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.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Cascade Lake in the Pigeon Lake Wilderness Near Old Forge

Carol_mist-600x436When I suggested to my girlfriend Carol that we jog around Cascade Lake in the Pigeon Lake Wilderness, she endorsed the idea without hesitation. Not only is Carol a trail runner, but she also is an avid swimmer. You might say she is a little obsessed. When I mentioned that Cascade Lake has a sandy bottom, I could barely hold her back.

I had my own reasons for wanting to visit Cascade Lake. I was just finishing a guidebook (published in June by the Adirondack Explorer) called 12 Short Hikes Near Old Forge and wanted to take a few photos for the Cascade Lake chapter.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: ADK’s New Topo Map Of The High Peaks

High Peaks mapThe Adirondack Mountain Club has largely stopped making maps, with an important exception: it recently published a color topographical map of the High Peaks that is waterproof and folds to fit in your pack or back pocket.

ADK used to put paper topo maps in the backs of its guidebooks. For the past several years, however, it has instead bundled its books with waterproof maps produced by National Geographic.

So now we have two High Peaks maps: National Geographic’s “Lake Placid/High Peaks” and ADK’s “Trails of the Adirondack High Peaks.”

Both maps are designed to accompany ADK’s guidebook, High Peaks Trails. Tony Goodwn, the longtime editor of the book, also edited the new map. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Martens Reverses Old Mountain Road Decision

In one of his last acts as the state’s environmental conservation commissioner, Joe Martens overturned a predecessor’s finding that part of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail was still a town road and therefore could be open to snowmobiles, ATVs, and other vehicles.

Martens, who left his post last week, wrote in a July 22 decision that the road had long been abandoned and so the state had the power to close it to vehicular use. The road in question — known as the Old Mountain Road — cuts through the Sentinel Range Wilderness between Keene and North Elba.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Paddling the Upper Hudson and Opalescent Rivers

Mann_opalescent-600x388Brian Mann and I had been on the water for several hours when we came to a fallen tree stretched across the river. We pulled over to a sandbank to carry our canoes around.

“Human footprints,” Brian remarked.

“So I guess we’re not Lewis and Clark,” I replied.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Rail Supporters, Trail Advocates Remain Divided

Hope Frenette of ARTAAfter years of public debate and numerous public meetings, the state is nearing a final decision on the future of the rail corridor between Old Forge and Lake Placid, but railroad supporters and rail-trail advocates continue to disagree.

On Wednesday night, the Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation held a public hearing on its plan to remove 34 miles of track between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake and refurbish 45 miles of track between Tupper Lake and Big Moose (a depot northeast of Old Forge).

About 120 people attended the hearing at Tupper Lake’s high school, and 38 spoke. Some favored the state’s plan, seeing it as a reasonable compromise. Rail » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

New Old Forge Guidebook Published

Front cover onlyThe Adirondack Explorer has just published its second pocket-size guidebook, 12 Short Hikes Near Old Forge.

The book is similar in format and price ($9.75) to the Explorer’s first guidebook, 12 Short Hikes Near Lake Placid, which was published last year.

For the second book, we chose a dozen hikes to summits, ponds, and rivers in the vicinity of Old Forge and Inlet. Each chapter includes detailed trail descriptions, GPS coordinates and driving directions for the trailhead, hand-drawn maps by local artist Nancy Bernstein, and photos by a variety of veteran photographers. We also rank the difficulty and scenic beauty of the hikes.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

‘Adirondack Explorer’ Launches Climate-Change Series

July 2015 coverHere’s a word you may not have heard of: phenology. Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines it as “the study of natural phenomena that recur periodically, as migration or blossoming, and of their relation to climate and changes in season.”

Mike Lynch writes about Adirondack phenology in the July/August issue of the Adirondack Explorer, the first article in a series about regional climate change.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Trail Needed To Access New State Lands Near High Peaks

Allen Mountain is the 26th-highest peak in the Adirondacks, but it may be the toughest to get to. Not only is it an 18-mile round trip, but you have to ford the Opalescent River

In theory, the state’s recent acquisition of the 6,200-acre MacIntyre East tract could shorten the hike and eliminate the ford.

The parcel lies between the Hudson River and Allen. A logging road extends several miles into the tract. If the state opened the road to motor vehicles, hikers could begin their hike closer to the 4,340-foot peak.

I won’t offer an opinion as to whether making Allen easier to get to is a worthy object. I suspect many » Continue Reading.


Friday, May 8, 2015

New State Lands: Paddling MacIntyre East

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABrian Mann and I had been on the water for several hours when we came to a fallen tree stretched across the river. We pulled over to a sandbank to carry our canoes around.

“Human footprints,” Brian remarked.

“So I guess we’re not Lewis and Clark,” I replied.

If we weren’t intrepid explorers, at least we could pretend. For even if we weren’t the first, we must have been among the first to paddle the upper Hudson River and Opalescent River since the state purchased the 6,200-acre MacIntyre East tract from the Nature Conservancy in April. The land was formerly owned by the Finch, Pruyn paper company.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

NYCO Finishes Test Drilling In Jay Mountain Wilderness

NYCO Minerals has finished test drilling in the Jay Mountain Wilderness and now plans to assess the quality of the wollastonite found on the site.

Brian Glackin, the mine manager, said the company ended up drilling at only eight sites, though it had originally been permitted to drill at twenty-one.

“At the first three holes there was nothing. That was a big gulp,” Glackin told me Tuesday when I visited Lot 8, the 200-acre parcel that NYCO hopes to acquire from the state.


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