Tuesday, June 27, 2023

APA meeting, state legislature recaps

saranac lake marina

At last week’s Adirondack Park Agency meeting, the board approved a variance to its shoreline restrictions for a marina project on Lower Saranac Lake. My colleague Zach Matson had the story here.

The board’s agenda originally suggested it might vote on changes to the Broadalbin Boat Launch unit management plan. If you remember earlier this spring, the state Department of Environmental Conservation had proposed closing a public beach there, causing much upset among residents. We learned last week that the DEC needs more time on its response to public comments.

Executive Director Barbara Rice noted the APA has hired six new staff members in the past six months. When Rice started about a year ago, the agency had 42 employees and it now has 48. The agency is considered full staff at 54 so there are still positions to fill.

The APA also continued its 50th anniversary talks, this month focused on celebrating Juneteenth. Paul Smith’s College professor Curt Stager and Martha Swan, from John Brown Lives, gave presentations. Stager spoke about his research into Black-owned lands in the Adirondacks. Swan spoke about the history of her organization. The John Brown Farm is in the process of getting a unit management plan. In case you missed it, we had more on that here. The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation continues to collect public feedback on John Brown Farm and its future. A visitor survey to assist in the draft of the unit management plan can be filled out here: https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/dd0b64e36ff241f2bdb7a3b7f61c47e1.

Following the legislature

Session was supposed to end on June 8, but the state Assembly will be coming back to Albany on Tuesday and Wednesday. The laws they appear most eager to address aren’t Adirondack Park specific, but we will keep track and have a roundup later this week.

The governor in Schroon Lake

Gov. Kathy Hochul made a pit stop in the Adirondacks on Friday for a ribbon cutting at The Lodge at Schroon Lake. The $25 million resort was once the Word of Life Lodge, also known as the Brown Swan Club.

Its revamp into a 116-guest room hotel, restaurant, swimming and boating attraction, was in part funded by a $4.1 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative grant.

“The tourism economy is vital to Upstate New York and by investing and transforming this beautiful location into a world-class destination, we are attracting visitors not just to the High Peaks and Lake Placid, but also to unique and wonderful locations that are just off the beaten path,” Hochul said in a news release.

Fish deaths in Lake Luzerne

We received a tip about several dead fish found in Lake Luzerne last week. There was concern from a resident that an herbicide to treat Eurasian watermilfoil had been spread a few weeks prior. We reached out to the DEC. The department was aware of between six and eight fish found dead in Lake Luzerne. The DEC did not think their deaths were related to the herbicide treatment. ProcellaCOR EC, the herbicide the APA issued a permit for in Lake Luzerne, was deemed “practically non-toxic” to fish, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The same herbicide was proposed for use in Lake George, but a lawsuit has since halted its application.

As for the Lake Luzerne fish, DEC said it is investigating, “but without information on an exact location, exact numbers, and species, DEC has not determined how they died. Possibilities include a post-spawning die-off of sunfish, which is common this time of year. Healthy fish would not be impacted by the herbicide application and would swim out of a treatment area.”

Big Moose Inn fire

In case you missed it, the Explorer had a story online about a fire that destroyed the Big Moose Inn in the southwestern Adirondacks. I was sorry to read this, especially having stayed there last summer. It was a beautiful lodge. I will never forget paddling with the loons on the lake.

italy scenic cliffs

Photo by Gwendolyn Craig

Personal news

I’ll sign off today with some personal news. If you’ve been following some of the hikes I write about here, you’ll know I often go with my partner David. I’m happy to share we married a few weeks ago on Lake George, in view of the mountains we climbed on our first dates. Our honeymoon included hiking some of the Amalfi Coast in Italy. One, Path of the Gods, was a beautiful ridge-line hike with little elevation compared to some of our Adirondack hikes. The views of the water, mountains, goat herding paths and lemon groves were stunning. About a mile in, we ran into a home in the cliffside selling lemon granitas. It was a fabulous place to stop for sweet treat and to take in the view. It was an adventure just getting there, too. We took a ferry and then an hour bus ride to get to the trailhead. To get back to our hotel, we climbed down nearly 2,000 steps to Positano to catch a ferry back. We climbed many a stair case over the last week, and are ready to take our hiking shoes up some Adirondack mountains soon. Sharing a bit of the journey with you here.

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.

2 Responses

  1. Bob Meyer says:

    Congratulations Gwendolyn & David on your marriage!

  2. David Gibson says:

    warm congratulations, Gwen. Great to read. Thank you for sharing.

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