Tuesday, September 2, 2014

West Stony Creek: Seeing Wilderness In A Wild Forest

West Stony mapThis summer, a small parcel of state land on the Fulton-Hamilton county line in the southern Adirondacks has been receiving an increased amount of public scrutiny. Most of it has enjoyed a quiet existence since the state started acquiring lots here at tax sales as early as the 1870s and 1880s; with no trails or famous landmarks, few people have had a reason to visit it. However, this little block of state land will soon become the site of a new section of the Northville-Placid Trail (NPT), fulfilling the goal of relocating the southern end of that long-distance hiking route closer to its official starting point in Northville. It has also been proposed for a wilderness reclassification, due to the acquisition of a former Finch Pruyn parcel to the south. Therefore if you are not familiar with this corner of the Adirondack Park, you will probably be hearing more about it soon.

The area that I am describing is a corner of the Shaker Mountain Wild Forest straddling the banks of West Stony Creek, immediately south of Benson. Most of it occupies the rectangular bulge in Hamilton County’s southern border that was created when the town of Benson was set apart from Hope in 1860, taking with it the northernmost portion of Mayfield. This has always been a blank spot on most maps—unsettled and unknown. To my knowledge there have never been any official state trails here, although it is possible that an ancient town road may have traversed the hillside south of the creek. It has one small pond, a range of unnamed mountains, and of course a section of West Stony Creek, which is here designated as a “scenic river” under state law. » Continue Reading.



Monday, September 1, 2014

Nine Stories About Adirondack Labor



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Wilderness 50th: Howard Zahniser And The Black River Wars

Howard Zahniser at Mataskared, Crane Mtn in backgroundHoward Zahniser knew he needed two things when he came to the Adirondacks in 1946. The two things could help him prove himself to his national wilderness mentors—now his new employers—at the Wilderness Society. They could also help him build the practical and functional organization needed to pursue a national wilderness preservation system. First, Zahnie, as he was known, needed honest-to-goodness wilderness in reasonable automobile vacation reach of Washington, D.C. for our family. Even this was a two-day car trip then, and we would camp overnight on the way. Second, he needed to leave his professional comfort zone of public relations and public information and journalism work. He needed to expand into grassroots political organizing and consensus building. That is, he needed to learn to operate in the larger world that would become the environmental movement twenty-five years later.

The Adirondacks and their Edwards Hill setting—soon to be Mateskared—met the first need. Paul Schaefer met the second. Paul was my father’s ticket out of his own comfort zone. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Historical Biographies and William West Durant

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat follows is a guest essay by Sheila Myers, who is working on a historical novel based on the life of William West Durant.

In science there is an expression that theories can never be proved, only disproved. I teach science, and that may be why a comment I read while researching William West Durant for my novel about his life provoked me to find out where this famous builder of Great Camps in the Adirondacks drew his inspiration. This then led me to uncover some fallacies in his biography.

It started with the dissertation by Mary Ellen Domblewski (Cornell University, 1974). In it she conjectures that Durant, having no formal training in architecture, may have visited the Bernese Oberland during his time abroad. It would be there, she believed, he would have observed the Swiss cottage style that he emulated at great camps Pine Knot and Sagamore.

» Continue Reading.



Saturday, August 30, 2014

Lost Brook Dispatches: Giants in the Mist

Magnificent giants - timeless and veiled.Last week we spent a few precious days at Lost Brook Tract. It was a cool, overcast stretch of weather that reminded me of the Adirondacks of my youth, when impending fall could at any time push and urge its way into lazy August days, into the fading summer.

During nearly all of the time we were on our land the cloud ceiling remained low and Keene Valley enjoyed gray days and rain. But at our lean- to at 3,300 feet we were immersed in the clouds themselves, the daylight hours gloaming, exalting the primeval feel of the forest.

We are accommodated to – though ever awed by – our cathedral of ancient forest giants: red spruces that lift from thick-barked trunks to as much as a hundred feet in the air. At Lost Brook Tract stands of old-growth trees tower and brood as in few other boreal forest communities in the park. To sit among them is for me to feel both old and ageless, all at once. These groves are for patience and contemplation. » Continue Reading.



Friday, August 29, 2014

The Milky Way Over Johns Brook Lodge

JBL Milky Way 2

The night sky at Johns Brook Lodge on a clear moonless night is always breathtaking. The lodge is a great place to visit if you enjoy staring into the heavens. It is a backcountry lodge outside of Keene Valley, 3.5 miles into the High Peaks Wilderness. There have been numerous renovations to the lodge over recent years, most recently the sleeping accommodations were upgrade with real mattresses and new bunks. The staff are really what makes the place special though, they make great meals and know the valley inside and out. If you are looking for a nice backcountry accommodation it is definitely worth checking out. The view from the porch on a night like this is always a nice bonus as well.



Friday, August 29, 2014

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights



Friday, August 29, 2014

HoboFest And Farm2Fork: Fresh Food, Fresh Music in SL

HoboFestThe term hobo means different things to different people conjuring up images of the Depression, freight jumping, and an independent spirit. For my family it brings up my grandfather’s stories as an orphaned runaway immigrant living on the streets of Brooklyn. His stories were colorful and glossed over a hard street life. After spending a brief time on the rails, he lied about his age to join the military where he would recall the first time he ate a meal until he was full. Years later he was able help others and always fed anyone that passed by or knocked on the door.

With Farm2Fork and the HoboFest, Labor Day weekend in Saranac Lake brings together three elements that my grandfather would love: fresh food, music and railroads. » Continue Reading.



Friday, August 29, 2014

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Spiny Water Flea Confirmed in Lake Champlain

spiny water flea lake champlainThe spiny water flea is the first aquatic invasive zooplankton to be confirmed in Lake Champlain, bringing the known number of nonnative and aquatic invasive species in Lake Champlain to 50.

Specimens were collected this August in the Main Lake segment of Lake Champlain as part of the Lake Champlain Long-term Biological Monitoring Program supported by the Lake Champlain Basin Program.

Sample analysis by the Lake Champlain Research Institute at SUNY Plattsburgh confirms multiple specimens from two different monitoring stations. Additional samples are being examined. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Aug 28)

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This weekly Adirondack outdoor conditions report is issued on Thursday afternoons, year round.

Get The Weekly Outdoor Conditions Podcast

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio. A narrative version of this report can be found at Mountain Lake PBS.

 

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

» Continue Reading.



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Jumping Mice: Long Tailed Leapers

TOS_JumpingMouseThe woodland jumping mouse, as its name indicates, lives in forested areas. It is hard to observe, but common in the Northeast. If you have a chance to see one up close, perhaps courtesy of a cat, you’ll notice an extremely long tail and large hind feet. The fur is bright yellow to orange on the flanks and face and white on the belly. A broad, brownish-black stripe runs down the back. The tail is 4.5 to 6 inches long and has a white tip (this tip is the easiest way to distinguish it from its cousin, the meadow jumping mouse.)

The mouse walks when moving slowly, but relies on its jumping ability to travel quickly, and to cover distance. How far can this little mouse jump? Accounts vary, but most agree it can jump at least six feet horizontally and two feet high. It uses a four-footed hop. Both front feet are planted at the same time, both back feet an instant later. The large hind feet with long ankle and toe bones provide leverage when pushing off, thrusting the body into the air. The forelimbs are folded into the chest. The long tail trails behind, assisting in balance. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, August 28, 2014

5th Annual Great Adirondack Moose Festival Planned

Moose At Helldiver Pond by John WarrenThe Adirondacks, with its vast expanses of wilderness forests, abundant stretches of pristine wetlands, waterways and rugged mountain terrain, serves as home to many forms of wildlife. While all of these creatures have uniquely appealing traits and exhibit their own brand of personal charm, few possess the backwoods’ magic and allure of the moose. Part of this beast’s popularity lies in its massive size, which can range from several hundred pounds for a juvenile to 700 and 800 pounds for a healthy adult. The moose also wins affection with its unusually lanky body features, long snout, and awkward gait.

In an attempt to spotlight and honor New York State’s largest wildlife resident, the Indian Lake Chamber of Commerce in the Central Adirondacks, will be holding a celebration, The Great Adirondack Moose Festival, (GAMF) the weekend of September 27 and 28. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Johnsburg Historical Exhibit: What’s In Your Attic?

johnsburg-historical-society-logoThe Widlund Gallery at Tannery Pond Community Center (TPCC) in North Creek will present “What’s In Your Attic?”, a Johnsburg Historical Society exhibit of locally collected historic artifacts which will open on Saturday, August 30th, and continue until September 24th. All are invited to attend the reception, Saturday 30 from 5 pm to 7 pm, followed by a concert by the Trio Casals.

Now in their 40th year, Johnsburg Historical Society has been fulfilling its mission to preserve, protect and promote the history of the Town of Johnsburg since 1973. A collection of artifacts, photographs, textiles, books and more are housed at the Wevertown Community Center, a two-storey white building (formerly Odd Fellows Meeting Hall) just north of the corner of Route 28 and Route 8 – on Route 8. Meetings are held monthly on the first Monday at 11 am. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Goodman Mt. Trail Dedicated To Slain Civil-Rights Activist

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAState officials, Tupper Lake residents, and others turned out in force on Tuesday afternoon to dedicate a new hiking trail to Andrew Goodman, a twenty-year-old civil-rights activist murdered in Mississippi fifty years ago.

Goodman and two fellow activists—James Chaney and Michael Schwerner—were kidnapped and killed by the Ku Klux Klan in June 1964. That summer, activists traveled through the Deep South in a campaign to register African-Americans to vote.

The murders and their aftermath was dramatized in the 1988 movie Mississippi Burning starring Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe.

» Continue Reading.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Healing Soul Wounds At Wiawaka Holiday House

GroupThe Adirondacks have a long tradition as a place for healing, the most prominent example being the thousands who came to “take the cure” for tuberculosis at the Trudeau Sanatorium in Saranac Lake during the first half of the 20th century.

Not as well known was how the arts were used as a important part of the patients’ treatment and recovery, a process that lead to the establishment of the creative arts therapies. More recently, the benefits of arts was dramatically demonstrated when music used as a critical part of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s ability to regain her speech following her having been shot in the head during an attempted assassination January 2011. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Adirondack Habitat Awareness Day Saturday

jen-062014-snowy11This year’s Adirondack Habitat Awareness Day, combines meeting predators from wolves, eagles and snowy owls to bobcats and fox, and learning about their roles in our ecosystem, with understanding how critical habitat and climate issues impact America’s wild lands.

Habitat Awareness Day is on Saturday of Labor Day weekend, August 30th, from 10 am to 5 pm, at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, 977 Springfield Road in Wilmington. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Commentary: Governor Should Sign Aquatic Invasives Bill

Michael Abrahamson, LGA lake steward, inspects boat at Dunham’s Bay in 2011Legislation passed in June that bans the transport of aquatic invasive species (AIS) across New York has been sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign into law. Similar laws are on the books in a number of other states. This legislation will significantly improve New York’s focus and ability to control AIS.

Governor Cuomo has until September 6th to sign this legislation. He should sign it. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Farm 2 Fork Festival Set For Saturday

Farm2ForkA bounty of locally produced food and drink is on the menu for the fifth annual Farm 2 Fork Festival, scheduled for 9 am to 2 pm, on Saturday, August 30th at Saranac Lake’s Riverside Park.

New this year, local organizers have partnered with Taste NY, a program of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, to highlight the quality, diversity and economic impact of food and beverages produced in the Adirondack region. A collaboration of the Adirondack Green Circle and the AuSable Valley Grange, the festival’s mission is to expand the support of local foods and local farms and promote food awareness in the northern Adirondacks.

“What could be more fun than a festival that celebrates fresh food and local farm abundance? Not much, at least for me,” said Gail Brill, event coordinator for Farm 2 Fork in announcing this year’s event. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Adirondacks May Become A Conduit For Tar-Sands Oil

Rail accident in Lac Megantic, Quebec in 2013 (Wikimedia photo)Four environmental organizations are sponsoring a forum in Plattsburgh this week on the dangers of transporting Bakken crude oil on trains through the Champlain Valley, but trains may someday be moving another hazardous fuel through the region: oil from the Canadian tar sands.

Global Companies receives Bakken crude at the Port of Albany, much of which is transported on a rail line that runs along the shore of Lake Champlain. Bakken crude is a volatile fuel that caused massive explosions when a train derailed in Quebec last year, killing forty-seven people.

» Continue Reading.



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