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Capstone Projects

How Demographics Can Affect the Housing Market in the Tri-Lake Area

Wed, 04/27/2022 - 18:46
Abstract: The Tri-Lake area is located within the Adirondack Park and consists of Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, and Lake Placid. Each of these three towns differ in many ways, from their types of economies, levels of diversity, and housing market. However, one thing that hey all share is that their isn’t enough affordable housing for the people living there. This paper looks into certain demographics and how they impact the housing market within the Tri-Lake area.
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Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Lucas Machowski , Ethan Billman

Bio-accumulative effects of hiking on headwater streams

Sun, 05/01/2022 - 15:08
Abstract: It is known that outdoor recreation such as hiking, horseback riding and the use of ATV’s has a detrimental impact to the landscape (Cooke & Liyiran 2020). Some of the best outdoor recreation occurs in remote and often times in mountainous areas. This brings into play the impacts to a watershed, but more specifically the rivers and streams that flow throughout a watershed. It is also known that various types of outdoor recreation has detrimental impacts on these river systems (Cooke & Liyiran 2020). This brings into focus the main topic of my study which is the impacts that hiking has on headwater streams and the possible effects this can have across the landscape. This is an important field of study as the global fresh water supply is being depleted at an intense rate along with the increasing interest of outdoor recreation. To conduct this study, it will require very little equipment or instruments of any kind. For this type of study, it is only required that you have a computer, access to the internet and a mind that is as fluvial as the streams themselves. This type of research focuses on what is already known about the subject and connecting it to your knowledge, making predictions and assumptions about what will happen in the future and then taking action to make the landscape as natural as possible. Although there is not enough scientific studies done on the specific topic yet, there have been numerous studies done about the impacts of hiking, as well as the potential impacts to headwater streams. With reviewing these studies as well as interviewing two individuals, Bethany Garretson, and Craig Milewski, it is evident that hiking does indeed have negative impacts to headwater streams. Through the recreational activity of hiking, there is vegetation loss and trampling that occurs due to numerous people walking on the trail.
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Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Ryan Godfrey

Using GIS to Plan for a New Outdoor Classroom on Paul Smiths College Campus

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 11:34
Abstract: This paper discusses the GIS work done in planning and designing for a new outdoor classroom at Paul Smiths College, which is located in the Adirondack Park. There is currently one outdoor classroom already built, but demand for another is high. To find a suitable location, a site survey was conducted to find the best sites around campus. A soils layer was modified from the USDA to aid in construction of the outdoor classroom and trails. A least cost path analysis was created to show what paths people would take to get to the new outdoor classroom. The results are recommendations to the college as to where a new outdoor classroom should be placed.
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Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2022
Authors: Nathaniel J Brangan, Rebecca Durinick, Shannon McPheeters, Annie Dehaven, Derek Thompson

Outdoor Classroom: Maintenance and Design

Mon, 05/02/2022 - 12:37
Abstract: Taking the classroom outside can have a wide variety of benefits for students' psychological and physical wellbeing. Paul Smith's College currently has one outdoor classroom on its campus as of the Spring 2022 semester to take advantage of these benefits. To expand outdoor learning for courses on Paul Smith's College Campus, we designed a second outdoor classroom. We received input from the Campus community through two survey we developed to discern the need for a second classroom, evaluate the existing classroom, evaluate the accommodations needed, and gain necessary information on other considerations for the design and location. Based on the survey results, using GIS to assess potential locations, and conducting interviews, we chose a site to focus on and developed a maintenance plan for the future management of both the existing and proposed classrooms.
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Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management, Parks and Conservation Management, Sustainable Communities & Working Landscapes
Year: 2022
Authors: Shannon McPheeters
, Rebecca Durinick
, Nathanial Brangan
, Derek Thompson
, Annie DeHaven

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.
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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

The Influence of Microtopography on the Spatial Distribution of Peatland Plants

Mon, 04/27/2020 - 13:01
Abstract: Microtopography in peatlands creates structural patterns within the environment that, if understood, could allow for more comprehensive wetland management and restoration plans to be constructed. The objectives of this study are to determine: 1) the spatial scale at which microtopography occurs on in Adirondack peatlands; 2) if hummock size changes in relation to the distance from the forested wetland edge; and 3) if individual plant species respond to, or vary, in relation to microtopography and abiotic factors. To determine the influence of microtopography on peatland plants, data were collected on the surface area and height distributions of hummocks, the distance between hummocks and the abiotic soil characteristics. Plant species richness, and percent cover data were collected on hummocks only. The spatial scale of microtopography was determined to be regularly distributed across the sampling area. There was no significant correlation between the distance from the coniferous-edge and the relative size of hummocks. Plant species richness was found to be higher on hummocks as opposed to hollows. Using a combination of correlation and multiple regression analysis we determined that leather leaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata), lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium), and common cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpa) were correlated to individual abiotic variables. The variability of the percent cover of leather leaf was explained by increasing surface area, lower soil temperatures, and lower pH; the variability of the percent cover of lowbush blueberry was explained by increasing oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) and lower pH; and the variability of the percent cover of common cranberry was explained by lower hummock height alone. Only three of the common plants identified were correlated with the abiotic variables measured. Further research should be done to continue to determine the primary influence of the elevational gradients on the plant species composition and to determine the resilience of these systems to changing climate.
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Major: Ecological Restoration
Year: 2020
Authors: Joshua T. Young

Financial and Marketing Research for Alumni Campground

Sat, 05/09/2020 - 11:52
Abstract: The purpose of this capstone was to look at the financial plan for the Alumni Campground and make suggestions for marketing. Through interviews, surveys, and other research on the campground, we were able to see who uses the campground and areas of improvement for the physical site and marketing. Our recommendations are to help the campground prosper in the future
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2020
File Attachments: Capstone Essay.docx
Authors: Margret Montag, Dallas Olsen

A Comparative Look at Low-Impact versus High-Impact Camping Techniques

Fri, 05/08/2020 - 19:36
Abstract: For as long as there has been people inhabiting the area that is now known as the Adirondack Park, there have been people establishing camping techniques there. These techniques have evolved over time, from the primitive style of the Haudenosaunee Natives of almost 1,000 years ago to the creation of the Adirondack Lean-to, and finally the Great Camps of the 19th century, some of which are still standing tall and in use to this day. The early American residents of the Adirondacks made the local economy thrive off of camping, guiding, hunting, and trapping. While many people of the time saw the Adirondack Park from a capitol viewpoint, it soon became promoted for its natural beauty and wonder, which helped the area be seen and used with a more thoughtful perspective in mind. The aesthetic influences of the Adirondack camping styles can be seen around the country today and is a cornerstone of the modern Adirondack tourist economy. One major factor of camping in the Adirondack Park is low-impact camping. This idea prevents damages to the environment from any impacts created whilst camping. By following these guidelines, campers are able to properly appreciate and enjoy their time in the great outdoors. Keywords: Leave No Trace, Low-Impact Camping, Camping, Adirondack Park
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Integrative Studies, Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2020
Authors: Hayden Uresk, Jon Templin

Alumni Campground Lean-to Design Analysis

Sat, 05/09/2020 - 11:32
Abstract: When thinking about the Adirondacks, lean-tos are among the first that come to mind. The Adirondack lean-to has, for most of the parks history, been a staple for back country shelters. The design of the lean-to is the most important part about them. Traditionally built with full round logs to have three walls and one open side with an overhang from the roof. Notches in the logs at each corner of the lean-to allow for the structure to be more ridged then if notches were not used. The goal behind this project is to look at the design of the Adirondack lean-to and see what about it could be simplified to make plans for an easier to build and construct lean-to.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management, Sustainable Communities & Working Landscapes
Year: 2020
Authors: Michael J Gaulin

Alumni Campground Lean-to Analysis

Sat, 05/09/2020 - 10:43
Abstract: The intention of the report and research is to construct a plan and build a quick, easy, and affordable lean-to design for the Paul Smiths College Alumni Campground. The standing structures are beginning to show their age and are in need of maintenance and repair. The basis of this project can help more than just the campground, but help any other part of the campus or community that would be in need of a new shelter. The design will be APA and DEC compliant for accessibility laws, making the design to be used in almost every location.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: Off
Major: Natural Resources Conservation and Management
Year: 2020
File Attachments: Capstone final .docx
Authors: Ben Kolodziejczak