Press-Republican

January 13, 2013

Catching up on winter news

By Dan Ladd
Press-Republican

---- — Although we’re experiencing somewhat of a January thaw, we’ve at least been able to enjoy some winter conditions.

Some parts of the North Country barely got a white Christmas and during the week that followed, we got the snow that so many have been waiting for.

It’s been good for the area economy with plenty of ski and snowmobile traffic around. That’s welcome relief for so many businesses in the region that saw so little of such traffic last winter. Still, we could use some more snow as who knows what things will look like after this warm period?

Then there is the ice conditions.

While there is ice for fishermen out there, it is far from perfect. Some of the lakes and ponds had just iced over when the snowfall came and added weight and slush to the conditions. Safety-conscious anglers can check bait and tackle shops as well as scour online sources like Fish307.com’s fishing forum, iceshanty.com and a number of forums geared around Lake Champlain.

Hopes are still high that bigger lakes like Schroon, Champlain and Lake George will come through. Usually such lakes don’t button up until the middle or toward the end of January. Again, the warm weather is not favorable for ice and hopefully there won’t be too much damage before things cool down again. There are some tournaments in the making and it would be a shame to see them canceled as some were last year.

INVASIVE SPECIES

The discussion over what should be done to battle and curtail invasive species in Lake George and beyond continues.

One thing I’ve come to realize is that there are a number of separate parties working toward the same goal. The Lake George Park Commission (LGPC) has looked under every stone as they seek a solution. Mandatory boat washing stations and inspections appear to be their solution.

I am personally on a committee of anglers associated with the Warren County Conservation Council, whose main objective is not to have boat launches closed when inspectors should not be present. Anglers (and hunters) tend to launch early and come off late, likely prior to or after boat launch stewards would be present to perform an inspection.

The council is as concerned with invasives as anyone and does not want the LGPC or the county to forego plans for boat washing and inspections. The LGPC is well aware of sportsmen’s concerns and asked members of the council to help seek a solution. Thus the formation of a committee.

At the head of this committee is Jack Currie of Currie Associates in Queensbury. Jack and his firm specialize in handling hazardous materials and dangerous goods. He is an avid angler and hunter who knows Lake George extremely well.

Jack’s suggestion all along for helping to deal with invasives, not just in Lake George but across the state, is what he calls CBT, or Computer Based Training. It is something his firm deals with successfully with hazmat across the globe. In this case it would involve boaters going through online video training and passing a test in order to be allowed on the lake(s). Enforcement is also a key component.

Members of the committee have met with Warren County officials and the LGPC with mixed results. A meeting with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is in the works. Currie’s proposal is well written and very detailed. A copy should be available soon on the council’s website: www.warrencountyconservation.org.

STATE PURCHASE OF TNC LANDS

Late in 2012, the state made its first incremental purchase of former Finch-Pruyn lands.

As Gov. Cuomo had stated last summer, the Essex Chain of Lakes would be the first piece purchased and it was.

I had heard in mid-December that this deal would get done by the end of 2012 and then again in early 2013 that it had. The Nature Conservancy purchased the lands in 2007 and the state is planning to purchase them in phases.

The Essex Chain and properties near the Hudson River went for a selling price of nearly $12.4 million.

Dan Ladd is the author of “Deer Hunting in the Adirondacks,” outdoors editor for the Glens Falls Chronicle, columnist for Outdoors Magazine and contributor to New York Outdoor News. Contact him at www.adkhunter.com.