Gary Lee marks 25th anniversary of local outdoors column
This marks my 25th year of writing to you folks about the natural world around us, beginning with the newly-launched Express and now for the Weekly Adirondack. I missed only one column in all those years when I was out in Yellowstone Wildfire Complex that first year in 1988. Snail mail was slow in getting it to Express founder and editor Pat Russell in Old Forge.
Everyone tells me I should write a book featuring highlights of some of my columns, but I tell them I’ve already written a book, and it’s about Adirondack Birding.
To follow is my inaugural column which appeared on July 12, 1988. Don’t take everything as if it was written today as lots have changed in 25 years.
This new outdoor column will cover wildflowers, birding, hunting, fishing and other tid-bits of information I’ve picked up in my twenty-three years as a Forest Ranger.
The name refers to two of nature’s most beautiful sights. Those of you who have experienced either, have certainly been enriched by the beauty of nature. Daybreak on an Adirondack lake, as the sky brightens, the stars fade, a loon wails in flight overhead, the sun slowly pushes through the evergreens and the morning mist.
Twilight on a lake after sunset, a barred owl begins the hunt, beavers slap the water with their tails. Deer wallow in the shallows eating succulent plants and the sun reflects on lingering clouds until stars fill the darkening sky.
The birds and animals young for this year are popping out everywhere. If you should find some either in your yard or in the woods just observe them, maybe take a picture but leave them undisturbed, mother will be back soon.
The landlock salmon and rainbow trout have been biting in the Fulton Chain. The best baits are red and white or orange streams trolled about fifteen feet deep. Nicks Lake should produce some nice fish this summer, three thousand rainbows eight to fifteen inches were stocked there a couple weeks ago.
A brown trout population up to eighteen inches is also present. The browns are fun to catch on flies both wet and dry, just ask caretaker Rod King for tips on which ones to use. The rainbows may also be caught on flies or on a worm behind an attracter spoon.
Get out with your camera, binoculars, canoe or fish pole and enjoy nature’s gifts. If someone was there before you leaving some litter please bring it out and put it in its proper place.
The recent rains have helped dampen the woods but they as still dry so be careful with any outdoor fires and report any you might find to the nearest Forest Ranger.
If you have any questions on topics I’ve mentioned please feel free to write me in Inlet or in care of the paper and I will try to answer them.
My hummers are buzzing about the feeder. It must be empty, but that’s another story. See ya.
Well, that was it 25 years and counting. I have a little less hair on top and a couple pounds more in the middle, but I still can walk 15 miles or more in a day. However, I now I may take a nap the next day.
I wanted to extend my sympathy to the families of those 19 hotshot firefighters that lost their lives in a wildfire near Prescott, AZ. Anyone who would like to contribute to a fund for their families, here is the web site www.wffoundation.org/sectionIndex.asp?SectionID=5. It’s a long one but I checked it out and it’s okay.
The turkeys in my yard are down one baby as I found a chick dead in the road out front. Up by the Covewood driveway the other night I saw a hen in the road with four young ones.
I stopped and she went across with those four and then five more came out of the grass and followed her.
Many of these hens are feeding along the roadside as that’s where most of the food for their young is. If you see them slow down and give them a break.
Mother Nature has been rough on them during nesting and there aren’t many clutches that have made it this far.
With the sun comes the butterflies, but that’s another story. See ya.