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Archive for the ‘Backpacking’ Category

The Pharsalia Woods Unit Management Plan, covering 13,622 acres in western Chenango County, has been approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The plan includes four states forests: New Michigan, Pitcher Springs, Perkins Pond and Pigeon Hill which are located in the towns of Pharsalia, Plymouth, Pitcher, and Otselic.
“These forests offer a wide variety of recreational opportunities for all of the public including a lean-to for camping on Perkins Pond State Forest,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.  “DEC staff work diligently at maintaining our forests for multiple-uses and it clearly works well in places like Pharsalia Woods.”

“The high elevation forest habitats found at Pharsalia Woods make it standout as a critically important area on the Atlantic Flyway in Central New York, supporting a great diversity of forest breeding birds,” said Erin Crotty, Executive Director of Audubon New York.  “We commend Commissioner Martens and the DEC staff for finalizing the Unit Management Plan and prioritizing actions that will ensure the high quality forests at the Bird Conservation Area are maintained, and economically important wildlife recreational opportunities are enhanced.”

Donald Windsor, who first proposed that Pharsalia Woods be named an Important Bird Area in July 1997, and member of the Chenango Bird Club, the New York Flora Association, the Chenango County Historical Association, the New York State Archaeological Association, the Bullthistle Hiking Club and the Finger Lakes Trail Conference noted, “The Unit Management planning process is useful to our organizations because the public meetings allow our suggestions to be integrated with those of other organizations. This broad-based contribution enables DEC to optimize the special interests of all its stakeholders to establish a multiple-purpose use of state land.”

“Our organization is especially in favor of the proposed relocation of the Finger Lakes hiking trail that will eliminate the present 1.8 miles of road walking and place the trail entirely on public lands with no road walking,” said Joe Dabes, former Director of Trail Inventory and Mapping of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference and ten time end- to- ender of the 560 mile long main Finger Lakes Trail. “We also appreciate that the plan calls for a proposed new lean-to along the Finger Lakes Trail and  relocation of the Plymouth Lean-to Trail which will eliminate the present 0.7 mile walk along Stewart Road, putting this section of the trail entirely in Pharsalia Woods State Forest.”

Stephen C. Catherman, Vice  President of Trail Maintenance for the Finger Lakes Trail Conference noted, “It is a privilege and a pleasure to work with your organization to further our commitment to maintain a premier hiking trail across New York State.  The Adopt a Natural Resource program and the agreement we have in place with you enables us to realize this goal.  We hope to continue this cooperative relationship far into the future.”

Mark Money, Vice President of the Chenango Sno-Rides, a local snowmobile club that works with the DEC through an Adopt a Natural Resources Stewardship Program, said, “We worked closely with the DEC in creating a parking area at Camp Pharsalia so that snowmobilers can have a safe place to park their vehicles during the winters months. This has provided an excellent opportunity for the Snowmobiling community to park and load/unload vehicles and equipment safely.  Our club keeps the parking area free of snow throughout the winter for anyone who wishes to use the parking area to access the forest.  We appreciate the opportunity the DEC has provided in supplying the community with a safe environment to start and end the day of snowmobiling in Chenango County and beyond.”

The plan outlines management activities on the Unit for the next 20 years and defines goals and objectives for various issues, including biodiversity, timber and public recreation. The Audubon Society has designated a portion of the Unit in the town of Pharsalia as an “Important Bird Area” because it is a regional migratory concentration site and provides breeding habitat for a wide variety of forest nesting species.

Currently the forests in the Unit contain 231 acres of roads and developed areas, nine acres of quarries, 11 acres of open land, 58 acres of shrub land, 347 acres of open/shrub wetlands, 1,603 acres of forest wetlands, 751 acres of mixed hardwoods/natural conifers, 5,558 acres of natural hardwoods, and 5,054 acres of conifer plantation. The remote character of many areas on the Unit provide ideal conditions for recreational activities such as wildlife observation, pleasure driving, hiking, hunting, trapping and snowmobiling. The tornado that impacted this area in 1998 created approximately 1,000 acres of disturbed shrub/young-forest land with hundreds of standing snap trees. This area has attracted interest from the public for nature observation, as it is remarkably different from much of the surrounding area.

Hunting, fishing and trapping are permitted anywhere on the Unit, except where prohibited by regulation, law or sign. Snowmobiling is one of the most popular activities on the Unit. The Nine Mile Trail on New Michigan State Forest is part of the Corridor Trail 7 and is a popular regional destination for snowmobiling. A portion of the Finger Lakes Trail traverses through the Unit on Perkins Pond State Forest and New Michigan State Forest.

New Michigan State Forest’s name will be changed to Pharsalia Woods in the near future to more accurately reflect the history and geography of the area.  All maps and information on the DEC web site will be updated to reflect this change.

The plan may be viewed online at http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/67631.html.  Copies of the plan on CD are available for pick up at the DEC Lands and Forests office in Sherburne, 2715 State Highway 80, and Sherburne, NY 13460

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New Chestnut Lean-to in Danby State Forest

New Chestnut Lean-to in Danby State Forest

The new Chestnut Lean-to is completed and ready for occupancy. It’s located in Danby State Forest  on Finger Lakes Trail map M17.  A special thanks to all that have touched this project in some way, especially those involved in preparation of the site, building the lean-to, and enhancements to the access trail. Thanks to all Finger Lakes Trail Conference and Cayuga Trails Club volunteers.

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WENY, link to original post & video

Eighteen hundred miles, through nine states. That is the distance that Bart Houck and Jo Swanson have traveled as the first hikers to complete the Great Eastern Trail that starts in Alabama and ends at the Finger Lake Trails in Bradford.
“We have encountered lots of weather, physical elements, scenic views, and absolutely the best part of the people that we have met along the way,” said Houck.
The pair started the journey in the snow covered hills of Alabama and during there journey experienced all kinds of severe weather conditions.
Swanson says, “It can be really overwhelming when you wake up and its pouring rain and your tent is wet and everything you have is wet, and then you hike all day in the wet and then you set up a wet tent.”
Houck and Swanson will spend the night in a lean-to that marks the end of the Great Eastern Trail.
“We started out this hike not knowing what it would be, it truly turned out to be something that I was not expecting, and I feel that we have been ambassadors for the trail.” said Houck.
Bartt and Jo want everyone to know how humbled and grateful they are for the support they received.
If you want to see the hikers blog follow the link http://www.gethiking.net/

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CatskillLeanToOutdoor equipment retailer REI has announced a $10,000 grant to the Catskills Lean-to Repair, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction Program operated by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.

This grant will allow the Trail Conference to expand its program of improving, repairing, and rebuilding 29 lean-tos and their privies along the 200 miles of Trail Conference-maintained trails in the Catskill Park. The Trail Conference currently maintains 29 of the 32 lean-tos in the Catskill Park. Solidly built lean-tos and privies provide backpackers and day hikers with safe on-trail shelter while minimizing distress to the surrounding environment by focusing locations for overnight stays.

The priority projects in the next year are the German Hollow Lean-to, the Devil’s Acre Lean-to, and a new lean-to to be built between Mount Temper and Plateau Mountain. A number of privies will also be completed as part of this program.  The Trail Conference works with the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation to prioritize all lean-to and privy projects.

The Trail Conference Catskills Lean-to Repair, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program has been a key initiative of the Trail Conference since 2011. The program began in 1999 with the repair of several lean-tos and the reconstructions and replacement of the John Robb Lean-to on Hunter Mountain. We have completed rehabilitation projects at the Mink Hollow Lean-to, the Echo Lake Lean-to, and the Diamond Notch Lean-to.

Last year at the Mink Hollow Lean-to, the Trail Conference, the Catskill 3500 Club, supporters of the Chris Nowack Memorial Fund, and the local Forest Ranger, Christine Nelson, hiked up more than 700 pounds of cedar shingles, lumber, and other materials to the then put on the new shingles, put down the new floor boards, re-stained the sides of the lean-to, and stained the new lean-to floor.

Lean-to projects draw large numbers of volunteers, as the work is a unique trail volunteer experience. In 2012, volunteers visited lean-tos for work more than 200 times and spent approximately 1,000 hours working on the general maintenance of lean-tos in the Catskill Park.

To learn more about the Trail Conference lean-to program in the Catskills, please visit: nynjtc.org/catskill-leantos.

The Trail Conference is a nonprofit organization that has been at the forefront of conservation efforts for the past 92 years with a mission to make nature more accessible to the public.  More than 1,500 Trail Conference volunteers donate 70,000 hours of work each year, building and maintaining 2,000 miles of trails across the region

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Two hikers on the Great Eastern Trail will finish their thru-hike in NY’s Steuben County on June 17 or 18. The terminus is where the Crystal Hills Trail intersects the main Finger Lakes Trail near South Bradford, NY.

If you want to follow their adventure, check out their blog at www.GEThiking.net

Click here to read an article that appeared in the Lockhaven PA newspaper after their visit in Woolrich PA

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Click here to read: Get out of here! Seriously. We’ve got the best hiking apps to help you do it

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See all of the rental gear Lower Gear can deliver to you in NY State or anywhere you’re headed for your next backpacking or camping trip!

Whether you are traveling to or from Rochester, or anywhere else in New York, you can escape the crowds and enjoy the outdoors as it was meant to be – either camping in a nearby campground or backpacking into the wilderness. When you rent Lower Gear backpacking or camping gear, you’ll see how much money you can save by renting rather than buying. Rental of backpacking and camping gear and SPOT GPS Messenger tracker devices for shipment to NY is easy; just click on the “Browse Rental Gear” tab above to get started. You can rent tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, hydration gear, lights – anything you need for a wonderful outdoor experience – at much lower cost than other local retailers. They also have new gear for sale as well as any supplies and accessories you might need.

Backpacking Trails in Central & Western New York

Backpacking Trails in Central & Western New York

They’ll ship their rented outdoor equipment direct to your home before your trip, or to any convenient location in or near  throughout New York. Or, you can pick up the rental gear at our backpacking and camping retail store in the Phoenix area if your travels are nearby. After your trip, just package up the rented backpacking or camping gear back into the same box they shipped to you, use the prepaid return label, and drop off the rental at any UPS shipping point.

If they’re shipping to you, order far enough in advance to allow for transit time. You are not charged rent during the transit days. They can get backpacking and gear rentals to you anywhere in the US in 5 business days or less via UPS Ground. Click here for more info.

Click here to buy the NY Backpacking Trails booklet for $0.99.

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