Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cabin Life: Sweeping the Chimney

The nights are longer and cooler and the daily high temperatures are lower than the summer lows.  I’m glad for the solar lights strung around the cabin.  They cast a pleasant blueish glow without being blinding.  Wearing a headlamp literally all time last winter really got old, and it’s nice to be able to see without one.  Now I can find my glass of Maker’s Mark without burning batteries.

Ed got another mouse last night.  He can never get them during normal waking hours, only in the middle of the night.  So, after work, I didn’t do anything that could be called “chores” or “work” or anything like that.  I sat on the boulder that serves as my front step and played guitar.  I let all the animals out to enjoy the warmth of the afternoon sun.  Pico ate grass and layed around, Ed went out hunting, and Herbie was somewhere doing whatever it is fat cats do. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Building the Adirondack Economy

Last week’s Dispatch provoked a healthy discussion in the comments section.  The readers of the Almanack proved once again to be light years ahead of your average blog trollers by being thoughtful and respectful.  My arguments about economic reality in the park and elitism in the question of land use were not met with a single angry or accusatory response, but rather thoughtful commentary.  So thanks to all.

In fact, I was a little surprised to see that my economic argument was left virtually unchallenged.  Instead the discussion followed the common theme over whether there is enough wilderness in the Adirondacks, but along two lines so as to apparently dismiss the claim that a local perspective is elitist.  The first line was to question the value of wilderness in the first place (as I strictly defined it for the purposes of this argument).  Is an area of untrammeled Adirondack wilderness really that valuable to anyone, much less someone leagues away living in Cleveland?  The second line was to argue over usage, both locally and from a national perspective: who uses Adirondack wilderness and how much? » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Scientists Study Mercury Pollution With Dragonfly Larvae

The Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation (ALSC) recently completed collections of dragonfly larvae in acid rain sensitive Adirondack surface waters in a new study of mercury pollution.

ALSC staff assisted Dr. Sarah Nelson of the University of Maine Mitchell Center and School of Forest Resources, and collaborators at the SERC Institute, Maine Sea Grant, the USGS Mercury Research Lab, and Dartmouth College, who have been developing the concept of using dragonfly larvae as bio-sentinels for mercury concentrations in northeast lakes and streams. Dragonfly larvae or immature dragonflies live in the water for the first year or years of their lives. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pace Law School Profs Issue Forest Preserve Papers

At the Bar Association’s Environmental Law Conference in Lake Placid on October 13, Pace University Law School professors Nicholas Robinson and Philip Weinberg released twelve edited papers – eleven by their law school students – that review the history, and relevancy today of New York’s Article 14.

Effective since 1895 and known as the “Forever Wild” provision of our State Constitution which protects the State’s Forest Preserve in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, Article 14 states that “the lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands.”
» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Report: 2012 State of the Adirondack Park

The Adirondack Council, an independent advocate for the Adirondack Park founded in 1975, has issued it’s 2012 State of the Park report.  “The Adirondack Park was subjected to a barrage of extreme outside influences over the past 12 months, some of which devastated small communities and public natural resources, while others brought unprecedented good news to park residents and visitors,” a Council issued press release said.

The annual State of the Park Report reviews of the actions of local, state and federal government officials that the Council believes have helped or harmed the Adirondack Park over the past year. The illustrated, 18-page review is the Council’s 27th annual State of the Park report. A copy of the report is available online. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cabin Life: What Is Living Off The Grid?

I had a great trip to South Carolina last weekend for a friend’s wedding.  Shorts and flip flops all day was a nice change from the jeans and sweatshirts our weather has required.  And for some reason, this trip has caused me to think a lot about what it means to live off the grid.  Maybe it was all that time spent on planes breathing recycled air.  

I’m not sure, but I do know that I consider myself off the grid with no running water, electricity or even indoor plumbing.  But I have cell phone service and my blog has a Facebook page.  How off the grid is that?
» Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches:
Economic Reality and Wilderness Protection

In last week’s Dispatch I claimed that we do not have nearly enough protected wilderness in America.  I promised to address counterarguments and objections this week.   I would like to thank all commenters for what were on the balance quite thoughtful observations.

After reading the comments and thinking about what issues a reasonable person might raise I came up with three possible objections to my parade of numbers: » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

APA: Land Classification, Mirror Lake, GIS, Invasives

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting at its Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY on Thursday, October 11 and Friday, October 12, 2012. Included on the agenda are set-back and height variances for a project on Mirror Lake, an extension of the Barton Mine wind power tower weather monitoring stations in Johnsburg, an update on the status of Asian clam eradication permits, a discussion of the vulnerability of at-risk species to climate change, and informational presentations on the state land classification process, the use of GIS for recording public trail use data, and invasive species in Lake George and Lake Champlain.
» Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

How Much Wilderness is Enough?

A week ago last Monday I was in my kitchen preparing for my classes and enjoying a cup of coffee.  I loaded up the Almanack and read the just-published article by Phil Brown about his trip to the Boreas Ponds as part of Governor Cuomo’s visit.

I enjoyed it and found it informative.  It certainly whetted my appetite for seeing the ponds in person.  A couple of predictable comments had been logged on the article but nothing that really grabbed my attention.  I finished my coffee and got on with my day. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Outside Story: Peregrine Falcons

When asked to name the fastest animal on earth, many people will respond “cheetah.” But it is the peregrine falcon – a cliff-dwelling raptor –that holds that title with the ability to reach speeds of 200+ MPH as they stoop (dive) in flight. (The cheetah tops out at a mere 70 MPH).

Equally remarkable is the fact that this speed demon of the skies was nearly wiped out 50 years ago; its recovery ranks among the great success stories of conservation biology and endangered species management.

Historically, the eastern peregrine falcon population was centered in New England and the Adirondack Mountains, ranging south along the spine of the Appalachians to western Georgia. In 1940,the population was estimated at 350 pairs; by the mid-1960s, the species was completely gone from the region, a victim of the devastating pesticide DDT. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Adirondack Wildlife: Osprey Exit the Park

As the temperatures in the many lakes and ponds that dot the Adirondacks begin to cool, the fish inhabitants of these waterways start to spend more of their time at greater depths. While this change in the routine of these gilled vertebrates impacts the way late season anglers pursue them, it also affects the life of our region’s most effective surface fish predator – the osprey.

With its 4 to 5 foot wing span and 2 foot long body, the osprey is a bird that is difficult to overlook as it soars over a picturesque mountain lake, or perches on the limb close to the shore of a pristine pond. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Adirondack Philosophy: Coaxing the Muse

Over the past few months I’ve been considering what it means to be subjects in and subject to place.  I’ve wondered if this condition of inter-subjectivity is responsible for whether and how our surroundings influence who we are and what we create.

On the one hand, influence is explicit when we make representative art as in landscape painting or poetry and prose whose subject is Emerson’s lake water whipped » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Harvesting Historic White Pine

The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) is harvesting nearly 16 acres of white pine at the college’s Huntington Wildlife Forest in Newcomb. The harvest of the historic white pine plantation along Route 28 at the base of Goodnow Mountain began last week.

Many of the trees are 140 feet tall and 25 to 30 inches in diameter. White pine has significant historical importance in the United States. Not only did the British treasure the tall, straight stems for ship masts but nearly every colonial structure in the New World was constructed with white pine. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Adirondack Wild to Recognize Conservationists Friday

Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve will present an awards program tomorrow, Friday, September 28, at its Annual Meeting at VIEW, the arts center in Old Forge.

The awards recognize individuals from the area who have made outstanding contributions to the conservation and stewardship of wild lands, to ecotourism based upon the area’s wilderness, and to educating others about the importance of safeguarding wild nature in the Adirondack Park. The annual meeting begins at 10 AM. The awards program begins at 11 AM. The public is welcome to attend. Those being recognized are: » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 24, 2012

New State Lands: The Long Road To Boreas Ponds

Boreas Ponds in the Adirondack MountainsBoreas Ponds lives up to expectations, but getting there is not easy, even by car. It would be much harder if the state decides to close the seven-and-a-half mile dirt road that leads to the mile-long lake, which affords stupendous views of the High Peaks.

This Sunday I visited Boreas Ponds for the first time as part of the band of reporters accompanying Governor Andrew Cuomo and other state officials.  Boreas Ponds is not open to the public now, but it will be sometime in the next five years.

The state intends to buy Boreas Ponds and the surrounding timberlands—some twenty-two thousand acres in all—from the Nature Conservancy in the coming years. All told, the state will buy sixty-nine thousand acres from the conservancy, nearly all of it former Finch Pruyn land. » Continue Reading.


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