Monday, December 7, 2020

Winter Memories – Journaling during a June Day at Beaver Lake

A slight fever only adds to my mood to see the Moose River, the Plains, and to take some walk to an isolated lake. Sitting by the Moose, swelling downstream but pooled where I sit above, I imagine Paul Schaefer here*, speaking before a camera in 1948 to let the world know what would be lost by the building of Higley and Panther Mountain dams.

Paul Schaefer stands above the South Branch Moose River, c. 1948.

Pushing down the trail, yellow birch the diameter of two canoes put together, with boles on them that would make a bowl maker cry. A grouse, dusting on the sandy trail, leads me into a special grove, the pines, mostly bleached now, some fallen, but one giant remnant still vigorously dusting the fine air. The pines conjure up an elephant’s graveyard in majesty and mystery. Then, a distant view of water, a clearing and descent to Beaver Lake.


Not a soul or a sound. A loon, with head down, fishing in the distance. A public lake, but at that moment decisively private in its mood and thoughts. May it never become what I have just left over at Fourth Lake.

*Paul Schaefer successfully led the Moose River Committee’s 10 year campaign (1945-55) to prevent proposed Higley and Panther Mountain dams from flooding the South Branch of the Moose River and the Moose River Plains.

Top photo: South Branch, Moose River. 

Great pine on the trail to Beaver Lake


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Dave Gibson, who writes about issues of wilderness, wild lands, public policy, and more, has been involved in Adirondack conservation for over 30 years as executive director of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks and currently as managing partner with Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve

During Dave's tenure at the Association, the organization completed the Center for the Forest Preserve including the Adirondack Research Library at Paul Schaefer’s home. The library has the finest Adirondack collection outside the Blue Line, specializing in Adirondack conservation and recreation history.

Currently, Dave is managing partner in the nonprofit organization launched in 2010, Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.

4 Responses

  1. Ed Zahniser says:

    Paul Schaefer, mentor to the masses. Thanks for this nice remembrance and outdoor excursion, David!

  2. Jim says:

    Thank you, David, for calling to mind many solo day hikes in the Plains. A resource for which we can also thank Paul Schaefer.

  3. Colvin says:

    Paul Schaefer fought the good fight an won. We and the Moose River Plains owe him a very deep debt of gratitude. As a result largely of his efforts, in 1954 New York State voters defeated by a very large margin a constitutional amendment that would have authorized the construction and operation of the Panther Mountain reservoir. Previously in 1952, also as a result largely of his efforts, the voters by a large margin adopted an amendment to the constitution which stripped the State of authority to construct stream flow control reservoirs on Forest Preserve land.

  4. Gary LEE says:

    Nice David, I remember the day we drove into Beaver Lake and walked down to the Indian for footage in the movie Rivers of Men. We stopped at the big pine and took photos that day also. I go by it about six times during the summer while watching loons, I bike in with my paddle and use a canoe which is along the beach on the east end. Gary Lee

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