News From Landis Arboretum

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News from Landis Arboretum

For more information contact: Thom O'Connor, 518-875-6935

June is Bustin’ Out All Over the Landis Arboretum;

Family-focused, Informative, Affordable – and Fun!

SCHOHARIE COUNTY, NY (05/28/2008; 1203)(readMedia)-- Summer is a comin’ in -- with a trove of adventure designed to educate and entertain children and adults of any age. Experience Landis, the Capital Region’s Arboretum, for yourself – alone or with a group of your special friends.

June 6, Friday, 8–9:30 pm


The evening will be full of moths and other insects as we attract them in with mercury vapor light. Marvel at the sheer numbers, amazing camouflage, and interesting life history of an insect that raises more ire than admiration. With luck we will see luna, cecropia, and hawk moths, some true gems of the insect world. Instructor: George Steele, Science Educator. Suggested donation: $5.

June 7, Saturday, 9:30 am - 4:00 pm


The Leopold Education Project is an innovative interdisciplinary educational program based on the classic writings of the renowned conservationist, Aldo Leopold. The LEP curriculum was developed to teach the public about humanity’s ties to the natural world and to provide leadership in the effort to conserve and protect the earth’s natural resources. The goal is to instill a love, a respect, and an admiration for the land, leading to an ecologically literate citizenry with and intense consciousness of the earth and its inhabitants. Materials fee provides: LEP Teacher’s Guide: Lessons in a Land Ethic (21 activities in more than 80 pages); A Sand County Almanac; LEP Task Cards; LEP Journal; Environmental Heroes and Heroines; and Blue Ribbon Quotes (set of 14 laminated posters). Appropriate for formal and non-formal educators of grades K-12. $20 per participant. To register call Wildlife Learning Company, 607-293-6043.

Wildlife Learning Company, Inc. is a full-service environmental education company offering services and products to schools, libraries, environmental organizations and members of the general public. WLC promotes conservation through education and strives to connect people to nature by providing programs and products that foster an appreciation of the natural environment, impart an understanding of how natural systems function, and create a desire for people to explore the natural world further and take personal responsibility for its protection and care. Wildlife Learning Company provided programs to more than 6,000 participants last year.

June 14, Saturday, 9 AM - Noon


This late spring wildflower walk, will start at the bog garden and then walk the Willow Pond trail (AKA The Miller Native Plant Collection Trail.) With its good drainage, it should be the driest and most walk-able of trails and with it being open to sunlight, it should have the most wildflowers in bloom. By June 14, we should also have some of our woody shrubs (maybe azaleas) and trees in bloom. We plan to end the walk by taking the spur trail bridge and continuing up the foot trail to the Willow Pond. It is steep but we have planted some ferns and herbaceous plants like violets, wild ginger, trillium etc on the richer soil of that hill. (Alternate return route available if hills are a challenge --Ed Miller: Curator Native Plant Collection).

Although formally trained as an engineer, Ed Miller has nurtured a lifelong interest in nature. Following retirement more than 20 years ago, he studied plants seriously with Ruth Schottman, Jerry Jenkins, Nan and Sue Williams, and others. Today, Mr. Miller serves as curator to the Native Plant Collection, which he started at the Landis Arboretum nearly a decade ago. He has twice served as the Chairman of the northeastern section of the Botanical Society of America.

June 14, Saturday.


Twilight dinner. Live entertainment. Silent Auction. Cash bar, All under the Great Tent among the rolling hills of the sweeping Schoharie Valley countryside. $40/pp prepaid; $45 /pp after June 2. To purchase tickets, call 518- 875-6935. To donate to the Silent Auction, please call Donna Vincent at 518- 895-8263. Always a night to celebrate and remember – especially with a table of friends.

June 15, Sunday, 2–3:30 pm


Celebrate Father's Day with an enjoyable walk about the Arboretum’s fields, forests and ponds in search of amphibians and reptiles. We hope to see several salamanders, frogs, snakes, and turtles as we learn about their habits and habitats. Leader: George Steele, Science Educator. Suggested donation, $5

June 27, Friday, 10 pm and June 28, Saturday, 10 pm


Alan French and Albany Area Astronomers

June 28 (class repeated August 23), Saturdays, 1–4 pm

THE 6TH SENSE: Awaken Your Intuitive Mind

The 6th Sense allows us to perceive energies not accessible to our five physical senses. We all have this ability, but few places teach its development, and modern culture discourages it. Yet this sense has many practical uses in farming, healing, communication, relationships, earth awareness, and spiritual development. We will explore a dozen ways to use this intuitive mode of perception. Workshop leader: David Yarrow. $35 members, $45 non-members. To register, call the Arboretum.

Year-round Multi-faceted Jewel

The Landis Arboretum is a multifaceted natural jewel. It now encompasses 548 acres of trees, shrubs, old growth forest and, of course, breath-taking vistas and memorable gardens. Long a destination of choice among Capital District gardeners, environmentalists, nature lovers, hikers, bikers, and birders, the Landis Arboretum may be one of the best-kept secrets of the northern Catskills.

The Arboretum is central to the New York State Wine and Spa Trails and in close proximity to historic Sharon Springs. And, it is a natural stop for those traveling to the high-volume tourist attractions between the Albany, Cooperstown, and Finger Lakes Regions.

The Landis Arboretum is located 1.5 miles off scenic-designated Route 20 in Esperance, NY, a beautiful and easy drive from throughout the Capital Region. The grounds of Landis are open daily, year-round, from dawn until dusk., [email protected], 518-875-6935.

For more information about the Landis Arboretum and Adventures in Schoharie County: The George Landis Arboretum: The Landis Arboretum may well be the northern Catskill Region’s best-kept secret. With centuries of history and the riveting beauty inherent in the Arboretum’s world-class, global collections, generations of extraordinary plantings continue to impart their secrets to its visitors.

Contacts: Susan O’Handley, Vice President, Wildlife Learning Company, Inc., 107 East Hill Road, Hartwick, NY 13348, (607) 293-6043 • Fax: (607) 293-6675; [email protected],

Anne Donnelly, Chair, Education Committee, Landis Arboretum, PO Box 186, Lape Road, Esperance, NY 12066, (518) 875-6935/(518) 875-6394, [email protected],


Wes Gillingham speaks with WAMC Reporter Susan Barnett about Gas Drilling

WAMC, MAY 22, 2008

Gas Rush Heading for New York

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY (2008-05-22) A goldmine of natural gas that lies under several eastern states is suddenly within reach thanks to new technology. And Hudson Valley bureau chief Susan Barnett reports that's creating a modern day gold rush and a classic confrontation between profit and environmental impact that's just starting to be discussed

© Copyright 2008, WAMC

Share how to enjoy Phoenicia in the Catskills

How To Enjoy Phoenicia In The Catskills

Posted in Catskill Accommodations, Catskill Places, Phoenicia  by admin on May 17th, 2008

PhoeniciaA small but tranquil area in the Catskill Mountain region in New York is Phoenicia. Located in the northeast area, it has a population of 381 determined by the 2000 census. Its railroad system was one of the first to be developed in the area, making it a vital component of its tourism industry which remains up to this day one of the major movers of its economy. It is a bustling town that remains a very popular destination for many travelers.

There are many ways to enjoy the sights and sounds of Phoenicia, as well as wine and dine at the best restaurants that serve only the best food. Here are some information tat may be of great use as you visit the wonderful town of Phoenicia in the Catskill mountain region.



Bear facts: Dutchess County is full of them!

link is here:
By Bill Conners • Outdoors columnist • May 22, 2008

Some hapless driver last week probably endured what surely had to be the scare of a lifetime. The driver didn't hang around for a photo-op or interview, but he or she probably would have had a story to tell if they had hung around.
The evidence of the incident was discovered on Salt Point Turnpike in Pleasant Valley. The carcass of a 250-pound black bear was discovered around dawn on Thursday. It made the ultimate sacrifice in a battle with a motor vehicle. It is not clear whether it was a truck or a car, according to everyone I've spoken to so far.

Matt Lawlor of Matt's Auto Body in Salt Point carted it off to a local taxidermist. It's far better to have the hide spend eternity as a rug or a wall hanging instead of allowing it to rot away in a landfill. Me? I'd probably get more of a kick out of the head staring down on dinner guests in the dining room. Lawlor didn't hit the bear; he just got the necessary permits to take possession of it.

In an unexpected postscript to the story, one of Lawlor's employees almost hit another bear on Friday morning. That incident happened within eyeball range of the first. I spoke to Matt Merchant, the Region 3 Big Game Biologist, about the bear. He said the estimated weight was 250 pounds and that it was a boar - that's what they call male bears.

The bear carried a tag in its ear. According to wildlife officials in Connecticut, the tag was placed there in 2006 when it was still a cub in its winter den. Before females have their next litter of cubs, they run the male cubs off. By the time that happens, they are able to fend for themselves. While they know how to scavenge for food, they don't necessarily know all the rules of the road ... like don't cross them without first looking both ways.

When I spoke to Merchant about the Pleasant Valley bear, he told me another one had been killed on Route 22 in Dover Plains just two days earlier. That one was a female - a sow, as they are called - of approximately 200 pounds. There was the possibility that she was still lactating; however, that has not been confirmed. No one has reported any wayward cubs in the area since the female was killed.

A word of caution: Bear cubs are cute, but they generally come with ugly mothers ... ugly not in appearance, but in demeanor. The last place you want to be is in between a sow bear and her cubs. Should a bear cub or cubs show up in your yard - whether in Dover Plains or the City of Poughkeepsie - give them wide berth. If a sow thinks her cubs are in danger, that normally passive animal may react in an extremely aggressive manner.

DEC wildlife officials will be holding public scoping sessions to discuss the growing bear population sometime this year on the east side of the Hudson River. Merchant said they hope to hold a session in Dutchess County during the summer.

New York has three bear ranges that help shape management plans. The Adirondack Range historically has produced the greater number of bears. The Allegany Range in the Southern Tier produces the fewest. The Catskill Range usually trails the Adirondacks, but lately not by much.

New York hunters harvested 796 bears in 2006. In 2007, it jumped to 1,117. The Catskill range seems to be expanding, with an increasing number of nuisance reports being generated on the east side of the Hudson River in recent years.

I am not at all bashful about my belief that it is time to expand the Catskill Range into Dutchess County. Waiting until the bear population is out of control would be foolish and not really a "management plan."

Dutchess County's 300,000 residents, I'm sure, would not mind sharing their 804 square miles with a few bears. I, for one, want however many there are setting up residence out in the timber ... not sipping pina coladas on my back deck.

Bill Conners of the Federation of Dutchess County Fish and Game Clubs writes on outdoors news, notes and issues every Thursday in Players. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected], or by calling the Players Hot Line at 845-437-4848.



New York State Assembly Logo
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Bill Summary   -   A10526
Back | New York State Bill Search | Assembly Home
See Bill Text

A10526 Summary:

BILL NO    A10526

SAME AS Same as S 8169




Amd SS23-0501 & 23-0503, En Con L

Makes amendments to the calculations of statewide spacing requirements for oil
and gas wells.

A10526 Actions:

BILL NO    A10526

04/08/2008 referred to environmental conservation

A10526 Votes:

A10526 Memo:


TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in
relation to statewide spacing for oil and gas wells

Purpose of the bill

This bill amends Article 23 of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL),
the State`s Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law, to provide statewide spac-
ing for oil wells and horizontal wells, and to make other technical
corrections to the statewide spacing provisions.

Summary of provisions:

Section 1 of this bill amends ECL S23-0501(1)(b)(1) to apply its
provisions to oil as well as gas wells, and to make the following amend-
ments related to statewide spacing unit sizes:

* Clause (i) is amended to provide statewide spacing for horizontal
Medina and shale gas wells and to reduce the required setback from the
unit boundary from 660 feet to 460 feet.

* Clauses (ii), (v), (vi), (vii) and (viii) are amended to provide
statewide spacing for horizontal gas wells, clause (v) is amended to
reduce the required setback from 660 feet to 460 feet, and clauses (iii)
and (iv) are amended to make technical corrections.

* A new clause (ix) is added to provide statewide spacing for oil wells,
including horizontal wells, in the Bass Island, Trenton and Black River
oil pools and the Onondaga reef and other oil-bearing reefs.

* A new clause (x) is added to provide statewide spacing for all other
oil pools.

* A new undesignated clause is added to specify that a spacing unit
established for an oil pool must be modified prior to production of
solely gas from a well in the unit.

Section 2 of this bill amends ECL S23-0503(6) to clarify that spacing
units established pursuant to statewide spacing provisions are binding
upon all persons and their successors and assigns, and may be modified
by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) upon good cause

Section 3 of this bill provides for an immediate effective date.

Existing law:

ECL S23-0501(1)(b)(1) currently establishes statewide spacing for gas
pools but not oil pools, and there are no provisions which directly
address horizontal drilling. ECL S23-0503 provides that spacing orders

are binding upon all persons and may be modified by the DEC upon good
cause shown.

Prior legislative history:

This is a new proposal.

Statement in support:

The existing Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law (OGSML), as amended by
Chapter 386 of the Laws of 2005, provides for the regulation of oil and
gas wells and similar wells in New York State. The law addresses the
distance that wells are spaced from each other, to ensure efficient and
economic recovery of oil and gas resources while protecting the correla-
tive rights of mineral resource owners (i.e., ownership rights, usually
of the surface owners). The law establishes standard "statewide spacing"
for wells, which varies according to the target geologic formation and
depth, and provides flexibility for spacing units of plus or minus ten
percent to account for site-specific circumstances that may require
movement of the surface location of the wellbore. Setback distances are
also established for spacing units to help ensure that wells do not
drain oil and gas from under adjacent spacing units.

The 2005 amendment did not address oil wells or horizontal wells or make
provision for adjusting the required 660-foot setback when a spacing
unit is smaller than 40 acres by the authorized 10-percent tolerance.
Horizontal wells are wells that are drilled vertically to a point above
the target formation, then drilled at an angle to reach the target
formation and subsequently drilled horizontally across the formation to
provide more efficient recovery of the resource. Horizontal drilling
requires that unit sizes be expanded to accommodate the length of the

This bill amends Title 5 of the OGSML to expand the definition of state-
wide spacing to address oil wells and horizontal wells, to decrease the
setback from 660 feet to 460 feet for smaller units, and to make other
technical corrections. Absent this legislation, oil wells in new fields
must be drilled on 40 acres, which would not always foster efficient
resource recovery. At least one new shallow oilfield has been discovered
recently, and efficient processes are needed to address spacing of oil
wells in a practical fashion. In addition, the DEC projects a signif-
icant increase in the number of horizontal wells to be proposed, espe-
cially to target shale formations.

The vast majority of proposals that are expected for oil wells and hori-
zontal wells would not conform to current statewide spacing sizes, and
would therefore require notice, public comment and possibly a hearing on
an individual well basis. With hundreds of such wells likely to be
proposed in the near future, the potential burden on the DEC and the
industry would be substantial, with no commensurate benefit in ensuring
that the policy objectives of ECL S23-0301 are met. By accommodating
smaller oil field spacing and the length of horizontal well bores but

requiring protective setbacks, this bill furthers the policy objectives
of preventing waste of the State`s oil and gas resources and development
of oil and gas properties in a manner that results in a greater ultimate
recovery, while protecting the rights of mineral rights owners and the
general public.

Budget implications:


Effective date:

This bill takes effect upon enactment.

Aeriel Video of the Impacts of Drilling out West: Assignment Earth

Taking his passengers to an altitude that reveals the extent of its impact on the land, one pilot hopes to make people understand how oil and gas drilling is transforming America's western landscapes. From source: assignearth (You Tube)


Legislature opposes Catskill Park plan revisions

Article link is here:

CATSKILL — Greene County lawmakers have expressed their opposition to the proposed revisions of the Catskill Park State Land Master Plan (CPSLMP) which are said to be tightening the leash on park uses.

The Catskill Park Trail Coalition, a group composed of small business owners, outdoor recreational enthusiasts and concerned New Yorkers, raised concerns over the use of mountain bike trails in areas defined as “wilderness.”

Specifically, they oppose the reclassification of the Windham-Blackhead and Hunter-Westkill ranges, nearly 50,000 acres, from “wild forest” classification to “wilderness.”

Restrictions on areas classified as wilderness are much more stringent than those of wild forests.

Legislator Larry Gardner, D-Hunter, said he will support his constituents in that the plan’s revisions need to be re-examined.

“They believe that the areas for cycling will be diminished under the current proposal,” Gardner said, “and we ask that that be re-visited.”

A new land classification does exist, however, in the revision plan that will designate approximately 156 acres as Primitive Bicycle Corridors.

It has been proposed by the Department of Environmental Conservation to reclassify four trail corridors, at 100 feat wide, through existing or the new proposed wilderness areas throughout Greene County.

The coalition believes the reclassification of the areas surrounding the bike corridors would thwart recreational use that has already existed there for a number of years.

“Over the past five years there has been no demonstration of conflicts between user groups, nor has there been any conclusive evidence of increased damage or erosion to trails by mountain bikes,” reads a letter from the coalition to the Greene County Legislature.

“The use of public land by the public should be encouraged unless there is objective evidence demonstrating harm,” the letter continues.

Concerns and comments made in 2003 during a proposed draft revision of the CPSLMP by the coalition and the Legislature were also addressed in the new revisions, according to the DEC.

Now, Gardner and Legislator James Hitchcock, R-Windham, are asking that the DEC re-visit the classifications and take more time to address the concerns of their constituents.

“I think what matters most to me is that there’s this sense of going ahead and establishing parameters and boundaries and so forth, without, what I feel is, proper input from people affected,” said Hitchcock. “I think there should be more input from local municipalities and people who are using these lands.”

The Greene County Legislature will vote on a resolution to request that the DEC extend the comment period on the CPSLMP for an additional 90 days at 7 p.m. Wednesday.


Gas leasing admonition: 'Understand everything'

Gas leasing admonition: 'Understand everything'

By DAVID THOMPSON - [email protected]
link to article is here:
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HUGHESVILLE — “Before you sign anything, understand everything.”

That advice was delivered Wednesday by Earle D. Robbins, director of the Penn State Cooperative Extension office in Tioga County, to the hundreds of people who flocked to a gas leasing workshop at the Hughesville Volunteer Fire Department social hall.

The workshop featured speakers primarily from the Cooperative Extension who were knowledgeable about gas leases and gas exploration activities in the area.

A gas lease, Robbins said, is very similar to a timber sale.

As in the case of timber sales, many landowners sign leases without fully understanding the terms of the document, Robbins said.

“I can’t believe the number of people who do sign (a gas lease) before understanding everything about that lease,” Robbins said.

Gas leases are binding legal documents that contain a lot of fine print and address issues, such as lease extensions and payment schedules, that typical landowners may not understand, he said.

“A lot of people think they can handle that individually,” he said. “Talk to somebody who is really knowledgeable.”

Williamsport attorney Lester L. Greevy, who is familiar with the legal land mines associated with gas leases, offered tips on negotiating a lease.

Greevy said landowners mistakenly believe the lease offered to them is the lease they must sign.

Nothing could be further from the truth, he said.

Landowners have the right to negotiate a lease that contains conditions that are mutually favorable to both the landowner and the company, he said.

Landowners should not take for granted that basic protections and conditions favorable to them are implied in the lease, Greevy said.

“If conditions are not spelled out in the document, they do not exist,” he said.

There are 37 potential issues a landowner can negotiate to modify a lease, he said.

Those include the terms of the lease and royalty payments, restrictions on the number of wells that may be drilled on the property, site restoration work, liability issues, abandonment terms and issues regarding any pipeline that must be installed on the property.

A lease may include an extension clause that automatically kicks in when the initial period of the lease expires, normally five years, Greevy said.

The extension clause should be replaced with a “right of first refusal” clause so a landowner can seek a better deal when the initial lease period expires, he said.

The clause gives the landowner the opportunity to take advantage of a competitive marketplace while giving the company the right to match any offer the landowner receives, he said.

A lease may include a clause giving the company rights to all minerals contained on the property. Greevy suggested negotiating an addendum giving the company rights only to the property’s natural gas.

Greevy recommended adding an arbitration clause to a lease so that any disagreements that arise between the company and the landowner may be resolved less expensively out of court.

Ken Balliet, an extension agent from Snyder County, reviewed financial aspects of gas leases. According to Balliet, there are two terms included in a lease: a primary term, which is the life of a lease, and a secondary term, which kicks in once drilling and production begins.

Economic benefits the landowner receives from the primary term is the per acre lease payment, he said. Once the secondary term kicks in, the economic benefits are from royalty payments.

The state has set a minimum royalty payment threshold at 12.5 percent, but landowners may negotiate a higher rate, Balliet said.

Balliet said he receives hundreds of phone calls from landowners trying to decide whether to sign a gas lease. A landowner should balance the benefits and risks of a gas lease before making the decision, he said.

Landowners should assess the goals of the property. For example, if property is maintained as habitat for wildlife and outdoor recreation, a landowner may not want the land disturbed by a drilling operation.

On the other hand, some landowners may value the financial benefits of a gas lease over maintaining open space, Balliet said.

Balliet said a lease should never be signed “just because your neighbor did,” if a person does not understand the impact a drilling operation will have on his property or based on money alone.

An informed decision should only be made when the entire leasing and drilling process is understood, he said.

“Do your homework,” he said.

Joseph Umholtz, chief of the state Department of Environmental Protection Division of Surface Activities pointed to regulatory issues his agency deals with involving gas drilling operations.

Two basic permits and documents are needed for a well to be drilled, he said, and they are a drilling permit and an erosion and sediment control plan.

Other permits may be needed, depending on the situation. They include highway occupancy and stormwater management permits, he said.

The DEP is the agency a landowner should contact if drinking water has been adversely affected by a gas drilling operation, Umholtz said.

State law automatically assumes if a water well within 1,000 feet of a gas well experiences water quality issues within six months after the gas well’s construction, the problem was caused by the gas well, he said.

Landowners should be aware of issues the agency does not address, Umholtz said. The DEP cannot get involved in the leasing process or enforce a lease, he said.

Public forum to he held tomorrow on gas drilling

Link is here:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 Record Online 

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Public forum to be held tomorrow on gas drilling
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HONESDALE, Pa. — Environmental groups from Sullivan County and Pennsylvania will host a free public forum on natural gas drilling tomorrow from 7-9 p.m. at the Honesdale Middle School gymnasium.
Gas drilling is a hot topic in this area as oil companies continue to negotiate with landowners for rights to drill extract gas that is locked thousands of feet below ground. Authorities say the drilling poses threats to groundwater and air quality.
Landowners stand to profit tens of thousands of dollars. The forum will provide facts on environmental and regulatory issues.
Representatives from Catskill Mountainkeeper, the National Park Service, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and two attorneys will be speaking.


Sullivan County getting nationwide ink

What do Audubon magazine, National Geographic and The New York Times travel section have in common?

They all have big national audiences and they're all writing about the tourism value of Sullivan County's natural resources and beauty.

Audubon recently published an advertorial — that's advertising published to look like a story, for those who aren't down with magazine lingo — about the Bashakill and local eagles.

A reporter from National Geographic was here last week touring the Town of Bethel and Route 97, along that scenic byway in the Town of Neversink.

Herb Clark, from the Sullivan County Visitors Association, said National Geographic intends to publish a travel piece about the Catskills and Hudson Valley this fall.

And a New York Times travel writer planned to use fly fishing in Roscoe and Livingston Manor as his gateway into a story about the Catskill Park. Clark expect that story to appear within the next few weeks.

The visitors association is thrilled with the attention or, as they call it, "free advertising." Visitors Association President Roberta Lockwood thinks it will boost tourism here, despite gas prices that might scare some travelers.

"There's still that nostalgic, majestic interest in the Catskills," Lockwood said. "I think people will come here, even with the gas prices being high. If you think of it, we're only a tank of gas away."


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