North Country National Scenic Trail Day Events 9/27/14

ADK-ON will celebrate the first Annual North Country National Scenic Trail Day to be held on the 4th Saturday in September annually starting Sept. 27, 2014. It will be conjunction with National Public Lands and Hunting and Fishing Days. Imagine the profile North Country National Scenic Trail [NCNST] will gain when all sponsoring organizations host an event on the trail the same day in seven states.

ADK-ON will offer two hikes to celebrate North Country National Scenic Trail Day and National Public Lands Day. One will trip be on the NCNST concurrent with the Finger Lakes Trail in Highland Onondaga County Forest [Map O1] and the other will on the NCNST route to Stone Dam Lake in Black River Wild Forest within the Adirondack Park. It is fitting that both events are on public lands.

Events are open to the public and families are encouraged to participate.

The Finger Lakes Trail Conference will also sponsor a hike in the Little Rock City section [Map M 2] of the concurrent FLT/NCNST. Look for an event sponsored by the NCTA CNY Chapter as well. Specifics will be in each sponsors’ newsletter/website.

Highland Forest Trip contact lucyhawkins@rocketmail.com

Adirondack Stone Dam Lake trip contact maryccoffin@gmail.com

Little Rock City contact pageazi@yahoo.com

NCTA CNY Chapter contact jacobr7@yahoo.com

Trails Status Update – Tony Rodriguez

Trail Stewards and Workers alert:

The Finger Lakes Trail Conference (FLTC) is in the process of entering into a new Volunteer Stewardship Agreement with NYSDEC Region 7, which will become effective this Spring and replace the old AANR Agreement. As part of this agreement all our maintainers who work, or might work, on DEC lands must complete the State’s Individual Volunteer Application to ensure liability and workers compensation protection while working on the FLT on NYSDEC lands.

A blank copy of the application form is contained within this newsletter for each steward, worker, or potential worker to complete and forward to me for compilation and submittal to FLTC. Scanning and emailing the completed form is acceptable. The application will be good for the life of the Agreement-5 years.

Following are some clarifications:

  • Complete only parts A,B,C & D. Leave E blank, which will be completed by FLTC.
  • Stewardship Agreement Number: leave blank, FLTC will fill in.
  • For anyone under 18n years old Parent/Guardian Permission must be completed.
  • Photocopy of Driver liscense: not required unless you will be driving on NYSDEC forest roads.

All applications must be received by FLTC before the start of any trail maintenance work on DEC lands. This application is in addition to the prior FLTC Trail Maintainer Registration.

As usual, your expeditious cooperation in this effort is greatly appreciated.

My email address is: Tony Rodriguez, boricua1037@verizon.net

To print the Individual Volunteer Application Form, click this link (this will open the PDF document in a new window for printing)

Welcome New Members

Susan Bell, Stephen Bollenbacher, John Brussel, Suzanne & Robert Druger, James Florini, Ron Gay, Daniel & Kitty Hayes, Thomas Holtsbery, Kenneth & Lynn Knapp, Christopher Lawrence, Dan Naschke, Richard & Patricia Pitzeruse, Diane Slowik, Megan Williams, Cheryl Bloomer, Marcia Brenizer, Robert & Kristin Buchanan, Erin Callahan, Diane Cross, Mary Fedorko, Karen & Noah Felice, Cynthia Garrett, Susan Leeson, Vinicius Lopes, Betsy McLaughlin, Marcia Morrison, Nancy Searles, Christopher Tice, Briana Lyons, Eugene Woodcock, Richard Zogby, Dana Bigelow, John Coughlin, Christopher Natke, Corey Sherbino and Melissa Tinklepaugh

Welcome and see you on the trails!

Mark Your Calendars

June 7-ADK National Trails Day, www.adk.org

June 15- Community Hike 01 Fabius

Aquatic Invasive Species

ADK has a strong history of defending water bodies in the Adirondacks and across New York, whether that threat comes from power plants causing acid rain or from hydraulic fracturing. Today, another culprit threatens New York’s invaluable water resources: Aquatic Invasive Species.

While most nonnative species introduced into foreign water bodies fail to reproduce and establish a community, some hardy species can thrive in a variety of climates and ecosystems. Where they flourish, they often overtake native species, reduce biodiversity, and alter the environment.

Two of every three waters surveyed in the Adirondacks are free of invasive species, but there is cause for concern. In the summer of 2012, the spiny water flea was discovered in Lake George. Alewife, white perch, zooplankton, and zebra mussels are some of the nonnative animal species threatening Lake Champlain. And harmful plant invaders, such as hydrilla, pose a major threat. Hydrilla, known as “the almost perfect weed,” has invaded 29 states.

ADK believes that prevention is the best way to fight aquatic invasive species from spreading to Adirondack lakes and ponds. That is why we recently signed on to a letter to Gov. Cuomo supporting the Lake George Park Commission’s proposed mandatory boat inspection and washing program to keep aquatic invasive species out of Lake George. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has opposed the program, arguing it would not be worth the $700,000 annual cost.

Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor UMP

In September, DEC and the Department of Transportation (DOT) gave public notice that they were accepting comments regarding whether or not to amend the Remsen–Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan (UMP). The decision to amend the UMP is not a decision to utilize the corridor either as a completed rail corridor or as a multi-use trail; it is simply a decision to update an outdated planning document and gather facts so state decision-makers can make the decision about how the corridor should be used.

The Adirondack Mountain Club does not have an official position yet on whether the Remsen–Lake Placid Corridor should be only reserved for rail use, or be converted to a multi-use trail. However, this UMP has not been updated since 1996. Outdated planning and management analysis should not be used in critical decision-making. The first step in determining the future use of the area as either a multi-use trail or as a restored operating railroad must be an update to the UMP. A decision to not update the UMP would be a failure of public process, and failure of sound management practice for an important public resource.

In the UMP, DOT and DEC should seek the opinion of the state Attorney General regarding the legal status of the rail corridor if the rails, ties, ballast, and other railway infrastructure are removed (as proposed by multi-use trail advocates). We need to know whether the railroad deed reverter clauses exist that might cause portions of the railroad corridor to legally revert to the Forest Preserve. If so, another question must be answered: Will the corridor lands take on the classification of the adjoining Forest Preserve parcels (much of which is wilderness)? The UMP must also address illegal ATV use in all potential scenarios of the rail corridor’s use.

The Remsen–Lake Placid Travel Corridor is an important public resource in the Adirondacks. As responsible stewards and recreationists, we should support sound planning and decision-making based on updated data and analysis. ADK’s Board of Directors will likely make use of the information contained in any revised UMP in determining ADK’s position on this important Adirondack issue.

Essex Chain Lakes Classification

The Adirondack Mountain Club, the Adirondack Council, Protect the Adirondacks, and Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve are all calling for the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) to go slowly in making a final recommendation to Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the classification and management of roughly 40,000 acres of new and existing Forest Preserve in and around the Hudson Gorge.

The same organizations also sent a joint letter to the APA regarding their concerns over development of APA’s recommendation for 2013 Forest Preserve classifications.

A recent Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request by Protect the Adirondacks revealed that Adirondack conservationists delivered in force when it came to letting the APA know of their support for a Wilderness classification for the Essex Chain Lakes. The FOIL revealed that The APA received over 3,600 written comments and various petitions with nearly 2,500 signatures. An analysis of these comments found that between letters, emails, and petitions the public supported a Wilderness classification at a 4-1 rate over Wild Forest (i.e., a motorized designation), the second most popular option by public comment. ADK members were a large part of this successful effort.

Let Governor Andrew Cuomo know that his constituents (and those who use and love—and spend money in—the Adirondack Park) want Wilderness!

Board of Directors Notes, 9-28-13 – Bob Husband

Club finances are in good shape with an operating surplus of $115,000. This is $129,000 better than budget through August 31. North country operations and donations continue strong this year but publications is the most negative.

The improvements to the Heart Lake property that will be using the CFA grant money are entering the permit phase. Construction will not start until spring 2014 with completion in 2015.

The club accountant is preparing the IRS 509 forms for creating the new foundation that will now be called a “supporting organization”. Details have to be worked out and voted by the board at the December meeting.

“Green” investing was the hot topic of the meeting. There are some members who feel that we should only be invested in companies that do not own or promote fossil fuels. Since we invest in mutual funds, it is impossible to tell the funds which companies they should buy. The topic will be brought up again at the December meeting.

The slate of new officers was approved:

President: John Gilewicz

Vice President: Bob Manning

Associate Vice Presidents: Martha McDermott, Erik Gregory and Lalita Malik

 Updated ADK strategic plan and Trails Committee charter were approved.

Next meeting is December 7th

End to End Hiker Passes Through CNY – Mary Coffin 9/29/13

Through hiker Luke Jordan, trail name “Strider”, aspires to become the 12th hiker to complete the 4,600 mile North Country National Scenic Trail. When he completes this remarkable accomplishment he will be the youngest at 20 something and the first hiker to include the proposed Vermont extension that connects to the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail.

As he passed through Central New York on the NCT/FLT Onondaga Trail, ADK-ON cosponsored with Highland Forest a meet and greet reception and luncheon in his honor. Members of ADK-ON, CNY North Country Trail Assoc. Chapter and Finger Lakes Trail Conference joined together to congratulate Luke/Strider on his accomplishment so far, hiking 4,340+ miles in 180 days on the North Country National Scenic Trail, and to cheer him on to meet his goal of completing the longest National Scenic Trail. Recall that the North Country National Scenic Trail follows the Finger Lakes Trail from the PA line to New Woodstock, south of Syracuse.

Strider started out March 27 in snow at the western end of the trail at Lake Sacakawea in North Dakota. He continued hiking every day through Minnesota his home state, Wisconsin, Michigan then Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. He spent a year and a half planning his trip pouring over maps, talking to other end to enders, and staging his weekly mail drops of provisions. He has not been ill one day or pulled a muscle or experienced any injuries. Luke carries his tent and sleeping bag for most nights in the woods but treats himself to a motel if available every few weeks. He hikes 20-30 miles per day. He seems to be a healthy walking machine on the adventure of a lifetime.

Check out www.striderNCT.com

Update!

After 206 days, Strider, Luke Jordan, completed the NCNST and the VT extension. MCC

Adirondack Explorations for the North Country Trail 2013 – Mary Coffin

Again this summer ADK-ON members helped to scout and GPS potential routes for the North Country National Scenic Trail as it crosses the Adirondacks. We scheduled one backpack trip and several day trips with which Onondaga members helped to scout, evaluate and field check the route.

In June a small group backpacked into and camped at Peaked Mt. Pond. It is a lovely spot with a reflection of the summit on the pond and one of my favorites. Yes we encountered bugs and a bit of rain that made stream crossings quite challenging. But our group persevered and checked out a route via bushwhacks in Siamese Ponds Wilderness. We found a route heading north of the Peaked Mt Trail toward route 28 and in the notch of Slide Mt. We reached a point in the notch only 0.5 miles from the turnaround spot we way pointed the previous year making the effort worth it. In the top of the notch we observed the divide where beaver ponds drained either north or south. The two trips then yielded a 6-ish mile passage from existing trail to the highway.

The bushwhacking was arduous with wet, slippery logs and witch hobble tripping up our feet and rain soaking us to the skin and bugs trying to get under our head nets. What a hearty group but we got the job done and GPS report sent to DEC. On several other day hikes we explored potential alternate routes suggested by the DEC in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest and West Canada Wilderness.

For the past 5 years we have been scouting, evaluating and GPSing existing trails and connecting bushwhacks on the North Country National Scenic Trail Route accepted by NCTA and NYS DEC in their joint Adirondack Plan of 2007-8. Data we submitted has been instrumental to having the DEC place its final stamp of approval on the route. Finally this summer DEC completed a document that provides for amendments to Unit Management Plans [UMP] for each of the seven units crossed by the trail. This document is now on DEC Commissioner Joe Martens’ desk. Once he approves it there will be a brief written comment period. Then we can finally post DEC/NCT markers on existing trails and work with the DEC to construct new trail to connect the existing Trail. About half of the 147 mile route is existing trail.

Thanks to the following participants who assisted in 2013: Joe Cobb, Bill Coffin, Lisa Druke, Steve Hayes, Dick Lightcap, Bob Michiel, Paul Sirtoli, Peg & Pat Whaley.