Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Adirondack Futures: The Park’s Next 25 Years

What follows is a guest essay by Dave Mason and Jim Herman of Keene, leaders of the ADK Futures Project. Over the past year they have been conducting workshops, interviews, and discussion sessions with a variety of Adirondackers about what the future of the Adirondack Park should be. Dave and Jim are retired management consultants who ran a small consulting firm during the 80’s and 90’s that helped very large organizations create strategies for growth and success.

The ADK Futures Project was kicked off at the July 2011, Common Ground Alliance (CGA) annual event in Long Lake. A year later, after 120 interviews and 14 workshops involving 500+ people all over the Park and in NY City, the results were presented at the 2012 CGA event. It is a pro bono project, using scenario planning, a methodology from our consulting careers. We are not members of any of the usual ADK organizations but Keene, NY is our home. The initial goal of the effort was to broaden the conversation about the Park, involving more people and weaving together the full breath of issues facing the Park. But along the way surprising alignment emerged around a particular future vision for the area. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Adirondack Ecology: Wildlife, Wilderness and Dead Wood

Discussions regarding the ecological value of wilderness compared to an actively managed forest often centers around the health and well being of specific members of the wildlife community. While the flora and fauna that a tract of wilderness supports may be strikingly similar to that which occurs in periodically logged woodlands, the relative abundance of the various plants and animals contained in each is often quite different.In wilderness regions, there eventually develops a much higher concentration of those organisms whose lives are connected either directly or indirectly to the presence of dead wood.

Forests that are protected from timber harvesting operations contain substantially more dead wood on the ground and on the stump. While some trees that succumb to a disease or insect infestation may remain upright for only a few years after they die, many remain standing for decades before they eventually fall. Standing dead trees, especially ones that are larger than a foot in diameter, harbor numerous living entities and provide many animals with shelter. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Homesteading Fair in Lowville, September 8-9

Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Lewis County in conjunction with Mother Earth News is responding to the increasing numbers of people inquiring about raising backyard poultry, beef, and other livestock, food preservation, energy alternatives for homes and farms, and back-to-the-land management skills with a new educational event. A Homesteading Fair will be presented at the Maple Ridge Center in Lowville, NY, September 8 and 9, 2012.

The two-day event will offer more than 90 educational workshops, held rain or shine, under large tents, in a large, approved, kitchen and former barns, and on the expansive lawn at the Maple Ridge Center. Livestock shearing and wool spinning are among the many planned demonstrations. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Commentary:
New State Lands Strengthen Ecology, Economics

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent commitment to acquire 69,000 acres of the former Finch Pruyn lands for the publicly-owned NYS Forest Preserve over the next several years completes a 161,000-acre conservation project of national and global importance.

Conservation of the paper company’s lands was a topic fifty years ago this summer when Paul Schaefer had an interesting conversation with then Finch Pruyn Company President Lyman Beeman. Both were members of the Joint Legislative Committee on Natural Resources then studying Adirondack forests. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

DEC Continues Firewood Checkpoints

Seven people were ticketed for transporting firewood more than 50 miles without certification of heat treatment at three checkpoints held by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Police in the Adirondacks on Friday, August 17.

“DEC and its partners continue to educate campers and others about the importance of the firewood transportation regulation and preventing the spread of invasive insects,” said DEC Regional Director Robert Stegemann. “The level of compliance with the regulation indicates that the public is getting the message. We must make every effort to protect the forest preserve and private woodlands in the Adirondacks from invasive insects, including enforcement of the regulation for those who don’t comply.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Adirondack Explorer: APA Series, Shorelines At Risk, More

The Adirondack Explorer has just published the second installment in a series of articles looking at the performance of the Adirondack Park Agency and the adequacy of its regulations.

In the September/October issue, North Country Public Radio reporter Brian Mann looks at the consequences of political compromises that watered down shoreline protections in the early 1970s.

APA regulations allow more development along the water than away from it, which critics say is the exact opposite of what should be allowed. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Robert Moses and the Lake George Park Commission

Almost every park and camp ground in New York State is administered by the Office of Parks and Recreation, with the exception of those in the Catskills and the Adirondacks. The Department of Environmental Conservation manages those.

Wint Aldrich, a Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation at Parks through four administrations, once explained that anomaly to me. “The Conservation Department didn’t want Robert Moses anywhere near the Forest Preserve,” Aldrich said.

Moses, who had controlled everything even remotely related to New York’s parks since 1924, was notoriously averse to wilderness preservation. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Finch Paper On State Land Deal, Company’s Future

Finch Paper’s future is secure, officials said last week during an interview session with the Adirondack Almanack.  In a wide-ranging conversation that touched on Finch’s forestry programs, the market for paper, and the recent State Land purchase,  company spokespeople stressed the need to protect forest lands, and the company’s commitment to playing a role in sustainably managing supplies of wood fiber for their plant in Glens Falls.

“I always stress keeping forest land forest land,” Finch Forest Management Manager Leonard Cronin said, adding that development is the biggest threat to forest lands. “Most paper mills have sold their lands and given up managing their forests,” he explained, saying that Finch chose a different approach.  » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tour of River Restoration on East Branch Ausable River

This Thursday, August 16 beginning at 1:30 PM there will be a public tour of the river restoration project now taking place along the East Branch of the Ausable River in Keene Valley.

The tour will be at Rivermede Farm. For more information, contact Dave Reckahn of the Essex County Soil and Water Conservation District, 518-962-8225, essexswcd@westelcom.com, Corrie Miller at the Ausable River Association, info@ausableriver.org or Dan Plumley at Adirondack Wild’s regional office in Keene, dplumley@adirondackwild.org. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Adirondack Ragweed and Hay Fever Season

August is a month known for ripening raspberries and blackberries, the appearance of locally grown sweet corn and other fresh produce at farm stands, the return of back to school ads on TV, and the unwelcome arrival of hay fever season.

For many people, exposure to certain types of pollen triggers a most unpleasant nasal reaction that can linger for days. While the pollen of numerous plants contributes to this often severe irritation of the nose, sinus cavities and upper respiratory tract of many, ordinarily healthy people, ragweed is, by far, the leading culprit responsible for making life miserable for those unfortunate enough to be afflicted with this common medical condition. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Emily DeBolt: Meet the Monardas

This time of year you might be noticing some red or lavender flowers along the sides of the roads or in old fields as you are out driving or hiking.  If you slow down and stop to take a look, what you might be seeing is one of our native species of the genus Monarda, commonly known as Beebalm or Oswego Tea by many gardeners. There are a variety of cultivars and hybrids available at most garden centers with enticing names – such as ‘Coral Reef’ or ‘Raspberry Wine’.   Gardeners have been using beebalm in their gardens for years – it is a great choice for attracting hummingbirds and other pollinators and is a beautiful splash of summer color.

The group of plants in the Monarda genus are often just called beebalm as a whole – even though there are many distinct species. And many gardeners don’t realize that we have a number of different native Monardas in our area – in fact Monarda is a North American genus of over a dozen species. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cabin Life: The Joys of Solar LEDs

Never in my life have I ever been this excited about buying light bulbs.  Seriously, I told everyone about it.  This is a great day in my life.

Don’t get me wrong, when I’ve bought lights in the past, it’s been a joy.  But ordering strings of solar-powered LED lights was new high.  These lights will make a big impact in my existence, especially during the long winter when the sun goes down at four in the afternoon.

My original plan for this summer was to get a small solar panel and a battery to wire so that I could run some Christmas lights in the cabin.  Nothing much, but enough so that I didn’t have to wear a headlamp for six months.  That got real old last winter.  But after shopping around and realizing that I would have to spend several hundred dollars to get a suitable setup, I was relieved and delighted to find the lights I just ordered. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Red Spruce: Queen of the Adirondacks

There is a well-known story included in the wonderful Adirondack Reader (a collection everyone on the planet should own, in my humble opinion), which happens to be one of my favorite Adirondack tales.  It is a narrative account of the journey of a young teacher and his student on the Raquette River in 1843 when its course was still largely unknown to the white man.  Teacher and student made it as far as they could on a raft until they were stopped by debris clogging the river near approaching rapids.  There on the banks they were come upon by the soon-to-be-famous guide Mitchell Sabattis.   Sabattis and party agreed to guide the young travelers, saving them from their predicament.

The two men needed a proper craft to continue their voyage, so Sabattis and his companions built them a canoe.  They selected a tall conifer with a straight trunk and a diameter of a foot-and-a-half and felled it.  From that trunk they easily spudded off a sheet of bark roughly five by fifteen feet in dimension.  With careful cuts of the outer layer of the bark they folded the whole into a canoe shape, then sowed it in place using the roots of the very same tree as thread.  To seal the threads and make the craft watertight they chewed the sap of this tree and made gum which they pushed into the holes. Thus it was that one tree – a conifer of marvelous qualities – supplied the hull of a canoe that carried four men and their gear down the rapids of the Raquette River. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

DEC State Land Management Survey Underway

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is conducting a survey to assess how the State’s management of State Forests affects public use of those forests.

DEC seeks input from groups and individuals who use State Forests for recreation and/or whose daily lives are affected by State Land management. The 10-question survey, which has been widely circulated by the pro-motorized access New York State Conservation Council, will be used to interpret current uses of State Forests, and to possibly influence future State Forest management practices. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Adirondacks Most Remote Spot: Not That Remote

It’s been said by photographer Gary Randorf, Clarence Petty, and others, that ninety-five percent of the entire Adirondack Forest Preserve, Wilderness included, is within about five miles of  one of the more than 5,000 miles of roads  in the Adirondack Park.

That statistic has been newly confirmed by two wildlife ecologists who say they have identified the most remote  spot in New York State, located in the High Peaks Wilderness – just 5.3 miles from the nearest road, and a less than a half-mile from the popular Northville-Placid Trail.

Rebecca and Ryan Means of Florida have been on a mission to identify, travel to, and document the most remote locations in all 50 states and recently came to the Adirondacks – with daughter Skyla in tow and Adirondack Explorer writer/photographer Josh Wilson along to report – to find ours. » Continue Reading.


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