Friday, I concluded a four-part history of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan: why it was written, how it has been applied, and why it has been updated. Together, I think the four essays provide a good overview of most of the key events that influenced the original plan and its two revisions, from the point at which the Forest Preserve was created in 1885, to how we arrived at the master plan that we have today. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘Adirondack Mountain Club’
The purpose of this five-part history of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP) has been to place certain current events within a larger context, from the historical developments that inspired the creation of the master plan to its implementation. The discussion that we are having today was triggered by a high-profile land acquisition in the central Adirondacks (the Essex Chain of Lakes) and the requirement that this land be classified in a way that will determine the preferred future management policy. The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) did reach a classification decision last year, but recognizing the inadequacy of this decision, the agency simultaneously promised to consider ways of changing it.
While this sense of indecision on the part of the APA is certainly novel, the basic elements of the case – an attractive and well publicized land acquisition, an eager but divided public, the need to reach a management decision – are as old as the SLMP itself. Of all the events that have occurred since 1972, the one with the greatest resemblance to our own times was perhaps the Perkins Clearing land exchange of 1983. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP) was created in 1972 to address the cumulative impacts of sixty years of unplanned recreation management. The original plan – and to a large degree, the current version of the SLMP too – reflects this era by listing many of the facilities and uses that the old Conservation Department had allowed into the Forest Preserve, and then commenting on their appropriateness within each of the various zoning categories (Wild Forest, Primitive, Wilderness, et cetera). This certainly lends credence to the complaint that aspects of the SLMP are outdated in 2014 and need to be amended.
Without a doubt, the SLMP was never intended to be a static document, its provisions set in stone for all eternity. Part of any sound management process is to review successes and failures, and to identify opportunities for improving a set of guidelines based on the experience of having worked within them. The expectation was that the plan would be reviewed at least every five years—sooner, if there was a valid reason. » Continue Reading.
In August of 1968, Edwin Ketchledge finished climbing the 46 high peaks of the Adirondacks and received his 46er number, #507. Dr. Ketchledge (“Ketch”) was no ordinary peak-bagger. He was a professor of botany at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, an active member of the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), later a President of the 46ers, and a researcher very much interested in the fragile ecosystem found on the Adirondack High Peaks.
Dr. Ketchledge began experimenting ways to help the alpine ecosystem recover from trampling caused by hikers in 1967. His research began on the summits of Dix Mt. and Mt. Colden. He began by transplanting Deer’s hair sedge, one of the rare alpine species, to see if it could successfully colonize impacted areas. It could not. » Continue Reading.
This summer, a small parcel of state land on the Fulton-Hamilton county line in the southern Adirondacks has been receiving an increased amount of public scrutiny. Most of it has enjoyed a quiet existence since the state started acquiring lots here at tax sales as early as the 1870s and 1880s; with no trails or famous landmarks, few people have had a reason to visit it. However, this little block of state land will soon become the site of a new section of the Northville-Placid Trail (NPT), fulfilling the goal of relocating the southern end of that long-distance hiking route closer to its official starting point in Northville. It has also been proposed for a wilderness reclassification, due to the acquisition of a former Finch Pruyn parcel to the south. Therefore if you are not familiar with this corner of the Adirondack Park, you will probably be hearing more about it soon.
The area that I am describing is a corner of the Shaker Mountain Wild Forest straddling the banks of West Stony Creek, immediately south of Benson. Most of it occupies the rectangular bulge in Hamilton County’s southern border that was created when the town of Benson was set apart from Hope in 1860, taking with it the northernmost portion of Mayfield. This has always been a blank spot on most maps—unsettled and unknown. To my knowledge there have never been any official state trails here, although it is possible that an ancient town road may have traversed the hillside south of the creek. It has one small pond, a range of unnamed mountains, and of course a section of West Stony Creek, which is here designated as a “scenic river” under state law. » Continue Reading.
Every June I try to make it up to the summit of either Algonquin or Marcy to take in the vibrant colors of the first alpine flowers in bloom. I usually see lapland rosebay, a pink alpine rhododendron, or Diapensia, a deep green mound with petite white flowers. If I make it over to Skylight I might even get a glimpse of the alpine azalea, a small, deep pink flower only found on Skylight’s summit. I also usually see another alpine flower, one even more rare and colorful than the ones already mentioned.
This flower will talk to you about her special, fragile home and even answer your questions about which jagged peak you see off in the distance. To many, this alpine flower’s name is Julia Goren, a human, but in the alpine ecosystem of New York, she could be considered the rarest and most beautiful alpine flower of them all. » Continue Reading.
On May 30, 2014 the Adirondack Mountain Club’s (ADK) Advocacy Office in Albany submitted comments in response to the Opportunity to Comment posted by both the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) on DEC’s proposed amendment to the Jay Mountain Wilderness Unit Management Plan (JMUMP) and to the Draft Temporary Revocable Permit (TRP) for NYCO Minerals, Inc. to conduct exploratory drilling on Lot 8 in the Jay Mountain Wilderness. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) is celebrating the 90th anniversary of the completion of the Northville-Placid Trail (N-P Trail) this year. The N-P Trail, originally called The Long Trail is a north-south foot path that traverses through the heart of the Adirondacks from Northville to Lake Placid. This 135-mile, long distance hiking trail has captured the hearts of many throughout the years.
The N-P Trail was the first major project that ADK sponsored after the organization’s formation in 1922. One of the objectives as a newly formed organization was “to open, develop, extend and maintain trails for walkers and mountain climbers in the Adirondack Mountains,” as stated in the certificate of incorporation. What better way to do that than to build a trail that runs the length of the Adirondacks? Why pick Northville to Lake Placid though? Why not Lake George to Keene Valley? » Continue Reading.
A U.S. Supreme Court decision today has revived the Cross-State Pollution Rule that makes it illegal for states to cause air pollution that harms neighboring states. The rule was reinstated in a 6-2-1 ruling, led by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented. Justice Samuel Alito recused himself.
“The Cross-State Pollution Rule should never have been struck down in 2011 and we are thrilled that the Supreme Court has revived it,” William C. Janeway, Executive Director of the Adirondack Council, said in a statement to the press. “The Adirondack Park has suffered for decades from pollution drifting in from Midwest states. Nearly all of our acid rain is created by smokestacks hundreds of miles away.” » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Mountain Club’s Winterfest on Saturday January 11th was wet, but not washed out. While snow was in short and diminishing supply the level of enthusiasm and good cheer held firm against conditions that would dismay the most stalwart event planner. Indeed throughout New England all manner of activities were canceled in face of the fourth rainy weekend in a row that once again had highway crews on flood alert.
The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) and the staff of their Adirondack Loj had put together an extensive schedule of activities, most free, as a way of enticing people of all ages to come out and enjoy fun in the snow. Trips were planned up Algonquin and Mount Jo and to Avalanche Lake; Heart Lake was cleared of snow for skating and curling activities; lessons in Telemark turns, cross-country skiing, and waxing were offered; snowshoes, skates, a wide-array of back country skis, and crampons were available along with a treasure hunt, kids obstacle course, food, live music, and more. Surprisingly, in light of at times heavy rainfall, is how many of those activities took place. » Continue Reading.
The past year was productive for Lean2Rescue, the volunteer organization that helps rebuild and refurbish Adirondack lean-tos and other back-country infrastructure. According to an e-mail sent to volunteers by Paul Delucia, one of Lean2Rescue’s organizers, the group worked on or assessed 16 lean-tos, 3 bridges (Calkins, Windfall Trail #1 and Windfall Trail #2), and the fire tower on Woodhull Mountain.
“All of this happened because of you – a very special group of people willing (and eager) to give up their free time to make the Adirondacks a better place for others,” DeLucia wrote to volunteers. “That speaks volumes about who you are.” He also pointed out the many collaborations with other organizations and groups, including DEC whose partnership he called “the keystone of our success.” DeLucia singled out the DEC Operations Crew at Cranberry Lake for special praise. » Continue Reading.
My family spends a fair bit of time at the Adirondack Mountain Club’s (ADK) Adirondack Loj High Peaks Information Center. With Heart Lake being a popular gateway into the High Peaks, we hike their trails, drop off groups and introduce guests to its range of outdoor activities.
Since the Adirondack Park is a multi-season playground, the ADK Heart Lake Center is offering a free day full of winter opportunities to showcase that the 700-acre Heart Lake property is more than just a parking lot for the High Peaks. In conjunction with the 19th Winter Trails Day, ADK has gathered volunteers and staff to host its first Winterfest on January 11. » Continue Reading.
Ice over is a true indicator that winter is here. While not celebrated as greatly as ice-off, it is a delightful moment for those of us that enjoy the outdoor recreational opportunities that winter brings. This photograph marks the first morning of significant ice cover on Heart Lake. Let the winter season begin!
Dear Adirondack Almanack Readers:
Voters reaffirmed that the Adirondack Park belongs to all New Yorkers. Proposition 4 (Township 40) was approved by a wide margin. Voters also approved Proposition 5 that expands the Jay Mountain Wilderness as part of a land swap with the NYCO mineral company. The approval of this constitutional amendment expands access to all sides of the Jay Mountain Wilderness and adds important new resources to the Forest Preserve.
Election results show that New Yorkers care deeply about the Adirondack Park. Clearly the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, and the New York League of Conservation Voters’ collaboration with local governments, unions, and property owners can produce victories and results that benefit the Forest Preserve and communities. » Continue Reading.
Governor Andrew Cuomo visited the Adirondack Park on Thursday September 26th and devoted a full day to discussions with various parties about the looming decision by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) on the Forest Preserve classification of 21,000-acres of former Finch Paper lands along the Hudson River and around the Essex Chain Lakes.
I give the Governor high marks for making the trip and holding these meetings. (In the interest of full disclosure no one from Protect the Adirondacks was invited to these meetings. We are, after all, suing the Cuomo Administration with two pretty big lawsuits.) With Joe Martens, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in tow, the Governor met at Follensby Pond (his second trip there) with the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, the Adirondack Council and ADK. Those most closely aligned with the Cuomo Administration, who supported for the Adirondack Club & Resort project and/or the NYCO land swap, get to go fishing with the Governor.
The Governor then went to Gore Mountain and met with seven local government officials as well as Senator Betty Little and Assemblyman Dan Stec. At Gore, the Governor held a press conference. » Continue Reading.
This week’s Adirondack Park Agency public hearings in Minerva and Newcomb about the classification of new Forest Preserve land along the Upper Hudson River, Essex Chain of Lakes, Cedar and Indian Rivers were well attended and informative. At Minerva Central School, there was no applause, no heckling. Folks listened to differing viewpoints respectfully, and several speakers noted a fair amount of common interests.
While most speakers favored a Wild Forest classification which would allow motorized access through an area long closed to public use, one former Finch, Pruyn manager noted the damage done to the roads by all-terrain vehicles. There was only one speaker in Minerva who favored unrestricted, unregulated, all-out motorized use from the Goodnow Flow to the Cedar River. Most appreciate the havoc this would cause to a region they know, or wish to get to know.
» Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Council has hired William “Willie” Janeway as its new executive director, starting in May. He is now the head of the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Region 3, which encompasses the lower Hudson Valley and the southern Catskill Park.
Janeway will succeed Brian Houseal, who resigned in October. Diane Fish has been serving as the acting executive director since Houseal left. She will return to her post as deputy director.
Janeway graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and environmental studies. Before hired by DEC, he worked for the Adirondack Mountain Club, the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission, the Hudson River Greenway, and the Nature Conservancy. He co-founded the Friends of New York’s Environment, a coalition of more than two hundred environmental, farming, and other community organizations.
Two program series set to begin this month in Newcomb and Keene offer events for sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts. The Adirondack Mountain Club’s 2013 Winter Lecture Series will take place at the High Peaks Information Center, while the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC), formerly the Newcomb VIC, will offer a variety of programs highlighting the role that sportsmen in the Adirondacks play in conservation and game management.
The AIC’s programs will begin on January 26, with a focus on white-tailed deer. Future AIC program topics will include trapping, and preparing, cooking and enjoying fresh game. This month’s program will be led by Jeremy Hurst, a certified wildlife biologist with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Hurst specializes in managing New York state’s big-game populations.
» Continue Reading.