Almanack Contributor Tom Woodman

Tom Woodman

Tom Woodman has been publisher of the Adirondack Explorer since 2008.

Prior to that he was managing editor of the (Schenectady) Daily Gazette, the newspaper where he worked for 27 years in positions that also included reporter, editorial writer and Sunday editor.

He lives in Keene, with his wife Jeannie.



Thursday, September 1, 2016

Recreational Pressure: More Money, More Partners Needed For DEC

Cascade Mountain outside Lake Placid by Mike LynchReporting in the Adirondack Explorer and Adirondack Almanack shows the challenges facing the state as it tries to keep up with recreational pressures in parts of the Adirondacks. It also points to strategies that can help us preserve the natural character of the region and still serve the hundreds of thousands of visitors the Park attracts each year. Driving both the problems and the innovative responses are financial constraints. Overall, the story is at once disheartening and encouraging.

Staffing at the state Department of Environmental Conservation has not recovered to adequate levels following cutbacks from 2008 through 2010. Those staff cuts led to a notorious dismissal of Commissioner Alexander Grannis in the midst of a fiscal crisis in 2010. Grannis’s offense was to tell the governor the department was “hanging by a thread.” He said budget cuts would leave the department unable to fulfill its various missions statewide. Recovery from that fiscal crisis has not brought DEC staffing back to what’s needed. In the Adirondacks, the consequence is that a corps of forest rangers and field staff is stretched thin at a time when their services are needed more than ever. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Reverend Philip Allen’s Mountain Ministry

Fr_allen-600x445The Reverend Philip Allen is pastor of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Indian Lake as well as St. Paul’s in Blue Mountain Lake and St. Joseph’s in Olmstedville.

He grew up on the family dairy farm in Peru, New York, entered seminary in Ogdensburg, and spent his career in parishes of the Ogdensburg Diocese in northern New York. He has been in Indian Lake for three and a half years and has also served in churches in Saranac Lake and Ausable Forks, among other communities. He has been an avid hiker and at the age of eighty-one is one hike short of completing the Adirondack Forty-Six for the twenty-fifth time. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Park Perspectives: Regaining the Lead in Park Protection

preservationofprivateownedspace1Four decades ago the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) came into being. It was not an easy birth or infancy. Political opposition weakened this new creature even before it saw the light of day. And controversy surrounded its early years as it worked to incorporate conservation values in the regulation of private lands. Its efforts often were met with misunderstanding, misinformation, hostility, and defiance.

Its future, though, seemed as promising as its present was turbulent. Conceived with the promise of protecting the Park forever, the APA embodied the optimistic view that the Adirondacks could become a model for the world, a mix of public and private lands managed for the benefit of wild nature and human communities, natural beauty and an economy nurtured by the attractions of outdoor recreation and the wise use of natural resources. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

New State Lands: A Trip To OK Slip Falls

heilmanphotoatokslip-600x800Gazing on OK Slip Falls as the waters plunge 250 feet into the gorge at our feet, it’s easy to give in to a rush of impressions. This cataract, the tallest in the Adirondack Park, has true grandeur and raw power. But it also displays surprising subtlety. The falling torrent divides into bands of white foam and darker water, moving in undulating patterns before crashing onto the boulders below.

For the visitors in our group, there is a sense of excitement. We’re a vanguard for a public that has long been unable to view this wonder. Until this year it has been hidden on private property. Located amid woodlands near the Hudson River Gorge, OK Slip Falls is now part of the publicly owned Forest Preserve and will soon be accessible by a new hiking trail. It’s one of the premier destinations in the former Finch, Pruyn & Company lands recently purchased by New York State from the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Park Perspectives: On The Fort Ticonderoga Ferry

ti-ferrywebYou can measure time a number of ways aboard the Fort Ticonderoga ferry. The voyage from shore to shore of the Lake Champlain Narrows takes seven and a half minutes. Set your watch. Seven and a half minutes across, seven and a half minutes back.

Or you can free your mind to roam as you chug across the waterway. Let the Civics, Fiestas, and 4-by-4’s on the deck dissolve in your imagination and be replaced by rustic passengers in the rowboats and canoes that plied the crossing when ferry service began in 1759. Or picture those that crowded onto the sailing scow that went into service in 1800. This is the grand sweep of time through the generations, played out under the gaze of colonial Fort Ticonderoga, which played key roles in the formation of this country. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Peavine Swamp Trails: Skiing the Quiet Groves

peavineOn the Peavine Swamp trail system in the northwestern Adirondacks near Cranberry Lake I found a tranquil route through open forest, culminating on a knoll overlooking the Oswegatchie River. Removed from the more challenging terrain of the High Peaks backcountry, the trails allow the skier to settle into a soothing rhythm of kick and glide over level ground and rolling ridges. The occasional gully or steeper pitch is enough to rate the trail’s difficulty moderate or intermediate—but in a low-key way.

It’s a good trip for looking around and appreciating the forest, and on a clear day in early January, I was  accompanied by two skiers who were well qualified to be guides through these woods: Jamie Savage, professor at the Ranger School in Wanakena, and John Wood, senior forester for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Jamie uses these lands as an outdoor classroom for his students. And John, working with Jamie and other partners in the area, has been developing plans for increasing hiking and skiing routes near Cranberry Lake. » Continue Reading.