Monday, July 11, 2011

Guest Essay: The Rooftop Highway, A Bad Idea

What follows is a guest essay by John Danis, a member of a new organization (YESeleven) which hopes to put an end the long-standing proposal to build the Northern Tier Expressway (aka I-98 or the Rooftop Highway), a 175-mile four lane divided highway that would link I-81 in Watertown and I-87 in Champlain. The Almanack asked Danis to provide readers with some insight as to why they oppose the highway.

Several months ago, a group of concerned citizens began discussions aimed at forming YESeleven, an organization intended to educate the public in Northern New York about the misguided attempts by bureaucrats and politicians in the region to construct a 172 mile, limited access, high-speed interstate highway, from Watertown to Plattsburgh.

For the past 3 years, proponents of this so-called, “Rooftop Highway”, have been quietly and methodically lining up political support across the region to try and force the hand of the state and federal governments to finance the estimated 4-billion, (their number!), or more dollar cost of constructing what we felt was a massively transformational, destructive and financially overreaching plan for the entire region.

The Rooftop Highway, or what proponents refer to as I-98, is an idea with a history going back fifty years or more, to the era of the construction of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. Periodically over these fifty or more years the notion of connecting the Maine seacoast with the Great Lakes Basin has ebbed and surged. The “Rooftop” highway concept was to be part of this, “Can-Am” highway, particularly the part that would connect I-81 and I-87, across the northern tier of New York State. Adjacent highway development on both sides of the US-Canadian border, have dampened enthusiasm for this grand concept in many regions, with the notable exception of Northern New York.

In 2008, the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT), published a study, which had been three years in the making, called the “Northern Tier Expressway Corridor Study”. This study was an exhaustive and comprehensive view of the US Route 11 transportation corridor, the established and dominant corridor of economic activity across the region, (this study is available at our YESeleven website, yeseleven.org). The study looked at all aspects of life across the region and concluded that the vital Route 11 transportation corridor, with it’s myriad counties, towns, villages, businesses, farms and universities, as well as it’s environmental treasures, was best served by a plan that contemplated evolutionary and targeted upgrades and improvements to the existing corridor over twenty years. Moreover, it would be done at a tenth or less of the cost of what a new and competing economic development corridor could be built for. Further, the improvements would be made in the existing corridor, rather than destroying thousand of square miles of land, dividing the entire region, displacing hundreds of landowners, etc.

The DOT study was rejected out of hand by Rooftop Highway proponents and their political allies. Their rejection of the plan seemed to be based on the belief that the Route 11 upgrades were not good enough, that the region was owed and deserving of a full interstate highway, with four interstate connector spurs criss-crossing the St. Lawrence Valley.

YESeleven’s view is that their position is essentially creating, at phenomenal cost, what amounts to a 172 mile bypass of every economic center in the region. The development of an adjacent economic corridor can only serve to create winners and losers as interstate highways have done in so many other regions. The best argument that the Rooftoppers have put forth is that if we build it, surely, they will come. All other claims about job creation have been poorly documented, if at all.

One of our positions is that every time that this discussion has come up over the past fifty-plus years, it has sapped energy, focus and financial resources away from more immediate and essential maintenance and improvement needs to our existing highway infrastructure and economic activity.

In short, the Rooftop highway plan is an overreaching, pie-in-the-sky distraction and we need to set it aside, once and for all, and move on.

You can visit the YESeleven website to learn more about our positions on highway infrastructure needs and solutions in the Northern New York Region.


Monday, July 11, 2011

The Long and Fruitful Life of Ticonderoga’s Enos Dudley

Card of Thanks entries were routine fare in newspapers of years past. They were commonly used by families acknowledging those who provided aid and comfort during times of bereavement. The “Cards” shared a standard format—citing doctors, nurses, and friends, followed by the names of the immediate family who were doing the thanking—but some stood out as unusual. The death of Crown Point’s Enos Dudley in 1950 is a case in point.

Shortly after he passed, a Card of Thanks noted “the death of our beloved father, Enos J. Dudley” and featured the names of seven family members. Below it was a second Card of Thanks referring to Enos as “our beloved husband and father.” It ended with the names of six other family members. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 11, 2011

This Week Devoted to Combating Adirondack Invasives

Advocates of combating invasive species in the Adirondacks are hoping local residents and visitors will become familiar with invasive species at activities planned for the 6th annual Adirondack Invasive Species Awareness Week, July 10-16.

Invasives Awareness Week provides an opportunity for communities to highlight the threats of invasive plants and animals, ways to prevent their spread and management options. Interpretive walks and paddles, identification support, invasive species talks, workshops for all ages and more are planned throughout the Adirondacks. The schedule of events is posted online. Events are free, but preregistration may be requested for certain events. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dispelling the Myths About Invasive Species

What follows is a guest essay by Hilary Smith of the Adirondack Invasive Plant Program a founding member organization of the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership (AFPEP).

Some of the latest regional invasive species news has chronicled the detection of a new population of didymo, also known as “rocksnot.” Now in five rivers in NY, the closest of which is Kayaderosseras Creek with headwaters that lie in the southern Adirondacks, didymo is literally one step away from invading renowned trout streams such as the Ausable. A single celled alga that blankets riverbeds, didymo is easily spread on the felt soles of waders. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Almanack Welcomes the Forest Preserve Education Partnership

Beginning today members of the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership (AFPEP) will contribute to the Adirondack Almanack about Adirondack outdoor recreation. AFPEP shares a vision with Almanack founder John Warren that outdoor recreationists will know, share, and protect the park and themselves. AFPEP hopes to provide Adirondack visitors and residents information about having safe and enjoyable recreational experiences, while protecting the Forest Preserve for future generations.

With two and a half million acres of Forest Preserve public land and another three and a half million acres of private land, Adirondack Park recreational opportunities are available for everyone. These weekly essays will offer advice on the entire range of activities allowed on state land from paddling to motorboating, backcountry skiing to snowmobiling, to hunting, fishing, birding, and more.

AFPEP is a coalition created by the Wildlife Conservation Society, Adirondack Mountain Club, Adirondack Invasive Plant Program, Adirondack Regional Tourism Council, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Leading E.D.G.E. Building on the Leave No Trace philosophy, their goal is to provide public education about the Forest Preserve and Conservation Easements with an emphasis on how to safely enjoy and protect these unique lands. To learn more about AFPEP visit www.adirondackoutdoors.org.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Exhibit Features 100 Years of Adirondack Mail Boats

The Town of Webb Historical Association and Goodsell Museum, located at 2993 State Route 28 in Old Forge, Herkimer County, is currently featuring the exhibit “Floating Letters-The Town of Webb’s Mail Boats-Over 100 Years of Postal Tradition and Summer Fun” through the end of October.

The exhibit presents the history of the delivery of mail by boat in the Town of Webb on the Fulton Chain of Lakes, Big Moose Lake, Twitchell Lake, Rondaxe Lake, Silver Lake, and other locations from the early 1880s until the present. The exhibit includes photographs, certificates, ledgers and maps -as well as a wide assortment of custom leather & canvas/cloth mail pouches donated or on loan for the exhibit.

Included in the exhibit is the story of the Railway Postal Office (RPO) – a unique contract issued to Dr. William Seward Webb & the Fulton Chain Navigation Co. in 1901 whereby an official postal clerk rode on the boats to cancel mail, sell stamps & money orders, and perform other postal duties.

Additional exhibits at the Goodsell Museum include those on Adirondack wildlife, the Goodsell Family (George Goodsell was the first ‘mayor’ of the Village of Old Forge in 1903) and the 90th Anniversary of the Thendara Golf Club. The next featured exhibition, on early medicine, will open December 1st. The Webb Historical Association maintains a regular exhibit on early local doctors which will help form the basis the of the new exhibit.

The Goodsell Museum is open year-round; there is no admission charge.

The museum is also participating in Old Forge’s “First Friday Art Walk” events by including special exhibits connecting art with historical themes. On July 1st from 5-8PM they will have one of Lottie Tuttle’s oil paintings on display. Lottie was one of the Adirondack’s first female guides, she and her husband invented the devil bug fishing lure that was manufactured in Old Forge and marketed across the United States in the early 1900’s.

On July 9th the Association will hold its 9th Annual Benefit Auction. Preview and registration starts at 1 pm, bidding at 2 pm with auctioneer June DeLair from Constableville Auction Hall. The auction is held under a tent on the Goodsell Museum grounds and will include antiques, collectibles, new and nearly new items donated from members and friends of the museum.

The Association also has other programs, workshops, and walking tours. More information can be found online or by contacting Gail Murray, Director, via e-mail at historicaldirector@frontiernet.net or by phone at

Photo: The Steamboat Hunter – Captain Jonathan Meeker delivered mail to hotels and camps as early as 1883.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Astronomy: Adirondack Observatory Lectures

The Adirondack Public Observatory (APO) will return to The Wild Center for three free public lectures in July and August.

On Monday, July 11th at 7:30 pm is Sunspots and Moonshots with Gordie Duval and Marc Staves. The Sun is a seemingly never ending source of energy for us here on Earth. Now, near the peak of its 11 year sunspot cycle, we must be mindful of its awesome power. The Moon governs the tides and eclipses. It has been the subject of many tales, both fact and fiction. It is our closest celestial neighbor and is the farthest humans have ventured from Earth. Join Gordie Duval and Marc Staves of the Adirondack Public Observatory on a tour of our Sun and Moon. Weather permitting, there will be solar observing during the afternoon before the lecture and lunar observations after the lecture.

Gordie Duval and Marc Staves are trustees of the Adirondack Public Observatory. Marc is one of the founders of the APO and Chairman of the Board. Gordie is a physics and astronomy teacher at Tupper Lake High School. Both are lifelong residents of Tupper Lake and amateur astronomers each with their own domed observatory in their backyard.

On Monday, August 1st at 7 pm is Comets, Meteors and More with David Levy. David H. Levy began his telescopic comet search, called CN3, on December 17, 1965. It has resulted in 22 comet discoveries that tie David for third place in history for the largest number of comet finds by an individual. Join David for a fascinating discussion on comets, meteorites and more in the Flammer Theater. Celestial observing in the parking lot after the presentation, weather permitting. There will also be a book signing.

David Levy appears regularly on television and radio programs devoted to astronomy, and is probably best known as a comet discoverer. Perhaps the most famous of which is the co-discovery of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 that impacted Jupiter in July 1994. He is an Emmy winner, having received the award in 1998 as part of a writing team for the Discovery Channel documentary “Three Minutes to Impact,” and his work has been featured in 35 publications.

On Monday, August 15th at 7:30 pm is Exoplanets and Aliens with Jeff Miller. There have been hundreds of worlds discovered orbiting stars many light years away. Most of them are inhospitable to life as we know it but there are a few that are a little more than interesting. Finding planets around other stars that have conditions suitable for life would be fantastic. Join Jeffrey Miller from St. Lawrence University in an exploration of “exoplanets” and the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. Celestial observing in the parking lot after the presentation, weather permitting.

Jeff Miller is one of the astronomers in the Physics department at St. Lawrence University, and teaches Introduction to Astronomy (Phys 101). He is also involved in the ALFALFA Project, a consortium of 16 universities led by Cornell University and funded by the NSF, that uses the 1000-ft. antenna of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center’s Arecibo Observatory to measure extragalactic abundance of neutral Hydrogen (HI). As part of this group, he has had the opportunity to observe at the Arecibo Observatory, and on several occasions bring students to an annual workshop at the observatory. Jeff serves on the board of directors of the APO, gives many public astronomy lectures and maintains the web site for the APO.

These events are free and open to the public.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Adirondack Museum Monday Lectures

The Adirondack Museum will host its annual Monday Evening Lecture Series in July and August. The first evening is with Museum Chief Curator, Laura Rice’s lecture “Night Vision: The Wildlife Photography of Hobart Vosburg Roberts” on July 11. Hobart V. Roberts’ photographs, camera equipment, published articles, and awards are featured in a new exhibit at the Adirondack Museum. Rice will discuss Roberts’ work and the museum’s exhibit in an illustrated presentation.

Lectures continue on July 18 with Robert Arnold’s “Let Loose the Dogs of War: New York in the American Civil War;” and on July 25 with Mark Bowie “s “Night Over the North Country.”

August begins with Bill McKibben on August 1 and “The Most Important Number in the World: Updates on the Fight for a Stable Climate;” August 8 with Robert Demarest and “Traveling with Winslow Homer;” August 15 with David Wagner and “John James Audubon, Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait and American Wildlife Art.” The summer series concludes on August 22 with Elisabeth Hudnut Clarkson and “The Lost World of Foxlair and the Valentino Summer.”

The presentations will be offered at no charge to museum members; the fee for non-members is $5.00. For full descriptions of the lectures, please visit www.adirondackmuseum.org.


Friday, July 8, 2011

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights


Friday, July 8, 2011

Adirondack Events This Weekend (July 8)

Visit the Almanack on Fridays for links to what’s happening this weekend around the Adirondacks.

The Almanack also provides weekly backcountry conditions and hunting and fishing reports for those headed into the woods or onto the waters this weekend.

Region-wide Events This Weekend

Around & About in Lake George This Weekend

Lake Placid Region Events This Weekend

Old Forge Area Events This Weekend


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