Off to the woods....

According to the calendar, autumn has officially arrived and it appears to be in full swing. Frost is on the ground, hillsides are sprouting color and long V's of geese can be seen overhead. For many, the change can't happen fast enough.

On the ponds, brook trout are again on the take, as are bass on the lakes. A sweet mustiness of decay now scents the forest's far reaches, while oyster mushrooms again adorn the fallen beeches.

The return of autumn's cooler weather is always a welcome event. It signals the gradual transition from tourist season to hunting season, as great camps close and deer camps open.

It comes at a time when the faces on Main Street are mostly familiar again and piles of firewood begin to appear in front yards.

Although 2010 is on track to be the warmest year ever in recorded history, Adirondack residents know what to expect. Storm windows will be installed, the chimney cleaned and doors will be protected from drafts.

Before too long, snow will again cap the mountain peaks. Now is the time to enjoy a season that offers the very best of the natural world.

Autumn delivers a multitude of outdoor activities, cooler days, quieter woods and calmer waters. Most of all, it provides local residents with a realization that we have chosen the very best place in which to live.

Invasives invade the Park

I received the press release on Friday afternoon. It was an announcement that Department of Environmental Conservation had found spiny water fleas in Great Sacandaga Lake near Speculator.

According to the release, our newest invader is "a native to Eurasia. It feeds on tiny crustaceans and plankton that are food for native fish and other species. Their tail spines get caught on fishing lines."

"Unfortunately, another invasive species has spread in the waters of New York state," said Steve Sanford, director of DEC's Office of Invasive Species Coordination. "DEC and its many partners are doing our best to alert water-based recreationists to the presence of non-native invasive species in our waters and will continue to promote practices that minimize the spread of these non-natives."

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