Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Nelson Mandela: A Caring Partnership with Nature

Nelson Mandela - EnvironmentalistSomeone I know gained some of his inspiration for helping to conserve the backwoods and wildlife in the Adirondack Park from an African who spoke admiringly of the Adirondack Park’s people and wilderness coexisting, and as one of the globe’s most important places. My friend has never forgotten this encounter with a man knowledgeable of the Adirondacks in East Africa. Perhaps it is necessary to travel purposefully in the world to more keenly appreciate how many from all walks of life pay attention to what goes on in our Park.

I don’t know if Nelson Mandela was another one of those on the African continent paying attention to the Adirondack Park, and it doesn’t matter. He paid attention to freedom and justice in South Africa and the world, and that attention encompasses the right to enjoy, appreciate and protect an unpolluted world from whence he and we come, and evolved. As he stated in the address copied below, “a sustainable future for humankind depends on a caring partnership with nature as much as anything else.” He clearly loved the land of his birth, and his body and spirit are returning to it this week. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Osgood Pond Great Camp Tapped for NY, National Registers

Northwoods Lodge Boathouse Osgood PondThe New York State Board for Historic Preservation recommended the addition of 33 properties, resources and districts to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Among the properties slated for inclusion are Northbrook Lodge on Osgood Pond near Paul Smiths in Brighton, NY and the John Losee House, in Watertown.

The State and National Registers are the official lists of buildings, structures, districts, landscapes, objects and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology and culture of New York State and the nation. Said to be the the first parcel of land sold on Osgood Pond, Northbrook Lodge was built by renowned Great Camp builder Benjamin Muncil in the 1920s for Canadian Senator Wilfred L. McDougald, a medical doctor. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Proposed Snowmobile Trail Raises Questions

FULL SIZE - APA Essex Chain Lakes Recommendation MapTown leaders lobbied hard for a snowmobile trail through the Essex Chain Tract that would connect the hamlets of Indian Lake and Newcomb, and it appears they may get their wish.

Although the Adirondack Park Agency staff has recommended keeping most of the 18,230-acre tract motor-free, it would allow a snowmobile trail to traverse the property.

Fred Monroe, executive director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, praised the staff’s proposal. “It was an attempt to protect the natural resources and make some reasonable compromises for the economy and the local communities,” he said.

Monroe said the towns need the trail to spur the winter economy. “It’s one thing to have a business and survive in the summer, but it’s very different in winter, and snowmobiling is huge,” he said.

Yet the proposed trail raises a number of legal and policy issues that the APA board likely will grapple with this week as it deliberates on the classification of the Essex Chain Tract and three smaller parcels acquired by the state over the past year.

» Continue Reading.



Monday, December 9, 2013

Peter Bauer: Local Activists Hold ATV Laws in Check

Local government leaders in Lewis and St. Lawrence counties have tried for years to rapidly expand the use of public roads and public lands for All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) recreational use. This has been controversial and has resulted in a series of legal challenges. The most recent action was in the Town of Colton, where the Town just announced it plans to withdraw its local ATV law passed in August after a legal challenge by affected property owners was filed.

For more than a decade in the western Adirondacks and Tug Hill, local residents have repeatedly gone to court to stop aggressive local and county governments from illegally opening public roads to ATV riding. These same local governments also seek access to nearby Forest Preserve, state forests and conservation easement lands for ATV use. Three ATV law related lawsuits are currently pending in Lewis County. » Continue Reading.



Monday, December 9, 2013

Comments Sought On Delisting Gray Wolves

Wolf (Canis lupus) - captiveThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has proposed to remove the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) from the list of threatened and endangered species.

The agency claims that the Gray Wolf’s population has been “restored” to its historic range and no longer needs federal protection despite their continued absence from the Northeast and the Adirondacks, along with parts of the Pacific Northwest and other areas of the Mountain West, which are parts of the wolf’s historic range. The Endangered Species Act says that the Gray Wolf must be protected throughout its historic range. » Continue Reading.



Monday, December 9, 2013

Local Crime History: The Saga of Albany Jim (Part 2)

2A 18730108 Escape AuburnAs noted in Part 1, Albany Jim Brady’s good looks and suave demeanor aided him on crime trips to outside areas, like Canada. To operate in more familiar haunts, like New York City, he became a master of disguise and used many an alias. Still, as skilled and shrewd as Brady was, his daring exploits are what often got him into trouble.

During a long career, he displayed an affinity for diamonds, and shortly after the Kensington Bank job, it was a foiled jewelry heist that landed him in the clutches of the law. For a month, Brady was held in The Tombs, Manhattan’s infamous jail. Then, in spring 1871, he was sentenced to five years in state prison. And off he went to the penitentiary at Sing Sing, later being transferred to Auburn in central New York. » Continue Reading.



Monday, December 9, 2013

How The APA Analyzed The Essex Chain Classification

FULL SIZE - APA Essex Chain Lakes Recommendation MapEnvironmentalists wanted the Essex Chain Lakes region classified as Wilderness. Local government leaders wanted it classified as Wild Forest. And the state Department of Environmental Conservation proposed classifying it as Wild Forest with special regulations.

Yet the staff of the Adirondack Park Agency rejected all three options in favor of a Primitive designation. The APA board is scheduled to discuss and vote on the staff’s recommendation this week.

Why did the staff opt for Primitive? The answers—or some answers—can be found in the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that the board has been asked to adopt.

» Continue Reading.



Sunday, December 8, 2013

William Almon Wheeler: North Country Political Star

Wheeler cover designA new biography is shedding light on an overshadowed North Country political figure, the Nineteenth Vice President of the United States. In William Almon Wheeler: Political Star of the North Country (2013, SUNY Press), author Herbert C. Hallas leaves no doubt that Wheeler was a more significant political figure than the existing literature may lead one to believe.

The book is the first and only complete biography of Wheeler, a man referred to as “the New York Lincoln,” who helped to found the Republican Party and build it into a formidable political force during the Gilded Age. Wheeler’s life is an American success story about how a poor boy from Malone achieved fame and fortune as a lawyer, banker, railroad president, state legislator, five-time congressman, and vice president of the United States. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cabin Life: The First Eggs

The First EggsYesterday morning, I let the chickens out into their run, just like I always do.  I sprinkled some food in there and gave them my customary “Hey Ladies!”  I’ve stopped trying to keep them in the run, as they seem to get out now whenever they feel like it.

Even so, I closed the plastic over the opening in the run, and went back inside to have some tea.  Whitey is far and away my most vocal chicken, and she was squawking up a storm.  I looked out to see her relentlessly attacking the plastic covering the opening, and as I watched, she escaped.  But to my surprise, she immediately hopped back into the coop. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, December 7, 2013

After I Pick the Fruit: The Lives of Migrant Women

UnknownA large percentage of the farm workers who harvest New York State’s apples, potatoes, onions, and other fruits and vegetables are immigrants working long hours with no overtime pay, few benefits, low salaries, often substandard housing, and no right to collective bargaining, as those rights fought for over fifty years ago in California by Cesar Chavez were excluded from being applied here.

Illegal immigrants comprise approximately five percent of this workforce. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, December 7, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: The Shay Effect

Lost Brook Tract in WinterThis Thanksgiving unfolded for me in traditional and typical fashion, promising that the standard playbook would be executed all the way through: take the family to my in-laws, help cook a massive meal for twenty, monitor my Mother for too much wine or too much stimulation (Mom is 92 and can overload either way), overeat, get teary looking at my wife and drive seventy miles home while fighting indigestion and narcolepsy.

By early afternoon all was going to form.  How could I possibly have known that an earth-shaking revelation was about to completely overwhelm me?  How could I be prepared for the sheer jubilation, the exaltation this imminent moment was going to bring, this profound thunderclap completely sweeping away all the usual familial mediocrity?

But then it happened.  The setting was innocent enough: I was in the snowy yard with my brother-in-law Dan, exercising Henderson with a stick, talking about our favorite mutual subject, the Adirondacks.  Amy and I were planning to be at Lost Brook Tract just after Christmas and Dan, who had considered coming along and doing some skiing was telling me that his winter visit would have to wait until the following year.  “We’re all coming next winter, he said.  We’ll come up to your land for a couple days but we’ll get a place for a week.  Shay’s a little worried about snowshoeing up there.”

There it was. » Continue Reading.



Friday, December 6, 2013

APA Staff Proposes Motorless Essex Chain

FULL SIZE - APA Essex Chain Lakes Recommendation MapAfter months of negotiations and deliberation, the Adirondack Park Agency staff has come up with a proposal to designate the Essex Chain Lakes a Primitive Area, a classification that would preclude the use of motorboats.

In addition, the APA staff recommends establishing a 23,774-acre Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area, which would encompass about fifteen miles of the upper Hudson River.

The APA developed the proposal in collaboration with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The APA board is scheduled to vote on it next week. The final plan will require the approval of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Joe Martens, the head of DEC, described the proposal as an attempt to satisfy all stakeholders, including environmental activists and local officials.

“What it reflects to me is a universal desire to provide a high degree of protection to the Essex Chain itself—the lakes and ponds—and the potential for diverse recreational opportunities and to connect the towns around the tract,” Martens said. “I think the plan does this very well.”

» Continue Reading.



Friday, December 6, 2013

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Photographing The Night Sky Over Whiteface

Night Sky over WhitefaceNight photography has always fascinated me.  Photography is all about light and I can’t help but wonder how long that light has journeyed through space before hitting the sensor on my camera.  The following were the camera settings used: f3.5, 30sec, ISO 3200.



Friday, December 6, 2013

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights


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Friday, December 6, 2013

Ed Kanze: Christmas Books For Nature Lovers 2013

ed_kanze_christmas_booksOK, so you have nature lovers in the family and don’t know what to give them for gifts over the holidays. Books? Yes, they still exist. In fact, some of the finest nature books ever published are rolling off the presses right now.

Listen as I survey some of the best and the newest—candidates for placement under the Christmas tree in this week’s edition of All Things Natural with Ed Kanze. » Continue Reading.



Friday, December 6, 2013

Adirondack Events This Weekend (Dec 6)

Visit the Adirondack Almanack each Friday to find out what’s happening around the Adirondacks.

Featured Adirondack Events – chosen by Adirondack Almanack contributors.

Outdoor Conditions in the Adirondacks – for those headed into the woods or onto the waters this weekend.

We’ve also gathered the best links to regional events calendars all in one place:

» Continue Reading.



Friday, December 6, 2013

NYCO Mining Amendment: Fact And Fiction

800px-2013_Adirondack_Land_Exchange_MapLast month, voters in New York State approved Proposition 5, which amends Article 14 of the New York Constitution to potentially allow exploratory drilling and mining by a private mining company, NYCO, on two hundred acres of Forest Preserve lands (Lot 8) in the Jay Mountain Wilderness Area.  The amendment authorizes a potential land swap from NYCO that, in theory, will compensate the people of the state for the loss of two hundred wilderness acres, and further requires that Lot 8 ultimately be “remediated” and returned to state ownership.

In the months leading up to the vote and in the weeks since its passage, Prop 5 has stirred intense and at times acrimonious debate.  Unfortunately, the debate has tended to obscure rather than shed light on what Prop 5 really authorizes and what this novel amendment might mean for the future of “forever wild.” Here is some fact and fiction about Prop 5: » Continue Reading.



Friday, December 6, 2013

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (Dec 5)

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This weekly Adirondack outdoor conditions report is issued on Thursday afternoons, year round.

Get The Weekly Outdoor Conditions Podcast

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio. The report can also be found at Mountain Lake PBS.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

» Continue Reading.



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