Historically, New York State has long been home to some of the nation’s toughest prisons. More than a century ago, having served 18 years at Sing Sing, 19 at Auburn, or 31 at Clinton marked any man as one tough son-of-a gun. So what could be said about a man who served all three of those sentences? The toughest SOB ever? Not even close. He was a hard case, no doubt, but in time, dedicated recidivism earned him media portrayals as quirky, unusual, and eventually somewhat endearing. It’s doubtful his victims felt that way, but it happens that some criminals gain personas making them far more acceptable than the average crook. Among those was upstate New York’s Hog-Pen Charley. » Continue Reading.
My sister Esther is a therapist in London, England. She specializes in voice dialogue therapy. Her work tries to engage the client’s heretofore unacknowledged multiple inner voices in constructive dialog with each other. Esther is highly intuitive. She can still work up her own fright by recalling from childhood our father Howard Zahniser reciting a poem she and I remembered as “There Is a Wolf in Me.” It turns out the poem by Carl Sandburg (1878–1967) is titled “Wilderness”:
There is a wolf in me . . . fangs pointed for tearing gashes . . . a red tongue for raw meat . . . and the hot lapping of blood—I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me and the wilderness will not let it go.
I can still conjure my father reciting the poem to us as he stood framed by the doorway from our kitchen pantry-way into the dining room of our childhood home in the Hyattsville, Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C.
No matter that the house no longer exists. No matter that our father Howard Zahniser died 50 years ago. No matter that I have since seen wolves in the wild and witnessed their extreme wariness toward their bipedal primate nemesis humankind.
What was so frightening about the poem may be the fact that, truth to tell, there is probably a wolf in each of us. What if my wolf got out? What if your wolf got out? » Continue Reading.
It has been nearly a year since I began a series of columns on diversity in the Adirondacks. Much has happened since then, most notably a challenging, motivating and well-received symposium held in August, “Toward a More Diverse Adirondacks.”
The symposium was a good start to addressing the important challenges in making the Adirondack Park more welcoming and inclusive, thereby increasing the Park’s role in the betterment of the lives of all New Yorkers and giving it a richer, more robustly supported future. But if a good day of conversation was all we accomplished it would amount to very little. So a number of initiatives are underway to the further the work. It is our sincere wish to make diversity part of the cultural DNA of the Adirondacks, as surely for human beings as it is for the natural world. » Continue Reading.
The Lake George Association (LGA) is partnering with the Lake George Park Commission (LGPC) for a 2015 Recreation Study of the Lake. The project is expected to update the 2005 Lake George Recreation Study.
The 2005 study found 460,372 total boat use days from April-Sept with 44,177 motorboat launches and 75,835 public beach users estimated for 2005. The average horsepower on the lake was 194 while the average horsepower of performance boats was 500. During peak use, there were 261 PWCs, 303 canoes/kayaks, 317 sailboats, and 1,553 motorboats, for a grand total of 2,434 boats out on the Lake at one time at peak use. However, over the course of an entire weekend day during the summer – there were 4,700 motorboats on the Lake, and 2,500 motorboats on a weekday. » Continue Reading.
Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio. A narrative version of this report can be found at Mountain Lake PBS.
You’ve discovered a tiny evergreen forest of what look like diminutive hemlock or cedar trees barely taller than a chipmunk. They’re spread across the cool shade cast by a canopy of hardwood or coniferous trees. This Lilliputian forest is actually a clump of clubmosses.
Clubmosses are among the oldest plants on Earth, having evolved over 390 million years ago. Long ago, clubmosses weren’t so diminutive. They were tree-like and towered over tropical forests, reaching 100 feet tall. Those ancient giants are long extinct but they continue to affect our environment; their remnants persist as fossil fuels.
Ironically, clubmosses are not mosses, although eighteenth century botanists thought they were. In the nineteenth century, botanists surmised that the clubmosses were closely related to ferns because they reproduce by spores and placed them in a category of plants called fern allies. That also was incorrect. Advanced technology and DNA sequencing have revealed that clubmosses evolved separately from ferns and are not closely related. However, clubmosses are still called fern allies or fern relatives in field guides. » Continue Reading.
Updated every five years, the plan guides the state’s decisions regarding land acquisitions and sets a strategy for land conservation. The plan is developed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Regional committees throughout the state provide additional input.
This plan listed four urgent priorities: promoting outdoor recreation; addressing climate change; ensuring clean water, air and land for a healthy economy; and protecting, using and conserving natural resources and cultural heritage.
In the outdoor recreation section, it specifically mentions promoting recreation for all types of users on both private and public lands, connecting children with nature, and connecting open space corridors. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Museum’s annual Fall Fest and Fiber Arts Fair will be held from 10 am to 5 pm, this Saturday, October 4th.
Museum admission is free for year-round Adirondack Park residents with proof of permanent residency (such as a driver’s license) through the museum’s last day of the season, (Columbus Day, including the Fall Fest and Fiber Arts Fair.
From October 1st to 13th, the museum is collecting donations of canned/dried foods and new/gently used winter outerwear and blankets to support Hamilton County Community Action. » Continue Reading.
The Fulton County Sheriff’s Association will offer a public review of the case of convicted Adirondack serial killer Robert Garrow tomorrow, Thursday, October 2 at the Johnstown Eagles Club, 12 S. William St., at 7 pm. The presentation will be given by regular Adirondack Almanack contributor Lawrence P. Gooley, who is the author of Terror in the Adirondacks: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert F. Garrow.
Garrow, an abused Dannemora child turned thief, serial rapist, and killer who admitted to seven rapes and four murders (although police believed there were many more). Among his victims were campers near Speculator where Garrow escaped a police dragnet and traveled up Route 30 through Indian Lake and Long Lake and eventually made his way to Witherbee where he was tracked down and shot in the foot. Claiming he was partially paralyzed, Garrow was shot and killed during an attempted prison escape in September 1978 – he had faked his paralysis. » Continue Reading.
Inlet’s Adirondack Kids Day will be held this Saturday, October 4 from 10 am to 3 pm. Organized by the Adirondack Kids book series authors Gary and Justin VanRiper with the assistance of Kiwanis of the Central Adirondacks, Adirondack Kids Day offers a chance for families to meet children’s authors and illustrators, learn new skills and enjoy a day of free activities.
The day kicks-off with a pancake breakfast at the Inlet Fire Hall benefiting the Inlet Common School Parents/Teacher Partnership. It’s a delicious way to start off a day full of activities. There are only a few activities that have a fee and food is one of them. Two other activities that require admission are playing mini-golf at Putterfingers and building a stuffed animal at the Inlet Youth Animal Workshop. Both are reasonably priced, but there are also enough free activities to fill the rest of they day. » Continue Reading.
Increasing awareness of the natives’ value and the potential threats to their survival is a mission of Dr. Dan Marelli, a Florida biologist whose expertise has made him a valued collaborator of the Darrin Fresh Water Institute whenever mollusks enter the picture.
In August 2010, for example, the first Asian clams discovered in the lake were immediately sent to him. He confirmed their identity, and the multi-million dollar effort to eradicate the invasive, or at least to contain its spread, began. When Zebra mussels were discovered in 1999, Marelli was among those who participated in a successful hand-harvesting eradication effort. » Continue Reading.
On Sunday a group of us hiked the Rocky Peak Ridge to Giant traverse from New Russia. The weather was warm, definitely felt like summer. The climb goes over various peaks. Colors were vibrant red and orange from Blueberry Cobbles to Rocky Peak Ridge. As we approached Giant we noticed more yellows than reds. The elevation gain is 5,300 ft but the countless views on the ridge trail make this such a rewarding hike. The trailhead is found off Route 9 in New Russia.
The most recent Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Report for DEC Region 5 includes most of the Adirondack region. Although not a comprehensive detailing of all backcountry incidents (DEC has recently shortened this report considerably, and produces it less regularly), these reports are printed here at the Almanack in their entirety. They are organized by county, and date. You can read previous Forest Ranger Reports here.
These incident reports are a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry and always carry a flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.
The Adirondack Almanack reports current outdoor recreation and trail conditions each Thursday evening. Listen for John Warren’s Adirondack Outdoor Conditions Report on Friday mornings on WSLP (93.3) and on the stations of North Country Public Radio.
» Continue Reading.
Since I posted my little prototype promotional quiz on Saturday I have gotten a lot of great input, some on-line, some off-line. The reaction tells me that people are interested in this, so I have incorporated the various suggestions I received into a new version.
In the summer of 1892, the wife of President Benjamin Harrison, Caroline Scott Harrison, became extremely ill. She primarily suffered from tuberculosis, but experienced complications from pleurisy and the accumulation of fluid in her chest. Medical treatment of T. B. at the time mainly amounted to having the patient rest. For this reason, it was felt that a stay in the Adirondacks offered the best chance for restoring the First Lady’s health.
Early in July, the journey from Washington, D.C. to Loon Lake was undertaken, via a special train. The Troy Daily Times dutifully reported on the train’s progress. It arrived in Troy in the wee hours of the morning on July 7, then proceeded to White Creek, Rutland, Vermont, Rouse’s Point, and Malone, reaching the latter place at 10:30 am. There, a crowd that included some local officials met the two-car train, but the President asked that they refrain from cheering, so as not to disturb his sick wife. » Continue Reading.
Early autumn is the time fog frequently shrouds valleys in the morning, and a heavy dew regularly coats unprotected surfaces for several hours after sunrise. As the atmosphere begins to cool with the change in seasons, moist conditions often develop at night and can continue well after dawn. This is ideal for our various terrestrial amphibians, which require damp surroundings for their survival. Among the members of these moisture sensitive vertebrates is the red-spotted newt, a unique form of salamander that goes on the move as the foliage changes color. » Continue Reading.