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November 2012 Outdoor Discovery

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

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The jagged, rocky section of shoreline of Lake Ontario.

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

close-up of the black, brown and white striped fur from a feral pig.

If you guessed the image is from a mammal, you're right. It's a closeup of a feral piglet's fur. Learn more about feral pigs in the October issue of the Conservationist.

DEC Events

Select Recreation Events
Small game seasons open on Long Island - 11/1
Outdoor Skills at Reinstein Woods - 11/10
Watchable Wildlife: White-Tailed Deer at Five Rivers - 11/17
Turkey Trek at Reinstein Woods - 11/23
Nuts You Should Know About at Five Rivers - 11/24
Catch-and-Release Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass Season - 12/1

See more upcoming events


Nature Notes

A harbor seal rolls onto its side while resting on a sandy beach.

Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) overwinter in the waters of New York City and Long Island. They use local docks and jetties to "haul out to rest and warm up." Because seals are particularly sensitive to disturbance, watch them from a distance of at least 100 yards.


Featured Video

A craftsman carves a wooden head of a duck decoy.

Steve Sanford of Cambridge, NY handcrafts his own wooden duck decoys. Learn the process and watch him craft one in only a day.


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.


Photo Credits

Top banner: NYS OPRHP
Thacher Park: J. Bret Bennington

Angler in waders standing at the edge of a stream.

Fishing for Steelhead in Great Lakes Tributaries

One of the best times to fish for steelhead (a migratory rainbow trout) is late October through November, before the water turns colder. They feed aggressively in the tributaries of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie during this time. As the water temperature drops below 40 degrees, the run slows down, but warmer periods will bring new fish into the tributaries in January and February. There are 22 Lake Ontario tributaries and 9 Lake Erie tributaries--ranging from small creeks to large, powerful rivers--that have steelhead runs supported by DEC stocking efforts. Fishing for returning adult steelhead is generally best on the stocked tributaries; however, steelhead can run any stream that flows into Lakes Erie or Ontario. To become a successful steelhead angler, spend a lot of time getting to know one or two rivers of the size and type you prefer to fish.

Check Steelhead fishing in Lake Erie tributaries and Steelhead fishing in Lake Ontario tributaries for more information.


Hike of the Month: Thacher Park Geology Walk, November 10

A group of students on a nature trail at the base of a rock cliff at Thacher Park.

Hike along the fossil-rich Helderberg cliffs and see for yourself what happened millions of years ago when this area was under the water at the edge of a vast sea. New York State Museum geologist Dr. Chuck Ver Straeten will lead geology buffs on a three-mile, moderately difficult hike, with plenty of time for discussion and questions. Wear hiking gear suitable for the trails, brush and rocks found at Thacher State Park near Albany, NY. Call 518-872-0800 to register for the hike.


The silhouette of a person with a telescope watching a meteor shower.

Leonid Meteor Showers

One of Mother Nature's most spectacular displays is the annual appearance of the Leonid meteor showers, which generally peak around November 17. Meteor showers happen when Earth moves through a meteoroid stream of particles left from the passage of a comet. Most years, observers can see around ten meteors per hour during the Leonids, but some years there have been hundreds or thousands per hour!

Tips for watching meteor showers:

  • Watch from a dark area; get away from all city, town, and shopping mall lights.
  • Watch as late in the night as you can; usually there are many more meteors visible near dawn than dusk.
  • Watch from an unobstructed spot, ideally on a clear night. Look high enough in the sky so that no part of the horizon blocks your view.


A Different View of the Hudson River

Cyclists and walkers enjoy the views and foliage from the Walkway over the Hudson. Want a bird's-eye view of the Hudson River and its shores? Visit the Walkway Over the Hudson, an old abandoned railroad bridge transformed for pedestrians into a New York State park. The Walkway, which spans the river between Highland and Poughkeepsie, was dedicated in 2009 for the Quadricentennial of Henry Hudson's voyage up the Hudson River. At 212 feet tall and 1.28 miles long, it is the longest, elevated pedestrian bridge in the world! Don't let colder temperatures keep you from enjoying the view; the Walkway is open year-round.

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

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