Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Seven Natural Wonders of the Adirondacks

Here is (in no particular order) Adirondack Almanack’s List of the Seven Natural Wonders of the Adirondacks. The Seven Human-Made Wonders can be found here. Feel free to add your comments and suggestions. » Continue Reading.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Seven Wonders of the Adirondacks

I’ve posted the Adirondack Almanack’s lists of Seven Natural and Human Made Wonders of the Adirondacks here:

The Seven Natural Wonders of the Adirondacks
The Seven Human Made Wonders of the Adirondacks

The contest winner and a recap of readers’ suggestions can be found here.

I’ve closed the comments on this page, but you can still leave comments and suggestions on the two pages of lists above.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Seven Wonders of the Adirondacks Contest Winner

We had a lot of entries that offered some great suggestions for a final list of the Natural and Human Made Wonders of the Adirondack Region.

For natural wonders folks seem to have generally gone for parts of the Ausable, Hudson, Sacandaga, and Bog rivers. Although the views from various mountains (notably Blue Mountain, Pyramid, and Whiteface) and various waterfalls (Split Rock, Bog River, Buttermilk, and OK Slip falls) also figured prominently in submissions. The St. Regis Canoe Area was also a favorite.

As far as man-made wonders, the Lake Placid Olympic Complex was a obvious favorite. A number of bridges made the submission list, including those at Crown Point, at the head of Tupper, and the Jay Covered Bridge. Various trails made the list as well, including the 10 Waterfall hike from the Ausable Club and the trails around the VIC at Paul Smiths – the Whiteface Memorial Highway was a favorite. A number of old camps such as Foxx Lair, White Pine and the other Great Camps made the list of suggestions and so did a few tourist spots like Lake George’s House of Frankenstien, the Saranac Lake Ice Palace, and Hoss’s Country Corner in Long Lake. One joker suggested a cell tower and another more serious suggestion was “all the various
delicious blogs floating around the region.”

Our contest winner, chosen at random using’s List Randomizer was RonV who wins himself a copy of Rosemary Miner Pelky’s Adirondack Bridgebuilder from Charleston. The book tells the story of Robert Codgell Gilchrist, a Confederate Major who came to the Adirondacks a year after the Civil War ended and built the first suspension bridge over the Hudson River in 1871 at Washburn’s Eddy near Rapairius (then called Riverside). Congratulations!

Adirondack Almanack’s lists of wonders are here:

The Seven Natural Wonders of the Adirondacks
The Seven Human Made Wonders of the Adirondacks

You can still leave comments and suggestions on the two pages above.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Last Chance: Seven Wonders of the Adirondacks Contest

A quick reminder that this Saturday is the last day to enter our Seven Wonders of the Adirondacks contest.

Which human and natural constructed things/places inside the Adirondack Park’s Blue Line are the most significant, must-see attractions, marvels of engineering, historically important, or have other significance that makes them one of the top seven?

I’ll be offering an Adirondack related gift to one lucky person who puts their choice or choices into the comments. Chosen at random – one entry per person (anonymous comments won’t count for this one).

Remember – two lists – one for the human-made wonders, one for natural wonders.

Submit your entries over here.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Adirondack Hacks

Randomly organized links to ideas for making life in the Adirondacks just a little bit easier – technology tools and tips, do-it-yourself projects, and anything else that offers a more interesting, more convenient, or healthier way of life in our region.

Build Your Own Astronomical Observatory

Make A Floating Pipe Shelf

Properly Align Your Satellite Dish

Do It Yourself Adirondack Chair

BitTorrent For Beginners

Adirondack Hacks is an occasional feature of Adirondack Almanack. Take a look at our Adirondack Hacks archive here.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spitzer’s Budget Proposals: Adirondack Edition

The latest on Governor Eliot Spitzer’s Budget Proposals courtesy of John F. Sheehan
Communications Director of The Adirondack Council:

Below is a summary of the NYS Budget as it relates to the Adirondack Park and the NYS Environmental Protection Fund.

Adirondack Park Agency

Budget same as last year ($6.2 million; $700,000 is federal money)

Staff remains the same at 72

$350,000 increase for computers and cars (located in DEC’s capital projects budget)

Olympic Regional Development Authority

– State Budget would rise to $8.6 million

– Total budget $32 million – they get most of their revenue from lift tickets

– $400,000 increase (benefits, retirement)

– staff level stays the same at 203

Department of Environmental Conservation

– Total budget $1.1 billion

– Decrease of $31 million from last year

– half of that decrease caused by reductions in federal aid

– DEC will eliminate some local and regional initiatives to compensate

– Total employees up by 4 to 3,752 (two of the 4 are likely to be assigned to invasive species control programs)

Environmental Protection Fund

Total of $250 million (guaranteed in statute) – $25 million could be added if the Bigger Better Bottle Bill is approved


$66 million of the $250 is for open space protection statewide – that means purchases of new public lands and parks, conservation easements (development-limiting agreements with private landowners).

The other $184 million will go into the two other broad categories: Municipal recycling and solid waste projects and state parks, historic preservation and zoos/botanical gardens.

Additional Projects/Other Changes

Masten House – $125,000 from the EPF goes to SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry to purchase and rehabilitate the Masten House, on the site of the former iron mines in Tahawus, Town of Newcomb, Essex County. It will become a forestry research facility for the college, which owns nearby Huntington Experimental Forest. The college is based in Syracuse.

There are also three new categories in the EPF from which money may be drawn for specific purposes:

1. Air quality enforcement (only vague details available)

2. Renewable solar energy (community college tech training programs)

3. Farmland protection (plastic-waste and pesticide management programs)

Smart Growth Back at Department of State

This grant program to encourage environmentally sound community planning rises from $2 million to $2.5 million. It was transferred back to the Department of State, where the program started, after spending one year under DEC’s supervision in 2007.

The Sweep-Out

This is the worst news of the day, but not quite unexpected. Due to the $4.5-billion budget shortfall projected by the comptroller, the Governor will “borrow” $100 million of the unspent funds of previous EPFs. This is the largest sweep-out proposed since Governor Pataki started this distasteful practice more than five years ago.

Since the EPF was created in 1993, a total of $322 million in unspent EPF revenue has been diverted to other state purposes. If the Governor’s proposal is accepted, that amount would jump to $422 million in unredeemed IOUs. That would be nearly two years’ worth of missing revenues.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Adirondack Region Martin Luther King Jr Day Events

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is this Monday, January 21, 2008.

According to a press release from Adirondack Progressives: » Continue Reading.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Seven Wonders of the Adirondacks Contest Final Days

A quick reminder that there are only a few days left to enter our Seven Wonders of the Adirondacks contest. We’ll be accepting entries until February 1st.

Which human and natural constructed things/places inside the Adirondack Park’s Blue Line are the most significant, must-see attractions, marvels of engineering, historically important, or have other significance that makes them one of the top seven?

I’ll be offering an Adirondack related gift to one lucky person who puts their choice or choices into the comments. Chosen at random – one entry per person (anonymous comments won’t count for this one).

Remember – two lists – one for the human-made wonders, one for natural wonders.

Submit your entries over here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Gaslight Village: Lake George Fun Yesterday

I thought I’d take a look at the history of the one of the more popular Adirondack theme parks – Lake George’s Gaslight Village.

Gaslight Village opened in 1959 and was run by Charley Wood. Charley already owned a number of investments including Holiday House on the shores of Lake George, and Storytown, U.S.A., an amusement park with a Mother Goose rhymes theme (later expanded with Ghost Town, a western boot-hill theme, and Jungle Land, an animal park) which he opened in 1954. He later went on to build the Tiki Resort (now a Howard Johnson’s), a short lived wax museum, Sun Castle resort, and more. » Continue Reading.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Adirondack Blogs and Local Media: A Comparison

During the recent WAMC-NCPR flap, Adirondack Almanack, Musing of a (Fairly) Young Contrarian, and Adirondack Musing, all covered the story (in our opinion) better then the local mainstream media and with deeper insight. While we might not expect local mainstream media outlets to mention by name any of the blogs’ more in depth coverage and commentary, we also would expect that when they draw directly from blogs for content they would give credit where credit is due.

When WAMC withdrew its offending application, the Times Union’s business reporter Chris Churchill committed a journalistic no-no by claiming “Some observers suggested the fight between the public radio networks was about money. Lake Placid, they said, is a relatively wealthy community that’s potentially fruitful for public radio stations largely dependent on contributions for their survival.” Those “some observers” were Adirondack Almanack and MoFYC who the Times Union didn’t bother to mention by name. That’s some reporting despite the absolute failure of local media to cover one of the larger trends to hit our area in some time. There are now more than 75 blogs in the Adirondack region, and hundreds more in the coverage area of local media. Not only does it show the failure of local mainstream media to do anything other than follow the pack, it also hints at just how scared they are of citizen journalism.

This recalls the Blog-Times long bet. In 2002, Blogger Dave Winer bet New York Times executive Martin Nisenholtz that: “In a Google search of five keywords or phrases representing the top five news stories of 2007, weblogs will rank higher than the New York Times’ Web site.” The results show that the blogs won the bet, but the real winner was Wikipedia – you’ll remember the claims the Almanack made about wikis some time ago. Wikis are another topic ignored by local mainstream media.

I decided to conduct a search of the top Adirondack stories of 2007 and see how blogs show up against local mainstream media. Here are the results:

#10 Nature Conservancy Purchases 161,000 Acres
bldgblog ranked fifth. The Albany Times Union ranked seventh. Winner: blogs

#9 Lake George Workers Exploited
Albany Times Union ranked first. Deacon’s Blog ranked eleventh. Winner: mainstream media

#8 The Failure of Big Sky Airlines
Press Republican ranked thirty third. No blog ranked less than fifty. Winner: mainstream media

#7 Adirondack Hermit Alan Como
Adirondack Base Camp ranked first. The Glens Falls Post Star ranked second. Winner: blogs

#6 The NCPR – WAMC Flap
NCPR ranked first. The Adirondack Almanack ranked third. Winner: mainstream media

#5 Adirondack Global Warming Impacts
Adirondack Almanack ranked fifth. NCPR ranked twenty-fifth. Winner: blogs

#4 Changes in DEC, APA, and ORDA (we used Curt Stiles)
NCPR ranked eighth. Adirondack Almanack ranked seventeenth. Winner: mainstream media

#3 Adirondack Health Care (We used Hudson Headwaters)
The Glens Falls Post Star ranked forty-third. No blogs ranked under fifty. Winner: mainstream media

#2 Adirondacks State Tax Payments
Adirondack Musing ranked first. The Press Republican ranked second. Winner: blogs

#1 Northway Cell Towers
The Press Republican ranked first. Adirondack Almanack ranked tenth. Winner: mainstream media

The overall winner, 6 to 4, is the mainstream media. If NCPR was thrown out of coverage of itself, Adirondack Almanack would have made the overall contest a tie.

Obviously this little exercise is not very scientific but it’s clear that over the past year local blogs have begun to take their place alongside local mainstream media on the Internet. Blogs like Adirondack Almanack and Adirondack Musing have been around for only a few years – the mainstream media players in the Adirondack region have been around for decades, and have paid web experts and a stable of reporters on their staffs. Most local blogs are the work of one or two people.

Clearly something is happening in local media – wouldn’t it be nice if local media took notice?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

State of the State: Adirondack Report

The full text of Eliot Spitzer’s State of the State Address is here. An e-mail today from John Sheehan (Communications Director for the The Adirondack Council) outlined the “three major environmental initiatives” Spitzer announced:

1. A $100 million investment in state park infrastructure including buildings and wastewater treatment/sanitary facilities, as well as an effort to make existing and new buildings accessible to people with disabilities. Many state campgrounds and park buildings are causing water pollution in nearby lakes and rivers due to aging and inadequate facilities. The Adirondack Park has about a dozen state-run campgrounds.

2. Smart Metering: This would change the way power companies bill their customers to allow consumers to take advantage of off-peak power rates when running power-hungry appliances such as dishwashers, laundry machines, irrigation pumps, etc.

3. Net Metering: This would allow power customers to reduce or eliminate their power bills by installing clean power generating equipment (solar panels, small wind turbines, etc.). Power companies would be required to buy back any excess power generated by these private, home- and business-based systems. Several owners of large Adirondack great camps and resort compounds have said they want the ability to control their costs, reduce power outages and help pay for the investment in renewable energy by selling the extra power back to the power company.

I have copies of pdfs that explain each if anyone is interested.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

2007 Adirondack Memorial – Remembering Those We Lost

This will be an annual series highlighting the careers of those who passed during the year who had important impacts on the Adirondack region.

Peter Berle, Environmentalist

Known to many as the long-time host of WAMC’s Environment Show, environmental lawyer Peter A. A. Berle had important impacts on the Adirondack region. He served three terms as a New York State Assemblyman (1968-1974), and three years (1976-1979) as Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Under his tenure the state started action against General Electric for knowingly polluting the Hudson River with PCBs and began work to address Love Canal. Berle helped author New York’s first solid-waste plan which ended in the closing of many Adirondack landfills. He also helped write the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and was appointed to the Task Force on the Future of the Adirondack Park. Berle was also President and CEO of the National Audubon Society (1985-1995) and was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Joint Public Advisory Committee to the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation under NAFTA. He died suddenly at the age of 69 when a barn at his farm collapsed.

Bill Frenette, Tupper Lake Historian and Outdoorsman

William Charles Frenette was a lifetime Adirondacker who spent his working career in the family business — Frenette Bros. Beer Distributors and Tupper Lake Coca-Cola Bottling Company. Bill was an avid outdoorsman who loved to hike, paddle, and ski. Although he travelled extensively the Adirondacks was his lifelong home. He was an early 46er, and climbed all 46 in both summer and winter. He was also a gold medalist in the prestigious Coureur de Bois ski marathon. Frenette was actively involved in organizing Sugarloaf Ski Hill, and helped layout the trails on Mount Morris for Big Tupper, for which he served as the resorts Ski Patrol founding chief and an early member of the Search and Rescue Team. Bill was also a founding trustee of the Wild Center (the Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks), a board member of the Adirondack Medical Center and served on the board of the Friends of Mount Arab. He served as the historian for the Town and Village of Tupper Lake. He died at his Tupper Lake home at the age of 80.

Paul Jamieson (From Nov 2006)

Paul Jamieson taught English at Saint Lawrence University for 36 years, but his longest lasting legacy for the Adirondacks comes from his 20 year fight to force New York’s Courts to recognize that free-flowing rivers are open to paddlers as public transportation routes, just as they were in the nineteenth century. Jamison was critical in initiating state purchases of two scenic stretches of Adirondack rivers: Lampson Falls on the Grasse and Everton Falls on the St. Regis. He has been recognized by innumerable accolades. Adirondack canoe builder Peter Hornbeck named a boat design Jamieson. Jamieson was honored in 2003 by the Adirondack Mountain Club with its Trail Blazer award. He was given an Honorary Life Membership to the Adirondack Mountain Club and was a founding member of its Laurentian Chapter. He received the Stewardship Award from the Nature Conservancy, the Navigable Rivers Award by the Sierra Club and a Founders Award by the Adirondack Museum. The Adirondack Council awarded him its Distinguished Achievement Award. Jamison was the author of Adirondack Canoe Waters: North Flow and an autobiography Uneven Ground. He edited The Adirondack Reader, Man of the Woods (a memoir by Wanakena guide Herbert Keith), and Adirondack Pilgrimage (a collection of his writings). He was also an Adirondack 46er and received honorary doctorates from St. Lawrence University and Paul Smith’s College. He was 103.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Adirondack Almanack’s Most Read Stories of 2007

This year, we’re throwing out an anomaly. Due to the porn obsessed among us, the most read Adirondack Almanack story of the year was Naughty Nurses and the Cult of Halloween Sex. Apparently, “Halloween sex” and “naughty nurse” are quite in demand.

Frankly, the post is one of our favorites and I’m sure those looking for sexy nurses are surprised to find a feminist analysis of Halloween and the role of sex oriented costumes for women and girls. Here’s a sample:

Linking sexual images so closely to the profession of nursing–to even the fantasy idea that working nurses are sexually available to patients–reinforces long-standing stereotypes. Those stereotypes continue to discourage practicing and potential nurses, foster sexual violence in the workplace, and contribute to a general atmosphere of disrespect. Desexualizing the nursing image is a key part of building the strength the profession needs to overcome the current shortage, which threatens lives worldwide, and to meet the challenges of 21st Century health care.

So we decided to throw that one out this year, even though it probably deserves it’s spot at number one based on content and the surprise factor for those who land on it.

So on to this year’s list.

#10 Adirondack Northway Cell Phone Controversy
#9 North Creek: Center of the Adirondack Universe?
#8 Ticonderoga Plane Crash: Murder-Suicide?
#7 Lake George Cruise Boat Ethan Allen Tragedy
#6 Adirondack and New York State Map Round-Up
#5 1950s Adirondack Ads Online: Gaslight Village
#4 With Pipe and Book: Will Lake Placid Lose The Adirondacks’ Best Book Store?
#3 Adirondack Mountain Lions, Panthers, Pumas, and Cougars Oh My!
#2 Sopranos Premiere Set In The Adirondacks

and drum roll please…

the most requested story of 2007 (for the second year running)…

10 Deadliest Accidents in The Adirondack Mountain Region

Thanks for reading, and thanks for contributing your comments, and for supporting the Almanack through donations via PayPal (at right) and purchases from the Almanack Store.

And while we’re at it – we’d like to thank the top five referring Internet denizens – these folks sent more readers our way than any other spots on the net (save for the search engines). Thanks for the links and we wish you well in the coming year!

#1 North Country Now
#2 Adirondack Regional Tourism Council
#3 York Staters Blog
#4 NYCO’s Blog
#5 North Country Public Radio

Last year’s list of most read stories can be found here.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Seven Wonders of the Adirondacks Contest Extended

So far the response has been good, but I’ve decided to extend our Seven Wonders contest until February 1st to allow for some more entries.

Which human and natural constructed things/places inside the Adirondack Park’s Blue Line are the most significant, must-see attractions, marvels of engineering, historically important, or have other significance that makes them one of the top seven?

I’ll offer a spectacular – well, maybe not spectacular, but certainly interesting – Adirondack related gift to one lucky person who puts their choice or choices into the comments. Chosen at random – one entry per person (anonymous comments won’t count for this one).

Remember – two lists – one for the human-made wonders, one for natural wonders.

Submit your entries over here.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

RCPA Names Michael Washburn New Executive Director

Forwarded for your information, a press release from the Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks. They have just named a new Executive Director to replace Peter Bauer.

Michael Washburn to head leading regional advocacy group

North Creek –The board of directors of Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks announced today that it has named Dr. Michael P. Washburn of Clifton Park, NY to be executive director beginning January 2008. Washburn is known nationally as a leading figure in the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) sustainable forestry certification movement. He most recently has been engaged in private consulting to help progressive forest companies implement sustainability programs. He previously served as Vice president of Brand Management at the Forest Stewardship Council US in Washington, DC, and is a former research scientist at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He brings 15 years of experience in conservation, including roles with the US Forest Service, and Penn State University.. » Continue Reading.

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