Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Smell of Rain 

fog and humidity in the forest
It’s going to rain. Can you smell it?  

Being able to smell rain as it approaches isn’t something imagined. There really can be a distinctly heady aroma in the air before it rains. And it’s a smell that I’ve always found calming. In fact, there are several clean, earthy, strikingly pleasing, yet distinctly different smells that many of us associate with rainfall. They occur before, during, and after showers and storms. And all of them are scientifically identifiable.  

Ozone 

Before it rains; as the wind begins to pick up and the clouds thicken or roll in, you may become aware of a noticeably fresh scent in the air. That sharp, clear aroma is ozone; a molecule made up of three oxygen atoms bonded together (O3) whose name comes from the Greek verb for smell; ozein. It’s the same gas we associate with the layer of our atmosphere that protects us from too much sunlight.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Rangers join firefighters in Indian Lake, Town of Horicon

forest ranger reportsTown of Indian Lake
Hamilton County
Wildland Fire:
 On May 14 at 11:52 a.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch was contacted by Hamilton County 911 requesting Forest Ranger assistance for a wildfire off of Starbuck Road in the town of Indian Lake. Forest Rangers Lomnitzer, Temple, Miller, and Scott responded to assist. Over the course of several hours, Forest Rangers worked with the responding volunteer fire departments to suppress and control the fire. After approximately seven acres burned, the fire was placed in patrol status later in the evening. The fire was patrolled and monitored for several days before being declared out. The cause of the fire was traced back to an illegal debris burn by a nearby homeowner. The individual was issued several tickets for illegal burning and related charges.

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Kid next to water
Wednesday, May 19, 2021

DEC & Akwesasne Task Force Stewardship Agreement

woodRecently, a project took place at Brasher State Forest in Saint Lawrence County as part of a more than 30-year-old partnership between DEC and the Akwesasne Mohawk community.

In February and March, volunteer crews from the Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment from the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Land Resources program conducted improvement cuttings to protect black ash trees under a volunteer stewardship agreement.

This project involved thinning a patch of forest to reduce competition among trees, which will eventually help the trees that remain grow to be bigger, stronger, and healthier. The crew left several black ash crop trees to increase growth and promote seed production.

Black ash is a culturally important tree species that is primarily used by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe to make baskets, which are created both for utilitarian purposes and as art. This species has become scarce in Akwesasne territory in recent years, and special projects such as this one have been undertaken by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe to protect this resource.
The trees selected for removal were sold through a timber sale contract and then removed by the volunteers. The firewood will be processed and donated to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe reservation.


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Bugs on the brain

Bugs that eat Hemlock woolly adelgidI’ve had bugs on the brain the last couple of weeks.

That’s because the New York State Hemlock Initiative invited me out to the Huyck Preserve in Rensselaerville to see the release of a predator fly that eats the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid — a forest pest that has afflicted the Lake George area of the Adirondacks. I went. About a week later, the Adirondack Park Invasive Plan Program held its annual partner meeting and guess what was a major highlight? Hemlock woolly adelgid. Check out adirondackexplorer.org for our coverage.

Of course, it was snowing when I went out to see these predator bugs released, so we missed the excitement of unscrewing a jar lid and sending them off. I confess that upon seeing these HWA predators in a jar, I was a bit underwhelmed by their size. They look more like fruit flies, hardly what one thinks when you hear the word “predator.” In my imagination, I whipped them up to look more like the size of house flies. I thought they’d be swarming in jars, thick and dense, so when they were let out, “release the flies!” would be a good thing to yell.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Depot Theatre Back on Track in 2021

the depot theatre is back on track with 3 live performances

The Depot Theatre in Westport is pleased to announce a return to live performances in 2021, with three main stage productions originally planned for 2020, featuring iconic figures and everyday heroes.

The Depot will adhere to both government and Actors’ Equity health and safety guidelines, which will require a number of protocol changes that include limited audience capacity, required face coverings, and ticket sales conducted entirely by phone.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

DEC and Partners Continue Efforts to Control Invasive Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in Lake George

hemlock woolly adelgid

Biological Control Release Underway Bolsters Second Round of Treatment to Limit Spread of Invasive, Tree-Killing Pest

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and partners announced that additional efforts to limit the spread of the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) on Forest Preserve lands in Washington County are underway. DEC forestry staff are treating 29 acres of infested hemlock stands near Shelving Rock and additional infested hemlocks near Paradise Bay. DEC is partnering with the New York State Hemlock Initiative and Cornell University to release Leucopis silver flies, a biological control for HWA, near Paradise Bay. These efforts are part of an ongoing, multi-year initiative to control the HWA infestation along the shores of Lake George that was discovered last August. Additional partners in these treatment efforts include the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) and Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC).

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Monday, May 17, 2021

A bag of hammers

lean-to rescueThis spring, I paddled out across Kiwassa Lake to see the volunteers at Lean2Rescue put the finishing touches on a newly restored lean-to shelter. They had moved it, piece by piece, from Middle Saranac Lake, so they could replace the roof and some rotting logs at the base. And they left in its place a new lean-to for Middle Saranac.

This is what these guys do. They told me I could do it too, if I had an IQ in the range of a “bag of hammers.” It’s their joke for the mania that drives them to head out into the wilderness to move 400-pound logs around. What they do is no joke, though. It keeps a certain local architectural heritage alive, and gives paddlers and backpackers shelter in the woods.

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Monday, May 17, 2021

Eighth annual Invasive Species Awareness Week slated for June 6-12

State Agencies Encourage Partners to Begin Planning Events
The State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Agriculture and Markets (AGM) have announced that New York State’s eighth annual Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW) will be held June 6-12. Organizations are encouraged to connect with their local Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) to begin planning events.

ISAW is an educational campaign featuring statewide events that promote an understanding of invasive species-how they get here, how to recognize them, what their negative impacts are-and empower New Yorkers to take action to protect the state’s resources from their introduction and spread. New York State is particularly vulnerable to invasive species due to its role as a center for international trade and travel. Managing invasive species is a long-term effort and requires collaboration from State agencies, stakeholder organizations, and the public.

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Monday, May 17, 2021

ADK applauds visitor use management proposal led by DEC, APA

Crowds of hikers in the high peaks of the Adirondacks

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) presented a draft of their joint Visitor Use Management (VUM) and Wildlands Monitoring tool during the State Land Committee Report at the APA Meeting in Ray Brook.

ADK applauds the formation and release of this document, which is seen as a big step towards establishing a visitor use management framework consistent with standards set by the Federal Interagency Visitor Use Management Council (IVUMC), something ADK has routinely advocated for over the years.

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Monday, May 17, 2021

Looking for fellow trackers

tracksFrom an Almanack reader, looking to connect with animal tracking enthusiasts:

“Do you know where to find people who are involved in the science and “hobby”Or practice of animal tracking? Some trackers are hunters, but most are not.

I am a person who has always enjoyed looking at tracks and sign for the story they tell, but in the past 3 years I have dug deeper into the techniques of positive ID and deeper knowledge through some amazing books, and going on tracking walks with experts. I have the 120 year old family farmhouse in Indian Lake and find unlimited places for remarkable tracking walks.”

Leave a comment below to connect!

DEC photo


Sunday, May 16, 2021

The Bear Dance: A Three Part Camp Adventure

American black bearPart I :  Bear Essentials

Wednesday, July 11, 2018, 3:30 pm-  My cell phone rang.   It was my brother Ray, calling from the lean to on Bull Rush Bay.

“Hey- I’m in camp for the day.   Pepper’s with me. Two food bins are missing from the lean to and  the Yeti is tipped over.”

We ran down the list of potential culprits- vandals, raccoons, bears.  Missing food bins didn’t fit any known raccoon MO. It would have taken Racczilla to tip over that Yeti.  Scratch raccoons.  That left two suspects- vandals, or bears.

I said “Vandals would have stolen the Yeti, and the beer.  Bears leave drag marks.  Be careful, especially with that pup!  Keep your eyes peeled for drag marks. Call me back.”

3:42 pm.  My phone rang again.

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Sunday, May 16, 2021

When it comes to baby animals, ‘if you care, leave them there’

fawnNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos reminds New Yorkers to appreciate wildlife from a safe distance and resist the urge to touch or pick up newborn fawns and other young wildlife. Human contact with wildlife can carry unintended consequences detrimental to the animals people intend to help.

“At this time of year, New Yorkers may encounter young or newborn wild animals in their yards and mistakenly think they need help to survive,” Seggos said. “While a baby rabbit or a recently fledged bird might appear abandoned, a parent is likely nearby, trying to remain out of view. Please do not touch a wild baby animal; instead, enjoy encounters with wildlife from a distance. Remember-if you care, leave it there.”

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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Weekly news headlines

A collection of interesting reads:

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Saturday, May 15, 2021

AdkAction to fund 11 new pollinator gardens

Pollinator Garden This summer, AdkAction’s Mobile Pollinator Garden Trailer (also affectionately known as the Pollinator-Mobile) will rove the Adirondacks, planting community pollinator gardens and leaving blooms, bees, and butterflies in its wake. Eleven new garden sites in and around the Adirondacks have been chosen to receive gardens as part of our hands-on pollinator conservation efforts.

What is a pollinator garden?

A pollinator garden is one planted mostly with flowers that provide nectar or pollen for a broad range of pollinating insects. Native flowering plants are best, and pesticides and other chemicals are avoided. These habitats can be beautiful and they attract birds and other wildlife in addition to pollinators. This year’s pollinator gardens will include bee balm, milkweed, white turtlehead, mountain mint, phlox, and other pollinator-friendly pesticide-free native plants.

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Kid next to water
Saturday, May 15, 2021

MAKE IT: Sweet Roasted Chickpeas

chickpeasThese crispy sweet roasted chickpeas are the perfect choice for your snack craving! Rich in B vitamins and folate, chickpeas also provide a decent amount of iron, fiber, protein, and healthy fatty acids.

If you do not want a sweet snack, you can switch out the sugar and cinnamon for other spice combinations (curry powder, cayenne pepper/chili powder, za’atar, and more!).

These chickpeas can be kept for a day in an airtight container, but do tend to lose their crispiness fairly quickly. However, they are so delicious, that you won’t have to worry about leftovers!

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Kid next to water

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