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Hunters harvested 4,000 deer in Orleans County in 2017

Staff Reports Posted 3 April 2018 at 4:11 pm

Rifles allowed for first time in 2017 for big game hunting in Orleans

File photo by Tom Rivers: These deer are pictured on Nov. 20, 2014 when they were close to the road on the west side of Route 279 in Gaines, just south of Route 104.

Hunters in Orleans County harvested 3,949 deer in 2017, which was up from 3,586 in 2016, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

This past big game hunting season between November 15 and December 7 was the first time hunters could legally use rifles for deer and bear hunting, after votes of support from the County Legislature and State Legislature.

In Orleans the harvested deer breakdown by town for 2017 includes:

Albion – 311

Barre – 695

Carlton – 324

Clarendon – 425

Gaines – 271

Kendall – 203

Murray – 366

Ridgeway – 506

Shelby – 503

Yates – 345

The DEC released a report today on deer harvested in 2017. There were 203,427 deer harvested in the state last year, which is down from the 213,061 in 2016. The 203,427 includes 107,804 adult males and 15,805 male fawns, as well as 67,702 adult females and 12,116 female fawns.

The 2017 estimated deer take includes 95,623 antlerless deer and 107,804 antlered bucks, an estimated five percent fewer deer than the previous year. Statewide, this represents a 10-percent decline in antlerless harvest and a buck harvest nearly identical to 2016.

The decline in antlerless harvest occurred despite DEC issuing more antlerless permits last season. DEC wildlife biologists have noted two important and encouraging items that emerged from the 2017 deer harvest. First, with 53.3 percent of the adult buck harvest averaging 2.5 years or older, hunters took an estimated 57,494 older bucks, setting a record in total number and greatest percentage of older bucks in the harvest.

“This is great news for New York hunters,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Many hunters are choosing to voluntarily Let Young Bucks Go and Watch Them Grow, and all hunters are now having greater opportunity to see and take older, larger bucks.”

State-wide the most deer ever harvested in a year happened in 2002 with 308,216. There were 230,100 deer harvested n 2010, 295,859 in 2000, 190,810 in 1990, 136,255 in 1980, 65,013 in 1970 and 45,755 in 1960.

Click here to see the full report on 2017.

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DEC has residential burn ban in effect until May 14

Posted 3 April 2018 at 8:38 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: Richard Barnard, right, and Amanda Dixon work to put out a brush fire on May 3, 2015 on Route 98 in Barre.

Press Release, DEC

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos reminds residents that with spring here and conditions for wildfires heightened, residential brush burning is prohibited through May 14 across New York State.

“While many people associate wildfires with the western United States, the start of spring weather and the potential for dry conditions increases the risk for wildfires in New York,” DEC Commissioner Seggos said. “New York prohibits residential burning during the high-risk fire season to reduce wildfires and protect people, property, and natural resources. The ban has been extremely effective in reducing the number of wildfires, and we’re encouraging New Yorkers to put safety first.”

Warming temperatures in the spring can quickly cause wildfire conditions to arise. Open burning of debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in New York State. When temperatures are warmer and the past fall’s debris and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily and be further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation.

New York first enacted strict restrictions on open burning in 2009 to help prevent wildfires and reduce air pollution. The regulations allow residential brush fires in towns with fewer than 20,000 residents during most of the year, but prohibit such burning in spring when most wildfires occur.

In the eight-year period since the ban was established, the average number of spring fires per year decreased by 36.7 percent, from 2,649 in 2009, to 1,677 in 2016.

Campfires using charcoal or untreated wood are allowed, but people should never leave such fires unattended and must extinguish them. Burning garbage or leaves is prohibited year-round.

Some towns, primarily in and around the Adirondack and Catskill parks, are designated “fire towns.”

Violators of the state’s open burning regulation are subject to both criminal and civil enforcement actions, with a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense. To report environmental law violations call 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332), or report online by clicking here.

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13th annual Canal Cleanup set for April 21

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 April 2018 at 8:38 am

More groups are urged to register to pick up trash

Photo by Tom Rivers: Gary Kent and volunteers from the Albion Betterment Committee pick up trash along the canal last April 22.

The 13th annual Canal Clean Sweep is scheduled for April 21, and volunteers are planning to pick up trash at canal spots in Orleans County and beyond.

The NYS Canal Corporation and Parks & Trails New York welcomes more volunteers for the effort. Organizations have already signed up to clean sections of the Canalway Trail, canalside parks, and in other public areas throughout the Canal corridor.

The Clean Sweep website already lists numerous groups for the April 21 cleanup, including two from Orleans.

The Kendall Masonic Lodge will meet in Holley, starting at 9 a.m. at gazebo by canal. The Sons of the American Legion in Medina will also gather at 9 a.m. at Legion Post to pick up trash by the canal from the American Legion to the Bates Road Launch Ramp.

More groups are welcome to sign up for the event in other parts of the canal. Click here to register.

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With trees down, canal starts to reseed banks

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 February 2018 at 7:46 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Some of parts of the Ere Canal banks where trees were cut down late last year have been hydro-seeded in recent days. These photos show a section in Albion just west of the Brown Street bridge.

The seeding caught some people by surprise because the banks are littered with branches and chunks of trees.

The Canal Corp. stated on its website that brush and trees will be removed from the site or may be chipped on site.

“Eventually the tree stumps will be excavated and removed and the affected area will be regraded. As the work progresses, all disturbed areas will be restored by establishing a grass surface that the Canal Corporation will maintain,” the Canal Corp. stated on a Q and A about the tree-clearing project.

The canal hired a contractor to take down trees from Medina to Fairport. The trees have roots that can burrow into the soil, going under the towpath and reaching the canal walls. That can make the canal vulnerable to leaks and weaken the walls, Canal Corp. officials said.

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DEC will hold State of Lake Ontario Fisheries meetings

Posted 22 February 2018 at 8:16 pm

Press Release, DEC

The public will have the opportunity to learn about the state of Lake Ontario fisheries at public meetings held in Niagara, Monroe, and Oswego counties in March, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.

“Lake Ontario and its tributaries provide world-class angling opportunities that are generating substantial economic benefits to dozens of towns and cities along the lake,” Commissioner Seggos said. “The State of Lake Ontario meetings provide an excellent opportunity for everyone interested in the lake to interact with the scientists who study and manage its fisheries.”

Lake Ontario and its embayments and tributaries support thriving populations of fish, including a variety of trout, salmon, bass, walleye, yellow perch, and panfish. New York’s Lake Ontario waters comprise more than 2.7 million acres.

A recent statewide angler survey estimated more than 2.6 million angler days were spent on Lake Ontario and major tributaries. The estimated value of these fisheries exceeded $112 million annually to local economies.

The meeting dates and locations are:

• Monday, March 12: 6:30 – 9 p.m. at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) campus (Student Alumni Union – Room 1250), Rochester, Monroe County. The meeting is co-hosted by RIT and the Monroe County Fishery Advisory Board.

• Wednesday, March 14: 6:30 – 9 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Building, 4487 Lake Ave., Lockport, Niagara County. The meeting is co-hosted by Niagara County Cooperative Extension and the Niagara County Sportfishery Development Board.

• Thursday, March 15: 6:30 – 9 p.m. at the Pulaski High School auditorium, 4624 Salina St., Pulaski, Oswego County. The meeting is co-hosted by the Eastern Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout Association.

Staff from DEC, the United States Geological Survey, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will make a number of presentations, including updates on the status of trout and salmon fisheries in the lake and its tributaries, forage fish, and stocking programs. The meetings will provide ample time at the end of the scheduled program for the audience to interact with the presenters. Information about DEC’s Lake Ontario fisheries assessment programs can be found on DEC’s website.

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145 entries submitted to reimagine state canal system

Photos by Tom Rivers: Runners gather on a bridge in Seneca Falls over the Seneca-Cayuga Canal, which is part of the state’s canal system. This photo was taken on Dec. 9 when Seneca Falls hosted “It’s A Wonderful Run,” a 5K race with more than 5,000 participants.

Posted 31 January 2018 at 2:18 pm

Tolls for recreational boaters will be waived again on canal in 2018

Press Release, NYS Canal Corp.

The New York Power Authority and New York State Canal Corporation announced that 145 entries have been received for a $2.5 million competition that seeks the best ideas to enable the state Canal System to become an engine for economic growth and a world-class tourism destination.

“I am excited at the positive response to our Reimagine the Canals competition,” said Gil C. Quiniones, president and CEO of NYPA, which runs the Canal System as a subsidiary. “It’s apparent that this competition has sparked a lot of creative thinking about how to ensure New York’s canals can prosper today and in the decades to come.”

A statue of Amelia Bloomer, a women’s rights activist, is part of the Sculpture Trail in Seneca Falls.

Submissions for the Reimagine the Canals Competition came from nine states and seven nations, including from as far away as India and Vietnam. Eight finalists are expected to be announced in April, with the final winning entries slated to be named in September.

The goals of the competition include soliciting programs and initiatives that promote the Canal System as a tourist destination and recreational asset and as a source of sustainable economic development. Initiatives were also sought that uphold the heritage of the Canal System, which marks its centennial this year, as well as the long-term financial sustainability of the Canal Corporation.

“This is a rare opportunity to forge a new direction for an iconic asset that shaped not only the history of this state, but the nation as well,” said Brian U. Stratton, Canal Corporation director. “I’m confident many great ideas will emerge from this competition that point toward a bright future for our canals.”

Entries were submitted on two separate tracks, one for infrastructure; the other for programs that have the potential to increase recreational use and tourism.

A global panel of judges will select up to eight finalists, who will receive up to $50,000 to further develop their proposals for the final round. The judges will then recommend two or more winners, who will receive $250,000 to $1.5 million, depending on the scope of the project.

The Canal Corporation Board of Directors, at the NYPA and Canals Board Meeting, on Tuesday also approved a plan to waive tolls for recreational vessels in 2018, as the State continues to commemorate 200 years of Erie Canal history by marking the 100th anniversary of the current 524-mile Canal System’s opening in 1918.

This is the second straight year that tolls—normally $25 to $100 for a season pass, depending on the size of the vessel—have been waived. Last year, recreational boaters traveled for free to celebrate the bicentennial of the start of construction for the Erie Canal. This year is the 100th anniversary of the Barge Canal’s first opening to traffic.

The New York State Canal System, the third generation of the iconic Erie Canal which opened in 1825, today includes the Erie, Oswego, Cayuga-Seneca and Champlain Canals. It was formerly called the Barge Canal, which was built, starting in 1905, to accommodate larger vessels and better enable the canals to compete with railroads for freight traffic.

This year’s navigation season on the Erie Canal is slated to begin May 15 and will run through Oct. 10. The Oswego, Cayuga-Seneca and Champlain canals are expected to be fully open by May 19.

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Grants available to help fund events, festivals along canal

Photo by Tom Rivers: A woman uses a Hydro-Bike in the Medina Canal Basin on Aug. 10 near the Lois McClure. The 88-foot-long boat was built like a replica of one from 1862. It doesn't have an engine and is pulled by a tugboat. Medina celebrated the boat’s visit with a series of events over two days.

Staff Reports Posted 15 January 2018 at 12:24 pm

The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, in partnership with the NYS Canal Corporation, is offering a limited number sponsorships up to $500 for events or festivals taking place in the National Heritage Corridor from May through November 2018.

Qualifying events must promote or celebrate the distinctive historic, cultural, scenic, or recreational assets of the canal corridor.

Eligible applicants include municipalities and nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations. Applications are due by February 16.

The bicentennial period (1817-1825) of the canal system continues in 2018, which also marks the centennial of the currently operating NYS Canal System (Barge Canal). Events that mark these anniversaries will be given priority consideration for funding.

“We  are also placing increasing emphasis on recreational experiences that help people explore and enjoy the waterway, Canalway Trail, and surrounding communities and heritage assets,” the Heritage Corridor said in a news release. “Cycling, paddling, adaptive sports, hiking/walking events will be given priority consideration.”

For more information on the grants, including an application, click here.

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Snowy Owls don’t mind the cold

Staff Reports Posted 26 December 2017 at 8:51 pm

KENDALL – Doug Boyer of Waterport took this photo of a Snowy Owl today at about noon at the corner of Petersmith Road  and Lakeshore Road in Kendall. It was hanging out on a barn at Heideman Farms.

The owls typically nest in the Artic tundra and winter in Canada don’t mind the recent local temperatures in the single digits and teens. But in recent winters they have migrated into the U.S. in search of food.

Boyer enjoys wildlife photography and is a frequent contributor to Orleans Hub.

On Dec. 16 he took this photo of a Snowy Owl on West Kendall Road.

Boyer was at Point Breeze on Christmas Eve and took this photo of a bald eagle.

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Judges named for ‘Reimagine the Canals’ competition

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Canal Basin in Medina is pictured in this recent photo.

Posted 20 December 2017 at 9:06 am

$2.5 million competition seeks to transform canal system

Press Release, NYS Canal Corporation, NY Power Authority

WHITE PLAINS—The New York Power Authority and New York State Canal Corporation have announced the panel of landscape architecture, economic development and parks experts who will judge a $2.5 million global competition that seeks the best ideas to transform the state’s Canal System

“The deep well of experience that this panel offers ensures we will identify the highest-quality entries from among the many we expect to have submitted,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “The judges have been visionaries in their own lines of work and stewards of significant projects that have already been built. They are eminently qualified to determine which Canal competition entries have the most potential.”

The judges for the Reimagine the Canals Competition are:

• Carol Ash, Chair and Founding Trustee of the Carey Institute for Global Good and a former New York State parks commissioner

• Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Canals

• Richard M. Larrabee, former Director of the Port Commerce Department at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

• Mia Lehrer, Founder and President of Studio-MLA, a landscape architecture firm

• Holley Leicht, Executive Vice President of Real Estate Development and Planning at Empire State Development

• Hugh O’Neill, President of Appleseed, a firm that provides economic research and economic development planning to government, nonprofits and corporations

• Darlene Upton, Executive Director at Parks Canada in charge of waterways and parks and historic sites in Ontario

“We’ve worked with some of these panelists on other projects and know they are passionate about improving the New York State Canal System,” said Brian U. Stratton, Canal Corporation director. “Entrants should take comfort in knowing the merits of their ideas will be fully evaluated given the wide range of expertise among the judges.”

The Reimagine the Canals Competition was created to encourage visionary and implementable ideas that will transform how people use and experience the 524-mile state Canal System, which includes the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca canals. The competition is seeking entries that:

• Enhance the Canal System as a tourist destination and recreation asset

• Promote sustainable economic development along the canals

• Recognize the heritage and historic values of the Canal System

• Bolster the Canal System’s long-term financial sustainability

The deadline for entries is Jan. 12, 2018. Up to eight finalists will be selected and awarded up to $50,000 to further develop their proposal for the final round. NYPA and the Canal Corporation will work with teams to identify local partners to advance the finalist projects, such as a municipality—there are 226 towns, villages and cities the canals pass through—or a state or local nonprofit that does canal-related work. The judges will recommend two or more winners to receive $250,000 to $1.5 million, depending on the scope of the project.

For more information, visit

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Rare sight in December: a full canal

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 December 2017 at 12:18 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers 

ALBION – The Erie Canal is pictured today in Albion with the Gaines Basin Road bridge in the background.

The canal is typically drained this time of year. The State Canal Corporation emptied the canal last month but it has been refilled so the Canal Corporation can inspect culverts, said Steven Gosset.

The canal will be dewatered again shortly, Gosset said.

A Canada goose is pictured today in Albion by the canal.

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