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.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Commentary: NYCO’s Mining Amendment Is A Bad Idea

NYCO-Mines-APA-Map-2Legislation is pending in the State Legislature for “second passage” of a Constitutional Amendment to transfer 200 acres of Forest Preserve lands in the Jay Mountain Wilderness to NYCO Minerals, Inc. This legislation has strong support from North Country elected state representatives. The Governor supports it and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is taking an active role stalking for the bill.

There are two big problems with this effort. First, this land swap sets a terrible precedent for the “Forever Wild” Forest Preserve. Second, the bill is riddled with inaccuracies, outright falsehoods, and misstatements. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Profile: New Adirondack Council Leader Willie Janeway

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn his first day on the new job, Willie Janeway said he has no big changes in mind at the Adirondack Council—at least, not right away.

Janeway, who is forty-nine, resigned this year as a regional director for the state Department of Environmental Conservation to become executive director of the council.

“I get to be an ambassador for the Adirondack Park. What a great thing to sell—the Adirondacks,” Janeway said Wednesday in an interview with the Adirondack Explorer and Adirondack Daily Enterprise. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Boat Owners Targeted for Invasives Education

USLakes-2012The Adirondack Landowners Association (ALA) has announced the beginning of a three-part education program targeting boat and trailer owners to reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species.

According to a statement issued to the press, the ALA has succeeded getting the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to include an educational insert about preventing the spread of invasive species in all boat and trailer registration renewals by mail. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Absence From The Backcountry

Sunshine PondAbsence makes the heart grow fonder.

Although this statement’s author remains shrouded in mystery, its profoundness cannot be understated. Despite its original intent, probably pertaining to lovers, it can equally apply to once familiar places or things now long absent. For me, as spring emerges from an obstinate winter, it applies to the Adirondack backcountry, whose absence has left a void in my life for the past year.

An unfortunate and mysterious injury to my left knee, nearly a year ago, forced upon me a compulsory convalescence lasting more than five months. During much of this time, simply walking was mildly painful, let alone anything as arduous as bushwhacking. Sadly, this period of recovery coincided with prime backpacking season, lasting into the late summer of last year. A recuperatory period followed for many months, leaving me finally feeling capable of braving once again the beauty and rigor of the remote and trail-less backcountry. » Continue Reading.


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