August 25, 2010
- Cool-Weather Camping
- Family Fun
- Upcoming DEC Events
- Hudson Valley - Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center
- Capital District - Five Rivers Environmental Education Center and Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center
- Adirondacks - Adirondack Park Agency Visitors Interpretive Center at Paul Smiths
- Central New York - Rogers Environmental Education Center
- Western New York - Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center
Autumn is a perfect time to go camping in New York State-cooler weather, no crowds and plenty of activities. DEC has 24 campgrounds that are open until at least mid-October. You can have a great time cool-weather camping with just a few adjustments to your regular camping routine.
Clothing-In cool weather, your clothing provides insulation to keep you from losing body heat. Sweating can be dangerous when the temperature drops, so you must layer your clothing. The first layer of clothing should be able to "wick" away moisture. Cotton isn't a good choice because it traps the moisture close to your skin and makes you chilly. Polypropylene is a better choice for the first layer. The second layer can be a blend of cotton and synthetic fabric. Finally, a layer of wool provides warmth even when wet. Add a waterproof/windproof jacket if the weather calls for it. Wear two pairs of socks-poly liners covered by wool socks. Keep all your undergarments in a Ziploc® bag to avoid absorbing moisture from the air. Put your clothes for the morning in your sleeping bag, and wear a hat and liner gloves to sleep. Bring more clothing than you expect to use, and never wear wet or damp clothes to bed.
Site Selection-Selecting the right site can mean the difference between a wonderful experience and a disaster. Determine which direction storm fronts come from, and use the natural shelter provided by hills and vegetation for your tent site. Choose a site that will get sun in the afternoon, and set up a cooking area that is sheltered from the wind.
Equipment Checklist-This checklist outlines nearly everything that you will need to go camping. There are a few modifications to consider for camping in cool weather. Your tent should be a four-season tent with a full-coverage fly and taped seams. Make sure your sleeping bag is rated for the expected temperature, and keep it in a sack so it remains dry. The warmth from a sleeping bag comes from trapped air, so fluff up your sleeping bag at night. If your bedding is properly insulated, you will have a comfortable night despite the temperature outside. Put a layer of plastic ground cloth in your tent. Put a foam sleeping pad and a folded wool blanket on top of the plastic. Lay your sleeping bag on top of that, and cover it with another ground cloth to keep the bedding dry. Get warm before going to bed-chop wood for the morning's fire, or do some jumping jacks. Place a hand warmer in a sock, or put boiling water in a nalgene bottle, and tuck the bottle in the bottom of your sleeping bag before going to bed. Batteries lose power more quickly when it is cold, so keep your cell phone and headlamp close to your body during the night.
Nutrition-People need more calories in colder weather. Your cool-weather camping diet should be high in carbohydrates and protein. Drink plenty of warm fluids. Cooking over a campfire is great, but pack a propane stove for quick morning meals. Take the bottle of propane into your tent at night for a faster start on cold mornings.
To get detailed information or to make a reservation for any campground, please call Reserve America at 1-800-456-CAMP (1-800-456-2267), or visit their website to make your reservation on-line.
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Learn the best places to view wildlife at DEC's Watchable Wildlife pages.
Different materials provide different levels of protection from the weather. To find out which clothes would be best in a storm, assemble five cotton balls and five scraps of the following fabrics: cotton, polypropylene, synthetic blend, wool and windbreaker material. Next time it is supposed to rain, put the cotton balls on a piece of wood, cover each with a square of cloth, and staple the cloth to the wood so it doesn't blow away. After leaving everything out in the rain for about five minutes, bring the wood with the cotton balls and fabrics inside. Which cotton balls got soaked, and which stayed dry?
Dressing for the Weather
Put your clothing knowledge to the test with this team relay. Put a variety of seasonal clothing into two large boxes. Divide players into 2 teams, and form 2 lines about 20 feet away from the boxes. The leader will call out some weather conditions (sunny and 90 degrees or snowing and below freezing). The first player in each line races to the box, selects the appropriate clothing, puts it on and races back to the line of players. Then those first players remove that clothing, and the second players in line put it on and run back to the box. They remove the clothing and put it back in the box. As soon as the first team reaches the box, the leader calls out a second weather condition and play continues as before. The leader calls out as many weather conditions as there are players, and the first team whose players have all had a turn is the winner.
Read Conservationist for Kids for more information and activities!
Saturday, August 28 at 10:00 AM
Saturday Afternoon Guided Nature Walk
Saturday, August 28 at 2:00 PM
Nature's Flying Machines
Saturday, September 4 at 2:00 PM
Saturday Morning Guided Nature Walk
Saturday, September 4 at 10:00 AM
Family Program: Open Barn
Saturday, August 28 and September 4 from 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Roger Tory Peterson's Birds
Saturday, August 28 at 9:00 AM
Saturday, August 28 at 2:00 PM
Tuesday, August 31 at 7:00 PM
Watchable Wildlife: Squirrels
Saturday, September 4 at 10:00 AM
Albany Pine Bush Preserve Discovery Center
Discover the Pine Bush
Sunday, August 29 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Call 518-456-0655 to register.
Adirondack Park Agency Paul Smiths Visitors Center
Wednesday, August 25 from 9:30 AM to 11:30 PM
Call 518-359-7800 to register.
Barnum Pond Canoe Paddle
Thursday, August 26 and Tuesday, August 31 from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Call 518-327-3000 to register. Cost: $10/adults, $5/Kids 4-13, under 4 free.
Advance registration is required. Call 607-674-4017.
Rogers on the Road: NYS Fair at the Log Cabin
Thursday, August 26; Saturday August 28 and Sunday, August 29; Saturday, Sunday and Monday, September 4 -6 from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Children's Series: Slippery Salamanders
Friday, August 27 from 10:30 AM to Noon
Watchable Wildlife: Gray Fox
Saturday, August 28 at 1:30 PM
Watchable Wildlife: Twilight Tour
Saturday, August 28 at 7:00 PM
Call 607-674-4017 to register.
Watchable Wildlife: Seeking Squirrels
Sunday, August 29 at 1:30 PM
Rogers on the Road: Paddle Beaver Creek
Saturday, September 4 from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Watchable Wildlife: Autumn Insects
Saturday, September 4 at 1:30 PM
Advance registration is required. Call 716-683-5959.
Saturday, August 28 at 10:30 AM
Thursday, September 2 at 4:30 PM
For children in grades K-5.
Flowers and Fruits
Saturday, September 4 at 10:30 AM