Monday, April 7, 2014

Community Gardens Gaining Ground in Northern New York

communitygardenphotodigThis is a revival of a column I wrote a few years ago about community gardens. I couldn’t resist digging it out of the mothballs because, like other local food and gardening efforts it’s gaining momentum with wide interest.

When I last encouraged folks to look into community gardens there were just a handful in the North Country.  Last summer, when Adirondack Harvest published its annual local food guide, we listed 21 community and school gardens, just in Essex County!

My introduction to community gardens took place 25 years ago when my husband and I, devout gardeners and homesteaders, abruptly moved from the rural green of Vermont to Minneapolis and St. Paul (yes, we started out in one city and a year later moved to the other one).

While we adored the Twin Cities, there were no backyard gardens for us. And so there entered a new concept in my life: community gardens.  We discovered that plots of land had been cordoned off in, among other places, parks and vacant lots.  Each area was divided into many 20’ by 20’ plots with water access.  For a small fee, we were able to secure a space, tilled for us at the beginning of the season. » Continue Reading.



Monday, April 7, 2014

Archaeological Volunteer Opportunity on Lake George

excavatingVolunteers are being sought to help excavate at Wiawaka Holiday House at the southern end of Lake George to help document the early years of the Holiday House by looking at the materials the visitors, staff, and organizers left behind.  Wiawaka Holiday House was founded in 1903 to provide affordable vacations for the working women in the factories of Troy and Cohoes, New York. The work is being directed by Megan Springate, a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland working on her dissertation looking at the intersections of class and gender in the early twentieth century.

No previous archaeological experience is necessary. Participants will learn archaeological techniques hands-on at the site. All equipment will be provided.  Accommodation and meals are available at Wiawaka Holiday House for a fee.* There is no charge to volunteer.  Those without previous archaeological experience are asked to volunteer for three or more days. You must be 18 years of age or older. Excavation Dates:  Monday to Friday, June 16 through July 11, 2014 » Continue Reading.



Monday, April 7, 2014

Jack Drury: A Proposal For Rail AND Trail

Rail.locator (2)(1)I’ve been an advocate of more recreational trails throughout the park for a long time. I also feel that we’ll be cheated if we don’t try our damnedest to try to have a rail and trail, side by side where possible and intersecting when not.

In a March 16 letter to the Utica Observer Dispatch respected trail advocate Tony Goodwin noted that a rail with trail, “… is not physically possible” and that:  “Periodically leaving the corridor is so far just talk. A year ago, Tupper Lake rail supporters formed a committee to look at a parallel trail from Tupper Lake to the campground at Rollins Pond. I know committee members made field inspections, but so far there’s no plan showing that a parallel trail could feasibly be built.”

I decided to take a deeper look. I talked with some folks from Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake who have explored the rail corridor in greater detail than I have. I took their information and combined it with my own experience and I made a map of a possible trail from Saranac Lake to Tupper Lake.  » Continue Reading.



Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cabin Life: The Chickens and The Fox

The Fox TracksThere’s a steady stream of water pouring off the roof in front of the big window.  There are no more icicles, and the shingles are showing for the first time in months.  It finally feels like spring.

I sat outside most of the afternoon, relaxing in a lawn chair enjoying a good book.  As I sat there soaking up the sun, the snow melted around me.  The chicken coop roof is clear after being baked in the sun all day, and the snow fossils of old footprints are melting away.

The chickens have been enjoying the warmer weather and are basking in the sunlight. For a couple of months, I hadn’t gotten more than an egg per day from the three girls, and sometimes not even that.  But in the last week, I’ve gotten more than a dozen. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, April 5, 2014

Brendan Wiltse: Spring Skiing In The Backcountry

adirondack backcountry skiing

Last weekend we got a few inches of wet heavy snow, followed by a week of blue bird days with temperatures well above freezing.  This made for nearly perfect conditions for backcountry skiing.  A telephoto lens allowed me to capture this shot of a skier descending a slide in the backcountry.



Saturday, April 5, 2014

Farrand Benedict’s Trans-Adirondack Water Route

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 5.44.44 AMOn Route 28 between Indian Lake and Blue Mountain Lake there is a sign about a half mile south of  the junction with Route 28N in Blue Mountain Lake that marks the divide between the St. Lawrence River and Hudson River watersheds.  The waters of Blue Mountain Lake flow through the Eckford Chain into Raquette Lake, north through Long Lake and the Raquette River eventually reaching the St. Lawrence Seaway.  The waters of Durant Lake, only a half-mile from Blue, eventually flow into the Hudson River.

If Farrand Benedict had been successful with his grand plans for the Adirondacks from Lake Champlain to Lake Ontario, the waters of Blue, Raquette and Long lakes would today also flow to the Hudson River.  » Continue Reading.



Friday, April 4, 2014

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights


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Friday, April 4, 2014

Lake George: ‘Frozen Boats’ Program Established For Locals

LGPC ED Dave Wick and LGA Educator Jill Trunko seal the FC as part of the Frozen Boats ProgramThe Lake George Park Commission (LGPC) has established a “Frozen Boats” Program that allows local residents to have their boats certified as invasive-free with a Vessel Inspection Control Seal (VICS) in advance of the 2014 boating season.

Walt Lender, the LGA’s Executive Director, said in a statement issued to the press that “the LGPC’s efforts to create a comprehensive mandatory inspection program to protect the Lake is no small task – and seemingly minor details, such as tagging frozen boats, can help decrease congestion at the inspection stations early on in the season, which will be important to the success of the program this first year. When folks arrive at the Lake this summer we want them to understand that lake protection and recreation can go hand in hand. It’s like a first impression – you want to get it right.”

Having a boat with an intact inspection seal acquired through the Frozen Boats Program removes the need for that boat to visit one of the six regional inspection stations for a ‘clean, drained, and dry’ inspection prior to its first launch of the year into Lake George. This local program will provide inspection seals for trailered boats that have been demonstrated to be exposed to the winter elements sufficiently long to kill aquatic invasive species. » Continue Reading.



Friday, April 4, 2014

Birding: The Decline of Evening Grosbeaks

ed_kanze_grosbeakThe most glamorous of our winter birds, the evening grosbeak, isn’t extinct or even close. But it’s in a steep decline in many places. Sightings grow rare.

Listen as I consider why grosbeaks seem to be leaving us, and why they may eventually come back in this week’s edition of All Things Natural with Ed Kanze. » Continue Reading.



Friday, April 4, 2014

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


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Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Otter Creek Horse Trails in Winter

Otter Creek Horse TRails in winterA few Sundays ago a few hardy souls snowshoed to the Independence River scenic overlook on the Elbow Trail of the Otter Creek Trail System (located on the Independence River Wild Forest and the Independence River and Otter Creek State Forests).

To reach the overlook, we parked along the road at the Bailey Road Snowplow Turn-around.  The trail continues down the road, which had been packed recently by some snow sleds. We turned north onto the Old #4 Trail for a short distance and then took the Elbow Trail.  We were breaking trail but did not find the task strenuous and the scenery was stellar.

This year the Independence River is frozen over where as last year at this time the river was open.  The trail follows the river for a short distance before veering away and wandering through some pines. Finally, the trail re-joins Bailey Road for the return to the snowplow turn-around.  The entire trek took a leisurely two hours. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Apr 3)

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This weekly Adirondack outdoor conditions report is issued on Thursday afternoons, year round.

Get The Weekly Outdoor Conditions Podcast

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio. The report can also be found at Mountain Lake PBS.

 

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

» Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jessica Tabora: Early Spring View From Owl’s Head

Owl's Head

Owl’s Head mountain offers a short hike to very rewarding views of the High Peaks area. The trail is right off 73 near Cascade lakes. The weather has been warm this weekend and a lot of the snow is melting in the area. This is also a great sunrise or sunset hike for the minimal distance to the summit.



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Adirondack Raccoons: It’s All In The Hands

TOS_footHarry Houdini was a great break-out artist: handcuffed, straight-jacketed, chained and submerged in water, he’d always emerge. Raccoons are famous break-in artists. No chimney flue, garbage can, or campground cooler is safe from their prying hands.

Like Harry Houdini, it’s partly clever hand work that makes the raccoon so good…and so bad. Raccoons have remarkably sensitive hands, with five long, tapered fingers and long nails. They lack thumbs, so can’t grasp objects with one hand the way we can, but they use both forepaws together to lift and then acutely manipulate objects. Thanks to this tactile intelligence, raccoons are problem solvers that adapt easily to cities, suburbs, and other manmade habitats. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ausable Flooding:
Smarter Culvert Designs Benefit Fish And People

Tropical Storm Irene Runoff CulvertMost people don’t think about culverts, the large pipes that carry streams and runoff underneath our roads. Even with their essential role in our transportation infrastructure, culverts tend to be in the spotlight only when they fail. In dramatic ways, Hurricane Irene and other recent storms have put culverts (and bridges) to the test. Unfortunately, the high water from these storms overwhelmed many culverts, washing out roads, causing millions of dollars in damages across the Adirondacks, and disrupting life in many communities. For example, the town of Jay sustained about $400,000 in damage to its culverts and adjacent roads as a result of Irene. Across the Northeast, the story is much the same.

Following Tropical Storm Irene, I was part of a team of conservation professionals to assess the performance of road-stream crossings (i.e., culverts and bridges) in Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest. The peer-reviewed study, published in the current issue of Fisheries, found that damage was largely avoided at crossings with a stream simulation design, an ecologically-based approach that creates a dynamic channel through the structure that is similar in dimensions and characteristics to the adjacent, natural channel. On the other hand, damages were extensive, costly, and inconvenient at sites with stream crossings following more traditional designs. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 3, 2014

DEC Plan:
Amend Jay Mtn Wilderness Management Plan For Mining

NYCO-Minerals-Wollastonite-Mine-Nancie-B-PhotoThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) says it submitted a proposed amendment to the 2010 Jay Mountain Wilderness Unit Management Plan (UMP) on Wednesday to the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) in an attempt to change the UMP to be consistent with the constitutional amendment approved by voters in November 2013 that permits, in the words of a DEC press release, “exploratory sampling” on the state-owned wilderness area in the Town of Lewis, Essex County.

“The constitutional amendment authorizes NYCO Materials, Inc. to conduct sampling on the 200-acre parcel, known as Lot 8, to determine the quantity and quality of wollastonite on the site, which is adjacent to the company’s long-standing mine,” the DEC press release said. “The exploratory sampling will also provide information that DEC will use to accurately appraise the value of Lot 8 for a potential land exchange if NYCO decides to expand its mining operations.”

The current Jay Mountain Wilderness Area includes Lot 8, which is part of the State Forest Preserve and is governed by Article XIV, Section 1 of the State Constitution, the “forever wild” clause which states in part that Forest Preserve lands, “shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private.” The property is also subject to the provisions of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (APSLMP) as outlined in the 2010 Unit Management Plan for the Jay Mountain Wilderness area. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Friday NCPR Call-In:
The Future of the North Country’s Prison Industry

prison-time_375-300x240Friday morning at 11 o’clock North Country Public Radio will host a live call-in show to talk about the future of the North Country’s prison industry.

With two more prisons set to close in our region this summer, in Franklin and Saratoga counties, people are asking new questions about America’s drug war and about the outlook for prison workers from Ogdenbsurg to Malone to Moriah and Saranac Lake. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

David Sive: Wild Nature’s Legal Champion

David SiveLegal champion for nature, for our nature and for the wild, David Sive, eulogized in The New York Times recently, was a man who epitomized the truth that you protect only what you love, you love only what you understand and you understand only what you are taught. According to the writers of the Times obituary, David brought Thoreau’s Walden with him to World War II and he and the book survived the Battle of the Bulge.

That is a blessing, for David Sive went on to employ Thoreau’s transcendence, his own legal training, fierce guardianship of all he loved and consummate use of the English language in the courts of law to protect the Hudson Valley and its Highlands, the Catskills, the Adirondacks, our State Parks, and many other places.

Before David Sive, the idea of a citizen and their representative gaining standing to argue for the environment in a court of law was rare indeed. Thanks to him and other pioneers, it has long been practiced. One can always wish that more of our judges were better trained and more inclined in this direction, but that is another story. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dan Crane: I’m Addicted To Outdoor Gear

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAExploring the Adirondack backcountry requires tenacity, perseverance and great deal of fortitude, as climbing over blowdowns, crossing beaver dams and struggling through hobblebush is an arduous way to spend the day. These personal qualities are not the only necessities for enjoying the backcountry however, having the proper gear is equally important. Backpacks, shelters, sleeping bags and numerous other items are tools of the trade for any intrepid soul that leaves societal comforts behind to enjoy some time surrounded by trees, furry animals and all the other creepy-crawlies in the great outdoors.

Sometimes the need for the proper gear quickly becomes a compulsion for owning the latest and greatest equipment on the market. For these people, the satisfaction of owning adequate gear is not enough; instead, the desire for the lightest or flashiest item becomes overwhelming. Whenever a new “superior” piece of equipment comes to their attention, whether it is lighter-weight or just a better way of fulfilling some backcountry need, the desire to own it gnaws at them. They want it. They need it. They must have it.
» Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Kelly Adirondack Center Lecture Series With Hallie Bond

People in the WildernessThe Kelly Adirondack Center in Niskayuna, NY has announced an upcoming four-part lunch and learn series, “People in the Wilderness” with Hallie Bond. Bond was at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake from 1983 until 2012, first as Education Director and then as Curator.

On April 7, the topic will be “Adirondack Life”. Before the automobile and good roads, Adirondack life ran in traditional channels, tied to the seasons and the land. Cash was scarce, and people worked at many different jobs. How Adirondackers used the woods to support themselves is essential to understanding Adirondack life today. » Continue Reading.



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