Almanack Contributor Brandon Loomis

Brandon Loomis

Brandon Loomis is editor of Adirondack Explorer.


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

A newsy issue

silver fliesThis issue of Adirondack Explorer magazine will be a doozy.

It will offer readers thorough explainers surrounding the recent court ruling against “community connector” snowmobile trails; the struggle by small Adirondack communities to fund proper water treatment; Essex County’s remarkable job of being a statewide leader in preventing COVID in the face of a serious tourism rush; a program to fight one non-native species with another; the pressures leading the Whitney estate’s owner to subdivide and sell that coveted Adirondack woodland; even a fascinating look at how and why (and at what cost) Adirondack communities ship all of the park’s garbage elsewhere.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, May 17, 2021

A bag of hammers

lean-to rescueThis spring, I paddled out across Kiwassa Lake to see the volunteers at Lean2Rescue put the finishing touches on a newly restored lean-to shelter. They had moved it, piece by piece, from Middle Saranac Lake, so they could replace the roof and some rotting logs at the base. And they left in its place a new lean-to for Middle Saranac.

This is what these guys do. They told me I could do it too, if I had an IQ in the range of a “bag of hammers.” It’s their joke for the mania that drives them to head out into the wilderness to move 400-pound logs around. What they do is no joke, though. It keeps a certain local architectural heritage alive, and gives paddlers and backpackers shelter in the woods.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The last patrol

Scott van Laer

The May/June Adirondack Explorer now landing in subscribers’ mailboxes contains two profiles of forest rangers, Julie Harjung and Scott van Laer, by reporter Gwendolyn Craig. Both of these rangers have worked the woods for 25 years and are now retiring. Gwen visited van Laer as he wrapped up is work, and shot the short video that you can view here.

These stories honor the work these public servants have done to keep us and every Adirondack visitor safe and educated. Gwen revisits their careers, including the lives they saved, the rescues that sadly turned to recoveries, the work that van Laer did in advocating for the ranger corps, and the paramedic experience that Harjung put to work in training colleagues and others to become wilderness first responders.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Alone in the woods: A place of hermits and hermit thrushes

Noah RondeauThere’s an abundance of serendipity in these parts, and in our work.

Often, related themes and stories emerge like magic, to make it appear to readers that we had planned them to run side-by-side in our magazine. Sometimes we do that, but others, like in our upcoming May/June issue, the stars just align. And one of the stars of this issue is an old-time hermit named Noah John Rondeau. (The photo of him here is courtesy of the Adirondack Experience museum in Blue Mountain Lake.)

He lived in the same Adirondack woods where hermit thrushes are now returning for spring, and where hikers and backpackers will soon flock to seek refuge from another pandemic summer. If you’ve been following our online series about the struggle to form the Adirondack Park Agency 50 years ago, you’ve had a preview of the history story in which he’ll make an appearance in print. The writer, author Brad Edmondson, presents him as a sort of bridge from the old and truly wild North Country — squatting on public lands in a time when no one really cared — to the modern, regulated park. He died just as the Northway’s fresh pavement was about to deliver a surge of new visitors.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The ‘Forever Wild’ fight

Rockefeller

A couple of years ago we started kicking around some ideas for sharing with readers the story of the people who fought to create the Adirondack Park Agency: their fervor and idealism, their mapping and lobbying, and the pushback they encountered then and for years to come.

We had only started to discuss how we might go about assembling such a narrative, and who might be best to write it, when Ithaca journalist and author Brad Edmondson wrote us an unsolicited email suggesting that we might have a use for a bunch of interviews he had conducted with the same characters — both APA proponents and opponents — over the years. He had taped some of them with the understanding that he wouldn’t print anything until after they had died, and now that time had arrived.

 

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Summer reading

book stackReady to read a good book by a mountain lake? That’s a pleasant thought after a troubling year, and the time for it is creeping up on us. Maybe this summer we’ll even feel safe to mingle in bookshops, or do our reading around others in coffee shops.

Remember those days?

With high hopes, we at the Adirondack Explorer are assembling a summer reading list and some reviews, for recent books with Adirondack themes or interests.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 18, 2021

Connect with the Explorer ‘behind the scenes’

Mike LynchThere’s a lot of talk about truth in the news these days: What’s real? What’s “fake news”? Who decides?

Are you one of those who just knows it when you see it? Honestly, I kinda am, as well. But I’ve had more than 30 years of reporting, editing and immersing myself in the news media, so my lie detector is always on, if not always 100 percent accurate. For people just trying to learn what’s what in their community or places that matter to them, I realize that the internet has complicated things.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Border blues: A year without Canadians

Canada flagI had hoped to get back to Canada sometime in the last year. I wanted to bring my family to Montreal and to some natural areas in Quebec and Ontario — maybe even visit the Maritimes for the first time. We got our son his first passport in preparation.

Oh well. I know that our continent and world have suffered much worse than I have in the last year. Canada will be there for us some other summer. No biggie.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

When everything is different, some things remain the same

Saranac Lake ice palaceWhen Winter Carnival rolled around last year, my mom, sister, niece and nephew came to visit in Saranac Lake. We joined hundreds — thousands? — in watching fireworks down on Lake Flower, then inched our way toward the ice palace, flowing shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the crowd until we could cram into the ice-block structure’s passages.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, January 4, 2021

Thoughts on snow

So far, the best I can say for this winter in the Adirondacks is that I haven’t had to shovel much.

Actually, that’s not all. I took my son downhill skiing this week, and we had a blast for several hours … until the rain soaked through our coats.

Here’s hoping for (and expecting) a 2021 that delivers the snow for all your outdoor adventures, and for our magazine’s suggested ski outings. Regardless of how much snow we get or when we get it, here are some seasonal safety tips we published last winter.

In the meantime, let us know if you have any insights on Adirondack snow to share with us. We’re working on a story about the history and future of snow in these mountains, and what it means to our economy and ecology. Besides what climate scientists and other experts have to say about changes in our winters, we’re interested in hearing personal stories about your experiences and observations through the years.


Saturday, December 12, 2020

More to explore: Extra footage

 

 

Adirondack Explorer readers who occasionally click on stories that include one of our videos may be unaware that there’s much more where that came from.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, November 16, 2020

Investing in the story of the Adirondacks

As 2020 starts to wind down (sad, right?), I find myself reflecting on how the Adirondack Explorer has evolved this year. We’ve come a long way, and not just in learning how to work effectively as a remote newsroom during a pandemic.

As busy as we’ve been gathering and reacting to the news and compiling recreational insights, it’s easy for me to forget how different we were as a magazine and website a year ago. That’s around the time that Ry Rivard joined us to cover Adirondack waters. His addition gave us a sharp focus on the emerging (and sometimes improving) environmental threats to the lakes, streams and groundwater that we consider among our park’s greatest assets, especially in a changing climate that is harming or drying supplies elsewhere. Ry’s January magazine piece about harmful changes in our biggest water — Lake Champlain — signaled the kind of big-picture thinking we’re developing. But he has also drilled down on topics of immediate concern to individuals who get their water from wells.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, October 23, 2020

Flag flap: Article stirs debate around confederate flag in Tupper Lake

Some folks in Tupper Lake weren’t pleased with our publication of a photo showing a Confederate flag in a window there. They viewed it as a provocation intended to stir divisions.

Others apparently hoped the image in our September/October magazine would inspire their Town Board to adopt a resolution that renounced “symbols of racism and hate” that are “not beneficial to the community’s image.” That resolution failed for lack of a second last week.

I confess that the sight of a Confederate flag in New York — in Tupper Lake or any of the other places I’ve seen them in and around the Adirondacks — puzzles and saddens me. I’m sure that this reflex contributed to my decision to include the image in a story about how welcoming (or not) our region is to people who would come here to live or to visit this state’s enviable public wildlands.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 18, 2020

Enjoying our environment

We’re wrapping up production of our November/December magazine issue, and we think Mike Lynch’s photography and writing in it should alert a lot of readers to recreational and environmental aspects of the Adirondacks that they hadn’t previously considered. For one thing, it seems that a lot of people who enjoy our mountains weren’t aware that they were home to salmon — either historically or right now.

Well, they are, and Mike made a number of trips to the Boquet River to see and photograph them running there. (Above is a long exposure he snapped of a landlocked Atlantic salmon cresting in the river.) Those fish, which the state has stocked but in some years will also reproduce naturally in the river, offer hope for a thriving wild salmon fishery in the park.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

More than pretty pictures

Now and then we hear complaints that all of our pretty photography, and some of the accompanying writing, only serves to drive visitors to parts of the Adirondacks that don’t need or can’t handle any more pressure.

This is the Instagram problem that we hear so much about, with complaints about those who geotag their gorgeous hiking shots, enabling online viewers everywhere to stampede to the same vistas.

» Continue Reading.