In recent years, winter weather patterns have become increasingly difficult to predict, especially in the Adirondacks, which has always managed to maintain a tried and true tradition of having snow on the ground by Thanksgiving, followed by a white Christmas and a brief January thaw. However, the recent weather patterns can no longer to be considered traditional.
Due to the numerous disruptions in the age of climate change, it appears all bets are off. And whether you measure the weather by the bands on a wooly caterpillar, or a tally of pine cones the red squirrels tuck away, the fact remains; winter weather just keep getting weirder every year.
Even the old weather rhymes are no longer of any use. “When onion skins are very thin, a mild winter will be setting in. But when the skins are thick and tough, the winter weather will be cold and rough.”
Unfortunately, most people have no idea where their onions were grown, because we all get them at the supermarket.
And while the advent of Doppler Radar has certainly added a degree of veracity to local weather forecasting, I remain a devout disciple of the old, Bird Berdan School of Mysterious Meteorology, which was available every evening on TV Channel 5. Prior to The Weather Channel or Doppler Weather Center forecasts, Mr. Berdan was likely the region’s most accomplished weatherman.
He would check on old black dog at the back door and if the hound was wet, it was raining; and if it was white, it was snowing. If the dog was spotted, there was hail falling, and if the poor old critter had a glazed look all over; why there was likely to be a wicked ice storm in progress.
Despite the numerous advances in weather detection, and the unrelenting barrage of 24 hour, up-to-the minute, weather information broadcasts; the most reliable aspect of Adirondack weather is it’s uncanny unpredictability.
And therein lies its charm!
Regardless of advancements in weather monitoring equipment, satellite data and predictions of climate trends, in the Adirondacks, most folks are often unsure of what to expect until the storm finally appears from over the nearest hill.
At times, the weather will test our power and our will, but it’s always easy to face it from the warmer side of a windowsill.
The No Show Season
A few weeks ago, I dedicated an entire column to highlight a variety of local Sportsmans Shows hosted annually across the region. Since that time, I’ve already attended two shows, and I look forward to visiting a few others.
However, due to uncertain currents flowing through a river of political correctness, a once receptive climate for hosting such events has changed dramatically, especially in light of the horror that struck Newtown in December.
In fact, those same turbulent waters were responsible for turning a minor trickle into a raging river that recently washed over the entire sports show industry.
The trouble began in early January when a slight leak became trickle of water leaked over the dam of public opinion. Eventually, the leak turned into a torrent of concern, when a self-described soccer mom in Saratoga began circulating a petition to cancel a popular Gun Show scheduled for the Saratoga Springs City Center.
The New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates (NEACA), which has hosted the Saratoga show for many years fought back against an online petition to prevent the show. However, in the court of public opinion, the promoter's defiant attitude could not overcome a losing battle.
Eventually, the show's promoter, David Petronis, agreed to restrict the display and/or sale of certain types of firearms in an attempt to avoid further controversy. Primarily, the weapons responsible for stirring the ongoing controversy were AR-15, Bushmaster rifles, and similarly designed firearms which are collectively referred to as ‘assault rifles’.
Despite Petronis’ concessions, and possibly due to the effectiveness of the protests, a movement to ban ‘assault weapons’ from all of the events on the sportshow circuit quickly gained momentum.
In the blink of an eye, a trickle of hope for putting an end to gun violence began flowing out of a tiny gun show in sleepy, little Saratoga Springs. Oddly, as news of the ban spread rapidly upstream against the current, the momentum eventually had a huge impact on one of the largest sport shows in the country.
Less that two weeks after the gun show concessions in Saratoga , Reed Productions, the British-owned promoters of the giant Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show (ESOS), announced their decision to ban assault weapons from all of their upcoming events. ESOS is one of the largest consumer sport shows in the country, with over 400 exhibitors, and more than 200,000 visitors. The event provides an estimated economic impact of nearly $44 million for the region.
One by one, exhibitors began to drop out of the show. By the week's end, more than 200 exhibitors had cancelled plans to attend, and soon after, Reed Exhibitions was forced to announce the postponement of the Eastern Outdoor Show event. Shortly thereafter, Reed agreed to refund fees to all exhibitors.
Reed Exhibitions also hosts the annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas. The SHOT Show is the largest trade event for the shooting, hunting, and firearms industry for many years, and it remains the biggest event of its kind in the world.
It now appears Reed Exhibitions shot the entire industry in the foot, and a perceived chink in the armor may open the floodgates. The industry understand that once water goes over the dam, the damage is done.
Unfortunately, it appears the flow will continue as long as there is constructive dialog among all of the parties responsible for gun control in this country.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.