The Hudson River-Black River Regulating District has announced repairs to an aging stone dam that holds back the massive waters of Indian Lake, an impoundment that spans more than 4,000 acres.
The Explorer’s Gwendolyn Craig reports the cost is $11 million, with repairs to the leaking, “high hazard” dam to begin in October and take about two years to complete.
A high-hazard dam is one in which, according to the state, “failure may result in widespread or serious damage to home(s); damage to main highways, industrial or commercial buildings, railroads, and/or important utilities, including water supply, sewage treatment, fuel, power, cable or telephone infrastructure; or substantial environmental damage; such that the loss of human life or widespread substantial economic loss is likely.”
The repairs will fix existing flaws and make the dam more resilient to climate change going forward.
The Adirondacks can be a dangerous place – for neophytes who don’t know the rules, written and unwritten.
The Explorer’s Mike Lynch wrote that a 315-mile swim of the Hudson by activist Lewis Pugh got off to a rocky start when a photographer documented his start at Lake Tear of the Clouds, the Hudson’s source, with footage from a drone.
It was a nice aesthetic touch. Illegal, but nice. Motors in the wilderness are not allowed, nor is commercial filming without a permit. While the former rule is somewhat regarded as common knowledge, the wilderness-filming rider might have surprised even some grizzled ADK vets.
Anyway, when the footage was posted to social media, readers pounced. So did the DEC, which fined the drone company $200. The drone company called it an “honest oversight.”
Meanwhile, the adventure caught the fancy of New York Times metro writer Jesse McKinley, who decided to hike to Lake Tear of the Clouds himself, in search of a “remote dateline.”
McKinley wrote, “To say that I was unprepared was an understatement: I didn’t have boots or a backpack. I was wearing treadless running shoes and a pair of shorts from college. (Note: I am a long way out of college.) I didn’t have a map, a trail guide or even food. But I really wanted that dateline.”
Well, talk about waving a red flag in front of a bull. ADK commenters to the story were not shy in their “constructive criticism” of the venture.
“Are you not aware of the ongoing issue of the lack of DEC forest rangers in the Adirondack Park and how they are so overworked due to the increased use of the park resulting in the increase in hiker rescues?” wrote one responder.
McKinley did not reach Lake Tear of the Clouds, largely because he took the wrong route and ended up atop Mt. Marcy. Not a bad consolation prize.
And along with their finger wagging, a number of commentators did recall some of their own rookie mistakes.
As for the Hudson River Swim, Pugh said he hopes to “highlight the critical importance of river health to the health of the world’s oceans and the overall global environment,” according to a press release about his adventure.
At top: Indian Lake dam Photo by Zach Matson
This first appeared in the Explorer’s “Water Line” weekly newsletter. Click here to sign up.