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An online space for outdoorsmen from CNY and beyond. Tell us about the one you caught or the one that got away.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

OUTDOORS: Central New York provides several ways to enjoy the outdoors

Once, in what was not as long ago as it seems, families used to look forward to a week or two of vacation. Now, for a lot of people thanks to the “new economy” even if they get a vacation, it may be hard to take one since spouses may have different schedules or the economic situation may make it difficult. Sometimes even get-away weekends are tough because of schedules or working a second job.

We don’t have an answer for the economy but there are ways that people can adapt. Sometimes nearby vacations, shorter vacations, or even day trips can help make a fun summer and take advantage of our outdoor resources here in central NY.

One way to provide a “stay-cation” for the family is to have the family camp at a nearby state park like Verona Beach, Delta Lake or others. That way one spouse and the children can enjoy a change of scenery and activities like swimming, hiking, fishing, etc. yet it is close enough for the other spouse to commute to work during the day.

Even for day trips, our state parks provide a great getaway. Most of them are on a body of water that provides swimming, picnic areas and other activities that make for a fun day for the family. Boat launches provide access to fishing areas on that water.
Fishing remains a realistic option for a day activity. Combine that with a picnic, hike or other activities to make a fun day for the family. Remember that youngsters have a shorter attention span and like action that panfish can provide.

Some of the larger streams such as the West Canada Creek, Fish Creek and Mohawk River provide good trout fishing all summer. The Chenango River and Black River offer pike, walleye and bass fishing in addition to panfish. All of these are within an easy drive.

Oneida Lake remains a premier fishery if you have a boat or access to one. But many smaller waters in the area are suitable for fishing from a canoe or car-top boat.

The Madison County reservoirs such as Leland Pond, Lake Moraine and Eatonbrook Reservoir are accessible, scenic and offer a variety of fishing. Also, consider Canadarago Lake, Delta Lake, Redfield Reservoir and Prospect Pond.

Even if conditions are not ideal for fishing or the family isn’t interested, consider that these are great for a canoe trip. Go with friends and plan on dropping off a second vehicle for streams such as the Chenango River or West Canada Creek. Just be sure that you know the conditions ahead of time and avoid dangerous areas such as the Ohio Gorge or Railroad Rapids on the West Canada Creek.

There are lots of places to hike depending on your ambition and the ability of your group. These range from the Erie Canal towpath to the trails of Highland Forest. State forests in northern Oneida County beyond Camden or southern Madison County near Erieville offer truck trails for interesting hiking and there is virtually no traffic in summer. Consider the trails at Stony Pond State Forest or at Rogers Center in Sherburne. Combine a hike with nature exploration and a family picnic.
Check out the Rome Fish Hatchery or the Beaver Lake Nature Center. Visit Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. Even though the vegetation makes viewing more difficult in summer, you can still see the eagle and osprey nests and other wildlife. Lakeview Marsh Wildlife Management Area on Lake Ontario north of Sandy Pond offers five ponds, two streams to paddle, fish, view wildlife and a chance to get to the sandy beaches of Lake Ontario.

For short vacations or get-aways within a short distance of central New York, consider the Finger Lakes, Thousand Islands and central Adirondacks. There are state parks and campgrounds, a wide variety of other accommodations and dining. And of course there are a variety of things to do.

What is the longest water ride in the central Adirondacks? It’s the upper Moose River above and below Old Forge with easy access, but you think you are in remote wilderness. Take your canoe or kayaks or rent them from Tickners Outfitters (315-369-6286). Fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing and all the traditional water sports are available around the Inlet (1-866-GOINLET) and Old Forge (315-369-6983) region.

These are only some of the main things that come to mind. With a little thought and creativity you can find others. But whatever your situation, make the effort to get out and enjoy the outdoor recreation that we have in our area this summer.


LOO SUMMER ISSUE: The summer issue of Lake Ontario Outdoors is out and available at several area locations. Pick up your free copy at Hanifin Tires, Sweet Temptations Café or Philipsons. Feature articles include targeting the big king salmon summer, guides then and now, summer fishing for muskies, the Oneida Lake walleye hatchery and locations for fishing the Golden Crescent. Other regular departments such as fly tieing, recipes, news and conservation column are included.

VNSP EVENT: Vernon National Shooting Preserve on July 8 will hold a benefit for the Hunt of a Lifetime program. This non-profit organization provides hunting and fishing trips for seriously ill youngsters. Bring your shotgun or bow and support a good cause. Contact Bonny at 982-7045 or for details.

SPEY NATION: The popular “Spey Nation” day featuring the two-handed rods returns to the Pineville Boat Launch on the Salmon River on July 14. It will be 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. and feature 15 Spey Rod Manufacturers, over 30 companies on display and a free barbeque.

Spey Nation features a full BBQ, raffles, "On the water" demonstrations and interaction with some of the biggest names in two-handed casting. Anglers have the opportunity to learn techniques from the experts, try specialized equipment on the water and talk with other fishermen.

Proceeds to the raffle will be donated to the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club, an organization dedicated to restoring runs of native Atlantic Salmon to Fish Creek.
FIRE TOWER TRAILS: Common Man Books has just released the latest in its popular series of hiking and guide books. The book “29 Fire Tower Trails in the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains” is about the 29 remaining fire towers, all of which are part of the ADK Firetower Challenge. In this book they have included explicit directions from Interstate highways, where to park, what you might see and what the authors found. They also included GPS readings and more than 60 full color photos.

You can ask for this book at your local bookstore or outfitter or order it from the publisher, Common Man Books at: or call them, toll free at: 866-793-0555.

TICK PREVENTION: Summer is prime time to be outdoors but unfortunately it is also the main time for deer ticks which carry Lyme Disease. Experts suggest wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants tucked into your socks. Realistically most people will not do this in the hot humid weather.

The next best thing is to cover all exposed skin with an insect repellent. Remember that Permithrin is effective but it is nasty stuff and should only be used on clothing, never on bare skin.

Try to avoid tall weeds and grass and avoid sitting on stonewalls or wet leaves where ticks love to hide in warm weather. Check when you return home and remove any tick with a tweezer.

BACKPACKING TIP: If you run out of sunscreen on a backpacking camping trip you can use white toothpaste in a emergency. Spread a thin coat to cover crucial areas and prevent burning.


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