Selkirk Shores State Park
It was a bit late at night when I arrived at Selkirk Shores State Park so, when I awoke in the morning, I got up onto the picnic table to take a few shots of the area and of my camping spot in particular. Definitely not what I would call a remote site but adequate for the purpose! Despite the density, noise levels were quite reasonable and not a problem. No blaring radios!
There had been no rain forecast when I arrived at the campground so decided to use my 4-season North Face Mountain 25 tent without the fly rather than my 3-season Talus 23 tent. The Mountain 25 would be cool enough without the fly and would afford me a bit more privacy than the open mesh of the Talus 33. See my review of both tents here: TNF Mountain 25 review and TNF Talus 23 review. This decision worked out fine but, at about 6AM, the wind started to pick up and woke me up and I thought I might need to scramble a bit. It was just wind and no rain so everything worked out just fine except that the gusting wind had awoken me a bit earlier than I would have preferred.
Since I was up early, I decided to take a bit of a walk around the area to see if there was anything interesting to see before I packed the car and headed over to Oswego. It was between 7AM and 8AM and, at that time of the morning there are always interesting things to see and photograph but, fearing personal injury, I tend to make sure that my camera is pointed in a different direction when I see fellows built like professional football players heading for the public washrooms in their pastel flowery flannel pajamas :-). Of course, when I am out like this with my DSLR and have a bag full of lenses over my shoulder, I invariably get asked a lot of questions. Always happy to provide my thoughts on cameras but avoid commenting on pajama styles!
I carry a ‘business’ card that has the link to our website on it and hand out quite a few of those when I am away from home. Always interesting to hear from many of those individuals later, once they have had a chance to see how I wrote about the morning encounter :-). I decided that I was a bit too old for the playground equipment and thought perhaps the strength restriction might apply to me as well :-).
The Selkirk Shores State Park has been in existence since 1926 but, like many of the State Parks that I have stayed in, much of the infrastructure and clearing of land, building of cottages and camp stores was done in the 30’s in conjunction with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps initiative. In response to the effects of the Great Depression, the US government introduced the CCC program and paid 1,000’s of young men a dollar a day to work in camps set up around the country to do the manual labor necessary to expand and improve the accessibility to, and quality of, state lands such as Selkirk Shores State Park. It is a bit interesting to see, at this point in time when Europe is facing difficult times and the US government is struggling to stay out of recession, that some of the staffing at the state parks and the hours of operation are being curtailed a bit. Similar scenarios are playing out in Canada. Perhaps, no one wants to work for a dollar a day anymore! More and more of the support for parks, both in Canada and the United States, is now becoming the responsibility of the various volunteer “Friends of the Local Park” types of organizations.
At this park as well as at most parks across the North Eastern USA and Canada, the Emerald Ash Borer has become the pest of the year. It isn’t the first time that an insect or fungus or other unwanted organism has threatened the forests. It is not the first time and it likely won’t be the last time and I expect that the best that the firewood restrictions will be able to do will be to slow the spread of this insect but I do agree that trying to do something is better than not trying anything at all. Unfortunately, just as Dutch Elm Disease destroyed the vast majority of stately elms and Chestnut trees are almost a thing of the past due to Chestnut blight, perhaps, some day not too long from now, it will be tough to find Ash trees that have not encountered the dreaded Emerald Ash Borer. White Ash, Green Ash and Black Ash are all attacked by the Emerald Ash borer. Since, in some areas, these three species together can represent up to 25% of the forest canopy, slowing its progress even a bit can mean millions of dollars in tourist and lumber harvesting dollars for a region.
The Selkirk Shores State Park does contain some small patches of Old Growth forest with trees that are perhaps 300 years old but, for the most part, the area has been logged at one time or the other during its existence and most area trees would be much younger. In the established Old Growth area the predominate species would be Maple, Beech, and White Birch.
The present park facilities provide 148 campsites, many of them with electricity, as well as 26 cabins and a cottage which are available for rental during the summer period. The beach area is currently closed awaiting new funding for renovations. Selkirk Shores State Park website.
I had arrived after the park office had closed the night before so before heading out, I had to stop by the park office and had a chat with staff about the park, about local tourist points of interest and about our website and then headed off to see the fort at Oswego, NY.
Oswego, NY was not far from the park and I was heading out a bit early so had lots of time to stop at at a few points along the way. The route follows the south shore of Lake Ontario passing through mixed woodland and pasture. Of course, as those who follow my blogs know, I can’t pass by nicely painted fire hydrants. The night before, I had been in Mexico, NY and found that the hydrants there had a fluorescent strip around the neck of each hydrant. I hadn’t seen that before in other locations but imagine that it would make it a lot easier for the fire fighters to find the hydrant in the dark.