LOCALadk Magazine

LOCALadk Winter 2019

LOCALadk Magazine

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Page 17 of 67

18 Winter 2019 LOCALadk Magazine LOCALadk I feel most at home when I'm outside. I grew up in the Ad- irondacks— Old Forge to be specific—and living inside the Blue Line provides unique opportunities to experience the outdoors. Some of my fondest memories involve time spent trail running, hiking, mountain biking, paddling, or skiing. Luckily for me, my job is spent primarily outside exercising. I'm a professional biathlete currently living and training full time in Lake Placid with the New York Ski Education Foun- dation. I've been training as a biathlete for almost a decade, with five of those years spent on the US Biathlon National Team competing overseas for the majority of the winter. The more time I've spent experiencing other parts of the world, plus my time spent exploring the Adirondack Park, the more I've come to realize that one of the biggest threats to the fu- ture of winter sports—and to our communities of the North Countr y— comes on the heels of climate change. Of course you've seen those images of glaciers receding and ice melting in some of the most remote parts of the globe. Similar to the Arctic, the Adirondacks are also experi- encing the rapid effects of climate change —as we've already seen a 2 degree temperature rise here in the Adirondacks. This summer I attended a science lecture at the Atmospher- ic Sciences Research Center at Whiteface Mountain, where I had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Eric Leibensperger, As- sociate Professor of Environmental Science at SUNY Platts- burgh. He spoke about the impact climate change is having on the Adirondacks. I emailed him asking if he could give you all a brief explanation of his findings. Here's what he sent me: Warming has already impacted the Adiron- dacks, and significant future warming is expected. Warming and changes in precip- itation have made recreational activities less predictable than in the past. More fre- quent intense rainfall events increases the potential for flooding and issues related to wastewater processing. Ecosystems are also impacted by climate change with tempera- ture-dependent organisms either thriving or becoming increasingly stressed. For example, boreal bogs and alpine vegetation rely on winter conditions that are becoming scarcer. Warming is helping new species move into the region, including ticks and possum, and has exacerbated potential for harmful algal blooms. Protect Our Winters By Maddie Phaneuf

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