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Entries from January 31st, 2014

DEC Finalizes Plans to Relocate and Upgrade Lake George Beach Boat Launch

January 31st, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoThe final design plans to relocate and upgrade the Lake George Beach Boat Launch are completed New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Robert Stegemann announced today.

“DEC is committed to increasing recreational access to the state’s natural treasures for both New Yorkers and visitors to the state. The design and operation of the boat launch will provide additional access for boaters to Lake George while ensuring the safety and minimizing the impacts on users of Lake George Beach and nearby residents,” said Director Stegemann. “The input received from residents and local officials led to modifications resulting in a boat launch that boaters, bathers and residents will all appreciate.”

The boat launch is part of a two-year project to improve the roads, parking lots and access to DEC’s Lake George Beach Area – aka Million Dollar Beach. Improvements to the roads and parking lots through the use of porous asphalt and other stormwater management features will also protect the water quality of Lake George. The sidewalk along the beach will be upgraded increasing safety, convenience and attractiveness for pedestrians. A boat wash station is planned for the boat launch that will provide further protection for the lake.

“I am thrilled Governor Cuomo and DEC are upgrading the facilities at Million Dollar Beach to make it more user friendly and provide more protection for Lake George,” said Town of Lake George Supervisor Dennis Dickinson. “The beach is a key asset to our community and its tourism driven economy. We couldn’t be happier with the planned improvements.”

“Million Dollar Beach has always been a primary destination of visitors to Lake George, the planned improvements will raise the attractiveness and accessibility of the beach,” said Lake George Village Mayor Robert Blais. “As chairman of SAVE the Lake, I am also pleased that boaters will have increased access to the southern basin of the lake while protecting the lake from aquatic invasive species.”
Lake George Beach

DEC held a number of meetings with local officials and residents. In response to the concerns expressed at these meetings and in other communications, DEC undertook a second review of the boat launch project and made changes to the plan. The second review included sampling lake depth out from and along the whole stretch of Lake George Beach.

Due to water depths and problems identified with other possible locations DEC once again concluded that the boat launch will be moved to the site at the eastern end of Lake George Beach. However, in response to the comments received, a number of modifications were made to the proposed design and operation of the boat launch, including:

  • The ramp location will be shifted west so that it will be 358 feet from the eastern shoreline of residences on Rose Point Lane;
  • The boat launch ramp is now oriented to point away from the eastern shoreline rather than straight out into the lake;
  • A 150-feet-wide navigation area will be marked with buoys to keep boats approximately 300 feet from the eastern shoreline;
  • The swimming area at DEC’s Lake George beach will be shifted 100 feet west to provide sufficient separation from the boating navigation area; and
  • The boat launch will not operate 24 hours a day during the busy summer boating season.

DEC’s decision to relocate and upgrade the boat launch so that boats can be launched and retrieved throughout the boating season is based on earlier studies that found boaters and local officials wanted additional public access to Lake George and boater’s usage of the southeastern basin of the Lake was far below “comfortable carrying capacity.” The 25-boat capacity planned for the boat launch will not exceed the “comfortable carrying capacity” for that portion of the lake.

Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative is an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state, and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions.

In his 2014 Executive Budget, Governor Cuomo proposed creating 50 new land access projects. These projects will connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have gone untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas.

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DEC Reminds Anglers to Put Safety First When Enjoying Ice Fishing

January 30th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

A Minimum of Three To Four Inches of Solid Ice Is Usually Safe For Anglers on Foot

NYSDEC LogoIce thickness can be difficult to predict, however, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today reminded ice anglers to enjoy the ice responsibly. With the early cold weather that New York has experienced this year, anglers will likely be headed out on the ice earlier than they have in the past few years. DEC cautions that the presence of snowmobile tracks or footprints on the ice should not be taken as evidence of safe ice conditions. Individuals are strongly encouraged to check ice conditions for themselves and avoid situations that appear to present even a remote risk.

“Governor Andrew Cuomo is committed to expanding recreation opportunities throughout the state, and ice fishing provides a great opportunity for people to get outdoors during the long winter months,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “Unlike other angling techniques, ice fishing is relatively simple and all one needs is a warm pair of boots, a good ice auger, some tip-ups or a jigging rod and the willingness to experiment to have success.”

Ice thickness varies on every body of water or even within the same body of water, and anglers should be particularly wary of areas of moving water and around boat docks and houses where bubblers may be installed to reduce ice buildup. Testing the thickness of ice can be done with an auger at various spots. For more information on ice fishing visit DEC’s website.

The use of fish for bait is very popular when ice fishing and bait fish may be used in most but not all waters that are open to ice fishing. Visit the DEC website for a list of special regulations by county to find out where bait fish can and cannot be used, and for other regulations that apply to baitfish.

Anglers are reminded to take these important steps when using baitfish while ice fishing:

  • Follow the bait fish regulations to prevent the spread of harmful fish diseases and invasive species.
  • Use only certified disease-free bait fish purchased at a local tackle store, or use only personally collected bait fish for use in the same water body in which they were caught.
  • Do not reuse baitfish in another water-body if you have replaced the water they were purchased in.
  • Dump unused baitfish and water in an appropriate location on dry land.

Anglers looking for a good place to ice fish should check out DEC’s Public Lakes and Ponds map available on DEC’s website. This interactive map provides recommendations on waters open to ice fishing provided by DEC staff.

Ice fishing is an example of Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative, an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state, and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions.

In support of this initiative, Governor Cuomo this year has proposed the creation of 50 new land access projects, which will connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have gone untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas.

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Bobcat Saying Hello

January 23rd, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack Life

Happy New Year!

Maybe we’ll confirm a cougar this year. Until then, this:

via nature.org

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DEC Releases Draft Recreation Management Plan to Increase Access to 18,000 Acres of Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands

January 23rd, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Public Comments Accepted Through Feb. 21 – Public Meeting Scheduled on Feb. 5 at Paul Smiths College

NYSDEC LogoThe Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands (Draft RMP) in the northern Adirondacks will increase public access for recreational use under a draft Recreational Management Plan released today for public review and comment, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Marten announced.

“The Draft Recreation Management Plan outlines a variety of recreational opportunities, including motorized recreation, on the Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands,” said Commissioner Martens. “Governor Cuomo is committed to encouraging people to enjoy New York’s outstanding natural resources, and the UMP for the Kushaqua Tract does that by creating additional opportunities for the public to enjoy this land. DEC worked cooperatively with private landowners and land managers to develop public access on these lands, while protecting natural resources and retaining timber management jobs.”

A public meeting will be held at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, Feb. 5 in the auditorium of the Freer Science Building at Paul Smiths College in the town of Brighton. The meeting will provide the public with an opportunity to learn more on the proposed management actions in the Draft RMP and to provide comment on the proposals. The meeting facility is wheelchair accessible. Please provide any requests for specific accommodations to 518-897-1291 at least one week in advance. DEC will accept comments on the Draft RMP until Friday, Feb. 21.

The Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands consist of approximately 19,000 acres of land in the towns of Franklin and Brighton in Franklin County formerly owned by International Paper Corporation. DEC purchased a working forest conservation easement on the lands in 2004 which includes development rights and sustainable forestry requirements. The easement also includes public access to more than 18,000 acres of the property and many miles of the existing road system.

The lands were purchased by Lyme Timber Company in 2006, which continues to actively manage the lands for timber. The company also leases 31 one-acre camp parcels on the property to private outdoor recreation enthusiasts.

Kushaqua Tract

DEC developed the Draft RMP to facilitate and manage public recreational use of the easement lands and complies with the terms and conditions of the easement. DEC consulted with the landowner and its forest management consulting firm in developing the proposed plan. In addition, DEC obtained input from a variety of stakeholders including local governments, snowmobile and ATV clubs, sportsmen and women, hikers and private lease club members.

The Draft RMP includes proposals to construct campsites and designated parking areas, construct new trails for motorized and non-motorized users, provide access for people with disabilities, enhance fishing access and the repair, upgrade and open to the public more than 38 miles of existing access roads for motorized and non-motorized uses including ATVs, snowmobiles and automobiles.

Proposed management actions include to:

  • maintain and rehabilitate existing facilities (including brushing, raking, grading and rehabilitation of roads and bridges);
  • designate one existing logging road as open for People with Disabilities under CP 3 permit;
  • install informational, safety and boundary line signage;
  • construct or upgrade seven trails intended for non-motorized use;
  • construct five designated parking lots;
  • upgrade and open for public access more than 38 miles of existing roads for both motorized and non-motorized uses including use by ATVs
  • install a universally accessible dock to provide for an accessible fishing, paddling and boating on the Mountain Pond;
  • construct 12 campsites; and
  • construct and maintain gates and other barriers to prevent illegal motorized use on sections of roads that are not open to public use.

DEC will accept comments on the Draft RMP until Friday, Feb. 21. The Draft UMP is available for public review at DEC’s Region 5 headquarters in Ray Brook and at the town offices of Brighton and Franklin. Copies are available in electronic format for distribution on compact disc and may be requested by calling DEC at 518-897-1291. A limited number of printed copies are available as well. The complete document is available on DEC’s web site: Kushaqua Tract Draft Recreation Management Plan

Written comments may be sent to Sean Reynolds, Senior Forester, NYSDEC, P.O. Box 296, Ray Brook, NY 12977, or e-mailed until Friday, Feb. 21.

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DEC to Hold Three Weekends of Santanoni Winter Open Houses

January 13th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Rare Opportunity to See the Inside of Camp Buildings During the Winter Months

NYSDEC LogoBuilding upon the popularity of the previous two years’ Camp Santanoni Winter Weekend events, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will once again open this historic property to the public for recreational opportunities, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.

The events will take place during the Martin Luther King holiday weekend, January 18-20; President’s Day holiday weekend, February 15-17; and the weekend of March 16-17. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers will have access to the historic camp properties located in the town of Newcomb in Essex County to rest and view interpretative displays.

“As in the past two years, visitors will be able to enjoy winter outdoor recreation with their family and friends while immersed in the beautiful wilderness setting and the rich cultural heritage of the Adirondacks,” Commissioner Martens said. “Events like these are part of Governor Cuomo and DEC’s efforts to work with local communities to increase tourism and economic activity by showcasing this wondrous part of New York State. The increasing popularity of the Winter Weekends demonstrates our efforts are effective in bringing visitors to the North Country.”

Camp Santanoni
(Panoramio – Photo of Camp Santanoni)

A 9.8-mile round trip cross-country ski or snowshoe excursion traverses from Camp Santanoni’s Gate House complex to the remote lakeside main lodge complex. The trip provides a moderate physical activity and a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.

This year’s Winter Weekend events, the third year the events have been held, are expected to continue the trend of being more successful than the previous year. In 2012, more than 250 visitors enjoyed themselves at one of the three weekend events. Last year more than 350 visitors came to enjoy winter outdoor recreation with their family and friends. Those attending were amazed by the wilderness surroundings while being immersed in the rich cultural history of the Adirondacks.

During the three Winter Weekend events cross-country skiers and snowshoers will be able to visit both the Gate Lodge and Main Lodge of Camp Santanoni, view displays about the great camp and take interpretive tours with Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) staff. The Artist’s Studio, a stone building near the main lodge on the shores of Newcomb Lake, will be open as a warming hut. Coffee, tea and hot chocolate will be available and the public is asked to bring their own cups. Also, the Adirondack Interpretive Center will provide snowshoes to lend to visitors at the Gate Lodge.

The three Winter Weekend events are being hosted by DEC, AARCH, the town of Newcomb and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s (ESF) Adirondack Interpretive Center.

“We are happy to work with our partners, DEC, AARCH and SUNY ESF to build on the history and natural beauty of our town to provide tourism destinations that people want to visit,” said Newcomb Town Supervisor George Canon. “Great Camp Santanoni is at least as beautiful covered in winter snows as it is in mid-summer.”

In addition to the popular 9.8-mile round trip from the Gate Lodge to the Main Lodge, cross-country skiers and snowshoers are encouraged to take the half mile-trail that connects Camp Santanoni to the nearby Adirondack Interpretive Center’s 3.6-mile trail system. The Center’s buildings will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on all three days of the Winter Weekends in January and February and on the Saturday and Sunday of the March Winter Weekend.

“ESF is excited to partner with DEC, town of Newcomb and AARCH to help expand how Great Camp Santanoni is used,” said Paul Hai of SUNY ESF’s Northern Forest Institute, which manages the Adirondack Interpretive Center. “Newcomb is a fantastic town, rich with history, recreation and educational opportunities. Collaborations like this grow our town while increasing visitors’ and residents’ appreciation and understanding of the Adirondacks. We are looking forward to working together on more programs and creative ideas in Newcomb.”

While people may visit Camp Santanoni 365 days a year, the buildings are not typically open to the public during the winter months. Additional open house weekends may be considered based on the popularity and success of these three weekend events.

“We are delighted to be part of these winter open house weekends again and look forward to welcoming skiers and snowshoers there at a very beautiful and peaceful time of year,” said Steven Engelhart, Executive Director of AARCH. “Last year, over eight days, we had more than 300 people make the ten mile round-trip outing into Santanoni and we thoroughly enjoyed providing a place to warm up and interpreting the camp’s rich history and architecture to them.”

Construction of Camp Santanoni began in 1892 by Robert and Anna Pruyn and eventually consisted of more than four dozen buildings on 12,900 acres including a working farm, the Gate Lodge complex, and a huge rustic Main Lodge and other buildings situated on Newcomb Lake. Camp Santanoni was in private ownership until 1972. Over the last several decades of state ownership, the camp has gradually been restored through a partnership between DEC, AARCH and the town of Newcomb. Santanoni is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark. Camp Santanoni is considered by many to be the classic Adirondack Great Camp.

Reservations are not required. Contact AARCH at 518-834-9328 for more information on the winter weekends. More information about Camp Santanoni, the Adirondack Interpretive Center and the Newcomb area may be found at:

Camp Santanoni Historic Area – NYSDEC
Adirondack Architectural Heritage
Adirondack Interpretive Center
Town of Newcomb

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DEC Proposes Regulatory Changes to Prevent the Introduction of Aquatic Invasive Species at Boat Launches

January 9th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Public Comments Accepted Through February 24

NYSDEC LogoThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is proposing new regulations to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) at DEC boat launches, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced. The proposed regulatory changes require boaters to remove all visible plants and animals from boats, trailers and associated equipment and to drain boats before launching at or leaving a DEC boat launch and waterway access.

DEC will accept public comments on the proposal through February 24, 2014. The full text of the proposed regulation can be found on DEC’s website at: Proposed Regulations.

Clean, Drain, and Dry“These proposed regulatory changes are the latest in a series of actions DEC has taken over the past few years to combat the spread of harmful invasive species, including the emerald ash borer,” Commissioner Martens said. “Cooperation and assistance from the public is essential in order for these efforts to succeed. Boats, trailers and the equipment can spread aquatic invasive species from waterbody to waterbody and significantly harm recreational and commercial use of a waterbody while having a detrimental effect on native fish, wildlife and plants. This regulation is an important component of DEC’s efforts to help ensure AIS-free waters remain free and additional AIS are not introduced to other waters.”

Boaters are advised to carefully check their boats, trailers and equipment for any plant or animal material that may be clinging to it and remove it if found. Nuisance Invasive Species Disposal Stations are provided at many DEC boat launches for this purpose. The boat should also be completely drained, including live wells, bait wells and bilge tanks, and dried before it is used in another waterbody.

Recommended drying times for each month of the year can be calculated at: Drying Time Estimator. Additional information on aquatic invasive species and preventing their spread can be found on DEC’s website.

Comments on the proposed regulations can be sent via e-mail to fishregs@gw.dec.state.ny.us, or mailed to Edward Woltmann, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Fisheries, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753. Hard copies of the full text may also be requested from Mr. Woltmann at the above address.

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