Somewhere around the age of five, growing up in Westchester County, Wendy Hall noticed that whenever the developers came in and clear-cut an area for construction, the wildlife would disappear. What was once a beautiful, wooded area quickly became developed after the addition of a train station, a story she has watched repeat itself many times. You can read about Wendy’s favorite place in the Adirondacks in the latest issue of Adirondack Explorer.
“I would say man’s greatest assault to the ecosystem is his lack of patience,” Hall says. » Continue Reading.
On Sunday, September 3rd, Adirondack Wildlife Refuge will host their 10th annual Habitat Awareness Day, from 10 am to 4 pm.
The theme this year will be Wildlife Habitat Challenges. Keynote speaker will be 2013’s New York State Professor of the Year, Curt Stager of Paul Smith’s College, author of Deep Future and many other books and studies. Attendees can hear Stager, along with other local nature authorities, observers, rehabbers and the college interns working at Adirondack Wildlife, discuss what they’re seeing and learning on the ground in the Adirondack region. » Continue Reading.
Wendy Hall, my wife and co-director of the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehab Center in Wilmington, rescued Barnaby the bear with a Have-a-Heart trap last September.
Skinny and gaunt, starving and mangy, riddled with internal and external parasites, and less than thirty five pounds, Barnaby was in real tough shape. For a black bear more than a year old, these conditions could be potentially fatal, and we weren’t sure he would live.
Two months later, Barnaby had not only put on 100 pounds, but somewhere between the two months when he began to hibernate in November, and mid-January, Barnaby turned into Barnabee, and gave birth to two cubs. How did this happen? » Continue Reading.
The 9th Annual Adirondack Habitat Awareness Day will take place on Sunday, September 4th, at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, at 977 Springfield Road in Wilmington, and it’s all about change in the Adirondacks: changing climate, changing wildlife and changing realities.
Visitors will be able to meet and learn about gray wolves, coywolves, coyotes, fox, bobcat, fisher, and porcupines, along with bald eagles, hawks, falcons and owls. Professor Curt Stager of Paul Smiths College, an accomplished ecologist, paleoclimatologist, and author of Deep Future and Field Notes from the Northern Forest, and more, will be keynote speaker, and will team with Paul Smiths’ students for other educational opportunites.
The Craig Wood Golf Club in Lake Placid will host a second golf tournament to benefit the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge on Friday, June 24th.
Groups of one to four golfers may enter, single golfers will be paired up with other groups. The day will begin with breakfast at 9 am, tee time at 10, followed by lunch. There will be prizes and auctions for all sorts of gear, including a set of irons custom made by Andy Fawsett. Hit a hole in one, and win a car. Attendees will have the chance to meet birds of prey, along with Kiska, a young gray wolf, who’s known for making balls disappear. Local businesses still have time to sponsor a hole. » Continue Reading.
“Rewilding the Adirondacks” is the theme for this year’s 8th Annual Adirondack Habitat Awareness Day, which will be held this Sunday, September 6th, from 10 am to 5 pm, at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehab Center, at 977 Springfield Road in Wilmington.
In addition to discussions about the return of megafauna like wolves, elk, and cougars to the Adirondacks, visitors will be able to encounter wolves, eagles, coyote, fox, bobcat, porcupine, owls, hawks and falcons and learn about critter tracks and the sounds heard while camping or hiking. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Wildlife and Wildlands Network will host a Wolf Activist Workshop at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge in Wilmington in Thursday, September 3rd. Kathy Henley of Wildlands Network, who will moderate the discussions, said the event will focus on direct action in support of wildlife.
Among the topics expected to be discussed are a general introduction to wolf ecology and behavior in the northeast, the uniqueness of why the eastern coyote/coywolf, successful campaigns that include meeting with elected officials, and using letter writing and social media for advocacy. » Continue Reading.
Craig Wood Golf Club in Lake Placid will host a four-person scramble golf tournament on Friday, July 10th with proceeds supporting care for abandoned or wounded animals at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge in Wilmington. » Continue Reading.
Standing in a snowy meadow in Wilmington, a wolf lifts its head and howls, breaking the near silence on a cold winter day. Just a few feet away Steve Hall watches the scene, a leash in his hand.
The wolf on the other end of the leash is one of three owned by Hall and his wife, Wendy, a wildlife rehabilitator. The couple owns Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, and the animals are used for education, including popular “wolf walks.” During the walks, visitors hike with Hall and the wolves. Hall hopes the walks will give people a better understanding of animals that are commonly feared even though they rarely attack humans. » Continue Reading.
This year’s Adirondack Habitat Awareness Day, combines meeting predators from wolves, eagles and snowy owls to bobcats and fox, and learning about their roles in our ecosystem, with understanding how critical habitat and climate issues impact America’s wild lands.
Habitat Awareness Day is on Saturday of Labor Day weekend, August 30th, from 10 am to 5 pm, at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, 977 Springfield Road in Wilmington. » Continue Reading.
The recent proposal to remove Endangered Species Act protections for the gray wolf (Canis lupus) is almost entirely about politics. The American alligator and the bald eagle, to use two examples, were not delisted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service until they had repopulated their former ranges, while wolves have repopulated only a fraction of their former ranges, and are already under heavy hunting pressure by the state governments of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
How many Americans are aware of the fact that in 1915, the US Congress, acting, as usual, under pressure from special interests, in that case, the ranching and hunting lobbies, provided funds to the Interior Department, to eliminate wolves, mountain lions and other predators from the United States? The Interior Department set up their “Animal Damage Control Unit”, and spent millions of taxpayer dollars to shoot, trap and poison wolves over several decades, with the only survivors being in the Boundary Waters area of Northern Minnesota, one of the most inaccessible regions of the U.S., not to mention a paradise for kayakers, canoeists and fisherman. » Continue Reading.
Ever wonder why some of our wildlife is over abundant, while others are struggling to survive? Ever want to meet wolves, bobcats, fox, coyote and bald eagle up close, and learn not only what role they play in our environment, but which plant and animal species they are associated with in the struggle to make a living in nature? Are mountain lions and wolves coming back, and if so, how will that affect us?
The 7th annual Adirondack Habitat Awareness Day is on Sunday, September 1st from 10 am to 5 pm, at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, at 977 Springfield Road in Wilmington. The event features live presentations with wolves, bobcats, fox, bald eagles, etc., as well as the banding and release of rehabbed birds of prey. » Continue Reading.
On Sunday, September 2, the public is invited to the Fifth Annual Adirondack Habitat Awareness Day at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge & Rehabilitation Center, in Wilmington.
Visitors can meet timber wolves, coywolf, coyote, fox, and bobcat, up close, along with bald eagle, owls, hawks, osprey and falcons. Naturalists will show how wildlife interact with each other and with the natural environment. The event starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. There is no admission charge, although donations are welcome. » Continue Reading.
At the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, we’d like to congratulate you on your careful driving. Or perhaps we should cite the nimble evasiveness of our local white-tails. In either case, we haven’t had a road-killed deer carcass since the New Year, and our wolves, bobcats, fox and coyote have been heard discussing impeachment proceedings against us, while grumbling over table scraps and dog food. If you come across a road-killed deer, please contact us at 946-2428, or 855-WolfMan. We will gladly retrieve the carcass. Incidentally, we will also accept farm critters, chickens, calves, etc., as long as we know why they died. » Continue Reading.
Environmentalists raised many objections to the Adirondack Club and Resort, but perhaps the biggest is that the project will fragment Resource Management lands on and near Mount Morris in Tupper Lake.
In hearings last year, Michale Glennon and other scientists raised concerns about the loss of wild habitat. The argument is that the construction of roads, driveways, homes, and lawns will change the suite of wildlife that now occupies the woods. We might, for example, see more blue jays and fewer hermit thrushes.
Yet Brian Mann reported last fall for the Adirondack Explorer and North Country Public Radio that it’s unclear whether the fragmentation will have much impact in the greater scheme of things, given that the lands in question are adjacent to tens of thousands of acres of protected forestland. In short, hermit thrushes are not about to disappear from the Adirondack Park.
Dave Gibson of Adirondack Wild and others contend that Brian gave too much credence to outside experts. One of these experts, Hal Salwasser, dean of Oregon State College of Forestry, called the proposed resort “a blip on the landscape in a regional scale.”
Reading that the biggest development ever reviewed by the Adirondack Park Agency is a “blip” is sure to rankle opponents of the project. But the man said what he said. Quoting Salwasser does not make Brian biased. Indeed, if he had not quoted him, that would have been evidence of bias. (Click here to read the story in question. You also can click here to read another story by Brian in the latest Explorer.)
As far as we know, there is nothing special about the woods where the developers want to build. They have been logged for decades. That said, it is shocking that the developers failed to undertake a comprehensive wildlife survey—and that the APA failed to require one. Even if there were little chance of finding anything significant, it should have been done.
Most people seem to think the APA will approve the project this week. If so, we hope it demands a wildlife survey as a condition of the permit.
Looking ahead, the bigger question—even bigger than this project—is what will become of the rest of the Resource Management lands in the Park. How many “blips” like the Adirondack Club and Resort can the Park withstand?
The Adirondack Park Agency Act defines Resource Management lands as “those lands where the need to protect, manage and enhance forest, agricultural, recreational and open space resources is of paramount importance because of overriding natural resource and public considerations.” Examples of “primary uses” of such lands include forestry, agriculture, hunting, and fishing.
Nevertheless, the construction of single-family homes is allowed as a “secondary use.” Under the law, landowners may build fifteen principal structures for each square mile, which works out to one every 42.7 acres.
The Adirondack Club and Resort falls well within the density guidelines: the developers intend to build 83 principal structures on 4,740 acres of Resoure Management lands—or one for every 57 acres. Still, critics say the resort’s design fails to meet the law’s requirement that homes on Resource Management lands be built “on substantial acreages or in small clusters.” Unfortunately, the APA has never come to grips with what this language means.
The Adirondack Park has 1.5 million acres of Resource Management land. Some of these lands are protected by conservation easements, and others might be undevelopable. For the sake of argument, let’s say that leaves a million acres of RM lands where a house could be built. According to the APA’s building-density guidelines, landowners could construct up to 23,255 houses.
In a 5.8-million-acre Park, each house would be a truly small blip, but if they all get built, these 23,255 homes, with their driveways, lawns, and lighting, would have a much bigger impact on habitat and wildlife than the Adirondack Club and Resort will.
Some would argue that it’s improbable that all the Resource Management lands will be developed, but it is undeniable that more of them will be developed in the years ahead. It’s time to take a hard look at the APA Act and ask whether it adequately protects the privately owned backcountry.
Photo by Carl Heilman: site of proposed Tupper Lake development.
Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to Almanack founder and editor John Warren.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.