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October 2012 Outdoor Discovery

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

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The brilliant Adirondack autumn foliage is reflected in Moreau Lake as a kayaker paddles by.


New York State has wonderful recreational opportunities which will be highlighted for you each month. Get ready to start planning your next adventure!

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An old photo taken in 1938 showing Conservation Department employees collecting Muskie eggs on the cover of the October issue of DEC’s Conservationist magazine.

In the October issue of Conservationist magazine, explore autumn foliage, watch wildlife in Letchworth State Park, and learn why birding with kids can be rewarding and humorous. Subscribe online or call 1-800-678-6399.
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DEC Events

Select Recreation Events
Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days - Western Zone - 10/13
Stony Kill Farm: Annual Fall Festival - 10/13
Five Rivers: Fall Leaves for Kids - 10/13
Hempstead Lake: Fall Family Fishing Festival - 10/13
Reinstein Woods: Great Migration Challenge - 10/13
Five Rivers: Halloween Open House - 10/27

See more upcoming events

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Nature Notes

Brilliant red maple leaves in front of white birch bark.

Environmental factors affect the color intensity and the length of time that trees retain their leaves in the fall. While cool temperatures often result in brilliant colors, freezing temperatures can mute colors and cause trees to lose their leaves sooner than they might otherwise. Dull, overcast days will result in poor colors.

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Safe and Sound

A man wearing multiple clothing layers and a day pack.

Autumn in New York is known for rapid changes in the weather. When it's cool, your clothing provides insulation to keep you from losing body heat. However, sweating can be dangerous when the temperature drops, so layer your clothing.

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Featured Video

Waterfowl take to the air over a wetland.

Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, located off the New York State Thruway in central New York, is a remarkable sanctuary for wildlife.

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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).

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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
518-402-8013
E-mail us

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

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Photo Credits

Top banner: John Roselle
Turkey hunters: National Wild Turkey Federation
Cyclist on Erie Canalway: Seth Burgess
Lake George: Robert M. Goodwin

Two hunters, silhouetted against the sky, carry their turkey take.

Hunting and Trapping Seasons are Here

Fall means hunting and trapping seasons in New York State. Whether you are turkey hunting on Long Island, deer hunting in western New York, bear hunting in the Adirondacks or fox trapping in central New York, many state lands are open for hunting and trapping.

For the first time, junior hunters aged 14-15 will be able to hunt deer during a special youth firearms deer season over Columbus Day weekend, October 6 through October 8. DEC's website has more information about the rules for the Youth Firearms Deer Hunt.

There are state lands in nearly every county, and most are free to use. Wildlife management areas, state forests and even some state parks provide great opportunities. So join the nearly 700,000 people who hunt in New York State. Don your hunting gear and enjoy a great American tradition. Consider buying a Super Sportsman license to enjoy all of New York's hunting and fishing opportunities.

Check out DEC's Places to Hunt to find public lands near you.

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Enjoy Autumn Kayaking

Two kayakers set out on an adventure on Raquette Lake in the Adirondacks. Durable and easy to transport and use, kayaks are an affordable way to get out on the water. Whether you're a novice or a veteran kayaker, New York State offers hundreds of places and a host of ways to enjoy its many scenic waters during the fall. Take a wild ride down whitewater rapids, or drink in autumn's kaleidoscope of color while paddling on a mirror-calm lake.

DEC's website offers videos on kayaking in the Adirondacks and selecting the right kayak for the kind of adventure you're seeking. You can quickly locate the perfect place to launch your kayak, too. Remember to wear a helmet for whitewater rafting, and always wear a personal flotation device.

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Hike of the Month: Mt. Loretto Unique Area, Staten Island

Hikers at Mt. Loretto can wander through three ecosystems: beach, wetlands and grasslands. Enjoy walking along the property's old road system as a large container ship navigates the channel, coming so close to shore you feel you could almost touch it. Test your bird identification skills as you pass by three ponds that host a multitude of ducks and geese. From the Wetlands Trail, gaze across New York Bay for a view of Sandy Hook National Recreation Area. The three trails are each about a mile long, and bicycles are welcome on the paved sections of the beach and wetlands trails.

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Biking the Canalway Trail

A cyclist crosses a rustic wood and metal bridge over Skaneateles Creek on the Canalway Trail. Among New York State's hundreds of miles of scenic bike routes, the most famous is the network of roads and former rail lines that follow the historic Erie Canal from Albany to Buffalo. This 400-mile route attracts thousands of cyclists annually.

Each July, Parks and Trails New York sponsors an eight-day ride called Cycling the Erie Canal Bike Tour that provides full support for cyclists who ride the entire length. Self-guided, inn-to-inn tour information is also available, and it breaks up the ride into three sections for those who would rather take it in smaller bites.

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X-treme Birds in Central New York

Hundreds of snow geese fill the sky over the wetlands at Montezuma Wildlife refuge. For an intense bird-watching experience, nothing rivals New York's Montezuma Wetlands Complex during fall migration. Bring binoculars and cameras to capture Canada and snow geese filling the sky, while below, tundra swans feed on vegetation. Endless flocks of other waterfowl from familiar mallards to spectacularly marked wood ducks dive and dabble in the open water. More than 20 shorebird species forage in the mudflats, sometimes under the watchful gaze of a hungry peregrine falcon or merlin. Lucky visitors might witness the stirring sight of a bald eagle on the wing or perched in a tree.

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The vivid blue of Lake George stands out against the fall colors of the surrounding hills and mountains.

New York is All About Autumn Colors

Autumn in the Adirondacks is every bit as breathtaking as anything you'll find in New England. You can enjoy some of the brightest and boldest colors by visiting the Lake George area around Columbus Day or later, when they generally peak. The crisp air is ideal for donning your hiking boots, hopping onto your bicycle or paddling your canoe or kayak for a stress-free journey and a closer view. Brilliant golds, oranges and reds against a dark background of evergreens are reflected in the lake's surface, doubling your pleasure. Pack a picnic, take your binoculars and have your camera ready to photograph your favorite sights. If you prefer your views from the comfort of your car, consider traveling one of the region's scenic byways or driving up Prospect Mountain. To ensure you'll arrive at just the right time to see the best colors of the season, take advantage of I Love NY's weekly fall foliage report.

The Hudson Valley has some great colors too. Head out to Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center on Saturday, October 13 for the Annual Harvest Festival. For additional information, visit the Stony Kill Foundation website.


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

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