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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

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

Kate Mountain Farm Inventory Report and Prescription Recommendations

Mon, 07/11/2022 - 15:42
Abstract: This document outlines the results of the 2021 inventory of Kate Mountain Farm in Loon Lake, New York, and provides detailed prescription and recommendation based of the data collected.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry
Year: 2021
Authors: Jonathan Seiter, Timothy Sawitsky

Transitioning Forested Land Into Blueberry Fields at Kate Mountain Farm

Mon, 07/11/2022 - 15:47
Abstract: Historically the Adirondacks have had the reputation of being a poor site for most agricultural practices, with few crops taking well to the sandy soils and short growing season. One of the most well know exceptions to this trend are the fields of blueberries that can be found scattered throughout the region. Both naturally occurring and cultivated by man, blueberries are a great crop for landowners looking to grow fruit on otherwise unproductive soils. This report will outline the process to implement and manage blueberry fields at Kate Mountain Farm, as well as discuss important impacts and factors that come with managing a blueberry crop.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry
Year: 2021
Authors: Austin Quaile

Maple Sugaring at Kate Mountain Farm

Mon, 07/11/2022 - 16:22
Abstract: Kate Mountain Farm is a large property that capitalized on many non-timber forest products, and small-scale business opportunities. Maple sugaring was a natural addition to the property, growing the multi-use aspect of the farm. The goal at the end of this project is to hand off a small-scale demonstration sugarbush to the landowner. The first season was successful, and the future of the sugarbush is promising.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry
Year: 2021
Authors: Katharyn Snyder

A Study of Wood Processes and Yield at Kate Mountain Farm

Mon, 07/11/2022 - 16:02
Abstract: The production of lumber is being traced throughout the process, from standing timber, to logs to boards. This is to trace how much volume and board feet is gained or lost throughout the process. The goal of the woodlot owner is to identify how they can maximize production at the woodlot level. The tracing of numbers throughout this process will serve as a model and example of potential production losses or gains throughout the process.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Forestry
Year: 2021
Authors: Matthew Arena

Welcome Week Canoe Trip

Mon, 07/18/2022 - 11:24
Abstract: Our capstone group researched the potential benefits of implementing a welcome week canoe trip for incoming students at Paul Smith’s College (PSC). These kinds of outdoor orientation programs have been found to be useful in socializing new students, forming bonds with classmates, and building confidence amongst the participants. This trip would be targeted at new students primarily in the Recreation, Adventure Education and Leisure Management program, and the Parks and Conservation Management program. The research we conducted as well as information we gathered from scholarly articles led us to believe that implementing this trip would be beneficial for new students and would benefit them throughout their college careers.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Integrative Studies, Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism
Year: 2021
Authors: Logan Hoyt, Denis Dean, Jack Palmer

Improving Development & Image of The Park & Recreation Programs Across Paul Smith’s College

Mon, 07/18/2022 - 13:02
Abstract: Paul Smith’s College is a school of prestige when it comes to Environmental Studies, Environmental Science, Forestry, Culinary, & most importantly Parks and Recreation. The program has been awarded multiple times in the past 10 years. But a ropes course, at 30% functionality, haunts the Parks and Recreation students and the entire student body of what they could be doing. The canoe rental station has poor hours from 12 to 4 everyday, an outdated Parks and Recreation room with not even the most basic of resources. How can the 84 students out of 155 that stated they partake in paddling activities in our survey fully enjoy the school’s canoeing capabilities if the place to get the equipment is closed most of the day? How does this make our Parks and Recreation program, and distinguished institution, look in the eyes of the public? With outdoor recreation already being an expensive and selective activity; the only way to make it more accessible to everyone is to change the perception of the major, and the enterprise as a whole. This is not a groveling commentary of the school's recreation; Paul Smith’s location alone is a form of recreation. There just needs to be a change in the behavior towards these two majors from both students and faculty. The case study that will be discussed is a collection of surveys, interviews, research, and focus groups to confirm that the need to recreate on campus is there, and ready for a change. Through our research we found that fully renovated recreational classrooms together with its facilities, the incorporation of language and spaces that hold true to the definition of inclusivity, plus the oration of the barriers that come with recreation; are required to reach the goal of developing intrinsic motivation in all (not just P&R majors) current and prospective students of the college to change the perception of the program.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism, Parks and Conservation Management
Year: 2021
Authors: Gibson Gilmore, Dylan Maney, Christopher Squillante, James Vogel

RAELM and PACM Program Review and Diversity Oriented Marketing Strategy for Prospective Students

Mon, 07/18/2022 - 11:15
Abstract: Marketing strategy for RAELM and PACM programs at Paul Smiths College. Diversity and inclusion through proactive marketing techniques, redesign of Paul Smith's College webpage and creation of additional literature for RAELM and PACM program use.
Access: Yes
Literary Rights: On
Major: Recreations, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism
Year: 2021
Authors: Nathan Greene, Nicholas Brewer