Posts Tagged ‘Trails – Access – Navigation Rights’

Monday, July 21, 2014

Paddling Case Advances To Appellate Court

Map by Nancy BernsteinA state appeals court is expected to hear arguments this fall in a trespassing lawsuit filed against Adirondack Explorer Editor Phil Brown after he paddled through private land on a remote waterway that connects two tracts of state land in the William C. Whitney Wilderness.

The landowners—the Brandreth Park Association and Friends of Thayer Lake—sued Brown in the fall of 2010, more than a year after he wrote about the paddling trip for the Adirondack Explorer.

Last year, State Supreme Court Justice Richard T. Aulisi dismissed the suit, but the landowners have appealed to the court’s Appellate Division in Albany. » Continue Reading.



Monday, July 14, 2014

Bill Ingersoll:
Routing A National Trail Through The Adirondacks

ncnstrouteThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is currently accepting comments on a proposed route for the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCNST) through the Adirondacks, from Crown Point to Forestport. The plan can be downloaded from DEC’s website here.

The NCNST is a proposed long-distance hiking trail comparable to the Appalachian Trail, extending from the Adirondacks to North Dakota. Rather than following a continuous mountain path like its more famous cousin, the NCNST follows a variety of trail types, from the wild shores of Lake Superior to the canal towpaths of Ohio, for an anticipated total of 4600 miles. The trail was authorized by Congress in 1980, and its development is supervised by the National Park Service, although the trail itself remains owned by the underlying landowners—state parks, national forests, and more than a few willing private owners as well. Much of the trail has already been completed, but many more miles still remain on the drawing board. You can find an overview of the trail here, and learn about its stewardship here. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

State To Consider Removing Tracks East Of Tupper Lake

Adirondack Tourist Train (Susan Bibeau)After several years of public debate, the state has decided to consider tearing up the tracks and establishing a bike trail in at least part of a 90-mile rail corridor that cuts through the heart of the Adirondack wilderness.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation announced today that they would reopen the management plan for the corridor and look at establishing a recreational trail in the 34 miles between the villages of Tupper Lake and Lake Placid. In addition, the state will examine the possibility of expanding rail service on the rest of the line between Tupper Lake and Old Forge.

“Our goal is to protect our natural resources, while also exploring ways to increase opportunities for people to enjoy outdoor recreation activities in the Adirondacks,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a news release. “We recognize that the future of the Remsen-to-Lake Placid Travel Corridor is important to local residents, communities, and the regional economy.”

» Continue Reading.



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Barbara McMartin’s Guidebook Series Marks 40 Years

Discover SeriesIn 2014, the Discover the Adirondacks series of guidebooks has reached an important milestone: its fortieth birthday. The series began in 1974 under a different name, with a single book that covered just one part of the Adirondacks.  It was intended by its author to illustrate that there was more to the Adirondack Park than just the High Peaks, where the majority of the non-motorized trail building had occurred. When philosophical differences led to a split with her original publisher, she found a new one and proceeded to accomplish the unprecedented: a detailed, eleven-volume guidebook series that covered every region in the six-million-acre park. To mark the occasion, I have taken the liberty of writing this short history of how the Discover series came to be—with hints of where it might be going.

In 1974, the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) published a compact volume called Walks and Waterways: An Introduction to Adventure by Barbara McMartin Patterson. It was a guidebook that suggested ninety-eight walks and paddle trips in the space of about 170 pages, covering an area that ranged from Stratford to Speculator in the southern Adirondacks. The book featured five small pullout trail maps that had been drawn by a cartography student at Briarcliff College, and it was adorned by dozens of pencil sketches drawn by the author. It was intended to be “an encyclopedic list of all the paths and water routes,” as well as “a guide for the amateur explorer, in order that he can better enjoy the forest paths, canoe trips, and automobile routes.” It was, in fact, the first guidebook that McMartin would publish, and the nucleus of what would grow to become the future series.

» Continue Reading.



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

DEC Seeks Comments On Draft North Country Trail Plan

North Country Scenic Trail RouteAs part of a federal effort to expand the national trail system across the northern U.S., the  New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released a revised draft Adirondack Park Trail Plan for the North Country National Scenic Trail (NST). The plan includes recommendations for the route of the National Scenic Trail through the Adirondack Park.

In March 1980, federal legislation authorized the establishment of the North Country National Scenic Trail (NST) as a component of the National Trails System. To date, Congress has authorized the establishment of eight National Scenic Trails – long distance, non-motorized trails that follow major geographic features or pass through scenic areas. National Scenic Trails are patterned after the renowned Appalachian National Scenic Trail, commonly known as the Appalachian Trail. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Celebrate The Northville-Placid Trail On National Trails Day

On the first Saturday of June the American Hiking Society celebrates National Trails Day. Now commemorating its 22nd year, National Trails Day continues to bring attention to the extensive network of outdoor trails across the Unites States as well as the wide array of activities those trails provide.

This year the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) has designated the historic Northville-Placid Trail (NPT) trail as its main volunteer project this Saturday, June 7. Paired with the Northville Merchants Association and Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber, ADK will have over 100 volunteers installing rock steps, retaining walls and rerouting the Northville section to a new archway at Northville’s Waterfront Park.

According to Northville Merchant Association’s President Michael Intrabartola this year’s National Trails Day will kick off a two-day festival celebrating 90 years on the NPT. The 133-mile trail that stretches between the towns of Northville and Lake Placid was started in 1922 and the first project taken on by the then fledgling Adirondack Mountain Club. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

David Thomas-Train:
Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine Work To Save Ranger Trail

Thomas-TrainThe Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine have been working since 1997 to restore the fire tower and trails on that mountain. The group is a coalition of Adirondack Architectural Heritage, the town of Chesterfield, Champlain Area Trails (CATS), the Mountaineer, local summer camps and businesses, several Adirondack Mountain Club chapters, and hundreds of individuals who know and love the mountain.

The fire tower was fully restored as an interpretive site in 2005. Educational displays showcase fire-tower and local history and the land uses within the viewshed of the mountain. Since 2002, the Friends have employed tower stewards for the summer hiking season.

We have redeveloped the Ranger Trail as an interpretive trail with eleven numbered stops keyed to a brochure on the human and natural history of “Poke-O.” We also worked with the Adirondack Nature Conservancy to guarantee access to a second trail, the Observers’ Trail, which was the original vehicle route to the fire observer’s cabin below the summit. » Continue Reading.



Monday, April 7, 2014

Jack Drury: A Proposal For Rail AND Trail

Rail.locator (2)(1)I’ve been an advocate of more recreational trails throughout the park for a long time. I also feel that we’ll be cheated if we don’t try our damnedest to try to have a rail and trail, side by side where possible and intersecting when not.

In a March 16 letter to the Utica Observer Dispatch respected trail advocate Tony Goodwin noted that a rail with trail, “… is not physically possible” and that:  “Periodically leaving the corridor is so far just talk. A year ago, Tupper Lake rail supporters formed a committee to look at a parallel trail from Tupper Lake to the campground at Rollins Pond. I know committee members made field inspections, but so far there’s no plan showing that a parallel trail could feasibly be built.”

I decided to take a deeper look. I talked with some folks from Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake who have explored the rail corridor in greater detail than I have. I took their information and combined it with my own experience and I made a map of a possible trail from Saranac Lake to Tupper Lake.  » Continue Reading.



Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dick Beamish Commentary On Rail-Trail Debate

Rail.locator (2)(1)Words of wisdom can be found in the latest issue of the Conservationist magazine, published bimonthly by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. In his introductory letter to readers, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens makes the following comments that have special application to the proposed Adirondack Rail Trail that would run 90 miles between Old Forge and Lake Placid. Following the Commissioner’s comments are observations of our own. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Community Based Trails And The Rail-Trail Debate

The Adirondack Rail Corridor in Ray Brook (Jack Drury Photo)Is it just us or is there something missing from the discussion of rails and trails? Why is the discussion of trails limited to one rail bed (of many within the park) rather than exploring the larger question of, “What are the trail needs park wide?”

Rather than looking at the rail – trail debate in isolation from the larger issue of creating and enhancing recreational opportunities within the Adirondack Park, we should focus on exploring the idea of an Adirondack Park Community-Based Trail System.

The rail – trail issue can and should only be addressed after we have acknowledged and prioritized our park-wide trail needs. What follows is a vision for such a trail system in the Adirondack Park and, although the process for such an effort needs to be determined and articulated, it is a vision that would benefit the entire Adirondack Park and its communities. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, December 12, 2013

Unanswered Questions About Essex Chain Proposal

FULL SIZE - APA Essex Chain Lakes Recommendation MapThe Adirondack Park Agency began deliberations Wednesday on the classification of 21,200 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands, with staff members explaining why the agency’s staff settled on a Primitive classification for the Essex Chain Lakes. However, some questions were left unanswered.

The staff had considered proposals to classify the Essex Chain as Wilderness, Canoe, and Wild Forest. As reported earlier on the Almanack, the staff rejected the Wilderness and Canoe designations largely because local towns own the floatplane rights to First Lake, which is part of the Essex Chain, as well as Pine Lake, which is located a mile and a half south of the chain.

“The presence of floatplanes landing and taking off would detract from the sense of wilderness,” Kathy Regan, a senior natural resource planner, told the APA board.

» 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.



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Exploring Essex Chain Lakes On ‘Day One Of Forever’

Paddler on Essex Chain LakesAs Sue Bibeau and I drove down the long dirt road west of Goodnow Flow, we wondered if many people, if anybody, besides us would be paddling the Essex Chain Lakes. Although it was the first day the chain would be open to the public in more than a century, the state had done little advance publicity.

It turns out we were late for the party. When we arrived at the newly created parking area, we were hard-pressed to find a spot. There were nineteen vehicles already there—one from the Florida, the rest from New York State. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Waterway Navigation:
The Moose River Lumber Company Cases

Moose River Logging Navigation CaseThe books of Henry Harter and Harold Hochschild discuss the building of the short-lived Raquette Lake Railway, its millionaire owners and probable origins.  These include Mrs. Huntington threatening not to visit Collis Huntington’s Pine Knot Camp if she had to continue using the Fulton Chain steamers, riding on buckboard and boat carries beyond Fourth Lake.

Maybe Mr. Huntington, not finding an empty seat, got the idea after sitting on a keg of nails on one steamer ride. No doubt tycoons as Durant, Morgan, Vanderbilt and Whitney envied Dr. Webb’s ability to ride a private train to his Nehasane Preserve from New York. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, August 4, 2013

New State Lands: A Trip To OK Slip Falls

heilmanphotoatokslip-600x800Gazing on OK Slip Falls as the waters plunge 250 feet into the gorge at our feet, it’s easy to give in to a rush of impressions. This cataract, the tallest in the Adirondack Park, has true grandeur and raw power. But it also displays surprising subtlety. The falling torrent divides into bands of white foam and darker water, moving in undulating patterns before crashing onto the boulders below.

For the visitors in our group, there is a sense of excitement. We’re a vanguard for a public that has long been unable to view this wonder. Until this year it has been hidden on private property. Located amid woodlands near the Hudson River Gorge, OK Slip Falls is now part of the publicly owned Forest Preserve and will soon be accessible by a new hiking trail. It’s one of the premier destinations in the former Finch, Pruyn & Company lands recently purchased by New York State from the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, June 15, 2013

Commentary: ARTA Rail Trail, Economic No-Brainer

Elroy Sparta TrailHere’s a classic Adirondack contradiction of the kind that drives me crazy.

For a thousand years we have had a perceived face-off in the Adirondacks (sometimes perception is reality, sometimes not, right?), one which plays out every day on the pages of the Almanack – and everywhere else there is an outlet for opinion.  In the green corner we have the the preservationists and environmentalists who want more wilderness, more protection for the ecology of the park and less development.  In the blue corner we have many local residents, businesses and government leaders who want to see healthier communities.  They see the restrictive policies of DEC, the APA and the preservationist agenda as a big problem and they see the balance between preservation and the welfare of the residents of the park as out of whack.  They love the wilderness too but they would like fewer restrictions on development, a green light for the ACR and a wider variety of recreational uses for the Forest Preserve.  Okay.  Whichever of the myriad of associated positions and disputes may be rhetoric and whichever may be real, everyone knows this story. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Paddling: The Myth of Motor-free Adirondack Waters

Shannon PhotoThe Adirondack Park is held up as the great wilderness area in the eastern United States. It’s the place where people come for a wilderness experience and to enjoy the great outdoors. One great myth about the wild Adirondack Park is that there is an abundance of motor-free lakes and ponds. In fact, the Park faces a scarcity of quiet waters where one can paddle a canoe or kayak without interruption from motorboats, jet skis, floatplanes, and other types of motorized watercraft.

Of the 200 largest lakes and ponds in the Adirondack Park, from Lake Champlain, with 262,864 acres, to Round Pond in Indian Lake, covering 134.9 acres, the overwhelming majority of big lakes and ponds provide abundant opportunities for motorized watercraft—but scant opportunity for quiet, motor-free waters. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bicyclist: Don’t Share The Road

bike-page1I have just re-entered the cycling fold after a hiatus of 25 years. Growing up in Ottawa, I used to ride everywhere.  Back in the day, Ottawa was already pretty bike-friendly and a bicycle was my only real transportation. Weather permitting, I would ride dozens of miles a day  – to school, work, to the homes of friends – I never thought about distance. I had no car, no license, and lived in a city with affordable and convenient public transportation.

I resisted the temptation to succumb to Canadian progressivism though, and I couldn’t wait to begin burning fossil fuels with abandon. Just before my 17th birthday I did just that, first on a ’79 Yamaha XS400, a motorcycle bought with my summer job money, and eventually with a hand-me-down Buick Skyhawk. I don’t remember what happened to my old bicycle. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Rails AND Trails:
10 Trails We Should Build Before Tearing-Up Rails

Map_all_trailsA few years ago, I was talking with Adirondack Explorer publisher Dick Beamish when he asked me, “What do you think about the railroad? Should we have a train or a trail?” I thought for a second and responded, “I think we deserve both.” His response was simple. “We can’t have both. I think we should remove the rails and build a recreation trail.”

I didn’t think much about it for a year or so until I started reading about Adirondack Recreation Trail Advocates’ (ARTA) efforts to create “a contiguous recreation trail from Lake Placid to Old Forge.” I recalled my original perspective on the issue, and it had not changed. We deserve both a railroad and a recreational trail. This triggered a blog post on the topic in September of 2011 in which I argued that there are many more foolish wastes of money than supporting a railroad line and that the residents of and visitors to the Adirondack Park are deserving of both. Although ARTA argues that maintaining the rail line is a boondoggle I am reminded of the proverb, “One man’s waste is another man’s treasure.” » Continue Reading.



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