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May 2014 Outdoor Discovery

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

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A girl fishing on the banks of a river.

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.

Do you know what's pictured here? We'll give you a hint: see page 6 of the newest Conservationist, dated April 2014. In this issue, you can read about the Caledonia Fish Hatchery's 150th birthday, learn about fishing for crappie in New York, identify birds without being able to hear them, and much more! Subscribe online or call 1-800-678-6399.


DEC Events

Select Recreation Events
Turkey Season Opens Upstate - 5/1
Earth Day in May at Reinstein Woods - 5/3
Bowfishing Carp Season Opens - 5/15
Wild Turkey Tral at Five Rivers - 5/17
World Turtle Day at Five Rivers - 5/23
Fungi with a Fun Gal at Reinsein Woods - 5/23

See more upcoming events


Nature Notes


April showers bring May flowers. Celebrate spring and visit one of upstate New York's famous flower festivals: Rochester Lilac Festival (May 9-18) and the Albany Tulip Festival (May 10-11).


Safe and Sound

A first aid kit.

In addition to your tackle box and fishing license, take a first aid kit when you go fishing. With sharp hooks and knives among your equipment, you never know when an accident may occur.


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: Michael Zeugin
I Love My Park: Gov. Cuomo Photostream
Virtual Camp: OPRHP
John Dillon: John Dillon Park
Eagle: Jeff Nadler
Turkey: Richard Thomas
Carmans River: National Fish & Wildlife Service
Tulip Fest: City of Albany

I LOVE NY logo.

I Love My Park Day - Saturday, May 3

Volunteers helping out on I Love My Park Day.

Participate in volunteer projects at New York State parks and historic sites across the state as part of "I Love My Park Day." Now in its third year, this event is a partnership between Parks & Trails New York and New York State Parks to clean up and beautify our state parks and historic sites.

To find other events at a park near you, visit the Parks & Trails New York website.


New Virtual Campground Tours

Picnic gazebo at Cedar Island State Park overlooking the St. Lawrence River.

Want to get a look at a campground before you book a week sight unseen? The NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation's website now offers virtual tours of many of its campgrounds so you can see the amenities available.


John Dillon Park

Picnic table on a patio at John Dillon Park.

Hamilton County
A rare gem in the Adirondack wilderness, John Dillon Park was designed as a fully accessible facility. All 9 lean-to campsites and more than 3 miles of trails are accessible to those with limited mobility.

The lean-to's are easy to reach and enter and have fully accessible outhouses. The trails have under a 6% grading, with one very short section over 8%. You'll find a number of overlooks with places to sit down and enjoy splendid lake views. If you're lucky, you might even glimpse loons or bald eagles.

Water lovers can fish or launch canoes and kayaks from the accessible dock. If paddling is not your thing, a staff member can take you out on an electric pontoon boat. Day visitors are also welcome to hike the trails and use the picnic areas.

The park, a partnership among International Paper, Paul Smith's College and New York State, is open this year from May 24 through Aug 22. Visit the John Dillon Park website to reserve a campsite or find more information.


Fishing New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) Reservoirs

A man in a boat holding a lake trout.

With 21 reservoirs (roughly 34,000 acres), southeastern New York is open to fishing from shore and by boat. Regulated by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP), most reservoirs offer the chance of catching both cold and warm water fish species. Because motorized boats are not allowed on these waters, anglers have a better opportunity to catch trophy-size fish of all species found in them. A free Watershed Recreation Access Permit is required to fish on NYCDEP property.

For more fishing information, contact your regional DEC Fisheries office.


Watchable Wildlife: Eagles at Derby Hill

A flying eagle.

Mexico, Oswego County
Derby Hill Bird Observatory, on the southeastern corner of Lake Ontario, is a premier hawk-watching site. On average, 15 species of hawks, eagles and vultures are counted here each spring as they migrate northward. From March until the end of May, nearly 40,000 migrating raptors make this one of the best sites in North America for seeing eagles. They are joined by snow geese, red-winged blackbirds and Baltimore orioles.

If you visit in early May after a warm night with south winds, the hill may be packed with tanagers, orioles and thrashers. A boardwalk and several overlooks enhance viewing, or you can watch from the lakeshore.

Take a canoe or kayak to the Mexico Point Boat Launch, which provides access to the Little Salmon River and nearby Lake Ontario. Selkirk Shores State Park offers camping, fishing and hiking.


Hunt Spring Turkey at Canadaway Creek Wildlife Management Area

A turkey.

Arkwright, Chautauqua County
Among the game birds sought by hunters in New York State, wild turkey are particularly challenging. And Canadaway Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in western NY is one of our state's most popular turkey hunting locations.

The creek cuts scenic ravines through the property's 2,180 acres. Hardwood and pine forest cover the steep hillsides, and there are a few open fields on hilltop plateaus. Several roads, 9 parking areas and 3 trails offer good access within and around the property.

Spring turkey season runs through the month of May. You may take 2 bearded turkeys during the entire season, but only 1 in a single day.


Canoeing Carmans River

The Carmans River.

Shirley, Suffolk County
Canoeists can travel the Carmans River, Long Island's third-largest river, a distance of 7.6 miles one way. Five canoe access sites offer a variety of routes with different paddling and viewing experiences: Upper and Lower Yaphank Lake, Southaven County Park, Brookhaven Launch and Squassux Landing.

The 2,550-acre Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge is bisected by the Carmans River, which is a state-designated scenic river. Pine-oak woods, natural pine barrens and the tidal estuary support a variety of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, muskrat, fox, turtles and frogs, as well as waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors and songbirds.

The Carmans River in Southaven County Park also is one of the best locations in New York State for catch-and-release fly fishing for wild brook trout, many of which grow to be 15 inches long. You will have to do this from the shore, however, as fishing from a canoe is not permitted in the park.

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

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