Editor’s note: We are pleased to start offering this new weekly column from retired forest ranger Gary Lee.
This week was a little more like winter should be, with snow a few days and very cold a few others. Tuesday was a bear about dark a light rain was falling with the temperature on twenty-eight which instantly froze on anything it hit and some of that was on my windshield. I didn’t get five hundred feet down the road and my windshield was a blank screen.
I pulled over and let it warm up some, but it was covered instantly when I started to move again. I had to use windshield washer fluid to keep it so I could see. I called my wife Karen at the library to tell her that things were being coated extremely fast and be careful on her way home. I told her about the windshield washer trick which she used all the way home. That ice coated the trees making them all shiny when the sun came out, but it also put an eighth-inch of ice on top of the snow which was just like glass.
This Thanksgiving weekend, Saratoga PLAN will be opening their latest public trail system, the Barkersville Trails, located in the Towns of Galway and Providence. Formerly grounds for sled-dog training, the Barkersville Trails are still privately owned by Dolores Arste and her husband David Hickey, and consist of relatively flat to hilly terrain, with winding pathways through moss-covered boulders and brooks.
Getting fresh air is more important than ever this coming summer during the public health crises, but it would be wise to remember that both ticks and people are going to be active and outside. Laura Harrington, a professor of entomology, vector biologist, and Director of the CDC Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector Borne Diseases (NEVBD) has shared some tips on how to avoid ticks.
A bacterial infection that causes Lyme disease is the most important tick-borne human infection in the U.S., with around 200,000-300,000 reported cases per year. The blacklegged tick or ‘deer tick’ is the vector of Lyme disease in most of the U.S. It can also transmit other pathogens to people and pets, including the agents that cause babesiosis, anaplasmosis and Powassan disease. Blacklegged ticks are most common in forested areas and shaded trail edges with abundant leaf litter and shrubby plants, Harrington says.
Harrington recommends a few personal protection measures to keep ticks from biting, such as tick repellent, first and foremost. She also recommends light-colored clothing, and to tuck your pantlegs into your socks. It also wouldn’t hurt to treat your clothing with permethrin, or to purchase permethrin-treated clothing. Remember to check yourself for ticks often as well, both while hiking and after you get home! It only takes 24-48 hours after the tick attaches before it can begin to transmit Lyme disease. For other pathogens like the Powassan virus, transmission can happen quickly, so it is good to check as often as possible.
Check for ticks all over your body, including your back, neck, and hairline. If you happen to find a tick, carefully remove it with sharp tweezers by grasping as close to the point of attachment as possible and pulling. Once you are back inside, place your clothes in the dryer for at least 20 minutes, and take a shower (a good place to perform a tick check). You can also place your clothes in a sealed garbage bag to dry later.
Saratoga PLAN (The Preserving Land and Nature land trust in Saratoga County) has received a $500,000 grant from the Sarah B. Foulke Charitable Fund. The donation will go to the planning, design, and stewardship of over 20 miles of permanently conserved trails in the 40,500-acre Southern Palmertown Range, an area that stretches north of Skidmore college in Saratoga Springs to the Hudson River.
It is the largest private cash gift ever made to the 17-year old conservation organization.
Saratoga PLAN aims to design Friendship Trails that will provide enjoyment through an inclusive spectrum of outdoor activities: walking, running, wheelchairing, dog-walking, mountain-biking, horseback-riding, bird-watching, botanizing, forest-bathing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and learning about nature and local history. Saratoga PLAN will announce new trail segments as they open to the public over the next several years, beginning in late 2020 if public health restrictions are lifted.
The Town of Keene is prohibiting spill-over hiking parking, in order to reduce health risks during the governor’s “New York State on PAUSE” directive. Access to the Garden, a jumping off point for all major trails into John’s Brook Valley and the Great Range, will remain open to local hikers and visitors, but once the 46-car lot is full, no more parking will be allowed. There will be signs and barricades to mark where it has been made illegal to park and violators of the new restrictions will have their vehicles towed.
Three seniors from Skidmore College’s Environmental Studies and Sciences Program are working with Saratoga PLAN, Open Space Institute, and a group of regional partners to develop a trail from Moreau Lake State Park to the Saratoga Greenbelt Trail in order to promote outdoor recreation, sustainable economic development, and environmental conservation.
They developed a survey to better understand the value of the current trails and recreational pathways in Saratoga County, and the ways the trails are currently being used. They are looking for input from area residents. Particpants will be entered to win one of three $10 Apple gift cards.
Photo provided: Abby Grayburn left) and Alana Pogostin are seniors in the Skidmore Environmental Studies and Science Department conducting a survey for their capstone project. They are looking for input as they seek to evaluate the economic value of outdoor recreation, specifically a trail network through Saratoga County and connecting various established outdoor recreational hubs
Yes, build the Hudson River bike trail from North Creek to Saratoga Springs. Build it, and they will come. They did not come for the ill-fated commuter trains, snow train, tourist trains or rail service that was going to haul millions of tons of aggregate from the Tahawus Mine in Newcomb. A groundswell of support is emerging for the transition of the dormant 55-mile-long Saratoga and North Creek Railway to the new Hudson River bike trail.
A new public trail from Saratoga Springs to North Creek would connect dozens of small communities such as Corinth, Lake Luzerne, Hadley, Stony Creek, Thurman, Athol, The Glen, Warrensburg, and Riparius among other hamlets and businesses along the rail line. Such a trail would be very popular and heavily used. As we’ve seen with the Warren County Bike Trail between Lake George and Glens Falls, businesses would gravitate to the trail. » Continue Reading.
DEC is advising the public to avoid backcountry trails and summits throughout the Adirondack region for the duration of the weekend. Heavy rain and high winds have caused major flooding in the region, which has closed many major roadways throughout the Adirondacks. You can read about that here. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) had release of the latest design of the New York State Trail Supporter Patch.
Trail Supporter Patches resemble DEC trail markers, with the newest patch representing markers for connector trails, a yellow round disc with black lettering. The previous red design is no longer available.
Patch sale proceeds help maintain and enhance DEC’s non-motorized recreation trails throughout the state. All monies raised from patch purchases will be deposited in the Conservation Fund’s Outdoor Recreation, Trail Maintenance, and Development Account. » Continue Reading.
By the metric of public use the High Peaks Wilderness Area, and nearby Giant, Hurricane and Sentinel Range Wilderness areas, are major successes. The crowds hiking in the High Peaks are at an all-time high. The current dismal state of many of the hiking trails does not seem to be a major deterrent to the throngs of people eager to hike one of the High Peaks.
For many people hiking a mountain like a High Peak is no sure thing and is, and should be, a challenge. There are plenty of highly used and popular smaller mountains throughout the Adirondacks that provide stunning views, but the allure of hiking a High Peak is immense.
Barkeater Trails Alliance has announced fall volunteer trail days, the first set for Sunday, October 6th, from noon to 4 pm.
During this half day project volunteers will clean up a new trail corridor on the new Cobble Hill Trail System, above the golf course in Elizabethtown. Work will mostly involve pulling stumps and cleaning up the cleared corridor for winter use . » Continue Reading.
In order to cut a lot more trees on the Forest Preserve for new snowmobile corridors, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Department of Environmental Conservation and the Attorney General’s Office have announced that they will appeal July’s court ruling against the State and in favor of Protect the Adirondacks.
That ruling by a 4-1 court majority declared that the extent of tree cutting for snowmobile trail construction, when considered cumulatively, violated our state’s constitutional limit on destruction of timber on the Forest Preserve “to a material degree” (Article XIV, Section 1, NYS Constitution, and court interpretations). » Continue Reading.
Adirondack Forest Preserve advocates Protect the Adirondacks announced Monday that they plan to appeal one of the July 3rd rulings by the Appellate Division, Third Department, in its lawsuit challenging the tree cutting and terrain alterations for snowmobile trails on the Forest Preserve by state agencies. The State announced last week that it also planned to appeal part of the ruling.
The court issued a mixed decision in July. It ruled that the cutting of over 25,000 trees on the Forest Preserve for wide class II community connector snowmobile trails violated Article 14, Section 1, of the NYS Constitution. At the same time however, the court ruled that the construction practices used to clear, bulldoze and grade these trails did not violate the famous forever wild provision of Article 14.
The New York State Constitution’s Article 14 protects the Adirondack Forest Preserve as “forever wild.” Adirondack Forest Preserve lands form the basis of the Adirondack Park. » Continue Reading.
More than half of the trail mileage in the Adirondack Park’s central High Peaks Wilderness Area is too steep to remain stable and fails to meet the modern design standards for sustainable trails that apply to other state and federal lands, according to a new analysis funded by the Adirondack Council.
“It’s well known that Adirondack foot trails are in crisis with overuse and huge crowds of people hiking on these too-steep slopes,” Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway said in a statement announcing the analysis sent to the press. “We are seeing wider paths, deeper ruts, trampled plants plus loss of wildlife habitat. Too much soil is moving downhill into streams and lakes.” » Continue Reading.
The Appellate Division, Third Department, ruled Wednesday that state tree cutting to build a network of wide class II community connector snowmobile trails in the Adirondack Forest Preserve violated Article XIV, Section 1 of the State Constitution. The Appellate Division, Third Department, reversed a lower court ruling issued in 2017.
Protect the Adirondacks had challenged the constitutionality of cutting more than 25,000 trees to build over 27 miles of new snowmobile trails in the Forest Preserve. The lawsuit was started in 2013, injunctions against further tree cutting were ordered in 2016, and a bench trial was held at State Supreme Court in 2017. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Almanack is a public forum dedicated to promoting and discussing current events, history, arts, nature and outdoor recreation and other topics of interest to the Adirondacks and its communities
We publish commentary and opinion pieces from voluntary contributors, as well as news updates and event notices from area organizations. Contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The information, views and opinions expressed by these various authors are not necessarily those of the Adirondack Almanack or its publisher, the Adirondack Explorer.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to editor Melissa Hart.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.