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August 2013 Outdoor Discovery

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

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Two people overlooking the lake at Minnewaska State Park.


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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Cover of the August 2013 Conservationist.

Be sure to check the August 2013 Conservationist to see where you can: go hawk watching, visit Chittenango Falls, camp and hike in the West Canada Lake wilderness; enjoy logging events at Woodsmen's Field Days; learn how Double H Ranch helps children with life-threatening illnesses enjoy camp fun; and much more! Subscribe online or call 1-800-678-6399.

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DEC Events

Select Recreation Events
Citizen Science: Bats at Five Rivers EEC - 7/10
Family Freshwater Fishing Clinic at Hempstead Lake State Park - 7/10
Smokey Bear's Birthday Bash at Mt. Loretto Unique Area - 7/10
2013-14 Deer Management Permit Application period starts - 7/10
2013-14 Sporting Licenses for Sale - 7/11
See more upcoming events

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Nature Notes

An osprey on it's perch.

One of the most inspiring conservation success stories of the past few decades is the return of ospreys to Jamaica Bay. These magnificent birds of prey, who feed almost entirely on live fish, were on the brink of extinction in the 1970s because of the now-banned pesticide DDT.

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Safe and Sound

Bolts of lightning in the sky.

If you hear thunder, you are in danger of being struck by lightning, even if the weather is clear in your area.

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Featured Video

A baby duck.

A professional photographer shares pointers on DEC TV about finding wildlife, composing shots and other tips for creating captivating wildlife images.

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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.
E-mail us

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

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Photo Credits

Banner: John Rozell
Woodsmen field days: Jim Clayton
Braddock Bay: Dana Hilderbrandt
Watchable Wildlife: Brian Feeney
Duck: Sue Shafer
Minnewaska: NYS OPRHP

New York State Fair August 22 - Sept. 2

A man participating in the spring board chop.

Come visit DEC's exhibits at the New York State Fair! At the DEC Aquarium, you'll see live-caught wild fish and gamefish raised at DEC's hatcheries, including prehistoric-looking lake sturgeon and the aptly named paddlefish. Kids love the terrarium with frogs and turtles hunting minnows.

While there, you can buy your new hunting and fishing licenses and get a great deal on a Conservationist magazine subscription. A short walk away, at the base of a full-size Adirondack fire tower, you'll find DEC's Log Cabin, where a tradition continues with the Saratoga Tree Nursery seedling giveaway. Be sure to stop by and say hi.

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Great Summer Hikes

Explore summertime in New York's outdoors! The Great Summer Hikes webpage lists some favorite summer hikes of DEC staff. Selections span the state, from New York City to Allegany County, and range from short and easy to long and challenging.

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Woodsmen's Field Days

A man participating in the spring board chop.

Don't miss Woodsmen's Field Days in Boonville, Oneida County. This family event is an Adirondack institution that combines the traditional skills and savvy of the old-time lumberjack with the roaring charisma of monster logging equipment. The 2013 Woodsmen's Field Days will be held on August 16, 17 and 18. Don't forget the earplugs!

Read the August Conservationist for more on the Woodsmen's Field Days.

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Summer Bass Fishing

A man holding up the two caught black bass.

What better way to spend a beautiful summer day than pursuing one of New York State's premier gamefish, the black bass? Two species of black bass are found in New York--the largemouth and the smallmouth bass. Largemouth bass prefer shallow weedy water, while smallmouths are more often found in rivers or in deep lake water..

Oneida Lake, in central New York, has good populations of both species and is a very popular bass fishing location. Bassmaster Magazine named it one of the country's top 100 bass fisheries two years in a row. For a proven summertime bass fishing technique, try using a "wacky" rig.

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Nature Photography at Braddock Bay

Photo of Braddock Bay.

Professional photographers, bird enthusiasts, and those just out for an afternoon hike will find plenty of opportunities for nature photography at Braddock Bay on Lake Ontario. The bay-marsh area has excellent waterfowl habitats. Puddle ducks--particularly mallards, blue-winged teal and wood ducks--are common nesters. During the spring and fall migrations, raptors and waterfowl, including several rare species, use this area as a stopover.

From the hawk watch platform at Braddock Bay Park, look for raptors like northern harriers and bald eagles, and the many varieties of migrating hawks. Also watch for bobolinks, meadowlarks, sedge wrens and field, song and savannah sparrows in the grasslands.

White-tailed deer browse the woods and shrubs; coyotes and red foxes stalk small mammals; raccoons search for crayfish; and muskrats dine on the roots and stems of water plants in shallow wetlands and streams.

See the October 2007 Conservationist article "Nature at Water's Edge" for information on photographing wildlife.

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Watchable Wildlife: Shorebird Festival at Jamaica Bay

An Egret walking in the water.

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is a birder's paradise, one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the northeastern United States. You can explore diverse ecosystems, including salt marsh, upland fields and woods, freshwater ponds, and islands.

Over 325 bird species--more than one-third of all bird species found in North America--have been sighted at this important migratory stop along the Atlantic flyway. In August, the Annual Shorebird Festival at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is held during the peak of fall migration. This event--which is free and open to the public but requires reservations--is scheduled for August 24 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Festival visitors will learn about shorebirds and get the opportunity to see thousands in the wild. For more information and reservations, contact the New York City Audubon Society at 718-474-0896.

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Hike of the Month - Minnewaska State Park Preserve

Two people on a cliff overlooking a lake at Minnewaska State Park.

Comprising approximately 21,000 acres of wild and scenic land on the dramatic Shawangunk Mountains, this preserve features waterfalls, "sky" lakes, hardwood forests and sheer cliffs and ledges. Hiking and other activities can be enjoyed on the preserve's 30 miles of carriageways and 25 miles of trails.

Public environmental education programs are offered year-round and often feature interpretive hikes. Topics range from wildlife tracking and wild edibles to the site's cultural history and more.

More than 200 species of migratory and nesting birds have been noted within the site's Bird Conservation Area. In addition, you may see coyotes, white-tailed deer and timber rattlesnakes. Minnewaska State Park Preserve also has one of the best examples of ridgetop dwarf pine barrens in the world. Nearly 40 of the many species of plants and animals living here are rare.


August 2013 DEC Outdoor Discovery Newsletter © New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

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