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March 2014 Outdoor Discovery

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

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A tent on a mountain in the Adirondacks.


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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Ice covered branches.

Be sure to check out the February Conservationist magazine! In it, you can explore outdoor adventures available in New York's state parks and forests, observe a mink eating its lunch and two eagles fighting over dinner, revel in some of the most iconic images of renowned photographer Ansel Adams, get the facts (and debunk the myths) about the invasive snakehead fish, and find out what's shown in the picture above. (We'll give you a hint: check page 4.) Subscribe online or call 1-800-678-6399.

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DEC Events

Select Recreation Events
Signs of Spring at Norrie Point Education Center - 3/8
Camp Santanoni Winter Weekend - 3/15-16
Watchable Wildlife: Is it Spring? Five Rivers - 3/21
See more upcoming events

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Nature Notes

The Rensselaer Plateau

The Rensselaer Plateau is estimated to be the fifth-largest forested region in New York State.

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Safe and Sound

Snowshoes

Use snowshoes or skis when snow is 8" deep or more. This eases travel and keeps trails in good condition.

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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: Adirondack Regional Tourism Council
Visit ADK website: Adirondack Regional Tourism Council
Nature Notes: Rensselaer Plateau Alliance
Blue Warbler: Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center
XC Skiing: Adirondack Ski Touring Council
Snowmobilers: Susan Shafer
Maple Sugar: Jim Clayton

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I LOVE NY logo.

New Adventure License Plates

A group of people posing with their catch from ice fishing.

Buy a new lifetime hunting or fishing license, or the Empire Passport in 2014 and you can receive a free, newly designed license plate to demonstrate your commitment to New York outdoor recreation and sporting. The New York State Adventure License Series is the latest in Governor Cuomo's efforts to enhance sporting and recreational opportunities, support outdoor enthusiasts and boost tourism statewide. New benefits for lifetimers also include the new Adventure Drivers License. Learn more at the NYS eLicense Center.

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New Adirondack Park Recreation Website Helps You Find Your Adventure

Screenshot of Visit Adirondacks website.

Plan your next Adirondack adventure using the new interactive website http://visitadirondacks.com/. The website, part of Governor Cuomo's outdoor recreation and tourism initiative, will help visitors tailor their vacation around specific events and activities and find places to stay. You can search by region, season or type of activity.

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Land Big Trout on the Lower Niagara - NY is Open for Fishing and Hunting

Man holding a steelhead trout.

Niagara County
The Lower Niagara River, from Whirlpool State Park to Lake Ontario, provides world-class sportfishing for trout from November through April. Though the water is cold, the fishing can be hot. Boat and shore anglers alike catch steelhead, lakers and browns from 4 to 10 pounds, with occasional trophies over 15! Shore anglers target trout along the three miles of public riverfront at Whirlpool, Devils Hole and Artpark state parks. Boaters fish the many productive "drifts" between Devils Hole and Youngstown. Look for Niagara River Fishing Charters on the I Love NY webpage.

See Fishing the Lower Niagara River for more information and detailed maps featuring public access locations. Weekly fishing updates can be found on the Western New York Fishing Hotline.

Nearby Activities: Head to Niagara Falls State Park to view the thousands of gulls that stay during the winter.

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Watchable Wildlife at Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center

A Black-throated Blue Warbler.

Cropseyville, Rensselaer County
Keep a lookout for a variety of wildlife as you snowshoe or cross-country ski through a range of habitats at Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center. The center is an ideal place for wildlife, including birds, white-tailed deer, fisher, coyote, beavers and an occasional bobcat or moose. The 594-acre property is located on the Rensselaer Plateau.

Enjoy six miles of trails, ranging in length from 0.2 mile to 4 miles. A boardwalk through a forested swamp takes you to a large beaver dam. All trails are open free of charge for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. The Center is managed as a back-country area, meaning that trails are not groomed and breaking trail may be a necessity at times. Read "Home Sweet Home on the Rensselaer Plateau," an article from the October 2011 Conservationist, for more information about Dyken Pond.

Other great places to watch wildlife nearby: Five Rivers Environmental Education Center and Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center.

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Cross-country Skiing the Peninsula Nature Trails

A man cross-country skiing with his dog.

Lake Placid, Essex County
These mostly short and easy loop trails on Lake Placid's shore are a medley of delights for the cross-country skier, snowshoer or hiker. Mix and match the four short trails (each about a mile long) or follow the 7.5-mile Jackrabbit Ski Trail to Saranac Lake. Keep your eyes open for mink and otter, relax on a rustic log bench, and read the interpretive signs identifying more than 20 plants characteristic of the area.

The trailhead parking lot is located off Peninsula Way, a road between the Comfort Inn and the Howard Johnson on Route 86 in Lake Placid. Don't forget to sign in at the trail register, and pick up a brochure or download the PDF before you go.

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Snowmobiling Brookfield Trail in Charles Baker State Forest

Snowmobilers on a trail.

Madison County
Lake-effect snowfall, flat terrain and cold temperatures make central New York the perfect spot for snowmobiling. While the Tug Hill Plateau is famous for its heavy snow and extensive trail system, consider heading to the Charles Baker State Forest for your next snowmobile outing. Located in southeast Madison County, the forest boasts a highly acclaimed snowmobile trail system of its own. With miles of trails set throughout three state forests, snowmobilers have plenty of room to explore (some trails are groomed, others are off-road). The Brookfield Trail System connects to an additional 78 miles of snowmobile corridor trails through unplowed portions of town roads, public forest access roads, and woodland trails. Most corridor trails are located in state forests in Chenango, Oswego, Cortland and Madison counties.

Nearby Activities: Head to northeast Madison County for ice fishing on Oneida Lake (weather permitting), or visit the Great Swamp Conservancy in Canastota.

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Maple Sugaring Weekends

Kids looking at a bucket that's collecting Maple Syrup.

Delmar, Albany County
In 2013, New York State produced 18% of the maple syrup in the U.S., second only to Vermont. If you'd like to learn how it's produced, Five Rivers Environmental Education Center (Albany County) is hosting maple sugaring open houses every Saturday in March from 1:30 to 3:30. You'll get to twirl a brace drill, pound a spile, inspect sap flow in the sugarbush, enjoy the aroma of sap boiling down and take the maple taste test. A local maple producer also will be available to answer any questions. Because sugar maples, New York's official tree, are found throughout the state, there are numerous "sugaring " operations. Check the New York State Maple Producers Association's website to find a sugaring open house near you.

Read "Sweet Success" an article about maple sugaring in the February 2013 issue of the Conservationist.

Nearby Activities: Enjoy night skating at Schodack Island State Park.


March 2014 DEC Outdoor Discovery Newsletter © New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

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