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Wet and getting wetter

August 9, 2008
Joe Hackett, outdoors columnist

Monsoon season has continued across the Adirondacks, as intermittent rains and drenching showers have persisted, just as they have for the past few years. Our summer seasons are getting increasingly wetter due to the impact of global climate change.

In future years, the most obvious sign of a summer spent outdoors will no longer be a healthy tan, but rather a prune appearance.

As long as drought conditions and the resulting fires maintain a hold on western states, the eastern states will continue to experience increased precipitation.

The increase in the planet's temperatures draws more moisture into the atmosphere in the west which mixes with particulate generated by the vast fires to deliver increased rainfall across the east

For a look back, I reviewed columns I've written during the same timeframe over the past five years. The precipitation pattern is quite obvious.

7/21/07: "The weather has finally cooled off as frequent rains served to refresh and replenish both ponds and streams. Recent storms were accompanied by hail, high winds and dangerous lightning, leaving trails scattered with downed trees and broken branches. The severity of the weather chased more than a few boaters off the water."

7/15/06: "Summer has fully embraced the Adirondacks, with 80 degree temperatures, high humidity and continued passing thunderstorms. After conquering another 144 miles of Adirondack terrain in less than a day, the "Ironheads" have come and gone, wet, tired but triumphant. Muggy days produce hazy mountain views as the dog days of summer settle in.

7/23/05: "Weather is key when venturing out for bass. As the water's surface goes flat before an approaching storm, bass become particularly vulnerable to top-water offerings. With the numerous storm fronts passing through recently, action has been limited but explosive especially in the early morning or late day hours."

7/19/04: "Sporadic rains, passing thunderstorms and the occasional brilliant, blue-sky day have served to make fishing a challenge for even the most experienced angler.

"Fresh rains on the weekends tend to limit the angling pressure, especially when thunder and lightening are added into the mix. Rising river levels and discolored waters further lessen the impact of the weekend crowds."

7/17/03: "This season's off and on rains have brought mixed conditions to area waters for most anglers. The rising and falling water levels along with the discoloration caused by sudden downpours have often favored the fish more than the fisherman. Added to this mix were the milky skies created by smoke drifting south from the massive forest fires in northern Quebec."

Woodswoman workshops

coming up

"Increasingly, women are making up a larger portion of hunters as they learn and develop skills such as those offered at Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshops," explained state Department of Environmental Commissioner Grannis in announcing the 15th year that DEC has offered these workshops,

"These workshops are important in encouraging future anglers, hunters, trappers, and outdoor enthusiasts as the women share their new skills with their spouses and children."

The next Becoming an Outdoor Woman Workshop (BOW) will be hosted from Sept. 5-7 at Silver Bay on Lake George, Warren County. To date, over 2,000 women have participated in New York's BOW programs.

The BOW program offers weekend-long workshops that include more than 30 different outdoor skills classes. Participants choose four half-day classes in subjects such as camping, map and compass, shotgun, muzzleloading, archery, fly fishing, fly tying, fishing, deer hunting, canoeing, GPS, wildlife identification, kayaking, canoeing, outdoor photography, fish and game cooking, survival and wilderness first aid.

In the evening, participants can share stories around a blazing campfire, enjoy a slide show, learn how to clean a gun, or how to avoid hypothermia.

These educational workshops are designed to help women learn outdoor skills in a fun-filled and stress-free atmosphere. They have been extremely popular in part because of the experienced and extremely knowledgeable instructors that teach the classes. Currently, female enthusiasts are the fastest growing segment of hunters. A recent survey by the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) found a 75 percent increase in the number of women hunting from 2001 through 2005. More than 3 million women hunt and over 5 million women now enjoy shooting sports.

The registration fee for the three-day workshop is $190 a person, which includes instruction in all sessions, program materials, use of equipment and meals. Registration does not include lodging.

Because Silver Bay has a number of different lodging options, workshop participants must arrange their lodging directly with Silver Bay based on their room and budget preferences. Lodging rates range from $40.00 to $170.00 for the weekend.

For more information, contact Becoming an Outdoors Woman, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754 or phone (518) 402-8862.

Registration materials and further information are available on the DEC website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/education/68.html

Banning an angling

embarrassment

I'd like to offer a few observations on angler etiquette. Despite the fact that angling was once considered a "gentleman's sport," it seems there are now just too many slobs in possession of rods. It's time to get rid of styrofoam worm containers.

It appears that many anglers simply prefer to discard their empty worm containers in the woods or waters.

If this trend continues as it likely will, wouldn't it make sense to ensure that at least the packaging is easily biodegradable?

I've long wondered why commercial worm containers are generally made of styrofoam or plastic. Is there a reason the containers aren't constructed of cardboard or a heavier waxed paper like a Dixie cup? Better yet, why not use a starch foam similar to the biodegradable and environmentally safe packing pellets?

Plastic and styrofoam containers take hundreds of years before they begin to break down and both are petrochemical products which are harmful to the environment.

I know that styrofoam containers were developed for the insulation to keeps worms lively, but how often do worms last long enough for this to be of major concern? There has to be a better way, even if it costs a bit more at the store.

There are just too many styrofoam worm containers floating around on backwoods ponds, along lake shores or drifting upon the banks of our rivers.

These containers are an ugly eyesore and constitute a slap in the face to every ethical angler. The containers deface the environment and the sporting pursuit of angling.

Anglers proved they could clean up their act when they gave up lead sinkers to protect loons and other waterfowl. I would like to see a campaign to rid our waters of a more insidious threat.

It's a wonder that none of the Park's numerous environmental advocacy groups have picked up on this problem.

It certainly is an embarrassment to all sportsmen and anglers who claim to appreciate and protect our valuable natural resources. How can we watch something we all hold so dear continue to be trashed?

 
 

 

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