Thursday, September 18, 2014

Late Bloomers: Asters At Summer’s End

TOS_AsterLiving this far north, we’re attuned to signs of a waning summer: shorter days, cooler nights, red maples in low-lying areas turning their trademark color. But when the asters bloom, I know the curtain is coming down on summer.

The asters are some of the latest blooming flower species in our region. Not every species waits until virtually the last minute, but many do.

You might think that they’re cutting it close. In an area of the world where a killing frost can come seemingly out of nowhere, a late bloomer might be taking a chance. But evolutionarily, it’s not a bad tactic, said Arthur Haines, a research botanist for the New England Wild Flower Society.  By putting off blooming until late in the season, these plants have a virtual monopoly on the attentions of bees and other insect pollinators. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, September 18, 2014

Freeze Warning Issued For Tonight

First Freeze - Sept 19 2014The National Weather Service has issued a Freeze Warning for early Friday morning for most of the Adirondack Region – expect widespread frost and freezing temperatures tonight with lows 25 to 30 degrees. Sensitive plants will be killed if left unprotected.

 



Thursday, September 18, 2014

New Studies Put Focus On Adirondack Loons

Loons  Jlarsenmaher 2Biodiversity Research Institute’s (BRI’s) Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS’s) Adirondack Program have announced that three new articles summarizing research on Adirondack loons have been published in a special issue of the journal Waterbirds that is dedicated to loon research and conservation in North America. Research was conducted on the Common Loon (Gavia immer), which breeds on Adirondack lakes,  by BRI and WCS in collaboration with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, SUNY ESF’s Adirondack Ecological Center, Paul Smiths Watershed Stewardship Program, and other partners.

“We are pleased to have our loon research in the Adirondack Park included in this unique publication,” Dr. Nina Schoch, Coordinator of BRI’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, said in a statement to the press. “The special issue includes fifteen scientific papers highlighting loon behavior, life history and population ecology, movements and migration, habitat and landscape requirements, and the risk contaminants pose to loon populations. The publication will be a valuable resource to help guide the conservation of loon populations throughout North America.” » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New Panther Gorge Rock Climbing Route:
Wreck of the Lichen Fitzgerald

Kevin MudRat MacKenzie climbs partway up pitch one of Wreck of the Lichen Fitzgerald.Panther Gorge’s scenic wonders were featured in Adirondac Magazine’s September/October issue—the secluded talus fields, beaver ponds, a waterfall, the moss covered forest floor and meandering brooks.  Above the forest lies the technical climbing area. A multitude of cliffs adorn the sides, but one stands out from the rest – Mount Marcy’s Agharta Wall.

The name was inspired by the Miles Davis’ Agharta album after Christian Fracchia and Charlie Dickens made the first ascent of the Agharta ice route in 1999. The alternate meaning, a Buddhist reference to a mythical subterranean world “also fit with how the gorge feels,” noted Fracchia. Walk deep into the gorge, especially on a dreary day, and you’ll realize how true this is.

Rock climbing routes are continually being created or “put up” on cliffs inside the blue line.  Adirondack Rock’s recently published second edition adds 1,162 new routes to those in the first edition. In comparison to many areas, Panther Gorge has seen little route development. The first recorded technical ascent in the gorge was in 1936 when local guide and climber Jim Goodwin ascended cliffs on the Marcy side of the north end; his exact line is not clear. Only eight more routes were put up between 1965 and 2010, five of which involved Bill Schneider during 2003 and 2004.

Since 2012, six more have been added. Two lie on Marcy’s East Face, three lie on the Haystack side (including a free-standing pillar) and another called Wreck of the Lichen Fitzgerald ascends the Agharta Wall. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Long Lake Regatta Features Historic War Canoe

Caleb Davis and Mason Smith working on War CanoeThe Adirondack Watershed Alliance will be sponsoring the Long Boat Regatta on Saturday, September 20th at the Long Lake Town Beach. The featured race is the North American War Canoe Championship, a fifteen mile race on Long Lake. Other events include the ten mile New York C4 Co-Ed College Cup, the Adirondack Kayak Championship, and the 10-mile “Anything goes” race for youth and adults.

As part of the Long Boat Regatta the Long Lake American Legion Post 650 will be re-introducing their vintage 1911 Old Town War Canoe restored by Caleb Davis, the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association and many volunteers. Members of the public are invited to the dedication ceremony at the town beach at 10:45 am, followed by an inaugural paddle. The Long Boat Regatta races will start at 11 am. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Adirondack Wildlife: A Red Squirrel Uprising?

1024px-Tamiasciurus_hudsonicus_CTThe populations of all forms of wildlife continuously rise and fall as a number of highly changeable environmental factors influences the success, or failure of each species. While variations in the abundance, or scarcity of many of our shy and secretive creatures, like the short-tailed shrew, flying squirrel and ermine, go completely unnoticed, the ups and downs in the number of animals that maintain a high profile can be quite evident, especially to anyone that spends a fair amount of time outdoors. In my neighborhood this year, there is a definite upsurge in the population of red squirrels, as there are more of these small, yet conspicuous rusty-tan rodents running around than in recent years.

Regardless of whether its population is peaking, or has crashed, the red squirrel is still described by many naturalists as the most often seen mammal in the Adirondacks. The diurnal habits, vocal inclinations, willingness to live in close proximity to humans, and craving for sunflower seeds make this rodent hard to overlook. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Diane Chase: Learning About Tahawus

Adirodac_CottageUsually a trip to the Upper Works in Newcomb for my family doesn’t include an extended history lesson, but I always have a few interesting facts to tell our visitors while driving this seemingly endless stretch of County Route 25 to the southern entrance of the High Peaks. We are usually there to hike, though the area’s history is just as vast and interesting as its trails.

I share that the McNaughton Cottage is where Vice President Theodore Roosevelt and his family were staying in 1901 when he took his “midnight ride” after receiving word that President McKinley had taken a turn for the worst from an assassination attempt six days before. The Roosevelt family was climbing Mount Marcy when the official word of McKinley’s fate was received via telegram.

I could even give some vague references to the McIntyre Iron Works Blast Furnace and the dilapidated condition of an old mining town called Adirondac.

But now when we go to the Upper Works, we schedule a bit more time to explore this area with the addition of interpretive signs detailing the historical significance of these buildings, the mining operation and the blast furnace that would produce iron for only two years. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Is The APA’s Land-Use Plan Mandatory Or Not?

ACR-aerial3Backers of the Adirondack Club and Resort complain that their opponents are stalling the project by appealing the Appellate Division’s 5-0 decision in favor of the resort.

That’s an understandable reaction, but the opponents have raised an interesting legal question with broad ramifications for the whole Adirondack Park. At least, that’s how it appears to a layman.

The question is: Are the development guidelines set forth in the Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan mandatory or not?

In a decision in July, the Appellate Division suggested that they are not mandatory.

The question came up because the project’s opponents contend, among other things, that dividing up timberlands for “Great Camp” estates violates the land-use plan.

» Continue Reading.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Grace Peak Via The Boquet River

Grace Peak

On Friday I hiked Grace Peak (formerly East Dix) from Route 73 in Keene Valley. Look for the stone bridge that crosses the Boquet River, there is small parking area right after the bridge. The herd path starts along the South side of the river and continues along the North and South Fork. The path is unmarked but very easy to follow. This part of the Dix Mountain wilderness is beautiful open forest with mostly flat terrain. To reach the summit you can take the slide or continue along the herd path to the col between Grace and Carson (South Dix).



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Theodorus Bailey, Chateaugay’s Civil War Hero

P1ATheodorusBaileyIn the New York Times of February 11, 1877, appeared the obituary of a North Country native, Theodorus Bailey, who was born in Chateaugay in 1805 and moved to Plattsburgh with his family around 1811. The Battle of Plattsburgh took place three years later, on September 11, 1814. Although Theodorus was just nine years old, that historic event made quite an impression. His obituary, in fact, pointed out that Bailey “accepted as his pet hero Commodore Macdonough, the American commander in the battle,” and was thus inspired to seek a career in the navy.

It’s also interesting that among the War of 1812 battles that are considered pivotal, Plattsburgh has often been overlooked in favor of three others: Baltimore, Lake Erie, and New Orleans. And yet this same Theodorus Bailey was lauded as a hero of the Battle of New Orleans.

How can that be? Well, there were actually two Battles of New Orleans, but because the name was already taken during the War of 1812, the second one, which occurred during the Civil War, is often referred to as the Capture of New Orleans. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Laurie Davis: The Farm Bill, Local Foods, And You

adirondack harvest logoIt’s been a few months now since President Obama signed into law the Agricultural Act of 2014. You probably remember hearing about it under another name: the (long overdue) Farm Bill. There was much hoopla in the press when, after a delay of over a year, it finally became a law. OK, I can sense your eyes glazing over or darting to the next article. But wait! Just bear with me.

The Farm Bill (as we shall refer to it from here on out) is chock full of some good news for the local food movement and, whether or not you realize it, many parts of this legislation will affect you. I’m going to break this article up into two parts to address all the positives that will be supported by this Farm Bill, so let’s begin part 1! » Continue Reading.



Monday, September 15, 2014

ATV Damage in the Black River Wild Forest

ATV damage to the Gull Lake Trail, Black River Wild Forest.On August 29th, I visited the Gull Lake and Chub Pond trails in the Black River Wild Forest. I photographed all sorts of trail and wetland damage from All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) use on these trails. ATVs are not allowed on these trails, but the Black River Wild Forest area has a history of illegal ATV use, and I thought that the damage to these trails reflected more of the same.

I had received reports about ATV damage in this part of the Forest Preserve earlier this year. The previous week I had spent time in the Ferris Lake Wild Forest inventorying trail damage from ATVs and photographing ATV side-routes around various barrier gates put up by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). It appeared that the damage to the Chub Pond and Gull Lake trails was also caused by illegal trespass. The usual telltale signs of illegal trespass and recreational riding were evident. » Continue Reading.



Monday, September 15, 2014

2013-14 Freshwater Fishing Regs Extended Thru March

NYS Freshwater Fishing Guide 2013-2014The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that the current (2013-14) freshwater fishing regulations will extend through March 31, 2015.  New freshwater fishing regulations will take effect April 1, 2015 and a new regulations guide will be available from all license sale vendors at that time.

“This change was made based upon the change to the effective dates of our freshwater fishing licenses,” DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens said in a statement announcing the change. “In the past, fishing licenses, like our hunting licenses were effective October 1 thru September 30.  Fishing licenses are now effective 365 days from the date of purchase and it made sense to adjust the effective dates of our fishing regulations to coincide with the April 1 opener of the statewide trout season which is our traditional kickoff to the freshwater fishing season.”  » Continue Reading.



Monday, September 15, 2014

Bolton Acquires Wild Forest Lands To Protect Water Supply

lake georgeThe Town of Bolton has agreed to purchase two forested lots wrapped in a conservation easement near Edgecomb Pond, adding another layer of protection to the source of its drinking water.

“This is a $200,000 piece of property that we’re getting for a fraction of that price. Nothing is more important than our water supply, and we’re protecting it through a wonderful partnership between the town, the Lake George Land Conservancy and a local resident,” said Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover.

The Lake George Land Conservancy’s easement on the property, which protects it from any development, reduced the price to the town by more than $100,000, said Nancy Williams, the Conservancy’s executive director. » Continue Reading.



Monday, September 15, 2014

Marsha Stanley: Monarchs And The Power Of One

image (2)My friend Theresa Mitrovitz from Tupper Lake has a small marvel in her yard this week which, if replicated in thousands more backyards, could help save the Eastern migration of the monarch butterfly. I hounded Teresa and her husband John into joining AdkAction.org, a non-profit for which I volunteer, and soon after Theresa jumped with enthusiasm to help with the organization’s project to conserve Monarchs and the milkweed so crucial to their lifecycle.

For twenty years Monarch numbers have been declining steeply. Last year no monarch butterflies were reported in the Adirondacks, and none were sighted in the annual butterfly count at Lake Placid. This year Monarchs have shown signs of a comeback in the North Country and elsewhere, but they have a tough period ahead if they are to continue their age-old flight back and forth to Mexico where they winter. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Review: New Edition Of ‘Adirondack Rock’ Superb

slipcase with booksThe second edition of Adirondack Rock is out. If that doesn’t seem like a big deal, you must not be a climber.

Local climbers have been eagerly awaiting the second edition, and it’s now evident that their eagerness was justified: although the first edition, published in 2008, is an excellent guidebook, the new one is a major improvement.

Most important, it contains 1,240 new climbing routes and adds a number of cliffs not found in the first edition, including Sugarloaf Mountain (acquired by the state this year), Shelving Rock on the east side of Lake George (72 routes), and Silver Lake and Potter mountains (a combined 150 routes). In addition, the new guidebook documents more than 200 new routes at Crane Mountain, largely the work of Jay Harrison and his cohorts.

All told, Adirondack Rock describes about 3,100 routes (with more than 4,000 pitches) on 320 cliffs scattered around the Adirondack Park. As Tad Welch, one of the region’s most prolific climbers, notes in the foreword: “That’s over 65 miles of climbing, in case you’re wondering.”

» Continue Reading.


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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Birding: Broad-Winged Hawk Migration

TOS_BroadwingHawkIt rained heavily the first time I had planned to go on a hawk watch, and the trip was cancelled. But the rain brought with it a weather front the next day that created the perfect conditions for fall hawk migration. And migrate they did. Hawks and falcons and eagles and vultures soared southward along mountain ridges in numbers I have never seen in the 30 years since then. Carried aloft by rising currents of warm air and light winds from the north, many of those birds may have traveled a hundred miles that day without ever flapping their wings.

Despite the diversity and impressive numbers of raptors, there was one species that stood out to all of the hawk watchers: the broad-winged hawk. It was a bird I had never seen before, and although it is a common nesting species in the forests of the Northeast, the total number of broad-wings I’ve observed since then doesn’t come close to the number that soared past us that day. Whereas most hawks travel alone or in groups of three or four, broad-winged hawks migrate in flocks called kettles that can sometimes number in the thousands. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, September 13, 2014

Review: Driving an Electric Car in the Adirondacks

VoltLast week I discussed the general concept of electric cars in the Adirondacks and the possible types of electric car one might choose. I suggested that a pure electric car – that is, one with no gas engine backup – would not yet be practical in the park because the odds that one would use up their range and be potentially stranded are too high. But an electric car with gas backup is completely workable – and considerably better in terms of fossil fuel use than a hybrid.

This week I’d like to report on our experience driving a Chevy Volt in the Adirondacks. The Volt is an electric car with a gas engine that acts as a backup generator as needed, giving a total range comparable to typical internal combustion cars. As before, I do not endorse the Volt; it simply happens to be the car I own. However many of its features and the issues attendant to driving it in a vast, mountainous park would be common to any electric car. » Continue Reading.



Friday, September 12, 2014

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights



Friday, September 12, 2014

Adirondack Museum’s Rustic Furniture Fair This Weekend

AdirondackMuseum-RusticFurnitureFair_DugerThe Adirondack Museum will present its 27th annual Rustic Furniture Fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, September 13 and 14, with a comprehensive look at traditional and contemporary uses of the rustic aesthetic.

The museum’s festival celebrates rustic creations presented by nearly 50 of today’s artisans and artists, chosen by the museum for their unique interpretations of the genre, as expressed in hand-crafted furniture, household furnishings, and Adirondack paintings.  Entrance to the fair is included with general museum admission.

All across the museum’s campus, rustic makers will talk with visitors about their design processes, raw materials, and tools, and they will also have creations available for purchase. » Continue Reading.



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