gypsy moth, another forest threat

A few weeks ago, we spent a week in Allegany State Park.  Although it was June, many of the trees there looked more like December.  If you spread a blanket under a tree that still had some leaves, trying to get some shade, before long, there would be a bunch of ugly, fuzzy caterpillars on it.  Trunks and lower branches were riddled with last year’s egg masses.

Back in the 19th century, before the invention of synthetic fabrics, silk was a very popular clothing fabric.  This material is made from the cocoon of a certain moth and there were many silk farms in the country.  One producer from Massachusetts had the idea that if he could cross the silkworm with a certain silk producing moth from Europe, the result would be a moth that was more productive and disease resistant.  So, he brought a few specimens over and reared them in a cage in his yard.  One night, a strong wind knocked the cage over, some of the specimens escaped, and the gypsy moth was loose in the country.  Having no natural enemies, it multiplied, extended its range every year, and now infests the northeast part of the country.

For the gypsy moth life cycle, go to  Eggs hatch around May, when the leaves emerge.  Massive populations of leaf eating caterpillars have been known to completely defoliate large trees by the end of June.  Young caterpillars aften hang from trees by silk threads and are spread by the wind.   Adults emerge in July after a short pupation, usually in bark crevices.  White females don’t fly but remain attached where they emerged.  Brown males fly around, looking for females.  After mating, the female lays several hundred eggs in a white fuzzy mass.

Often, the white females can be seen on tree trunks, within reach.  Killing those you can will benefit the forest.  Eggs can be killed by scraping them into a jar of alcohol.  Scraping them off the tree onto the ground does no good at all.  The eggs are still alive and will hatch the following spring.  If your travels take you to Allegany State Park, you will find many eggs you can kill, to help the park’s trees.  Sometimes, females and egg masses have been found on the bottom of trailers.  When the trailers are moved, moths are spread to a new area.  Sprays that contain fungi or bacteria that kill the caterpillars have been used in heavily infested areas, with some success.

The spreading gypsy moths got some members of Congress thinking about legislation to regulate imports.  The incident that got Congress to act occurred in 1910 when the Nation of Japan sent a friendship gift of flowering cherry saplings, to add some spring color to Washington.  Along with the saplings was a little green and bronze beetle, the progeny of which you may have seen on your roses this year.  Before the decade was up, Congress passed a Quarantine Act which gave the government authority to regulate all imports of meat, produce and all live plants and animals.  The agency created to enforce this act, the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, whose acronym sounds like a garden pest, provided this writer with gainful employment.

Bristol Hills Branch of the FLT – Please Note This is a Saturday Hike (42.617645, -77.334390)


This week we will travel to Italy Valley for a fabulous view and a  long walk in the woods.  The Finger Lakes Trail offers many beautiful routes through the hills of the finger lakes and this is one of them. Join us on August 3rd at 4:00PM.

Directions: From Naples, head south on Route 53.  Turn left on Italy Valley Road (Ontario CR 21).  After 2.1 miles, turn left onto Bassett Rd. Continue on Bassett Rd. for 1.6 miles.  Turn left onto Brink Hill Rd.  In 1 mile you will reach a parking area on the left.  This is our meeting place. ( If you have the FLT maps this is on Map B2.)  Detailed directions here.

Hiking Groups

Italy Valley - Nov 2011

Italy Valley – Nov 2011

I will lead the Climbers group, but will need someone to step forward to head the Tourists and Naturalists.  I will provide maps for group leaders.

Naturalists will head north  from our meeting place  on the road to a trail head on DeWolf Road.  As an alternative, they could drive and park at the end of DeWolf Road.  From there they will hike on the orange blazed trail, 1.5 miles to a spectacular overlook of Italy Valley. takes your breath away.  After a suitable time admiring the view, Naturalists will meander back to their vehicles from here. Total hike, 3miles round trip from Brink Hill Road,  1.2 miles round trip from DeWolf Rd.

Tourists will head out from the Brinks Hill Rd. parking area as well, either on foot or by car to the DeWolf Road access.  They will follow the orange blazed trail to the magnificent overlook, then continue on down the orange blazed trail, on a level course through the woods.  At some point they will encounter the Climbers, recognized from afar, by the loud huffing and puffing of their climb up the huge hill.  The groups will exchange car keys, to assure that the Tourists do not have to hike back up that huge hill and the Climbers can continue on up to the Brink Hill Rd. parking area without having to trudge back down that big climb. There are several other blazed trails that cross the FLT, but our intrepid leaders will not be led astray by these distractors.  Staying on the orange trail, the Tourists will arrive at Access 8 on Italy Valley Road, after a very long, sometimes steep, downhill trek.  There they will find the Climbers’ cars parked by the roadside, and pilot them back to Naples.  Total Hike 4.4 miles from Brink Hill Rd. , 3.5 from the DeWolf Rd. Access.

Climbers will earn their stripes on this one.  From Brink Hill Rd meeting place, Climbers will drive 4.9 miles to FLT Access 8 on Italy Valley Rd.  ( I will lead the way) Parking is limited and on the shoulder of the road.  From this point Climbers will head through a field, then up the hill side through the woods for a over a mile.  The trail is very steep in places.  If you can survive the first part,  eventually it levels out for an enjoyable saunter through the woods.   On the way up we will encounter the Tourists and exchange car keys with them, to insure a ride back to Naples for the member of the Climbers.  After about 3 miles we will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the Italy Valley.  From there it is an easy 1.5 miles to the Brink Hill Rd. parking area, where Tourists’ vehicles await.

After Hike Social

All hikers will meet at the Naples Community Park on Rte 245 after the hike.  From Naples, head north on Rt 21.  Turn Right on Rte. 245 at the north end of the village.  The park is less than a mile, on the right hand side of the road.  Please bring a dish to share and beverage of your choice,








Reynolds Gull to Wheaton Hill (42.668085,-77.591366)

This month for trail building, rather than cutting roses, we are going to work on finding a good route for a trail from Reynolds Gull to Wheaton Hill trails.  I just got back from a pre-hike and it was great fun. I scrambled down and up six separate gullies.  Lets see if we can find a bit easier route.  Bring your voice recorder, or a pen and notepad, to take notes.

We will meet at the Reynolds Gull parking lot, across Rt 15A from the entrance to the South Boat Launch on Hemlock Lake.

Park on East shoulder for Green Ash trail

Park on West shoulder for Green Ash trail

The Naturalists and any hikers who would prefer to walk rather than scramble will drive south on 15A.  There are three trails on the west side of the road we would like to explore. Exit from the Reynolds Gull parking lot and turn left on 15A.  Drive 1.1 miles south to the Green Ash Loop.  It is recommended that you park on the shoulder.  Take the loop (go left at the first branch, then stay to the right until you return to that intersection.

Root View parking is on the West side also.

Root View parking is on the West side also.

Head back to the road.  Now drive 0.5 miles north on 15A to the Root View trail.  This area has an entrance you can drive (slowly) onto the grass.  Park and walk the  trail – this has been mowed this season and is easy to follow.  Stay to the right at the first branch.  There is a nice view north to Hemlock Lake from a bench.  Return along the same path to 15A.  The Climbers and Tourists will meet you at the Root View parking area for a ride back to the main cars.

The Tourists and Climbers will head up the old logging road to the south from the parking lot. The trail is overgrown with the usual rose bushes, so you may want to bring gloves and hand clippers.  At the corner where the road turns east, we will head south following the orange tapes.  This will get us off the overgrown road.

A brief description of each gully:

  1. This one can be avoid by walking upstream.
  2. Number two goes up past the edge of the DEC land.  We can explore for a better spot than I took.
  3. Upstream, we can cross just above a nice waterfall. See the picture below.
  4. Walking downstream, this gully joins #5 and they can both be crossed.
  5. This is small and can be crossed most anywhere.  If we go downstream we join #6 just before it goes under 15A.
  6. Heading upstream, this gully can be crossed at the end of the Pine Trail from Wheaton Hill.
  7. Follow this gully downstream until close to 15A.  Turn south and there is a reasonable exit to 15A across from the Root View Trail.

Gully 3 Falls WebThe Reynolds Gull parking area is on the East side of 15A, 2.2 miles north of the 15/15A intersection in Springwater, and 8.8 miles south of the 15A/20A (Honeoye Rd) intersection in Hemlock.

After our hike, we will meet at the Hemlock Grill to share thoughts on the possible routes.


campout at Hi Tor

Hello All,

I have  secured a permit  for our group to use the lean to at Hi Tor on Saturday night, August 3.  Un fortunately I will not be able to do the camp out.  Will anyone step forward and offer to lead this adventure, following our hike in Italy Valley?  Please email me at [email protected] if you would like to be the leader for the camp out.  I would need to know by Saturday July 27.  If there are no takers I will try to arrange another date for an overnight at Hi Tor.