Sunday, August 27, 2017

Nature’s Benefits: Adirondack Forest Bathing

Hellene Gibbons & Jess CollinsHave you heard of Forest Bathing? It’s the literal translation of a program developed in Japan for experiencing nature as a means of de-stressing one’s life. I first learned about it in a 2012 Outside Magazine article titled “Take Two Hours of Pine Forest and Call Me in the Morning.”

The relaxing benefits of nature have been known for thousands of years, the Greek physician Galen used to take his patients outside where they could experience nature as part of their healing process. He felt that it helped stimulate their desire to get better, and famed Crimean War nurse Florence Nightingale who went on to found the Leeds Infirmary once wrote about the healing benefits of patients seeing flowers. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Tim Rowland: Lost on Bouquet

Pete and Addie on the Bouquet Mountain TrailMy wife Beth works for Champlain Area Trails out of Westport but, long before she started there, we were major fans of the network of hiking opportunities radiating through hill and dell interwoven throughout the eastern side of Essex County. The trails are gorgeous, running through field, forest and stream, and have some of the best views anywhere of Lake Champlain and are a perfect, nearby antidote for those wishing to take “pressure off the peaks.”

They don’t present the physical challenge that the High Peaks do, but look, it’s not every day that you want to climb up the south side of Saddleback.

Being generally free of erosion, roots and rocks, the trails are a break for the knees. Being mostly short, and at lower altitudes, there is no need for a pack full of survival gear. And being more open and interspersed with civilization than the wilderness to the west, there’s little chance of getting lost.

Or so one would think. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Comments Sought On Bike Trails On Forever Wild Lands

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and the Department of Environmental Conservation are holding a joint public comment period to solicit comments regarding proposed management guidance for the siting, construction and maintenance of single-track bike trails on New York State ‘Forever Wild’ Forest Preserve land in the Adirondack Park.

The APA and DEC will accept comments until September 29, 2017. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wilmington Mountain Bike Fest Labor Day Weekend

wilmington bike fest logoThe Town of Wilmington has announced a new mountain biking festival, scheduled for September 1 to 3, 2017.

The weekend includes on-site camping, live music, local food, craft beer, swimming, group rides for all abilities, shuttles, and a kids’ mountain bike race. There are guided and self-guided group rides for beginners, intermediates and experts. Shuttles are available for these hour-long to full-day rides. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Champlain Area Trails Publishes New Trail Map

2017-18 CATS Trail MapTo keep up to date with its expanding network of hiking trails in the Champlain Valley, Champlain Area Trails (CATS) has published a new, updated paper trail map for 2017-18, including new trails that have been added to the network and updated information on existing trails.

A new feature on the trail map is the inclusion of icons to identify trails especially good for cross-country skiing and biking or that feature scenic views. It also notes those trails that are wheelchair accessible.

» Continue Reading.


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.


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