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May Day: calling all sportsmen

Adirondack Gadabout

May 5, 2008
By Joe Hackett
April’s showers finally arrived, following fast on the track of a magnificent stretch of brilliant sunny days. Color is coming to the bogs and hillsides as trees begin to flower and the first buds have appeared. Velvety fiddleheads are now beginning to sprout through the forest cover and the pungency of swamp cabbage is again in the air. The woods have come alive with bird songs and hoots of the owl, and the tremolo of loons now emanates from the ponds.

Although over four feet of snow still remains in the upper elevations and snowshoes are still required equipment for a hike up Mt. Marcy, the weather of the past few weeks has been outstanding. Last Sunday, an almost summer-like stillness was evident on the water. The weather has been more like early August than late April, at least until it began to spit snow by midweek.

The month of May welcomes the spring wild turkey season and the open seasons for northern pike, walleye and tiger muskie. However, it is best known as the peak month for brook trout and lake trout as many trophy fish are usually taken shortly after ice out.

The warm weather and hot sunny days have combined to accelerate the arrival of spring; but the weather has also been ideal for bugs. Currently both black flies and mosquitos are on the prowl, looking for fresh blood. The black flies haven’t grown their teeth yet, but they will be bothersome.

As a result of the rain that arrived earlier in the week, I expect we’ll soon witness that old, familiar North Country wave, as locals and visitors alike attempt to battle swarms of flying teeth.

It’ll be time to cover up again; time to tuck pant legs into socks, shirt sleeves into gloves and a bug net into the collar of a turtleneck.

I find “tucking it all in” provides the most effective protection against the annual spring invasion. At times, it is the only method that can keep black flies at bay.

Regardless of how potent the bug dope or how thick it is slathered on, there is nothing short of a full covering to keep black flies out of a person’s scalp, ears, nose or neck.

Similarly, if you fail to properly tuck garments, the little, black devils will find access to skin via shirt cuffs, collars or pant legs.

Black flies can be unbearable, but fortunately their season is short lived. Soon to follow are mosquitos, deerflies, horseflies and ‘no-see-ums.’ Though we may often curse such winged demons, we must also remember that trout love bugs.

It seems that there is always a trade off. Every season delivers a particular challenge to the Adirondacks. It always results in some sort of a compromise, whether it is the bone-chilling days of February, the rutted roads of mud season or the slow driving tourists of mid summer. Such annoyances simply temper the local population, while it may keep others from ever considering living here. Such normal inconveniences may actually have a purpose.

Help wanted: Adirondack Guides

There continues to be a burgeoning demand for skilled ‘outdoor’ workers, according to U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. It is is expected that overall employment of recreation and fitness workers nationwide, of which recreation accounts for 62 percent, will continue to grow faster than average, for all occupations, through 2010.

Additionally, trends indicate that people participate in recreational activities more frequently during periods of poor economic climate. Although the recreation industry is far from being recession proof, people need to play more when times are tough.

The Adirondack Park is experiencing similar growing pains, despite the fact that a half dozen, local colleges offer degree programs in outdoor recreation and wilderness leadership.

There continues to be a need for whitewater rafting guides on the Hudson River as well as flyfishing guides on the Ausable, and paddle sports guides are needed at numerous camps and resorts across the park. Public interest in outdoor adventures is growing and the industry needs to catch up.

Wayne Failing, a rafting outfitter based in Lake Placid, recently explained, “Most of the local rafting companies are willing to train guides and help them attain the require ments for a license. We’re always in need of more guides on the river.”

A similar need exists for experienced flyfishing guides at most area fly shops, and outfitters across the park lament the dearth of competent and qualified individuals to fill their positions. Demand is high and the opportunities include everything from work for flyfishing instructors to horseback riding instructors and whitewater rafting to canoe trip leaders.

If interested in pursuing opportunities that require a guide’s license, training will be available locally when the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) hosts a NYS Guide License Training on May 28-30 at the Heart Lake Program Center at the Adirondak Loj.

The three-day course is designed to help outdoor educators and leaders gain the knowledge and skills needed to obtain a New York State Guide’s License.

Instructors Sonny Young, past president of the New York State Outdoor Guide’s Association, and Ryan Doyle, ADK’s Outdoor Leadership Coordinator, will lead a comprehensive and thorough program that will provide participants with the skills and confidence to take the New York State Guides License exam and effectively lead groups on outing trips.

The course will include all certification courses required for the guide’s license (Basic Water Safety, Adult and Child CPR and First Aid), plus additional workshops to prepare for the guide license exam and hone your skills in leading others in the backcountry.

Participants are required to dress for the weather and bring their own lunch.

To register, call ADK at (518) 523-3441. For more information, visit or call (518) 523-3441.



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