Friday, August 18, 2017

Angler Catches Massive Freshwater Drum

Jason Bair with the 36 lb drum he caught on Oneida LakeThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that Jason Bair of Macedon, Wayne County, reeled in a state record-breaking freshwater drum from Oneida Lake, Oneida County. Caught on June 16, and weighing in at 36 pounds, the new record drum surpassed the previous state record set in 2016 by more than 6 pounds.

Bair’s freshwater drum marks the fourth state record drum caught since 2005. While records for other more common sportfish have remained unbroken for years. In its announcement of the new record, DEC stated: “it appears that drum are growing to much larger sizes than they ever have in many New York waters. This growth is likely due to their ability to effectively forage on the abundant invasive quagga and/or zebra mussels found in these waters.” » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hamlets to Huts Receives Grant, Long Lake Spur Progressing

hamlets to huts logoThe nonprofit Adirondack Hamlets to Huts, Inc. (AHH) has received a $20,000 grant from The Cloudsplitter Foundation of Saranac Lake. The gift is expected to help AHH improve and operate the Adirondack Hamlets to Huts Trails Center located on Main Street in Saranac Lake, and also help implement and market its first hut-to-hut route — the North Creek Indian Lake Circuit.

The Adirondack Hamlets to Huts Trails Center provides information to visitors about the hut-to-hut initiative, where to hike, bike and paddle in the Adirondacks, and how to travel and camp safely in the Adirondack backcountry. The Trails Center also sells gifts, clothing, and select “Ten Essentials” items for day-hiking. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

8 Adirondack Search And Rescue Incidents In 6 Days

DEC Forest RangerNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the Adirondack backcountry.

What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Raquette River Dams Program: Catamount Lodge to Carry Falls Reservoir

Guided walk with Mary JaneTAUNY (Traditional Arts in Upstate New York) will host a guided woods walk from Catamount Lodge to the Carry Falls Reservoir with Ruth McWilliams of Catamount Lodge and Mary Jane Watson of South Colton on Thursday, August 17th from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Along the way, visitors will have the chance to learn about the natural life of the area as well as the hydroelectric power project that transformed the Raquette River in the 1950s and beyond, creating Carry Falls Reservoir and other now familiar lakes around Colton. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Longest Adirondack Accessible Trail Being Built in Willsboro

trail builder Ama Koenigsh on the first day Tahawus Trails LLC began work on the new universal access trail at the Conservancy’s Boquet River Nature Preserve The Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter is making upgrades to its Boquet River Nature Preserve trail network in the town of Willsboro. This summer, professional trail builders have been constructing a 1.5-mile loop trail in the uplands portion of the 110-acre preserve. When completed, this multi-use trail is expected to be the longest accessible forest trail in the region designed and built to meet the Federal Trail Accessibility Guidelines under the Architectural Barriers Act.

The new trail will have a minimal slope and a crushed stone surface that can accommodate walkers, runners, bikers, strollers, and wheelchairs. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Field Work Begins In Controversial Adirondack Rail Corridor

Draft Adirondack Rail Trail PlanWork to develop the final design and construction plan for the Adirondack Rail Trail began in the rail corridor between Tupper and Lake Placid this week.

DEC announced that “that personnel involved in developing the final design and construction plan for the Adirondack Rail Trail will be working in the corridor,” starting Monday, “for periods of times at various locations over the two months doing various work.”  More specific schedules are expected to provided to adjacent landowners via notification letters in the coming weeks.

Personnel from DEC, Creighton Manning, and other consultants are expected to be in the rail corridor between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid “assessing, investigating, and surveying infrastructure, natural areas, and other places in the corridor to prepare for permitting, designing, and constructing the multi-use trail. The work will be undertaken over the next many weeks and includes, but is not limited to engineering surveys, wetland delineations, geotechnical explorations, and property boundary survey.”  The historic railroad transportation corridor remains the subject of ongoing litigation. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Champlain Canal Trail Bicycle Ride August 20th

feeder canal trailThe Champlain Canalway Trail Working Group has announced the 6th Annual Champlain Canalway Trail Bicycle Ride will be held on Sunday, August 20, 2017.

The ride will begin at Hudson Crossing Park in Schuylerville, NY, and continue along the Canalway Trail and Feeder Canal Trail to Glens Falls, NY, before returning to the starting point. The day-long tour offers four options: a 30-mile ride and a 50-mile ride, with or without a canal cruise aboard Mohawk Maiden Cruises. This recreational tour will include multiple stops at destinations of cultural and historical significance, such as an old mule barn and the five combination locks on the Feeder Canal. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Six Rescues In The Adirondacks Since Thursday

It’s been a busy summer so far for Adirondack Forest Rangers.  Rangers responded to six rescues since Thursday, after an especially busy week that included the recovery of a deceased hiker in the High Peaks.

What follows are reports, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks. You can find all Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Reports here. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Three Hikes On Nature Preserves Near Lake George

Gabe and Annaleigh Heilman discover the beauty of Pole Hill Pond “Where do those trails go?” I wondered. The map showed a small trail system, whose outline looked like a loopy, potbellied cartoon character riding a unicycle. Sure, there was Pole Hill Pond at the upper end, but the trail swung far and wide of it twice, a hugely indirect route. What was the dinky little loop down at the foot? I’ve been looking at Adirondack trail maps most of my life and could not decipher this weird pattern of black dashes.

Yet here it was, on the National Geographic trail map that accompanies my Adirondack Mountain Club’s Guide to Eastern Trails, so I could explore it for work. How did those trails get there? Who knew about them? What was that pond like? They were on a new parcel of state land, so the state Department of Environmental Conservation couldn’t yet have built them. Itching to check all this out, I headed for the top of Lake George’s Northwest Bay, above Bolton Landing. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Pete Nelson: Norway has Lessons for High Peaks Overuse

Regular Almanack readers are used to hearing me stress the importance of perspectives from outside the Adirondack Park. Today I’ve got one from way outside the Adirondack Park, specifically Norway, where my wife Amy and I are traveling for two weeks. While here I have enjoyed the geologic kinship Norway shares with the Adirondacks. I have also enjoyed the fact that my experiences so far have reinforced the sentiments I expressed in my last Almanack column, namely that we should not overreact to busy trails in the High Peaks. If you think we have a problem in the Adirondacks, you should see the hiking traffic here. And if you think that pervasive cultural experiences of pristine, wild places can’t place their fragile value at the heart of an entire society, you should see this country.

Yesterday Amy and I climbed Preikestolen, one of Norway’s most popular hiking destinations and a national icon. In some ways Preikestolen is Norway’s answer to Indian Head: a massive, open rock slab with a spectacular view, positioned far above a narrow body of water that is set between mountain ridges. However the scale is far greater: Priekestolen’s height above the water is three times that of Indian Head and the body of water is a sizeable fjord, not a small lake. For the purposes of this article, a better comparison is our own infamous Cascade Mountain. Cascade’s trail involves several hundred feet more vertical ascent than Preikestolen, but both routes are 2.4 miles and, more important, both trails are crammed with people who want an accessible but authentic regional mountain experience. Like Cascade, Preikestolen is a challenge that a neophyte hiker or ambitious family might take, an intimidating but doable workout with major parking problems down below and a show-stopper payoff on top. The difference, once again, is scale: Preikestolen’s foot traffic makes Cascade look like Allen Mountain.   » Continue Reading.


Friday, August 4, 2017

DEC’s Suggested Hikes Outside The High Peaks

View from Whiteface (Courtesy ASRC Whiteface Mountain)Trails in the eastern High Peaks, to the Dix Mountains, and to Giant Mountain are extremely crowded on summer weekends. The following dozen hikes are recommended for those who want to have a hiking experience similar to a High Peaks hike, including great scenic views, with much fewer people. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

35th Tupper Tinman Triathlon Economic Impact Survey Results

Overhead view of Flanders Park during the 2017 Tupper Lake Tinman competition2017 Tupper Lake Tinman participants contributed $398,927 in direct spending to the region according to a survey sponsored by the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce and the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST). The survey was distributed to this year’s race participants via email, in their race packet and on the event website.

One of the longest-running triathlons in the U.S., the race celebrated its 35th year with a field of 594 athlete participants on June 24th. The race is sponsored by the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Should Campfires be Banned on the Adirondack Forest Preserve?

The Giant’s Washbowl seen from Nubble Cliff Recently, I was returning from Nubble Cliff in the Giant Mountain Wilderness when I passed a tent on the southeast shore of the Giant’s Washbowl and heard someone breaking branches or dead trees, presumably gathering wood for a campfire.

Campfires are an Adirondack tradition. Who doesn’t like a fire when sleeping under the stars? Nevertheless, I couldn’t help thinking that this was not good for the environment. Rather, it was destructive. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

UPDATE: Missing Hiker’s Body Found Amid Busy Week of Adirondack Rescues

DEC Forest RangerUPDATED 5:45 PM, Wednesday, 8/2: The body of Ralph W. ‘Skip’ Baker, 50, of Rochester, the hiker missing in the Adirondack High Peaks since Sunday, was found about 11 am Tuesday, August 1, 2017 in a ravine near the east branch of the AuSable River in the town of Keene. Mike Lynch at Adirondack Explorer has the latest on that recovery.

The incident comes on the heels of another busy weekend for Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks during which they conducted several other successful searches, and several rescues. These included a 13-year old boy who survived a 25-foot fall at Shelving Rock Falls on the East Side of Lake George; three rescues by helicopter, including an overnight rescue from Bushnell Falls; and a carry-out from near the top of Bald Mountain.

What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks. You can find all of DEC’s Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Reports here. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Being There: Forest Bathing and River Walking

riverwalk“We just completed our nature therapy training in May,” Helene Gibbons said when I met her last week at Origin Coffee in Saranac Lake. “We learned how to guide people to open their senses to the forest, to become immersed in the sights, smells, sounds and textures of the natural world.” As Helene is a yoga teacher, I saw how she could apply similar principles to meandering through the woods. She’s been guiding students through yoga poses and leading them into meditation for years.

“Suzanne Weirich and I traveled to Chicago for a seven day training at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois,” she continued. “With this Forest Therapy Guide Training we’re ready help people immerse themselves in the natural environment, called Forest Bathing.” » Continue Reading.


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