From the June 2010 Conservationist
Briefly and Book Review
By Jenna Kerwin and Eileen Stegemann
Photo: Barbara Loucks
Last year, DEC staff counted 73 territorial pairs of peregrine falcons in New York State, a record for this state- endangered bird. Sixty-one of those pairs bred and produced 132 offspring. This is a huge increase from the 1960s when peregrines all but disappeared from the state due to adverse effects of organochlorine pesticides, including DDT. Peregrines nest on cliffs, bridges and buildings. Today there are about 20 nesting pairs in the metro New York area, 27 in the Adirondacks, a pair at every major bridge between New York City and Albany, and about 17 pairs throughout the rest of the state. DEC consistently works with building and bridge authorities to minimize the impacts that construction work can have on nesting peregrines. For more information, visit DEC's peregrine falcon web page.
New Camping Guide
It's summer in New York State and camping season is in full swing. If you and your family are planning a camping vacation, be sure to check out the updated state camping guide. It contains information about DEC's 51 campgrounds and those run by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, as well as helpful tips, guidelines, a map and photos.
DEC's New Blog
New Field Notes
Check out DEC's new electronic newsletter, Field Notes. Published by the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, the newsletter provides a variety of information regarding
the state's fish and wildlife species, including recreational opportunities, regulation changes, wildlife viewing events, press releases, and other wildlife news stories. Subscribe to Field Notes.
Panfish, bass, walleye, pike, salmon, trout and muskie-New York's freshwaters have it all, and you can fish for them for free during New York's Free Fishing Days. Every year, the last full weekend in June is designated as Free Fishing Weekend in New York State. This year's dates are June 26 & 27; during those days, anyone can fish the state's waters without a license. It's the perfect opportunity for first-time anglers, or those who have drifted away from the sport, to sample the incredible fishing in New York. In addition, DEC sponsors a number of events (such as family fishing clinics) in which participants can fish for free. Find a free fishing event near you.
Ask the Biologist
Q: I snapped this photo of a fox family in my backyard. They are living in what used to be a groundhog hole by the side of my pool. Is there something I should do, and do you know if they will move along once the kits are grown?
A: This is a great question that raises an important topic. More and more people encounter wildlife in their own backyard. When you spot wildlife like these gray foxes, you shouldn't approach them, but simply observe them from afar. Also, be sure to keep pets away. If left alone, these foxes shouldn't cause any problems, and they will increasingly wander off as the summer progresses and the young disperse.
Early summer is a time when many people find young wildlife. While it may appear as though they have been abandoned because you can't spot any adult wildlife nearby, in most cases this is incorrect. Often, wild animal parents stay away from their young when people are around, waiting nearby for you to leave. When people mistakenly "rescue" young wildlife, they are removing them from the protective care of the parents. Most rescuers quickly discover they can't provide proper care, and the young animals die. Those that do survive have missed natural experiences critical for learning how to survive in the wild.
So, if you find young wildlife, be sure to leave them alone. Remember the rule, If You Care, Leave Them There. However, if you encounter a young wild animal that is obviously injured or orphaned, contact a licensed DEC wildlife rehabilitator-they are the only people legally allowed to receive and treat distressed wildlife. See Care of Young Wildlife for more information.
-Eileen Stegemann, Assistant Editor
by Fred LeBrun
Wild Times: Your Personal Guide to 120 Hiking and Paddling Adventures in the Adirondacks
132 pages; soft cover $14.95
Adirondack Explorer Magazine
Hiking and paddling share a paradox. Both can be boiled down to repeating a footfall or a stroke over and over until we get to where we're going; endless repetition until we are in a rhythm or Zen-like trance. Yet, for all the sameness with each stroke or stride, we are in a new place and experience a moment we can never repeat again.
I was reminded of this while thumbing through the Adirondack Explorer's latest compilation of hikes and paddles gleaned from 11 years of the bimonthly magazine. It is primarily a guide to specific Adirondack hikes and paddles. Consequently there would seem to be a similarity to much of it. Yet, by getting into each slice-of-life story that accompanies the individual tromping or paddling adventures, Wild Times yields a rich and intriguing diversity that continues to live beyond the original experience.
This is far more than a field guide. These stories make for compelling armchair adventuring, which is frequently a precursor to the real thing.
As a guide to specific mountains, trails and paddling routes, what distinguishes this collection is its many voices and variety of offerings. These reflect appropriately the diversity of the Adirondacks themselves: from Buck and Black Mountains overlooking very civilized Lake George; to Poke-O-Moonshine peering at the once prosperous commercial shipping lanes of Lake Champlain; to the wild interiors and High Peaks. There are hikes and paddles short and long, challenging and easy, for very old and very young and anyone in between. It's all here in one large magazine-style format, the same size and stock as the magazine itself.
We learn infinitely more about these hikes and paddles than we would from one of the established Adirondack guide books because of the superb photography of Carl Heilman II, Nancie Battaglia, Susan Bibeau and Bill Ingersoll that routinely accompany each story. The line-drawn maps by Nancy Bernstein of each hike and paddle are amazing when we see the volume and variety she's created over the years.
So, whether you're a regular reader, just an occasional one, or a stranger, Wild Times is either an excellent introduction to the Adirondack Explorer, or a worthy compilation of familiar good work. In either case, it's worth appropriating.
Fred LeBrun is a staff writer for the Albany Times Union newspaper.