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Old 01-16-2015, 09:06 AM   #1
Boreal Fox
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Most wildlife-abundant area of the ADKs

From your experience what's the most wildlife-abundant area of the Adirondacks? I would assume the more remote the more abundant the wildlife. While in no way having had explored most of the ADKs I've found Five Ponds Wilderness in early summer to have a tremendous amount, which was something very inspiring, especially seeing things I never knew existed before like the woodcock (a rather peculiar but fascinating animal I must say).
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Old 01-16-2015, 09:34 AM   #2
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I've generally found the opposite- the less remote, the more abundant the wildlife. Or at the very least, it seems that way. I've seen more wildlife up close in urban parks than I ever have in any Wilderness Area. Areas that are less remote get more use, meaning that the wildlife is more adapted to human presence and less likely to flee at the sign of a human.
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Old 01-16-2015, 02:18 PM   #3
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I've generally found the opposite- the less remote, the more abundant the wildlife. Or at the very least, it seems that way. I've seen more wildlife up close in urban parks than I ever have in any Wilderness Area. Areas that are less remote get more use, meaning that the wildlife is more adapted to human presence and less likely to flee at the sign of a human.
This has been my experience too.

Whenever friends and family come to visit us they always comment on how little wildlife they see here. The perception is that they are coming to a really wild, wooded place and the expectation is that they will experience lots of wildlife. But the comment I ALWAYS hear, whether sitting on my deck or hiking up to a peak, goes something like, "Ya know, we see more wildlife in the park down the road from our house than we do when we visit you"

My usual response goes something like, "There is enough land here for the animals to avoid us if they want" - but I have no idea if there is any validity to that.
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Old 01-16-2015, 02:37 PM   #4
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Depends upon what you want to see and what time of year. All creatures have favored habitat. If its a bear, moose, lynx or any other reclusive species you would have a better chance to see them in fairly remote forest. However large forested tracts just don't support a lot of wildlife.

The best places to see most wildlife is abandoned farm land with a mix of woodlots, old orchards and fields. Lot's of turkey, deer, fox, hawks, coyotes. One of the best places to spot coyotes is a frozen swamp. A sheltered thick stand of cedars in winter usually has plenty of deer.

The northwest boundary of the Park is a great place to see wildlife. Much of it low and wet with lots of abandoned homesteads. That part of the Park doesn't get much attention.
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Old 01-16-2015, 04:47 PM   #5
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Downtown Old Forge.
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Old 01-16-2015, 05:41 PM   #6
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This has been my experience too.

Whenever friends and family come to visit us they always comment on how little wildlife they see here. The perception is that they are coming to a really wild, wooded place and the expectation is that they will experience lots of wildlife. But the comment I ALWAYS hear, whether sitting on my deck or hiking up to a peak, goes something like, "Ya know, we see more wildlife in the park down the road from our house than we do when we visit you"

My usual response goes something like, "There is enough land here for the animals to avoid us if they want" - but I have no idea if there is any validity to that.


I would completely agree with the statements made by visitors, as I hear them all the time. Further more I agree that ecologically the park has suffered from a host of reasons which cause a decline. (All or most species are here, but lacking per mile etc) In fact we have had several long discussions on this very forum about the same subject with lots of very spirited opinions but truth be told peoples perception, and actual species numbers both agree we do in fact have a problem. Any trip to the surrounding states and its clear that the overall abundance of wildlife is greater elsewhere. I often hear opinions /theories but I dont agree with most. Algonquin Park in Ontario, Baxter Park in Maine and surrounding areas, PA, white Mountains and so on all have something in common which is that while camping, driving , hiking etc you'll see orders of magnitude more overall wildlife including and in fact "especially" in the backcountry. In the adirondacks I have had trail cams for years in several locations (I dont hunt rather I simply appreciate studying local biodiversity) and sooner or later I see most species in front of the cameras or while hiking,paddling and such. But in a checkerboard park, surrounding like an island by to cities, highways etc and huge sport hunting and logging have taken their toll. For whatever reason people often argue that however its insanity to think we dont have a measurable impact. I know for example those working for the logging industry will soon turn this statement into a long winded bla bla post but what I would truly love to see happen, is a solid study comparing the species per mile to other parks and I suspect you would see that we take too much offer too little and change too late. On the lighter side there are some great folks working to help change that. I just wish there were more of those types making decisions to stop construction in the park.
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:29 PM   #7
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Downtown Old Forge.
HA. Yep... watch the deer graze on the lawn of the Town of Webb school while traffic and tourists stream by in the street. Bizarre.
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:45 PM   #8
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HA. Yep... watch the deer graze on the lawn of the Town of Webb school while traffic and tourists stream by in the street. Bizarre.
For a long time I have been pretty sure that the Old Forge Chamber of Commerce has the deer on the village payroll, to wander the streets for the tourists. It's the local rent-a-deer program.
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Old 01-18-2015, 07:55 PM   #9
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Most animal encounters I've heard about or experienced in the Adirondacks don't seem to correlate to a location or type of location. I've found it fairly true about the reduced likelihood of encountering wildlife (esp. larger animals) in the Adirondack Park. Whether it's a lower density, larger area, more reclusive and wary animals I couldn't say. I know there's nothing but moose sign everywhere in the Green Mtns of VT, Bear sign all over the Taconic Mtns and Catskills, a veritable petting zoo in north-central PA and Shenandoah National Park, VA, and black bears like ants in the Great Smoky Mtns. All this to say that although I've spent a good portion of time in the Adirondacks, most of my sightings of wildlife (esp. larger animals) have been elsewhere. I know in NH they have moose watching excursions, I don't think they've had anything like that in the Adirondacks since the infamous "bear dumps". Most animals I've seen in a day was probably one of the many city zoo's I've visited.
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Old 01-19-2015, 11:49 AM   #10
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I'd say because of habitat fragmentation and lack of food in the ADKs there's less wildlife but in areas where the fragmentation isn't as severe, like in the western ADKs, I feel like I've seen more wildlife. Out there this year alone I've seen a bald eagle, bears, snakes, loons, turtles, grouse, woodcock, toads, beaver, owls, ravens, and heard coyotes at night (no deer, to my surprise). Quite a bit of wildlife..definitely more than I was expecting! Maybe I just got lucky...I tend to go off the beaten path.

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Old 01-20-2015, 06:01 PM   #11
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I think the abundance of wildlife is going to depend primarily on the abundance of specific resources required for those species in the area, not remoteness per se. Certain animals really depend on remoteness because very subtle human activity can interfere with them, loons for example don't like boat traffic and need large bodies of water to take off from, so unlike geese and ducks no small public ponds or cottage-lined lakes for them. Deer on the other hand are not very abundant even in the most remote areas of the Western High Peaks just because there isn't much to eat but they are all over the place near suburban/farming areas with more food and cover available. Overall it really depends on your definition of "wildlife" and the species of animals in question, but I think if you head to remote places and expect some sort of animal kingdom with lions and bears you will be disappointed. Human activity doesn't affect all wildlife equally.
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Old 01-20-2015, 07:59 PM   #12
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I for one have seen more diverse wildlife and their signs in more remote areas than I have in less remote areas. Most notably in the southern regions of the Adks. For instance, I have been lucky enough to have seen bobcat, fisher, marten, otters, foxes, beavers, porcupines, loons, bald eagles, osprey, owls, snakes, rare insects, coyotes, coyote kills, etc in the backcountry, while also observing many signs of black bear and moose, both of which I unfortunately have yet to physically lay eyes upon in the wild.
Deer, turkey, hawks, herons, squirrels, and other commonly seen wildlife from the road is also often seen in the backcountry, but some things you may have a better chance of seeing if you actually venture deeper into the forest. Of course, some folks just plain out seem to be more lucky than others.

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Old 01-21-2015, 04:34 AM   #13
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I'm continually amazed at the lack of wildlife sounds when sitting on my porch 1.5 miles back in the Adirondacks. Very quiet. Hardly any bird sounds either. In contrast to my Southern tier property its devoid of life. Not complaining though.

When traveling towards Long Lake the animals seem to prefer the roads. Turkey's especially.
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Old 01-21-2015, 08:18 AM   #14
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Someone said above that different animals are affected differently. Some critters (deer, turkey, etc.) like the "edge" habitat (old fields, orchards next to forest; birdfeeders!). Others that prefer a large territory and are shy of people will be in more "remote" areas.

I think the folks that see the most wildlife are the ones who go out with that as the objective. Reading some photography threads, it seems like to get the views and good pix, you have to go into the habitat and then just hang out quietly and patiently wait. So if you are "hiking to a destination" you are not going to see as much wildlife as someone who is sitting still just waiting to see it.
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Old 01-21-2015, 11:16 AM   #15
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When bushwhacking in the High Peaks region I usually see wheelbarrow loads of deer scat until I get higher up into the spruce-fir forest type.

On one bushwhack around the south side of Allen I saw tremendous amounts of moose scat and there were many, many game trails going every which way.

There are often deer to be seen along the AMR road.

No shortage of chickadees anywhere!
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Old 01-21-2015, 12:00 PM   #16
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Amazing photos Justin! Do you always carry a camera and have it readily available to take such great moments? I'm thinking I should do that more often to relive those experiences.
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Old 01-21-2015, 01:14 PM   #17
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I'm continually amazed at the lack of wildlife sounds when sitting on my porch 1.5 miles back in the Adirondacks. Very quiet. Hardly any bird sounds either. In contrast to my Southern tier property its devoid of life. Not complaining though.

When traveling towards Long Lake the animals seem to prefer the roads. Turkey's especially.
Do you have a wildlife cam at your ADK property? I am surprised that you have no chickadees which can cause a huge commotion.

I suppose its all about the ecosystem. Mixed hardwoods and fir seem to have the most variety of animals.

As far as the camera, photographers I know always have a camera with them It matters not what the camera is, it just has to be available now
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Old 01-21-2015, 04:13 PM   #18
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Do you have a wildlife cam at your ADK property? I am surprised that you have no chickadees which can cause a huge commotion.

I suppose its all about the ecosystem. Mixed hardwoods and fir seem to have the most variety of animals.

As far as the camera, photographers I know always have a camera with them It matters not what the camera is, it just has to be available now
Yes I do. I get more pictures of Moose and Bears then Deer. Occasionally I get a rabbit. I was shocked this summer to have a flock of Turkey walk by me when I was out in a lawn chair! Very rare to see them that far back.

I actually wondered if I'm in a dead spot. Usually from 2 pm I'm on my porch or in lawn chair and usually am out past dark. Most times very silent, just rustling leaves. The lack of bird sounds is very noticeable in comparison with my Southern Tier property.

I see plenty of wildlife just not at my Camp. Always closer to the hard road.
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Old 02-07-2015, 11:11 AM   #19
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At my place in the southern ADKs, I regularly see (or get on my trail cam) turkey, deer, bear, fisher, porcupine, red and gray fox, etc. No moose yet, although I've seen tracks on several occasions.

In comparing the ADKs in general with other areas in terms of wildlife sightings, keep in mind the following:

The ADKs are not a National Park where wildlife is protected from hunting and becomes more oblivious to human presence.. Therefore any comparisons with Great Smokey Mts NP, Shenandoah NP, Yellowstone NP, etc. are not comparing apples to apples so to speak.

The ADKs in general have far fewer roads than almost every other eastern wild area whether it be Green Mts., White Mts., Pennsylvania, and southern Appalachian areas. There is just more space for wildlife to seclude themselves from human presence. I see far more bears, deer, turkeys in fragmented wild areas of Pa. than the ADKs.

As the moose population continues to hopefully rise, we will be spotting more moose like they do in New England areas.

Areas such as Maine where widespread logging occurs, have seen the benefits of a wildlife explosion for species like moose, snowshoe hare, lynx, etc. which actually benefit from the new browse being created. As we know, the ADK's nearly 3 million acres of state land prohibit logging and this is having it's effect on certain species.
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Old 02-07-2015, 02:25 PM   #20
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Areas such as Maine where widespread logging occurs, have seen the benefits of a wildlife explosion for species like moose, snowshoe hare, lynx, etc. which actually benefit from the new browse being created. As we know, the ADK's nearly 3 million acres of state land prohibit logging and this is having it's effect on certain species.
Definitely true, but landscape-scale disturbance events, such as the microburst in the Five Ponds, can have a similar effect on forest preserve land as timber harvesting, at least in regards to introducing a lot of young browse and forage which in turn leads to an increase in the local fauna.

Over the past 2 decades, the Five Ponds Wilderness has very closely approximated the post-harvest conditions of a clearcut (the type of timber harvest that can often be most beneficial to wildlife species dependent on young forests for browse and cover).

Also, there are areas of the Adirondacks where timber harvesting regularly occurs- just not on Forest Preserve lands. Much of this land is becoming available to the public for recreation through the conservation easements. So one interesting in viewing fauna such as deer, hares, etc., would certainly be well advised to try visiting such an easement.

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