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Hot weather ushers in the holiday weekend

With temperatures again pushing into the 80s with high humidity and a steady supply of passing thunderstorms; it appears that summer is in full swing. Fortunately, in the Adirondacks, relief from the heat is usually a short distance away. It often comes at the edge of a rock cliff or from the end of rope swing as a youngster launches into a lake or stream. Muggy days will continue to produce hazy mountain views and increase the frequency of ozone warnings; which were once limited only to the cities. Now, the warnings are issued statewide. Yet, in recent years, an ozone haze has steadily diminished mountaintop viewsheds. From the top of Whiteface Mountain, a person could always see Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains of Vermont and beyond. However, on a recent trip to Whitefaces summit, the lake views were limited to the Lake Placid and the nearby Saranacs. It was difficult to even distinguish definition of some of the surrounding High Peaks. Trails are getting now crowded; beaches are full and boaters are everywhere. Over the long Holiday weekend, friends will be visiting Up North again for clambakes and bar-b-ques, horseshoes and smores around the campfire. It is time to relish the season, for summer is the shortest of our seasons. In the Adirondack, it moves faster than a twenty dollar bill at the gas pump. Take me fishing Dad, before its too late! There are currently over 50 million active anglers in the United States Of this group, 99 percent say they learned to fish because someone once took the time to introduce them to the sport. However, there have been great societal shifts in the American lifestyle. These shifts are changing the face of who that someone is. Today, the number of single parent families in this country continues to rise as the divorce rate approaches 50 percent. These changes are also responsible for much of the angler fallout that has occurred over recent decades. In a recent survey, among the 67 percent of respondents who said Dad took them on their first fishing trip, 87.8 percent were 35 years of age or older, compared to only 12.2 percent for those under 35. If Dad has a diminishing role in introducing new anglers to the sport and others don't step in; how will the sport of angling be passed to future generations? It has been estimated that in the United States today, kids spend an average of 44 hours a week experiencing a two dimensional world (see it and hear it) through an electronic window, whether by watching TV, playing video games and spending time on the computer. Forty-four hours a week equates to a full-time job which leaves precious little time for anything else. How can we expect today's wired generation to garner an appreciation of the natural world and its resources if they don't have the opportunity to experience them first-hand? Additionally, if the next generation does not attain the skill and knowledge to properly enjoy our natural resources, how can they be expected to protect them? The gift of fishing is still something special and those who don't fish may never even know what they have missed, unless those of us who do fish take the opportunity to share it. Last weekend, New York hosted Free Fishing Days statewide to provide opportunities for first timers to try the sport at no cost. The angling industry continues their efforts; including Bass Pro Shops unique video game trade in program. Their month long event offered store credit toward the purchase of outdoor gear based on the number of video games turned in. Despite downturns in the economy, recreational boating and fishing still rank high among America's favorite sporting activities, with more than 50 million people participating every year. That's more people than play golf and tennis combined. However, the best way to ensure longevity of the sport is by increasing public awareness and appreciation of the need for protecting, conserving and restoring America's aquatic natural resources. Take a kid out today; we all have to do our part! Kayaking with the experts Among all paddlesports, the fastest growing segment of the industry is kayak fishing. This should come as no surprise. Kayaks are swift, easy to maneuver and can negotiate shallow and rough water. They are commonly a solo craft, though tandem models are gaining support. Ive always explained the difference between canoeing and kayaking as being akin to driving a car or riding a motorcycle. In a car, a person views the scene from above, shielded from the environment. On a motorcycle, the rider is immersed in the experience. They are part of the scene. In a canoe, you sit high in a seat and ride above the water; while a kayaker rides in it. And there is little comparison when it comes to maneuverability. Kayaks can spin on a dime and travel shallows or rock strewn rivers with ease. The only real wonder is why it has taken anglers so long to pick up on such obvious advantages. Now comes word that Northwoods Wilderness Guide Service in Schroon Lake will be offering guided kayak adventures on local lakes, ponds and rivers throughout the summer. In addition to tours, lessons will also be available, with special programs offered for children and senior citizens. For further information on tours or lessons, please contact John Huston at 532-9745 or visit www.newyorktroutfishing.com Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@ adelphia.net

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