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Entries from October 26th, 2012

Hurricane Sandy – Backcountry Notice

October 26th, 2012 · No Comments · Adirondack News

The National Weather Service is predicting that Hurricane Sandy will impact the Adirondacks with strong winds & heavy rains early next week.

All hunters, hikers and campers should be
out of the woods by dark on Sunday, October 28.

The DEC Fish Creek Campground will close Sunday night. All reservations for next week have been canceled.

Those planning hunt, hike, camp, boat or paddle on the lands and waters of the Adirondacks next week should pay close attention to weather reports.

Nobody should be in the backcountry
or on the waters when the storm hits.

Outdoor recreationists should stay out of the backcountry and off the waters until after the storm has passed and DEC has determined the resulting damages.

DEC will provide information regarding blowdown and flooding that may make the backcountry unsafe to access on the DEC web site.

See the DEC website for current information on preparation, damage and response to the aftermath related to Hurricane Sandy at http://www.dec.ny.gov/public/76659.html.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

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State Police & DEC Forest Rangers Ask Hunters Assistance in Locating Colin Gillis

October 24th, 2012 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Hunters and others bushwhacking in the woods in the town of Piercefield in St. Lawrence County and the town of Tupper Lake in Franklin County are asked to look for and report signs of Colin Gillis, New York State Police and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers requested today.
Missing Child - Colin Gillis
Colin Gillis, 18, of Tupper Lake, NY was last seen on March 10, 2012, walking on State Route 3 between the communities of Tupper Lake and Piercefield. He is 6 feet tall and weighs 170 pounds.

Mr. Gillis was last seen wearing a white American Eagle v-neck shirt with black stripes and short sleeves, blue Levi boot cut jeans, and red Nike Air high top sneakers. He may also have been wearing a reversible black or red L.L. Bean coat and carrying and orange and black day pack.
Gillis Jacket and Day Pack

Hunters have been helpful in the past locating and reporting signs of lost or missing persons in the woods. Leaves are off the trees and shrubs at this time of year, hunters seek game in areas that most people do not enter and hunters are keen observers as they hunt.

Hunters or anyone else that find any items that Mr. Gillis may have been wearing or carrying are asked to contact State Police at 518-897-2000 or the DEC Dispatch at 518-897-1300.

In March, DEC Forest Rangers, State Police, local emergency response agencies and the area search and rescue teams, assisted by hundreds of volunteers from the community spent seven days searching more than 2000 acres of lands, miles of the Raquette River and both Raquette Pond and Piercefield Flow. Volunteers alone expended more than 1000 person days or approximately 10,000 hours actively searching for Mr. Gillis.

State Police still have an open missing person investigation seeking Gillis. The DEC Forest Rangers search for him is in a limited continuous status. Under the limited continuous search local Forest Rangers, search and rescue teams and others continue to conduct spot searches and training exercises in the area, and periodic over-flights of helicopters will search the lands and waters in the area.

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Hantavirus Notice

October 23rd, 2012 · No Comments · News

NYSDEC LogoThe NYS Department of Health and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed the presence of Hanta Virus antibodies in a man from Suffolk County, NY. It is possible that the man contracted Hanta Virus from mice in Uphill lean-to in the Eastern High Peaks.

Although hanta virus is extremely rare, and has never been recorded in the Adirondacks, DEC will be checking lean-tos in the area and removing food and other garbage from in, under and around the lean-tos.

Campers and hikers can help to avoid attracting nuisance wildlife, including mice, squirrels, martens and bears, by following these housekeeping practices:

  • Cook away from your campsite
  • Plan portions to avoid leftovers
  • Keep food in storage containers except when cooking or eating
  • Be neat and clean while cooking and eating
  • Clean up your hands, clothing and dishware immediately after eating
  • Never leave food unattended
  • Use bear resistant food canisters year-round to store food, garbage and toiletries.
  • Carry out all garbage

See the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Hanta Virus web page for more information: http://www.cdc.gov/hantavirus/

(via NYSDEC)

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DEC Completes Trail to Ridge of Jay Mountain

October 23rd, 2012 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Trail Provides Easier and Safer Access to the Mountain’s Summit

NYSDEC LogoThe newly constructed 2.5-mile trail to the western end of the Jay Mountain Ridge is complete and available for public use, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Robert Stegemann announced today. The trail bypasses the steep and eroded sections of an existing “herd path” that had been the primary access to mountain’s summit.

“DEC is pleased to provide another high-quality recreational opportunity in the Adirondacks for hikers,” said Director Stegemann. “The new Jay Mountain trail is safer and easier to hike and will allow more people to hike to the summit and enjoy the views. It should also serve to attract more visitors to the nearby communities of Jay, Elizabethtown, Keene and Keene Valley.”

The Jay Mountain Trail starts at a new trailhead at the intersection of Jay Mountain Road and Upland Meadows Road in the town of Jay. The new trailhead is located on Forest Preserve lands approximately 300 feet downhill from where the old herd path entered the woods and offers parking for up to five cars.
Jay Mt

At the end of the new trail, a short spur trail to the north leads to an overlook that provides a spectacular 360 degree scenic view. The High Peaks, Whiteface Mountain, Ausable River Valley, Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains of Vermont can all be seen. There are some rough sections of trail that DEC will be working to improve in the future.

Hikers can continue along the ridgeline, following rock cairns, for approximately 1.5 miles to the summit of Jay Mountain. The ridgeline is largely open and provides numerous opportunities to enjoy the surrounding scenery.

DEC contracted with the Student Conservation Association’s Adirondack Program and the Adirondack Mountain Club’s (ADK) Professional Trail Crew to build the trail with DEC staff. The trail work was funded by the Environmental Protection Fund and a generous donation from ADK’s Hurricane Mountain Chapter.

The new trailhead was constructed by the Town of Jay Highway Department, with additional work by inmate crews from the Department of Correctional Services Moriah Shock Camp and DEC staff.

Food, gas and lodging for those hiking Jay Mountain can be found in the nearby communities of Jay, Elizabethtown, Keene and Keene Valley.

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2012 Extreme Year for Adirondacks

October 16th, 2012 · No Comments · Adirondack News

ADIRONDACK COUNCIL CALLS 2012 YEAR OF EXTREMES FOR PARK AS TROPICAL STORM, INVASIVE SPECIES HIT HARD WHILE MAJOR LAND PURCHASE IS BEST ADDITION TO ‘FORVER WILD’ PRESERVE IN CENTURY

USEPA Advances Clean Air Regulations, Court Strikes Them Down; Year of Highs and Lows Detailed in ‘State of the Park 2012’

Adirondack CouncilThe Adirondack Park was subjected to a barrage of extreme outside influences over the past 12 months, some of which devastated small communities and public natural resources, while others brought unprecedented good news to park residents and visitors, the Adirondack Council noted in its 2012 State of the Park report.

“Last fall, Gov. Andrew Cuomo acted quickly to marshall state agencies to the aid of communities that were hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene,” said Adirondack Council Acting Executive Director Diane W. Fish. “In the process, however, damage was done to rivers and trout streams that will take great effort and substantial investments to repair.

“Then, this August, the Governor announced he would make the largest purchase of new public lands for the Adirondack Forest Preserve in history,” Fish said. “These lands are unique, biologically rich and vitally important to the park’s water quality and wildlife. They will be a lasting environmental legacy for the Governor and a big boost to local tourism.

“Still, budget cuts and expired terms of office are plaguing his environmental agencies, while his regional economic councils lack environmental representation,” she said. “On the whole, the Governor won more praise than criticism this year.”

State of the Park is a comprehensive, non-partisan, review of the actions of local, state and federal government officials that helped or harmed the Adirondack Park over the past year. It is issued by the Adirondack Council, a privately funded, not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. This illustrated, 18-page review is the Council’s 27th annual State of the Park report. A copy of the report is available online at AdirondackCouncil.org.

The Adirondack Park is the largest park in the contiguous United States (9,300 square miles). Unlike most American parks, it consists of both public and private land and contains 130 small villages and hamlets inside of 92 towns and 12 counties, with roughly 135,000 permanent residents. It also contains 2.7 million acres of “forever wild” Forest Preserve and most of the wilderness and old growth forest remaining in the Northeast.

The State Legislature earned praise for four progressive bills it passed by working across party lines. Among them was the state’s first law designed to slow the spread of invasive species, sponsored by Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, and Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chairman Bob Sweeney, D-Lindenhurst.

“This year, state officials confirmed that invasive species such as the Asian clam and spiny water flea have been found in Lake George and other popular water bodies, while feral pigs have been spotted digging up portions of Clinton County,” Fish said. “There are still large areas of the park that are not yet infested. We want to keep them that way.”

Also earning praise were: Sen. Environmental Conservation Committee Chairman Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo; Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome; Sen. Carl Marcellino, R-Syosset; Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, D-Forestburgh; Assemblyman Fred Thiele, I-Sag Harbor; and, Assemblyman David Gantt, D-Rochester; as well as the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, who declined to pass four Senate bills and a proposed Constitutional Amendment that could have harmed the park’s environment. As a House, the Assembly won only praise in the report.

Singled out for individual criticism were: Senator Little for three anti-wilderness bills aimed at increasing motorized traffic on the Forest Preserve; and, Sen. Pattie Ritchie, ROswegatchie and Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, for a bill that would allow 1,500-pound all-terrain-vehicles on public trails.

On the federal level, praise went to Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, and Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, for restoring funding for flood-warning gauges on Adirondack streams. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Schumer also helped to defeat a bill that would have prevented federal officials from implementing a new acid rain standard for power plants. The USEPA won praise for advancing new air pollution standards and the US Fish and Wildlife Service won favorable mentions for its work restoring trout streams and for nominating a rare native songbird (Bicknell’s thrush) for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, joined Schumer, Gillibrand and Owens in winning praise for his support of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The Adirondack Council – whose membership has expanded from just the Northeast to all 50 United States since its first State of the Park report was issued in 1986 – praised five out-of-state U.S. Senators for breaking with fellow Republicans in an otherwise party-line vote. Together, they defeated a bill that would have killed the new federal mercury regulations for power plants.

The Warren County Board of Supervisors won the highest praise for local governments in the report, for passing a local invasive species law that is much tougher than the state law passed this summer. Fines of $5,000 and up to 15 days in jail await anyone who introduces an aquatic invasive species into Lake George or the 20 other major water bodies in the county.

Local governments also made progress controlling all-terrain vehicle traffic on public lands; undertook major energy conservation and renewable energy development projects; and, rejected development plans deemed inappropriate for Peck’s Lake, near Gloversville.

The Department of Environmental Conservation made progress on invasive species this year, conducting a series of tourist-season roadblocks and vehicle inspections to stop thosewho might be carrying firewood into the park from other parts of the state that might be infested with invasive plants and insects such as the Emerald Ash Borer or Asian Longhorn Beetle.

The DEC also adopted new air quality standards that will better protect the park from acid rain and smog. It also destroyed its surplus of carbon allowances leftover from previous Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative auctions, eliminating thousands of tons of carbon that otherwise would have been emitted by power plants in the 10-state RGGI region (Maine to Maryland).

The Adirondack Park Agency did improve the flawed resort project proposed for the ski hill outside of the Village of Tupper Lake, but its rules and regulations do not incorporate the latest science on water quality, wildlife and forest health. They have not been updated since 1971. Some of the rules can be changed by the agency. Others would require legislation.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman earned only praise in the report, focused on his work in defending new federal mercury standards, in defending the RGGI program and in seeking to compel federal officials to adopt tougher standards for emissions of soot from power plants.

Overall, it was an uneven year for court decisions, with six state and federal decisions favoring Adirondack conservation and four decisions that did harm to environmental protections.

Founded in 1975, the Adirondack Council is an independent advocate for the park. The organization doesn’t accept government grants or taxpayer-supported contributions of any kind. The Council does not endorse candidates for public office.

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ALSC Participates in Study on Mercury Deposition

October 16th, 2012 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Dragonfly Larvae from Adirondack Lakes to be Analyzed

The Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation (ALSC) recently completed collections of dragonfly larvae in acid rain sensitive Adirondack surface waters.

ALSC staff assisted Dr. Sarah Nelson of the University of Maine Mitchell Center & School of Forest Resources, and collaborators at the SERC Institute, Maine Sea Grant, the USGS Mercury Research Lab, and Dartmouth College, who have been developing the concept of using dragonfly larvae as bio-sentinels for mercury concentrations in northeast lakes and streams. Dragonfly larvae or immature dragonflies live in the water for the first year or years of their lives.

“This project easily fit our mission as an organization,” says James Dukett, Program Manager of the ALSC. “We were happy to participate, and look forward to Dr. Nelson’s mercury analysis of dragonfly larvae.”

The project will study dragonfly larvae mercury and lake water mercury in a statistical set of lakes across the Northeast (New England states plus New York).

“Our work has been using dragonfly larvae as bio-sentinels – to help us understand which types of watersheds and waterbodies seem to have greater mercury,” said Dr. Nelson. “The work will help us understand if we can model mercury sensitivity in lakes and their food webs, and if dragonfly larvae are good indicators of that sensitivity.”

Mercury is a natural element but is found in elevated levels in Maine and many locations across the country due largely to fossil fuel emissions. Mercury travels far in the atmosphere and often lands in distant environments from where it is emitted including remote locations worldwide. Scientists are unable to predict which lakes or streams might have high or low mercury because it has a complex cycle both getting to waterbodies and once it’s in the water.

The lakes that were sampled are part of the ALSC’s Adirondack Long-Term Monitoring program, which receives support from the New York State Energy Research Development Authority, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

The ALSC is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with headquarters in Ray Brook, New York. The ALSC has collected, analyzed, prepared data, and worked with the scientific community for over 25 years on projects related to monitoring the conditions in the natural ecosystems of the Adirondack Park and New York State.

The data collected and analyzed by the ALSC has and continues to be utilized as one of the major sources for the development of both State and Federal policies on emission control and air transport regulations. Sampling, chemistry analysis, and data products include water, fish, snow, and cloud collections on acid deposition research projects.

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Mouse with No Name

October 12th, 2012 · No Comments · News

Sin Nombre - Hantavirus

(image via Wikipedia)

https://twitter.com/adktrailhead/status/256741391978360832

State studies possible hantavirus case in Adirondacks

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