Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cabin Life: A Summer Snake Encounter

The Big SnakesI just got back from the neighbor’s house, where we had a couple of beers by the fire.  Even though I tend to have a beer by the fire whenever it’s not raining, it is nice to share the fire with friends.

On top of the pleasant evening, it is actually starting to feel like summer.  We’ve had almost three whole days without rain.  I am really excited. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, July 13, 2013

McMartin House: Adirondac’s Last Building

IMG_6774Those  who visit the Upper Works trailhead pass through the remains of the most notable ghost town in the Adirondacks.   The ruined village is known by various names: Adirondac, the Deserted Village, Tahawus (mistakenly), Upper Works, McIntyre.

All of these names (some more historically valid than others) hearken back to the original settlement carved out of the wilderness more than a hundred and eighty years ago by prospectors eager to capitalize on the massive veins of iron ore to which they had been guided by Abenaki Indian Lewis Elijah Benedict in 1826.

However, the collapsing structures lining the old village street and ranging back into the woods date from a more modern era, most around the turn of the twentieth century and into the 1920’s (though the foundations of some are original to the mining village).  The last of them was abandoned as recently as the 1960’s.  Now the Adirondack forest is reclaiming them at its usual unrelenting pace. » Continue Reading.



Friday, July 12, 2013

This Week’s Adirondack Web Highlights


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Friday, July 12, 2013

Adirondack Events This Weekend (July 12)

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, July 12, 2013

Drinking The Water: Is Giardia A Real Threat?

Sitz PondGiardia has long been considered the scourge of the backcountry, where every water body was assumed to contain a healthy population of these critters or some other related pathogen. Ingestion of this parasite often results in giardiasis, popularly known as beaver fever, a common form of gastroenteritis, characterized by a combination of diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and cramping.

Although most backcountry explorers deal with the threat of giardiasis and other illness-inducing pathogens by some combination of boiling, chemical treatment or filtering, some chose to disregard all warnings and drink directly from natural water sources.

Are they insane? » Continue Reading.



Friday, July 12, 2013

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


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Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Valley Kitchen: Connecting Producers to Consumers

Members of the Valley Kitchen Board of Directors  gather at the old Upper Jay Schoolhouse in June. From left are Rob Farkus, Heather Morgan, and Natalie Woods.Volunteers in Upper Jay are working to establish a community kitchen in hopes of invigorating the local economy, promoting local food and connecting farmers to consumers.

It’s called the Valley Kitchen, and it’s an idea cooked up by a group of energetic volunteers from the Upper Jay area. I had a chance to meet with three of them – Heather Morgan, Natalie Woods and Rob Farkas – on a hot, sunny day back in June. (Yes, the sun was really out. I have photographic evidence.)

Standing outside the Upper Jay Schoolhouse, located on state Route 9N, Farkas – who is secretary of the Valley Kitchen Board of Directors – recalled that Trudy Rosenblum, who curates the Jay Community News with her husband Seth, urged her neighbors to think about coming together to work on a community project. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, July 11, 2013

Current Conditions in the Adirondack Park (July 11)


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.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

» Continue Reading.



Thursday, July 11, 2013

Adirondack Wildlife: The Four-Toed Salamander

four_toed_salamanderLet’s start out with a riddle: What animal has 16 toes and a tail that breaks off when grabbed by a predator? Not sure? Here’s another clue: It’s the smallest terrestrial vertebrate in our area. If you didn’t guess four-toed salamander, don’t feel bad—it’s probably also the least-known salamander in the North Country.

The four-toed salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum) holds a number of dubious distinctions. Besides its diminutive size (a typical adult may only reach 2-3 inches in length), it is also the only terrestrial salamander with four toes on all four feet. With the exception of the aquatic mudpuppy (which happens to be our largest salamander), all other salamanders have five toes on their hind feet. Four-toeds also have specialized breeding habitat requirements, which probably accounts for their limited distributions in our region. Combine that with their small size and cryptic behavior, and you have a recipe for an animal that very few people have ever heard of, let alone encountered. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Event Recalls Kidnapping of Minerva Native Into Slavery

Solomon Northup in a Sketch from Twelve Years a SlaveThe 15th annual Solomon Northup Day: A Celebration of Freedom will be held on Saturday, July 20th from noon to 4 pm at Filene Hall, at Skidmore College, in Saratoga Springs.

Solomon Northup Day was founded in 1999 by Saratogian Renee Moore to honor and to bring awareness to the life of Solomon Northup, a local free-born Black man who was kidnapped into slavery in 1841.

Northup was born a free man in what is today Minerva, Essex County, in July 1808. He was a literate man who worked on the Champlain Canal. While working as a cabbie and violinist in Saratoga Springs, he was abducted, held in a slave pen in Washington, DC, and sold into slavery in Louisiana for 12 years before regaining his freedom. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Conservation Council: Classify Essex Chain Wild Forest

Essex ChainThe New York State Conservation Council contends that designating the Essex Chain Lakes a Wilderness Area would hurt the local economy and violate the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.

In a letter to the Adirondack Park Agency, the council calls for designating the Essex Chain a Wild Forest Area, a less-restrictive classification. Motorized use is permitted in Wild Forest Areas but not in Wilderness Areas.

The council, which represents hunters and anglers, argues that the 17,320-acre Essex Chain Lakes Tract does not meet the definition of Wilderness in the State Land Master Plan. The organization points out that the land has been logged extensively and contains more than forty miles of gravel roads. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

ADK Summer Playhouse Presents Cabaret on Gore Mountain

Gore Mountain Caberet CroppedThe Adirondack Summer Playhouse puts a unique twist on the musical “Cabaret” in three performances this weekend on Gore Mountain. The production, which runs July 11-13, takes place in a modern “Spiegeltent,” an Austrian mirrored circus tent, offering classic German beer and goodies such as knödel, bratwurst, sauerkraut, sausages and pretzels.

“Cabaret” is set in Berlin in 1931, as the Nazis are rising to power. It focuses on nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub and revolves around the 19-year-old English cabaret performer Sally Bowles and her relationship with the young American writer Cliff Bradshaw. Overseeing the action is the master of ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub. “Cabaret,” which made its Broadway debut in 1966, won eight Tony Awards; a Broadway revival in 1998 won four Tony Awards and three Drama Desk Awards. The show was adapted into a film in 1972 starring Liza Minelli. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

DEC Announces Proposed Fishing Regulation Changes

nys dec logoProposed changes to the current freshwater fishing regulations were announced today by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). According to a press release, “based on the status of existing fish populations and discussions with anglers, fisheries biologists, and fisheries managers over the past year, DEC had identified potential changes to fishing regulations and is seeking additional angler feedback.”

Some highlights for trout anglers include: increasing year-round trout fishing opportunities at specifically chosen streams, adjusting daily creel limits and minimum size limits, and establishing catch and release fishing at a few additional streams. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Amazing Grace Vineyard Summer Concert Series

concert-1

Summer in the Adirondacks is not only about the beautiful wild outdoors, but can be a mixture of cultural activities while enjoying nature with artists and musical entertainment. For the fourth year, Amazing Grace Winery is pairing its fine Champlain Valley wine with local musical talent for a casual evening under the stars.

Established in 2008 in Chazy, Amazing Grace produces cold hardy varietal wines and fruit wines and has a recently expanded 1,400 square foot winery/tasting room as part of its small farm vineyard. In addition to tours, tasting and  musical events the vineyard hosts a bimonthly Farmers’ and Craft Market the first and third Sunday in July and August.

“We have tried to keep the summer concert series affordable,” says Amazing Grace Vineyard and Winery owner Mary Fortin. “Most of the performances are free though we do raise money for various local charities like The Food Shelf. People don’t have to donate, but we do ask. We also do charge an admission for the annual musical.” » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Adirondack Invasive Species Awareness Week Begins

invasive_curveGroups across the Adirondack region are sponsoring fun and educational activities this week through Saturday for the 8th annual Adirondack Invasive Species Awareness Week. The week provides an opportunity for communities to highlight the threats of invasive plants and animals and for residents and visitors to learn ways to prevent and manage invasive species spread.

This year’s line-up of public events includes an array of interactive activities including an invasive plant paddle on Upper Saranac Lake; a forest pest identification workshop in Bolton Landing; a terrestrial invasive plant management training for landowners in Wanakena; a garlic mustard control event in Old Forge; a Floating Classroom opportunity on Lake George; interpretive displays at the Paul Smiths VIC and Lake George Visitors Center, and more. » Continue Reading.



Monday, July 8, 2013

Ex-APA Commissioner Favors Canoe Area For Essex Chain

Essex ChainThe hearings on the classification of the former Finch, Pruyn lands are finished, but the public can submit written comments to the Adirondack Park Agency through July 19.

In one such comment, a former APA board member recommends classifying the Essex Chain Lakes a Canoe Area.

Rick Hoffman, who served on the board as a representative of the New York State Department of State from 1998 to 2008, argues that a Canoe classification would be as protective of the natural resources as a Wilderness classification and would stimulate paddling tourism. » Continue Reading.



Monday, July 8, 2013

Understanding NYS Tax Payments On State Lands

Historic Forest Preserve LandsThe idea that the State of New York does not pay taxes on state lands is an enduring myth in the Adirondack Park. At the June-July 2013 APA Forest Preserve classification hearings some speakers erroneously made this charge. Different state laws require property tax payments by the state for both Forest Preserve and conservation easements. The NYS Real Property Tax Law defines most categories of state tax payments.

The State of New York pays local property taxes on Forest Preserve lands it owns just like any other taxpayer. In 2011, it was estimated that combined town, county, school and special district taxes topped $75 million from the state for over 3.4 million acres of Forest Preserve and conservation easement lands in the Adirondack Park. Here is information from NYS Real Property Services organized by town-level data and county-level data. » Continue Reading.



Monday, July 8, 2013

Nature: Where Are the Deer Flies?

800px-Chrysops_callidusThe daily round of intense rain that has plagued the region for the past several weeks has elevated most area waterways to abnormally high levels for this time of year, impacting many forms of animals. For one group of insects, the early summer flooding is particularly devastating, yet anyone that enjoys being outside at the start of this season can only view this widespread mortality as the silver lining to the persistent rains.

From late June through mid July, deer flies can be most annoying to hikers, campers, canoeists, and individuals that work in the garden, yet this year there seems to be a definite reduction, or complete absence of this annoying pest. » Continue Reading.



Monday, July 8, 2013

Plumbing Local Family History: Aird Dorrance

Henry Aird 01Last week’s coverage here of Airdmore, that unusual camping colony at Elizabethtown in 1922, prompted a number of questions for me, particularly about the unusual surname of the main player, Henry Aird. The name was familiar to me in only one regard―from the plumbing supply company, Aird Dorrance, based in Morrisonville, near Plattsburgh, and with facilities in Ballston Lake and Clifton Park. I wanted to know: could there be a connection between the modern company and the business founded more than a century ago by Henry Aird?

If so, then he left a remarkable and lasting impact on North Country history in an economic sense, creating jobs for more than a hundred years, all of them resulting from choices he made in his business career long ago.

So I started digging. Early on, the effort was plagued by the usual problems that require clarification, especially regarding early records. As uncommon as the name Aird is, there were Airds and Bairds in Elizabethtown at the same time, led by men with the same first name―Henry. Both were among the moneyed class of visitors who frequented the village. Keeping their stories separate was easy enough, but the Airds’ reuse of given names and middle names, and the inconsistent use of middle initials in identifying them in legal papers and newspapers, was another story. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, July 7, 2013

An Amazing Adirondack Music Opportunity

songstokeepIn a recent Mountain Lake PBS e-newsletter, something caught my eye. Like many, I suppose, I get too many emails and often give many nothing more than a quick scan, if that, before hitting the delete button. But there was a little, green, Adirondack summer image with the words “Songs to Keep” superimposed. What’s this?

The teaser text read “The story of a woman who traveled the Adirondacks collecting rare folk songs that are being rediscovered and rerecorded 60 years later. Help make this project happen by investing in it!”. It hooked me and I clicked. Not only am I very glad that I did, but I wanted to share it with Almanack readers because it is definitely worth your attention. » Continue Reading.



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