Friday, October 29, 2010

Lake George Land Conservancy Honors John Apperson

The Lake George Land Conservancy has elected to celebrate the memory of John Apperson by naming a society in his honor.

“The John Apperson Society recognizes Apperson’s significant contributions to the preservation of Lake George and honors those who have followed in his footsteps,” said Nancy Williams, the Conservancy’s executive director. » Continue Reading.


Friday, October 29, 2010

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories

Each Friday morning Adirondack Almanack compiles for our readers the previous week’s top stories. You can find all our weekly news round-ups here.

Subscribe! More than 4,000 people get Adirondack Almanack each day via RSS, E-Mail, or Twitter or Facebook updates. It’s a convenient way to get the latest news and information about the Adirondacks.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Oct. 28)

This announcement is for general use – local conditions may vary and are subject to change.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Conditions Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional Forest Ranger incident reports which form a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Be aware of the latest weather conditions and carry adequate gear and supplies.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

Newly Opened Roads
A number of roads closed this spring, when budget cutbacks restricted DEC’s ability to repair, maintain and patrol them, have reopened in time for big game hunting season. All roads typically open in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest are now open. Lily Pond Road in Horicon has already reopened. Gay Pond Road in Warrensburg will be open by this weekend. Details on the openings can be found below. Jabe Pond Road in Hague, Buttermilk Road Extension in Warrensburg, Dacy Clearing Road in Fort Ann, Scofield Flats Road, Pikes Beach Access Road and the Bear Slides Access Road in Luzerne all remain temporarily closed.

Cold Wet Weather
National Weather Service is predicting a chance of rain and snow showers for Friday and Saturday. Night-time and morning temperatures below freezing can be expected, especially in higher elevations. Pack extra non-cotton clothes, including a hat and gloves or mittens. Take off and put on layers of clothing to regulate body heat.

Wet & Muddy Conditions
Snows are gone at this time, but may return any time. Currently trails are wet and muddy at all elevations. Be prepared by wearing waterproof footwear and gaiters, and remember to walk through – not around – mud and water on trails.

Most DEC Campgrounds Are Now Closed
Now that Columbus Day has passed the only DEC campground open in the Adirondacks is the Fish Creek Campground, all the others are closed until next season. The Fish Creek Campground will close Sunday, October 31st.

Do Not Feed Bears
In mid September a bear broke into a home in Inlet and had to be euthanized by DEC Forest Rangers. In late August a forest ranger shot and killed a bear that was harassing campers at the Eight Lake State Campground near Inlet. Bears fed by humans (intentionally or incidentally) grow to not fear people. For this reason, two bears have now been killed this year; eight problem bears were killed in the Adirondacks last summer. The Inlet and Old Forge corridor has traditionally had problems with bears.

Central Adirondacks Lower Elevation Weather
Friday: Chance of rain and snow showers, gusty winds; high near 41.
Friday Night: Chance of snow showers; gusty winds; low around 22.
Saturday: Chance of afternoon snow showers, mostly cloudy; high near 38.
Saturday Night: Chance of snow showers; cloudy, with a low around 27.
Sunday: Cloudy, with a high near 42.

The National Weather Service provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

Colder Weather
Colder temperatures have arrived in the mountains. Night-time and morning temperatures in the 20s or colder are likely, especially at higher elevations. Pack extra non-cotton clothes, including a hat and gloves.

Darkness Arriving Earlier
Autumn has arrived and daylight hours have decreased. Know when sunset occurs and plan accordingly. Always pack or carry a flashlight with fresh batteries.

GENERAL ADIRONDACK CONDITIONS

Fire Danger: LOW

Accidents Happen, Be Prepared
Wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry as conditions at higher elevations will likely be more severe. All users should bring 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.

Waterfowl Consumption Advisory
With waterfowl hunting seasons open, hunters are reminded that wild ducks and geese may contain chemicals (PCBs and some pesticides) at levels that may be harmful to health. A Department of Health (DOH) advisory states that: “Mergansers are the most heavily contaminated waterfowl species and should not be eaten. Eat no more than two meals per month of other wild waterfowl; you should skin them and remove all fat before cooking and discard stuffing after cooking. Wood ducks and Canada geese are less contaminated than other wild waterfowl species, and diving ducks are more contaminated than dabbler ducks.” DOH’s complete advisories for sport fish and game can be found online.

Motorists Alert: Moose
There are upwards of 800 Moose in the Adirondack region, up from 500 in 2007. Motorists should be alert for moose on the roadways at this time of year especially at dawn and dusk, which are times of poor visibility when Moose are most active. Much larger than deer, moose-car collisions can be very dangerous. Last year ten accidents involving moose were reported. DEC is working to identify areas where moose are present and post warning signs.

Hunting Seasons
Fall hunting seasons for small game, waterfowl and big game have begun or will begin shortly. Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails. Recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists with the legal right to hunt on Forest Preserve lands. Hunting accidents involving non-hunters are extremely rare. Hikers may want to wear bright colors as an extra precaution.

Furbearer Trapping Seasons
Starting this multiple furbearer hunting and trapping seasons are now open including bobcat, weasel, mink, muskrat, fisher, martin, opossum, raccoon, fox, and skunk.

Motorized Equipment in Wilderness, Primitive and Canoe Areas
The use of motorized equipment in lands classified as wilderness, primitive or canoe is prohibited. Public use of small personal electronic or mechanical devices such as cameras, radios or GPS receivers are not affected this regulation.

Storage of Personal Belongings on State Land
Placing structures or personal property on state land without authorization from DEC is prohibited. Exceptions include: properly placed and labeled geocaches; legally placed and tagged traps, tree stands and blinds. The full regulation regarding the use of motorized equipment on state lands may be found online; the regulation regarding the structures and storage of personal property is also online.

Firewood Ban
Due to the possibility of spreading invasive species that could devastate northern New York forests (such as Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Wooly Adeljid and Asian Longhorn Beetle), DEC prohibits moving untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source. Forest Rangers have begun ticketing violators of this firewood ban. More details and frequently asked questions at the DEC website.

Bear-Resistant Canisters
The use of bear-resistant canisters is required for overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30. All food, toiletries and garbage must be stored in bear resistant canisters; the use of bear-resistant canisters is encouraged throughout the Adirondacks.

Low Impact Campfires
Reduce the impact on natural areas by utilizing lightweight stoves, fire pans, mound fires or other low impact campfire techniques. Use only dead or small downed wood that can be broken by hand and keep fires small. Leave hatchets, axes and saws at home. Never leave a fire unattended, don’t burn garbage, and restore the appearance of your fire site; do not move fire rings. Campfires are prohibited in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness [LINK].

ADIRONDACK LOCAL BACKCOUNTRY CONDITIONS

** indicates new or revised items.

NORTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

Chazy Highlands Wild Forest: The newly acquired Forest Preserve lands on the Standish and Chazy Lake Roads in the Lyon Mountain area, and on the Smith and Carter Roads in the Ellenburg Mountain area, are open for public use. State boundary lines are not yet marked, contact the DEC Region 5 Natural Resources office (518-891-1291) to obtain a property map. Be aware of your location at all times, do not trespass.

** Norton Peak Cave / Chateuagay Woodlands Conservation Easement Lands: Norton Peak Cave will be closed to the public from Nov 1 till March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. It is being closed to recreational spelunking to avoid disturbance of hibernating bats. DEC is closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easments to protect the bat population.

HIGH PEAKS

Elk Lake Conservation Easement Lands: The Elk Lake Conservation Easement Lands, including the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail into the High Peaks Wilderness and the Dix-Hunter Pass Trail into the Dix Mountain Wilderness, is closed to all public access through the big game hunting season.

The Clear Pond Gate on the Elk Lake Road is closed and will remain closed until the end of the spring mud season.

Lake Arnold Trail: A section of the Lake Arnold Trail just north of the Feldspar Lean-to may be impassable due to mud and water resulting from past beaver activity. Hikers may want to seek an alternate route during and after wet weather.

Bushnell Falls: The high water bridge at Bushnell Falls has been removed, the low water crossing may not be accessible during high water.

Upper Works to Duck Hole: All the foot bridges on the trail between Upper Works and the Duck Hole have been replaced and the trail has been cleared.

Moose Pond Horse Trail: The bridges on the Moose Pond Horse Trail have been replaced, horse drawn wagons can access the trail to Ermine Brook.

Newcomb Lake – Moose Pond: A bridge on the Newcomb Lake to Moose Pond Trail has been flooded by beaver activity. The bridge is intact, but surrounded by water.

Northville-Placid Trail: Crews have constructed and marked a reroute of the Northville-Placid Trail around an area flooded by beaver activity between Plumley Point and Shattuck Clearing.

Opalescent River Bridges Washed Out: The Opalescent River Bridge on the East River / Hanging Spears Falls trail has been washed out. The crossing will be impassable during high water.

Big Slide Ladder: The ladder up the final pitch of Big Slide has been removed.

Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail: Much of the blowdown on the Caulkins Brook Truck Trail/Horse Trail between the Calkins Brook lean-tos and Shattuck Clearing has been removed. The trail is open for hikers but remains impassable to horses and wagons. DEC crews continue to work to open the trail.

Mt. Adams Fire Tower: The cab of the Mt. Adams Fire Tower was heavily damaged by windstorms. The fire tower is closed to public access until DEC can make repairs to the structure.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ADIRONDACKS

Perkins Clearing/Speculator Tree Farm Conservation Easement: Camping is limited to designated campsites, 8 campsites have been designated at this time.

Adirondack Canoe Route: Northern Forest Canoe Trail volunteers rehabilitated the takeout at the north end of Eighth Lake. The 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail celebrates its tenth year this summer. Winding its way from Maine through New Hampshire, Quebec, Vermont, and into New York ending at Old Forge.

Forest Ranger Greg George: Ranger George has retired after 33 years of service. If you had contacted Ranger George in the past for camping permits, backcountry conditions or for any other purpose, you should now contact Forest Ranger Bruce Lomnitzer at 518-648-5246. For matters regarding Tirrell Pond contact Forest Ranger Jay Scott at 315-354-4611.

Ferris Lake Wild Forest / West Lake Boat Launch (Fulton County): The boat launch was impacted by August rains and floods. DEC staff have made repairs to the roadway, parking lot and ramps, however, be aware that the waters off the boat launch are more shallow than before.

Moose River Plains Wild Forest: The Otter Brook Road, to the Otter Brook Gate, and the Indian Lake Road have been reopened with the assistance of the Town of Inlet, the Town of Indian Lake and Hamilton County highway departments. Previously, with their assistance, the Moose River Plains Road (Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road), Rock Dam Road and Otter Brook Road up to the Otter Brook Bridge, had been opened. Currently all roads that had typically been open to motor vehicle traffic in the Moose River Plains are open again.

West Canada Lakes Wilderness / N-P Trail: The bridge over Mud Creek, on the Northville-Placid Trail northeast of Mud Lake, has been washed out.

Shaker Mountain Wild Forest: The lean-to on the south shore of Chase Lake has been removed, and a new one is now been built on the lake’s north shore (See photos). A new trail spur leading off the old trail and approaching the new lean-to from the west has been marked. The site of the old lean-to is now a designated tent site.

** Chimney Mountain / Eagle Cave: Eagle Cave near Chimney Mountain will be closed to the public from Nov 1 till March 31. The cave is a bat hibernacula with white nose syndrome present. It is being closed to recreational spelunking to avoid disturbance of hibernating bats. DEC is closing all bat hibernacula caves on state lands and easments to protect the bat population.

Wilcox Lake Forest: Trails to Wilcox Lake and Tenant Falls beginning at the end of the Hope Falls Road, cross private property. While DEC does have a trail easement for the East Stony Creek Trail to Wilcox Lake, there is no formal agreement with the landowner for access to the Tenant Falls Trail. DEC is working on a resolution to this matter. In the meanwhile, hikers and day uses must respect the private driveway at the trailhead and not block it. Also respect the landowner’s privacy – stay on the trail, do not enter the private property.

Wilcox Lake Wild Forest: Flooding is affecting the Pine Orchard Trail and Murphy Lake Trail. Bridges at Mill Creek, approximately 3 miles from the trailhead on Dorr Road has no decking, only stringers, the bridges over Mill Brook, north of Pine Orchard, is not decked, and the Dayton Creek bridge is out on the trail from Brownell Camp (at the end of Hope Falls Road) to Wilcox Lake.

SOUTHEASTERN ADIRONDACKS

Gore Mountain: The Schaeffer Trail to the summit of Gore Mountain, has undergone a significant reroute. The new trailhead is located at the parking lot for Grunblatt Memorial Beach in North Creek. From there the trail leads southwest and then north, looping around the North Creek reservoir before continuing southwest to the summit.

Lake George Wild Forest (West Side): The Lily Pond Road in the Lake George Wild Forest in the Town of Horicon, Warren County has been reopened. The Town of Horicon Highway Department provided assistance with grading and fill material and the Town will continue to provide assistance with garbage removal, cleanup and inspection for the remainder of the year

** Lake George Wild Forest (West Side): The Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Special Management Area (aka the Hudson River Recreation Area) in the Lake George Wild Forest in the Town of Warrensburg, Warren County has reopened. The South Warren Snowmobile Club covered the cost of several new culverts to replace ones that had failed and been crushed under the road. DEC staff is undertaking the work to replace the culverts and to provide fill and grade the road, with completion expected by this weekend.

** Lake George Wild Forest (East Side): The Dacy Clearing Road has been reopened. DEC installed two culverts so that vehicles may safely two streams; cut down and/or removed numerouse hazard trees from the road and trimmed brush along the road with the assistance of inmate crews from the Department of Correction Services.

Lake George Wild Forest / Hudson River Recreation Area: Funding reductions have required that several gates and roads remain closed to motor vehicle traffic. These include Jabe Pond Road, Buttermilk Road Extension and Scofield Flats Road.

Lake George Wild Forest: Equestrians should be aware that there is significant blowdown on horse trails. While hikers may be able to get through the trails, it may be impossible or at least much harder for horses to get through. Lack of resources, resulting from the state’s budget shortfall, preclude DEC from clearing trails of blowdown at this time.

NORTHERN ADIRONDACKS

** Santa Clara Tract Easement Lands (former Champion Lands): All All lands, including the trail to The Pinnacle, are closed to all public recreational access until the end of the big game hunting season. Access corridors have been designated to allow hunters to reach forest preserve lands through the conservation easement lands. Contact Senior Forest Rob Daley for information on access corridors at 518-897-1291. The gate to The Pinnacle has been locked.

** Docks have been removed for the season from the Tupper Lake, Long Lake and Raquette River Boat Launch Sites.

** St. Regis Canoe Area: Work on campsites has been completed for the season. 14 new campsites were created, 18 campsites were closed and rehabilitated, 5 campsites were relocated to better locations, 5 campsites were restored to reduce the size of the impacted area and to better define tent pads, and one lean-to was constructed. DEC is appreciative of the hard work done by crews from the Student Conservation Association’s (SCA) Adirondack Program. Next summer DEC and SCA will create 7 new campsites, move 3 campsites and close 5 campsites. As described in the St. Regis Canoe Area Unit Management Plan this work is needed to bring the campsites into compliance with the quarter-mile separation distance required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and to address negative impacts that have occurred through use of the campsites. A map of current campsites will be posted in the near future.

St. Regis Canoe Area: The carry between Long Pond and Nellie Pond has been flooded by beavers about half way between the ponds. A short paddle will be required. DEC and Student Conservation Association crews will be working through mid-October to move 8 campsites, closed 23 campsites and created 21 new campsites [online map]. This week they are rebuilding a lean-to on Fish Pond. Please respect closure signs.

Whitney Wilderness / Lake Lila: Beaver activity has caused the flooding of the Stony Pond Road approximately one mile from the trailhead. Use caution if you choose to cross this area.

Whitney Wilderness / Lake Lila: The DEC has sided with paddlers in the dispute over the public’s right to canoe through private land on Shingle Shanty Brook and two adjacent waterways and has sent adjacent landowners a letter asking them to remove the cables, no-trespassing signs, and cameras put in place to deter the public from using the canoe route. If they fail to comply, the department warns, the matter could be referred to the state attorney general for legal action. “The Department has concluded that Mud Pond, Mud Pond Outlet and Shingle Shanty Brook are subject to a public right of navigation, and that members of the public are therefore legally entitled to travel on those waters,” the letter dated September 24th said.

——————–
Forecast provided by the National Weather Service; warnings and announcements drawn from NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park camping, hiking, and outdoor recreation and trail conditions can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].

The new DEC Trails Supporter Patch is now available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Patch proceeds will help maintain and enhance non-motorized trails throughout New York State.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

DEC Region 5 Forest Ranger Report (Sept-Oct 2010)

What follows is the September and October Forest Ranger Activity Report for DEC Region 5, which includes most of the Adirondack region. These reports are issued periodically by the DEC and 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 the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Conditions Report on Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1) and on the stations of North Country Public Radio. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chris Morris: A Final Look at Tuesday’s Election

The election is just days away, so a quick round-up of election notes pertinent to the Adirondack North Country is in order.

Statewide, the gubernatorial election has drawn the most attention during this campaign cycle. The mainstream media has zeroed in on the “big ticket” candidates, tea party Republican Carl Paladino and Democrat Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo has, for the most part, held a comfortable lead in the polls. Paladino began making gains following his resounding victory over Rick Lazio in September, but that momentum appears to have dried up.

Paladino’s big chance to carve into Cuomo’s lead was an Oct. 18 debate. Unfortunately for Paladino, a little-known gimmick candidate stole the spotlight and, at least for me, sort of ruined what turned out to be the only debate ahead of the Nov. 2 elections. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Adirondack Museum Library Honored by State Archives

The Adirondack Museum Library has been selected as the recipient of the “2010 Annual Archives Award for Program Excellence in a Historical Records Repository,” by the New York State Archives and the Archives Partnership Trust. The award was presented to Director Caroline M. Welsh and Librarian Jerry Pepper at a luncheon ceremony at the Cultural Education Center in Albany on October 12, 2010.

The award commends the library for an outstanding archival program that contributes significantly to the understanding of Adirondack history. The award further recognizes the facility for well-organized and managed archives and for efforts to provide access to documentary heritage through extensive collections and excellent education programs for teachers and school children.

The Adirondack Museum Library is the largest and most comprehensive repository of books, periodicals, manuscripts, maps, and government documents related to the Adirondack region.

Supported by private funds, the library is administered by the museum and fulfills an independent mission as a library of record for the Adirondack Park.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Adirondack Ski, Snowboard & Snowmobile Spectacular

The Adirondack Ski, Snowboard & Snowmobile Spectacular, a three-day event dedicated exclusively to winter sports, will be held at the Adirondack Sport Complex (The Dome) in Queensbury, NY (at Northway, Exit 18) this weekend, October 29, 30 & 31.

The Spectacular was established to provide information, education and entertainment, according to event organizer Jeff Fraser. The event features a combination of exhibits, hands on demos, feature areas and thousands of products and services for skiers, snowboarders & snowmobilers including Fashion Snow Shows, Tubby Tube Rides, A BMX Park, Rockwall and The Sky Riders Aerial Show. The highlight of the weekend for many is the 12,000 square foot Giant Ski, Snowboard & Snowmobile Swap, an opportunity to turn your old equipment into cash, or find great deals on “previously enjoyed” snowmobiles, skis, boots, poles, boards, clothing or accessories.

If you have equipment to sell, it can be dropped off at The Adirondack Sports Complex (The Dome) today until 8 pm or tomorrow, Friday October 29th between 8 am and 2 pm. Your equipment will be catalogued, tagged, and you’ll receive a receipt.

Sellers will need to return to The Dome on Sunday October 31st between 3 pm and 6 pm to see if your gear has sold. Unclaimed or abandoned items will be donated to a local charity.

Admission: A one day General Admission is $7.50; Children under 10 admitted free with paid adult admission; A three day admission is $9.00. All carded High School race team members get in “free” Friday, October 29th 4 pm – 9 pm with one paid adult admission.

For additional information, contact 518-743-1086 or 518-371-6363 or visit their website at www.adirondackskisnowboard.com.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Adirondack Bats: Lasiurus Borealis, The Redhead

red-batWhen most people think of bats, they either think of caves, or their attics. While a good number of species are colonial and hang out together in caves (in winter) or attics/barns/bridges (warmer months), we do have three species here in the Adirondacks that live solo lives in the woods. These are the red, hoary and silver-haired bats. Not only is their lifestyle not what we expect, but they also look much different from what we expect, for these are the most colorful bats in our part of batdom.

Today we will contemplate the red bat (Lasiurus borealis). Like any true redhead, the red bat is actually more of an orangish color, sometimes leaning more toward the yellow end of the spectrum. The males are more brightly colored than the females, which makes sense when one considers the rather exposed lifestyle this bat leads (a female can more easily hide with her young if her coloration is dull, kind of like birds). » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Let it Snow: A Look At The Local Downhill Scene

Not long ago, as much as a foot of snow fell in the mountains of the Adirondacks and other high places in the Northeast. It was a rare early notice that winter is just around the corner.

For those of us who enjoy playing in it, that means it’s time to sharpen and wax our skis or boards and get ready to begin the season.

And that, too, is just around the corner. Whiteface plans to opens about a month from now, on Nov. 26, with Gore expecting to start around that time as well.

That means it’s also time to start thinking about how to save on those expensive ski passes. Fortunately, there are a number of options. For frequent skiers, Gore and Whiteface are selling their season passes (good for both resorts) at $825 before Nov. 19, $175 cheaper than normal.

For day-visits, Whiteface only will continue their discounted Sundays program, offering $35 adult tickets on Dec. 12, Jan. 2, Feb. 6, March 13 and April 3. In addition, every Wednesday at both mountains, adults can buy a ticket for $38 after presenting a Coca-Cola product at the ticket window (yes, you can drink it first).

Meanwhile, the smaller resorts in the Adirondacks continue to work on volunteer power. Both Oak Mountain in Speculator and Big Tupper in Tupper Lake will be operated mostly by volunteers. Outside Warrensburg, Hickory Ski Center — which reopened last year after a long hiatus — has already been organizing volunteer work crews to prepare the slopes. Expect all these hidden gems to begin operation around Christmastime, or perhaps a bit earlier if the snow cooperates.

And let’s not forget the tiny Mt. Pisgah in Saranac Lake, where many locals learn to make turns for the first time.

In Old Forge, McCauley Mountain will continue to be operated by the Town of Webb. They’re planning to open on Dec. 11.

Need some gear? Check out the annual Ski and Snowboard Expo at Albany’s Times Union Center on Nov. 5 to 7. It’s a great place to pick up terrific deals on ski equipment and clothing. And the first 400 people on line Saturday and Sunday get a free ticket to Gore, West or Whiteface (with, admittedly, pretty stiff blackout dates from late December to early March). For more info, click here.

I’d suggest you get there an hour ahead of the 10 a.m. opening time if you want a close-enough place in line!

The Adirondack Sport and Fitness Magazine is planning its own Winter Expo at the Saratoga Springs City Center on Nov. 20 and 21. Admission is free, and a hundred exhibitors will be there representing all facets of winter sports and travel.

This year, visitors can try an indoor luge set up by USA Luge, which will offer free, wheeled rides on a tiny track. Got dreams of Olympic glory? The team will be looking for luge talent in kids as they try their luck down the “slope.” For more info, click here.

 


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Guest Commentary From APA Chair Curt Stiles

As Adirondack Park Agency Chairman I ask the same question everyday, “How do we change the tone of local and regional discussions regarding the environment and communities of the Adirondack Park and its relationship to the Adirondack Park Agency?”

By tone, I refer to discussions that take place along Main Streets, at soccer games, town meetings, and the diverse places Adirondackers and visitors discuss the Park, its past, present and future. In my work as Chairman, I respect the long history of public involvement regarding property ownership, business interests and personal interactions with the agency. The Community Spotlight series, visiting communities and attending public hearings broaden my understanding of how the public views the agency and the management of public and private lands.

The agency is charged with administration of the Adirondack Park Agency Act, the Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers Act, and the Freshwater Wetlands Act. Clearly, these statutes, particularly in terms of public and private land protection—influence how people live and work in the Park. They also contribute to the exceptional environmental quality, open space character and rural heritage of the region recognized not only nationally but throughout the world.

Changing the tone will require acknowledgment of the APA’s longstanding and legitimate role established by the New York State Legislature for Park planning, policy and regulations, a role many stakeholders see as a partnership for success. As we embark on the second decade of the 21st century, a decade that includes the 40th anniversary of the Adirondack Park Agency Act, it is high time to move beyond differences and embrace opportunities where environmental planning and stewardship gain their rightful place as a fulcrum to build and sustain economies and communities across this amazing place. Ignoring this perspective prolongs divisions that weaken the competitiveness of the Adirondack Park.

From the creation of the Forest Preserve and Adirondack Park, New York State has demonstrated a profound interest and engagement in the sustainability of the Adirondacks for the benefit of all New Yorkers. For those of us who live and work here, that underscores the challenge of how to maintain the value of place and quality of life with the need to attract growth to ensure Adirondack communities remain viable. These tensions exist and in economically challenging times seem even more formidable.

Democracy empowers debate, contradiction, disagreement, and the acknowledgment and acceptance of different beliefs. Our biggest challenge is not allowing differences to undermine the combined interests we share and distract from the very real urgencies facing the Park. It would be naïve to ignore the need for improved infrastructure, economic diversification, and job creation, affordable housing, retaining schools and youth, increasing private revenue investment, and invasive species control. Addressing these issues requires commitment from citizens, municipal government, not-for-profits, and state agencies—all working together towards a shared goal.

To truly change the tone we must work together in partnership to promote what makes
this region unique and worthy of investment. Collectively we must better inform investors that the Adirondacks are not closed to business but in fact eight agency approved business parks await their arrival. It may mean accepting the fact the Forest Preserve attracts millions of visitors and billions of tourism dollars. Changing the tone means realizing we are not alone confronting current economic trends and globalization.

While the past is an important footnote to the present, it should not be the narrative which defines the public discussion or the agency response to the present and future. Together, in our interactions, communication and understanding of the important balance between economy and environment, we have the ability to shape the future. At the agency, we are committed to changing the discussion to one of how to improve efficiency, outreach and regulatory reform for the betterment of the Adirondack Park. To change the tone is to recognize the need for an honest dialog between opposing views with a commitment to reconcile differences and achieve solutions.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Adirondack Family Activities: Hunting Season Safety

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities™

When I first moved to the Adirondacks I never took in consideration hunting season as having an effect on my outdoor activities. Yes, I realize that was naïve of me but I have no experience with hunting and had only hiked in the summer. During those warm months gun safety is not on a non-hunter’s radar. Since I can’t be the only person in this predicament, here are some simple rules to keep in mind.

There is room enough in a six-million-acre park for hunters and hikers. My children are well aware of what they need to do to be safe. We unpack our blaze orange vests and hats and stick to the trail. It is this time of year that I encourage them to talk loudly and stick together.

1) Don’t be afraid; be cautious.

2) Be informed of what is “in season.” There are a variety of hunting seasons from muzzleloading and bowhunting to rifle season. For the Northern Zone, Big Game (deer and bear) “regular” hunting season starts the last Saturday in October and runs through the first Sunday in December.

3) All state land is open to hunters.

4) As much as fluorescent clothing is an 80s fashion faux pas, it should be a hiker’s Vitamin C – as in “very good for your health.”

5) Keep in mind that hunters are not hunting you but wear bright colors as a precaution.

6) Keep to the trail. Assume hunters are aware of where the trails are.

7) If you are still worried, choose a safe place to hike like the Adirondack Mountain Club Reserve (AMC) or the Adirondack Visitors’ Center in Newcomb where no hunting is allowed.

8) If you hike with an animal remember to dress the dog in highly visible gear. An orange bandana and vest usually does the trick.

9) There are a lot of areas that are not laden with game so choose those places to go hiking and keep away from really popular spots. If a parking lot or road side is lined with cars with gun racks, take that as being popular.

10) Talk in a loud voice if you feel that you are in a dangerous spot. If you have children this shouldn’t be an issue, at least not with mine. They are rarely silent so any “game” would either cling to them for safety or is long gone.

Most importantly enjoy yourself and know that with a little bit of knowledge there is room for all to enjoy a hike in the woods.

Photo by Holly Garner-Jackson and used with the permission of Woodwind Gallery in Machias, ME


content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Rebirth For The Warren County Fair?

Warren County once had one of New York’s most well-attended county fairs. In 1877, the Pottersville Fair (also known as the Glendale Fair) was established by the Faxon family, one of the Town of Chester’s leading families and owners of Chester’s largest employer, a tannery.

The fair was immediately popular, not so much for its agricultural exhibits – there generally weren’t any – but for its gambling opportunities. For thirty years gambling was the main attraction at the fair, and horse racing the main event. In 1897, the fair advertised “a fine program of races consisting of trotting and pacing, running, bicycle, and foot races in which liberal purses and prizes are offered.” 7,000 people attended the Pottersville Fair on a single day in 1913. Now there is a move afoot to revitalize the Warren County Fair (since moved to Schroon River Road in Warrensburg), which has suffered a series of setbacks that have made it one of the poorest attended County Fairs in the state. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wild Center to Host 2nd Youth Climate Summit

Local students are helping to plan for the second Adirondack Youth Climate Summit at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. The two-day Summit, on November 9th and 10th, is expected to bring together more than 170 participants from 30 high schools and colleges across the Adirondacks and ultimately effect more than 25,000 students.

The Summit is the only one of its kind in the country and has already led to financial savings and shifts in mindsets across the Park according to Wild Center officials. Students who participated last year returned to their schools implementing change by creating school gardens to provide food for their cafeterias, expanding recycling and composting programs, replacing power strips with energy smart strips, examining energy saving opportunities by conducting carbon audits for their schools and presenting to school boards about their activities and financial savings.

Each school will send a team including students, educators, administrators and facilities staff to develop their own actionable carbon reduction plan designed to decrease their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The full agenda for the event can be found on the website www.adkyouthsummit.org.


Monday, October 25, 2010

The Eagle: Best Slide Climb in the Park?

What’s the best slide climb in the Adirondacks?

Many people say it’s the Eagle Slide in the west cirque of Giant Mountain. If you look at the cirque from the Ausable Club, the slide resembles an eagle with its wings outstretched.

The guidebook Adirondack Rock gives the Eagle five stars, its highest rating for the overall climbing experience. It offers 1,300 feet of open rock, with ever-expanding views of the High Peaks.

In the Yosemite Decimal System, the Eagle is a fourth-class climb. Wikipedia defines a fourth-class climb as follows: “Simple climbing, with exposure. A rope is often used. Natural protection can be easily found. Falls may well be fatal.”

So an ascent of the Eagle should not be undertaken lightly. I’ve climbed it in hiking boots and in rock-climbing shoes. I recommend the latter.

Is the Eagle better than the Trap Dike, another fourth-class route that rates five stars? That’s a tough question that’s best evaded: although the Trap Dike climb finishes on a slide on the northwest side of Mount Colden, the dike itself is not a slide. So it’s in a different category.

Most of the popular slides in the Adirondacks are third-class climbs. Wikipedia defines third class as: “Scrambling with increased exposure. A rope can be carried but is usually not required. Falls are not always fatal.”

I suspect one reason the Eagle Slide has a five-star rating is precisely that it’s more dangerous and therefore more exciting. If you’re new to slide climbing, you’d be smart to start off on something easier. Some of my favorites are the slides on Dix, Nippletop, and Whiteface (bearing in mind that a fall in the wrong spot on any slide can have consequences). If there are any slide aficianados reading this, what are your suggestions?

By the way, I can attest to the perils of the Eagle. A few months ago, I slipped on a steep section and started sliding down the rock. Fortunately, a ledge prevented me from tumbling to the bottom (I landed standing up). The rock scraped the skin off most of my fingertips, but I was able to continue climbing.

I wrote an article about this trip for the November/December issue of the Adirondack Explorer. Accompanying me were the photographer Carl Heilman II and Eli Bickford, a twelve-year-old kid with a passion for slide climbing.

Carl took some spectacular photos. We used one of them for our cover. He also shot two short videos: one of me climbing, the other of Eli expounding on the allure of slide climbing.

You can find the story and videos on our website by clicking here.

Photo: Carl Heilman on the approach to the Eagle Slide, by Phil Brown.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer.


Monday, October 25, 2010

The Travails of Lyon Mountain Miner George Davies

The subject of tough ol’ Adirondackers came up recently when I was reworking material for the fourth printing of a book I did in 2004—Lyon Mountain: The Tragedy of a Mining Town. The soul of that book is a series of interviews I conducted around 1980 with a number of folks who were in their 80s and 90s. George Davies (1892–1983) of Standish was among them.

George was a good man. The stories he told me seemed far-fetched at first, but follow-up research in microfilm archives left me amazed at his accuracy recounting events of the early 1900s. His truthfulness was confirmed in articles on items like strikes, riots, injuries, and deaths.

When I last interviewed George in 1981 (he was 88), he proudly showed me a photograph of himself as Machine Shop Supervisor in the iron mines, accepting a prestigious award for safety. I laughed so hard I almost cried as he described the scene. George, you see, had to hold the award just so, hiding the fact that he had far fewer than his originally allotted ten fingers. He figured it wouldn’t look right to reveal his stubs cradling a safety plaque.

In matter-of-fact fashion, he proceeded to tell me what happened. Taken from the book, here are snippets from our conversation as tape recorded in 1981: “I lost one full finger and half of another in a machine, but I still took my early March trapping run to the Springs. I had a camp six miles up the Owl’s Head Road. While I was out there, I slipped in the water and nearly froze the hand. I had to remove the bandages to thaw out my hand, and I was all alone, of course. It was just something I had to do to survive.

“When I lost the end of my second finger in an accident at work, I was back on the job in forty-five minutes. Another time I was hit on the head by a lever on a crane. It knocked me senseless for ten minutes. When I woke up, I went back to work within a few minutes. [George also pointed out that, in those days, there was no sick time, no vacation time, and no holidays. The union was still three decades away, and the furnace’s schedule ran around the clock.]

“When I started working down here, the work day was twelve hours per day, seven days a week, and the pay was $1.80 per day for twelve hours [fifteen cents per hour] around the year 1910. That was poor money back then. When they gave you a raise, it was only one or two cents an hour, and they didn’t give them very often.

“In one month of January I had thirty-nine of the twelve-hour shifts. You had to work thirty-six hours to put an extra shift in, and you still got the fourteen or fifteen cents per hour. It was pretty rough going, but everybody lived through it. Some people did all right back then. Of course, it wasn’t a dollar and a half for cigarettes back then [remember, this was recorded in 1981].

“Two fellows took sick at the same time, two engineers that ran the switches. They sent me out to work, and I worked sixty hours without coming home. Then the boss came out to run it and I went and slept for twelve hours. Then I returned for a thirty-six hour shift. No overtime pay, just the rate of twenty-five cents per hour.” Now THAT’s Lyon Mountain toughness.

The tough man had also been a tough kid. “When I was thirteen years old, I worked cleaning bricks from the kilns at one dollar for one thousand. On July 3rd, 1907, when I was fifteen, I accidentally shot myself in the leg. I stayed in Standish that night, and on the next day I walked to Lyon Mountain, about three miles of rough walking.”

His father was in charge of repairing the trains, and young George climbed aboard as often as he could. “I was running those engines when I was sixteen years old, all alone, and I didn’t even have a fireman. I always wanted to be on the railroad, but I had the pleasure of losing an eye when I was nine years old. I was chopping wood and a stick flew up and hit me in the eye.

“I pulled it out, and I could see all right for a while. Not long after, I lost sight in it. The stick had cut the eyeball and the pupil, and a cataract or something ruined my eye. The doctor wanted to take the eye out, but I’ve still got it. And that’s what kept me off of the railroad. That was seventy-nine years ago, in 1901.”

Next week: A few of George Davies’ remarkable acquaintances.

Photo Top: George Davies.

Photo Middle: A Main Drift in the Lyon Mountain iron mines, 1933.

Photo Bottom: Aerial view of Lyon Mountain’s iron mining operations, with several piles of ore tailings.

Lawrence Gooley has authored eight books and several articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004. He took over in 2010 and began expanding the company’s publishing services. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.


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