Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dick Beamish Commentary On Rail-Trail Debate

Rail.locator (2)(1)Words of wisdom can be found in the latest issue of the Conservationist magazine, published bimonthly by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. In his introductory letter to readers, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens makes the following comments that have special application to the proposed Adirondack Rail Trail that would run 90 miles between Old Forge and Lake Placid. Following the Commissioner’s comments are observations of our own. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, February 6, 2014

Signs of an Unstable Snowpack in the Backcountry

Adirondack AvalanchesWhile out skiing yesterday afternoon I saw several signs that the snowpack is unstable and extreme caution should be used if you are tempted to head towards the slides after this recent snowfall.

I came across numerous small slides, such as the one in this photograph, on N and NW aspects at slopes as low as 25 degrees.

Whooping and shooting cracks were prevalent. I was skiing the trees but any turns made near a convex roll produced a small slide.  If you venture into avalanche terrain make sure you have the knowledge to assess the risk, know proper travel techniques, and are carrying a beacon, probe, shovel, and the knowledge to use them.



Thursday, February 6, 2014

Buds: Spanning the Seasons

twigsThe sign in the window, which read, “Clearance! Hats and Gloves 50% off,” puzzled me. Snowflakes swirled on gusty winds. The bitter cold stung my fingertips—I wondered if I should buy warmer gloves while I had the chance. Clearance? Temperatures hadn’t climbed above freezing for days; the warmth of spring was a distant dream.

Blow out your boots, or lose your wool hat in winter, and when you go looking for a replacement you are likely to find sandals and sun hats on display. I used to rail against such a setup, assigning it to an insatiable human propensity for speed, afraid that at some point we might just lap ourselves. But when I began to study trees, and learned how their growth patterns transcend traditional seasonal boundaries, I softened my stance. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mythical Backcountry Adventures

View from Cat MountainSome backpacking trips go beyond the ordinary backcountry adventure. Whether due to a single outstanding wildlife sighting, a series of unlikely events, a special chemistry between participants, a scenic location or any combination of these, some trips become legendary, recounted time and time again. These legendary trips eventually develop their own mythology, combining equal amounts of actual events and fictitious hyperbole.

These legendary backcountry trips are not common, but almost anyone who spends enough time in the Adirondack backcountry can expect to experience at least a few during their backpacking career. Typically, these trips involve groups, the dynamics between the participants contributing not only to the memorable trip activities, but also to the numerous retellings where the events morph into the mythological.

This is how tall tales are born.
» Continue Reading.



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Adirondack Night Sky: Taurus The Bull

2 cave art at LascauxOn a clear midwinter evening, look high above the southern horizon and you will see a V-shaped group of moderately bright stars. These stars form the center of the large constellation Taurus. Imagine, as did the Sumerians four thousand years ago, that this pattern outlines the horns of a charging bull. The bright red star Aldebaran prominently shines on his lower (southern) horn.

The stars of the horns are called the Hyades. In Greek mythology, they were the daughters of Atlas and Aethra. Their appearance was associated with the rainy season.  At a mere 150 light years away, The Hyades are actually an open cluster of related stars. Look above and a little to the right (west) of the V and you’ll see a compact cluster of blue stars called the Pleiades. Although this beautiful little asterism is known as the Seven Sisters, some people see six stars with the naked eye, where others claim they can see eleven. With the magnification of 7×50 binoculars, a hundred or more of these gem-like blue stars are revealed in the cluster. The view is spectacular.   » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Call for Torch Runners: Olympic Flame Ceremony Friday

lpflamecauldrontestThe 1980 Olympic Flame Cauldron in Lake Placid will be lit Friday, Feb. 7, as the Adirondack region gears up to celebrate this year’s Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

The public is encouraged to attend this free ceremony, which is intended to both commemorate Lake Placid and the Adirondacks’ Olympic heritage and to honor the region’s many local athletes who have represented Team USA in the past, and those who will compete in Sochi, Russia.

Following the 6 p.m. lighting, Olympians and other runners are invited to join the torch run on a route from the Flame Cauldron at the North Elba Horse Show Grounds, down Route 73 then along Main Street. The procession will end at Mid’s Park, where a smaller, portable Empire State Winter Games cauldron will be lit. That cauldron will continue to burn throughout the Empire State Winter Games and throughout the competition at the Sochi Olympic Winter Games. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Some Of The Best Adirondack Winter Carnivals

2014 Ice Palace (Mark Kurtz Photo)Though my family and I have not attended the entire top ten winter carnival venues touted in National Geographic Traveler, I can say we have attended all the winter carnivals in the Adirondack Park listed below. Each festival holds its own special charm and each celebration is an opportunity to enjoy those unique corners of the Adirondack Park.

Saranac Lake may place second on the National Geographic Traveler’s list, but it tops the list for East Coast winter carnival fun. First held in  1897, the Saranac Lake’s winter carnival has a convoluted history. With over a century of experience to draw from, it has grown into a ten-day festival of sports, races, parades, live performances and fireworks. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Artists Celebrating Historic Saranac Lake With Benefit

unnamed(5)Members of the Adirondack Artists Guild and Historic Saranac Lake will celebrate Saranac Lake history on Friday, Feb. 7, from 5 – 7 pm, with the opening reception for “Our Kinda Town” an exhibit and silent auction which will run through March 2.

Each year the Artists Guild selects a local not-for-profit for the February show and creates works of art that relate to the theme or mission of the organization. Founded in 1980, Historic Saranac Lake is a not-for-profit architectural preservation organization that captures and presents local history from their center at the Saranac Laboratory Museum. Built in 1894, the Saranac Laboratory was the first laboratory built for the study of tuberculosis in the United Sates.  Historic Saranac Lake operates a local history website of over 5,000 pages of at www.localwiki.net/hsl. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Benjamin Harrison’s 1895 Fulton Chain Vacation

P10 Gen Harrison and party at Old Forge dock175 (2)The widower ex-President Benjamin Harrison and part of his extended family came to the Fulton Chain in the summer of 1895.  By the following summer, his summer home Berkeley Lodge would be built on a peninsula between First and Second Lakes for him and for a new wife.  Our story starts with the election of 1888.

At the age of 55, Benjamin Harrison became the 23rd President in the first election where the electoral college vote went contrary to the popular vote.  Besides his wife, Caroline Scott Harrison, the White House family included son Russell Lord, his wife Mary and their daughter Marthena; daughter Mary Scott and husband J. Robert McKee and son Ben (“Baby McKee”); and Caroline’s 90 year old recently widowed father Rev. John Scott.  Later in the term, it included niece Caroline’s widowed 30 year old niece, Mrs. Mary Scott Lord Dimmick.  » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

School Fundraising: Why Not Sell Local Foods?

ShipmanFamilyFarmStandCJenkins5We’re big supporters of our sons’ school, and I enjoy helping out and participating in most school events, probably more than my kids would actually like. But there’s one thing that has never been particularly appealing to me (and other parents, judging from the courtside conversations) and that’s class fundraisers in the form of products for sale.

Sure, some of them are fine and I do enjoy my Christmas wreath. But many of the other items seem cheaply made and sometimes totally useless. I’ve been known to skip the tchotchkes entirely and just send in money. » Continue Reading.



Monday, February 3, 2014

DEC Releases Draft Kushaqua Tract Easement Plan

Western_Ridges_LoonLakeMountains The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released a proposed resource management plan for The Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands in the northern Adirondacks and is seeking public comments.

The Kushaqua Tract Easement is approximately 19,000 acres of land in the towns of Franklin and Brighton in Franklin County formerly owned by International Paper Corporation. DEC purchased a working forest conservation easement on the lands in 2004 which includes development rights and sustainable forestry requirements. The easement also includes public access to more than 18,000 acres of the property and many miles of the existing road system. » Continue Reading.



Monday, February 3, 2014

Marcy Trail Needs More Snow For Skiing

Unbroken-trail-600x4501Well, I couldn’t wait any longer. After we got a few inches of snow Saturday night, I decided to ski Mount Marcy.

From Adirondak Loj Road, I started by skiing up South Meadow Road. On Saturday afternoon, I had skied the road and the Marcy Dam Truck Trail as far as Marcy Dam. The road had been in great shape for skiing, but the truck trail had a lot of exposed rocks.

What a difference a day makes. The extra snow was enough to bury virtually all the rocks. Also, Forest Ranger Jim Giglinto cut through the worst of a tree that had fallen across the trail. It’s now possible to slide over the tree with skis on. After a few more inches of snow, you probably won’t even notice it. » Continue Reading.



Monday, February 3, 2014

Charles Shaw, Ace Attorney From Jay (Part 2)

CPShaw 02 BookletDespite all his accomplishments, Charles Shaw’s career is largely defined by a decade-long battle he fought on behalf of the cable interests for rail control of New York City’s streets. Cable’s two main rivals: horse-powered rail and underground lines. Both had many powerful backers.

Initially, Charles was hired to perform one task: lobby the state legislature for specific modifications of a bill under consideration in Albany. After earning the modern equivalent of more than a quarter million dollars for his efforts, Shaw was retained by the cable men, who wanted San Francisco-type cars operating on 70 miles of New York City roads.

Charles became the leading voice for cable, and was often vilified for his intense lobbying efforts. He refused to give up, at one point leading a four-man legal team against a cadre of 38 lawyers. The New York Times and other newspapers saw Shaw’s plan as nothing more than a city land-grab. But still he fought on, winning some victories and eventually spending over a million dollars in the effort. How high were the stakes? It was estimated that lobbyists representing cable had coughed up close to $5 million … and had still come up empty so far. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cabin Life: The Burial Of Ed

The final resting placeIt’s been a couple of weeks packed with transition for all of us out here at the cabin.  The chickens are out of the tent, Ed is buried and Herbie is acting like he never has before.  We’re all making adjustments and getting on with life, even though the bone-chilling temperatures haven’t always made it that easy.  The chickens are getting better about laying eggs again after their days in the tent.  It took a few days but Whitey finally started laying again and Blondie has dropped a couple of eggs too.  Brownie never really stopped.

Two days after Ed died, I decided that I needed to bury him.  It had been a long weekend, with Ed passing, then me being occupied in a weekend long task.  But that Sunday night I made the effort to bury Ed. » Continue Reading.


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Saturday, February 1, 2014

New Guide: The Trans Adirondack Route

Logo transparentWith six million acres of valleys, lakes, peaks, and passes, the Adirondack Park of is a big place ripe for big adventures, and no adventure could be bigger than hiking across the entire park, from top to bottom.  This 235-mile opportunity to traverse the Adirondacks is being dubbed by former Adirondack Park backcountry ranger Erik Schlimmer the “Trans Adirondack Route”.

Schlimmer’s Trans Adirondack Route pieces together hiking trails, abandoned pathways, snowmobile trails, and dirt and paved roads to travel from Ellenburg Center near the Canadian border to southern Fulton County near Gloversville.  During its course the route crosses five wilderness areas, visits fifty bodies of water, climbs three summits, and runs through three settlements.  Highlights of the route include Whiteface Mountain, the High Peaks, the Cold River, and Long Lake. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, February 1, 2014

Diversity and the Adirondacks: A Demographic Stasis

Lyman Epps SeniorOver the last few weeks I have been making an argument that socioeconomic and racial diversity is a primary challenge facing the Adirondacks.  The core of the argument is that the Adirondack region is becoming ever-more sequestered racially as the rest of New York State rapidly moves towards a non-white majority and this poses problems for the future of the park.  This sequestration cuts both ways – the Adirondacks lose and an evolving population that does not have a relevant connection to the park loses too.

So far my argument has been rooted in experience, raising questions of equity and social justice along the way.  Proceeding from this experience I would contend that the my core argument is true prima facie – that is it is obvious to anyone with open eyes and a little breadth of experience in the world. » Continue Reading.



Friday, January 31, 2014

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights


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Friday, January 31, 2014

Catnip: Cats on Drugs

ed_kanze_bobcatBeware the cat that’s imbibed a shot of catnip! Humans aren’t the world’s only substance abusers. Cats—little cats, big cats, house cats, wild cats—all fall for catnip. Listen here for a glimpse of cats on drugs in this week’s edition of All Things Natural with Ed Kanze.

The podcast is produced by Mountain Lake PBS’s Josh Clement. “All Things Natural” has been published continuously since 1987 . It currently appears in the Bedford, NY Record-Review. Listen to past episodes by visiting Mountain Lake PBS’s Borderless North webpage at mountainlake.org/bn.



Friday, January 31, 2014

Adirondack Events This Weekend (Jan 31)

Visit the Adirondack Almanack each Friday to find out what’s happening around the Adirondacks.

Featured Adirondack Events – chosen by Adirondack Almanack contributors.

Outdoor Conditions in the Adirondacks – for those headed into the woods or onto the waters this weekend.

We’ve also gathered the best links to regional events calendars all in one place:

» Continue Reading.


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Friday, January 31, 2014

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


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