Tuesday, September 27, 2022

APA approved Clifton solar project, and a fall hike

hadley mountain fire tower

Last week the Adirondack Park Agency approved a 20-megawatt solar project on the former Benson Mines’s tailings pile in the Town of Clifton. It is the state’s first “build ready” solar project. There are still a handful of other permits the state needs to acquire before it can hold an auction and turn the project over to a solar developer. But, it looks like the Adirondacks is one step closer to hosting a large renewable energy project.


I want to apologize, in my last newsletter I said this was the largest ever solar project proposed in the park. It is the largest, but I had neglected in my original reporting to note that commissioners approved a 20-megawatt solar array in Ticonderoga last year. So, this is the same number of megawatts, but the Benson Mines project is the largest footprint and will have more solar panels. I’ve updated our coverage online and made note at the bottom to include the Ticonderoga project.

Last week, commissioners approved Lyme Timber Co.’s application for tree harvesting. They also approved changes to inter-agency guidelines on invasive species management. Here’s a story about those items.

Dave and I hiked this weekend up Hadley Mountain in Saratoga County. At just under four miles round trip, it is a nice “short” hike–but I also forgot how steep it is. We haven’t been hiking as much lately, so it was a good climb to get us back at it. The leaves are starting to change. The temperatures felt cool in the low 60s. Autumn is almost here. The last time we did this hike, the top of the fire tower was closed. This time it was open, and it was quite the scary shimmy getting in and out of the hatch. I am pretty good with heights, but this section gave me the heebie jeebies! There are some beautiful views from the fire tower, though, of the surrounding mountains and Great Sacandaga Lake.

I used Cornell University’s Merlin Bird ID app on my phone, too, and found so many songbirds on the summit. We could use both the visual and auditory parts of the app to identify them. We heard and saw ruby-crowned kinglets, dark-eyed juncos, yellow-rumped warblers, black-capped chickadees and possibly heard a Cape May warbler. While up at the top of the fire tower, a hawk flew by, by I couldn’t quite identify it. We are thinking it might have been a sharp-shinned hawk or a Cooper’s hawk.

There are a couple of journals at the top of the tower, and it was so nice to see them filled with notes about people’s experiences on the hike. Kids participated, too, with drawings or with words of wisdom. For example, Bryce wrote, “It is not easy but it is a great view. You can make it fun, just like me.”

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Gwen’s weekly “Adirondack Report” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Gwen is the environmental policy reporter for Adirondack Explorer.




4 Responses

  1. LeRoy Hogan says:

    I have a solar farm by me and you have to look for it to see just a bit of it. Out of sight, out of mind.

    • Bill Ott says:

      We have had telephone poles with all kinds of wires crisscrossing our environment forever. I do not think most people would complain about the presence of a technology that may help to reduce our emissions. In fact, if I had several hundred aces open for development, I would welcome a solar farm as long as I got to hook into it. And for sure, solar farms are not as noisy as wind farms. But then on second thought, why couldn’t they share the same space, especially if I could paid more for the imagined scenario above.

  2. shawn smith says:

    could you give me the name of the hills where all the power towers are standing near the canada border? thanks. Cornwall Ontario.

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