Thursday, May 30, 2013

Record Brook Trout Caught in Adirondack Wilderness Area

Record Brook trout 2013Rick Beauchamp, of Mayfield, Fulton County, is the new holder of the state record for brook trout after catching a six-pound, 22.5-inch brookie in Silver Lake on May 16, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. The previous record holder was William Altman of Athol, who caught a 21-inch, 5 pound, 14 ounce brook trout in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness in Hamilton County in 2012.

Beauchamp reeled in the new record-breaking fish while fishing Silver Lake, also in Hamilton County in the Adirondack’s Silver Lake Wilderness. The new record brook trout, caught on a lake clear wabbler (the same lure used to catch the previous record fish) and worm, weighed in at slightly more than 6 pounds, surpassing the previous state record set in 2012 by two ounces. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

DEC: Skiers Face Uphill Battle For Glades In Preserve

Ron Konowitz skis on Lyon MountainBackcountry skiers who want the state to allow them to maintain ski glades on Lyon Mountain face an uphill battle, but it might be said that those who “earn their turns” are used to uphill battles.

At a public meeting in Saranac last week, several skiers said the glades on Lyon offer some of the best backcountry skiing in the Adirondack Park.

“We’re not looking to cut down mature forest; we’re looking to maintain what’s already there,” said Dean Schneller, a lawyer representing the Adirondack Powder Skier Association. » Continue Reading.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Big Tupper Resort Amphibian Study: Science After The Fact

Michael Klemens sampling for amphibiansWhile it has not attracted much attention yet, Preserve Associates has hired some biologists to conduct an amphibian study this spring to determine the presence of amphibians on some, but by no means all, of the lands proposed for subdivision and development at the permitted Adirondack Club and Resort (ACR) site in Tupper Lake.

According to APA correspondence, this survey is taking place or has recently taken place within 800 feet of all wetlands on seven of the small eastern great camp lots, and along Lake Simond Road Extension and the proposed but not yet developed Bypass Road. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Do The Adirondacks Have Enough Wilderness?

Quinns-Cliff-300x294Dear readers:  due to a death in the family I was unable to work on this week’s missive.  In lieu of that I am editing and reposting part of a Dispatch from many months ago that is especially germane right now as debate over classification of the Finch Pruyn purchase rages on these pages.  I think it is important to once again make a point about Wilderness from a larger perspective.

Given the nature of the discussion over the Finch lands I need to make a prefatory comment.  I have ranged all over the Adirondacks and I reject the notion expressed by some that Wild Forest  = Wilderness.  While I will admit that solitude can often be as easily or even more easily found in under-used Wild Forest Areas than in over-used Wilderness areas, I do not find the two classifications equal either functionally or aesthetically (for one thing, solitude can be more easily wrecked during a visit to Wild Forest).   The two classification certainly are not equal conceptually – that’s why they exist – and even knowing that as one walks in the woods is valuable.  There are many places in the Unites States that one can have a woods experience roughly equivalent to a visit to Adirondack Wild Forest. There a far fewer places one can go that are as wild and well-protected as Wilderness. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

APA Schedules Hearings On New State Lands

Essex ChainThe Adirondack Park Agency plans to hold eight hearings around the state to explain options for managing 21,200 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands and up 24,200 acres of adjacent Forest Preserve. The agency also will gather input from the public on the management and use of the lands.

The APA board is expected to adopt one of the options—possibly with alterations—at its August or September meeting.

The state recently bought the 21,200 acres from the Nature Conservancy, which acquired some 161,000 acres from Finch, Pruyn & Company in 2007. The state intends to buy a total of 65,000 acres of former Finch lands over the next few years.

The APA has set forth seven options for classifying the lands so far acquired. All of them call for creation of a Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area. They differ mainly in the classification of the Essex Chain Lakes and in the degree of motorized access to the Essex Chain and the Hudson.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Options For New State Lands: Wilderness

Essex ChainThe state’s acquisition of 22,500 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy raises important questions about how these lands will be used and managed. The Adirondack Park Agency has submitted seven management proposals that will be discussed at public hearings this summer. The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) board could vote on a final proposal as early as August.

Adirondack Almanack has prepared a series of four articles to explain these proposals. In each article, we look at one proposal or two related proposals. The text will be accompanied by the APA map or maps showing the classification of the lands under the proposal in question. The maps will be the starting point for the discussion.

In the first article, we look at two proposals for classifying most of the former Finch lands as Wilderness.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Proposal for the High Peaks Wilderness

Marcy Dam 1Last week I set the table for a discussion on how better to manage and protect the High Peaks Wilderness, the centerpiece of the Adirondack Park.  My Dispatch offered no specifics; instead I asked readers for comments and ideas.  I got many good ones.  I paid attention to all of them and was influenced or informed by several.  Now it’s time to show my cards.

Allow me to preface my remarks by saying that while I think everyone who loves the park has a stake in the fate of the High Peaks area, I claim no definitive knowledge of what kinds of changes would be best.  We need to listen to experts in forestry, ecology, land use and the like and follow their lead. That said, I know the High Peaks better than most so I’m not merely being a provocateur here.  Additionally, I have a personal stake in this discussion that is shared by very few: a certain private parcel near and dear to my heart lies within this Wilderness.  » Continue Reading.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Hearings On New State Lands to Begin June 12

Essex ChainThe Adirondack Park Agency will kick off on June 12 a series of public hearings on the use and management of 22,500 acres of new state land, including the Essex Chain Lakes and parts of the Hudson River.

After the hearings, the APA will decide how to classify the lands—a decision that will affect how people can recreate and how accessible the lands will be. The state recently bought the former Finch, Pruyn timberlands from the Nature Conservancy.
» Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

DEC Planning Expanded Access to Sacandaga Easements

nys dec logoThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is preparing a recreation management plan (RMP) for the 3,200-acre Sacandaga West Conservation Easement lands in Fulton County.

Public involvement is sought in the development of the recreation management plan. DEC is seeking information and ideas that will lead to clearly stated goals and objectives for the care and stewardship of these lands. Everyone with an interest in the area is encouraged to participate in the planning process by providing information and suggestions for its management.
» Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Improving The High Peaks Wilderness

Great Range from the First BrotherThis week I am getting my mountain fix in the Pacific Northwest, where Amy and I are attending a school in wilderness woodcraft.  That circumstance will make this week’s Dispatch mercifully short.  It will have to serve as a prelude to a more substantial missive I have been working on for a few weeks, one  which will offer suggestions – some of them certain to provoke disagreement – for improving the wilderness experience in the High Peaks, better protecting the Forest Preserve in general and sensitive high mountain terrain in particular.

Regular readers know that I am a proponent of expanding the State’s wilderness holdings.  I have written a number of Dispatches on this topic, so will not repeat my justification for this position here.  But equal to that desire is the desire to see existing wilderness holdings become wilder and healthier over time.  It should be said right at the forefront that the people of the State of New York have done extremely well with that.  Tony Goodwin, commenting to me this week on a number of topics that will be part of my coming Dispatch, gave me a useful and important perspective on this when he described the conditions when he first climbed Mount Marcy, in 1957: » Continue Reading.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Finch Lands Public Hearings Planned

Essex Chain and nearby ponds (Photo by Carl Heilman)The Adirondack Park Agency board voted Friday to schedule public hearings on seven options for classifying about 22,500 acres formerly owned by Finch, Pruyn & Company as well as up to 25,300 acres of adjacent Forest Preserve.

The APA has yet to determine the dates and locales, but the hearings likely will take place in June and July in several communities around the state, including hamlets inside the Park.

The agency could vote on a preferred option as early as its August meeting.

The pending classification of the former Finch lands already has sparked disagreement among the Park’s various factions. At stake is the degree of access to the Essex Chain Lakes, a string of connect pond in the interior, and to takeouts on the Hudson River.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chazy Highlands Management Plan In The Works

Lyon_Mountain_-_View_from_lake_ChazyThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is preparing to restart a management plan for nearly 60,000 acres of Forest Preserve and other state-managed lands in the Chazy Highlands Complex. The lands spread across 493 square miles in 34 separate parcels in the northeastern Adirondack Park and are located in the towns of Bellmont, Duane, and Franklin in Franklin County and the towns of Altona, Black Brook, Dannemora, Ellenburg, and Saranac in Clinton County.

Natural features in the Complex include Lyon Mountain,  Haystack Knob, Norton Peak, and  Ellenburg Mountain; Upper Chateaugay Lake and Chazy Lake; and Saranac River and Great Chazy River. The primary recreational uses are fishing and hunting; however the public also participates in hiking, camping, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and bird/wildlife watching on these lands. Both the trail to the Fire Tower on the Lyon Mountain and the Lewis Preserve Wildlife Management Area are frequented often by the public. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lake George Lake Stewards Return to Duty

Lake George Invasive Species Lake StewardThe Lake George Association (LGA) Lake Stewards are back on duty for the boating season in an effort to protect Lake George from new introductions of aquatic invasive species (AIS).  Last Saturday, May 4, was their first day out at launches on the lake.

In years past, the lake stewards have not started at the launches until Memorial Day weekend. However, this year with an additional $20,000 being provided through the Lake George Park Commission from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, the program is starting earlier and will be collecting data throughout the month of May.  Lake stewards are currently on duty 8 am to 5 pm Thursdays through Sundays at the Mossy Point Boat Launch in Ticonderoga, Norowal Marina in Bolton Landing, and the Million Dollar Beach Boat Launch in Lake George .  » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Adirondack Wild Seeks ‘Wild Rivers Wilderness’

essexchainAdirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve is proposing newly acquired Forest Preserve in Newcomb and Minerva to be classified Wilderness in honor of one of the Park’s most influential conservation leaders of the 20th century.

The group wants New York State to recognize Paul Schaefer’s historic legacy of protecting the Upper Hudson River by advocating for a Paul Schaefer Wild Rivers Wilderness that is inclusive of the recently acquired Essex Chain of Lakes-Cedar River tract (13,000 acres), Hudson River Stillwater tract (5,000 acres), the Indian River tract (1,400 acres), and the OK Slip Falls tract (2,800 acres).
» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Piseco Students Get An Invasive Species Lesson

3Young students knock my socks off with their ability to grasp new concepts! I delved into the world of the emerald ash borer, a nasty invasive insect, with third, fourth and fifth graders of Piseco’s After School Program. When I asked how many students heard of the emerald ash borer, none raised their hand. By the end of the interactive program, they understood its life cycle, listed invasion clues, and knew how to stop its spread. Talk about a class of intelligent students!

The program kicked off with some nitty gritty definitions. I asked the students what they thought the differences were between native and invasive species. They knew that native organisms are ones that have been in the Adirondacks for a long period of time, and invasive organisms are ones that cause harm to the environment, economy, or society. » Continue Reading.


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