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Posts Tagged ‘Putnam County’

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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Written by Dugan Radwin, Penney/Poughkeepsie Journal

Covering 6,000 acres, the Great Swamp is one of the largest freshwater swamps in New York state. Aside from its ecological diversity, it filters out pollution to provide clean drinking water for people throughout the region.

Where can you go for a glimpse of the state’s largest red maple hardwood forest and diverse wildlife, including at least 90 species of birds? No, you don’t have to go to the Adirondacks, it’s all right here in the Great Swamp straddling Dutchess and Putnam counties.

Recently, we took part in a canoe trip of the swamp offered by the Friends of the Great Swamp (FrOGS), a community group devoted to protecting the swamp and abutting lands. For a dozen years, the group has hosted guided canoe trips in the swamp on a couple of weekends each spring. It provides canoes, paddles and life vests, offering an easy canoeing opportunity even for those with no experience.

Because of its simple nature, this paddle is great for families. The day of our trip, several families with children from all over the region took part and seemed to have a lot of fun.

FrOGS Treasurer Laurie Wallace prepared the group for the outing, explaining that we would paddle up the east branch of the Croton River. “The river twists and turns and meanders,” she said. “It doesn’t flow straight. It flows through some great floodplain forest, then out to marshy lake area, then across a small beaver dam, then to another marshy area with beautiful water lilies.”

Participants were given basic instructions in paddling before volunteers helped participants get situated in their canoes that were launched into the water.

Led by Environmental Educator Beth Herr, the trip covered only a few miles of the swamp, which stretches for about 20 miles through the towns of Southeast, Patterson, Pawling and Dover.

While it is possible to paddle most of that length, we were told that it becomes substantially more difficult in some places, for example, where beaver dams force paddlers to lift their canoes over blocked areas.

The paddle began with a narrow twisting section that took concentration to navigate, but soon gave way to a calm open area with sweeping views and plenty of room for canoeists to spread out and explore.

At one point, Herr gestured silently, bringing the group’s attention to a great blue heron standing motionless in the tall grass. Others spotted a turtle and graceful long-winged flies laying eggs on the water. Later we were awed by a stunning section of blooming pond lilies.

Breathing the cool moist air and enjoying the scenery out on the water, we entered a more tranquil world. The trip was a reminder how lucky we are in the mid-Hudson Valley to have such a wealth of places to reconnect with nature. Thanks to FrOGs, the Great Swamp is easily accessible to everyone each spring.

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Hudson East Trails Map Set

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Poughkeepsie Journal, link to original post

For a full-service cross-country ski and snowshoe center, one has to go no further than Fahnestock Winter Park (FWP) on Route 301 near the intersection with the Taconic State Parkway in Carmel.

Although it might seem strange to drive south for natural snow, Putnam County seems to lie in a belt that gets ample precipitation in all seasons. FWP, located at 1,100 feet, will get snow even when the surrounding region gets none. Last winter, a reported 4,669 used the facilities there.

Having opened in 1996, it offers nine miles of groomed, tracked and mapped trails for Nordic skiing for all abilities as well as a couple of marked snowshoe trails. It is one of the few nearby places where one can rent cross-country ski equipment and snowshoes and take lessons.

The rustic lodge offers food service, rest rooms, changing rooms, and ski-related merchandise. FWP also has a tubing, sledding hill and an outdoor fireplace. There is plenty of parking.

A little more than a year ago, the New York State Department of Parks and Recreation took a look at the big picture at Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park and Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve and put together a new Master Plan.

Now comprising 14,082 acres, Fahnestock originated in 1930, when Dr. Ernest Fahnestock donated approximately 2,400 acres for parkland and the Taconic State Parkway in memory of his brother Clarence.

The first master plan was developed in the 1940’s. It has not been superseded although much has changed since then, including the development of FWP. For example, Fahnestock once had a small Alpine skiing center that closed in 1976. Drivers on the Taconic State Parkway can see its remains in its present role as a station for the New York State Police.

Recently, the Department of Parks and Recreation issued its final master plan and final Environmental Impact Statement. Paul Kuznia manages Fahnestock Winter Park. With respect to the master plan, he explained in an e-mail, “The planning reflects balancing the use of the park’s resources by visitors, protecting its special features, considering outdoor recreation trends, and supporting programs that educate visitors about the park’s landscape, animals, birds, and sense of place with the natural world.”

If the master plan is implemented, it bodes well for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It recommends increasing access to trails within the park and enhancing connections to adjacent land and public transportation. Hiking and snowshoeing should be allowed on all new and existing trails, and the existing snowshoe trails in FWP should be maintained. Snowshoeing, however, will not be allowed on groomed cross-country trails because footprints disturb the grooming.

The plan proposes that one groomed cross-country trail be added — a loop around Stillwater Lake — and that trails be designated for ungroomed cross-country skiing in both Fahnestock and the Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve. The new master plan also has room for expanding FWPs lodge with more space for rentals, the café and restrooms.

Kuznia appreciates that, when asked for comments, people responded with enthusiasm for winter sports.

“In regard to Fahnestock Winter Park (FWP), the input of the public was important,” he said. “It is a unique Hudson Valley outdoor winter sports facility. The comments indicate that it is also a unique community resource cherished by many winter sports enthusiasts. They find nothing more enjoyable than exploring the woods on groomed cross-country ski trails, snowshoes, or just sledding with their kids.

“The camaraderie, friendship, and social connections associated with the activities is a big part of the experience. There is nothing better than sipping a cup of hot chocolate while reminiscing with friends or a new acquaintance after a wonderful day outdoors.”

Will alpine skiing ever return to Fahnestock? No. I spoke to Harold Weiss, the last person to manage the alpine area before it closed. He saw little future in it. Unlike FWP, which is surrounded by forest and holds snow well, the exposure of the Alpine slope is not favorable for keeping it covered with snow.

Under the new master plan, two of the three remaining buildings of the old alpine area will be demolished, the former ski rental building and the former ski lodge. Only the building that the state police use will remain. The police do not need the entire parking lot. Part of it will be seeded with native vegetation.

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Go Hiking or Snow Tubing at Field Farmstead Preserve in Putnam County

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Putnam Trailway is a rail trail that spans 12 miles in Putnam County, from Baldwin Place to Brewster Village. Here’s the Putnam Trailway brochure & map as a pdf file.

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