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Albany Pine Bush
Automobile Industry
Blue Ledges
Criminal Justice
Delmar, NY
Lester Flow and Cheney Pond
Nuclear Power
Stoney Pond State Forest
Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest

May 2017
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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

Map: General Jacob Morris State Forest

Map: General Jacob Morris State Forest

The Albany Pine Bush, referred to locally as the Pine Bush, is one of the largest of the 20 inland pine barrens in the world, and is centrally located in New York's Capital District within Albany and Schenectady counties, between the cities of Albany and Schenectady. The Albany Pine Bush was formed thousands of years ago, following the drainage of Glacial Lake Albany.

The Albany Pine Bush is the sole remaining undeveloped portion of a pine barrens that once covered over 40 square miles (100 km2), and is "one of the best remaining examples of an inland pine barrens ecosystem in the world." Today it includes all parcels of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve (a state nature preserve spanning 3,200 acres (1,300 ha)), the properties that connect these protected parcels, and some of the surrounding areas that abut the preserve. The 135-acre (55 ha) Woodlawn Preserve and surrounding areas in Schenectady County are the western sections of the Pine Bush and are separated from the Albany Pine Bush Preserve in Albany County.

The Pine Bush has been a historical, cultural, and environmental asset to the Capital District and Hudson Valley regions of New York. Pioneers moving west passed through the pine barrens, which later became the site of the first passenger railroad in the United States. The Pine Bush is also home to the Karner Blue butterfly, an endangered species first identified by Vladimir Nabokov in 1944 using a type specimen from the Pine Bush.

Organic Farming is Bad for the Environment

""The evidence is clear that organic farming on any meaningful scale is significantly less land efficient than conventional farming. That may, in fact, be part of the motivation for organic opposition to GMOs – they know they can’t compete. With increased use of GMO technology, the production difference is likely to increase. Imagine if scientists are successful in tweaking photosynthesis or making varieties that fix their own nitrogen. The organic lobby needs to stop our scientific advance in agriculture if they are to remain viable."

Should Body Camera Footage Be Controlled By The Police?

"Body cameras are spreading fast through American policing, and they're generating an ocean of video. Axon, a company that provides secure cloud storage for police departments, says it's received more than 4 million hours' worth of video uploads from its clients."

"Almost without exception, those videos are controlled by the law enforcement agencies that created them. Some are now challenging that practice and proposing alternatives."

Map: Blue Ledges Trail

Map: Blue Ledges Trail

The trail to the Blue Ledges ends up at a beautiful spot on the Hudson River on the bank opposite the tall cliffs called the Blue Ledges. The cliffs rise over 300 feet and are spectacular! The river makes a right angle bend at this location and is filled with big boulders which, depending on water levels, may be well above the flow or part of a huge white water. There is also a section of sandy bank shore for those who like to wade. At the trailhead, follow the Blue DEC trail markers.

Good evening! Partly clear and 52 degrees in Kelley Stand, VT. Calm wind. While the low dew points helped out drying things out, the woods has remained quite soaked. 

Today I hung out at camp and later on went over to Grout Pond and paddled around the lake for a couple of hours. No black flies on the lake. It was scenic but the water was fairly cool, not good for swimming. Made some videos and took some pictures. 

Once the campfire got going well it’s been pretty decent but at first the wood was pretty wet. The smoke is blowing in the direction of the driest part of the campsite, but I’m sitting in a wetter location. 

This afternoon I rearranged the campsite to avoid the worse of the mud and while things dried up a bit, it’s still a mess. I am thinking about packing up tomorrow before the rain in the evening and going home to avoid getting muddier. I’m not worried about getting stuck with my big jacked up truck but my gear will get even muddier. I don’t want to have to put away wet gear or a wet tarp if I can avoid it. 

Tonight will have a slight chance of showers before 10pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low of 48 degrees at 4am. Four degrees below normal. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 20%. In 2016, it got down to 67 degrees with shallow fog and mist and mostly cloudy skies. The record low of 33 occurred back in 1994.

Waxing Crescent Moon tonight with 18% illuminated. The moon will set around 11:13 pm. The First Quarter Moon is on Thursday night with partly cloudy skies expected. The Full “Strawberry” Moon is on Friday, June 9th. The sun will rise at 5:16 am with the first light at 4:42 am, which is 39 seconds earlier than yesterday. Tonight will have 8 hours and 54 minutes of darkness, a decrease of one minute and 30 seconds over last night.

Tomorrow will be partly sunny, with a high of 71 degrees at 1pm. One degrees below normal. Maximum dew point of 56 at 5pm. Calm wind becoming south 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon. A year ago, we had shallow fog, mist, then later mostly cloudy skies and a high of 93 degrees. The record high of 93 was set that year. There was a dusting of snow in 1902 in Albany. 

In four weeks on June 24 the sun will be setting at 8:35 pm, which is 14 minutes and 26 seconds later then today. In 2016 on that day, we had mostly sunny skies and temperatures between 83 and 53 degrees. Typically, you have temperatures between 80 and 59 degrees. The record high of 96 degrees was set back in 1943.

Looking ahead, 50th Gas Up in Gallupville is in 2 weeks, Eat Your Vegatables Day is in 3 weeks, Latest Sunset of Year (8:37 PM) is in 4 weeks, July 1st is in 5 weeks, Cow Apprechiation Day (Moo?) is in 7 weeks, Hottest Time of Year Ends (83 Average) is in 8 weeks, National Lasagna Day is in 9 weeks, Last Sunset After 8 PM is in 11 weeks, National Dog Day is in 13 weeks, Lowville Cream Cheese Festival is in 16 weeks and Beaver Moon is in 23 weeks.

The laser lighting is pretty tonight now that I improved the projection. It looks like the trees are full of fireflies. The simple eligence is beautiful. It doesn’t look like high tech laser light, despite that’s what it is. I haven’t hooked up the new set of party lights I bought, I’m actually considering to return them. I have the receipt so I could do it. I’m not sure. It was only $20 and I could use them later in the summer. On the other hand, I’ve been thinking about getting a set of color controlled lights for im the truck cap, which are also $20, so returning them u could get my $20 back to spend on that. I want more colors options for my truck cap and brighter colors then the current set up. I guess it really doesn’t matter. 

Tomorrow I’ll decide if I should head home in the evening or stay another day and drive home in the rain. A lot depends on the timing. If the rain comes late enough, I could take down the tarp in the evening. Then have everything ready to go in the morning. I’ll think about it. 

I’m thinking I’m ready for bed. 

People often ask where the Google Map of all the campsites on NY State Lands is located on my blog.

Google Maps has an official limit of 1,000 placemarks per map. Sometimes they’ll let you put upwards of 1,500 if they simple, but the state’s own data has over 1,700 campsites located within it which is simply too large. I have heads up digitized almost 200 additional campsites within the state, so it won’t work as a single file — Google will just reject the file.

Instead, I have Google County Maps, that has the state land broken down into County-level files, and aggregated by region.

Google County Maps: http://andyarthur.org/google-county-maps

Additionally, I have the data available as downloadable formats for use on your GPS or Smartphone. They are available as several formats, and will needed to be unpacked from the ZIP file before transferring them to your GPS or KML.

KML for Google Earth: http://andyarthur.org/data/lands/kmz.zip
GPX Tracks for GPS: http://andyarthur.org/data/lands/tracks.zip
GPX Waypoints for GPS: http://andyarthur.org/data/lands/waypoints.zip

Also of interest is the my list of lean-tos on state land. This can be posted as a single file, because there are only 331 lean-tos in the DEC database. I have posted a list of DEC Lean-Tos, along with a Google Map and coordinates here:

DEC Leanto List: http://andyarthur.org/2017-nysdec-lean-to-listing.html

nycmap $id

Map: Stoney Pond State Forest

Map: Stoney Pond State Forest

The 1,469 acres offers visitors an opportunity to view a range of different flora and fauna.

The 44 acre Stoney Pond was constructed in the late 1950's to provide wildlife habitat. Populated with largemouth bass and panfish, it is home to blue herons, Canada geese, mallard ducks and other waterfowl. A parking area and boat launching site is located on the pond. No gas powered motors are permitted. A day use area is located adjacent to the ramp.

Camping is allowed at 17 designated campsites and requires a camping permit between May 1 and September 30. These sites are varied. Two sites are accessible only by foot and are for tent camping. Most of the sites are nestled among a white pine plantation at the south end of Stoney Pond. Each site contains a fire ring. A latrine services the camping area. There is no water well.

13 mile-long Stoney Pond Nordic Ski Trail is an important part of multiple use management of the forest. The trails wind through both natural forests and plantations and around Stoney Pond. Most trails are designed for skiers with a beginner or intermediate skill level. Caution must be used for safe, enjoyable skiing. Snow covered trails may contain hidden obstacles or hazards. Skiers are responsible to ski safely and under control at all times.


C Stuart Hardwick’s answer to What happened to the radiation that was supposed to last thousands of years in Hiroshima (1945)?

"If you were expecting Hiroshima to be uninhabitable for thousands of years, you are (understandably, given the deplorable state of science education) making a whole bunch of errors in your understanding of radiation.

First of all, radiation isn’t magic death cooties. You and I are radioactive (traces of unstable potassium in our bones). My kitchen is radioactive (traces of unstable uranium in my granite countertop). If you have smoke detectors in your home (and you should) there’s a good chance they are radioactive (americium—quite, quite radioactive, but harmless unless you eat it or inhale it)."

A Design Engineer Explains Exactly Why Your Car Is So Boring

"So next time you get in your car, look around. Think about the things you do and don’t like about your car. Realize that nothing in your car exists because one engineer didn’t get enough sleep and decided to put that USB charger just out of your grasp. Designing a car is an immensely complex, exhausting process and each part has its own story. Try to understand how all those stories come together to make one coherent, attractive, quality, affordable, safe vehicle, and you’ll understand the challenge of my job."