Posts Tagged ‘Fulton County’

Thursday, May 16, 2013

DEC Planning Expanded Access to Sacandaga Easements

nys dec logoThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is preparing a recreation management plan (RMP) for the 3,200-acre Sacandaga West Conservation Easement lands in Fulton County.

Public involvement is sought in the development of the recreation management plan. DEC is seeking information and ideas that will lead to clearly stated goals and objectives for the care and stewardship of these lands. Everyone with an interest in the area is encouraged to participate in the planning process by providing information and suggestions for its management.
» Continue Reading.



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Moose River Plains Multi-use Community Connector Opened

Seventh Lake Mountain Multiple use Trail (Moose River Plains Connector)The 12.8-mile Seventh Lake Mountain Multiple Use Trail (the Moose River Plains Connector) between the communities of Inlet and Raquette Lake through the Moose River Plains Wild Forest in Hamilton County is now open for public use.

The trail will provide a four season trail connection (including snowmobiles and mountain bikes) between the communities of Raquette Lake in the Town of Long Lake to the towns of Indian Lake and Inlet. The new trail connects with the existing Moose River Plains Wild Forest trail system which connects to Newcomb in Essex County and Old Forge in Herkimer County. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Today I Will Spot My First Adirondack Moose

Moose Photo by Adam Pickett, NYSDECThe evidence is compelling. I squat to examine one of the bowl-shaped depressions in the snow. There are two of them here, interconnected by a series of deep posthole tracks. Black hairs are glued to the surface of the concavity, which is faintly icy and a little discolored from having thawed and refrozen. A warm body lied here overnight. This was a bedding area.

The other depression is very similar. Between them is a dense network of prints, tracks crisscrossing and circling one another in an unintelligible pattern, as if there were multiple individuals here sleeping through the cold winter night just a few yards from each other, shuffling around in an awkward dance before settling into the snow. I also find yellow pee holes and piles of brown nuggets, ovoid and faintly woody, bearing a trace of frost. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Navigation Rights Arguments Heard in Fulton Court

Was Adirondack Explorer Editor Phil Brown trespassing when he paddled through private land abutting the state-owned Whitney Wilderness in 2009?

Or did he have a right to be there because the waters he canoed are navigable and provide a useful link between parcels of public land?

The question rests with State Supreme Court Justice Richard T. Aulisi, who heard arguments on the case Friday in Johnstown.
» Continue Reading.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Paddling-Rights Arguments This Friday

State Supreme Court Justice Richard T. Aulisi is scheduled to hear arguments in a navigation-rights lawsuit at 9:30 a.m. Friday in the Fulton County Courthouse.

The suit was filed after I paddled through private property owned by the Friends of Thayer Lake and the Brandreth Park Association in 2009. I wrote about the trip for the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine. » Continue Reading.



Monday, August 13, 2012

Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors

Gordon and Mildred Evans Memorial Award WinnerIf you happen into the Adirondack Park, you might find yourself in Old Forge, but probably not. Of a variety of places off the beaten track, Old Forge is probably one of the farthest off. But come here you will, if you have any real interest in art, because this is home to the annual Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors, one of the 10 top such exhibitions in the country.

The 2012 exhibition starts officially today, with an opening last night that packed the exhibit halls of the state-of-the-art, leeds-certified venue, View, which opened just over a year ago in Old Forge, NY. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Goodsell Museum’s Floating Letters Exhibit

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™

Through the end of October, the Goodsell Museum in Old Forge will continue its tribute to the region’s unusual means of receiving mail. The exhibit entitled, “Floating Letters, A Tribute to the Mailboats and Their Crews” will end October 31, 2011.

Director Gail Murray says, “We talked over different ideas and first thought of including all commerce but quickly realized the topic was too large. We focused on the mailboats to discover it is the 110 -year anniversary”

According to Murray there were mailboats on Twitchell Lake, Silver Lake and Rondaxe and boats still delivering mail on Big Moose Lake and Fulton Chain. Murray wanted the exhibit to tie in the tradition of the residents receiving mail by water with summer fun as children and grandchildren still anxiously wait for the mail to arrive by boat.

“The Fulton Chain mailboat is currently run by Old Forge Lake Cruises and holds about 20 people,” say Murray. “I believe it is one of the only mailboats that is allowed passengers. With delivering the mail the tour is able to get up close to the historic camps and homes from Old Forge to Fourth Lake. Our next exhibit will focus on early medicine in the area and will open right after Thanksgiving, ”

The mailboat exhibit celebrated the 110 -year anniversary of the Old Forge mail boat delivery system. Originally the only means to receive mail, the boat service began in 1901 due to the influence of President Benjamin Harrison and Dr. William Seward Webb. Harrison had purchased 10 acres of land from Webb and built Berkeley Lodge on Second Lake.

Using a boat to provide mail service is not unusual for the US Postal Service. In rural communities they continue to use anything from snowmobiles to mule train.

At the Goodsell Museum children are encouraged to mix and mingle throughout the various exhibits. On the ground floor there are glass cases of taxidermy animals but a pack basket set to the side is marked with a yellow circle, handprint and “OK.” Children know anything marked with that symbol is fair game. My children examine all the animal pelts gingerly and even try on a few fox collars. Upstairs they examine some medical equipment in a different “please touch box.”

The Goodsell Museum is free to the public and open all year. Visit the Floating Letters exhibit until October 31st or enjoy the other items that provide an historical blueprint of the Town of Webb. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.



Monday, September 5, 2011

Southern Adirondack Rockclimbers Festival

The Fourth Annual Southern Adirondack Rockclimbers Festival begins this Friday, September 9th, at 3pm. This year, participants will rendezvous at the property of photographer Gary Dean, located just north of the intersection of routes 10 and 10A, in the town of Caroga Lake.

This year’s climbing venues include Good Luck, Lost T, and Lost Hunter’s cliffs, as well as several newly-discovered crags. Additionally, location manager Justin Sanford will run a bouldering competition featuring the well-known boulders at Nine-Cornered Lake. SRCFC will again provide a dinner for participants Saturday night. Door prizes and giveaways from Mad Rock, Clif, National Geographic, and many more will be handed out during the event.

Begun in 2008, the Festival provides climbers from all over the northeast an opportunity to explore lesser-known crags outside of the Adirondack’s well-known cliffs, and a chance for local climbers to meet, compare notes, and share the latest developments with each other. Past events have been held at Shanty Cliff, Crane Mountain, and the southeast shore of Lake George.

The Rockclimbers Festival is free to all. Free camping sites are available. Overflow camping is available close to many of the climbing areas. No training or guiding is supplied during this event; participants should understand the skills required in climbing, the risks involved, and the methods for dealing with them. Visit the festival website for more information.

Photos: Above, Lost T cliff; Below, A boulderer at Nine Cornered Lake (photos by Justin Sanford).



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: McCauley Mountain Chairlift

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

There are only 60 chairs on the double chairlift at McCauley Mountain in Old Forge, down about 20 from its winter route. All the unused chairs are lined up, freshly painted and repaired waiting for the start of the winter season.

It is a smooth and steady 2,200’ ride to the top. It does seem odd to be riding a chairlift in summer. The children are lined up waiting their turn, pretending they are going to hit the moguls on the way down. We even encounter the prerequisite lost lift item request from a couple already lift bound. We retrieve the shoe and are thankful it’s just a kicked off flip-flop and not a ski buried in the snow.

It is a leisurely ride to the top so we are able to glance around at the view of the Fulton Chain of Lakes, Old Forge and Grey Lake. Our exit is uneventful without the cumbersome addition of ski gear. Cinderella is patiently waiting at top for her lost shoe. Picnic tables and Adirondack chairs are scattered about. The children run about finding playmates to explore the backside of the summit.

Though some people decide to hike the short trek down the mountain, we decide to take the lift back down this time seeing the beauty of the lakes and mountains around us. The leaves have not started to turn but there are occasional indicators that fall will be here soon.

The Fulton Chain of Lakes is a portion of a river system that extends to Lake Ontario and was first dammed in the late 1700s. According to the Fulton Chain of Lakes Association the present dam at Old Forge holds back 6.8 billion gallons of water. Lower Fulton Chain starts at Old Forge Pond and travels to First Lake, Second, Third, Fourth Lakes to the Towns of Eagle Bay and Inlet and ending sequentially with Eighth Lake.

If you still have time or energy after riding the lift, there are still 20 km of XC ski trails that can be accessed right at the base of the main lodge. There is also a large playground and plenty of benches. McCauley Mountain is located in Old Forge. The Scenic Chairlift is open daily (except Tuesdays) through Labor Day from 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. with shortened hours during autumn. Adults are $6, juniors (6-16) and seniors (+65) $5 and children 5 – under are free.

Photo and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: Adirondack Animal Land

By Diane Chase
Camels, lemars and bears, oh my! Nestled in the foothills of the Adirondacks, Adirondack Animal Land is located near Sacandaga Lake in Fulton County about 10 miles north of Amsterdam on Route 30. Though the physical entrance is listed as Gloversville, the 80-acre zoo stretches across the Blue Line. Over 500 animals wander around, some freely, some not. The mix is from the common mallard to the more exotic lemur with Highlander cattle, Dromedary camel and Adax antelope rounding a list of animals that we are curious to see.

It is hard to know where to begin when we enter Adirondack Animal Land but I trust my children are going to make sure we see “everything there is to see.” Things to know: The 45-acre safari ride is included in your admission but hold onto your admission tickets because you can only go the one time for free. Only cash is accepted so bring your ATM card (there is a machine onsite).

Signs everywhere indicate that all the admission proceeds benefit the care and feeding of the animals, veterinary care, educational programs, special breeding programs and upkeep of this privately owned zoo.

While on the safari ride we are followed uncomfortably close by a camel. The large animal is chewing and looking ready to projectile spit. I move from the back sacrificing the children to any flying saliva.

There are many other animals mixing and mingling but the charmers of the group are the baby potbelly pigs. We learn that all zebras have different markings and see ostrich, buffalo and about 90 other animals I can’t begin to remember.

There are plenty of opportunities to feed the animals but do not bring your own food. There are rules and regulations regarding public feeding of animals to ensure that the zoo animals maintain an appropriate diet and nutritional needs.

There are other opportunities like gemstone mining or pony rides but we pass by to enter the 1800s western-style town. My children wander through each building while my husband and I rest at one of the picnic tables. Bringing a lunch is encouraged as long as you remember not to feed the animals.

The fee is not unreasonable for an all day activity ($13.75/adults and $10.75 for children) and there are online coupons to shave a few extra bucks off the entrance. We are always of the mentality that if we have to pay for an activity; we are going to make the most of it. So when the doors open at 10:00 a.m. we are there to greet the staff and if possible they are sweeping us out the door at closing.

Next week: wilderness swimming with children.
Photo and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 



Monday, March 14, 2011

Notorious Outlaws Meet Boonville’s Jesse Knight

Among the North Country men who made their mark in the Old West was a native of Boonville, in the foothills of the southwestern Adirondacks. He became a success in business, politics, farming, and law, and played an important role in the development of a wild territory into our 44th state. But it was ties to some notorious characters that brought him a measure of fame.

Jesse Knight was born in Boonville on July 5, 1850, the son of Jesse and Henrietta Knight. His grandfather, Isaac, had settled in Oneida County in the early 1800s and raised a family, among them Jesse’s father. But young Jesse never knew his dad, who left that same year for California, and died of yellow fever on the Isthmus of Panama. (The isthmus was a newly created US Mail route to reach California and Oregon, and a popular path for pioneers headed West.)

Jesse attended schools in Lewis, Oneida, and Fulton counties, and at 17 went to live with an uncle in Minnesota for two years. He moved to Omaha, and then settled in the Wyoming Territory. Within a decade, Knight progressed from store clerk and postmaster to court clerk and attorney. At Evanston, near Wyoming’s southwest border, he ran a successful law practice and served as Territorial Auditor.

He also acted as a land sales agent for Union Pacific. Among the properties he sold was 1,906 acres on the Bear River … to one Jesse Knight.

In 1888 he was elected prosecuting attorney of Uinta County, and in 1890, when Wyoming attained statehood, he was voted a member of the state constitutional convention. He was also elected as judge of the Third Judicial District.

By this time, Knight was doing quite well financially and had added to his landholdings. On nearly 1400 acres along the Bear River and more than 800 acres of hills, the judge’s ranch had developed into an impressive enterprise. Within the fenced property, he grew high-quality hay (250 tons) and rye (50 tons), and raised herds of superior-grade cattle and horses.

Irrigation was a key element: two main ditches (one was 3 miles long, 20 feet wide, and 4 feet deep) supplied ample water. The Union Pacific rail line bisected the property, allowing Jesse’s products easy access to markets elsewhere.

Besides his showcase farming operation, Knight’s public career was also flourishing. In 1896, he suffered what appeared to be a setback, failing to win the Republican re-nomination for district judge. Unfazed, he ran as an Independent and won handily. A year later, he was appointed as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of Wyoming to fill an unexpired term. In 1898, Knight was elected to a full 8-year term.

His business ventures were similarly successful. Besides the ranch, he owned part of a copper mine. He was also one of only two Americans working with several of Europe’s wealthiest men in developing oil wells in Wyoming. The consortium was valued at $10 million (equal to over a quarter billion in 2011). Jesse had a seat on the board of directors.

In 1902, his prominence was noted in the naming of the Knight Post Office, which served a community near Evanston for 19 years.

On April 9, 1905, though still a young man of only 55, Supreme Court Justice Jesse Knight died of pneumonia. He had accomplished a great deal for any man, let alone a poor, fatherless boy from the wilds of New York. His survivors included a wife and five children.

Among Knight’s legacy are connections to some of the West’s notorious characters. In his capacities as rancher, lawyer, prosecutor, and judge, he dealt with many violent, dangerous men over the years. According to biographers of “Big Nose” George Parrott, it was Judge Jesse Knight who sentenced Parrott to hang for the attempted robbery of a Union Pacific pay car and the subsequent killing of two lawmen who were pursuing him.

It was pretty much an average crime story until Parrott tried to escape from jail before Knight’s sentence could be carried out. The attempt prompted an angry mob to forcibly remove Big Nose from his cell and string him up from a telegraph pole. (But it wasn’t easy.)

John Osborne, one of the doctors who had possession of Parrott’s body, examined the brain for abnormalities. Further dissection of the body led to lasting fame for Parrott’s remains. The skull cap that had been removed was saved, and over the years it served as an ash tray, a pen holder, and a doorstop. A death mask of his face was also made. That aside, now it gets gruesome.

The body was flayed, and the skin was sent to a tannery, where it was made into a medical bag, a coin purse, and a pair of shoes, all of which were used by Osborne. The shoes were two-toned—the dark half came from the shoes Parrot wore during the hanging, and the lighter part was made from his own skin.

Doctor Osborne wore the shoes for years—even to the inaugural ball when he was elected governor of Wyoming! The rest of Parrott’s remains were placed in a whiskey barrel filled with a salt solution, and eventually buried. The barrel was uncovered in 1950, and it was found that the skull cap neatly fit the remains, proving it was Parrott’s body. Other tests later confirmed the results. The death mask and “skin shoes” are now on display in a museum in Rawlins, Wyoming.

In 1903, Supreme Court Justice Knight was involved in the famous case of Tom Horn, a former lawman and detective turned outlaw and hired gun. In a controversial trial, Horn was convicted and sentenced to hang for the killing of a 14-year-old boy. Justice Knight was among those who reviewed the appeal, which was denied. Horn was hanged in November, 1903.

The most famous character linked to Knight was Roy Parker, who was actually Robert LeRoy Parker, better known as Butch Cassidy. They met when Cassidy was arrested for horse theft, a case tried in “Knight court.” After delays, the trial was finally held in 1894. Cassidy was very popular, and many of his friends were in town with the intent of intervening on his behalf.

A verdict was reached, but Knight ordered it sealed, to be opened on the following Monday, by which time it was hoped many of the visitors would have left town. But Cassidy’s friends were loyal, and high anxiety reigned in the packed courtroom when the verdict was read. To counter the danger, the sheriff, several town officials, many private citizens, and the attorneys all came to court armed. Famously, Judge Jesse Knight carried a pistol, hidden beneath his robes.

The jury pronounced Cassidy guilty, recommending him to the mercy of the court. Knight sentenced him to two years in the Wyoming State Penitentiary at Laramie. A few months before his scheduled release, Cassidy’s sentence was commuted. The term imposed by Judge Knight was the only prison time Butch Cassidy ever served during his lengthy, notorious career.

Photo Top: Jesse Knight.

Photo Middle Right: Big Nose George Parrott.

Photo Middle Left: Shoes of George Parrott … literally.

Photo Bottom: Robert LeRoy Parker, aka Butch Cassidy.

Lawrence Gooley has authored nine books and many articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004. He took over in 2010 and began expanding the company’s publishing services. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.



Thursday, November 11, 2010

Digital Archive Adds Important Local Book

Bob Sullivan, of the Schenectady Digital History Archive, has announced that the first two (historical) volumes of Nelson Greene’s four-volume history of Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Schenectady and Schoharie Counties, History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925 is now online.

Included are more than 300 photos and maps, and a biographical section – more than 2000 pages so far. Greene’s History joins the Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, a four-volume set with more than 1300 family entries from Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington Counties.



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Adirondack Family Activities: Apple Cider Demonstrations

Fresh apples are in season. The markets are brimming with those just picked fruits ready to be turned into pies, sauces or eaten fresh. For those not familiar with apple picking there are numerous opportunities around New York State and the Adirondacks to go into the orchards and find your own perfect batch of apples. Not only is apple picking a fun activity, but also it’s an easy way to get outside as a family, show children where food comes from and spend time together.

I remember the first time I went apple picking with my son. I was surrounded by such a talented group of parents that they could have woven their own clothes and built the car they arrived in. During this excursion, one of the other chaperones asked my son if we would make applesauce with the apples he picked. He solemnly informed her that his mother did not know how to make applesauce; at his house, applesauce came in a jar. » Continue Reading.



Monday, August 23, 2010

Is Adirondack Bouldering Unethical? Illegal?

Glacial erratics are part of the Adirondack landscape. On just about any trail, you can find one of these boulders left behind by retreating glaciers eons ago.

In places, you can find collections of giant erratics. One such place is near Nine Corner Lake in the southern Adirondacks—a major attraction for those who practice the art of bouldering. The guidebook Adirondack Rock describes Nine Corners as the largest boulder field in the Adirondack Park, with more than a hundred “problems” (mini-routes) on about fifty boulders.

Regular Adirondack Almanack contributor Alan Wechsler writes about Nine Corners bouldering in the current issue of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine. You can read the story online by clicking here.

Last week, I posted the link to the story on Adirondack Forum’s rock-climbing section and was surprised that it touched off a debate over the ethics of bouldering.

As hikers know, boulders are usually covered—at least partially—with lichen, moss, ferns, and other vegetation. As Alan’s story notes, climbers often scrape off vegetation when creating routes.

A few people on Adirondack Forum suggested that removing vegetation from boulders is wrong.

One poster wrote: “There are few things more beautiful in the forest than a moss cloaked, polypody fern capped erratic—I know I’d be exceptionally ticked if some climber came along and ‘cleaned’ the moss and other vegetation off of a boulder, which undoubtedly took centuries to accumulate. ‘Cleaning moss’ strikes me as a selfish act of vandalism.”

Another contended that cleaning boulders violates regulations against removing or destroying plants growing on state land.

The critics raise valid points. To play devil’s advocate, however, one could argue that removing vegetation from portions of a relatively small number of boulders in the Adirondack Park does little or no harm to the ecological system. I can’t imagine too many people are bothered by it, as most visitors to boulder fields are boulderers. At the same time, bouldering gives great pleasure to those who do it. Applying the principles of Utilitarianism , you can make a case that removing vegetation to facilitate bouldering is, on balance, a good thing. It adds to the sum of human happiness.

Anything we do in the Forest Preserve creates some impact on the environment. Hikers create erosion, trample plants, disturb wildlife, and so on. But these impacts are small, and no one suggests we should ban hiking. The question is how much disturbance of the natural world is acceptable.

What do you think? Do boulderers go too far?

Photo by Alan Wechsler: A climber at Nine Corners.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.



Monday, June 21, 2010

Civilian Conservation Corps Reunions This Week

Reunions of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) alumni, family, and friends, will be held at several locations this week, including in Franklin, Warren, Fulton, and Schenectady counties.

Marty Podskoch, CCC researcher, will give a short presentation and will invite participants to share memories of the camps at each of the events in anticipation of a forthcoming book on the CCC. You can check out his webpage here.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began on March 31, 1933 under President Roosevelt’s “New Deal” to relieve the poverty and unemployment of the Depression. Camps were set up in many New York towns, state parks, & forests. Workers built trails, roads, campsites, dams, fire tower observer’s cabins & telephone lines; fought fires; stocked fish; and planted millions of trees. The CCC disbanded in 1942 due to the need for men in WW II.

Podskoch is a retired teacher and the author of five books: Fire Towers of the Catskills: Their History and Lore, two Adirondack fire tower books: Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore (volumes for the Southern and Northern Districts) and two other books, Adirondack Stories: Historical Sketches and Adirondack Stories II: Historical Sketches from his weekly illustrated newspaper column.

Podskoch is interested in meeting individuals who may have CCC stories to contribute to his next book. Marty Podskoch will have all of his books available after the presentation for sale and signing. For those unable to attend this reunion, Marty Podskoch has planned five other reunions:

June 22 6:30 pm Oneida Historical Society, 1608 Genesee St., Utica (315) 735-3642
June 23 6:30 pm Franklin Co. Hist. Society, 51 Milwaukee St. Malone (518) 483-2750
June 25 at the Schenectady County Historical Society, Schenectady, NY
June 26 1 pm Fulton Co. Hist. Society, 237 Kingsboro Ave., Gloversville (518) 725-8314
June 27 2 pm Bolton Landing Hist. Society, Bolton Free Library (518) 644-2233

If any one has information or pictures to share of relatives or friends who worked at one of the CCC camps, please contact Marty Podskoch at: 36 Waterhole Rd., Colchester, CT 06415 or 860-267-2442, or podskoch@comcast.net



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Let’s Eat: Prohibition and the Burris Whiskey Jug

In 1918, Congress passed the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution, banning “the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States …for beverage purposes.”

The new law was widely unpopular. One Adirondack camp owner asserted, “We looked upon Prohibition as a great disaster. There was no sense of guilt in breaking this law. Everyone we knew shared our sentiments.”

During the “dry decade,” some Adirondackers found their isolated homes and camps made perfect spots for defying the ban on alcohol. Rumrunners smuggled booze from Canada through the Adirondack Park, finding it easier to hide from or outrun Federal agents in the woods. Adirondack neighbors looked out for one another, storing contraband and secretly gathering to enjoy a variety of smuggled or home made brews.

Clyde Adelbert Burris (1883-1957) lived on Pleasant Lake. Like many Adirondackers, he engaged in a variety of work to make ends meet. He worked as a painter and carpenter throughout the year. In the winter he cut and stored ice to sell to campers in the summer and made rowboats which he rented for fifty cents a day, on the honor system. During Prohibition, Clyde Burris made alcohol.

He owned and operated two stills near Pleasant Lake in Fulton County. One was located off the present-day East Shore Road “behind a big rock.” He sold whiskey by the gallon or in teacups to neighbors at “tea parties.” His granddaughter, Joyce Ploss, recalled discovering Burris’ hidden liquor bottles: “At the top of the stairs [there] was a panel which covered a secret room under the eaves. The whiskey was stored in this secret room, and we found many gallon jugs there, waiting patiently to be put to use.”

Ploss also discovered some of her grandfather’s handwritten recipes for making beer (in 6 and 20 gallon batches), and Tokay, alder berry, dandelion, and black sherry wines. His recipe for “Elder Blossom Wine”:

1 quart of blossoms with stems picked off and packed down

Pore 1 gallon of boiling water over them, let stand 1 hour then strain

Add 3 pounds sugar and let it boil a few minutes

Skim well and let stand until luke warm or about 70 [degrees]

Then add 1 grated lemmon and ½ yeast cake

Let stand in warm place for 24 hours and strain again

Then bottle but do not cork tight until it is through fermenting or the bottles will break

When it does not work any more it can be corked tight

On March 23, 1933. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Cullen-Harrison Act, which permitted the sale of certain types of alcoholic drinks. In December that year, Congress passed the 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition altogether.

Come see Clyde Burris’ whiskey jug (2004.21), and more, in “Let’s Eat! Adirondack Food Traditions” at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. Open for the season on May 28, 2010.



Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Adirondack Council Releases 2009 State of the Park Report

The Adirondack Council has released its annual State of the Park Report, what it calls “a comprehensive review of how the actions and decisions of local, state and federal officials have helped or harmed the ecology and beauty of the Adirondack Park over the past year.” Attorney General Andrew Cuomo received high praise; Governor David Paterson received a split rating. Several Adirondack towns also are being praised for efforts to protect the environment. “There was a time when it seemed like environmental organizations only argued with local government officials in the Adirondacks—those days are over,” Adirondack Council Executive Director Brian L. Houseal said in a press release accompanying the report. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, October 3, 2009

September DEC Region 5 Forest Ranger Report (Sept 2009)

For the interest of Almanack readers, we present the September DEC Region 5 Forest Ranger Report in its entirety:

Clinton County
Town of Black Brook, Taylor Pond Wild Forest
On Saturday, September 19, at approximately 2:05 PM, DEC Dispatch received a call from State Police in Plattsburgh, reporting a group of 3 young girls, ages 9, & 10, missing from the DEC Taylor Pond Campground. The girls were last seen at 11:30 AM heading to an outhouse. The girls’ parents searched for 2 hours before reporting them missing. Five DEC Forest Rangers responded, along with the State Police Aviation Unit helicopter. A forest ranger aboard the helicopter spotted the missing group approximately 3 miles from the campground. Another forest ranger searching in the area made contact with the children and safely escorted them out of the woods by 5:15 PM. » Continue Reading.



Monday, March 2, 2009

A Possible Adirondack Congressional District


View Larger Map
With the approach of the 2010 federal census and the ensuing remapping of representative districts for the state legislature and US Congress, New York’s legislative and executive leaders have a rare opportunity to repair the fractured battlefields of our district maps: the result of decades of partisan turf wars.

If lawmakers are looking for a place to start this process, they might consider the case of the Adirondack Park and the north country.

At present the Adirondack Park’s Blue Line passes through four congressional districts:
The 23rd represented by Republican John McHugh; the open-seated 20th; The 24th represented by Democrat Michael Arcuri; and the 21st (holding just a sliver of parkland in northern Fulton County) represented by Democrat Paul Tonko. Combined, these districts stretch over half the state and contain more than two-and-a-half million residents. Easy enough to see how the interests of the park might become diluted.

The map above advances an alternative: a single congressional district encompassing the entire Adirondack Park plus the balance of St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton and Warren Counties, and some parts of Saratoga and Washington Counties beyond the Blue Line. Using numbers from the 2000 census this boundary contains close to the 654,361 New York residents that were required to constitute a district nine years ago. With New York slated to lose one representative in the upcoming reapportionment, and with expected population increases, that 654,361 average will undoubtedly increase for the 2010 redistricting process. As it does, the district can absorb more constituents in Saratoga and Washington Counties (making all efforts to avoid Saratoga Springs, as it would be a pity to deprive Albany’s congressional district of the race track).

There are numerous arguments in favor of a congressional district with the unified park at it’s core. Perhaps the strongest is the intent of federal lawmakers as expressed in the 1965 Federal Voting Rights Act. The law sets out explicit directives that state legislatures create compact and contiguous congressional districts and that they respect natural and artificial boundaries.

This map is merely a starting point. We welcome your comments and any alternative congressional district map you may wish to submit.



Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Adirondack Region School Board Vote Results

All school budgets in Clinton, Essex, Lewis and Jefferson counties passed! Here’s a report from NCPR’s Brian Mann

Essex, Fulton, Saratoga, Washington and Warren Counties from Capital News 9
Southern Adirondack Details from ComPost Star
Clinton County fromThe Plattsburgh Press Republican