Since 2004 my staff and I have been given the privilege of conducting research at the Elk Lake Preserve. The forested mountains that surround Elk Lake is an area that represents a transition between mixed hardwoods and boreal forest and provides habitat for a diversity of wildlife that thrive in the northern forest.
My research has focused on the ecology of two carnivores, the American marten and fisher, and we've learned a lot about these species from our work at Elk Lake and throughout the Adirondacks. For example, we've gained a better understanding of how much space martens need on the landscape for their home ranges and of their habitat characteristics. Martens and fishers compete for similar resources and usually marten populations remain low when fishers are abundant. Interestingly, Elk Lake appears to support both species, which may be related to abundant prey species, for example snowshoe hares.
At Elk Lake, sightings have included other carnivores such as river otter, short and long-tailed weasel, mink, coyote and bobcat as well as white-tailed deer, moose, black bear and a variety of small mammals including red squirrels, shrews, voles and mice which carnivores find quite tasty.
I greatly value the long-term partnership between the NYSDEC and the Elk Lake Preserve, the generosity of John and Margot Ernst for allowing us to access their lands, and the assistance of Mike Sheridan and Lt. Brian Dubay - all of whom have contributed to the success of our research on these amazing carnivores.
Paul Jensen, Senior Wildlife Biologist
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 5
Learn more about nature at Elk Lake here.