Here's a native mammal to look for, and I will be very excited the first time I see one here-another wild gift. They have been in the High Peaks all along (one used to live in the Lake Colden ranger's cupboard, which it could enter from the outside). I saw one near the Northwoods Club Road maybe fifteen years ago in old growth hemlock. But a friend saw one close to Igerna Road and his house a couple weeks ago in open balsam fir woods. It's reddish brown, weighs a couple pounds, is in the weasel family and many native people here have never seen one-the American marten (also called pine marten and sable by old-timers). It's a little bigger than a mink, eats mice, voles, can chase down red squirrels in trees (we have some spares!), and also likes berries and fruit.
Some very different gifts to the local people are a number of newly created trails with small bridges in critical places, making skiing and snowshoeing possible. Steve Ovitt, our DEC ranger, has developed a loop trail, with help from many volunteers, from the Old Farm Clearing road near 13th Lake that goes to Botheration Pond and around to the road parking lot, for about eight miles. The bridge over the Sacandaga is worth walking to just for itself! He's also rerouting the "Schaefer trail" up Gore Mt. because work on the interconnect has eliminated much of it. Part of the trail goes into the Roaring Brook ravine, where there are scenic cliffs and waterfalls. The Raymond Brook ski trail now connects with the Ski Bowl. The Halfway Brook trail going past The Vly (a great place to use a Hornbeck canoe) is improved.
There are many wonderful new trails in our area now, designed so carefully that Steve hardly had to cut a tree. And there are more trail connections coming. Happy New Year!