Mt. Colden’s Trap Dike is a well-known feature among hikers, climbers and geologists. It is not, however, the only trap dike in the High Peaks. Take notice and you’ll find smaller dikes crisscrossing most of the slides and treeless summits. Most of these are interesting and perhaps photogenic, but irrelevant to climbing.
One of the best-kept backcountry secrets is a large vertical trap dike capped with a diagonal car-sized capstone on Mt. Marcy. It lies in a northeastern facing cliff deep in Panther Gorge and looks like a pencil-thin shadow from the summit of Mt. Haystack. This is Marcy’s Great Chimney. » Continue Reading.
In early 1897, Neil and Stella Litchfield continued touring in the North Country, appearing at Canton, Chase Mills, Edwards, Lisbon Center, Oxbow, Massena, Morristown, Ogdensburg, Waddington, and other sites. For the next two years, they toured and performed while developing a new act for the future, a comedy sketch titled Down at Brook Farm. Ostensibly, it was loosely based on Brook Farm, a failed Utopian community founded in 1841 in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
The most popular characters Neil had portrayed during the past two decades — uneducated, pure-hearted rural folks — became the nucleus of the new act. Down at Brook Farm was inspired by the popularity of other plays and sketches with “uncle” characters in the title — usually Uncle Josh, at the time featured in shows as Uncle Josh Jenkins, Uncle Josh Simpkins, and Uncle Josh Weathersby. Neil himself gained great praise for portraying the lead role in Uncle Josh Spruceby, playing alongside Stella, who nabbed the second-leading role of Aunt Jerutha. Together they made the show a top hit while touring theaters and opera houses in New York City, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. Sometimes they covered a venue for three consecutive nights, and at other times appeared in three or four different towns or cities during the same week. It was an exhausting schedule but provided great publicity, and allowed time to refine the rural characters for the new act. » Continue Reading.
The draft Cedarlands Conservation Easement Recreation Management Plan (RMP) has been released for public review and comment by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
The 4,865-acre Cedarlands Easement is located in the town of Long Lake, Hamilton County in the central Adirondacks. The conservation easement divides the property into four areas, each of which has different restrictions. The conservation easement provides for some public recreation rights on the 3,309-acre McRorie Lake Area for 10 months (between August 24 and June 23), and year-round on the 592-acre Mud Pond Area. The 674-acre Long Lake Area and the 289-acre Base Camp Area are not available for public use.
The famed surveyor Verplanck Colvin built the first tower on Stillwater Mountain way back in 1882. The hole that once held his copper marker is still visible on the summit bedrock.
Colvin’s tower is long gone, but a steel tower built in 1919 still stands, and last week the state nominated the structure — along with the fire observer’s cabin and some other buildings — for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. Click here to read the state’s application.» Continue Reading.
A recreational water path that extends along the Lake Champlain shoreline between Rouses Point and Whitehall, the Lake Champlain Blueway Trail is a guide for paddlers of more than 90 points of interests — such as parks, wildlife viewing spots, geological curiosities, historic sites, museums, and campgrounds.
The online travel guide weaves historical information, recreational opportunities, paddling tips, boat launches, docking, and marinas. » Continue Reading.
As spring’s crescendo of birdsong mellows now to a steadier summer trill, I listen for melodies I don’t recognize and try to figure out which birds are singing. I look through binoculars at their feathers, the color variations along head and chest, the size of their beaks, the shape of their wings, and the tilt of their tails in my flailing attempts to distinguish one species from another. Rarely have I considered feet in my casual observations, although this part of a bird’s anatomy can be highly specialized for various uses.
“When you look at the foot of a bird, they’re not all the same,” said Kevin McGowan of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “All the birds basically started off with three toes forward, one back. From that, they’ve evolved in a number of different ways for various reasons.”
Birds walk on those toes – not the entire foot. The backward-bending joint we may consider a knee is actually the birds’ ankle. The feet consist mainly of bones and tendons, with very little muscle and few blood vessels. » Continue Reading.
The 2017 New York State Legislative session ended on June 21st as both houses adjourned and left Albany. It remains unclear at this time if the two houses will return to complete unfinished business. The two houses were deadlocked over issues of “Mayoral Control” of New York City schools and extensions for local taxation districts across the state. Both of these issues are important for New York City and state residents and may require further action.
There was unfinished business for the Adirondacks as well. The two houses were close to reaching an agreement in the last hours of the session on enabling legislation for the proposed “Health and Safety Land Accounts” amendment to Article XIV, Section 1, the “forever wild” provision of the State Constitution. This amendment would provide access to 250 acres of Forest Preserve lands for maintenance of local highways in the Adirondacks bordered by Forest Preserve, and lands for municipal water wells, as well as authorize burial and colocation of utility lines and bike paths in state and local highway corridors. The “enabling legislation” sets in law the process for the implementation and administration of the amendment. » Continue Reading.
DEC is seeking volunteers to maintain trails in the towns of Peru and Black Brook in Clinton County and town of Chesterfield in Essex County.
You can be part of a one-day work group, a three-day once a year effort, or a few hours on numerous days throughout the year – during the week or on weekends – whatever works best for you. » Continue Reading.
It’s not too early to start thinking about late blight. No relation to early blight, with which it shares a last name, late blight has become a perennial disease since infected tomato plants were shipped from southern greenhouses to the Northeast in May 2009. Prior to that, late blight was uncommon, but now we seem to be able to bank on its arrival each August. The fact that it is a seasonal immigrant is worth noting, since most garden diseases (such as early blight) are already here in the soil.
Gardeners and produce growers make a fuss about late blight because it has the potential to kill acres of tomatoes and potatoes in a matter of days; its fearsome reputation is well-deserved. Given the botanical name Phytophthora infestans, “highly contagious plant destroyer,” it is what laid waste to the Irish potato crop from 1844 to 1846, leading to a devastating famine. » Continue Reading.
A bi-partisan team of NYS Legislators reached a tentative agreement on an amendment to the “Forever Wild” clause of the State Constitution Wednesday night, but were unable to get the final bills approved before members of both houses returned to their districts.
Sponsors were hopeful today that the final agreement could be approved by both houses before the legislative session ends for the year. Neither house had declared its session to be formally ended when both houses sent their members home shortly before midnight Wednesday. » Continue Reading.
Champlain Area Trails will formally open the newest addition to the CATS trail network on Sunday, June 25 in Willsboro, with a hike starting at 1 pm. All are invited to celebrate the grand opening of the “High Point Trail” which goes to the highest point on Willsboro Point.
The High Point Trail is on the property of Marsha and Bill Harbison, who developed the trail and have opened it to the public for hiking. CATS completed trail work, marked the trail, and created a small parking area trailhead. » Continue Reading.
The Sembrich summer film series will begin on Monday, June 26th at 7:30 pm at the Bolton Free Library with the North Country premiere of Afterimage, the final film by Polish director Andrzej Wajda, who passed away in 2016 at age 90. The screening is free and open to the public.
Afterimage will be introduced by Radka Franczak, a film-maker in her own right who studied at the Wadja School in Poland under the mentorship of Wajda.
In addition to introducing the Wajda film, Franczak will present a brief preview of her own work-in-progress, a film documentary on the life of Marcella Sembrich entitled Lost Voice. » Continue Reading.
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