Archive for July, 2008

Garbage dumps in the Adirondacks only a few years ago used to draw huge crowds to see black bears, but someone thought better of the idea and closed them off.

When I was fishing around for places in New York to reliably see animals for a story for New York, a guy from the state Department of Environmental Protection told me the garbage dumps in the Adirondacks were the most reliable place to see bear. When I visited the Adirondacks last week I asked the woman who rented us the cottage. Much to my surprise, she was all over the garbage dumb scene.

Just a few years ago dozens of people would show up at the garbage dumps, presumably at dusk, to see the bears. Sometimes the crowd would be thirty people, with the ranger feeding the bear a marshmallow on a stick.

Of course, the current thinking is that this kind of thing is exactly what leads to bear conflicts. A fed bear is a dead bear. Bears grow start associating people with food. Yellowstone Park once had similar, much more formal bear feeding stations, where they would dump the garbage and let tourists watch the bears.

Where to See Animals in the Northeast
Where to See Bears

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One of the great finds in the Adirondacks–which is just full of places to see animals–was the John Dillon Park. International Paper started it a few years ago to be accessible to people with disabilities, but it’s open to everyone.
The park is really amazing in that the grounds are kept very natural, not manicured, but the trails are all wide, smooth and easy to enjoy. Best of all was the staff, who were completely enthusiastic about finding all visitors something they would enjoy doing.
We took a walk down a gentle path to Grampus Lake where we saw a loon family. Along the way a pair of snowshoe hares crossed the path. The Dr. Ellis at the information center set us up with Keith, a forestry student, who gave us a tour of the lake in quiet, gentle electric pontoon.

Where to See Wild Animals in the Northeast

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