General Membership Meeting – May 9, 2017
Meeting location: Fellowship Hall – Amherst Community Church
77 Washington Highway, Snyder NY 14226  

6:30pm: Education Workshop – “Hey, what kind of bird is that?”
(please meet in the Community Room adjacent to the Main Meeting Room)

Have you ever seen or heard a bird while on a hike, paddle, or bike outing and wondered which bird it was? At the May education workshop, we will review bird species commonly seen and/or heard during WNY outings. Field marks, habitat, and calls will be highlighted,   so that maybe the next time, you’ll be able to say “I know that bird!”

7:00pm: Meet & Greet with Refreshments

7:30pm: General Meeting – Brief Updates & Reports

7:45pm: Presentation NIAGARA FRONTIER SEARCH AND RESCUE: Invaluable Companion for Outdoor Recreation, Len Pratt, NFSAR President

Len Pratt, President and Chief of NFSAR will present an overview of the NFSAR organization, including its mission, resources, how members train and how the team gets activated to participate in lost and missing person search events. Len will be accompanied by his team VP, as well as by Jerry Sultz and his certified air-scent search dog, Jackson. Niagara Frontier Search and Rescue (NFSAR) is a FEMA Type III wilderness land search and rescue team that provides wilderness and backcountry search support to the DEC and law enforcement entities across Western NY and many other areas of NYS. The team is activated through the dispatch center of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office. In addition to being a member of NFSAR Len is a member of the ADK Winter Mountaineering School Advisory Committee, a School instructor, and served as the School’s Director in 2012 and 2013, and is also a sworn Reserve Deputy with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office. With recent retirement from his 9-5 job, he works hard at trying to spend as much time camping, hiking, backpacking and fishing as possible and can usually be found in the backcountry with his wife and hiking companion Mary, where they prefer the solitude of the less traveled roads and trails.

Looking Way Back to Ancient Stories to Help Think About Climate Change 
The Niagara Frontier Chapter was given a special opportunity to hear a fresh approach on climate change from Lynda Schneekloth, last year’s recipient of Conservationist of the Year Award. There are so many different approaches on how to contribute to the fight against climate change and pollution. Lynda Schneekloth offered Biblical and Indigenous Creation stories as a starting point to address our relationship with Natural World. This insightful avenue contrasts Eco and Ego centric philosophies, which translates into living in harmony with nature or using it for personal gain. Lynda Schneekloth called for interested ADK members to participate in a Climate March in Washington, DC or in Buffalo on April 29.

Message From the Chair, Janet Kowalski

Some call this wet time of year Mud Season, but it is also Waterfall Season! Waterfalls that are trickles in the summertime are spectacular sites to behold in the Spring. During the ice age glaciers eroded hard and soft rocks differentially, resulting in 3 major escarpments in WNY that give rise to waterfalls. The best known is the Niagara Escarpment, which forms Niagara Falls. 16 miles south, the Onondaga Escarpment produces others including Akron Falls and Indian Falls, a delightful destination adjacent to Log Cabin Restaurant, and not far from the Iroquois Wildlife Refuge. Geologists take the long view and consider waterfalls to be short-lived features, since they are continuously eroding and changing. There are many types of waterfalls, including lunge, staircase, cascade, tiered, ribbon and curtain. Each is unique and a joy to visit. Enjoy!

Happy Trails!
Janet Kowalski

 Nominating Committee Update
Nominating Committee Chair Teresa Corrigan reports the following Slate of Candidates to be elected at the Annual Picnic on June 11.

  • CHAIR: Paul Gannon
  • 1ST VICE CHAIR: Mary Schraven

Mary is being nominated for a 2nd term as 1st Vice Chair/Outings Coordinator. These candidates are being nominated for 2-year terms starting September 2017.

We are delighted to introduce 2 new young members of our Executive Committee!

  • MARY KATHRYN NOACK, Electronics Communications Chair – Mary Kathryn loves the Adirondacks and is an avid explorer of the Adirondack Region. A SUNY at Buffalo graduate with a degree in Communications, Mary Kathryn has extensive management and technology experience with numerous projects affiliated with UB. In addition, Mary Kathryn volunteers at the DEC Nature Preserve at Reinstein Woods, and is very knowledgeable about Beavers! Mary Kathryn’s sweet personality and cheerful spirit are wonderful additions to our group.
  • DEENA MUELLER, Young Members Coordinator – Deena is an avid outdoorswoman who enjoys all winter sports in addition to hiking, paddling and mountain climbing! Originally from Chicago, Deena is an attorney and has lived in WNY for about 4 years. Deena has enthusiastically embraced the Young Member Chair position, reaching out to members in their 20s and 30s for both local and Adirondack adventures, starting with a Vertical Climbing outing on Saturday April 8. Deena’s dedication and eager enthusiasm are fantastic additions to our Board.

Here’s a fun way to display the wonderful opportunities offered by ADK!

To enlarge the image, click here.

ADK-NFC Meeting Cancellation Policy
The Executive Committee approved a new policy coordinate the decision to cancel the Monthly General Meetings with the Amherst Central School Closings. Since the Amherst Community Church property abuts Amherst High School, the winter weather conditions that warrant school closings will also dictate our General Meetings. When Amherst Schools or After School Activities are cancelled on the day of our ADK meeting on the 2nd Tuesday of the month, then our monthly general meeting will be cancelled. Cancellation news will be reinforced with emails and Facebook postings.

ADK-NFC Bylaws Changes
Minor modifications to our chapter bylaws will be voted on for approval by membership at our Annual Picnic/meeting on June 11.

  • Chair/Vice-chair terms: “The Chair and Vice Chairs may be reelected for one 2-year term and can later be reelected after at least a 1-year vacancy”
  • Addition of Appointed Position: “Historian: Assembles and safely stores hard copies of ADK-NFC Newsletters, Annual History Reports, and other important documents in order to provide a historical chapter record and reference library to support future ADK operations.”

Advocacy Updates
Consistent with the ADK mission to protect the Waterways of New York State, the ADK-NFC Executive Committee has voted to support the following endeavors:

  • Our Outer Harbor (OOH): We joined the OOH Coalition, a group of WNY advocacy groups dedicated to preserving the public trust on Buffalo’s waterfront. Any development of the public properties in the Outer Harbor must benefit the wider public, be water dependent, and support the unique natural character of the Outer Harbor.
  • Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: ADK signed a letter circulated by HOW (Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition) urging the federal government to not cut funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a federal program that has helped to remove water pollution and harmful algae from the Lakes.
  • Northern Access Pipeline: ADK supports the DEC decision to stop the natural gas pipeline proposed to transport natural gas from PA to Canada, which would intersect and threaten over a hundred waterways and wetlands that marble the WNY landscape.


I attended the Adirondack Mountain Club annual meeting and quarterly Directors meeting in Lake George on April 1. There are typically up to 50 people attending these meetings, including chapter Directors, club officers, club staff and committee chairs. This meeting also included a Directors roundtable, which I’ll mention later, but in total we spent over 6 hours discussing past performance, current status and future direction of the club. The annual meeting reviewed the financial performance of the club for 2016 – in summary 2016 was a solid year: operating surplus, increasing revenues, increased donations and increasing membership. Not spectacular performance, but solid performance.

2016 also saw the start of a major reconstruction project at the Heart Lake property. ADK received a 3:1 matching grant from NYS to improve the High Peaks Information Center and the surrounding facilities and campground. The HPIC was closed late in October 2016 and reopened in February of this year. The interior was completely gutted and rebuilt. A new well was also dug in the fall. Exterior finishing will commence once the weather indicates winter is over. The next steps will be construction of a new washhouse, concession area, new septic and new campground loop. The existing washhouse will be renovated as well, however that will not happen until the end of the project. Over 600 hours of volunteer effort went into the reconstruction of the HPIC with some local chapter members participating.

An ongoing concern has been increased use (overuse?) of the Eastern High Peaks region. With the increased use have come parking and traffic issues, waste disposal issues and backcountry abuse. The effort to address this started last year and will continue this year. This is a complicated issue and if anyone wants to discuss in more detail please contact me, but to summarize: discussions are ongoing with the State DOT regarding traffic and parking, education efforts are ongoing to address waste disposal and LNT efforts in the backcountry, and discussions are ongoing with the DEC about reopening the UMP for the Eastern High Peaks region.

Some conservation issues that ADK will take a public stance on include:
• Opposition to the NYS proposal of dining and lodging facilities on the forest preserve.
• Opposition to the NYS proposal of a hotel on Goat Island
• Opposition to the 2018/2019 NYS Constitutional Convention
• Support for including an amendment to the NYS Constitution for an Environmental Bill of Rights.

Finally, we started the day with a Directors Roundtable. An effort is being made to assist less active club chapters to increase local participation: whether that means increasing local chapter outings or having an increased voice on local conservation issues is up to each individual chapter to decide where to focus. We are lucky in the Niagara Frontier Chapter that we have an active chapter with many dedicated volunteers. Other chapters around the state are not as lucky and we, as Directors, are attempting to share ideas on what makes our chapter successful. This is something that will precede each Directors meeting for the foreseeable future until we run out of ideas to talk about.
As always, if anyone would like more information on any topic please don’t hesitate to contact me at rlaing537@gmail.com.

Conservation Corner, Lynn Rehfeld-Kenney, Chair
The Conservation Committee meeting will be held at Lynn Kenney’s home on Tuesday, April 18th at 7:00pm. Call #825-7329 for directions. Join us and find out the latest information on what is happening in your community and state.

  • I attended the ADK Conservation Committee meeting in Albany that meets several times a year. Part of the NYS budget proposes that $500,000 from unspent funds to combat invasive species from the 2016 state budget will go towards the setup, staffing and growing of the native beetle (Lari Conbius Niarinus) that naturally attacks the hemlock wooly adelgid infestation. There is a 97% death rate once a Hemlock tree is infected. An additional $500,000 from the 2017 budget would be allocate to this process.
  • It came as a surprise, when Governor Cuomo announced during the State of the State address that he proposed building a hotel on Goat Island in the Niagara Falls State Park. This was a recommendation by the Empire State Development Group and was not even discussed with OPRHP (Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation). This runs counter to the 2012 OPRHP Comprehensive Plan for the Niagara Falls State Park which has a management strategy to return the park to the original vision of its designer, Frederick Law Olmstead, to make it a more natural experience. It also risks a Park Alienation situation if a hotel was built and run by a private business and not by OPRHP. A resolution was passed to oppose construction of a hotel.
  • Another proposal by the Governor was to build “glamping” lodging and dining facilities on the Boreas Ponds Tract of the Forest Preserve. “Glamping” is short for glamorous camping which includes a catered camping experience. This is inconsistent with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan which prohibits new structures to be built in the Forest Preserve. It would take a constitutional amendment to allow structures to be built. ADK has opposed similar amendments in 1935, 1945, 1946 and 1949. The ADK Conservation Committee passed a resolution that strongly opposes Construction of Dining and Lodging Facilities on Forest Preserve Land.
  • There is no word yet on the land designation ruling for the Boreas Ponds lands. Most likely information will be made public when the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) holds its next meeting in May.
  • Nationally there is great concern over severe cuts to the EPA funding. Locally funds are used to employ DEC employees who work on clean air and water programs. This would directly impact the initiative to clean up Lake Erie and to stop the spread of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes. Please contact your local congressmen and senators that EPA funded should not be cut. It is frightening when current government representatives say the EPA is of no benefit to US citizens and that there is no such thing as global warming.
  • If you have an interest in making positive changes, join us for the next Conservation Committee meeting. We are looking for new committee members.

Attacks on the environment never stop. Join the Conservation Committee to see how you can help.

Special Message from the Chair, Janet Kowalski:
Gerry Rising Pens New Essay for ADK Chapter Visit
At our monthly meeting on January 10, Gerry Rising, ADK member and former Buffalo News ‘Nature Watch’ Columnist, honored us with an evening to remember, as we listened attentively to Gerry read personal essays from his new book titled “Birds and Birdwatchers”. Inspired by this special occasion with ADK friends, 46-er Gerry shared a newly-composed essay with the group describing unforgettable personal tales of some of his High Peaks adventures. He graciously agreed to share his new essay with our chapter. Click here to view Gerry’s essay, “Two Climbs.”

Join the ADK Niagara Frontier Chapter!
Click here to visit the ADK website. Select a Membership Type and Number of Years. Under Chapter, select Niagara Frontier.

Affiliate Membership of the Niagara Frontier Chapter:
We welcome ADK members of other Chapters to become Affiliate Members of the Niagara Frontier Chapter! Affiliate Members receive our monthly newsletter and may attend our chapter outings and events. Annual dues are $5. Contact the ADK Membership office to arrange Affiliate Membership: (518) 668-4447 or laurie@adk.org

ADK 46er Update: EIGHTY-ONE members in our chapter have accomplished this impressive goal since our formation in 1971. To add your name, send it to Cheryl Peluso, cherylp17@verizon.net, or call Kate Hacker at 688-8618. If you don’t have a number because you didn’t register we can still add you to our 46er list.

Many Niagara ADK members are currently working towards this objective. 46er Lynn Kenney is the keeper of our chapter’s official 46er banner, an impressive prop to display from the summit of your 46th peak. Please contact Lynn if your completion is imminent, to borrow the banner and properly photo your achievement! (Lynn Kenney: woodthrush3@hotmail.com).

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