The new, 'Cold Water Boating' regulation is similar to NY state's mandatory seatbelt law and affects all boaters in vessels under 21 feet in length during the months when emersion in cold water poses the greatest danger to boaters. A seat cushion doesn't count; a PFD must be worn.
A long road in the Adirondacks
Last weekend I journeyed to Hamilton, NY for the 29th annual Rendezvous of the NYS Outdoor Guides Association. The gathering was well attended and the seminars provided participants with a wealth of outdoor knowledge.
The featured speaker was Jerry Jenkins, a well-known botanist, naturalist and the author of The Adirondack Atlas, as well as the soon to be released book, Climate Change in the Adirondacks: The Path to Sustainability.
Jenkins' address, which focused primarily on the affects of climate change on the Adirondacks, was an eye-opener for many of the assembled outdoorsmen and women.
He illustrated the presentation with a combination of charts and graphs, which provided insights into the effects that can be expected as temperatures continue to rise over the next century.
Predictions included a diminishing number of winter days with snow cover, a later freezing over of lakes and ponds and earlier ice outs. Seasons will no longer be as distinctive as the length of winter diminishes.
Summers will be hotter and drier and the boreal forest will gradually disappear, along with many common species of birds and wildlife. Weather extremes will become more common, with heavier rains, hotter days and even greater snowfalls.
The most notable change will be cultural, as the region's long history of winter sports will become increasingly vulnerable to the warming climate. As Jenkins sadly noted, "The ski, the snowshoe and the snowmobile are as much Adirondack symbols as the guideboat or the paddle."
After traveling south through the Adirondack communities of Long Lake, Raquette Lake and Old Forge, which were all nearly snowless, I found Jenkins' presentation especially disturbing.