Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dan Crane: What’s So Wild About Wild Forest Areas?

ATV Trail Damage in the Black River Wild ForestLand classification battles are a common feature of new Forest Preserve acquisitions in the Adirondack Park these days, with the Essex Chain of Lakes property being a prime example. Typically, the disagreement boils down to Wild Forest versus Wilderness, the two most common land classifications in the Adirondacks. While Wilderness remains the more restrictive, Wild Forests are supposed to maintain a wild character despite the presence of dirt roads, snowmobile trails, etc. Unfortunately, this wild character seems to be slowly fading away in many cases, making room for increasing (and often illegal) human uses.

According to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, Wilderness are areas dominated by natural forces, where the Earth and its communities of life remain relatively untrammeled by man, while Wild Forests allow for a greater impact from humans, supposedly due to their lack of remoteness and ability to absorb the impact from such activity. The subjectivity of these definitions allows for a great deal of interpretation though. Often the classification of a new area appears mainly political, with the appeasement of certain user groups sublimating all other considerations.
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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Adirondack Color Fun Runs Planned

timelinebannerfinalArt and athletics may not seem to go hand in hand, but Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA) Executive Director James Lemons wants people to look at art in a new light. For the first year LPCA will be hosting a popular “color run.” On August 16, LPCA welcomes one and all to their first annual “Run the Colors of the Arts” 5K (3.1-miles) at the Lake Placid Horse Show Grounds.

Color Fun Runs are not to be confused with Holi, the Festival of Colors. Color Festivals started in India as a celebration of spring. Color races are also not new with such foot races as Rainbow Race, Color Me Red and The Color Run. Participants run along a race course and at predetermined areas food-safe, colored cornstarch is tossed around the racers. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

4th Sportsman Education Super Weekend Planned

_20140712_210633Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County, in partnership with DEC Sportsman Education volunteer instructors, will be organizing sportsmen education classes on Saturday, September 13th and Sunday, September 14th.

The following classes are being offered each day; Sportsman Education, Bow Hunter Education, or Trapper Education (you may choose ONE class per day, bow hunter students must have completed hunter education previous to registering for bow hunter education). Those who have completed online training MUST pre-register and must bring their printed certificate of completion with them to class.  They do not need to pick up the books. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, July 31, 2014

Gear Review: Merrell Chameleon 5 Hiking Shoe

Merrell Chameleon 5 Hiking ShoeHiking is often a messy business, especially in the Adirondacks. Beaver flooding, natural seeps and deep, rain-filled ruts are just a few of the reasons for wet and muddy trails. Sometimes, just for a change of pace, a nice hike on a relatively dry upland trail is just what the doctor ordered. On these dry jaunts, a clunky, over the ankle pair of full-grain leather hiking boots is often overkill.

Hiking shoes are a fine alternative for these drier situations. They are lighter weight and dry faster than conventional leather hiking boots, which allows for more miles with less stress on your legs and back. After all, the old adage goes, “a pound on your feet is like five on your back.”
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ironman Isn’t The Only Adirondack Triathlon

MiniTri_JenniMcGrewDuring the summer triathlon season my family spend a lot of time watching for athletes on local roads. It makes for great people watching. My children are trained to look for weaving bicyclists around sharp corners. Though participating in a triathlon isn’t for everyone, spectating and cheering on the athletes that do, is a sport in itself.

We have volunteered at one Lake Placid Ironman, passed out water at a Tupper Lake Tinman and managed to cheer on a few friends dedicated to finishing both courses. While some Adirondack triathlons have concluded, the 2nd oldest Ironman Triathlon in North America is gearing up to be held once again in Lake Placid on July 27th. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bicycling Coalition Happy With Rail-Trail Proposal

Adirondack Tourist Train (Susan Bibeau)The New York Bicycling Coalition has kept a low profile in the debate over the future of the Adirondack rail corridor, but its proposal for the 119-mile corridor is similar to the one set forth by the state.

Last September, the coalition’s executive director, Josh Wilson, wrote the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to call for removing the tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake to create a trail for biking and other non-motorized activities in spring, summer, and fall.

“NYBC believes that such a trail would be unparalleled in New York State and the Northeast,” Wilson wrote Raymond Hessinger, director of DOT’s Freight and Passenger Rail Bureau. “A trail on this segment of the Corridor would serve to connect three ‘hub’ communities of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, and Tupper Lake with multiple other access points in between.” » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Family Hike Up Debar Mountain

MeachamSome days I need to go hiking. I don’t want an epic outing, just some time in the woods to clear my head, enough of a climb to exercise my body, and a decent view at the top to rejuvenate my spirit.

After five particularly soggy days, cooped up inside our smallish house on Chateaugay Lake with four antsy kids—Micah, age eighteen; Dominic and Parker, both sixteen; and Zoe, eleven—and my outdoorsy sweetheart Jack, I needed to climb a mountain before I climbed the walls. The whole family did! The weather forecast was still far from perfect, but when the deluge abated, I ordered everyone to put away Monopoly and put on their hiking boots. We were heading up Debar Mountain.

Named for John Debar, a Canadian fur trapper who traveled through the area in 1817, Debar Mountain had been on my sizable bucket list of hikes in the Adirondacks for a number of years. I checked off most of those hikes while researching my guidebook Hiking the Adirondacks but never made it up Debar. When selecting the peaks in the northern region of the Adirondack Park for my book, others nearby were bigger, balder, and/or more well-known. Debar would certainly have made the cut a half-century earlier when it still had a fire tower on its summit, but I was barely writing my ABC’s, not guidebooks, back then. » Continue Reading.



Monday, July 21, 2014

State Opens Trail To OK Slip Falls

OKSlip-600x719The state has opened a three-mile hiking trail to OK Slip Falls in the recently established Hudson Gorge Wilderness.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the opening of the trail today in news release in which he also touted funding for equestrian trails in the central Adirondacks and for the repair of the Lake Abanakee Dam in Indian Lake.

The state acquired OK Slip Falls—one of the tallest cascades in the Adirondack Park—from the Nature Conservancy in 2013. Since then, people have been hiking to the falls along informal trails or bushwhacking.

The official trail starts on the north side of Route 28, at the same trailhead for a pre-existing trail that leads to Ross, Whortleberry, and Big Bad Luck ponds. The parking area is on the south side of the highway, about 7.5 miles east of the hamlet of Indian Lake and 0.2 miles west of the trailhead.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Paddling Case Advances To Appellate Court

Map by Nancy BernsteinA state appeals court is expected to hear arguments this fall in a trespassing lawsuit filed against Adirondack Explorer Editor Phil Brown after he paddled through private land on a remote waterway that connects two tracts of state land in the William C. Whitney Wilderness.

The landowners—the Brandreth Park Association and Friends of Thayer Lake—sued Brown in the fall of 2010, more than a year after he wrote about the paddling trip for the Adirondack Explorer.

Last year, State Supreme Court Justice Richard T. Aulisi dismissed the suit, but the landowners have appealed to the court’s Appellate Division in Albany. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, July 20, 2014

2 New Maps From St. Regis Canoe Outfitters

Two mapsSt. Regis Canoe Outfitters has published two new waterproof maps for paddlers, one covering the three Saranac Lakes, the other covering the St. Regis Canoe Area.

The color maps cover some of the same territory as the Adirondack Paddler’s Map, also published by St. Regis Canoe Outfitters, but the new maps are more detailed and, being smaller, easier to handle.

They’re also less expensive: $9.95 versus $19.95 for the Adirondack Paddler’s Map (which is four times as large).

“Many first-time visitors are going to grab a $10 map before they grab a $20 map,” said Dave Cilley, owner of St. Regis Canoe Outfitters, which has stores in Saranac Lake and Floodwood. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, July 17, 2014

ORDA Adds Extreme Tubing At Olympic Ski Jumps

ExtremeTubingIf you’re seeking excitement this summer, the Olympic Jumping Complex, in Lake Placid, has you covered with Extreme Tubing. Hop in and hold on as you rocket down the landing hills of the 90 meter, 48 meter and 20 meter ski jumps, approaching speeds of up to 50 miles-per-hour.

Extreme Tubing will be available Tuesday through Saturday from 3:30-6:30 p.m. Additional hours are also being offered Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from noon- 2 p.m. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Is Rails With Trails A Practical Solution?

Adirondack Tourist Train (Susan Bibeau)Supporters of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad continue to push for keeping the tracks at the Lake Placid end of the rail line and for creating a “rails-with-trails” option for bikers, hikers, snowmobilers, and others who want to use the state-owned corridor.

The Adirondack Railway Preservation Society, which operates the railroad, said in a news release last week that a multi-use travel corridor best serves the public interest. “Rails and trails can exist and work successfully together,” it declared.

On Monday, a volunteer group called Trails with Rail Action Committee (TRAC) also voiced support for this idea. TRAC says it has been working with state officials “to identify recreational trails within the existing Remsen to Lake Placid travel corridor and looks forward to contributing to realizing the full economic potential of this important asset in the Adirondacks.”

» Continue Reading.



Monday, July 14, 2014

Bill Ingersoll:
Routing A National Trail Through The Adirondacks

ncnstrouteThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is currently accepting comments on a proposed route for the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST) through the Adirondacks, from Crown Point to Forestport. The plan can be downloaded from DEC’s website here.

The NCNST is a proposed long-distance hiking trail comparable to the Appalachian Trail, extending from the Adirondacks to North Dakota. Rather than following a continuous mountain path like its more famous cousin, the NCNST follows a variety of trail types, from the wild shores of Lake Superior to the canal towpaths of Ohio, for an anticipated total of 4600 miles. The trail was authorized by Congress in 1980, and its development is supervised by the National Park Service, although the trail itself remains owned by the underlying landowners—state parks, national forests, and more than a few willing private owners as well. Much of the trail has already been completed, but many more miles still remain on the drawing board. You can find an overview of the trail here, and learn about its stewardship here. » Continue Reading.



Friday, July 11, 2014

State Expects To Solicit Rail-Trail Ideas This Fall

Adirondack Tourist Train (Susan Bibeau)State officials hope to hold public meetings on the future of the Adirondack rail corridor this fall, the state’s environmental conservation commissioner told Adirondack Almanack.

Known as scoping sessions, the meetings will be held to solicit the public’s ideas for the 90-mile corridor between Old Forge and Lake Placid.

Following the meetings, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and state Department of Transportation will analyze the public comments and develop a draft management plan for the corridor. The departments will hold public hearings on the draft before issuing a final version of the plan.

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said he hopes the final plan will be adopted sometime in the second half of next year.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Lake George: L.O.V.E. the Lake Paddle Fest

lovememorialpaddle3The 5th Annual L.O.V.E. the Lake Paddle Fest will be held on Saturday, July 12, 2014, at Shepard Park in Lake George Village, from 10 am to 5 pm. This family-friendly event promotes paddler safety and resource stewardship through on-water demos, vendors, live music, and more. The event is co-sponsored by the American Canoe Association (ACA) and the Lake George Waterkeeper. It is free and open to the public.

Paddle Fest is the culminating event of the L.O.V.E. the Lake Memorial Paddle — Starting in Ticonderoga at 1:00 pm on July 11th and ending in Lake George Village on the 12th. The lake-long Memorial Paddle honors Peter Snyder and Stephen Canady who lost their lives in separate paddling incidents on Lake George in 2010. Interested paddlers can join in for shorter stretches of the trip. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

State To Consider Removing Tracks East Of Tupper Lake

Adirondack Tourist Train (Susan Bibeau)After several years of public debate, the state has decided to consider tearing up the tracks and establishing a bike trail in at least part of a 90-mile rail corridor that cuts through the heart of the Adirondack wilderness.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation announced today that they would reopen the management plan for the corridor and look at establishing a recreational trail in the 34 miles between the villages of Tupper Lake and Lake Placid. In addition, the state will examine the possibility of expanding rail service on the rest of the line between Tupper Lake and Old Forge.

“Our goal is to protect our natural resources, while also exploring ways to increase opportunities for people to enjoy outdoor recreation activities in the Adirondacks,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a news release. “We recognize that the future of the Remsen-to-Lake Placid Travel Corridor is important to local residents, communities, and the regional economy.”

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Judge Reaffirms Order Against Hudson River Rafting

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA state judge has once again ordered Hudson River Rafting Company to stop offering whitewater trips until it replenishes a $50,000 performance bond required by an earlier court order.

At a hearing Tuesday afternoon, State Supreme Court Justice Richard Giardino said that Hudson River Rafting cannot offer raft trips on any part of a river where licensed guides are required, according to the office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. In doing so, the judge reaffirmed an earlier order.

The attorney general has taken Hudson River Rafting and its owner, Patrick Cunningham, to court several times over the past few years. In 2012, Schneiderman tried to close Hudson River Rafting permanently over allegations that, among other things, the company sent clients on whitewater trips without licensed guides.

The suit was filed a few weeks after a woman drowned on one of Hudson River Rafting’s excursions. The guide later admitted he was drunk. He was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

State Takes Rafting Company To Court Again

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe owner of Hudson River Rafting Company is scheduled to appear in State Supreme Court on Tuesday afternoon to answer accusations that he is operating his business in violation of a court order.

Assistant State Attorney General G. Nicholas Garin is asking Justice Richard Giardino to forbid Hudson River Rafting from operating whitewater trips on rivers that require licensed guides until its owner, Patrick Cunningham, replenishes a $50,000 performance bond. » Continue Reading.



Monday, July 7, 2014

Ausable ‘Ride for the River’ August 3rd

224934_4064619824622_441133274_nThe Ausable River Association (AsRA) will hold its third annual Ride for the River bike ride and invites residents and visitors to join in on Sunday, August 3rd.

The Ride for the River was launched in 2012 to encourage visitors to return to the Ausable Valley after Tropical Storm Irene. The goal of the Ride was to support local communities and businesses impacted by the flooding during Irene and support the work the Ausable River Association was doing to build resilience in both the natural and human communities in the Ausable Valley. The Ride proved a success and continues to be a way to celebrate the cultural and natural resources within the Ausable Valley. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, July 6, 2014

First Ascent Of Tilman’s Arete Was A First For Women

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARock climbing has always been a male-dominated sport, and it was especially so in its early days. But not exclusively so.

The Olympian skier Betty Woolsey climbed in the Adirondacks and Gunks with such pioneers of rock as Jim Goodwin, John Case, and Fritz Wiessner. Circa 1950, she put up the first Adirondack route led by a woman—the Woolsey Route on Rooster Comb Mountain.

The guidebook Adirondack Rock says it’s not exactly clear where Woolsey’s route went, but it most likely followed a corner near a climb established by Wiessner known as Old Route. It is rated 5.8 on the Yosemite Decimal System scale, a tough climb for its time and considerably harder than Old Route.

Trudy Healy was another woman who took to climbing decades ago. She wrote the region’s first climbing guidebook, Climber’s Guide to the Adirondacks, which was published by the Adirondack Mountain Club in 1967. According to Adirondack Rock, Healy participated in at least two first ascents in the Adirondacks: Four Plus (rated 5.5) on the Brothers near Keene Valley, in 1965, and a variation (another 5.5) of the Wiessner-Austin Route on Big Slide Mountain in 1970. In both instances, she was following the leader.

It would be a few more decades before an all-female party made a first ascent in the Adirondacks, a route now considered a classic climb.

» Continue Reading.



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