Central New York will have a new option for day-camping about 30 minutes from Utica.

Last August, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) asked for your opinion on adding a full-scale DEC Campground at Hinkley.

The Hinckley Reservoir Day Use Area is on the south shore of the 2,880-acre Hinckley Reservoir at 281 Stormy Hill Rd, Cold Brook, NY, and currently includes a beach, woods, trails, pavilion, spacious lawn, picnic area, and volleyball court.

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The Adirondack Park Agency gave the go-ahead to the state Department of Environmental Conservation for a new campground at the Hinckley Reservoir Day Use Area in the park's southwestern corner. Once finished, it will be similar to Nicks Lake Campground and Day Use Area in Old Forge.

According to the Adirondack Explorer, the new project will include building 150 campsites, new multi-use trails, nearly 3 miles of road, a new pavilion at Prices Point, a hand-carry boat launch, and other campground infrastructures.

The DEC says the area is close to the City of Utica. They're hopeful that the new campground, additional staffing, and road access capabilities will eliminate parties, littering, and illegal ATV activity.


Matt McNamara, a staff member of the APA, said public comments were split with many in favor and many against the proposal. As a result, they have agreed not to build a trailered boat launch. Another concern is the fluctuating water levels, and that issue will continue to be looked into.

Josh Houghton of DEC tells the Adirondack Explorer that Hinckley will have more vegetative screening, campsites on curves so visitors are not looking directly across at another campsite and will have more protection of the waterfront.

Approved Hinckley Reservoir Day-Use Construction:

• Construct 2.8 miles of roads
• Construct 150 campsites
• Construct four comfort stations
• Construct a trailer dump station
• Construct a solid waste and recyclable collection building
• Construct a second staff housing building
• Construct a hand-carry boat launch facility
• Extend potable water system
• Extend electric system
• Construct multiuse trail system
• Construct firewood storage building
• Replace bathhouse and beach comforts stations
• Replace ticket booth
• Reconstruct supervisor’s cabin
• Reconstruct garage
• Construct pavilion at Price’s Point
• Construct playground in the day-use area

There's no word when the construction will be completed. Hinckley Reservoir is the drinking water source for Utica. The New York State Canal Corporation owns the reservoir.

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Northern Lights In Old Forge

It's not really common to see northern lights in Central New York, but photographer Kurt Gardner captured the beautiful conformation of them near Old Forge. We're usually too far south of the North Pole, but sometimes we get lucky.
Auroras are caused by the Sun. The Sun is not only hot and bright, but it's also full of energy and small particles that fall toward Earth. NASA says the protective magnetic field around Earth shields us from most of the energy and particles, and we don't even notice them.
The amount of energy the Sun sends, depends on the streaming solar wind and solar storms. During one kind of solar storm called a coronal mass ejection, the Sun expels a huge bubble of electrified gas that can travel through space at high speeds.
When a solar storm comes toward us, some of the energy and small particles can travel down the magnetic field lines at the north and south poles into Earth's atmosphere. There, the particles interact with gases in our atmosphere resulting in beautiful displays of light in the sky. Oxygen gives off green and red light. Nitrogen glows blue and purple. [NASA]

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