Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hudson River Guide Gets Jail In Rafting Fatality

Hudson River (John Warren Photo)A rafting guide whose client drowned in the Indian River last September has been sentenced to a year in jail and five years of probation.

Rory Fay, 37, of North Creek admitted he was drunk when he and the client, Tamara Blake, 53, of Columbus, Ohio, fell out of the raft on the morning of September 27. Blake’s boyfriend stayed in the raft and paddled to shore. Fay also managed to get to shore. Blake’s body was found five miles downstream in the Hudson River.

Fay, who worked for Hudson River Rafting Company, pleaded guilty in November to criminally negligent homicide, a felony, as well as two misdemeanors, driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Lake George Winter Carnival

SnowTubing_newFebruary may have fewer days than any other month, but Lake George has made sure to pack it with as many activities as possible. This weekend kicks off the second weekend of a month-long celebration of winter at the Lake George Winter Carnival.

According to Lake George Winter Carnival Committee Volunteer Brenda Travis this is the 52nd year of the Carnival. She remembers coming to Lake George as a teen and looking forward to all the Winter Carnival events.

“Now I am helping to organize the activities,” says Travis. “The Carnival is so much fun and has so much going on. This weekend will be the Northeast Snow X series Carnival Cup. This is a new event. It is a snowmobile race with professionals going around a track and jumping moguls.  Sometimes they can get up to 12 ft. in the air.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Backcountry Skiing: The Seven (or Eight) Carries

Google satelliteIf you know cross-country skiers, by now you’ve heard the complaints about the lack of snow. After last week’s thaw, the Adirondack Ski Touring Council reported that no part of the 24-mile Jackrabbit Trail between Saranac Lake and Keene could be recommended for skiing.

I’ve done a fair amount of the complaining myself, but I enjoyed perfect conditions this past weekend on the ponds in the St. Regis Canoe Area. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: A Third Way

wrestlersThis week I am taking a short break from my surveying series, having been inspired by the spirit of a number of important conversations that have recently been unfolding on the pages of the Almanack.

Consider two Adirondack-loving persons.  Both are reasonably decent, honest, clear-headed, thoughtful people.  They work, they raise families, they vote and they enjoy the woods and mountains in their own way.  They have a variety of views on the wide spectrum of issues that affect the future of the Adirondack Park.  Let’s call one Mr. P and one Mr. N. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Essex Chain of Lakes and the State Land Master Plan

Third Lake, Essex ChainThe Department of Environmental Conservation has recommended that the new Forest Preserve acquisition at the Essex Chain of Lakes be classified Wild Forest, while the Upper Hudson River just to the east become part of a river corridor Wilderness. Several organizations previously submitted ideas for how these landscapes should be classified.

The APA is now charged with preparing classification documents for 18,000-acres comprising the Essex Chain of Lakes, and Upper Hudson tracts. Those classification documents will be subject to the State Environmental Quality Review Act and must involve public hearings and a public comment period. It will prove most interesting to see if APA acts with the independence it has in law, respects the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, and acts contrary to DEC recommendations on the Essex Chain of Lakes. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Titus Mountain’s New Trails

Titus_Lodge_newRecently acquired by the Monette family of Malone, Titus Mountain Family Ski Center has undergone a facelift that our family has met with welcoming arms. My kids have skied at most of the Adirondack and beyond ski mountains and have found Titus Mountain to be a perfect place to experience family-friendly trails and gain some ski lift independence.

The elevation is 2025-ft and the crumpled trail map I find in my ski jacket shows that Titus Mountain has six double chairlifts, two triple chairlifts, and two hand-tows serving 42 trails and two terrain parks. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2012 Lake George Invasives Program Report Released

USLakes-2012The Lake George Association (LGA) has released its annual report on the Lake George Lake Steward Program. According to LGA, since 2008 the organization’s lake stewards have inspected almost 25,000 boats at high traffic launches around the Lake, removed over 400 aquatic invasive species samples from boats, and have educated around 60,000 boaters about invasive species spread prevention.

The LGA’s 2012 report summarizes the data collected last year, and includes the number of boats inspected, the total number of animal and plant samples removed, the identity and quantity of invasive species found, and the most recent waterbody boats visited within two weeks prior to launching in Lake George. » Continue Reading.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Phil Brown: Mountain Bikes and Wilderness

essex map croppedGenerally, I regard the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan as a sound document, but when it comes to mountain bikes I have some qualms. It seems to pit environmentalists against bikers, and the bikers I know consider themselves environmentalists.

I thought of this while reviewing the state’s proposals for the classification and management of the former Finch, Pruyn & Company lands.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is recommending that bikers be allowed to ride on a network of dirt roads in the Essex Chain of Lakes area and on the access road to the Boreas Ponds Tract (known as Gulf Brook Road). » Continue Reading.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Protect’s Vision for Former Finch Pruyn Lands

Protect Upper Hudson mapProtect the Adirondacks has come up with a vision for the former Finch, Pruyn lands that is at odds with the management plan proposed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Essentially, Protect wants more land classified as Wilderness.

The biggest difference is that Protect wants the Essex Chain of Lakes to be included in a 39,000-acre Upper Hudson Wilderness Area. The Wilderness Area would encompass lands that the state owns or intends to acquire over the next several years, including OK Slip Falls and the Hudson Gorge.

As I reported here this week, DEC proposes to classify the Essex Chain Wild Forest. Given this classification, DEC intends to keep open several interior roads, permit floatplanes to land on Third Lake in the Essex Chain (only during mud season), and allow mountain bikers to ride on a network of dirt roads in the vicinity of the chain—all of which would be banned under a Wilderness designation. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dan Crane: Promoting the Adirondacks to Death

View from Cat MountainTourism in the Adirondack Park is all the rage today. From the approval of the Adirondack Club & Resort in Tupper Lake to the governor’s proposed Adirondack Challenge, there is no shortage of ideas to promote the Adirondacks. The ultimate hope presumably being that people will flock to the area to experience the unique opportunities the Adirondacks provides.

They had just better bring their wallets.

In the race for the almighty dollar, it appears few are stopping to ponder whether increased tourism is a good idea for the Adirondacks. How will increased tourism change the nature of the Park? Will more people turn off those who already loyally visit the Park and favor its plentiful opportunities for solitude? Are hikers prepared for crowded trailheads and busy trails, muddied by the increased traffic and littered with rubbish from uncaring or careless hikers?
» Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

DEC Plan for Former Finch Lands Unveiled

essex classification map - hi resThe state Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing to classify the Essex Chain of Lakes and the surrounding landscape Wild Forest, a designation that environmental activists contend will allow too much motorized access.

Under DEC’s proposal, 13,000 of the Essex Chain Tract’s 18,000 acres would be classified Wild Forest. It would be called the Essex Chain Canoe Recreation Area. The other 5,000 acres, in the vicinity of the Hudson River, would become part of a Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area. The Wilderness Area would incorporate other lands that the state owns or intends to buy.

The Adirondack Council, Protect the Adirondacks, and the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) all want to see the bulk of the Essex Chain Tract classified Wilderness. (Click here to read about the council’s and Protect’s rival visions for the tract.) The major difference between Wilderness and Wild Forest is that motorized use is forbidden in Wilderness Areas. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Paul Smiths VIC: A Sure Thing For Skiers

Heron Marsh at Paul Smith's VIC. Photo by Susan BibeauWinter started slowly, so after we received a few small snowfalls in late November, I jumped at the chance to go on my first ski of the season. Since we still had no base, I figured my best bet would be the Adirondack Visitor Interpretive Center in Paul Smiths.

The VIC is fun to ski anytime, but it’s a particularly good choice early in the season or in a low-snow winter. Its smooth trails don’t need a lot of snow to be skiable. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Amy’s Park in Bolton Landing

20121220_Amy-Park_019The Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) is hosting free guided hikes/snowshoes on their latest acquired property, Amy’s Park in Bolton Landing on January 26 and March 2.

LGLC’s Communications and Outreach Manager Sarah Hoffman says, “We officially opened Amy’s Park in July with a guided hike. It is a wonderful and rare property for this area. It is very family-friendly and a great place to explore with young kids.”

According to Hoffman though the 500-acre property does not have views of the lake, it is home to a beaver pond, natural plants, grasses and all the wildlife that comes with it. It is a beautiful addition to the other LGLC properties. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Skiing on Oseetah Marsh and the Jackrabbit Trail

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOseetah Marsh just outside Saranac Lake is the destination of one of my regular lunch-hour ski trips. It’s short, easy, and scenic, with views of the McKenzie Range, the Sawtooth Range, and nearby Scarface Mountain.

Yesterday I did the trip for the first time this winter. Why did I wait so long? To get to the marsh, I follow a snowmobile trail through a beautiful pine forest. Until this afternoon, every time I reached the edge of the marsh I found a small pool of black water, bordered by very thin ice. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cunningham Acquitted In Rafting Case

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA rafting outfitter who sent a father and daughter down the Indian River without a guide was acquitted of reckless endangerment today after a three-day trial in Hamilton County Court.

Pat Cunningham, the owner of Hudson River Rafting Company, had been indicted on two misdemeanor reckless-endangerment charges stemming from separate incidents in August 2010. One of the charges was dismissed because the witnesses did not want to testify, according to Marsha Purdue, the county’s district attorney. » Continue Reading.


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