Almanack Contributor Phil Brown

Phil Brown

Since 1999, Phil Brown has been Editor of the nonprofit Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues, the same topics he writes about here at Adirondack Almanack.

Phil is also an energetic outdoorsman whose job and personal interests often find him hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, trail running, and backcountry skiing.

He is the author of Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures, which he co-published with the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the editor of Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, an anthology of Marshall’s writings.

Visit Lost Pond Press for more information.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Paddling Tips For New Opalescent, Hudson River Areas

Upper HudsonWhen researching my Adirondack Paddling guidebook a few years ago, I canoed a stretch of the upper Hudson River and the lower Opalescent River. At the time, legal options for accessing both rivers were limited, despite their proximity to County Route 25, the road leading to the Upper Works trailhead.

I parked along the road next to a Forest Preserve sign and put in the Hudson from a sloping boulder with poor footing. In the book, I recommended people paddle downriver to the Opalescent and then paddle back up the Hudson a few miles to take out at a bridge on County Route » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

State Acquires 6,200 Acres of Former Finch, Pruyn Land

MacIntyre EastThe state has acquired a 6,200-acre tract next to the High Peaks Wilderness that includes long stretches of the Hudson and Opalescent rivers, making them easily accessible to flatwater paddlers.

The state bought the property for $4.24 million from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy as part of a multi-year agreement to acquire sixty-five thousand acres of former Finch, Pruyn & Company lands. It is now open to the public.

Known as MacIntyre East, the property lies between Mount Adams and Allen Mountain and just east of the road leading to the Upper Works Trailhead in Newcomb. Last year, the state bought a companion tract known as MacIntyre West, » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

It’s April, But Don’t Put Away Skis Yet

Carol MacKinnon Fox summits Mount Van Hoevenberg on skis. Photo by Phil Brown.It may be April, but there’s still skiing to be had in the backcountry. Wednesday morning I skied to the top of Dewey Mountain outside Saranac Lake and enjoyed a fun run down in virtually midwinter conditions.

Last weekend, Carol MacKinnon Fox and I skied over the summit of Mount Van Hoevenberg and found plenty of snow on the descent. There also was plenty of snow last weekend on the Mr. Van Trail in the High Peaks Wilderness.


Monday, March 30, 2015

DEC Closes Rock-Climbing Cliffs For Falcons

Nesting falcons. Photo from DEC website.You know winter is coming to an end when the state Department of Environmental Conservation closes rock-climbing cliffs where peregrine falcons are known to breed.

Peregrines are on the state’s endangered-species list, and so each spring DEC closes cliffs to protect their nesting sites. Cliffs will be reopened if no nesting occurs on them. Those cliffs used for nesting will be reopened in the summer after the chicks fledge.


Monday, March 23, 2015

A Fish Creek Ponds Ski Tour

Follensby_snow-600x308The winter started out promising with a good snowfall in December, but later in the month rains washed away most of the snowpack. We received a bit of light, fluffy powder the week after Christmas, but not enough to make most trails skiable.

And so, not for the first time in recent winters, we opted for a ski tour across backcountry ponds.

When people think of pond skiing, they usually think of the Seven Carries in the St. Regis Canoe Area. Indeed, Carol MacKinnon Fox and I skied the Seven Carries route on January 2 and found the conditions ideal: a few inches of light snow on top of rock-solid ice, with no slush. We had » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Skiing The Marcy Trail

Tim Peartree ascends Mount Marcy in a whiteout Sunday. Photos by Phil Brown.This has been a great winter for powder skiing in the backcountry, thanks to a two-month-plus stretch of cold weather without a serious thaw. Alas, that stretch ended last week, leaving me a bit apprehensive about ski conditions.

On Sunday, I skied Mount Marcy with my neighbor, Tim Peartree, starting from Adirondak Loj. As it turned out, the trail was in great shape for skiing.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Push For Clustering Of Developments

Woodworth_lots Courtesy of APAEnvironmentalists say the approval of a housing development at a former Boy Scout camp underscores the need for tighter regulation of privately owned backcountry lands in the Adirondacks.

All four of the Adirondack Park’s major environmental groups opposed a plan to subdivide 1,119 acres in Fulton County into twenty-four building lots, most of them bordering two water bodies, Woodworth Lake and Hines Pond.

Nevertheless, the Adirondack Park Agency board voted unanimously to approve the subdivision in January.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

TR’s Diary Of An Adirondack Birding Trip

63061_covThe State University of New York Press is coming out with an edition of Teddy Roosevelt’s diaries from 1877 to 1886, when the future president was in his late teens and twenties. Given TR’s ties to the Adirondacks, I expected to find some entries from our neck of the woods and was not disappointed.

In 1877, Roosevelt and a friend, H.D. Minot, wrote a short article with a list of birds they had observed near Paul Smiths, The article – “The Summer Birds of the Adirondacks in Franklin County, N. Y.” – was TR’s first published work. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Bike Trails In Wilmington Are Great For Skiing

Keith on PMDWilmington is gaining a reputation as a mountain-bike mecca, but what’s less well known is that many of the biking trails in town make great ski trails.

Mike Lynch, a writer/photographer with the Adirondack Explorer, and I learned this firsthand when we skied a trail called Poor Man’s Downhill with Keith McKeever this week.

Keith happens to be the spokesman for the Adirondack Park Agency, but he also is active in the Barkeater Trail Alliance (BETA), a group of mountain bikers that has been creating and maintaining bike trails in Wilmington, Lake Placid, and Saranac Lake. As noted in an earlier article on Adirondack Almanack this week, BETA recently merged with the » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Goodwin Stepping Down As Head Of Ski Touring Council

tony-ski2After nearly thirty years in the post, Tony Goodwin is resigning as executive director of the Adirondack Ski Touring Council, the organization that created and still maintains the Jackrabbit Ski Trail, a popular backcountry route that connects Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, and Keene.

“I am actually of retirement age. I had been thinking that when someone with the right skill set comes along that it would be time to bow out,” said Goodwin, who lives in Keene.


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