Thursday, November 19, 2009

Grouse present

Last year a Northern Pike gave itself to us as we were canoeing on Johnson Pond. This year, as I was walking down my driveway to my garden, I gave rise to two Ruffed Grouse. One flew safely off to the side into the woods. The other flew directly away from me and careened into my garden fence and lay fluttering on the ground. I gave it a chance to see if it would recover, but when it didn't, I took out my pocket knife and bled it out. I've just been through butchering about 30 chickens, so I proceeded to process this grouse. Another present from the wild! I wished I'd taken a picture like I did with the Pike. We ate the bird a yesterday. Basically followed a recipe in the One Pot & Clay-Pot cooking book. Stuffed the bird with chopped apple and shallot spiced with cinnamon and allspice and wrapped it in fresh chard and kale leaves and cooked in a tightly covered pot in a wine and butter liquid. It was great.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Snowmobile 'Showcase' trail in Vanderwacker Wild Forest - Lost Pond Trail

This posting is about the Snowmobile Guidelines for the construction of new snowmobile trails in the Adirondack Forest Preserve - Lands owned by the People of the State of New York and protected as Forever Wild by Article XIV of the New York State Constitution.
The first picture is of a Snowmobile 'Connector Trail' bridge on the 'Showcase Trail' called the lost pond trail in the Vanderwacker Wild Forest. This picture is of a bridge that is supposed to be 9' wide according to the new snowmobile trail guidelines. My steel rule is 10' and two inches and it is plain to see that the bridge is actually a little wider than the rule considering the over lap at the outside of the slightly raised railings. So. the 9' wide bridges are over 10' wide. I will put up several pictures demonstrating this. My walk included two bridges. One is clear of leaves and the other is not, so it will be easy to see the two bridges, both of which are the same width.

The bridges reeked of creosote. It smelled like someone had dumped a 5 gallon can of kerosene on top of the bridges!
Starting at the second bridge and returning to the road I have taken pictures of the stumps of the cut trees and of the trees that have been excavated and removed to the side of the trail that are in excess of 6" at the base of the cut. There are 63 trees that have been cut in less than one mile. I have excluded the trees that were cut that were dead at the time of the cut. If I had included them there would be more. I have included the trees that were excavated by hand from the trail and placed at the side of the trail figuring that if the warranted that level of intervention, then they were more than 6" in diameter. Those pictures follow. I realize that this may be tedious, but that is the way of documenting the destruction of the 'forever wild' character of our common heritage. I apologize for some of the pictures being out of focus. Most of the stump removal pictures are at the end.
In addition, there were numerous stones removed from the trail and placed on the side or used in the ramps up to the bridges. According to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, snowmobile trails are supposed to have the character of a foot trail. It seems hard to believe that a foot trail needs 10' wide bridges and would require the removal of 63 trees and numerous rocks in less than a mile distance. There is also 'benching' (leveling of the trails when they are on grades) which has not be done yet on this trail, so there are no pictures. But this 'benching' is also something not ordinarily performed on foot trails to provide a 9' wide level travel area.

The Photos follow. The first photo has the steel rule set at about 11", subsequent photos have the rule set at just over 6".

After this initial picture, the tape measure is set at slightly more than six inches.

This is the partial picture of a stump of a tree that was excavated from the trail.