Almanack Contributor Pete Nelson

Pete Nelson

Pete Nelson is a teacher, writer, essayist and activist whose work has appeared in a variety of Adirondack publications, and regularly in the Adirondack Almanack since 2005. Pete is also a founder and current Coordinator of the Adirondack Diversity Advisory Council, which is working to make the Park more welcoming and inclusive.

When not writing or teaching mathematics at North Country Community College, Pete can be found in the back country, making music or even walking on stilts, which he and his wife Amy have done professionally throughout the United States for nearly two decades.

Pete is a proud resident of Keene, and along with Amy and his dog Henderson owns Lost Brook Tract, a forty-acre inholding deep in the High Peaks Wilderness.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Pete Nelson: Keep Creativity in Adirondack Arts Education

If you are a parent, a teacher, a student, or were ever a student here in the Adirondacks, I’d like you to engage in a little visioning exercise with me. Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit, maybe with a soothing beverage, do a little deep breathing and relaxation, close your eyes and let peace descend upon you.

When you’re good and ready, think about your own experiences with the arts in school. Whatever the nature and level of your involvement, from painting to music to drama, to even just doodling on your pad during calculus, remember what it was about the arts that mattered to you, how they felt and what memories will most strongly stay with you.

Try to distill your thoughts and feelings about the arts to the essential things that were most important in your schooling life: how they changed you as a person, how they contributed to your growth, the beautiful ways in which they made your education richer and more wonderful, how they were liberating and creative, how they touched other things you were learning, how they resonated deeply with your humanity.  In short, think about the essential meaning and power of the arts in your education. Then come back here. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Pete Nelson: The Adirondack Rail Trail’s Benefits For Wilderness

Elroy Sparta TrailThe unfortunate war over New York State’s plan to turn 34 miles of the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor into an all-season recreational trail may not be entirely over; certainly no one has surrendered just yet. But for all intents and purposes, opponents of the State’s plan have had their Waterloo.

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) Board has voted to affirm that the plan is consistent with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP), clearing the way to proceed. Barring successful lawsuits or an unlikely turnaround, the Tri-Lakes region is going to get its Adirondack Recreational Trail.  » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Faith Communities Gather to Discuss Refugees

KVCCHow can the Adirondack Region be more welcoming to refugees in a time when the need is acute but the political atmosphere is often hostile? On Dr. Martin Luther King Day, the Keene Valley Congregational Church (KVCC) hosted a Refugee Summit for area faith communities to begin a discussion about how to open hearts and homes to refugees in a time of international crisis. Conceived by the KVCC Steering Committee and Minister Milton Dudley, the three-hour event was attended by about seventy people from nearly a dozen churches and faith organizations from throughout the North Country and as far away as Saratoga Springs.

Speaking of the high turnout and the immediate sense of purpose in the room, Reverend Dudley said the gathering went “way above and beyond” his expectations. “I think the spirit here is ‘We want to do something, so let’s go.’ The analysis will come later.” » Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Pete Nelson: When “Balance” Becomes Rhetoric

IMG_1819Balance. The very definition of fairness, reason, harmony, and goodwill. Recently here in the Adirondacks, the word balance has been in the air – and why not? What’s not to love?   That’s the beautiful thing about rhetoric. And if I know anything, I know balance has entered the pantheon of Adirondack rhetoric.

A significant proportion of policy makers who talk about balance however, have an agenda that implies an imbalance in favor of Forest Preserve protection – a long-standing imbalance that needs to be corrected for the good of local communities. The debate underway now over how our Adirondack Park’s wildest places will be managed in the future offers a case in point.

Currently, the Adirondack Park Agency has a plan to amend the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (they are accepting public comments through January 29). The SLMP governs how state land is classified, protected, and managed in the Adirondack Park.  The APA’s impetus to change the SLMP is tied to their plans for the newly acquired Essex Chain Lakes, where they seek to expand bicycling on existing road systems in two areas classified Primitive. The current Primitive classification does not allow bicycling so at least some at APA want to change the definition of a Primitive Area.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Commentary: Airports Are Key To The Adirondack Economy

Adirondack Regional AirportIt has often been said by various Park planners that the availability of convenient air travel from the Adirondack region is an important piece of the North Country’s economic puzzle. But what has seemed colloquially obvious now has interesting research to back it up. If we can draw any parallels to the same issue out West, we can say with more certainty that convenient air travel is in fact an essential piece.

The Adirondack Region offers a great deal to the remote worker: world-class natural beauty, unsurpassed recreational opportunities, a pristine environment, a surprising level of cultural amenities, good restaurants and expanding broadband availability. I’ve even been pleased with shipping and postage times, considerably better than I had expected before I moved here. Indeed, for people who want to be able to live in the Park while participating in a global business world, the overall story is getting more persuasive. But transportation in, around and out of the Adirondacks is a real problem.   » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Immigrants Are Good For The Adirondacks

ADAC LogoWe are in the midst of a major geopolitical crisis over immigration, fueled by war and catalyzed by terrorism. It’s no secret that one consequence is a rising tide of anti-immigration sentiment here in the United States. Recent events have prejudiced our long debate over illegal immigrants and secure borders to the point where any sensible discussion of policy has been all but drowned out. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Rail Trail Commentary: Get To It, Tupper Lake!

Tupper Lake DepotWith the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) having signaled its inclination to support the proposed amendment to the Remsen – Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan that would refurbish the rails between Big Moose and Tupper Lake and replace the rails with a multi-use trail between Tupper lake and Lake Placid, the time for endless argument over the merits of this proposal needs to come to an end. Instead it is time to begin the work to maximize the great economic potential of this project. That’s right, Tupper Lake: I’m talking to you. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

LaChute Portage: The Greatest Adirondack Trail

Lachute River in Spring (Tony hall Photo)I’ve known of the Champlain Valley’s storied past for a long time. But despite a lifetime association with the Adirondacks, I had never been there. Being reasonably well-read in history is hardly adequate to actually experiencing it, so when I was hired to teach at North Country Community College’s Ticonderoga campus I became excited at the chance to do some exploring. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fear and Wonder: The Bookends of Age

Along Johns BrookMy mother Hendrieka is going to turn ninety-five years old just after Christmas. She has led a remarkable life – her adventures would make for an interesting memoir to say the least. Her innate spirit and resiliency remain, but while she shows every sign of being around for a while longer, there is no doubt that she is in the sunset of her life. Even as recently as a year ago she still walked with her trademark pace, an energetic stride with arms swinging in long, purposeful arcs. Now she shuffles, small steps, cautious about any variation in floor or terrain.

Being Mom’s caretaker in her last years has been a learning experience. One of those lessons is the observation that as people get older they become like children again, possessed of both fear and wonder. That may be a cliché, but I’ve seen for myself that it’s true. It’s interesting to live it through Mom – and disquietingly, a little bit through myself. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Demographics: Lies, Damned Lies and the Blue Line

The_Normal_DistributionI have always felt that there were three prevailing dispositions towards statistics: professional – by those who know how to use statistics and do so legitimately; political – by those who use (or typically misuse) them for propaganda; and cynics. Cynics have an attitude toward statistics best captured by the aphorism popularized by Mark Twain: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” » Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Diversity: Hearing the Voices of Young People

TMDA LogoMaking the Adirondack Park more attractive to youth of all backgrounds and preferences was the focus of the second Towards a More Diverse Adirondacks Symposium on August 15th at SUNY-ESF in Newcomb. We had a robust discussion, and the bulk of our time was given to the voices of high school and college-age students, from inside and outside the Adirondacks.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Pete Nelson: Make Newcomb A Hub Of Ecotourism

Newcomb ViewThere has been a long-held belief  about Newcomb among many Adirondackers visitors and residents alike – there’s nothing there.  I’ve heard this about Newcomb on and off for thirty years. It’s Nonsense!

Sure, I don’t deny that the Newcomb area could benefit from more places to dine and stay the night. But I can’t think of any place better equipped to appeal to one class of tourist the Adirondack region has so far mostly ignored: ecotourism. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Lost Brook Dispatches: Homage to Cascade Mountain

Hilltop ViewLast Wednesday was the day that my wife Amy and I finally closed on our Adirondack house in Keene. The morning of the closing I awoke to a cloudy, fogged-in day and an overwhelming need to get my head right and reconnect to this place I have so come to love. I decided to hike up Big Crow, a substantial promontory that rises from one of the ridges of the Hurricane Mountain complex, directly behind our new house. Big Crow has a lot of open rock and a rise of several hundred feet facing the Keene Valley, promising a huge view of the High Peaks beyond. As I began my ascent visibility was a few dozen yards at best. This circumstance is my favorite for an Adirondack climb: I knew the clouds would break as the morning progressed, to spectacular effect. I determined to take in the theater from the summit no matter if it took all morning. » Continue Reading.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Illegal Wilderness Trails: Intention Is Everything

Bushwhack Fallen Spruce and DuffA few weeks back there was quite a kerfuffle here at the Almanack over this post by Dan Crane, concerning illegal trails he came upon along the border of the Five Ponds and Pepperbox Wilderness areas.

Comments, accusations and counter-accusations flew back and forth over whether illegal trials in the Wilderness constituted a big deal or not, who knew they were there and whether they were in fact a common and accepted part of the back country. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Lost Brook Dispatches: Osprey Bay

Osprey IslandI was in the Adirondack Park last week and while I did not have a chance to visit Lost Brook Tract I did get into the back country, climbing Mount Adams (which I highly recommend) and doing a little bushwhacking in the newly acquired MacIntyre East Tract. But it was another place, not as remote as the MacIntyre tract yet as far removed from the world at large as any place I’ve ever been, that called to my consciousness in my hour of need.  No such call could resonate more deeply in me than that of Osprey Bay. » Continue Reading.


Page 2 of 1312345...10...Last »