The Adirondack Park Agency is considering two amendments to the State Land Master Plan, both concerning the Essex Chain Lakes region, but the agency likely will be asked to weigh broader changes to the document.
The Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board already has set forth nine proposals for amending the master plan, which governs the state’s management of the Forest Preserve.
“There’s going to be more, but that’s a start,” Fred Monroe, the board’s executive director, told Adirondack Almanack at an APA “listening session” Wednesday evening, the first of four such meetings that the agency plans to hold to gather ideas on amending the master plan.
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.
It seems that every big city now has a “ghost tour,” but here in the Adirondacks we have our very own ghost town. And what could be more appropriate than a Halloween tour of a ghost town?
Iron ore was discovered on the banks of the upper Hudson in 1826 and two businessmen, Archibald McIntyre and David Henderson, soon developed a mining operation that they conducted with varying success for the next three decades. To house the workers, a nearby village was built and named McIntyre, then renamed Adirondac around 1840.
McIntyre’s Adirondack Iron & Steel Company came to an end in 1858, and so did the village. Reasons for their demise include the difficulty in transporting iron from such a remote mountain location, impurities in the ore that made it difficult to process, a downturn in the global economy, a devastating flood that washed out the dams, and McIntyre’s death. The settlement of Adirondac again changed names, now being called simply “the deserted village.” » Continue Reading.
I have no doubt that when the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) announced its intent to begin an amendment process for the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP), more than one preservation-minded advocate held their breath for a moment. The master plan, after all, is the document that has guided the management of the Forest Preserve for the past forty-two years. It has capped the amount of roads and snowmobile trails to essentially 1972 levels, kept snowmobile trails reasonably narrow and trail-like, and kept both roads and snowmobile trails out of the designated Wilderness areas. For a preservationist who seeks to foster the wild forest character of our state lands, these are accomplishments worth celebrating.
On the other hand, people seeking enhanced access to the Forest Preserve for a greater number of people will list these same SLMP accomplishments as a set of roadblocks that should be reconsidered.
The current amendment process is being conducted because in 2013, as part of the classification package that designated the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area, the APA promised it would revisit the SLMP to see if there was a way to open these lands to mountain bike use. The area was classified Primitive to balance competing political influences: on one side, a desire to keep the lakes as motorless as possible — floatplanes notwithstanding — while on the other hand allowing motor vehicle access on some of the surrounding roads. In an odd twist, some traditionally preservation-minded voices were more than okay with this, calling the classification scheme “wilderness with access” — turning the old “Access versus Wildness” argument on its head. » Continue Reading.
A coalition of New York’s environmental and historic preservation organizations is expressing its gratitude today after receiving a decision from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that preserves the rights of state and local governments to regulate the size, shape and visibility of telecommunications towers in scenic and historic areas, including the Adirondack Park.
In January, the groups sent a joint letter to the FCC, urging federal officials to recognize that scenic beauty and historic significance are the backbone of local tourism, both inside and outside of the Adirondack Park. In public comments on a proposed FCC rule, they asked the commissioners to reject the notion that expansions of 10 percent or more in the height or width of cell towers would have no impact on the environment or historic preservation. » Continue Reading.
The Old Forge Company, Thistlethwaite now its president, sold the Forge House to Charles I. Thomson and his son, Raymond E. Thomson in August 1915. Thistlethwaite would soon establish the Adirondack Development Corporation to which the heavily mortgaged Old Forge Company in January 1916 would transfer remaining unsold tract lots.
The new company would open a store front on today’s Point Park triangle. Unbelievably, the deed acquired by Thistlethwaite’s company still included the 1871 right to raise the dam three feet that belonged to the state since 1879. The state certified the dissolution of the Old Forge Company in 1919. » Continue Reading.
Right now I have three oversized bags of candy hidden on a shelf in my kitchen, waiting to be opened on Halloween. I’m sure my children are thinking that they will be eating everything that remains after I pass out most of it to the waves of tiny princesses, goblins and super heroes on Friday night. My kids don’t get a lot of candy, but they aren’t feeling neglected either. I’ve always asked my kids to divide their candy into a pile to keep and a pile to give away.
I understand the logic that there is no such thing as “leftover candy.” I do think there is something as too much. I also understand that Halloween candy seems to have an infinite shelf life. Even though every event doesn’t have to be a lesson, I feel that when my children are faced with an obscene amount of treats, it is exactly the time to make sure something is given back. » Continue Reading.
At the first of four public meetings on the future of the Adirondack rail corridor, state officials made it clear Tuesday night that a rails-with-trails compromise is not an option–which likely did not sit well with the many supporters of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad in the crowd.
About 100 people packed a room at the State Office Building in Utica to hear representatives of the Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation outline their plans for amending the 90-mile corridor’s management plan.
The departments have proposed removing the tracks in the 34-mile section between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid and building a multi-use trail for road biking, hiking, skiing, and snowmobiling. The state would retain and rehabilitate the tracks south of Tupper Lake.
Recently, the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) announced that it will commence an amendment process for the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, the document that sets the state’s management policies for the Forest Preserve and other state-owned lands in the Adirondack Park.
For some people this action will be seen as a long-overdue opportunity to update an important document that has not been materially amended since 1987. For others, this will be a period of apprehension—an opportunity for opponents to weaken certain cherished provisions that have been in place since 1972. » Continue Reading.
This Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Report is issued by DEC and is a reminder that conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcounty and always carry a flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.
Know The Latest Outdoor Conditions
The Adirondack Almanack reports the most current outdoor conditions on Thursday evenings each week. On Friday mornings, John Warren reports the latest outdoor conditions on WSLP (93.3) and on the stations of North Country Public Radio. A weekly conditions podcast is available online on Friday mornings.
» Continue Reading.
My own “What the Rocks Remember” and photographs by Karla Brieant, is the exhibit currently on display in the gallery space at the Paul Smith’s College VIC. There will be a “Meet the Artists” reception on Sunday, Nov 2, from 2 – 5 and the exhibit will be up through Nov 21.
I first met Karla nearly twenty years ago. We both were volunteering at the Paul Smith’s College VIC, working with area art teachers and taking students out on the trails to do nature observation and sketching. I didn’t really know her very well, but when I saw her photographs, I could tell we felt the same reverence for the Adirondack landscape. Flash forward to 2014. I contacted Karla and asked if she would like to do a month long exhibit with me at the VIC and she agreed. When asked if we should have some kind of theme, I don’t remember which one of us suggested “rocks”, but the other eagerly agreed. » Continue Reading.
Only five people showed up to comment on the Open Space Conservation Plan at public hearings held at the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Region 5 headquarters in Ray Brook Thursday.
The Open Space Conservation plan outlines the state’s conservation priorities and lists lands the state should consider buying if they become available. It is written by the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and DEC, with input from regional committees.
The plan lists four urgent priorities: promoting outdoor recreation; addressing climate change; ensuring clean water, air and land for a healthy economy; and protecting, using and conserving natural resources and cultural heritage. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency has announced that it is opening the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan for review. This is momentous news. Together with the Land Use and Development Plan which governs development on private land in the Park, the State Land Master Plan (SLMP) is one of two fundamental documents used to carry out the will of the people, as expressed in Article XIV of the NYS Constitution, that the Adirondack Forest Preserve should be “forever kept as wild forest lands”.
My interest in revising the SLMP is to strengthen its focus on ecological integrity over more traditional notions of open space. The SLMP, to its credit, already emphasizes science and ecology. But it was written in 1972, when ecology was still very much a nascent science. It can be a stronger document by taking advantage of forty years of maturation in a discipline more relevant to the protection of the Adirondacks than any other. » Continue Reading.
Winter was in the air on Sunday, but only in higher elevations. We hiked the Gothics – Pyramid – Sawteeth traverse and came back to a glowing Indian Head at Lower Ausable Lake. In this photo you can see Indian Head on the left and Mount Colvin on the right. We were in the clouds most of the morning and this sunshine really made our day.
“You can’t go home again” is an adage based on the title of a Thomas Wolfe book, but with a different meaning from Wolfe’s original intent. The adage suggests we can’t relive our youth, and in a wider sense can’t recapture what once was. If that’s true, I recently came as close as one can by visiting my hometown for a book-related event. The result was a Mayberry-like evening with a roomful of nice people, and a close-up look at the accomplishments of a dedicated historian seeking to preserve our heritage.
I was raised in the northeast corner of New York State in the village of Champlain, representative of small-town America in the 1950s and 60s. The Champlain Literary Club recently asked me to speak about my books and the milestones our business has achieved during ten years in business as of October 2014. » Continue Reading.
When you find a bird feather in the woods and stoop to pick it up, does your mom’s voice echo in your brain? Can you hear her say, birds have lice, don’t pick that up? Mom was mostly right. Birds can have lice (though you won’t catch lice from a bird). But what Mom probably didn’t know is that birds have something far creepier lurking in their feathers. It’s six legged, leathery, and flat. And it sucks blood.
The good news? It does not want to suck your blood.
Avian hippoboscid flies – also called flat flies and louse flies – survive on bird blood. Estimates vary for the number of different species in our region, but there are likely more than ten, fewer than twenty. » Continue Reading.
When I walk the land around Matthew Beach’s original hut and William Wood’s shanty on Raquette Lake’s Indian Point, I imagine the Abenaki guide Mitchell Sabattis pulling into their landings in a canoe or guideboat made by his own hand. Indian Point was a waypoint for many a traveler boating through the Central Adirondacks.
While it is impossible to know how often Sabattis visited those acres, we have written record of at least three occasions: his trips with Joel Tyler Headley in 1844-46, accompanying C. W. Webber in 1849, and an expedition of women who explored the region in 1873 (beautifully told in Barbara McMartin’s book To the Lake of the Skies).
Sabattis guided for my great-great-grandfather George Hornell Thacher in 1862 as he explored the region from a base camp Sabattis had on Blue Mountain Lake’s Crane Point. Even if Thacher and his guide traveled to Raquette Lake however, it’s unlikely they spent a night on Indian Point. Sabattis maintained a campsite from 1852 to 1877 on Watch Point according to Ken Hawks, who now owns the property. » Continue Reading.
This year’s lecture, intended to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act, was given by renowned environmental historian William Cronon. As we ponder revisions to both New York State’s Open Space Conservation Plan and the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP), Cronon’s presentation provides an interesting and useful historical perspective. » Continue Reading.