It has been a very wet and truly wild week in the woods, but in between the raindrops there was a lot of fun to be had, and the wildlife has been abundant. Black flies have been brutal, while dragonflies have been busy and turtles have been everywhere, depositing their eggs on sandy shorelines.
For interested parties who may have missed the notice, the Adirondack Park Agency has also been busy hosting meetings to determine land classifications for several parcels of wild lands recently acquired from The Nature Conservancy.
Among the parcels is a vast tract of land near Newcomb that was the longtime home of The Gooley Club, a sportsman’s club of the first order.
There is also a newly purchased tract that holds great promise for providing a safe takeout for paddlers, anglers and others who wish to journey on a comfortable flat water float trip along the remote upper sections of the Hudson River.
There is a possibility the tract will be classified appropriately to allow motorized access to a ‘take out ‘site’ so that paddlers can exit the river just above the wild Hudson River Gorge.
The potential of access to and from the Hudson stillwater may provide a vital increase in usage which would bring more visitors to the small town of Newcomb.
The Hudson River stillwater take out is necessary for casual paddlers who don’t car to tackle the heavy waters of the raging Hudson River Gorge.
The Agency has issued a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed classification of State lands in Essex and Hamilton Counties. The Agency has proposed seven classification alternatives for these lands. Public comment is invited until July 19, 2013.
The APA has already hosted hearings at their offices in Ray Brook, as well as in Newcomb, Indian Lake and New York City.
The hearings have been well attended, especially with representatives from the various environmental advocacy groups.
However, there has been a noticeable lack of support and input from the sporting community.
I recently spoke with Jason Kemper, Chairman of the NYS Conservation Fund Advisory board who has been attending the APA hearings. Sadly, he has been one of the very few voices advocating for the sporting community.
Kemper wants to get the word out that members of the sporting community need to be represented at the hearing to ensure the new land classifications are able provide and support access for all user groups and remain open and available for hunting and fishing.
If the classification of the new lands eventually do not favor access for sportsmen, snowmobilers lands and other traditional users, the responsibility will be directly on the lack of support and advocacy from these user. The initial APA Hearing in Ray Brook attracted only three representatives from sportsman’s groups. In order to protect the traditional uses, the sporting community must make their voices heard!
The schedule of APA Land Use Classification Hearings will continue on:
• June 25 at Indian Lake Central School in Indian Lake, 6 p.m.
• July 1. The Harley School, Rochester, 7 p.m.
• July 2. DEC Headquarters, 625 Broadway, Albany, 1 p.m.
• July 2. Warren County Offices, Lake George, 7 p.m.
Written comments can also be submitted until July 19 to APA Deputy Director James Connolly at P.O. Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977 at Public comment is invited until July 19, 2013. http://apa.ny.gov/ or email@example.com
What to do?
A recent study conducted for the Essex County Visitors Center reveals visitors to the Adirondack region are primarily outdoor oriented and prefer hotel accommodations to other types, and spent $82 for every occupancy tax dollar spent on marketing in 2012.
These results should come as no great surprise, really. I ‘ve yet to meet a visitor who has traveled to Essex County to attend an opera!
The vast majority of our visitors come for the natural attractions, and as parents, we must do more to ensure our children learn to appreciate this fact. We must also make sure our local youth have appropriate opportunities to enjoy the local surroundings.
Adirondackers have always raised their children with a solid connection to the environment. It has helped to shape their character and foster an understanding of natural processes. It is a vital component of our regions culture and huge part of the North Country ‘s heritage.
The Adirondack Interpretive Center has been making this initiative their mission for several years. The staff has been providing a wide range of outdoor skill education programs, and they plan to continue it next weekend with a series on Fly Fishing hosted by Adirondack guide Rick Kovacs.
Kovacs is an accomplished flyfisherman, who operates Packbasket Adventures in the sprawling northern metropolis of Wanakena, which is located up Cranberry way.
Rick travels annually to the AIC in Newcomb to present programs on flyfishing, and to visit a community of comparable size to his own.
The program is designed for beginners and intermediate level flyfishing enthusiasts. Topics will include: Insects important to fly fishing, fly fishing in the Adirondacks, correction of fly casting mistakes for intermediates, gear selection and fly lines, basic fly casting for beginners, and fly tying.
Weather permitting, participants will have the chance to practice their skills on the water. Fly fishing rods are available to rent for a $25 fee. Advance registration is required, $25 per person per session, call 518-582-2000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Bring your lunch to each workshop.
The workshop provides a great opportunity for local residents, as well as visitors to learn the ins and outs of flyfishing just in time to enjoy New York’s Free Fishing Days next weekend on June 29-30.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at email@example.com.