On June 21, a large group of hikers gathered on the summit to celebrate—with champagne and cake—the renaming of the 4,012-foot mountain from East Dix to Grace Peak in honor of the late Grace Hudowalski, the longtime historian of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers.
In some respects, Roaring Brook Falls isn’t such a great climb. The rock can be loose, mossy, or wet. And there are places where you can’t find cracks to insert protective gear—cams or chocks that are clipped to the rope to catch a fall. In short, it can be slippery and dangerous.
Nevertheless, R.L. Stolz regards it as an Adirondack classic. Since the 1980s, he has climbed the lower part of the route maybe a hundred times and done the whole 520-foot route about twenty times. “This is a very pretty climb,” says Stolz, co-owner of Alpine Adventures in Keene. “It’s unique in that you’re climbing next to a waterfall. The downside is that it’s a » Continue Reading.
In July, Earthjustice obtained a temporary restraining order to block the test drilling. At the time, Justice Thomas Buchanan scheduled arguments for August 22 on whether the ban should remain in effect for the duration of a lawsuit filed against NYCO, the Adirondack Park Agency, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Protect the Adirondacks and the Sierra Club are asking the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, to review a recent decision in favor of the developers of the Adirondack Club and Resort, a massive development proposed for Tupper Lake.
In July, the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court upheld the Adirondack Park Agency’s decision to grant a permit to the developers.
In a statement today, Protect and the Sierra Club said the midlevel appeals court, which is based in Albany, made several errors in its analysis of the case. Because the Appellate Division’s decision was unanimous, the groups must seek permission to take the case » Continue Reading.
The New York Bicycling Coalition has kept a low profile in the debate over the future of the Adirondack rail corridor, but its proposal for the 119-mile corridor is similar to the one set forth by the state.
Last September, the coalition’s executive director, Josh Wilson, wrote the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to call for removing the tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake to create a trail for biking and other non-motorized activities in spring, summer, and fall.
“NYBC believes that such a trail would be unparalleled in New York State and the Northeast,” Wilson wrote Raymond Hessinger, director of DOT’s Freight and Passenger » Continue Reading.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the opening of the trail today in news release in which he also touted funding for equestrian trails in the central Adirondacks and for the repair of the Lake Abanakee Dam in Indian Lake.
The state acquired OK Slip Falls—one of the tallest cascades in the Adirondack Park—from the Nature Conservancy in 2013. Since then, people have been hiking to the falls along informal trails or bushwhacking.
The official trail starts on the north side of Route 28, at the same trailhead for a pre-existing trail that leads to Ross, Whortleberry, and Big » Continue Reading.
St. Regis Canoe Outfitters has published two new waterproof maps for paddlers, one covering the three Saranac Lakes, the other covering the St. Regis Canoe Area.
The color maps cover some of the same territory as the Adirondack Paddler’s Map, also published by St. Regis Canoe Outfitters, but the new maps are more detailed and, being smaller, easier to handle.
They’re also less expensive: $9.95 versus $19.95 for the Adirondack Paddler’s Map (which is four times as large).
“Many first-time visitors are going to grab a $10 map before they grab a $20 map,” said Dave Cilley, owner of St. Regis Canoe Outfitters, which has stores in Saranac » Continue Reading.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation is giving the public an extra week to submit comments on its draft management plan for the Essex Chain Lakes. The state acquired the Essex Chain last year from the Nature Conservancy, which purchased it in 2007 from Finch, Pruyn & Company.
Following is the entirety of DEC’s news release:
The public will have an additional seven days to comment on the Essex Chain Lakes Management Complex Draft Unit Management Plan (Draft Essex Chain UMP) and Draft Community Connector Multiple Use Trail Plan (Draft Trail Plan UMP) the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. DEC extended the comment period until July 25 in response to » Continue Reading.
Earthjustice has obtained a court order blocking NYCO Minerals from test drilling in the Jay Mountain Wilderness Area until the judge has a chance to hear oral arguments in Earthjustice’s lawsuit against NYCO and two state agencies.
State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Buchanan on Monday granted Earthjustice’s request for a temporary restraining order–providing the plaintiffs post a $10,000 bond to cover NYCO’s damages if Earthjustice loses the suit. NYCO could have begun work as early as this week and argued in court that delays would hurt the company financially.
Earthjustice attorney Deborah Goldberg said the bond was posted Wednesday afternoon.
Supporters of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad continue to push for keeping the tracks at the Lake Placid end of the rail line and for creating a “rails-with-trails” option for bikers, hikers, snowmobilers, and others who want to use the state-owned corridor.
The Adirondack Railway Preservation Society, which operates the railroad, said in a news release last week that a multi-use travel corridor best serves the public interest. “Rails and trails can exist and work successfully together,” it declared.
On Monday, a volunteer group called Trails with Rail Action Committee (TRAC) also voiced support for this idea. TRAC says it has been working with state officials “to identify recreational trails within the existing » Continue Reading.
Known as scoping sessions, the meetings will be held to solicit the public’s ideas for the 90-mile corridor between Old Forge and Lake Placid.
Following the meetings, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and state Department of Transportation will analyze the public comments and develop a draft management plan for the corridor. The departments will hold public hearings on the draft before issuing a final version of the plan.
DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said he hopes the final plan will be adopted sometime in the second half » Continue Reading.
At a hearing Tuesday afternoon, State Supreme Court Justice Richard Giardino said that Hudson River Rafting cannot offer raft trips on any part of a river where licensed guides are required, according to the office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. In doing so, the judge reaffirmed an earlier order.
The attorney general has taken Hudson River Rafting and its owner, Patrick Cunningham, to court several times over the past few years. In 2012, Schneiderman tried to close Hudson River Rafting permanently over » Continue Reading.
Assistant State Attorney General G. Nicholas Garin is asking Justice Richard Giardino to forbid Hudson River Rafting from operating whitewater trips on rivers that require licensed guides until its owner, Patrick Cunningham, replenishes a $50,000 performance bond.
The Olympian skier Betty Woolsey climbed in the Adirondacks and Gunks with such pioneers of rock as Jim Goodwin, John Case, and Fritz Wiessner. Circa 1950, she put up the first Adirondack route led by a woman—the Woolsey Route on Rooster Comb Mountain.
The guidebook Adirondack Rock says it’s not exactly clear where Woolsey’s route went, but it most likely followed a corner near a climb established by Wiessner known as Old Route. It is rated 5.8 on the Yosemite Decimal System scale, » Continue Reading.
Just in time for the holiday weekend, the state Department of Environmental Conservation is giving rock climbers access again to Moss Cliff, one of the region’s better crags. Moss Cliff had been closed to avoid disturbance of peregrine falcons during nesting season, but DEC has detected no nesting activity on the cliff this year.
Located in Wilmington Notch,the 400-foot cliff towers over Route 86 and the West Branch of the Ausable River. It’s a landmark to motorists, but climbers know it for its clean rock and tough routes.
Earthjustice attorney Christopher Amato filed the freedom-of-information request Thursday with the state Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Management on behalf of several environmental groups, including Adirondack Wild and the Sierra Club.
Amato is seeking all records submitted by rail carriers regarding the oil-transport routes as well as any requests by the carriers to keep such records secret.
On Thursday, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names voted to rename the 4,012-foot peak after Grace Hudowalski, the first woman to climb all forty-six of the High Peaks and the longtime historian of the Forty-Sixers organization.
Doug Arnold, chairman of the group’s Grace Peak Committee, worked twelve years to get support from local and state officials for the name change.
“Mountain naming is not a frivolous thing,” he said. “Ultimately, she was proven worthy, and I think that is a testament to the Forty-Sixers.”
Dick Booth, the chairman of the committee, acknowledged that some green activists oppose the test drilling on legal and environmental grounds.
“This may well get litigated, but that’s not a surprise,” Booth said before the vote.
The committee voted to amend the Jay Mountain Wilderness management plan to allow the drilling. The full APA board is expected to approve the same amendment on Friday. (The board did indeed pass the amendment without further discussion.)