Just when I thought winter was over, Mother Nature decides to put me in my place with a late dumping of snow around the High Peaks. Though we may be dragging out the shovels and breaking out the skis, some places in the Adirondacks are getting ready for a bit of spring cleaning.
The public is encouraged to attend and provide comment on the final draft of the Ausable River Watershed Management Plan at an open house on Wednesday, April 27th from 5:30 pm to 7 pm at the Town of Jay Offices at 11 School Lane in Au Sable Forks.
Over five years, people in the Ausable watershed and beyond came together to develop the Ausable River Watershed Management Plan, a snapshot of ecological and community challenges in the Ausable River watershed and a vision for planning that hopes to include community interests and needs. » Continue Reading.
Two 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, and state snowmobile-trail policy. » Continue Reading.
For the second year North Creek is focusing children ages 3-10 on Earth Day during a event April 23 from 10 am to 1 pm that features over 15 activities around the village. Children will have the chance to solve everyday problems and learn how to leave the world in a better place.
According to Johnsburg Youth Committee Organizer Kate Hartley the Earth Day Passport activities are within walking distance and teen volunteers will be on hand as guides. » Continue Reading.
My first reaction to the announcement of the state’s acquisition of magnificent Boreas Ponds for the Forest Preserve is to celebrate, and to recall how long the Adirondack Nature Conservancy has owned this 21,000 acre tract – the last of the big Finch Pruyn tracts which the state committed to purchase. It was April 2007 when Finch Pruyn employees, then Governor Spitzer, and the rest of the world learned that Finch was selling everything – all 161,000 acres – to the Conservancy, with help from the Open Space Institute. And in the same announcement, that the mill in Glens Falls would continue operations and employment.
This news that April day nine years ago was breathtaking. Adirondack Wild’s mentor Paul Schaefer had dreamed and worked for such a result from the early 1960s until his death in 1996. That was the significance of the Finch forests even fifty years ago. George Davis of the Temporary Study Commission on the Future of the Adirondacks (1968-70) put Boreas Ponds on the cover of the Commission’s final report. » Continue Reading.
The state has purchased the 20,760-acre Boreas Ponds Tract on the edge of the High Peaks Wilderness, the final phase in a multi-year deal to acquire 65,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy.
One of the natural gems of the former Finch property, Boreas Ponds is expected to become a destination of paddlers, hikers, and backpackers. The waterway offers breathtaking views of the High Peaks, including Mount Marcy, the state’s tallest summit, and much of the Great Range.
The state paid $14.5 million for the tract, according to a deed filed April 5 in the Essex County clerk’s office.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders deserve praise for approving a state budget that increases appropriations for the Environmental Protection Fund, enhances programs to fight invasive species and helps communities build needed clean water infrastructure.
The Adirondack Park is a national treasure and a global legacy for us and for future generations. This historic budget enhances that legacy with a $300 million Environmental Protection Fund, $350 million for clean water infrastructure grants, and more. It is a blueprint for how the nation should invest in water, wildlife, wilderness and communities. » Continue Reading.
The state hoped to buy the 20,760-acre Boreas Ponds Tract this fiscal year, which ended today (March 31). Although it didn’t happen, the acquisition is still in the works, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation.
“DEC remains committed to the purchase of the Boreas Ponds and is in the final stages of the acquisition,” said Lori Severino, a spokeswoman for the agency.
The purchase will be the last phase in a multi-year deal to acquire 65,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy.
The fight to embrace wilderness and to keep designated wilderness areas free from mechanized uses is a national fight. APA weakened the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan this month by carving out two exceptions in its Primitive Area guidelines for bicycling and motorized maintenance in the Essex Chain and Pine Lake Primitive Areas.
This reflects a lack of appreciation of how sophisticated, gear-leveraged muscle-powered recreation impacts areas where the law states humans must not dominate the landscape (and where human uses are restrained to preserve, enhance and restore natural conditions). » Continue Reading.
The New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame has announced that it has inducted eight new members, including two posthumously.
The NYSOHOF is an organization dedicated to honoring those individuals who have spent many years preserving outdoor heritage, working for conservation, or enhancing outdoor sports for future generations. » Continue Reading.
During National Invasive Species Awareness Week, I had the good fortune to teach Indian Lake Central School’s 9th graders how to become beetle busters. On February 22, they discovered how invasive insects can cause economic, ecologic, and societal harm. For this lesson, we zeroed in on emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle.
The class already had a solid understanding of what invasive species are because their teacher Sandra Bureau had been incorporating invasive species curriculum into their studies since September. Hands shot up when I asked for a definition. I detailed that Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer probably hitched a ride from Asia to the United States in wood packing crates. Without the ecological checks and balances found on their home turf, they reproduce rapidly. » Continue Reading.
With warming temperatures and dry conditions, residential brush burning in towns with less than 20,000 residents is prohibited from March 16 through May 14. With the lack of snow cover over much of the state and unseasonably warm temperatures forecast, experts believe conditions for wild fires will be heightened in the coming weeks.
New York prohibits residential burning at this time of year to reduce wildfires and protect people, property and natural resources. Open burning of debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in the state.
When temperatures are warmer and the past fall’s debris and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily and be further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation. » Continue Reading.
Last weekend I did a traverse through the Giant Mountain Wilderness, from Chapel Pond over Giant, down to Hopkins and out to Keene Valley. The trail from Giant’s summit down to the col between Giant and Green Mountain is a favorite, a marvelous, unrelenting descent along a forested slope.
Last Sunday it was more entertaining than usual. Facing north and covered in trees, the slope had preserved a modest snowpack, but of course it had not escaped the cycle of thaws and freezes we have endured during this odd winter. The result was a mighty slippery hike. The Ridge Trail up Giant had its typical rivers of ice but the trail down to the col was considerably more treacherous, coated in a dull sheen, with long, icy slabs and bulwarks often lurking under less than an inch of crusty, fragile snow. Even with microspikes it was a dicey scramble requiring a special level of vigilance.
It occurred to me while I was making my way down Giant that this hike represented a pretty strong metaphor for the political shift that seems to be happening in State land use policy here in the Adirondacks. From my perspective we are positioned on a slippery slope and it is incumbent upon us as citizens of New York to raise our level of vigilance.
At the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) meeting on Friday March 11, 2016, the APA acted to amend the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (APSLMP) to make a series of changes, the most controversial being changes to the Essex Chain Lakes and Pine Lake Primitive areas to allow public bicycle use and use of motor vehicles for management and maintenance by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
The APSLMP sets management policy for the 2.6-million acre Adirondack Forest Preserve. Since enactment in 1972, the APSLMP has managed Forest Preserve lands classified as Primitive Areas as essentially Wilderness areas. Many Primitive areas have ultimately been upgraded and reclassified to Wilderness. Bicycles and motorized use, even for state agencies, except in times of emergencies, are prohibited in Wilderness areas. » Continue Reading.
It was a riveting 90 minutes at the APA this week. In those 90 minutes, the NYS Adirondack Park Agency amended the State Land Master Plan. In doing so, the agency contradicted and violated basic definitions and guidelines that have been protective of wilderness values since 1972.
The big four amendments: » Continue Reading.