Friday, August 21, 2009

Rain stop recreation? Not here! (8/6/09 - 8/12/09)

Although there were raindrops in the area, we continue to see more and more recreational users in both the Eastern Lake Ontario Dune and Salmon River corridor areas. We are happy to see more people and encourage people to get outside to see a new area each day!

Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Stewards
This week, Dune Steward Liz Wolff observed several people at Black Pond Wildlife Management Area (WMA) sliding down the dunes. All the people who were sliding down the sand dunes were educated about the negative impacts their activities were having on the area. Traffic, foot or vehicle, on the dunes can cause erosion. Visitors of the Eastern Lake Ontario Dunes are reminded to use designated walkways, boardwalks and dune walkovers when visiting the area. It is important for visitors to be observant when you are visiting the area because many areas are posted as restricted areas. Rules and regulations are posted at all area that are open for public access. It is recommended that visitors read the regulations for the area they are using for their own knowledge and the protection of the dune area.

Although bicycles are not permitted on the trail from the parking lot to the beach, peddlers venture from the Seaway Trail to Black Pond WMA to relax along the Lake Ontario shoreline before the next leg of their journey.

Cyclists reading educational panel at Black Pond WMA. Photo by Dune Steward Liz Wolff

At Lakeview WMA this week, Liz encountered an eyed elater. Eyed elater, members of the clock beetle family, have a special hinged joint between their head and thorax. The beetle arches its back, which activates a joint creating a "click" sound, when they are flipped on their back by a predator. The beetle is then propelled several inches into the air and able to land back on its feet. Eyed elaters are common across the United States. If you look and listen closely you may see them at local WMAs, nature preserves or natural areas.

Eyed elater. Photo by Dune Steward Liz Wolff

More people are visiting Lakeview WMA. As for me, Dune Steward Paul Dawson, I continued to see a Bald Eagle at Lakeview WMA just about every day.

Wetlands in Lakeview WMA. Photo by Dune Steward Paul Dawson

Dune Steward Greg Chapman reports that Deer Creek WMA's inner-dunal trail was mowed by NYSDEC on Monday, August 10. Portions of the trail that had been choked out by encroaching plants, including an unsettling amount of poison ivy, are now much more passable. Poison ivy remains in the general area of the trail, however, so visitors should familiarize themselves with this plant and keep an eye out for it. Poison ivy can be recognized by its compound leaves, each containing three leaflets. These leaves give rise to the saying "Leaves of three, leave it be." Many plants also have clusters of small, greenish-white berries at this time of year. All parts of this plant can potentially cause allergic reaction characterized by intense burning and itching sensations and blistering of the skin, often within 24 to 48 hours of exposure to the plant. Although a portion of the population maybe truly immune, a sensitivity to poison ivy can develop overtime. Even if you think poison ivy doesn't affect you, it is still best to avoid this noxious plant. If you suspect contact with poison ivy, immediately washing with soap and lukewarm water may prevent a reaction from developing. Pets and clothing that have come in contact with the oils of poison ivy can cause reaction for some individuals. Poison ivy is bad stuff! It is best to avoid the plant all together. Poison ivy is another reminder for visitors of the dune and river areas to stay on designated trails, walkways, and formal walking structures!

Poison ivy. Photo by Dune Steward Greg Chapman

Dune Steward Stacy Furgal is pleased to report that with the warmer weather people have been staying out of the dunes and in the water. Stacy has been busy installing new signs at Deer Creek WMA near and around the newly constructed dune walkover and fishing platform. She has also recycled snowfence to close the gaps between the dunes and the boardwalk. This was done in order to prevent further traffic into the restricted area.

Salmon River Stewards
Salmon River Steward Jim Katz was at Chateaugay State Forest helping a Youth Conservation Corp crew with trail maintenance. He reports that it's a really cool place for a hike even on a really hot day. The trees provide nice shade, but to watch out for the bugs!

River Steward Emily Freeman spent part of the week at Chateaugay State Forest. One of the days was spent replacing incorrect trail markers with correct ones with Assistant Forest Ranger Caitlin Smilgeski. It will be much easier for hikers to navigate through the State Forest!

Assistant Forest Ranger Smilgeski attaching a trail marker. Photo by River Steward Emily Freeman.

Woodpecker hole with hammer for reference. Photo by River Steward Emily Freeman.

Emily reports that the Salmon River Falls Unique Area continues to be a popular place to visit in the Salmon River corridor. Although ATVs are not permitted on the trails at the Falls, many ATVs parked in the parking lot and walked the trails during a charity drive. The Falls was one of the group's "checkpoints" for the event.

Smallmouth bass continue to be the catch at the Salmon River Reservoir, with multiple anglers reporting they're having great luck catching them. There are some parts of the reservoir that have some thick vegetation, which is perfect protection for the bass to hide and grow in. Even in the rain, you can see people fishing at the free camping areas along the reservoir. If you are planning your next camping trip along the Salmon River Reservoir, remember your fishing tackle!
Little America State Forest Land after rainfall. Photo by River Steward Emily Freeman.

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