In the North Country, mid-winter is usually defined by the middle weeks of February, when many local schools typically begin a traditional, mid-winter break.
Although it may be difficult for many local residents to believe, we have already passed the mid-point of the season and winter is actually on the wane.
It doesn't seem possible, with snow on the ground, solid ice on the lakes and a below zero nip to the air, that winter is on the way out. Yet, on the calendar, spring arrives on March 20, only 35 days distant.
However, there remain a wealth of opportunities available for locals to get out and enjoy the winter season with a variety of classes, courses and events in the region that provide individuals the opportunity to learn or refine new outdoor skills.
I am always encouraged to learn of the numerous programs in the region that help to connect local children and their families to the pleasures and treasures of the Adirondacks.
Saranac Lake, which is now in its 113th year of hosting the longest-running, winter carnival in the nation, has a full schedule of events planned to get local folks outside. The annual frying pan toss is always a crowd favorite.
For a complete Carnival schedule and agenda visit www.saranaclakewintercarnival.com or call the Chamber at 891-1990 for further information.
The counties of Clinton and Franklin have also developed an outstanding listing of local recreational resources that are available online at http://www.scribd.com/doc/11954129/get-Moving-Guide-to-Physical Activity. The website features a variety of local events and programs that allow local residents to remain active and healthy.
Guides, Gander Mountain and
Frisbee Golf in Mid-Winter
One of my favored programs, the 4-H Adirondack Guide Program, is again being offered in Northern Warren County and sponsored by Cornell University Cooperative Extension.
An orientation meeting for the program is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Education Center, 377 Schroon River Road in Warrensburg.
The Adirondack Guide Program is designed for boys and girls (12-18 years old) who would like to explore, in depth, natural resource related topics. The program gives teenagers an opportunity to gain knowledge in the biological sciences and develop teaching and leadership skills. It is conducted in an informal atmosphere, conducive to building confidence and self-esteem. By acquiring new outdoor skills, participants also develop new recreational outlets they can share with friends and family.
Participants can advance from the Apprentice Guide level, through Intermediate, to full Senior 4-H Adirondack Guide status while working with licensed Adirondack Guides, Forest Rangers, Fish and Wildlife Biologists, Foresters and skilled woodsmen.
Activities include field trips and classes, canoe and hiking trips, and community service projects. Topics taught include map and compass reading; canoeing; tree, plant, flower and wildlife identification; environmental teaching techniques; woods lore and safety; first aid and lifeguard training; outdoor clothing and equipment; wilderness trip coordination, and global positioning systems (GPS).
For more information, or to register, call the Cornell Cooperative Extension office at 623-3291 or 668-4881. For further information, ask to speak with John Bowe.
At the Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center in Willsboro, their annual Winter Break Camp, hosted from Feb. 15-19, will feature winter activities, including snow tubing, winter hiking, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing. The facility also has a Winter Family Weekend planned for Feb. 19-22 and a course on ice climbing set for Feb. 20. Visit www.pmoec.org for program details or call 963-7967.
As always, the Town of Plattsburgh Recreation Department will offer a variety of free programs during the school vacation. Program offerings will include cross-country skiing, ice skating and snowshoeing sessions.
A bit further north, the Clinton County Youth Bureau and the Town of Plattsburgh Recreation Department are co-hosting a Family Winter Outdoor Adventure Program Feb. 17-19. The free, three-day program will introduce youths, 7 years of age and older, and their families to such skills as hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and environmental issues. Pre-registration is required for the program. To pre-register, contact the Clinton County Youth Bureau at 565-4750.
There will also be instructional archery classes available for children ages 8-13 at Gander Mountain on Feb. 16 and 18 from 6-7 p.m. Equipment will be provided at no cost and space is limited. Pre-registration is required by calling the Recreation Department at 562-6860.
Additionally, the Beartown Ski Area will provide free skiing and snowboarding on Feb. 14, from 6-9 p.m. and there will be Winter Disc Golf for youths ages 13 years and up, on Feb. 19, from noon-1 p.m. at the Cadyville Park Disc Golf Course. Skiing, snowshoes, golf and Frisbees, what a unique combination! For more information or to register, call the Town Recreation Department, at 562-6860, or visit their website, www.townofplattsburgh.com
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org