Finding ways to minimize or avoid that threat while keeping roads safe is the goal of the third annual Adirondack Winter Road Maintenance Conference, which will explore alternatives to current road salting and clearing policies at Paul Smith’s College on September 16, from 9 am to 4:30 pm. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘transportation’
On the heels of the passage of Proposal 5 last November to sell 200 acres of Forest Preserve to NYCO Minerals, Inc., state agencies and NYCO are now going for broke in new permit applications for a massive expansion of NYCO’s two mines in the Town of Lewis. At the December 2013 meeting of the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) there was unanimous cheering among the APA Board and senior leadership over passage of Proposal 5. In those same weeks, NYCO began its applications to expand its two mines in Lewis.
NYCO is seeking major expansions of both mines. With its political fortunes at an all-time high, the time is right to permanently change the scale of its mining activities in the Champlain Valley. » Continue Reading.
The Tesla pulls silently into the driveway and sidles next to the charging station. With the ease of charging a cell phone, the car is plugged in and its owners make their way into The Wild Center. The Center’s new charging station is a first step to making the Tri-Lakes region of the Adirondacks (Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, and Lake Placid) electric-car friendly.
In addition to plug-in stations already up and running in Canton, Potsdam, Plattsburgh, and Lake George, this electric charging station will provide a battery charge for those visiting the heart of the Adirondacks.
Every major car maker is producing or has plans for electric vehicles, some of which can get the equivalent of 119 miles per gallon and have an annual fuel cost of $500. Federal tax credits are currently available for electric vehicles. » Continue Reading.
Known as scoping sessions, the meetings will be held to solicit the public’s ideas for the 90-mile corridor between Old Forge and Lake Placid.
Following the meetings, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and state Department of Transportation will analyze the public comments and develop a draft management plan for the corridor. The departments will hold public hearings on the draft before issuing a final version of the plan.
DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said he hopes the final plan will be adopted sometime in the second half of next year.
On Saturday, July 5, North Country residents will bear witness to the one-year anniversary of the deadly oil train derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec that killed 47 people and to raise public awareness of crude-by-rail transport in the Lake Champlain region.
Participants will gather near the mouth of the Saranac River at 3 pm, walking out on a pedestrian bridge about 50 feet from the Canadian Pacific railroad bridge, and gathering in canoes and kayaks below the bridges.
The demonstration is part of a week-long action by citizens and groups across North America opposing the escalation of crude-by-rail shipping. The Plattsburgh event is being spearheaded by Center for Biological Diversity and People for Positive Action. » Continue Reading.
A quick look at an Old Forge town map reveals streets named Garmon, Crosby, Adams, Gilbert and Sheard. These are the oldest streets in town except for Main Street (Route 28), originally an extension of the Brown’s Tract Road.
The “main drag” was briefly named Harrison Avenue for former President Benjamin Harrison, the region’s most famous camper. But this name was dropped from the maps of the Adirondack Development Corporation in the first part of the 20th century.
Recently, the Goodsell Musuem has been permitted by the Town of Webb to reinstate “Harrison Avenue” with a sign at the corner of Gilbert and Route 28.
Except for Main Street, these streets were created by the Old Forge Company, often called the Old Forge Improvement Company. When its Directors established building lots through the woods of the Forge Tract, they assigned these names to the streets on the first village map filed in July 1896 with the Herkimer County Clerk. What follows is part of a history of the Old Forge Company from its inception to 1899. » Continue Reading.
On a summer night last July, the charming French-Canadian town of Lac Megantic literally exploded. A tanker train carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire, incinerating much of the downtown and killing forty-seven people.
Other train explosions followed in Alabama and North Dakota. Now people are wondering if it could happen here in the Adirondacks.
Since the disaster in Lac Megantic—located 180 miles northeast of the Adirondack Park, in Quebec—officials in northern New York have taken notice that similar trains, up to a hundred tankers long and filled with eighty-five thousand barrels of oil, roar regularly through the Champlain Valley. Most of the oil is in tankers that federal regulators have deemed unsafe. » Continue Reading.
I attended a recent forum in Albany, Facing the Storm: Preparing for Increased Extreme Weather in Upstate New York, and wanted to pass along some of what I heard, or thought I heard. The event was sponsored by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.
For a forum concerning the impacts of a changing climate the audience was unusually diverse in terms of backgrounds and professions. As a staff member for Adirondack Wild, I was sitting next to a firefighter from a village in Montgomery County. At the next table were other firefighters and emergency personnel in uniform. Across from me were several members of the League of Women Voters. Initially we all wondered if we were in the right meeting. I think by the end we realized what we all have in common. » Continue Reading.
In the off year election of 1918, New York voters elected a new governor (Al Smith) who later became the first Roman Catholic and Irish-American to run for President. In that same election, voters also approved a constitutional amendment to the “forever wild” Article VII (rewritten as Article XIV in 1938) permitting the construction of a state highway on forest preserve lands from Saranac Lake to Old Forge by way of Blue Mountain and Raquette Lakes. Until this highway was built, the road from Inlet to the north ended at Seventh Lake.
When the segment from Seventh Lake to Raquette Lake was completed in 1929, it became the route of choice to Raquette Lake from Eagle Bay, replacing what today begins at that place as Uncas Road and ends as Browns Tract Road ending at Antlers Road at Raquette Lake. Its name changes at Browns Tract Ponds. » Continue Reading.
Most people don’t think about culverts, the large pipes that carry streams and runoff underneath our roads. Even with their essential role in our transportation infrastructure, culverts tend to be in the spotlight only when they fail. In dramatic ways, Hurricane Irene and other recent storms have put culverts (and bridges) to the test. Unfortunately, the high water from these storms overwhelmed many culverts, washing out roads, causing millions of dollars in damages across the Adirondacks, and disrupting life in many communities. For example, the town of Jay sustained about $400,000 in damage to its culverts and adjacent roads as a result of Irene. Across the Northeast, the story is much the same.
Following Tropical Storm Irene, I was part of a team of conservation professionals to assess the performance of road-stream crossings (i.e., culverts and bridges) in Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest. The peer-reviewed study, published in the current issue of Fisheries, found that damage was largely avoided at crossings with a stream simulation design, an ecologically-based approach that creates a dynamic channel through the structure that is similar in dimensions and characteristics to the adjacent, natural channel. On the other hand, damages were extensive, costly, and inconvenient at sites with stream crossings following more traditional designs. » Continue Reading.
For more than two years, rail-trail activists have been pushing state officials to end decades of financial support for the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and convert a ninety-mile rail corridor between Old Forge and Lake Placid into a year-round multi-use recreational trail.
Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA) has argued that the tourism train has been a financial failure, requiring too much taxpayer support, and claimed that a rail trail would provide a bigger tourism draw. » Continue Reading.
The March 26th workshop, held concurrently with the New England Association of Environmental Biologists (NEAEB) Annual Meeting, will focus on ecosystem impacts and aquatic invasive species threats to Lake Champlain. » Continue Reading.
Early Brown’s Tract settlers Albert Jones and his son Eri had gotten into trouble with the law in 1877 for mistreating Eri’s wife, leaving her in a critical condition to be cared for by a neighbor. Around the same time, like many early Brown’s Tract pioneers, they were squatters south of Thendara on the Moose River middle branch called Stillwater.
Albert had become sick and weak, presumably from a hard life as a businessman, lumber mill owner, rancher and breaker of horses for their Spanish owners in Mexico. He claimed that if he was going to die, he wanted to die in the woods. Temporarily, Adirondack weather was the cure and Albert and Eri set up Jones’s Camp as a boarding camp with boats for campers. It was a stopover twelve miles from the Forge along the Brown’s Tract Road. » Continue Reading.
After the Raquette Lake Railway opened to the public on July 1, 1900, life on the Fulton Chain changed forever. For its prime mover, Collis P. Huntington, life ended at Camp Pine Knot in August. Huntington’s death left W. W. Durant without favorable money sources and his Blue Mountain and Raquette Lake Steamboat Company, as well as the newly built Marion River Carry Railroad and its terminal properties, were sold to Patrick Moynehan in May, 1901, then sold to the Webb interests in 1902.
I would like to tell the Railway’s story by telling the story of its stations. When introducing the station’s name, I insert its mile marker in parenthesis ( ) according to Michael Kudish’s Where Did the Tracks Go in the Central Adirondacks?. » Continue Reading.
My trip to the Adirondacks from our home in Western Massachusetts ends when I see the water of Raquette Lake’s South Bay – a three-and-a-half hour drive. OK, my wife insists the trip is not over until we unload the car, pack the boat, traverse the lake, unload the boat and schlep everything into the cabin. A five-hour ordeal in her mind, but serenity fills me the minute I see the water.
Be it three-and-a-half hours or five, our trip is nothing compared to the arduous travels my great-great-grandfather took to reach these shores. He had been among the very first to summer on Blue Mountain Lake, building the first private summer home on Thacher Island in 1867.
In 1862, George Hornell Thacher first traveled to the region guided by Mitchell Sabattis. At that time, the railroad to North Creek and the stage road from North Creek to Blue Mountain Lake did not exist. Access to Blue Mountain Lake was only from the north, down from Long Lake. The trip from Albany took three or four days. » Continue Reading.
Driving to Old Forge, I pass the old Eagle Bay station, recalling that I had a tasty barbecue sub sandwich there in the early 1980s. I continue, watching the hikers and bikers on the level path to my right, also watching for deer. Passing North Woods Inn, I see a sign referring to a train wreck and, just around Daikers, the path to my right disappears into the woods.
I once biked into the woods there and found a historical marker that told of the Raquette Lake Railway. I decided to learn more about this railroad that, along with Dr. Webb’s line, provided both the rich and the poor access into the Adirondacks. Its story starts with the Adirondack railroads that preceded it. » Continue Reading.
Nature Conservancy field technicians this winter are doing wildlife detective work in New York’s Southern Lake Champlain Valley. This in-between zone characterized by farms and forests and crisscrossed with roads may provide a vital “land bridge” for bobcats and other critters to travel to and from large forest blocks in the Adirondacks and Vermont.
Outdoor guide and writer Elizabeth Lee, of Westport, and University of Vermont graduate student Gus Goodwin are working with the Conservancy’s Alissa Rafferty, who is based in Keene Valley. They are collecting records of animal activity that would be impossible to witness in real time. Good old-fashioned tracking skills—finding animal prints left in the snow, measuring their size, assessing the critter’s gait, and piecing together other clues—help them determine if a print belongs to a bobcat or a coyote, a fisher or a fox, a moose or a deer. They also use trail cameras to supplement these records, helping to confirm animal identification, and snapping photos 24/7 no matter the snow conditions. » Continue Reading.
I’m driving to work too fast, late as usual, trying to make up for those last five minutes I spent puttering around my house when I should have gotten out the door. I lean on the accelerator a little and grab my trusty travel mug, lifting it to my lips just as my wheels hit a bumpy, rippled section of the pavement. I hit the brakes. The tires make painful washboard sounds, and coffee splashes out of my cup and all over the steering wheel.
Living in the Northeast, you get used to the spilled coffee and car repair bills. It’s a fact of life here — come winter, the roads are going to get rough, and your struts and brakes (and wallet) are going to pay.
“I’d guess forty percent of my time is spent dealing with suspension issues due to frost heaves and pot holes,” says one owner and operator of a local car repair shop. “Bent wheels, ball joints, tire rods…the roads around here are not the greatest.” Snow, ice and freezing rain all contribute to poor road conditions, but frost heaves make winter driving like a video game. Dodge and weave a heave? Twenty points! Hit a heave? Lose ten points and call a mechanic. » Continue Reading.