Posts Tagged ‘camping’

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Inklings of Change: Bushnell Falls, 1969

On the spring equinox of March, 1969, I snowshoed and skied into Bushnell Falls, on the slopes of Mount Marcy, with Sam Lewis and two friends of his from college: Henry, a young English professor, and Doug, who had recently graduated with Sam from Franklin and Marshall. It had been the first of a series of major snowfall winters, and we made our way along the John’s Brook Trail after the usual college kids’ late start in the gloom of another approaching storm. The accumulated snow lay seven feet deep in the pine plantation, as we judged from the height of the telephone line to the ranger cabin that we had to step over periodically as it zigzagged back and forth across the trail.

We broke trail on wooden Northland and army surplus skis with screwed on metal edges, cable bindings on hiking boots, and climbing skins. It was half a dozen years ahead of the cross-country ski boom of the mid-seventies brought on partly by those same snowy winters. My bindings kept getting screwed up. We carried one aluminum frame pack, a pack board, and two canvas rucksacks: one army surplus, the other a nice European model. We wore army surplus silk glove liners and silk union suits. John’s Brook Loj was closed, half buried, the only signs of life the fresh red squirrel tracks that led from the foundation under the eaves into the nearby spruces.

We passed the Loj after drinking tea from a thermos and eating gorp out of a plastic bag. The trail climbed. It was dusk. Deeply mounded cushions of powder blotted out everything, including sound. A party of real climbers, alpinists with ice axes and good equipment, their faces and beards frost-rimed, met us coming down from the summit of Marcy. “Bad ice and fog,” one of them said. “Don’t try to climb it now.” We wouldn’t, we said. We were only heading to the lean-to at Slant Rock. “If you can find it,” he said.

The light was gray and flat. It was almost dark when we found the rounded tumuli at Bushnell Falls, below Slant Rock, that showed where the lean-tos were buried. We chose the easiest one to reach and dug our way in through the space where the lean-to’s log sidewall met the wall of snow that closed it off. Inside, we lit candles, placed them on the shelves and spread out our equipment—a cotton duck-feather sleeping bag for me, the others had good down and nylon bags. Then we scooped a hearth out of the snow a few feet from the front of the lean-to and built a fire with dead pine branches on a base of aluminum foil. The concave snow wall, the smoke hole at the top and the air holes we dug out at the sides created a perfect draft. Within minutes the interior snow wall had glazed over and filled the lean-to with reflected heat and flickering light that kept us warm and well-lit through the night. Sam’s ski thermometer, which he had hung on a nail outside, read zero F.

Henry had a brass Svea stove and we soon had it going and camp food boiling. Henry was older by a few years, an English instructor at Franklin and Marshall, with a bushy black beard—a meditator and follower of the Beats. He had winter camped and climbed in the Sierras, in California, where he was from, and in the Cascades, and had memorized Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums, one of the Ur-texts for Sam’s and my Adirondack excursions at summer camp on Lake George, and together on weekends. We were budding conservationists and wilderness advocates in the spirit of the times, had read Aldo Leopold, John McPhee, Colin Fletcher and Rachel Carson. It was Henry and Doug’s first time in the Adirondacks, and Sam and I filled them in on what we knew of the place, our experiences there, and the pending legislation, long in the works, for an Adirondack Park agency that would regulate development and wild-land use in the six-million acre protected area in New York State’s prominent northern bulge.

After dinner we shared the brandy we had decanted into aluminum bottles and read to each other from William Carlos Williams’ “Paterson,” from Wallace Stevens, and “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.” Boozy good fellowship obtained. We decried rumors of the secret bombing of Cambodia and shared stories of draft avoidance and evasion, our own and others we had heard of—a major preoccupation of draft-age men at the time. Henry told of a reporter friend in Oakland who had been assigned a Man On the Street piece on the bombing rumors. Most of the responses were predictably non-committal or against the war—it was the sixties in the Bay Area—but the quote of an African-American veteran stood out. “Man,” he told the reporter, “Richard Nixon is a lying motherfucker and his heart pumps shit.”

Henry’s friend reported it dutifully and handed in the piece. “It’s a great quote, but we can’t use it,” the editor said, to his friend’s disappointment and our great amusement. Henry, it seemed, was fond of turning quaint turns of phrase or expressions into musical rounds, to be sung while consuming various mind-altering fungi. He handed around a bag of psilocybin mushrooms and after a couple of attempts assembled from the quote the following round, which we sang (at length) in four parts and to the tune of “Frere Jacques.”

Richard Nixon, Richard Nixon
Heart pumps shit, heart pumps shit
Lying motherfucker, lying motherfucker
Heart pumps shit, heart pumps shit.

“You had to be there,” Sam would say later, when telling the story. “And tripping.”

It was more than two years before the New York State legislature passed the APA act and Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed into law the most comprehensive and visionary land-use law of its time. It was also four months before the first Earth Day; four years before the first gas crisis, four years before Watergate and six before the last helicopters fled Saigon. Outside the lean-to more snow fell softly over all the living and the soon to be dead, whose stories and memories would merge like snowflakes into the pool of general myth, confused feeling and sentimental distortion that would come to stand for the vanished Adirondacks of the industrial frontier.

That night we slept the sleep of the clueless, the fire lighting our wilderness womb through the night. The next morning we skied down the firm, snow-cushioned bed of John’s Brook on eighteen inches of new powder, glissading over the frozen falls. Sitting on the bridge to Lower Wolfjaw in the snow muffled silence I saw myself in a distant adult future, reading by lamplight in a wilderness cabin, surrounded by books. Thus I had read of Harold Weston, the artist and activist, doing when he lived and painted in St. Hubert’s in the Twenties. It should be possible, I thought, however naively, to live that way again.

Later that morning Sam informed me that Doug and Henry were a couple and that they were helping him apply for a draft deferment on the basis of being gay. (He wasn’t.) Big choices and commitments were in the air. I was attending college in Toronto but spared the draft by a 4-F deferment based on the inflated diagnosis of a minor condition by my family’s doctor, a Korean War veteran and amputee. I had considered emigrating but here was a reason to return. There was a feeling of a new kind of thing coming into existence—right here in the Adirondacks!—something that ran counter to the general violence and confusion playing out around the country, and we could be part of it.

The vestiges of the industrial frontier had grown dim, with all its rustic imagery and technology, but the new thing hadn’t formed yet. The Northway hadn’t penetrated the high peaks. We camped in floorless canvas tents, had only recently stopped building our mattresses out of balsam tips. The accepted paradigm at DEC was that moose would never be able to coexist with deer in the Adirondacks because of a nematode the deer carried that made the moose crazy. You drove for miles without seeing another car. Whitewater rafting, a Western invention, was a decade in the future. But a common feeling existed, a flavor of experience that resided in the effects of seasonal light, sound and smell combined with echoes of the regional twang.

After lunch at the Spread Eagle Inn we stopped at Skyline Outfitters, in Keene, located in the blue and white Victorian on Route 73 that’s still there. It was run by “Ma” Schaefer, wife of the early conservationist Paul Schaefer, a neighbor of my family’s in Schenectady. (She was also the mother of long-time Johnsburg resident, Evelyn Greene.) We were looking for a new burner for Henry’s Svea and in the course of watching her dig around in the jumble of stock and hiking gadgets—good outdoor equipment was less fussy and more utilitarian then—the conversation drifted toward the snow, change, the “act,” old-timers, and such archetypes as Rondeau, whose journals we had devoured in Maitland DeSormo’s estimable self-published biography. She had known Rondeau, had camped at the hermit’s Cold River City during her summer-long hiking outings with her children. He was a drunk, she said. “Of course all those old characters are gone now,” she added, no spring chicken herself by then.

We nodded to acknowledge the passing of a reality of which we knew nothing, and turned to the door.

“Except me,” she said, solemn faced. We left her standing behind the counter on a snowy late afternoon in early spring, watching us leave.


Monday, December 28, 2009

When Things Go Wrong: Building Emergency Snow Shelters

I do a fair amount of skiing in the backcountry, often solo, and I’ve thought a lot about what I would do if something went wrong and I had to bivouac overnight. What would I do for shelter?

Snow shelters commonly covered in outdoors books include the igloo, quinzee hut, and snow cave. But all of these take considerable time and effort to build. I figure if I can build an igloo, I probably can get out of the woods—in which case I don’t need an igloo.

Moreover, the snow conditions in the Adirondacks are not ideal for building igloos and snow caves. For igloos, you want wind-packed snow that can be cut into blocks. For snow caves, you want drifts that are at least six feet deep. You might be able to find appropriate snow in some places in the Adirondacks, but the chances are slim that one of them will be the place where you break an ankle.

A quinzee hut, in contrast, can be built just about anywhere there’s snow. Basically, you shovel snow into a large mound, wait a few hours for the snow to set, and then dig a room inside the mound. In an emergency, though, you want something that’s quicker and easier to construct.

Like a snow trench.

“In the Adirondacks, if you’re in an emergency situation, most of the time a trench is the most practical shelter,” says Jack Drury, an outdoors author who founded the Wilderness Recreation Leadership Program at North Country Community College in Saranac Lake.

For a trench, you’d like the snow to be at least three feet deep. If it’s not, however, you can use excavated snow to build up the walls.

A one-person trench should be dug three or four feet wide and six or seven feet long. Drury recommends leaving at least five or six inches of snow at the bottom as insulation against the cold ground.

Given enough time, you can create an A-frame roof from slabs of snow, but in an emergency, you can just lay branches and evergreen boughs across the trench and then place snow over the boughs for insulation. If you have a tarp or a waterproof shell, lay it over the boughs before piling on snow. Once inside, stop up the entrance with your pack to keep warm air from escaping.

Drury recommends that winter travelers keep a piece of closed-cell foam in their packs to use as a sleeping pad. It should be long enough to stretch from your shoulders to your butt. If it’s an emergency and you don’t have a pad, place evergreen boughs on the bottom of the trench for insulation. He also recommends carrying a lightweight sleeping bag or heavily insulated pants and jacket for emergencies.

“You might not be comfortable, but you’ll survive the night,” he said.

Drury said the temperature in a properly constructed snow trench should stay in the twenties even if it’s colder outside.

Drury is the author of The Backcountry Classroom and Camper’s Guide to Outdoor Pursuits.

You can read more about building snow shelters in Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, published by The Mountaineers Books, and How to Build an Igloo And Other Snow Shelters, by Norbert E. Yankielun.

Photo: A quinzee hut, courtesy Wikipedia.


Monday, November 23, 2009

New Scholarship Fund for DEC Conservation Education Camps

Since 1948 when Camp DeBruce opened in the Catskills, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has operated a residential conservation education summer camp for young New Yorkers. Four camps, Camp Colby (near Saranac Lake), at the Pack Demonstration Forest in Warrensburg, and DeBruce and Rushford (downstate), serve children 12 to 14 and also provide locations for week-long Ecology Workshops for 15 to 17-year-olds.

Students who want to attend the camps can choose from one of eight weeks in July and August. They are encouraged to participate in Returnee Week, for campers who have already had the camp program. Returnee week includes special trips and activities and includes more than 200 annual returning campers. According to the DEC, “Returning campers are specially chosen for their demonstrated interest in building upon their outdoor recreation experiences and their knowledge of the state’s natural resources.”

This past week DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis announced that DEC and the National Heritage Trust (NHT) has established a summer camp scholarship fund in memory of Emily Timbrook (above left), a camper who attended and later volunteered at Camp Rushford in Allegany County and who was tragically killed in an automobile accident in April 2009.

The money collected through donations to the scholarship fund will be used for scholarships to send some returning campers to DEC’s summer camps for free.

Those who want to contribute to the scholarship fund to help send a young person to camp can send a check to NHT Camps, c/o Director of Management and Budget Services,
NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-5010.

Those wishing to make a contribution in memory of Emily Timbrook, should write “Emily” in the memo section of the check. NHT is tax exempt pursuant to Section 170(b) of the Internal Revenue Code and has been designated a 501(c)(3) corporation. The Trust will send out acknowledgment letters to donors.

Information and detailed program descriptions of the environmental education camps are
available at www.dec.ny.gov/education/29.html. For additional information contact edcamps@gw.dec.state.ny.us or call 518-402-8014. Registration starts in early February.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Commentary: On Leaving Behind Backcounty Boats

My neighbor came to the door last week in a fit of outrage over a new DEC regulation that made it clear that leaving your gear in the backcountry was against the rules, except in certain cases. He read about it in the Adirondack Journal, a free Denton Publications paper that appears—whether we like it or not—in our mailboxes each week. “Best pack out your boat” was the title of the “Outdoor Tales” column by Denton Managing Editor John Gereau.

Gereau is upset that he can no longer store his boat on state land. His interpretation of a previous DEC regulation (despite Gereau’s claims, we’re not talking about a “law” but an administrative regulation), which made it clear that storing “camping equipment” on state land was against the rules, conveniently did not apply to him and his gear. His boat, he apparently believes, is not gear.

I contacted DEC Region 5 spokesperson David Winchell, who sent me the wording of Part 190 of the State Land Use regulation, which after a public comment period was revised in May to make clear that no personal property should be left on state land: “No person shall erect, construct, install, maintain, store, discard or abandon any structure or any other property on State lands.” I’ve included the full reg below.

While some may have thought they had a special right the rest of us didn’t have, what Gereau calls “a time-honored tradition to leave boats and canoes on the shore of backwoods ponds,” the regulation has been clarified for them. No, folks, you can’t just leave your stuff wherever you like—even if it is hard to carry it in and out and would be more convenient for you.

And why not? If we all followed Gereau’s rules, what might be called the “convenience interpretation,” what’s to keep me from getting my buddies to help me haul my 21 foot speedboat to some back country waterway that allowed motorized boats and just leave it there? Why couldn’t I just leave my boat at the state access point—state land after all—on any lake I please? That would sure save in docking fees and be a heck of a lot more convenient for me.

There’s another argument I’d like to head off as well. What I like to call the “poor old folks” argument. Here’s how Gereau states it: “I know of many older folks who would not have the ability to get out on the water if the boat had not been there for their use.” Not only does it wrongfully label old timers as invalids, it’s also wrong in fact. There are something in the neighborhood of 2,760 individual lakes and ponds larger than a half acre in the Adirondack Park—about four percent of the total area of the park (almost a quarter million acres)—claiming you can’t get to one of them is ridiculous.

And besides, if it’s that back country (ahem, wilderness) experience that those who make the “poor old folks” excuse are after, then they should also be ardent supporters of the quiet waters movement, the major goal of which is increased opportunities to experience the back country they seek.

Here’s the full text of the revised regulation:

The specific citation is 190.8(w)

w. No person shall erect, construct, install, maintain, store, discard or abandon any structure or any other property on State lands or subsequently use such structure or property on State lands, except if the structure or property is authorized by the department or is:

1. a geocache that is labeled with the owner’s name and address and installed in a manner that does not disturb the natural conditions of the site or injure a tree;

2. a camping structure or equipment that is placed and used legally pursuant to this Part;

3. a legally placed trap or appurtenance that is placed and used during trapping season;

4. a tree stand or hunting blind that does not injure a tree, is properly marked or tagged with the owner’s name and address or valid hunting or fishing license number, and is placed and used during big game season, migratory game bird season, or turkey season; or

5. a wildlife viewing blind or stand that is placed for a duration not to exceed thirty (30) days in one location per calendar year, does not injure a tree, and is properly marked or tagged with the owner’s name and address or valid hunting or fishing license number

Other new provisions of the regulation were added regarding the use of tree stands.

190.8(x) On State lands, no person shall erect, construct, occupy or maintain any structure that is affixed to a tree by nails, screws or other means that injure or damage the tree except as otherwise authorized by the department.

and

(y) No person shall erect, construct, maintain, occupy or use any tree stand that is used, operated, accessed or reached by methods or means which injure or damage a tree on State lands, and no person shall gain access to any structure in a tree on State lands by means that injure or damage the tree.

All of the changes to the State Land Use regulation may be found on the DEC web site at: www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/2359.html Look under the heading “Recently Adopted Regulation”

The full set of Part 190 regulation may be founds at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/regs/4081.html


Saturday, October 24, 2009

DEC Region 5 Forest Ranger Report (Fall 2009)

These DEC Forest Ranger reports are to good to pass up. They are a slice of the Adirondack experience that is almost never reported, and since the last one was so popular, we offer you the October 21st report in its entirety:

Essex County

Town of Keene, High Peaks Wilderness Area

On Wednesday, September 30, at approximately 7:28 PM, DEC Dispatch received a call reporting an overdue hiker from Mount Marcy, Table Top and Phelps Mtn. James Cipparrone, 29, of Berlin, NJ, was last seen at approximately 4:15 pm Monday, September 28, departing the lean-to at ADK Loj to camp in the interior. Last known contact with Mr. Cipparone was on Tuesday, September 29, in a phone conversation with his father he stated that he was on top of the mountain, but eight miles from his group. Based on the description of the gear the he was carrying, it was decided that he could spend one more night out. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Volunteers Needed for Adirondack Fall Trails Day

Adirondack outdoor recreation enthusiasts will have an opportunity to give back to the region’s trail system on Saturday, Oct. 17, when the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) Trails Program holds its 17th Annual Fall Trails Day in the High Peaks Region. Participants can stay at the ADK’s Wilderness Campground for free both Friday and Saturday nights; Saturday begins with a basic breakfast at the High Peaks Information Center near the Adirondak Loj (volunteers should pack a lunch). A list of trail projects is available at www.adk.org/trails/Fall_Trails_Day_List.aspx.

According to the ADK announcement of this year’s Fall Trails Day “volunteers, working with trained leaders, will use hand tools to clean drainage, trim overgrown sections of trail and remove downed trees. This maintenance work will help prepare the trails and their existing erosion-control structures for spring. Once debris is cleared from drainage ditches, the trails will be better suited to withstand rainwater and spring snowmelt runoff.” All maintenance work is done in cooperation with the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

For more information or to register, contact the ADK Trails Program at (518) 523-3441.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Internet Resources for Backcountry Navigation

Navigation through the Adirondack backcountry can be difficult. Out of the way rivers, streams, geologic features, ponds and even mountains are not always accessible by paths or readily described in books. The internet provides a number of valuable visual resources that help take some of the guesswork out of locating and navigating to a remote location. Some of the most helpful sites include ortho-imagery (aerial photographs digitally adjusted for topography, camera tilt and other details), latitude/longitude specifics, compass orientation and 3-D modules.

Flash Earth displays the latitude and longitude in relation to an on-screen crosshair. These details can be input into a GPS to further narrow the margin of error. Several satellite aerial photograph choices with scaling allow an in-depth study of the earth’s features. A compass in the upper right of the screen provides accurate orientation as well as map rotation if desired.

Terra Server USA adds a topographic map to the mix, but narrows the aerial photo choices to one source. Latitude and longitude information is displayed and can be used to display a general location. The lack of a cross-hair or other relative on-screen marker makes it a bit more difficult to tell what section part on the map corresponds to the latitude/longitude.

Virtual Earth uses either a “road” view or an “aerial” view with several powerful features. Latitude, longitude and altitude correspond to the cursor’s location on the image and work in both the two and three dimensional modes. The 3-D module allows the user to truly study the area’s topography by using the zoom, tilt, rotate, pan and altitude functions. A special “Bird’s Eye” view overlays photographs (where available) of specific areas.

State Lands Interactive Mapper or SLIM is located on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s site. Map details are manipulated by about twenty different layer options that can either be added or removed from the map via the map contents pane. Layer choices include trails for mountain bikes, hiking, snowmobiles, horses and cross country skiing. Waterways, roads and areas accessible by persons with disabilities may also be selected. Several boundaries including state land boundaries help the back country explorer avoid private lands. Ortho-imagery or topographical maps may be chosen as well.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Adirondack Youth Guides Practice Professionalism

Over the weekend of August 8th and 9th three of the more experienced 4-H Adirondack Youth Guides participated in a special trip offered only to active 4-H Guides who have reached Intermediate level or above. This year’s trip included a 14-mile paddle in canoes from Lower Saranac Lake to Middle Saranac Lake and a hike up Ampersand Mountain. The three youth guides spent several weeks preparing for the trip. They met for three weeks to plan the menu, itinerary, and logistics. They secured the camping permit and then acted as the guides for three adults during the entire journey.

The trip began at the Route 3 DEC Ranger Station on Lower Saranac Lake where participants paddled to Bluff Island for lunch and then through the Saranac River to a campsite on the Northwestern edge of Middle Saranac Lake. The Youth Guides planned and facilitated educational programs on aquatic life, wild bird identification and astronomy and used GPS units in a team building exercise. On the second day the group paddled back to Lower Saranac and then climbed Ampersand Mountain.

The 4-H Youth Guide Program is offered to any young person age 12 and over with an interest in acquiring outdoor skills and experience. For more information contact John Bowe or Martina Yngente at Cornell Cooperative Extension at (518) 668-4881.

Photo: 2009 ADK Youth Guide trip participants; Top – Ben Hoffman, Sabrina Fish and Michaela Dunn; Bottom – John Bowe 4-H Team Leader, Martina Yngente 4-H Community Educator and Tabor Dunn- chaperone.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cooperative Extension Offers Youth Wilderness Paddling Trips

The Cornell University Cooperative Extension 4-H Program is conducting two, three day Wilderness Exploration trips which are open to both 4-H and non-4-H youth. According to a press release issued by Warren County Cornell Cooperative Extension “The trips are designed to give youth a basic knowledge of the Adirondack environment including its forest and wildlife. Low-impact camping is stressed, developing in youth an attitude that they are part of, not apart from, the environment in which they live.”

The first trip, scheduled June 26 – 28 is for 9-11 year olds. The group will be camping and canoeing in North River area of, New York. The cost for this trip is $20.00 per participant. There is required a pre-trip meeting planned for Thursday June 18th at the Warren County Fairgrounds.

The second trip scheduled July 15–17 is for 12-15 year olds. The group will be canoeing and camping at Raquette Lake. The cost for this trip is $40.00 per participant. There is only one spot left on this trip, so call immediately if interested. There is a required pre-trip meeting scheduled for Thursday July 9 at 6PM at the Warren County Fairgrounds.

The 4-H Wilderness Trip Program is entering its 36th year of operation. Activities on the trip will include woods lore and safety, identification of forest trees and wildlife, compass skills, canoeing skills and safety. Pre-registration and payment for these programs is required by June 18 and July 1 respectively. Please call Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Warren County at 518-623-3291 or 668-4881.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lean2 Resecue Receives DEC’s Adirondack Stewardship Award

On National Trails Day, June 6, at an event in Wanakena, St. Lawrence County, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) presented its Adirondack Stewardship Award to Paul DeLucia of Baldwinsville, Onondaga County, and his organization, known as Lean2Rescue, for their work in restoring Adirondack lean-tos. Since 2004, Lean2Rescue has worked on more than 30 lean-tos in St. Lawrence, Herkimer and Hamilton Counties, primarily along the western edge of the Adirondacks. The Adirondack Stewardship Award is presented by DEC to groups or individuals who demonstrate outstanding stewardship of the natural resources of the Adirondacks.

“With the state facing one of its most severe fiscal crises in history, partnerships with organizations such as Lean2Rescue are even more important in helping DEC protect and manage the Adirondack Forest Preserve,” DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis said in a press release. “DEC is fortunate to have dedicated volunteers like Paul DeLucia and the members of Lean2Rescue who are willing to contribute their time, money, and sweat to ensure our recreational facilities are there for the public to use and enjoy. We are grateful for their hard work and are proud to present them with this prestigious award.”

DEC Region 6 staff from the Divisions of Land and Forests, Operations, and Forest Rangers, along with the volunteers of Lean2Rescue, have rebuilt and renovated a total of 33 different lean-tos in wilderness and wild forest areas within the past four years. Lean2Rescue, with a core group of 20 to 25 members and additional assistance of up to 50 more volunteers, carried in logs, beams, boards, cement, shingles and more by hand, cart, and canoe to reach remote wilderness areas. Facing mud, rain, cold, and bugs, rescuers not only complete their mission of rebuilding a leanto, but then turn around and carry out old materials and debris.

Previous Adirondack Stewardship Award recipients include Chad Dawson of SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry; Joe Martens of the Open Space Institute; Dave Gillespie of the Alpine Club of Canada and the New York State Ranger School; the Family of John E. Foley of St. Lawrence County and John Dent of St. Lawrence County; Friends of Mt. Arab and Mike Carr of the Adirondack Nature Conservancy and Adirondack Land Trust; Sierra Club’s Northeast Outings Committee and St. Lawrence County YCC; Paul Smiths College; the Adirondack Trail Improvement Society; Ward Lumber Company of Essex County; Edwin Ketchledge of Clinton County and the Chris Behr family of Vermont; Clarence Petty of St. Lawrence County and the Warren County Board of Supervisors; the Bouquet River Association of Essex County; and the Fulton Chain of Lakes Association of Herkimer and Hamilton Counties.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

DEC Reminder: ‘A Fed Bear is A Dead Bear’

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reminding campers, hikers and homeowners to take precautions against unwanted encounters with black bears. There are approximately 4,000 – 5,000 bears in New York’s northern bear range, primarily in the Adirondacks. Bear populations have been increasing in number and expanding in distribution over the past decade.

Black bears will become a nuisance and can cause significant damage if they believe they can obtain an easy meal from bird feeders, garbage cans, dumpsters, barbecue grills, tents, vehicles, out-buildings or houses. When bears learn to obtain food from human sources, their natural foraging habits and behavior are changed. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

ADK Music Scene: Ambient Tea Party, Elvis and Bluegrass!

What more could you want? Well, how about starting tonight with an open mic held from 7 to 10 pm at P2’s in Tupper Lake. Bring your instruments and enjoy the pub atmosphere in this friendly establishment.

The Elvis festival returns to Lake George and Lake Luzerne today and runs through Sunday. There are shows and attractions at several venues around Lake George and Lake Luzerne, but the event is based at the Painted Pony festival grounds in Lake Luzerne — seats are covered but it might be chilly so bring a jacket.

Friday night JEMS in Jay is having what looks to be a very interesting event: DJ Peanutbutterbreath Ambient Tea Party. This is a multi-age non-alcoholic gathering. Here’s what they say about it: “You can chill to artsy classical and soft soundscapes or jump up to bouncy party beats in the same mix”! I’m intrigued. The party kicks off at 7 pm. Admission is $5 with no charge for children under 12. Teas, coffees and pastry will be available. This new spinner hails from Plattsburgh.

Also this Friday Aiseiri will provide Irish music at O’Reillly’s Pub in Saranac Lake. The music starts between 8:30 and 9 pm. O’Reilly’s is located at 33 Broadway below Morgans 11 (which, by the way, has very good pizza). For more information call (518) 897-1111.

This weekend is the last chance to see Fiddler on the Roof at LPCA. I highly recommend this great production. Everyone does a spectacular job. Jason Brill is wonderful as Tevye and Sunny Rozakis‘s gorgeous voice deserves extra kudos.

The Adirondack Bluegrass League’s 2009 Round-Up is this weekend, May 29th & 30th. The Siver Family of Crown Point will take the stage at 8 pm Saturday. They will be playing songs from their new CD Almost Home. The festival is happening at McConchies Campground in Galway. If you play an instrument, put it in the car and bring it along . . . plenty of jamming all weekend.

At P2’s in Tupper Lake Steve Borst is playing 7-9 pm Sunday. Steve is a popular local musician who’s at home singing all sorts of requests in the rock/pop/folk arena. P2’s is looking to create a Sunday night music scene so they welcome any input you can give them. For more information e-mail P2sPub@aol.com


Monday, May 18, 2009

Volunteers: Cranberry Lake 50, National Trails Day

June 6th is National Trails Day and Adirondack region hikers will have an opportunity to volunteer, at Cranberry Lake in the western Adirondacks. Each year, the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) sponsors an event in conjunction with the American Hiking Society’s celebration of National Trails Day. This year, ADK’s event will celebrate the Cranberry Lake 50, the recently completed 50-mile loop around the lake.

According to the ADK: “Volunteers will spend the day performing trail-maintenance work, such as cutting brush, removing blowdown and building waterbars and rock steps, under the supervision of an ADK trail professional. One crew will tour the lake by motorboat, with state Department of Environmental Conservation personnel, to move outhouses and clean up campsites. There will also be a project for kids, planting tree saplings near the Streeter Lake lean-to.” » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

DEC Revises Adirondack Campground Closure Plan

The DEC has announced that under the new plan, it will operate four of six campgrounds previously slated for closure for shortened seasons, from June 26 through Labor Day. In addition, after partnering with local officials, DEC will substitute one Piseco Lake-area campground in Hamilton County on the closure list for another. At the campgrounds that will remain closed, DEC will allow use of its hiking and horse trails and climbing routes.

In DEC’s own words:

“New York is facing tough economic times and closing campgrounds was not an easy choice. With the help of local officials, DEC has devised a way to soften the impact,” Commissioner Grannis said in a press relase. “Each of the targeted facilities historically suffered from low occupancy over the course of a full season. By shortening the season, we can open the campgrounds during traditional peak occupancy periods. This plan will help local tourism and provide opportunities for affordable getaways while still reducing our annual operating costs.”

The revisions for the 2009 season are:
In the Catskills

Beaverkill, Roscoe, Sullivan County.

The campground will be operated under an abbreviated season – from June 26 through Labor Day. DEC will operate the facility with assistance from Sullivan County, upon adoption of a cooperative agreement.

Bear Spring Mountain, Walton, Delaware County.

The previous decision to close the camping area within this facility remains in effect. However, numerous horse and hiking trails and associated trailhead parking areas at this popular Wildlife Management Area will continue to be available for public use. There will be no fee for parking.
In the Adirondacks

Point Comfort, Arietta, Hamilton County.

The campground will be operated under an abbreviated season – from June 26 through Labor Day. However, DEC will not open Poplar Point, which is also in the Piseco Lake area, for 2009. DEC will explore options to work cooperatively with Arietta officials to continue to potentially offer a day-use facility at Poplar Point in future years.

Sharp Bridge, North Hudson, Essex County.

The campground will be operated under an abbreviated season – from June 26 through Labor Day.

Tioga Point, Raquette Lake, Hamilton County.

The campground will be operated under an abbreviated season – from June 26 through Labor Day.

Pok-O-Moonshine, Keeseville, Essex County.

The previous decision to close this facility remains in effect. Hikers, rock climbers and other recreational users will be able to access hiking trails and climbing routes by parking in the entrance area. No fee will be charged for parking.

DEC will work closely with ReserveAmerica, the state’s camping reservation service contractor, to contact visitors whose reservations were previously cancelled, to offer them their original reservations and to re-open the camping site inventory to them before it is made available to the general public. DEC will cover the cost of the reservation fees to lessen the impact to the visitors that will be affected.

DEC is responsible for managing 52 campgrounds and 7 day-use areas in New York’s Adirondack Park and Catskill Park.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

ADK Club To Host "Black Fly Affair: A Hikers Ball"

The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) will host a “Black Fly Affair: A Hikers Ball” on Saturday, May 30. The gala and auction is the largest fund-raising event of the year for the club, with proceeds supporting ADK programs such as maintaining hiking trails and connecting children with the outdoors. Recommended attire for the event is semi-formal dress (black tie) and hiking boots, although the dress code will not be strictly enforced.

The Black Fly Affair will be held from 7 p.m. till midnight at the Fort William Henry Resort and Conference Center in Lake George. Selected regional food and drink vendors, including The Boathouse, Villa Napoli and the Fort William Henry Resort, will provide their specialties for sampling. Wine and champagne tasting is courtesy of Frederick Wildman & Sons Wine Distributors and beer sampling courtesy of Cooperstown Brewing Co. There will also be dancing to the music of the Frank Conti Band.

ADK boasts one of the largest silent auctions in the region in addition to its very lively live auction, where guests will bid on original artwork, outdoor gear, weekend getaways, jewelry, cultural events and more. The auction will be conducted by Jim and Danielle Carter of Acorn Estates & Appraisals. A preview of auction items is available at the ADK Web site, www.adk.org.

Dr. John Rugge, CEO of Hudson Headwaters Health Network, is chairman of the event. Dr. Rugge is an avid paddler and author of two books about wilderness paddling. Longtime ADK leader Bob Wilcox will serve as master of ceremonies. Corporate support for the event has been provided by the Times Union, Jaeger & Flynn Associates, Cool Insuring Agency, Price Chopper Golub Foundation, TD Banknorth, The Chazen Companies and LEKI USA.

Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 at the door. To make reservations, visit www.adk.org or call (800) 395-8080, Ext. 25. To donate an auction item or to become a corporate sponsor, contact Deb Zack at (800) 395-8080, Ext. 42.

The Adirondack Mountain Club, founded in 1922, is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting the New York State Forest Preserve and other wild lands and waters through conservation and advocacy, environmental education and responsible recreation.


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