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Capstone Projects

User Impacts to Backcountry Infrastructure at Paul Smith's College

Sun, 05/01/2022 - 13:06
Abstract: Examining how issues of overuse and abuse affect National Parks, the Adirondack Park, and specifically, Baker Mountain, and the management solutions put in place by park officials at these locations, allow for better management of the overuse and abuse issues that affect the backcountry infrastructure here at Paul Smith’s College.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management
Year: 2022
File Attachments: Fischer Capstone Final.docx
Authors: Nathaniel Fischer

The Effects of Overuse in the Adirondack High Peaks and the Mitigation of Similar Impacts Throughout Paul Smith’s Easement Land

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 12:24
Abstract: Over the last 10 years crowding and overuse of the Adirondack High Peaks has been a growing issue according to the NYSDEC, The Adirondack Council, and many other sources. Amidst the Covid outbreak there was a large increase in the number of people looking for things to do outdoors, in nature, and away from others such as hiking, camping, and paddling. Even before Covid-19 hit the United States, the High Peaks had quickly grown in popularity as a place for people to get out of their homes and visit for recreational purposes. Another contributing factor to the High Peaks growth in popularity is the increased tourism advertising and social media presence in the area. Although it was a positive thing for so many people to find a getaway and a feeling of being in wilderness in the High Peaks, there were some rather negative consequences. The high peaks are unable to sustain the current amount of use they have been experiencing leading to negative impacts to the park, its natural resources, trail systems, and local community. Some of these impacts include trail degradation, increased littering, damage to fragile and endangered alpine plants and vegetation, harm to wildlife and their habitats, trail widening, improper disposal of human and pet waste, and more. These High Peak trails that were once only a few feet wide and hiked by only a few hundred people a year have now expanded to more than triple their original width in the last 30 years (Adirondack Council 2019). Some of the same overuse impacts from the High Peaks have been found within Paul Smith's College easement land, and the mitigation strategies to reduce overuse and degradation on the Paul Smith's easement are similar to the possible strategies for overuse in the High Peaks. The REC 440 capstone group also conducted a backcountry infrastructure assessment to help future students and infrastructure stewards with implementing overuse mitigation strategies.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Benjamin Slayton

Citizen Science: A Tool for Better Preserving Backcountry Infrastructure at Paul Smith’s College.

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 22:34
Abstract: The Adirondacks have been home to a many steward of its land. Paul Smith’s College prides itself in encouraging a culture which promotes this long-held ideology to preserve natural resources. It is a school which prides itself in its unique location as well as resources. One of these many resources is its extensive backcountry property and the plethora of structures located within it. Many of these structures are what’s known as lean-tos. Over the course of the 2022 Spring semester, the Parks and Recreation Capstone class surveyed and identified the conditions of 15/16 the school’s remaining lean-tos. A particularly outstanding issue with this however, was the resources and organization required of the school to collect this data. This research paper examines the positive values that the implementation of citizen science programs has had on a national level. Furthermore, my individual contribution to this class’s Capstone was the implementation of a volunteer fed databank exclusively used for the documenting of lean-tos in the Paul Smith’s College backcountry. The scope and intent of this project was to pass this resource on for further development and active use by Paul Smith’s College, related committees, and its backcountry maintenance initiatives.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism, Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management, Parks, Recreation and Facilities Management, Parks and Conservation Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Matthew T. Huffman

Forest Health Assessment: Kate Mountain Farm

Fri, 07/08/2022 - 11:17
Abstract: Disturbances that degrade forested ecosystems can have significant impacts on forest health. These impacts should be of great concern for forest landowners. Natural disturbances such as insect and disease agents, and human caused disturbances such as logging, soil compaction, and pollution can have substantial economic and environmental impacts. It is of great importance for landowners to be given the right knowledge and tools to deal with these disturbances in order to avoid any large-scale losses of timber productivity, degraded water yields, depleted nutrient cycling, and/or decreased biodiversity. Forestland can provide many harvestable natural resources and ecosystem services for very long periods of time if they are managed sustainably and responsibly. This of course entails a forest being composed of healthy thriving trees.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Biology, Environmental Sciences, Forestry
Year: 2021
Authors: Matthew R. Wedge, Erin Reilly

A.P. Smith Rod and Gun Club-Workshop Curriculum

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 14:37
Abstract: A report centered around outdoor education workshops to be hosted by a proposed Fishing and Shooting Club. Pertaining to lesson plans centered around Trap Shooting, Bushcrafting, and Fishing. The use of the Kinesthetic Learning Model is heavily put to use in developing this curriculum.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Ecological Restoration, Forestry, Natural Resources Conservation and Management, Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism, Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management
Year: 2021
Authors: Eoghan Walsh, Daniel Klein, Drew Gleason, Kassie Kirkum, Erin Byrant

Paleoecological Study of Heart Lake in the High Peaks Region.

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 10:01
Abstract: Paleoecological techniques were used to reconstruct long-term changes in the watershed of Heart Lake in the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks Mountains of New York State. The primary sampling was for diatoms, “glassy” photosynthetic algae, that could provide long-term perspectives on ecological processes. The reconstruction of the chemical and biological history with various diatom species provides evidence of watershed acidification and productivity (aquatic systems health) throughout the past to recent time scales. A UWITECH gravity core was used to sample sediment in two of the deepest holes. As evident with diatom species taxa, Heart Lake may have experienced acidification that was interrupted by the effects of forest fire in the watershed. The lake became more productive in the last few decades following amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1990 and other anthropogenic effects. The disturbances to the watershed contradicted the “heritage” status of Heart Lake with variability in diatomic and fish communities, moving away from pristine and towards disturbed.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Sciences
Year: 2021
Authors: Abigail Charlebois

The Ecology of Freshwater Sponges in the Headwaters of the St. Regis River

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 11:16
Abstract: Various ecological aspects of the marine sponges are well-known. However, sponges inhabiting freshwaters have been largely ignored despite having widespread distribution and possibly being water quality indicators. Basic information about their abundance, biomass, and preferred habitat remains unclear. Biomass of sponges in the headwaters of the St. Regis River was estimated to determine if they require certain habitat features. Data collection occurred before dormancy in autumn to acquire an accurate estimation of biomass. The average biomass for the entire study was 3.04 dry g/m2. Percent cover was visually estimated and recorded as a second measurement of freshwater sponge abundance. According to this scale, sponges were rare (<5%), occasional (6 to 15%) or present (16 to 25%) across the three study reaches. Freshwater sponges were found in velocities of 0 ft/sec to 2.4 ft/sec. Most freshwater sponges were found on submerged, large cobble (64 – 255 mm) and pebbles (2 - 64 mm). Despite this, percent cover, velocity, substrate type and percent canopy openness had no significant relationship with the biomass of freshwater sponges. Additionally, depth of the water and freshwater sponge biomass had a weak significant relationship. Keywords: freshwater sponges, ecology, distribution, habitat features, biomass
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Sciences
Year: 2021
Authors: Luz Rodriguez

Black Ash

Mon, 07/18/2022 - 10:19
Abstract: The summary of my project was to find other risks other than the emerald ash borer that are affecting the Black Ash tree species.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Environmental Sciences, Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2021
Authors: Richard Holton

A.P. Smith's Rod & Gun Club Trap Field Design

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 13:06
Abstract: Modern trap shooting has retained many of these concepts but now uses an oscillating target-throwing machine that rests in a trap house and uses clay targets instead of costly glass balls. The clay target was invented and patented in 1880 by George Ligowsky of the U.S. The design was a small dome shaped saucer. The machine throws a clay target somewhere within a 22-degree arc. The shooter does not know the angle it will be thrown until it comes out of the machine and into view. The modern game also does not include a fence that the target needs to be shot inside and only allows one shot. Many improvements have come to the clay target as the clay was baked hard and difficult to break with the 1.25 oz shots that was used at the time. In 1888, Corgell and Harrison created targets that were made of lime and pitch which is still seen some today, but a more biodegradable pigeon has been called desired. Some new innovations for these pigeons have included using sugar, birdseed or grain, and water. A trap range make sense for a variety of reasons on the Onchiota property. One there are no ranges in close proximity to the college and the closest being in Long Lake, NY. There is also a high demand in the area. With the trap range at the Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club being forced to shut down in the recent years due to lead ammunition contaminants and clay target remnants being projected into the Saranac River, leaves a hole in the surrounding community. Also, one of the main attractions to Rod & Gun clubs are trap ranges.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry, Natural Resources Conservation and Management, Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism
Year: 2021
Authors: Drew Gleason, Kassie Kirkum, Erin Bryant, Eoghan Walsh, Daniel Klein

Trail System Development at the A.P. Smith Rod & Gun Club

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 13:13
Abstract: Much of the 600 acres of the land Paul Smith's College in Onchiota, NY contains trails that expand most of the property. Discussed in this report is the three phase guides to the trails on the North side of the property.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry
Year: 2021
Authors: Kassie Kirkum