Monday, April 29, 2013

Historian Philip Terrie On Fixing The APA

Keene Valley HomeIn the Adirondacks, we often point with pride to the extraordinary oddness of the Adirondack Park. From Manhattan’s Central Park to California’s Yosemite, Americans have gotten used to parks with neat boundaries enclosing a domain wholly owned by the people. Because the land within the boundary is public and that outside private, when you walk or drive across that boundary, you’ve gone from one sort of place to another. You have certain expectations outside that boundary, which are different from those you have inside.

But as we like to say up here, the Adirondack Park is a park like no other. Aside from invoking this peculiarity as an interesting factoid, however, what do we do with it? What defines this Park? Is it something other than a collection of all the acres (almost 6 million of them, roughly half in the public Forest Preserve and half in private hands) inside a blue line on a map of New York State? » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches:
Is the Adirondack Futures Project Anti-Environment?

The title of this Dispatch has the question.  My answer?  Unequivocally no.  In fact from my point of view it is and ought to be the opposite.  As I write this we have just celebrated Earth Day.  What in the name of Gaylord Nelson is going on here?

One week ago I wrote a Dispatch supporting the Adirondack Futures Project.  Two days later, out came Peter Bauer’s column taking the project and its founders, Dave Mason and Jim Herman, to task for “taking cheap shots at environmentalists” and “ridicule of a single faction” in an article about the project for Adirondack Life. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ex-DEC Official Disagrees With Essex Chain Plan

Essex Chain and nearby ponds (Photo by Carl Heilman)A former top official in the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) says the department’s proposal for managing the Essex Chain of Lakes will jeopardize the region’s natural resources.

In the May/June issue of the Adirondack Explorer, Christopher Amato calls for classifying the Essex Chain as a Canoe Area, a designation that would prohibit the public use of motorboats, floatplanes, and motor vehicles. DEC has proposed classifying the area as Wild Forest, which would permit motorized access.

Amato’s proposal is closer in spirit to proposals by the Adirondack Council and Protect the Adirondacks to classify all or most of the tract as Wilderness. Motorized use is also prohibited in Wilderness Areas. But Amato, who served as DEC’s assistant commissioner for natural resources from 2007 to 2011, contends that the Canoe designation is a better fit.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sandy Hildreth: Hiking Before The Leaves Emerge

Chapel PondI’ve been gone for 10 days visiting family and so upon returning to the Adirondacks and waking up to blue skies and sun (and 21 degrees in April!), I decided to get out in the woods and check out one of my favorite little trails and see how far along spring actually was. I was especially interested in seeing the heron nest I’d found last spring, just about this same time, to see if the herons were back. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

State Acquires Cat and Thomas Mountain Parcels

DSC00080New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens was atop Prospect Mountain this morning to announce the state’s purchase of more than 2,460 acres that will help protect the world-renowned scenery and water quality of Lake George and its tributaries.

The purchases, made through the Environmental Protection Fund, include the Cat and Thomas Mountains parcel, a 1,900-acre property in the town of Bolton (Warren County), previously acquired by the Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC), which was sold to the State for $1.5 million. The State also purchased the 565-acre East River Road Tract of the former Finch lands in the Town of Bolton from The Nature Conservancy for $381,000. This parcel is adjacent to the Cat and Thomas Mountains parcel. The parcels will be added to the State Forest Preserve. The State will pay full local property and school taxes on the newly acquired land. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lake George Commission Approves Draft Invasives Plan

LG AIS Plan cover pageAfter nearly two years of research and discussion, the Lake George Park Commission (LGPC) voted unanimously at its monthly meeting Tuesday to present its draft plan to limit the spread the invasive species into Lake George to the public for comment. Once the Draft Lake George Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Plan is finalized it’s expected the Commission will begin the rule-making process required to put the plan into place.

Invasive species are non-native plants and animals that, when introduced in an ecosystem, can rapidly reproduce and overwhelm their environment. Eurasian watermilfoil was the first invasive species to reach Lake George in 1986, and millions of dollars have been spent to keep infestations of the plant in check. Since that time, four other invasives have been introduced to Lake George, including Asian clam and Spiny Waterflea which were discovered in Lake George since 2010. Asian clam eradication efforts by both the State and local governments have topped $1.5 million dollars in only two years time. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

State Buys OK Slip Falls, Hudson Riverfront

Blue LedgeGovernor Andrew Cuomo announced today that the state has purchased two jewels of the former Finch, Pruyn lands—OK Slip Falls and Blue Ledges—as well as a takeout on the Hudson River that will open up a twelve-mile canoe trip from Newcomb.

In all, the state bought 9,300 acres from the Nature Conservancy for $6.3 million. The land is split among six parcels, four in the Adirondack Park, two lying just outside it.

One parcel coveted by paddlers is a 940-acre tract at the confluence of the Hudson and Indian rivers. With this acquisition, the public will be able to put in Harris Lake at the town beach in Newcomb and then paddle south on the Hudson, taking out at the confluence.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation expects that paddlers will have access to the newly acquired river corridor in late May or early June. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Peter Bauer: ‘Adirondack Futures’ Story Falls Short

Entering Adirondack ParkDave Mason and Jim Herman have received a lot of commendations for their Adirondack Futures project. It’s high time, the Adirondack Futures project tells us, for a grassroots, bottom-up, inclusive planning process that is professionally facilitated to shape a plan for a new and positive direction for the Adirondack Park.

Mason and Herman have met with several hundred people about the future of the Adirondacks and created a handful of scenarios for what the future may hold 25 years down the road in 2038. They have presented these plans to government at all levels and many groups throughout the Adirondacks. They are now actively implementing this work through a half dozen work teams. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: Praise For ‘Adirondack Futures’

IMG_6715Regular Dispatch readers know that I have been short on patience with the usual reflexive side-taking that seems to be a permanent feature of any discussion over the Adirondacks.  On one side you get cartoonish renditions of radical environmentalists and/or government regulators.  On the other side you get caricatures of rapacious developers and selfish residents.  In the middle?  A militarized zone of nasty vitriol, propaganda, lawsuits and a dismaying lack of reason.

Based on some recent posts and associated comments over the last few weeks this automatic side-taking is alive and well even at the Almanack.  For a good example read this recent column on demographics by Peter Bauer, then read the comments and you’ll get a pretty good idea. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New Report: Lake Champlain Basin Flood Resilience

Lake Champlain FloodingThe Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) has released a new report, Flood Resilience in the Lake Champlain Basin and Upper Richelieu River. The report presents results of an LCBP flood conference held in 2012 at the request of Vermont Governor Shumlin and Quebec’s (former) Premier Charest, following the spring 2011 flooding of Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River Valley. The report provides a review of the 2011 flooding impacts and includes specific recommendations to help inform flood resilience policies and management strategies to reduce the impact of major floods anticipated in the future. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Where Veterans Stand: Paul Schaefer and the Pack Forest

Photo by Paul SchaeferPaul Schaefer took this photo in the Pack Forest in Warrensburg sometime in the 1940s or 50s when he was fighting elsewhere in the Adirondacks to save ancient groves from dam builders.

At Pack Forest Paul told us he took one of his best and luckiest shots. Wanting to capture the public’s imagination with something as ancient and compelling as a 500 year old stand of white pine, Paul was at a loss with the scale and the difficult angle and the lighting until the clouds parted for an instant and sun suddenly shot through the forest canopy.

Paul clicked, the shutter opened. Opportunity and preparedness aligned.

Paul told us that his photo was in demand all over the Adirondacks and the country, including in Washington, DC, where a representative of the USDA Forest Service put it on the wall. By the 1960s, the photo came to represent the urgent need to expand the Forest Preserve, protect the Adirondack Park’s remaining old-growth forests, and plan and care for the entire Park, public and private. It has been used in many publications since then, including Defending the Wilderness: The Adirondack Writings of Paul Schaefer (Syracuse University Press, 1989). » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Ties to the Land: Planning Your Woodlands’ Future

Ties to the LandA facilitated workshop being held on April 27th, will explore Succession Planning — the human side of estate planning. “Ties to the Land: Planning for the Future of Your Woodlands” will focus on maintaining family ties to the land from generation to generation, building awareness of the key challenges facing private woodland owners, and farmers, as well as motivating families to address the challenges.

The interactive workshop is facilitated by Dr. Shorna Broussard Allred of Cornell University Cooperative Extension, in partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations of Warren and Saratoga Counties, and the Southeastern Adirondack Chapter of the New York Forest Owners Association (NYFOA), providing effective tools families can use to decide the future of their land. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: The Empty Nest

Right by our tent areaLast Monday night I was sitting at my dining room table, swamped with paperwork, mostly taxes and some business records that needed attention.  My head was thick with check stubs  and receipts.  I felt heavy and cluttered; taxes are my least favorite thing upon which to concentrate as I have had a couple of bad bouts with them.

But this was different and I knew it.  I could feel the roiling just below the surface, the brooding disturbance I had lived with the previous week, still there, still strong.  I had not fully understood it then, had not understood that it portended an emotional eruption, a torrent of joy and pain and regret and longing that comes to human beings only a few times over the course of their lives.  When it finally did burst, in a gush of memory and effluent from the deeper strata of my makeup, it left me briefly overwhelmed by the very living of life itself.   Now, sitting at the table amidst the jumbled boxes and messy stacks of paper I recognized it rising up again, provoked by sight and smell of old scribblings, letters, report cards and lists littered among the other records, personal vestiges of the past I had not seen in a long time. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Adirondack Local Government Conference Planned

APA LogoThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will host an Adirondack Park Local Government Day Conference on April 24th and 25th, 2013 at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Lake Placid.

This year’s conference hopes to focus on Adirondack Park economic development strategies and the promotion of projects that benefit rural economies. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Peter Bauer: More On Adirondack Park Population Myths

Entering Adirondack ParkIn the Adirondack Park we face many persistent myths and shibboleths about the impacts of environmental protections, land use controls and the Forest Preserve. One that has received recent play goes something like this:

In the Adirondack Park our population is aging at a rate that will soon make us the 2nd oldest region is the U.S. That we are aging rapidly is the result of the out-migration of families resulting from a poor economy, which, in turn, results from excessive public ownership of land and a restrictive regulatory environment.

The reality is more complicated, but it goes something like this: » Continue Reading.


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