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September 2012 Outdoor Discovery

DEC Outdoor Discovery is published by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

From her resting spot on a rustic wooden bridge, a woman enjoys the brilliant foliage of the autumn woods and babble of the stony creek below.

Welcome to the first issue of the redesigned DEC Outdoor Discovery newsletter. New York State has wonderful recreational opportunities which will be highlighted for you each month. Get ready to start planning your next adventure!

One of New York’s most colorful waterfowl, the wood duck, on the cover of DEC’s Conservationist magazine.

In the August issue of Conservationist magazine, learn to increase your chances of catching record fish, explore the Hudson River, take a walk with New York State's oldest hiking club, and much more! Subscribe online or call 1-800-678-6399.

DEC Events

Select Recreation Events
Five Rivers Fall Festival - 9/15
Reinstein Woods Fall Festival - 9/15
Trail Tuesdays at Reinstein Woods - 9/4, 11, 18, 25
Citizen Science: The Early Birder at Five Rivers - 9/6, 13, 20, 27
How To Do It: Leave No Trace Outdoors - 9/22
Fall Bird Walk - 9/23

See more upcoming events


Nature Notes

The majestic Golden Eagle in flight -- a rare treat for New York bird watchers during the spring and fall eagle migrations.

Franklin Mountain in Oneonta is a premier eagle-viewing site in the U.S. Golden eagles grow up to 33 inches long, with a wingspan of up to 87 inches.


Safe and Sound

A young woman shows how a bright orange contractor bag with a hole cut out can become a life-saving temporary shelter from cold, wind and rain.

For a quick shelter from cold, wind and rain, pack a 55-gallon, contractor grade (4 mil.) trash bag, preferably orange or bright blue. Cut a hole for your face before you go outside.


Featured Video

Two well-prepared back country campers hike a forest trail on their way to a secluded, wilderness campsite.

A licensed outdoor guide talks about the many rewards and requirements of backwoods camping in this short video.


Explore for FREE

You can explore many state lands free of charge. However, some state campgrounds and day-use areas charge a small fee, depending on the season (campsite rentals extra).


Let Us Know

We hope you enjoy this newsletter and will share your favorite hiking spot, recreation activity or outdoor tip with us. Your feedback is always welcome. Contact us at:
NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-4500
E-mail us

If you like this newsletter, please forward it to your friends.

Campers relax around a campfire with the quiet beauty of Lake Durant and the Adirondack mountains in the background.

Photo by Darren McGee

Fall Camping

Fall camping in New York State is a great way to enjoy our mountains, lakes and forests. Wildlife is more active near dawn and dusk, and once the summer crowds are gone, you may glimpse an eagle, bobcat, moose or bear. Savor quiet, crisp mornings and cool evenings around the campfire. Take a hike, and enjoy the colorful autumn foliage that draws visitors from everywhere. Explore our lakes and ponds on a canoe or kayak.

Dozens of state campgrounds are open through Columbus Day weekend. To plan your autumn adventure, visit these websites:
NYSDEC Campgrounds
NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation


Hawk and Eagle Watching

A red-tail hawk, one of New York's many birds of prey, watches from a woodpile. Want to visit a premier place for seeing hawks and golden eagles in flight in the fall? Head to the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Sanctuary in Oneonta, home of the Franklin Mountain Hawkwatch.

Although this site is best known for seeing migrating hawks in autumn, a variety of other birds, amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates and mammals can be observed, including white-tailed deer and, on occasion, beaver. In addition to bird watching, the sanctuary offers hiking opportunities on marked trails through a variety of habitats, including a short wetland boardwalk.

Season and weather greatly affect hawk and eagle flights. Good flights often occur on autumn days, when the wind blows from the north after rain or a cold front. For the best viewing, get an updated weather forecast before visiting.


Special Fall Festivals

Family fun for all ages will be enjoyed at New York's fabulous fall festivals.Two DEC environmental education centers will be hosting their annual fall festivals on Saturday, September 15. Five Rivers, outside Albany, NY, will be offering its family-oriented environmental celebration from 12 PM to 4 PM. At Reinstein Woods in Buffalo, NY, there will be lots of fun activities from 10 AM to 4 PM. Hope to see you!

Held during the four weekends in September, this year's Hudson River Valley Ramble is slated to be the biggest yet, with more than 160 events stretching from Saratoga to New York City. Whether you are interested in a challenging hike, bike ride or paddle; an inspiring walk through the grounds and homes of some of the Hudson Valley's most notable artists; or a family-fun festival or river exploration event, the Hudson River Valley Ramble truly offers something for everyone!


Enjoy the Thrill of the Annual Salmon Run!

A fishing guide helps a proud young angler hold up his 39-pound Chinook salmon, caught in the Douglaston Salmon Run. Among nature's most exciting spectacles is the annual spawning run of powerful salmon. One of the best places in New York State for both anglers and other outdoor lovers to witness this natural drama as it unfolds is along the shores of the Salmon River in Oswego County. Crowds of anglers eagerly anticipate the salmon run, planning for weeks to take advantage of this yearly cycle to catch trophy-sized beauties.

Each September, thousands of Chinook salmon and Cohos start to move upstream from the mouth of the Salmon River, where they have been amassing since late August. More than 20 public fishing locations provide ample opportunities to catch and snap photos of these impressive fish. While you're in the area, a visit to the nearby Salmon River Fish Hatchery is a must.


Buy Your Sporting Licenses Now!

A large white-tail buck looks over the tall grass. Careful monitoring and management of New York deer populations result in rewarding hunts. Looking for a trophy buck or a record fish? More than 700,000 people hunt a variety of game in New York State, and more than one million people fish our diverse waters. All 2012-13 hunting, trapping and freshwater fishing licenses are now available for purchase online, by phone or in person. New hunters, bowhunters and trappers must successfully complete a Sportsman Education class before getting their first license.


Two hikers enjoy the spectacular view of the Hudson River Valley and beyond from a rocky outcrop along the popular Escarpment Trail in the Catskill’s North-South Lake campground.

Hikes of the Month: Mary's Glen, Ashley Falls and North Point at North South Lake Campground

North-South Lake Campground in the Catskills is known for its numerous trails, which provide easy access to wildlife viewing and incredible vistas.

For a family-friendly hike, try a short (.6 mile), easy jaunt through the lovely, wooded Mary's Glen. Watch for beaver as you pass through a wet meadow toward the deeply forested Ashley Falls area. Kids especially will enjoy crossing a bridge hewn from a giant hemlock tree.

For a longer (3.2 miles), more challenging hike, climb above the falls, and scramble up the ledges to North Point, a broad expanse of open rock at 3,000 feet, with some of the most distant views in the area.

September 2012 DEC Outdoor Discovery Newsletter © New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

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