Almanack Contributor Brandon Loomis

Brandon Loomis is a former Adirondack Explorer editor.

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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Seeing the park on two wheels: Biking to Plattsburgh from Saranac Lake

I biked from Saranac Lake to Burlington, Vermont, on the first day of fall. (Well, I meant to end up in Burlington, but a wrong turn added some miles and hills and left me on some suburban road east of the city in Williston.)

My route through the Adirondacks was State Route 3 to the Lake Champlain Ferry at Plattsburgh, and it took me through much of the Saranac River Valley, with colorful fall views of a river whose health and fish our magazine will profile in-depth in our next issue. I shot some video along the way.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Get the app

The Adirondack Explorer magazine has been in print for quite some time now. We’ve been covering the park through the terms of four presidents, or, more to the point in state land management, four New York governors.

What might be news to print readers, though, is that we now have a mobile app option that lets you take the full magazine and then some with you on your phone, tablet or computer. And it’s cheaper than our standard print subscription.

The app gives you all six regular issues of our magazine each year, along with video and other links within stories, and the Annual Outings Guide. It also enables you to download and archive issues so you can come back to them whenever you like. This annual digital subscription is currently on sale for $10.


» Continue Reading.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Forest invaders

emerald ash borer photo courtesy DECExplorer policy reporter Gwendolyn Craig has reported plenty of news on invasive species this month — most of it unfortunate.

First came word of the long-expected confirmation of the emerald ash borer in the Adirondacks. That tree killer had long spread throughout the Midwest and East, and in recent years was chewing a circle around the park. Ash isn’t the most abundant species in our high country, but it has cultural and economic significance as well as an ecological role. Gwen will explore all of that in a magazine piece later this year.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, August 14, 2020

High Peaks, for weeks

A Go Aviation helicopter flies low over Duck Hole in the High Peaks Wilderness.If there was any thought that the pandemic might ease pressure on High Peaks trails this summer, forget it.

Like a lot of the hikers themselves, our photographers have had trouble getting a parking spot at the trailheads over the last couple of weeks, as they’ve looked to document the surge in hikers. As Adirondack Explorer reporter Mike Lynch noted in a recent story, the strain on the alpine environment and the summit stewards who protect it persists. Clearly, after months of lockdown, people from all over New York and beyond decided it was time to get out of the house. (Explorer reporter Gwendolyn Craig reported that boat traffic on Lake George is also breaking records.)

» Continue Reading.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Essex Chain Lakes provides quiet solitude

The state’s proposal to attract more visitors to the Essex Chain Lakes by allowing lakeside campfires had the effect of immediately attracting two visitors recently: me and my son.

We’ve been planning to get our canoes into the Adirondack backcountry at some point this summer. Upon hearing how uncrowded the lakes south of Newcomb are, we decided to carry them into this primitive area for a look around. We were not disappointed.

These lakes are teeming with wildlife, from deer and bald eagles to belted kingfishers, great blue herons and, of course, loons. We heard loons throughout the night and then had a close visit from a pair in the morning, when they swam within about 35 yards of our camp. » Continue Reading.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Supporting the work behind the headlines

Like a lot of folks these days, I’ve been ordering books while hanging around the house.

One that showed up last week was a used copy—out of print and bearing a faded library stamp—of a basic newspapering text co-authored by a late professor who gave me an F on my first typewritten attempt at college journalism. (Not to worry: He gave everyone an F on that first assignment. It was tough love, and there was considerably more elbow room in Beginning Reporting the following week.)

On page 7 I found a truism that I’m sure would have seemed redundant to a J-school sophomore when I first read this book in the analog 1980s, but I think it’s worth reviewing in our current Information Age.

» Continue Reading.

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