Mid to late September in the Adirondacks is marked by hints of bright autumn colors, a lack of biting bugs, the reappearance of the grayish-brown coat of dense winter fur on the white-tail deer, and the greatly increased chance of seeing a moose. Although moose are massive in size and might appear to be easy to spot, these giants of the Great Northwoods mostly confine their activities to densely wooded areas in which visibility is low and human travel is severely limited. Additionally, moose prefer to forage during periods of twilight, when their chocolate-brown coat causes them to blend into a dark background.
Around the time of the autumn equinox, moose experience an awakening reproductive urge. This powerful drive often causes individuals to abandon the setting in which they routinely forage and begin to seek out members of the opposite sex. While these long-legged beasts are known to travel a dozen miles or more during a single morning or evening when on the search for food, moose periodically wander much further in the weeks between Labor Day and Columbus Day as they try to locate breeding partners. » Continue Reading.
The Great Adirondack Moose Festival will be held in Indian Lake, this weekend, September 22 and 23, 2012. The Moose Festival features programs, games, contests, exhibitions, guided tours, shopping. The half-ton Moose is making a come-back in the Adirondacks, one may even spot a moose during the weekend.
The second annual Moose Calling Contest will be held with fun and sometimes bizarre and authentic hooting and hollering moose calls from adult and children contestants. Naturalist and author Ed Kanze will return as the contest master of ceremony and one of the official judges. The contest will be limited to two categories, adult and children and will be held at the Indian Lake Theater. » Continue Reading.
It’s so BIG. If that isn’t your first impression when you enter The Ole Barn on Limekiln Lake Road in Inlet, then you must be from Texas or Montana. Bearing a ranch theme with wagon wheels, oversized ceiling fans and rough pine booths and walls, it feels like a bar that should on a dude ranch, not the stand-alone bar that it is.
Nearby Limekiln and Eighth Lake state campgrounds bring many patrons, but it is the snowmobilers in the winter that fill it to its capacity of 300. It reminded us of summer camp. Or what we imagine summer camp must be like. » Continue Reading.
For some time I have been musing about the question of what we call wilderness, how we deem an area to be wilderness, what it means in the Adirondacks and what it means to me. Is Lost Brook Tract really wild? Can I think of something as wilderness when it is possible for me to run from the heart of it to a warm car and a coffee shop in an hour if I have to? This is complicated question.
Several weeks ago when I began these dispatches I resolved to write about the question of wilderness. Then last week came the most recent post from Steve Signell, our resident mapping expert, his topic being Adirondack land classifications. The debate it engendered in the comments section addressed the very subject I was just beginning to write about. Serendipity! » Continue Reading.
The other day at a recreation planning meeting in Lake Placid, I participated in a time-honored Adirondack meeting ritual. It goes like this: someone at the table brings up the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP), the document that defines land classifications (wilderness, wild forest, etc.) and lists the guidelines for their use. Next, nearly every stakeholder at the table agrees that the SLMP is outdated and that a major review is long overdue. The ritual concludes with everyone agreeing that meaningful review of the SLMP is unlikely, and probably not worth pursuing. The conversation then moves on to other topics.
The SLMP states “Major reviews of the master plan will take place every five years by the [Adirondack Park] Agency in consultation with the Department of Environmental Conservation, as required by statute…” but the last review was in 1987. I wondered how implementation of the relatively static SLMP has evolved over the years, and how these changes have manifested themselves on maps. » Continue Reading.
There are so many festivals in the autumn that it is easy to be overwhelmed with the various opportunities. One reason that I do favor these annual events for my family is the variety of activities at each festival. As my children get older they want to have more input in the activities that we do. We find a festival offers a little bit of everything for my family of four. » Continue Reading.
Congratulations to the Adirondack Community Trust (ACT), the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Towns of Inlet and Indian Lake, and the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors, among others, for their work together to maintain facilities in the Moose River Plains.
The 85,000-acre wild forest area is, as DEC has long maintained, pretty unique within the Adirondack Forest Preserve because it is permeated by hardened dirt roads and resulting roadside camping that result from the area’s logging history under Gould Paper Company’s former ownership. » Continue Reading.
The body of a missing Central New York woman was located in the Adirondacks by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers yesterday afternoon.
The body of Kerry Young, 44, of Dewitt, NY was located at approximately 2:00 pm about one mile from her car by two DEC Forest Rangers conducting a ground search. She was found in a stand of conifer trees between the Limekiln-Cedar River Road and Fawn Lake in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest between Indian lake and Inlet. A missing person alert had been issued for Ms. Young on Monday evening, March 28, by the Town of Dewitt Police Department. Town of Inlet Police Department checked a vehicle they had noticed parked on the entrance road to the DEC Limekiln Lake Campground off the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road and confirmed that it belonged to Ms. Young.
DEC Forest Rangers were contacted to lead the search effort, which began Tuesday morning. Forest Rangers were assisted by members of the NY State Police, State Police Aviation, Town of Inlet Fire Department, Town of Inlet Police Department, Town of Webb Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff, members of Lower Adirondack Search and Rescue and other volunteers. More than 50 people and a helicopter were involved in the search effort today. » Continue Reading.
The search for a missing woman in the Moose River Plains area of the Adirondacks has entered its second day. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers assisted by members of the NY State Police, Town of Inlet Fire Department, the Town of Inlet Police Department, the Town of Webb Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff, and volunteer search and rescue teams continue the search. A helicopter from the State Police Aviation Unit will join more than 50 searchers in today’s search. A missing person alert for Kerry Young, 44, of Dewitt, NY was issued on Monday evening, March 28, by the Town of Dewitt Police Department. Town of Inlet Police Department checked a vehicle they had noticed parked on the entrance road to the DEC Limekiln Lake Campground off the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road. » Continue Reading.
NYS Governor David Paterson approved State land classifications recommended by the Adirondack Park Agency for State lands inside the Adirondack Park yesterday. According to a press release issued by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) “the classification approvals promote traditional recreational activities imperative to the economic well being of Adirondack communities while protecting essential natural resources, critical wildlife habitat, and significant historic resources.” The Governor’s action also sets in motion the development and implementation of unit management plans by the DEC. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) last week approved a management plan for the Moose River Plains that allows for mountain-bike use on a corridor between two Wilderness Areas.
As the Adirondack Explorer reported last week, the APA had been asked to vote on reclassifying as Wilderness about fifteen thousand acres of the Moose River Plains Wild Forest and add it to the adjoining West Canada Lake Wilderness, while leaving a Wild Forest corridor between the two tracts to allow mountain biking. Neil Woodworth, the Adirondack Mountain Club’s executive director, objected to maintaining a Wild Forest corridor within a Wilderness Area.
In a letter to the APA, the club argued that leaving a corridor of Wild Forest would be tantamount to allowing a prohibited recreational use in a Wilderness Area. “To arbitrarily carve out a ‘Wild Forest’ corridor for mountain bike use in the middle of the proposed West Canada Lake Wilderness Area completely defeats the purpose of the Wilderness designation,” the letter said.
Partly as a result of this objection, the APA amended the proposal to make the bulk of the fifteen thousand acres a separate Wilderness Area. So instead of having the corridor run through a Wilderness Area, it will run between two Wilderness Areas.
Of course, the facts on the ground remain the same. We’ll just be giving a different name to the new Wilderness Area. Nevertheless, Woodworth said it’s an improvement.
“It doesn’t make a lot of difference on the ground, but it’s a principle that I feel strongly about,” Woodworth said. “We shouldn’t be putting non-conforming-use corridors through the middle of Wilderness Areas.”
I’ll throw out two questions for discussion:
First, is this a bad precedent, an example of “spot zoning” that undermines the principles of Wilderness management? Another recent example is the decision to allow the fire tower to remain on Hurricane Mountain by classifying the summit as a Historic Area even though the rest of the mountain is classified as Wilderness.
Second, should mountain bikes be allowed in Wilderness Areas where appropriate? The corridor in question follows the Otter Brook Road and Wilson Ridge Road, two old woods road now closed to vehicles. Advocates contend that there is no harm in allowing bikes on old roads in Wilderness Areas. Other possibilities include the logging roads in the Whitney Wilderness and the woods road to Whiteface Landing on Lake Placid.
Bonus question: what should we name this new Wilderness Area?
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting this Thursday, November 18 and Friday, November 19, 2010 at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY. The meeting will include, among other items, re-use of the Big Tupper Ski Area, a new general permit process for Subdivisions Involving Wetlands, The Town of Edinburg’s repeal and replacement of their existing Zoning, Land Use and Subdivision Ordinance, Queensbury’s local Sign Law, classification proposals and unit management plans (UMP) for lands in and near the Moose River Plains Wild Forest Area. amendments to the Watson’s East Triangle Wild Forest and Scaroon Manor Campground UMPs. The Full Agency will convene on Thursday morning at 9:00 for Executive Director Terry Martino’s report where she will discuss current activities including a recent meeting with the co-chair, Sanford Blitz, of the Northern Forest Regional Border Commission.
At 9:30 a.m., the Regulatory Programs Committee will consider three projects; a second renewal request for construction of a single-family dwelling and a dock on a preexisting vacant lot of record, authorizing the temporary re-use of the Big Tupper Ski Area and possible action for a Verizon Wireless telecommunication project. The committee will also be briefed on a new general permit application for Subdivisions Involving Wetlands.
At 11:00, the Full Agency will hear a presentation regarding the Department of Environmental Conservation Steering Committee.
At 11:15, the Local Government Services Committee will convene to take action on proposed amendments to two approved local land use programs. The Town of Edinburg seeks approval for the complete repeal and replacement of their existing Zoning, Land Use and Subdivision Ordinance while the Town of Queensbury seeks approval for an amendment involving revisions to the local Sign Law.
At 1:00, the State Land Committee will consider State Land classification proposals for lands in the vicinity of the Moose River Plains Wild Forest Area. The committee will also determine State Land Master Plan compliance for the Moose River Plains Wild Forest Unit Management Plan and the Moose River Plains Intensive Use Unit Management Plan. Following these discussions the committee will consider approving amendments to the Watson’s East Triangle Wild Forest Unit Management Plan and the Scaroon Manor Public Campground Unit Management Plan Amendment.
At 3:00, the Park Ecology Committee will convene for a presentation by Robert Davies and Gloria Van Duyne of the Department of Environmental Conservation on New York State’s Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy report.
At 4:00, the Full Agency will convene for the ongoing Community Spotlight series. This month Town of Indian Lake Supervisor Barry Hutchins will overview his community and discuss important issues facing this Hamilton County town.
On Friday morning, November 19 at 9:00, the Park Ecology Committee will re-convene for a presentation and discussion by Jerry Jenkins on “Climate Change in the Adirondacks: The Path to Sustainability.
At 10:00, the Legal Affairs Committee will continue discussing possible ways to simplify procedures for modest variance requests and review draft guidance relating to camping units in NYS Department of Health permitted private campgrounds within the Adirondack Park. The committee will receive a staff report summarizing the Executive Order 25 regulatory assessment. The committee meeting will conclude with a discussion of agency legislation proposed in 2009 and 2010.
At 11:15, the Full Agency will assemble to take action as necessary and conclude with committee reports, public and member comment.
Meeting materials are available for download from the Agency’s website.
There are no plans for a December 2010 meeting
January Agency Meeting: January 13-14 at the Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.
Four additional Forest Preserve roads closed this spring, when budget cutbacks restricted the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) ability to repair, maintain and patrol them, have reopened in time for big game hunting season.
Hamilton County and the Towns of Inlet and Indian Lake had partnered with DEC earlier to reopen and maintain roads and nearby recreational facilities in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest including Moose River Plains Road (Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road), Otter Brook Road up to the Otter Brook Bridge, and Rock Dam Road. “Big game hunting brings much needed economic activity to Hamilton County during the fall,” said William Farber, Chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors. “We appreciate DEC’s willingness to work with us to reopen the roads in the Moose River Plains. “Commissioner Grannis deserves praise for his determination to open the roads despite the significant reduction in resources DEC has for maintaining roads and other recreational facilities in the Adirondacks,” he said.
DEC also utilized $250,000 of Environmental Protection Fund monies to replace inadequate culverts on the main Moose River Plains Road with bridges over Sumner Stream and Bradley Brook this past summer. This is continuation of major rehabilitation work in the Moose River Plains over the past several years. Over one million dollars has been invested in roadway improvements based on the findings of an engineering study of the Moose River Plains road system.
The additional newly reopened roads include:
Lily Pond Road in the Lake George Wild Forest in the Town of Horicon, Warren County. The Town of Horicon Highway Department provided assistance with grading and fill material and the Town will continue to provide assistance with garbage removal, cleanup and inspection for the remainder of the year.
Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Special Management Area (aka the Hudson River Recreation Area) in the Lake George Wild Forest in the Town of Warrensburg, Warren County. The South Warren Snowmobile Club covered the cost of several new culverts to replace ones that had failed and been crushed under the road. DEC staff is undertaking the work to replace the culverts and to provide fill and grade the road, with completion expected by this weekend.
Indian Lake Road and Otter Brook Road (between the Otter Brook Bridge and the Otter Brook Gate) in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest in the Town of Inlet, Hamilton County opened last week. The highway departments from Hamilton County and the towns of Indian Lake and Inlet replaced culverts, filled holes and graded the road.
Barry Hutchins, Supervisor of the Town of Indian Lake, praised DEC saying that “The Town looks forward to continuing the great working relationship we have developed with DEC and make the Moose River Plains a premiere Adirondack recreational destination for campers, hunters, anglers, wildlife watchers, hikers, mountain bikers and others.”
Photo: The new Sumner Stream crossing on the Moose River Plains Road (Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road) in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest (courtesy DEC). Additional photos of work done to the road are available online.
There’s a unique event happening this week about seven miles from the Limekiln Lake entrance in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest – a Primitive Rendezvous and Hunt, held each year by the New York State Muzzle-Loaders Association (NYSMLA). Now in its 19th year, the event features about 50 men, women, and children dressed in 1740 to 1840 attire and camping with period equipment. This year’s rendezvous will include tomahawk and knife throwing, Dutch oven cooking, tipi and canvass lodge living, an demonstrations of muzzle-loaders and other tools of the era. Visitors are welcome only on Sunday, October 10th, from 10 am to 5 pm.
The Muzzleloaders Association was founded in 1977 as an offshoot (no pun intended) of the Tryon County Militia, an American Revolution reenactment group. Since then, the association has been dedicated to “the continuing support of black powder events, people, and legislation.” The group includes over 40 affiliated clubs throughout the state. This year’s Primitive Biathlon, usually held in March, was canceled, but the group hosted a number of major events including this week’s rendezvous and hunt, a Fall and Spring “Family Fun Shoot & Camp Out,” and the summer New York State Championship “Trophy Shoot.” Photos: Above, an aerial view of the Moose River Plains Primitive Rendezvous and Hunt; below, a typical camp scene. Photos provided by NYSMA.
Today’s paddlers on the South Branch of the Moose or West Branch of the Sacandaga Rivers, or hikers, loon watchers and snowmobilers along numerous winding forest trails in the Moose River Plains or Ferris Lake Wild Forests would be fifty feet underwater if the mid-20th century dam proponents, and their state sponsors had held sway.
Citizens who valued these Adirondack valleys for their wildlife and wildness opposed them. One of those organizations was Friends of the Forest Preserve, founded in 1945 by Paul Schaefer. I write this on September 13, his birthday. This history of the founding of the organization is contained in Schaefer’s book, Defending the Wilderness: The Adirondack Writings of Paul Schaefer (1989, Syracuse University Press). » Continue Reading.
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