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April 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!

Cover of the April 2014 Conservationist.

Don't miss the upcoming April issue of Conservationist! In it, you can learn about New York's fantastic crappie fishing, celebrate Caledonia Hatchery's 150th birthday, explore outdoor recreation available at the state's many national treasures, visit a globally rare pine barrens, identify birds without being able to hear them, and much more. Subscribe online or call 1-800-678-6399.


DEC Events

Select Recreation Events
Trout Fishing Season Opens - 4/1
Spring Family Freshwater Fishing Festival on Long Island - 4/5
How to Do It: Map & Compass at Five Rivers - 4/5
Introduction to Geo-caching at Reinstein Woods - 4/12
Wetland Wonders at Five Rivers - 4/12
CSI: Critter Sign Investigation at Reinstein Woods - 4/14
Earth Day Guided Walk: John Muir's Gifts at Five Rivers - 4/19
Earth Day - 4/22

See more upcoming events


Earth Day

Earth Day is April 22. Get outdoors and enjoy all that New York has to offer!


Nature Notes

Blue Heron's feet.

Webbing between its two front toes prevents the great blue heron from sinking into the mud while wading.


Safe and Sound

A man kayaking.

Whitewater rafting and kayaking in April are only for the most experienced. For a more leisurely and safer ride, consider one of the many rafting trips available in June.


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.
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Photo Credits

Banner, biking & kayak: LakePlacid.com
Trout: DEC
Wading Bird: Gerry Lemmo
Hemlock Canadice: Scott McDonnell

I LOVE NY logo.

Spring Means Trout Fishing in New York

A man holding a trout.

Don't let the snow fool you, trout season opened today. This year, we have been experiencing extremely cold temperatures, which can make early season angling difficult. Please use caution if you plan on fishing while water is high and frigid. Traditionally, southeastern NY warms up earlier than the rest of the state, and DEC's trout hatchery program began stocking catchable-size trout in late March. For a list of stocked waters and the anticipated number of fish to be stocked in 2014, visit DEC's website.

For more information, please contact your local fisheries office.

Purchase your fishing license in time for the start of fishing season. Annual fees were reduced, and the license is valid for one year from the date you purchase it.


Hike of the Month: Hemlock-Canadice State Forest

Hemlock State Forest.

Livingston and Ontario Counties
With only stone walls as evidence of farms from another time, and no residences along the shores of Hemlock and Canadice lakes, it's easy to imagine what this area was like long ago when the Finger Lakes were surrounded by wilderness. The Root's View Trail on the south end of Hemlock Lake leads more than a quarter-mile into a wetland and is popular for observing wildlife. On the west side of Canadice Lake, a wooded trail more than four miles long is known for its scenic vistas overlooking the water.

As you hike through pine and hardwood forests, you'll enjoy viewing deer, fox and beaver, as well as turtles, snakes, frogs and salamanders. Bald eagles, hawks, owls, game birds, songbirds and several kinds of waterfowl are common sights at various times of the year.

Camping, swimming and fires are not allowed in Hemlock-Canadice.

Nearby Attractions include Chip Holt Nature Center and Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area.


Thrill to Whitewater Rafting on the Moose River

Kayaker on the Moose River.

Herkimer and Warren Counties
As warmer days loosen winter's icy grip on the Northeast, whitewater rafters and kayakers are drawn to the Moose River in New York's Adirondack Mountains. April brings only the most experienced to test their mettle against the raging torrents of the Moose, swollen by mountain snowmelt. Adrenalin junkies enjoy Class V rapids (the most challenging) as they battle treacherous currents and dodge boulders amidst bone-chilling spray. For those who find their thrills in less risky pursuits, there's plenty of scenic hiking, biking, and spring skiing, and the rustic charm of Adirondack hamlets like Old Forge and North Creek. Check Visit the Adirondacks or Moose River Plains Wild Forest to plan your adventure.


Watchabl Wildlife: Spawning Fish, Wading Birds and Lounging Harbor Seals Along the Hudson

A bird standing in water.

The Hudson River comes alive with fish, birds and harbor seals during April as spring flowers appear along its banks. The blooming of yellow forsythia and the pinkish-white magnolia are good bioindicators that shad and herring will soon arrive to spawn. At this time, too, striped bass begin to make their way up the river to spawn in May. Wading birds like great blue herons, black-crowned night herons, and great egrets return to stalk the abundance of fish in the river during April. Harbor seals are seen more frequently in the estuary, following schools of migrating fish. They can be spotted dozing on rocks, jetties and even on piers.

Visit one or more of these Watchable Wildlife sites during the month:


Bike the Byways of New York State

A man biking in the Adirondacks.

Try some of the best bicycle riding in the East on one of the Adirondacks' 15 scenic byways. Routes range in length from 17 to 190 miles, traveling through scenic, historic, cultural and recreational areas.

In other areas of the state, the Lakes to Locks Passage is considered a destination in itself. Traveling from Waterford (north of Albany) to Rouses Point on Lake Champlain, cyclists experience the Hudson River, Lake George and Fort Ticonderoga during the 200-mile route. Visit small villages along the freshwater shoreline of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, or take a quick trip through history on the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway.

Head to Cambridge in Washington County to watch "America's Toughest Race," the Tour of the Battenkill. Held on April 5 and 6 this year, this event brings thousands of cyclists from throughout North America for a thrilling 65-mile race through the scenic Battenkill Valley.

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

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