1. Invasive Species Removal
Ongoing throughout the field season, SCA crews will be partnering up with the Terrestrial Invasive Species Project Coordinator from the Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program.
Invasive species are vigorous growers arriving from other parts of the world through global exchange routes. In the absence of competitors from their native ecosystem, they reproduce and spread at alarming rates. By out-competing the natives they encounter, and forming monocultures, they eventually become a threat to forest and freshwater resources. A nation-wide presence in the US, this is an increasingly expensive part of park management. The SCA crews that go out will be providing hands-on labor as they remove and dispose of Invasives at established sites throughout the park.
This week the crew went down Highway 28 toward Old Forge and Highway 30 by Blue Mountain. After bagging 4 sites of Garlic Mustard and bringing the bags to the dump, totaling 2000lbs of plant material, they focused on a site of Black-Swallowart on private property. The crew then headed over to Crown Point to remove Poison Parsnip and Bull Thistle, plants that produce very bulky bags. After that the crew was at Siamese Ponds Wilderness area, monitoring and removing Yellow Flag Iris. 4 bags of flowers and seedpods came away. The week was finished up close to home pulling Honeysuckle at the end of Sabattis Road.
2. Northville-Placid Trail
The Northville-Placid Trail is a 140 mile trail first hiked end to end by William White in 1947. Running from Northville in the southern section of the park up to Lake Placid in the North, it runs over very wet terrain. This service project required efforts from the crew to mitigate some of the worst sites. The crew began by constructing a new trail to circumvent a pond created by beavers. They then laid foundation for a 35 foot rustic timber bridge over Pine Brook that was designed to be 3 stringers wide. One bank was solid enough to not need any cribbing, while the other needed log cribbing, to raise the level of the sills. The stringers were topped to make a flat walking surface on the site where the Rangers had cut them from Red Spruce trees.
3. St. Regis Canoe Area, Various Projects
The lands that make up the St. Regis Canoe Area are located off route 30 north of Fish Creek. Numerous beautiful ponds, including St Regis Pond, Little Lake Clear, and Long Pond, have been used by the public for recreational activities since the middle 1800's. This system of waters has seen heavy impact from overnight use. Some of the first users were people from hotels on multi-day excursions, whose guides would establish old school camps that left the traces of cleared vegetation, branches cut for shelter, and fire rings and trash pits. Over time ideal sites received repeated use and became permanently impacted, eventually seeing improved tent platforms resembling houses. By 1976, 32 tent platforms were removed due to Adirondack Park Legislation, but remnants of them such as pipes, cement posts, and garbage dumps remain in the SRCA to this day. Many of the sites were converted to public campsites, and on some ponds, site density has reached the point where visitor crowding is an issue.
As another ongoing project all season, SCA crew will rotate, so each member will have a chance to help the impacted areas be rehabilitated, and open up new designated sites to ensure a spacing that fits Adirondack Park camping regulations.
The first crew set up their base-camp first thing this week on St. Regis pond and began to create a campsite, which included three tent areas that were cleared out with grub-hoes and fire-rakes. An 8X8 fire ring was also constructed. In the following days they closed overused sites, breaking up the impacted soil, transplanting live brush and shrubs, and placing large rocks to discourage continued use. They also moved some sites back from the water to fit the 150ft regulation, breaking up old fire rings and carving new trails. Signs were hung to clearly mark sites for use, and sites not to be used. Priveys were moved by the crew, and surveys were done by Canoe every afternoon to help the DEC Foresters determine the sites’ usage frequency.
4. Santanoni Historic Area, Various Projects
The 12,900 acre Santanoni Preserve, next to the High Peaks Wilderness and the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest Areas, became a part of the New York State holdings in 1972. The building complexes and carriage road at Camp Santanoni are classified as "historic" under the Adirondack State Land Use Master Plan and are now known as the Camp Santanoni Historic Area. This means that the state maintains the buildings and roads, once used by the Roosevelt family, along with a system of trails for a variety of public use in all seasons.
At Santanoni, a variety of projects will be completed by the SCA crew. On the first hitch, or week of work, limbing was a big part of the work. The crew limbed out 10 miles of trail, and removed brush from a 100 X 40 ft total area around parking lots, historic structures and houses. Two large beaver dams were removed. Three crew members and one staff member were able to free the debris of one dam from a bridge it was built onto. The other dam required more work, but the debris was removed and established flow. Care was taken to remove all the brush and debris out of view of the structures and trails.