb Central School students raising money for their trip abroad.

To register for this event, reserve a bag lunch, or obtain more information, contact Erin Walkow at (518) 576 – 2082 x133 or ewalkow@tnc.org.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Newcomb VIC To Host Geology Festival Saturday

The history and culture of rocks in the Adirondack Mountains will be celebrated on Saturday, August 15 during the second annual geology festival, Rock Fest 2009, from 10am to 4pm at the Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) in Newcomb. The VIC staff has teamed up with the Adirondack Museum and SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry’s Adirondack Ecological Center to present lectures, field trips, exhibits, and children’s activities. Free and open to the public, Rock Fest was designed to be a day-long exploration to increase appreciation and understanding of regional geology.

Exhibits and lectures at Rock Fest will focus on the geological history of the Adirondack Mountains and man’s relationship with natural resources of the Adirondack Park. Mining history will be presented by Adirondack Museum educators.

Here are the Rock Fest 2009 lectures and field trips:

10am Lecture: Adirondacks- Geology in the Park, with William Kelly, State Geologist, NYS Geological Survey

10:30am Lecture: Rocks as Resource with Steve Potter, Division of Mineral Resources, NYS DEC

11:15am-12:30pm Field Trip: Rocks in Place, with William Kelly and Steve Potter

1:15pm-2:15pm Lecture: Out of the Earth: Mining History of the Adirondacks, with Christine Campeau, Adirondack Museum

2:15pm Field Trip: Of Mines and Men: The McIntyre and Tahawus Mines, with Paul B. Hai, SUNY-ESF’s Adirondack Ecological Center

Exhibitors (10am to 2pm) will include: The Adirondack Park Institute, the Adirondack Museum (making sandpaper with kids), Natural Stone Bridge and Caves, High Falls Gorge, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and New York State Geological Survey.

The Newcomb VIC is located 12 miles east of Long Lake on Route 28N. For more information about the VICs, log on to the centers’ Web site at www.adkvic.org.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August APA Meeting: Wind Projects, Enforcement

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, August 13 and Friday August 14 at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY. The August meeting will be webcast live. The Agency’s homepage has a link to view the webcast. Here is the meeting agenda form the APA:

The Full Agency will convene on Thursday morning at 9:00 for the Acting Executive Director’s monthly report and introduction of the Agency’s new Executive Director, Terry Martino.

At 9:15 a.m., the Regulatory Programs Committee will consider two residential wind turbine proposals, one in the Town of Essex, Essex County and one in the Town of Indian Lake, Hamilton County.

Both applicants propose the installation of wind-powered turbines to generate electricity for their existing single family dwellings. The proposed tower in Essex is 65-feet tall with nine foot diameter turbine blades for a maximum overall height of 70 feet. The proposed tower in Indian Lake is 105-feet tall with 18 foot diameter turbine blades for a maximum overall height of 115 feet.

Key issues include visibility and compliance with the Agency’s Tall Structures and Towers Policy.

The committee meeting will conclude with a staff briefing on the original and revised plans for the Olympic regional Development Authority Conference Center in Lake Placid, Essex County.

At 11:30, the Legal Affairs Committee will receive an update on the Agency’s proposed legislation involving affordable housing incentives, permit reforms and community planning funds. Staff will also provide a status update on current regulatory revision.

At 1:00, the Park Policy and Planning Committee will consider a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and authorization for staff to conduct a public hearing for proposed map amendments to the Official Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan. Agency staff initiated this reclassification of private land in the Town of Fine, St. Lawrence County, which local officials raised during a Community Spotlight presentation to the Agency Board. The proposal would result in the reclassification of 64 acres of Resource Management to Low Intensity Use and help accommodate future growth needs related to the community medical facility.

At 1:30, the State Land Committee will hear a status report on the Bog River Complex/Lows Lake classification/reclassification public hearing process. The committee will also hear a first reading of the proposed draft inter-agency memorandum of understanding for travel corridor management plans. This MOU between the Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Conservation and the APA outlines an approach for developing, reviewing and implementing travel corridor unit management plans for the approximately 1,100 miles of state highway corridors in the Adirondack Park.

At 2:30, the full Agency will convene for the ongoing Community Spotlight Series. This month Town of Johnsburg Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed is the guest speaker for the Community Spotlight presentation. Supervisor Goodspeed will give an overview of his community and highlight important community issues facing this Warren County town.

At 3:30, the Enforcement Committee will come to order for administrative enforcement proceedings related to alleged permit violations resulting in non compliance from house size, septic system and shoreline cutting violations on a private property in the Town of Putnam, Washington County and an alleged unauthorized subdivision resulting in substandard lots in the Town of Mayfield, Fulton County.

On Friday morning at 9:00, the Park Ecology Committee will convene for a presentation from Dr. Otto Doering III on the Economic Impact of Invasive Species. Dr. Doering is a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University and a member of the US Department of Interior’s Invasive Species Advisory Committee. He publishes in the areas of agricultural policy, resource conservation, water, energy/biofuels, and climate change and is a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

APA Soil Scientist and Forester Larry Phillips will then inform the Park ecology Committee on Federal efforts to track the spread of Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorned Beetle. Mr. Phillips will demonstrate how to identify these species and highlight ongoing federal efforts to detect them inside the Adirondack Park.

At 10:30am the Economic Affairs Committee will continue focusing on small business development. Empire State Development Regional Director Peter Wohl along with Economic Development Program Administrator Doug Schelleng will give a presentation detailing current programs administered through Empire State Development.

Empire State Development and the Governor’s newly appointed Small Business Development Task Force are in the process of evaluating the needs of small businesses to determine what adjustments would best meet the economic development needs of the State.

The Full Agency will convene at 10:45 to take action as necessary and conclude the meeting with committee reports, public and member comment.

Meeting materials are available for download from the Agency’s website at: http://www.apa.state.ny.us/Mailing/0908/index.htm

The next Agency meeting is September 10-11, 2009 at the Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.

October Agency Meeting: October 8-9, 2009, Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.