Archive for the ‘Eastern NY’ Category

Let it snow – Kick off the XC Ski & Snowshoe Season  
As the Hudson Valley hillsides change color and the leaves cover up the summer hiking trails, local outdoor enthusiasts’ attention will turn to the winter sport season.
To kick the season off and support cross-country ski and snowshoe fans in the area, the Fahnestock Winter Park’s 4th Annual Cross Country Ski & Snowshoe Swap Fundraiser will take place Sat., Nov 2 from 9 am to 1pm at Fahnestock State Park’s Taconic Outdoor Education Center (TOEC).
Do you have cross country ski gear or snowshoes that have not been used lately?  Consider selling them on consignment.
Are you interested in upgrading equipment? Used or new XC skis, poles and boots will be available for purchase form previous seasons at discounted prices.
For those not familiar with a Ski Swap – if you have Nordic gear or accessories in gathering dust in storage it is a chance to sell the equipment.  Bring them to us and we will help you tag and price your items for consignment.
New for the 2014 season is the total renovation of Winter Park bathrooms.  Next to be upgraded will be a newly designed Acorn Café, and rental building. The Stillwater Lake loop is also being upgraded with resources provided by a recreational trail grant.
Do you have a question or would like to make arrangements to drop items off before the Swap or receive a Ski Swap Equipment form?  At your convenience call 845.265.3773 or email paul.kuznia@parks.ny.gov
If you cannot drop equipment off before Swap, gear will also be accepted the morning of the event from 8-9am. Light snacks and beverages will also be available.
TOEC is located in Putnam County within Fahnestock State Park at 75 Mtn. Laurel Lane, Cold Spring, NY 10516. Facility directions:  htttp://nysparks.com/environment/nature-centers/3/details.aspx.

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by Leslie Lippai, Scarsdale10583.com, link to original post

If you forgot to buy a summer house in Westhampton Beach this year or aren’t going to Martha’s Vineyard for vacation, you might think your only option is to drive out east to Long Island for some beach and paddling fun before the season’s over. Well, although no one will ever confuse Easthampton’s Main Beach with Rye Playland — and kayaking on Georgica Pond is not exactly the same as paddling on the Hudson, it is possible to have a really good time in and on the water around Westchester.

The basics: Westchester County offers a variety of park passes for access to all county-owned parks, pools and beaches where one is required. Visit www.westchestergov.org to learn about your options. Always call ahead before leaving home to make sure a beach has not been closed temporarily after a storm and heavy rain fall. Also, make sure you read the parking signs about where and when you can park. And while it’s not advisable to fall into the Hudson, the river is getting cleaner each year and you should be fine if you overturn, just try not to swallow the water. Visit riverkeeper.org to get up-to-date information on all things Hudson River. Keep in mind that once late September rolls around, parking fees are slashed dramatically, the water is still warm and the crowds for the most part are gone, so it is a great time to jump in or paddle on. And what’s better after a nice day at the beach than ice cream or paletas. We’ve included some of the best shops in the area. Need a kayak or canoe? If you don’t want to buy a new one, check out craigslist for used kayaks, canoes, or paddleboards of all price levels. Don’t want to go it alone? kayakhudson.com offers tours all over our area and provides the equipment without the hassle of loading it in your car. For the truly brave, check out www.manhattankayak.com or www.nykayak.com, which will have you kayaking or doing standup paddle boarding on the water in lovely New York City in no time. How cool.


Wampus Pond, Route 128. The pond is named after the Indian tribe who sold the land to New York in 1696. There are rowboat rentals on the weekend and holidays, a kayak launch and fishing for all to enjoy in addition to picnic facilities. Call (914) 273-3230 for more information or visit www.westchestergov.com/wampus-pond

Croton-on-Hudson BluePig

The beach at Croton Point Park is part of a 508-acre park located on a peninsula on the east shore of the Hudson River. The park has camping spots, walking paths, playgrounds, a kayak launch and spectacular views of the Hudson River: (914) 862-5290. Here are some reviews on the park from contributors at Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/croton-point-park-croton-on-hudson-2. For ice cream afterward, locals rave about The Blue Pig (121 Maple St, Croton-on-Hudson; 914-271-3850; thebluepigicecream.com). Popular this season are Pig M&M (vanilla ice cream with M&Ms), honey vanilla with lavender, garden mint chip, and olive oil. New this summer is an outdoor brick courtyard complete with twinkly lights.


Kinnally Cove is directly across the river from the Palisades Cliffs with ample parking. It is a great place to launch a kayak or canoe. There is permit parking (Monday-Friday) across from the lot but you can park after 6pm and on weekends without a permit. For more information, call Hasting’s rec department at (914) 478-2380. While there is no great local ice cream shop to be had in Hastings, the town has a hopping restaurant scene, including Juniper (juniperhastings.com)


Scenic Hudson Park is on the Hudson River. The park is accessed via Bridge Street parallel to the Hudson River and the Metro-North tracks. This 4.5-acre park includes a kayak launch. For more information contact Irvington Recreation & Parks (914) 591-7736.


The most popular put-in site for kayakers is at the end of Beach Ave, often called “Dog Beach,” where a public road leads along the Long Island Sound. There is no parking near the launch and you have to leave your car several hundred yards away. If you have the strength to lift your craft over a five-foot retaining wall, try launching from where Ocean Ave curves to meet Magnolia. There is a turn-around loop and parking is allowed nearby. Also, off Lindsley Drive, at the edge of Flint Park, there are rocks that lead down to the water. Some people put in kayaks in here, although we are told it is muddy at low tide.


At nearby Harbor Island Park, at the intersection of Mamaroneck Avenue South and East Boston Post Road, you can launch a kayak or canoe year-round. At times the park is overrun by Canadian geese and their droppings, so watch where you step. Call (914) 777-7784 or visit www.village.mamaroneck.ny.us. Skip the ice cream and try a paleta. Paletas are Mexican frozen pops that are either water-based (made with fresh fruit and/or fruit juices) or milk/cream-based, and offered in a rainbow of colors and flavors. We like Paleteria Fernandez, 350 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck 914-315-1598. Hibiscus flower, cantaloupe, kiwi, and mango are just some of the fun and funky flavors to sample.

Mount Vernon

Not a beach or a place to launch a kayak, but definitely worthy of a mention is Willson’s Woods, on East Lincoln Avenue. The facility is one of the oldest in the Westchester county parks system and was acquired in 1924. The park is well-known for its waterpark, Willson’s Waves, complete with a wave pool where you can body surf on three-foot wave, splash downward on an 18-foot high water slide, wander through cascades and fountains in the water playground, or just cool off on the spray deck. The park also has areas for picnicking and fishing. Call (914) 813-6990 for more information.

New Rochelle

Glen Island Beach on Pelham Road offers picnic tables, miniature golf, playgrounds, fishing and more. There is also a kayak launch. Call (914) 813-6720 for information or visit http://parks.westchestergov.com/glen-island-park.


Rye Playland offers up sand, surf and walks along the boardwalk. There is also self-launch access to Long Island Sound for kayakers and canoers. Call (914) 813-7010 or visit www.ryeplayland.org. Ice cream for everyone at the charming Longford’s Own-Made Ice Cream (4 Elm Pl, Rye 914-967-3797; longfordsicecream.com). The “own-made” ice cream, crafted in Port Chester, boasts 36 flavors and 20 flavors of sorbet, gelato and LoYo.

lighthouse Sleepy Hollow

In this historic town, Horan’s Landing Park, at 9 River Street, offers direct and perfectly legal public access to the Hudson River. The park has a riverside path, sandy beach at mid-to-low tide (no swimming), and picnic tables. The kayak/canoe/boat launch is restricted to car-top vessels (sorry, no trailers). Launch your canoe or kayak here to explore the Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow waterfronts and the Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse (sleepyhollowlighthouse.com). More experienced kayakers can cross the Hudson to wander through the meandering channels of Piermont Marsh or paddle upriver to Croton Point Park. Pick up a copy of the Hudson River Water Trail Guide to help you plan your river adventure. Parking: limited parking on site, additional metered parking on Beekman Avenue. Call (914) 366-5109 for more information. Afterward, try the Lighthouse Ice Cream and Coffee Kompanies (27 W Main St, at the Tarrytown Harbor, Tarrytown 914-502-0339; lighthouseicecreamkompany.com) for high-quality, locally sourced ingredients, such as milk and cream from Salem, New York-based Battenkill Valley Creamery.


While not exactly a beach, The Brook at Tibbetts Brook Park offers lots of water fun for the kids. The park’s former 81-year-old pool has been replaced with a new aquatic complex complete with a spray playground for kids of all ages, in-pool basketball and volleyball, lap lanes for getting in a daily swim workout, and the signature lazy river that inspired the renaming of this water wonderland “The Brook.” (914) 231-2865

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Calling all NYC – Hudson Valley outdoor & hiking enthusiasts! The purpose of this group is to bring people together. People who like being outside, hiking, backpacking, camping, kayaking, cycling, mountaineering, rock / ice climbing, caving, etc.  This is an extremely active group with hikes every weekend and over 5,000 members! Click here to find out more and / or join.

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by Ralph Ferrusi, Poughkeepsie Journal, Link to original post and PHOTOS

Hike name: Appalachian Trail (AT), Route 301 to Lion’s Head viewpoint
Location: Fahnestock Park, Putnam County
Length: 4.6 miles, round trip
Rating: Easy to moderate
Dogs: Fido four-footed through the rocks better than I did, but slept all the way home.
Map(s): New York-New Jersey AT Map Set, Map 2, N.Y. Route 52 to Hudson River.

Features: Maintainer Kerry Borchardt’s beautiful, bright white blazes. Tim Messerich’s Ralph’s Peak Hikers Cabin Volunteers beautiful stone steps. And, ahhh, that view back along the whole length of Canopus Lake.

Watch out for: This section of AT isn’t by any stretch “rocky,” but there are some fairly long stretches of rocky trail, particularly in the first mile or two in from 301. I don’t like to trip over rocks, or have to pick my way warily through them — not many hikers do (though there are some who seem to revel in it); part of the joy of hiking, particularly on long jaunts on the AT, is to step out, swingin’ your legs, getting into a good rhythm. Rocks are rhythm-busters, to say nothing of ankle twisters.

Over the last 20-some years I’ve made an effort to dig as many rocks as I can out of the mile and a half of AT I maintain up on Stormville Mountain. Rocks do indeed “grow” — the freeze/thaw weather cycles of the Northeast inexorably push rocks up out of the ground, and the normal wear and tear of hikers’ boots, rain and wind expose them even more. Spring thaws are one of the best times to dig ’em out, sometimes barehanded, sometimes with the carbide tip of a trekking pole; I rarely need a tool heftier than a good pointed spade.

Some sections of the local AT are rockier than others.

Thumbs up:  The three miles of trail on Hosner Mountain are pretty rock-free, excepting seven (I always count them) medium-to-long stretches where you have to tread very carefully (there used to be eight, but George did some heroic work a while back to clean up one long stretch); Route 55 to Nuclear Lake; and Route 52 to I-84.

Thumbs down:  I-84 to the Morgan Stewart Shelter, and Long Hill Road to the flag on Shenandoah Mountain always get me muttering to myself.

Background:  The last time this hike appeared in Hike of the Week (HOTW) was Sept. 9, 2004 — HOTW No. 19! It beckoned, on a fine, crisp, blue-sky autumn day.

Hike description:  Descend a bit, then ascend gently to the first of Tim and the volunteers’ superb 25-or-so rock steps. There’s a big rock face on the right that Kath always admires.

Uh-oh, here come the rocks, but they eventually alternate with some very nice, smooth, flat stretches. Enjoy the second set of the volunteers’ rock stairs, where a blue trail branches off to the left. Descend a bit, then cruise for a while a long, tantalizing open ridge (I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be walking up there) on the left, with occasional glimpses of the lake to the right.

After swinging through a big open bowl and crossing a small stream, the trail makes its most serious climb yet, gaining a surprising amount of elevation, then eventually descending so long you know it’s not going to be happy until you’re just about back down to lake level.

After a few more ups and downs, the ascent of Lion’s Head is a breeze, and the view is a stunner.

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By Brian Nearing, TimesUnion.com, link to original post

The state’s forever-wild state Forest Preserve in the Adirondack Park is growing by more than 400 acres of forests and wetlands along the western shore of Lake Champlain.

The state is adding more than 2 miles of protected shoreline to the preserve near the Washington County hamlet of Clemons off Route 22, the Department of Environmental Conservation announced Tuesday.

This area is the southern end of the 132-mile lake. Here the lake is narrow, appearing more like a river, and is predominantly wetlands and isolated forest. Being added to state forever-wild lands are 156 acres along the lake donated by The Nature Conservancy and an adjoining 283-acre parcel and island donated by Washington County.

There is no cost to the state, which will pay local property taxes on the land as it does on all state-owned lands in the 6 million-acre Adirondack Park, DEC spokeswoman Lori Severino said on Tuesday.

The Nature Conservancy spent $500,000 three years ago to buy its parcel, located in an area called Chubbs Dock off Route 22, 9 miles north of the village of Whitehall. That money came from a half-million-dollar federal wetland protection grant to the conservancy from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The donated county-owned parcel is in a part of the lake called Maple Bend Island. “Chubbs Dock conserves excellent wildlife habitat along the narrow headwaters of Lake Champlain,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said.

The area also will provide new public access to launch boats into the lake. It is several miles north of the existing state boat launch at South Bay. The other public access to the lake is much farther north at Ticonderoga.

Michael Carr, executive director of the Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter, said: “Not only is New York state keeping intact some of the largest wetlands on Lake Champlain, but doing it in a way that will also secure public access for hunting, fishing, boating and wildlife-oriented recreation — all of which contribute to the state’s outdoor recreation economy.”

The newly protected lands also are important because moose, bears, bobcats, fishers and otters use that relatively undeveloped area to travel between the Lake George region and the Green Mountains in Vermont.

The Nature Conservancy has been studying the southern Champlain region as a “wildlife corridor,” said Michelle Brown, a conservation scientist for the conservancy. “We are looking at this landscape with a big lens, and are exploring ways to make sure that the Adirondacks do not become a kind of ‘island,” and remain connected to the Green Mountains.”

Large carnivores like bears can range up to 10 miles in a single day, and up to 40 miles over the course of a season. Even a smaller predator like a fisher, a member of the weasel family that can reach 4 feet long and weigh 10 pounds, can cover three or four miles a day.

Keeping the forest and lake link open between the mountains allows for continued genetic mixing between animals. When animal populations become isolated, genetic variability declines, making animals more susceptible to disease outbreaks.

The conservancy’s five-year study looks at three strategies — land conservation, like what is being done in Clemons; methods to reduce barriers to wildlife presented by roads in the area, and land use planning to ensure development does not occur in critical areas.

The Champlain study is part of a larger, four-state project including New Hampshire and Maine that seeks to protect connections in the forests of the Northeast. That study includes the conservancy, DEC, as well as the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Society and The Conservation Fund.

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29 Fire Tower Trails in the Adirondack & Catskill Mountains

A newly restored 60-foot-tall fire tower that offers panoramic views of several mountain ranges has opened in Grafton Lakes State Park in the Rensselaer County town of Grafton in eastern New York.

The parks agency says the Dickinson Hill Fire Tower is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, along with many of the state’s surviving fire towers. The Grafton tower is located near where the borders of New York, Vermont and Massachusetts meet, and it offers views of the Adirondacks, Green Mountains, Berkshires, Taconics and Helderbergs.

To visit many of NY’s fire towers, pick up a copy of ” 29 Fire Tower Trails in the Adirondack & Catskill Mountains.”

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The NY/NJ Trail Conference has just published the 10th edition of their Trail Maps for the trails on the eastern side of the Hudson River in the Hudson Valley – East Hudson Trails Map.  This includes trails in Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester counties and parks that include Fahnestock, Hudson Highlands, Hudson Highlands Gateway, and Mount Beach Parks in addition to a number of other areas.

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25 Kayak & Canoe Trips in the Saratoga Springs, NY Region

Saratoga County NY is home to horse racing, concerts, history, museums, gaming, mineral springs and more. Easily accessible on I-87 in the eastern Adirondack Mountains, Saratoga Springs is the epicenter for loads of hiking, biking and kayaking fun. Arm yourself with these three guidebooks and you’re sure to have a fun summer vacation:
25 Short Hikes & Interesting Walks in the Saratoga Springs, NY Region
25 Interesting Bicycle Trails in the Saratoga Springs NY Region
25 Kayak & Canoe Trips in the Saratoga Springs, NY Region

25 Interesting Bicycle Trails in the Saratoga Springs, NY Region

(The kayak & bicycle books are not available through Amazon. You can find them all at footprintpress.com)

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Mahican-Mohawk Trail slowly is growing

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by DANIEL CHAZIN/, THE RECORD, link to original post

LENGTH: About 5.1 miles
DIFFICULTY: Easy to moderate
TIME: About 3 1/2 hours
MAP: Wonder Lake State Park map (available online at nynjtc.org/files/WonderLakeTrailMap_BW_2012.pdf)
DOGS: Permitted on leash

HOW TO GET THERE: Cross the George Washington Bridge and proceed north on the Henry Hudson Parkway, which becomes the Saw Mill River Parkway. Take Exit 4 and proceed east on the Cross County Parkway. In about three miles, bear left to continue on the Hutchinson River Parkway North. After about eight miles, bear left to continue on I-684. Follow I-684 North for about 28 miles and take Exit 9W to continue on I-84 West. Take Exit 18 (Lake Carmel/Patterson), and turn right at the bottom of the ramp onto N.Y. Route 311. Make the first left onto Ludingtonville Road and continue for 1.8 miles to the parking area for Wonder Lake State Park, on the right. GPS address: 380 Ludingtonville Road, Holmes, N.Y. 12531.

To the left of the kiosk in the parking area, you’ll see a post with a yellow blaze (for the Yellow Trail) and a teal diamond blaze (for the Highlands Trail). Follow these trails uphill on a grassy path that widens into a woods road. Soon, you’ll reach a junction. The Yellow Trail goes off to the left, but you should bear right to continue on the teal-diamond-blazed Highlands Trail that follows a footpath along the side of a hill, climbing gradually.

The red-blazed Bare Hill Trail begins on the left, but proceed ahead on the Highlands Trail that descends to cross a stream, then climbs gradually on a rocky footpath. At the crest of the rise, the Yellow Trail crosses. Continue ahead on the Highlands Trail that begins to descend, soon reaching a fork. The white-blazed North Spillway Trail begins on the left, but you should bear right and continue along the Highlands Trail that descends to Wonder Lake.

The trail briefly follows close to the lakeshore, then turns right and climbs a little. Soon, it again descends toward the lake and continues to parallel it. At the southwest corner of the lake, the Yellow Trail joins briefly, but continue to follow the Highlands Trail that proceeds around the lake in a counter-clockwise direction.

At the southeast corner, the trail crosses a dam and wooden footbridge across the lake’s outlet. A white-blazed trail begins on the north side of the dam, but you should bear left to continue along the Highlands Trail. After crossing a woods road (the route of the Yellow Trail), the trail turns away from the lake. It climbs a little, then begins a steady descent and follows along the edge of an escarpment, with a beautiful hemlock grove in the ravine below.

With Laurel Pond visible through the trees ahead, the Highlands Trail turns sharply right and continues to descend on a switchback. At the base of the descent, it crosses a woods road and proceeds to pristine Laurel Pond.

The trail crosses a concrete spillway over a secondary outlet and follows along the pond. After crossing a stone dam and wooden footbridge across the pond’s main outlet, the trail heads uphill, following a woods road.

At a T-intersection at the crest of the rise, the Highlands Trail continues ahead onto a footpath that loops around and soon reaches another woods road. The trail turns right and follows the road that soon begins to climb. Be alert for a turn, just before the start of a steeper climb, where the Highlands Trail turns right and continues on a footpath.

After crossing an intermittent stream, the trail continues along the side of a hill and soon begins to descend. In a short distance, three blue blazes on the left mark the start of the blue-blazed Orchard Hill Trail. Turn left and follow the Orchard Hill Trail that climbs gradually to the crest of a rise, then descends and continues across gentle, rolling terrain.

After another gradual climb and descent, the Orchard Hill Trail ends at a junction with the white-blazed North Spillway Trail. Continue ahead on the white-blazed trail for about 150 feet to its terminus at the Highlands Trail, then turn right and follow the teal diamond blazes, retracing your steps back to the parking area, where the hike began.

“Hiking” is provided by Daniel Chazin of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. The trail conference is a volunteer organization that builds and maintains over 1,800 miles of hiking trails and publishes a library of hiking maps and books, including the “New York Walk Book” ($22.95) and the “New Jersey Walk Book” ($19.95). The Trail Conference’s office is at 156 Ramapo Valley Rd. (Route 202), Mahwah; (201) 512-9348; nynjtc.org; HikeoftheWeek@aol.com.

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