Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Earth Day: A Revolution 40 Years In The Making

On Earth Day 1970, people around the country, mostly college students, demonstrated on behalf of environmental causes. Forty years later, the environmental movement has come into the mainstream and secured state and federal agency leadership positions. More importantly, the movement has significantly improved the quality of our rivers, lakes and forests and in doing so has provided for the proliferation of local wildlife. While there are certainly challenges that remain – invasive species, inappropriate development, toxic exposures, nitrate and storm water management, climate change, the plight of amphibians, migratory birds, and bats – the environmental successes of the last 40 years should not be underestimated.

By and large, the first Earth Day was much like those that have followed: politicians, celebrities, concerts, environmental fairs, and the like. But Earth Day 1970 was a radical proposition in a time before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was founded, and before there were state sanctioned bodies like the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to protect the environment. At Boston’s Logan Airport, where a few hundred demonstrators had gathered in what a CBS reporter called a “thoroughly peaceful and non-disruptive demonstration”, police charged the crowd and arrested 13.

In the 40 years since that first Earth Day the Adirondack region has seen a revolution in the way we interact with our environment. Sure, we can point to the founding of DEC (1970), the establishment of the EPA (1971), the Clean Air Act (1970), and the Clean Water Act (1972), State Environmental Quality Review Act (1980), the Superfund Law (1980), and the Environmental Protection Fund (1993) but there has been a leadership revolution as well. Today, Pete Grannis, who was part of the first Earth Day demonstrations, is now the head of the DEC. Judith Enck, the state’s leading environmental activist in the 1980s, is now the Administrator of EPA’s Region 2.

Changes in the natural environment have been extraordinary. The Hudson River, once an open sewer where no one dared to boat, never-mind swim or fish, now bustles with recreation activities in summer. According to the DEC, the number of seriously polluted waters in the state has fallen by 85% and Sulfur Dioxide pollution is down by 90%, with a corresponding improvement in Acid Rain.

Successes we don’t typically consider include the closure of outdated and poorly located landfills (more than 100 in Adirondacks alone), the elimination of the tire dumps (including more than 27 million tires statewide), the cleaning up of Superfund and brownfield sites (1,800 statewide) and the thousands of water bodies large and small around the state that have been cleaned-up in the last 40 years through waste-water management.

We may not consider those victories as much as we should, but local wildlife certainly has. In 1970 there was just one occupied Bald Eagle nest in New York State, in 2010 there are 173. Eagles and other raptors we rarely saw in the 1970s and 1980s, birds like the peregrine falcon, are now fairly frequent sights; ravens and osprey have returned to the Adirondacks. Wild turkeys have exploded from about 25,000 in 2010 to 275,000 today, and so turkey hunting has returned to the Adirondacks. Native trout have been returned to more than 50 ponds according to the DEC, and the average number of fish species has increased by a third offering increased angling opportunities. Beaver, fisher, and otter have flourished in cleaner, more diverse waters and so trapping seasons have returned for those species. In 1970 there were no Moose in the Adirondacks, today there are 400 to 500 in the region.

Clean water, clean air, and open spaces were the demands at the first Earth Day in 1970. Those demands were met by legions of combative corporations, industry alliances, business groups, chambers of commerce and their attorneys. A look at a local paper on any given day shows that those battles continue, but 40 years has shown that the environmental movement has been an enormous success. Despite the attacks and “enviro-nazi” insults, the former hippies, political greens, organization environmentalists, and wildlife conservationists who have made up the environmental movement have much to be proud of.

Illustration: Earth Day 1970 Poster

Monday, April 19, 2010

‘Medieval Times’ 2011 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Theme

Members of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee have picked “Medieval Times” as their theme for the 2011 Winter Carnival. The decision was based on results from a recent online poll posed to readers of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise Web site in which two of the four suggested themes rose to the top of the results: Celtic Carnival and Renaissance Faire/Middle Ages. The other themes were Circus/Under the Big Top and Space Alien Invasion. More than 700 votes were tallied during the week of March 15.

“There were a lot of great ideas suggested for the 2011 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, but, in the end, we could only choose one,” said Committee Chairman Jeff Dickson. “And we believe that the community will rally behind our centerpiece, the Ice Palace, and make the ‘Medieval’ Carnival fit for royalty – our king, queen, prince, princess, court, and maybe a few jesters.”

Committee members thanked the dozens of people who suggested themes for 2011, the hundreds of people who voted, and the Adirondack Daily Enterprise for posting the question on its Web site.

The next meeting of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee will be in September. The 2011 Winter Carnival will be held February 4-13, 2011.

The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee, Inc. is a not-for-profit group of volunteers dedicated to organizing an annual mid-winter festival during the first two weeks of February. This 10-day, communitywide event traces its roots to a one-day Carnival held in 1897 by the Pontiac Club. The Carnival honors its heritage every year by building an Ice Palace from blocks of ice harvested from Lake Flower’s Pontiac Bay, where Carnival events have been traditionally held for generations. For more information, visit the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival web site.

Photo: An early Saranac Lake Winter Carnival (Saranac Lake Free Library).

Monday, April 19, 2010

NYS Hunting, Trapping Education Courses Set

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County will be hosting both the Trapper and Hunter Education Courses at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Education Center on 377 Schroon River Road in Warrensburg. All first-time hunters and trappers must pass these courses before they can get a license in New York State. Trained instructors certified by the Department of Environmental Conservation teach safe and responsible outdoors practices and the important role of hunters and trappers in conservation. The courses are free of charge, thanks to the Pittman-Robertson tax which is paid by trappers and hunters, but space is limited.

Trapper Education Course, to be held on Saturday, May 8th from 8am to 4pm, will include an overview of current trapping laws, ethics, techniques, and the common species harvested during the trapping season. Master Training Instructor Charles Lashway will be the main presenter for this training session. Additionally, a DEC Officer will join the program to review current laws and the role of the conservation officer. Youth MUST be 10 years or older. Class is limited to 25 participants. To register, please call Charles Lashway at .

The Hunter Education Class, to be held on Sunday, May 23, from 10am to 4pm, provides the necessary training needed to receive a Hunter Education Certificate for New York State. The program also fulfills the requirements for re-issuing a certificate for those who may have lost theirs and are not in the current system. Topics will include safe firearms handling, wildlife conservation, hunting ethics, outdoor safety/survival, and general laws of hunting in New York State.

Each Hunter Education Course student MUST complete the home study workbook, which takes between 2.5-5 hours, and present the completed workbook at the beginning of the classroom session. All materials must be picked up at the Cornell Cooperative Extension office (Hours: Monday-Thursday 8:30am-4:30pm) no later than 4:30pm on May 6th. Youth must be at least 11 years old before the class and have written parental permission. Class is limited to 30 students; pre-registration is required and can be done by calling 668-4881 or 623-3291.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Phil Brown: Facts of The Domtar-Nature Conservancy Deal

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s investigation into the state’s purchase of Lyon Mountain and nearby lands from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy stems from a perception—fostered by the New York Post—that the state overpaid for the property.

It’s easy to see how suspicions might arise. The Nature Conservancy paid $6.3 million for the twenty thousand acres in 2004 and sold it to the state four years later for $9.8 million.

A $3.5 million profit, right?

Well, not so fast. The conservancy says it spent $3.4 million in taxes, interest, and other “carrying costs.” If these are taken into account, the organization made only $100,000 on the deal.

Nevertheless, the conservancy says the state did not factor the carrying costs into the purchase price. Yet Fred Monroe, executive director of the Local Government Review Board, is not so sure. It was Monroe who tipped off the Post to the story.

In an interview with the Adirondack Explorer last week, Monroe suggested that the state could have inflated the price without the conservancy’s knowledge, out of a sense of obligation to its partner in land preservation.

Of course, this would require that one or more of the state’s appraisers were in on the fix. But perhaps it needn’t have been an outright conspiracy. Appraising is not an exact science. As Monroe notes, an appraiser can place an estimate on the low end or high end of a range in accord with his client’s interest. Thus, the appraiser for the homeowner is likely to come up with a higher appraisal for a house than the appraiser for the potential buyer.

The difference in the Nature Conservancy deal is that the buyer (the state) presumably wanted a high appraisal.

If we accept all this, there is still a problem with Monroe’s theory.

As it turns out, the conservancy says it hired Fountain Forestry to appraise the twenty thousand acres in 2004. Since the conservancy was buying the property, we can assume, following Monroe’s own logic, that the appraiser would low-ball the estimate.

Fountain’s appraisal: $9.1 million.

That’s $300,000 higher than LandVest, one of the appraisers hired by the state, valued the property in 2008, four years later. The state’s other appraiser, the Sewall Company, applied different criteria and came up with an estimate of $11 million—or $1.2 million more than the state ended up paying.

So we have three professional appraisals from private companies, ranging from $8.8 million to $11 million.

What’s more, an expert in the state Department of Environmental Conservation critiqued the LandVest and Sewall appraisals and came up with his own estimate of the land’s value: $9.5 million. Then a second DEC expert reviewed the two companies’ appraisals again and his colleague’s critique and came up with yet another estimate: $9.8 million. This is what the state paid.

That gives us five appraisals. The purchase price, though based on the fourth-highest appraisal, falls in the middle of the range.

The question remains: if the property was appraised at $9.1 million in 2004, why did the Nature Conservancy pay only $6.3 million?

There is a simple explanation. The appraisal looked at the property in isolation. In fact, the Nature Conservancy acquired the land as part of a three-way transaction involving 104,000 acres owned by Domtar Industries. The conservancy bought twenty thousand acres, and Lyme Timber bought the rest. Given the scale of the transaction, the conservancy was able to negotiate a lower price—a wholesale price, if you will.

Furthermore, Domtar and Lyme might have been willing to cut the conservancy a good deal as a reward for brokering the transaction.

The New York Post story
that prompted Cuomo’s inquiry didn’t delve into any of these details. It merely assumed, based on the difference between the two selling prices, that the conservancy pocketed a huge profit at taxpayer expense.

The Post‘s assumption seems overly simplistic. Nevertheless, we now have a state investigation. Of course, it will be the taxpayers who will be paying for that.

Photo from Lyon Mountain’s summit taken by Phil Brown.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Adirondack Folk School Prepares to Open

Beginning in June, the much awaited Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne will begin its first classes. Dubbed by its founders as “the only school of its kind in the country dedicated to teaching the arts, crafts and culture of this unique Adirondack region,” the Lake Luzerne school will be housed in the former Odd Fellows hall (and later an elementary school and Town Hall) which was constructed in the 1930s.

The school began with an idea by town resident Jim Mandle who was looking for ways to revitalize Lake Luzerne’s downtown. It came to fruition with the support of town leaders, Adirondack Community College, and the Adirondack Museum.

The school is expected to house classes in Fiber Arts, Basketry, Woodworking, Ceramics, Felting, Quilting, Fly Tying, Cooking, Gardening, Leather Craft, Photography, Outdoor Skills, Rustic Furniture, and Blacksmithing.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

DEC Adopts New Fishing Regulations

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that changes to the state’s freshwater fishing regulations will become effective on October 1, 2010.

Among the most important changes to local anglers is the elimination of the special allowance for five extra brook trout less than eight inches. With the exception of certain water body-specific regulations, the daily limit is now five trout of any size.

Changes locally also include the elimination of special regulations for pickerel in several local waters, for northern pike in Adirondack Lake (Hamilton County), and for yellow perch and sunfish in Clinton, Essex, Franklin and Hamilton Counties (including Schroon Lake); statewide regulations will now apply. The open season for trout in Glen Lake (Warren County) has been extended for ice fishing, and the minimum size limit for lake trout in Lake Bonaparte (Lewis County) has been reduced to 18 inches.

The changes to the freshwater regulations are the result of a two-year process during which DEC solicited public feedback during the development of the proposals, and also provided a comment period for public input on the draft rules.

The full text of the new 2010-2012 regulations can be viewed on the DEC website.

The DEC is encouraging outdoor enthusiasts to consider purchasing a Habitat/Access Stamp, an optional stamp that helps support the DEC’s efforts to conserve habitat and increase public access for fish and wildlife-related recreation. Buying the $5 stamp is a way to help conserve New York’s wildlife heritage. More information about purchasing a Habitat Stamp is available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/329.html

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Stinking Benjamin:A Trillium That By Any Other Name Would Still Smell as Sweet

You know spring has truly arrived when the trilliums are in bloom. Around these parts, the trillium that first appears is usually Trillium erectum, known to the layman as purple or red trillium, wake-robin, or stinking Benjamin. This deep red flower, almost burgundy in color, graces our woodlands usually by the end of April and early May. This year I expect we may see its richly colored blooms earlier than usual.

One of the things I like best about studying plants is learning what our ancestors thought of them. Those plants that came over with the colonists, intentionally or not, have written histories going back sometimes to the days of the Roman Empire. Others we only find in records dating back to the Middle Ages. Reading through some of the accounts of Nicholas Culpepper or Pliny the Elder can be alternately enchanting and humorous. But when it comes to our native plants, like the red trillium, our histories can be Spartan.

Books that describe the uses plants were put to by the various native peoples often tend to be no more than lists (diuretic, emetic, febrifuge, treatment for coughs, treatments for skin ailments, dye, cordage, etc.) . In one sense it is informative, yet in another it is lacking in detail.

So, unless we have personal connections with native people who have retained their ancestral knowledge of medicinal, edible, and otherwise useful plants, we find ourselves having to rely on plant lore that may date back only a couple hundred years. Thank goodness for the Victorian era when the study of plants (among other things) was “in.” Interest in plants and their uses continued to be popular among the laypeople up through probably WWII, after which industry and a keen interest in all things mechanical took over in the mind of John Q. Public, where we most of us remain mired to this day.

But I digress. Back to our friend the trillium.

Sometimes with plant names, their origins are obvious. Red trillium is red in color. Or purplish, hence the alternate name purple trillium. But how in the world did it end up called Stinking Benjamin or Wake-Robin? Let’s look at the more obvious one first: Wake-Robin. This fanciful name is applied to many flowers of the genus Trillium, not just the red ones, and they were dubbed thus because the flowers traditionally bloomed about the same time that the first robins of spring were sighted.

Ah, but Stinking Benjamin – surely that is a name behind which a good tale lies. Sadly, no. It turns out that it, like so many words in our language today, is a corruption of something else, in this case the word benzoin, which itself was a corruption of the earlier word benjoin, an ingredient derived from plants from Sumatra and used in the manufacture of perfume. Our trillium, however, does not smell sweet or spicy, hence the tag “stinking.”

Go out this spring and find yourself a red trillium and take a sniff. You may discover it smells a bit like rotting meat. Mmmm. This aroma, however, serves a purpose, which goes hand-in-hand with the flower’s rather raw-fleshy coloration, and that purpose is to attract pollinators. In this flower’s case, though, the pollinators are green flesh-flies who are out in search of rotting meat on which to lay their eggs. Instead of finding the perfect nursery, however, they end up assisting the plant in its procreative efforts. And you thought plants were boring! These flies aren’t left without any reward though, as some insects are when they are deceived by other plants. No, as payment for their services, they are rewarded with a meal of pollen – the flowers produce no nectar (which is probably another reason why bees don’t visit them).

Here are a few other monikers that are listed for Trillium erectum that I find amusing or interesting: nosebleed (it was apparently used at one time to help staunch the flow from a damaged schnozz), trinity lilies (anything with three parts was attributed to the Christian idea of divinity, and they are part of the lily family), and true love (awwww). How about this one: birthroot – for the native people taught early settlers to use it to stimulate birth.

While today many of the medicinal uses to which this plant was put (treatment for gangrene and tumors, heart palpitations and hemorrhages) are debated among herbalists, we can still enjoy it for the way it lifts our spirits every spring. Here in Newcomb I’ve encountered both the red trillium and its cousin the painted trillium (T. undulatum). Further south in the Saratoga region I’ve heard tales of snow trillium (T. nivale – also called dwarf white trillium) and I’ve seen the giant large-flowered trillium (T. grandiflorum), which is also pure white.

Already in those more southern climes the trilliums have come into bloom, but plant enthusiasts can still get their fill of these delightful harbingers of spring here in the North Country, where they have yet to show their faces. But keep your eyes open, for I suspect they will open sooner than usual this year. And remember, they are on New York’s list of protected native plants. Look, sniff, photograph, but do not pick or remove. If you want trilliums for your garden, find a nursery that specializes in native plants – leave the wild ones in the wild for all to enjoy.

Friday, April 16, 2010

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lake George: Guy Lombardo’s Speed Boat Racing Stunt

Gar Wood and George Reis excepted, Gold Cup racing produced no amateur racer more famous than Guy Lombardo, the director of the dance orchestra at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.

In the spring of 1949, he paid a visit to Lake George, ostensibly to plan a record-breaking run from Lake George Village to Bolton Landing.

As it happened, the bandleader never did bring his his boat to Lake George. But never mind. The visit is one more chapter in the annals of boats and boating on Lake George.

Lombardo won the 1946 Gold Cup race on the Detroit River in his Tempo VI, a 1934 hull with an engine that still qualified for Gold Cup racing according to the rules established in 1920. Bolton summer resident Melvin Crook described Lombardo’s victory this way for Yachting magazine: “Lombardo finished by finding a good rhythm and conducted to a fine crescendo, rather like as if he were directing Ravel’s Bolero.” 1946, however, was the last year the old rules applied, and as a consequence, the boats were much faster in 1947 and 1948. Lombardo lost the Gold Cup races in 1947 and 1948, although, with a new engine, he broke a world speed record for the mile in Miami in 1948. Clearly, Lombardo was not ready to retire from racing. He hoped to break a speed record of 141.74 mph set by Sir Malcom Campbell in 1939, which his rival, racer Danny Foster, had tried and failed to do in 1946. To succeed, Lombardo needed a new boat, and a body of water suitable for record breaking speeds, or so he said.

Lombardo was performing with his orchestra in Glens Falls that month; one day, he brought two of his brothers and some members of his band and his racing crew to Lake George to see if it would be a good place to break Campbell’s records. After inspecting water conditions, docking facilities and a probable course (a 10-mile, straight course from Lake George Village to Bolton Landing), Lombardo reportedly pronounced conditions ideal.

Henry Kaiser, who had built hundreds of ships during World War II, was supposedly paying for a new boat capable of great speeds for Lombardo to use to set the new world record. She was to be built by Ventnor Boat Works in Atlantic City, New Jersey, which also built Lombardo’s Tempo VI. Kaiser, who had a summer home in Lake Placid, said that he wanted the record to be broken there. Lombardo claimed that if that was the case, he would bring Tempo VI to Lake George and, at the very least, break Gar Wood’s 1932 record of 124.915 miles per hour.

Lombardo, accompanied by Paul Lukaris and Harry Cohan, went by boat from Lake George Village to Bolton Landing, where they docked at George Reis’s boathouse and where Lombardo, it was reported “matched nautical knowledge and swapped boating information” with Reis.

The photographs taken that day are apparently all that the visit produced. Boat racer and builder Bill Morgan says that to the best of his knowledge, Lombardo never returned, and that he certainly never attempted to break a world’s record on Lake George.

Given the involvement of Paul Lukaris (who later promoted Diane Struble’s swim of Lake George), Harry Cohan (who would become New York’s boxing commissioner) and the Lake George Chamber of Commerce, one can’t help but assume that Lombardo’s visit to the lake that day and his claim that he was considering coming to the lake later in the year to set a world’s record were all part of a publicity stunt, useful for Lake George and for Lombardo himself, whose orchestra still had engagements in Glens Falls.

For more news and commentary from Lake George, subscribe to the Lake George Mirror

Photo: Guy Lombardo with George Reis, inspecting El Lagarto.

Friday, April 16, 2010

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Adirondack Music Scene:Rock Against Rape Benefit, Heidi Little

The 5th Annual Rock Against Rape Benefit Saturday looks to be a great one with so many very good bands to get into. Five bands under one roof, that’s pretty rare in the North Country, plus it’s always cool when you can have fun while contributing to a worthy cause.

Also on Saturday night is Heidi Little, a singer/songwriter/rhythm guitar player who will be giving a 2-hour concert. She happens to be a fairly new to the Adirondacks and resides in Bloomingdale. It’d be wonderful if the community went out to hear what she has to share and give her some support.

Friday, April 16th:

In Potsdam, Happy Hour Jazz at Maxfields. The band consists of: Stephen Bird on bass, Kyle Tupper on percussion and vocals and Bill Vitek on piano. They will be entertaining diners 5 – 7 pm.

In Potsdam, Cue Ball Revue presents Americana Dance Music at La Casbah. The band plays from 9 – 11 pm.

Saturday, April 17th:

In Plattsburgh, Rock Against Rape, a benefit concert, will be held at The Monopole from 5 pm until 2 am.
This multiband event benefits the Sexual Assault Services of Planned Parenthood. The bands are: Eat Sleep Funk, Flip the Bus,
Filming Ohio, Shameless Strangers and The Josh Cramoy Band.

In Elizabethtown, Piano By Nature presents Destino Brass. This concert will be held 7 – 9 at The Hand House.

In Saranac Lake, Heidi Little’s House of Music will be at Saranac Village at Will Rogers. Heidi Little will be performing pop and soft rock original songs 7:30 – 9:30 pm. A $5 donation is suggested.

In Canton, Home Sweet Home; University Chorus Concert will be put on from 8 – 9:30 pm. It will be held at the Gunnison Chapel at St. Lawrence University and admission is free.

Sunday, April 18th:

In Lake Placid, The Met Live in HD Series, “Hamlet” will be shown at 1 pm at LPCA. Tickets are $18 to $12. The performance runs 3 hours and 45 minutes with intermissions. For more information call 518-523-2512.

Photo: Heidi Little

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Maple Festival at the Adirondack History Center

The Adirondack History Center Museum will hold its Maple Sugar Festival on Saturday April 17th from 9:00am – 1:00pm. Part of the Festival includes a Maple Dessert Contest for kids, youth and adults. Entries will be judged by a panel of five locals with expertise in the production and consumption of fine foods.

Entries must be made with real maple syrup, preferably New York made. Grade B Amber is suggested for its great maple flavor. Entries will be judged on taste, texture, quality, presentation and serve-ability. The winning creation will be featured for a week at the Deer’s Head Inn.

To enter, bring your creation to the Adirondack History Center Museum – top of the hill – in Elizabethtown – by 11:00 AM on Saturday the 17th. Volunteers will fill out your entry form and judging will start at noon. If refrigeration is necessary, please bring the entry in a cooler.

For more information, call the Adirondack History Center Museum at 873-6466 or email echs@adkhistorycenter.org. The museum is located at 7590 Court Street, Elizabethtown, NY 12932.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Northern Forest Paddlers Film Festival Friday

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) will bring its Northern Forest Paddlers Film Festival to Lake Placid on Friday, April 16 at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and screenings begin at 7:00 p.m.

Four documentary films and a clay-animated short will cover a range of themes on recreational canoeing and kayaking from exploring the Antarctic peninsula and Inside Passage, to finding record whitewater kayak waterfall runs and building a traditional birch bark canoe.

The lineup of films:

– Selections from Terra Antarctica: Rediscovering the Seventh Continent (20 min) An up-close look at the iceberg and turquoise blue water landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula by sea kayak.

– Selections from Dream Result (30 min). A group of extreme whitewater kayakers explore wild rivers and monster waterfalls in Canada, Chile, and Scandinavia, and one dares the world record descent of 186-foot Palouse Falls in Washington.

– Earl’s Canoe (30 min). Follow Ojibwe Nation member Earl Nyholm as he builds an Ojibwe birch bark canoe on Madeleine Island, Wisconsin, using traditional tools and methods.

– Paddle to Seattle (50 min). This independent documentary chronicles the journey of two intrepid adventurers paddling handmade wooden Pygmy kayaks from Alaska to Seattle via the 1,300-mile Inside Passage.

– Kayaking is Not a Crime (7 min). A clay-animated short with a fun pro-kayaking message created by young New York filmmaker Ben Doran.

All proceeds from the festival will benefit NFCT programs and stewardship activities along the canoe and kayak waterway that begins in Old Forge and stretches for 740 miles to northern Maine. There will be paddling-related door prizes and a silent auction.

Tickets are $8 for students and $10 in advance or $12 at the door for adults. Tickets can be reserved by calling the Lake Placid Center for the Arts at .

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Adirondack Black Bears Are Active

With all the unseasonably balmy weather we’ve had this month, and all the advanced blooming and migrations, it really shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone that the bears are awake and searching for food. In fact, I’m surprised that the first signs of bear activity only appeared this weekend. Unfortunately, these signs were in my back yard, where the bear broke through the fence and ravaged two birdfeeder poles and something like seven bird feeders, not to mention my compost bin. Yes, the bears are awake. » Continue Reading.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Alan Wechsler: Suggested Hikes For Mud Season

It was T.S. Eliot who wrote “April is the cruellest month.” He also wrote, in his epic poem “The Waste Lands”: “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”

Substitute “mud” for “dust,” and Eliot might have been talking about the Adirondacks after the snow melts (although, you want to talk about cruel, let’s talk black flies …but that’s a subject for another post).

Anyway, as we reach the spring mud season, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation issues its annual “please don’t hike on muddy High Peaks trails” request, may we suggest a few dryer alternatives?

For starters, cast your eyes southward. The Lake George region, which gets much less snowfall than other areas in the park, is also one of the first places to warm up in the spring. There’s enough hikes there to last a full season, but we can easily recommend a few: » Continue Reading.

Page 457 of 566« First...102030...455456457458459...470480490...Last »