White: Cancellation of ice fishing in Sacandaga should be surprising | News

White: Cancellation of ice fishing in Sacandaga should be surprising |  News

Instead, for the second year in a row, the fishing contest was turned into a sweepstakes and a big party in Fulton County.

Organizers are considering whether or not to continue the 15-year-old event.

“We could do the drawing any time of year. “But we want people to fish,” Henry “Beaver” Ross, one of the event organizers, told me this week. “So we might leave it up to all the contestants and ask them what they think.”

Naturally, the ice fishing portion of the Walleye Challenge was canceled because the ice simply isn’t thick enough across the 29-mile-long reservoir. While most bays have deep enough cover, the center of Great Sacandaga has patches of open water, said Ross, a 57-year-old Mayfield resident.

“We don’t want to make that decision,” Ross said. “We get upset when we can’t get the hunting part of it, because that’s what it’s all about.”

Unfortunately, the Walleye Challenge suffered the same fate as many winter events across the country. It’s been a “lost winter” in the Midwest, with record-high temperatures, exacerbated by an El Niño weather pattern, canceling pond hockey tournaments and melting dreams of ice sculptures, according to The Washington Post.

Much of the Northeast experienced a warmer-than-normal January, ranking among the 20 warmest Januarys on record, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

In the greater D.C. area and the Mohawk Valley, nordic skiers had to search far and wide for terrain, while snowmobilers saw their typical weekend plans derailed.

Ross said this is the first year since his childhood that he hasn’t taken his snowmobile out of the trailer. Last year he covered only 24 miles, whereas in past winters he has covered two-thirds of the way across the country.

“In the last five years, it’s gotten worse every year,” Ross told me.

Over recent winters, we’ve seen Lake George’s ice castles reimagined as a light show. The polar bear plunge did not require organizers to dig into frozen waters, as brave participants only needed to run through thawed lakes.

“The weather has been very unpredictable. One day it’s 50 degrees, the next it’s 17 degrees,” said Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino, who warned people to be very careful at the county’s 44 lakes. He said two snowmobiles went through the ice in the greater Sacandaga area this season, and no injuries were reported in Fulton County.

“As you ask me these questions, I think: So how does all this fit into global warming?” “I don’t know,” Giardino said.

But scientists, like University of Albany climate researcher Mathias Foyle, are clear.

“It’s a sign that our planet is warming,” said Foyle, a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, who has studied climate change for more than 30 years. “If we just look at the observational record in the Northeast, winter temperatures are now 2 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than they were in the previous half of the 20th century. And that will continue.”

With winters warming faster than summers, and nights warming faster than days, extreme cold temperatures are rising the fastest, Foyle says. “This affects things like freezing over the lake.”

While winters will still vary from season to season, the trend is toward milder and shorter seasons, which without mitigation will dramatically change what winters look like in the Northeast by the end of the century, Foyle said.

“The climate is very variable – it varies from year to year. So we will have cold winters again,” Foyle said. “But that variability is forced by the long-term warming trend, so in the long term, it will be very difficult.”

This means that winter recreational activities like skiing, ice fishing and snowboarding will likely look very different, too.

As an avid skier, this prospect bothers Foyle. Downhill resorts will increasingly rely on man-made snow – as an indicator, the Winter Olympics have been contested almost entirely on the manufactured stuff over the past decade. In the Northeast, winter enthusiasts will likely need to travel to higher elevations or latitudes than ever before to find an adrenaline rush or a big catch, Foyle said.

All of this adds up to a great deal of uncertainty in places like the Mohawk Valley and Adirondacks, where local economies complement strong summer tourism by marketing themselves as cold-weather destinations.

“It goes up and down. There are lean years and fat years, and you have to be able to sustain that business through the lean years,” said state Assemblyman Robert Smolin, who not only represents the district but also served as the Hudson River’s executive director. The Black River, giving him a keen knowledge of water levels and ice movements.

For now, Fulton County will continue to promote its traditional ice shows, according to Tourism Coordinator Carla Colby, who said she does not have data that quantifies a decline in winter tourism as a result of this season’s mild weather.

Colby said people remain optimistic, even about this winter.

“I think people are still hoping for another good storm, but it’s out of your control and you can’t plan for it,” she said. “You just have to look ahead and hope that if it’s going to be like this, we’re going to have a great spring.”

But at some point, wishes are no longer enough. We must realize that sweeping changes are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are warming our planet.

“There is no doubt that humans influence the climate. The question is to what extent and what should we do about it?,” MP Smolin told me.

Scientific experts are more certain. As Fayol pointed out, we need nothing less than a global push for renewables to replace the burning of coal, oil and natural gas. This is what it will take to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, the minimum goal of international climate policy.

“It can still be done,” Foyle said.

But it will require widespread acceptance, not misguided skepticism.

“Ultimately, what really matters to us are local impacts. “We can talk abstractly about how many degrees of warming we’re seeing, and that doesn’t mean much to most people,” Foyle said. “But if it impacts their daily lives, if they can actually… Seeing and feeling the changes is usually more than just a wake-up call.

The ice fishing tournament has been halted again.

It’s time to rise up and shine.

(Tags for translation) Walleye Challenge

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