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.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Rock Climber Badly Hurt In Fall From Pitchoff Cliff

Pitchoff Chimney CliffA rock climber was flown to a Vermont hospital after suffering severe injuries in a 60-foot fall from a cliff on Pitchoff Mountain on Monday afternoon. State Police identified the victim as Kyle R. Ciarletta, 22, of Eagleville, PA.

Ciarletta fell after climbing a difficult route known as Roaches on the Wall, said David Winchell, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Winchell attributed the accident to miscommunication between Ciarletta and his belayer, a 23-year-old woman from Norristown, PA.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Bike Trip To The Forgotten Pine Lake

Pine Lake near Essex ChainThe Essex Chain Lakes and Boreas Ponds have been hogging much of the publicity over the state’s acquisition of the former Finch, Pruyn lands. That’s understandable, for both waterways are jewels that are sure to become popular paddling and hiking destinations.

Lost in all the hoopla is Pine Lake, another handsome body of water located a little south of the Essex Chain. In another time, Pine Lake by itself would have been a celebrated acquisition.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Railroad Seeks To Block Adirondack Rail Trail

Adirondack Scenic Railroad. Photo by Susan BibeauThe Adirondack Railway Preservation Society has asked a judge to prohibit the state from moving forward with a plan to remove 34 miles of railroad tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid.

In a lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court, the nonprofit organization contends that the plan to divide a state-owned railroad corridor into a rail segment and trail segment violates the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and the state Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Law.

It names as defendants the Adirondack Park Agency, APA Chairwoman Lani Ulrich, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and Basil Seggos, the DEC acting » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dick Booth: Boreas Ponds Should Be Wilderness

Boreas Ponds aerialDick Booth probably won’t be on the Adirondack Park Agency’s board when it decides how to classify the recently acquired Boreas Ponds Tract, but he is convinced that most of the 20,758 acres should be designated Wilderness, the strictest of the APA’s land-use categories.

“The great bulk of the lands, including the ponds, should be Wilderness,” Booth told Adirondack Almanack on Tuesday, a day after revealing he intends to retire from the APA.

Environmental groups concur that the three linked ponds — with their stupendous views of the High Peaks — should be classified Wilderness, but local towns are arguing for a less-restrictive Wild Forest » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Cuomo Announces Approval Of Adirondack Rail-Trail Plan

Adirondack Scenic RailroadGovernor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced approval of a controversial plan to remove state-owned railroad tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake to create a 34-mile multi-use trail. In addition, the state is committed to restoring 45 miles of tracks between Big Moose and Tupper Lake.

The governor’s announcement is a victory for Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA) and a defeat for the Adirondack Scenic Railroad (ASR), which operates a tourist train on a 10-mile stretch of tracks that will be removed. Later in the day, ASR revealed that it recently filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court seeking to save the tracks.

ARTA President » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dick Booth To Step Down From APA Board

BoothThe Adirondack Park Agency board will soon lose its strongest defender of wilderness: Dick Booth does not intend to serve another term.

Booth’s current four-year term expires June 30, but he said he will stay on awhile if a successor is not appointed by then.

A professor in Cornell’s Department of City and Regional Planning, Booth told Adirondack Almanack he is leaving partly out of frustration with decisions at the agency. He also said the long drive from Ithaca to Ray Brook for monthly meetings and poring over stacks of documents in preparation for those meetings proved draining over the years.

“I’ve been there eight and a » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Adirondack Park Gets Its Own Bouldering Guidebook

Aaron Newell_Tower of Power_V2Years ago I often saw a line of cars parked along McKenzie Pond Road outside Saranac Lake and wondered why they were there. There was no trailhead, no house, just nondescript woods.

Eventually, I learned that those woods harbored a collection of giant boulders and that people would drive for hours to climb them. Not just any people, but hard-core climbers willing to abrade their fingertips on tiny crimps, strain their biceps on overhanging rock, and curse the sky as they labored up routes that often are less than ten feet long. That is, boulderers.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Towns Favor Wild Forest Designation For Boreas Ponds

Boreas_Ponds Map_20160401Five local towns have set forth a land-use proposal for the newly acquired Boreas Ponds Tract that would allow mountain biking and “reasonable” motorized access — an alternative to plans supported by environmentalists.

Both the towns and environmental groups have proposed classification schemes that divide the 20,758-acre tract into Wilderness, where motors and bikes are prohibited, and Wild Forest, a less-restrictive classification. The major difference is that the towns recommend that the Boreas Ponds themselves be designated Wild Forest.

Under all the plans, most people would be allowed to drive on the dirt Gulf Brook Road only as far as LaBier Flow, an impoundment on the » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 25, 2016

The Essex Chain Lakes Lawsuit Explained

Critics contend that incorporating the Polaris Bridge over the Hudson into a snowmobile route would be illegal.Photo by Nancie BattagliaTwo of the Adirondack Park’s major environmental groups are suing the state over the management plan for the Essex Chain Lakes region—a large tract of forest, ponds, and streams that the state acquired from the Nature Conservancy as part of the blockbuster Finch, Pruyn deal.

Protect the Adirondacks and Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court in Albany contending that the management plan violates the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, the state Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers System Act, » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Adirondack Explorer Debuts A New Look

New Explorer coverWe have two milestones to report in the May/June issue of the Adirondack Explorer. The first is evident from the front cover: the state has purchased the spectacular Boreas Ponds, completing the acquisition of 65,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands from the Nature Conservancy.

We broke the story of the Boreas Ponds sale on Adirondack Almanack more than a week ago. It was later picked up by the Associated Press and other news outlets. In the Explorer, we expand on our initial story and discuss the major controversies regarding the management of the 20,760-acre tract. The magazine also » Continue Reading.


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