Almanack Contributor Community News Reports

Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Advocacy Group On-Board With Upper Hudson Rail-Trail

Parks & Trails New York, an Albany-based advocacy group, has joined an effort to develop a rail-trail between North Creek and Tahawus.

The group Friends of the Upper Hudson, which seeks to build a 29-mile multi-use trail along an old railroad bed, recently announced the partnership. Parks & Trails will provide help with technical issues, planning, public outreach, grant writing, fundraising and other activities.

The trail would follow the railway formerly used to haul ore from the NL Industries mine, passing through the towns of Johnsburg, Indian Lake, Minerva and Newcomb. The trail would provide easy access to the scenic Upper Hudson and Boreas Rivers, as well as a dramatic crossing of the Hudson over a long trestle.

When complete, the trail could lure tens of thousands of users to a part of the Adirondacks that is not visited by many hikers. But there are concerns about the project. First is the cost, estimated at $4.4 million for a stone-dust trail, or $7.3 million for paved. And there are also access questions, as the right-of-way (across both private and state land) will expire with the removal of the tracks. However, backers say a federal law to encourage the reuse of rail beds may solve the complicated land issue.

The project backers have completed a feasibility study and are working with partners to acquire and preserve the corridor for trail use.

Trains haven’t run on this section of rail for decades. To the south, a tourist line called The Upper Hudson Scenic Railroad operates in warmer weather on the same line between North Creek and Riparius. That railroad faces an uncertain future: the section is owned by Warren County, which is seeking proposals from new operators for a scenic railroad. The rail-trail would ave no impact on the tourist line.

The Friends of the Upper Hudson Rail Trail maintain a website here. To find out more about the Healthy Trails, Healthy People program, contact Parks & Trails New York at 518-434-1583 or ptny@ptny.org or visit the Parks & Trails New York website here.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Books About the Adirondacks That Make Great Gifts

In time for those holiday gift purchases, here is a list of books about the Adirondacks I think would make great gifts. You can see all the book notices we’ve run at Adirondack Almanack here.

Before we get to the classics, I can’t help but make a bold-faced pitch for my own book, Historic Tales from the Adirondack Almanack. A compilation of my history essays from the last four years of the Almanack, the book is a great way to help support the work I’ve put into this site since 2005.

The Adirondack Reader – The new third edition of the seminal collection of works by writers of the past 400 years on the Adirondacks. Edited by Paul Jamieson and Neal Burdick.

Champlain’s Dream – David Hackett Fischer’s outstanding biography of Samuel de Champlain has been released in an affordable paperback. 2009 marks the 400th year of Champlain’s first encounter with the lake that bears his name, and the people who lived there.

Why the Adirondacks Look the Way They Do: A Natural History – Mike Storey’s guide to the Adirondack landscape describes ecological and geographical changes with a large number of images that illustrate remarkably well the processes that make our region what it is.

Short Carries: Essays From Adirondack Life – Adirondack Life turned 40 this year and Betsy Folwell, who has been with the magazine for 20 of those years, has compiled and enjoyable and engaging collection of some of her essays.

Guides of the Adirondacks: A History – A regular favorite on my list of Adirondack must-haves, Charles Brumley’s history of the region’s most famous profession is filled with anecdotes about local guides.

Adirondack Birding – I’m not a birder, that’s why I love this book by Gary Lee and John Peterson. It’s easy to use with great maps and photos, tips, trails, and times to see lots of birds.

The Great Forest of the Adirondacks – I think it’s fair to say that no one really knew the full history of the Adirondack forests until this book by Barbabra McMartin was published. With the insight of a forester and methodological rigor of a great science historian McMartin’s book is readable and reliable.

Contested Terrain – Philip Terrie’s cultural history of the Adirondack region is the most important historical narrative on the region in print today. Recently updated in a new edition, Terrie’s book gets inside the culture of the park in a way no other book does.

Adirondack Park: A Political History – Although it was first published in 1978 and is in serious need of revision, Frank Graham’s seminal history of the politics that shaped the park is still readable and relevant.

Oliver’s War: An Adirondack Rebel Battles the Rockefeller Fortune – Two years ago, Lawrence P. Gooley won the Adirondack Center For Writing’s Award for Nonfiction for Oliver’s War, his telling of Brandon Civil War veteran Oliver Lamora’s battle with William Rockefeller, brother of John D. Rockefeller. Someday, this book will be a movie and you can say you read the book first.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A New Franklin County History Blog

There’s a new blog from the Franklin County Historical & Museum Society. Executive Director Anne Werley Smallman has been making regular posts on county history and the collections of the society, which was founded in 1903 and is located in Malone. I asked Ms. Werley Smallman a few questions about the society and the new online presence:

AA: Could you tell me about yourself? How did you come to be the Executive Director of the Society?

AWS: Although I did not do most of my growing up in the North Country, I did graduate from Franklin Academy in Malone and subsequently married a Malone boy. We lived ‘away’ for a goodly while, but have been back for a little over five years now. I’m a museum professional by training and by wont, and have been the Executive Director of the Franklin County Historical Society since we returned. In fact, the position was one of the many catalysts for our return to the North Country. My husband and I are building a log home by hand, which makes us feel very superior – and poor.

AA: What is the Franklin County Historical and Museum Society all about?

AWS: The Society was initially founded in 1903, and was reinvigorated in the 1960s. It is housed in the 1864 House of History museum in Malone, with a recently renovated carriage house behind that which is now the Schryer Center for Historical & Genealogical Research.

The collections are comprehensive and specific to Franklin County history and we are bursting at the seams with everything from silver tea service to dental equipment to wooden water pipes. We attempt to collect equally from all parts of the county, but there was an unfortunate collecting bias toward the northern end for many years, most especially on Malone, and that is reflected in our overall collection. We have an annual (print) historical journal The Franklin Historical Review that has been published since 1964.

Fourth graders from all over Franklin County have been visiting the House of History for Museum Day tours and hands-on activities (like spinning and candle-dipping) for over 35 years. We currently have one half-time staff member (me) and a strong corps of volunteers (50+). The museum and Schryer center are open Tuesday and Thursday 1-4pm (and by appointment). The Society is funded by a combination of membership dues, federal and state grants, county funding, and private donations.

AA: What is your plan for the Society’s blog? How does it fit with your mission?

AWS: The blog attempts to mitigate our lack of extensive open hours and exhibit space and to provide a platform to showcase the collections of the Society by taking advantage of technology. I view the blog as a sort of ‘virtual exhibit’ — a way for the public to be able to peek into the historic collections of the museum and take away some Franklin County History in manageable bites. The collections are extensive and many wonderful items will likely not be put on exhibit soon; through the blog I hope to give access to the public to these items, at least virtually and in small measure.

Photo: The Franklin County Historical and Museum Society’s House of History, 51 Milwaukee Street, Malone.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tupper Lake History: Mostly Spruce and Hemlock

The long awaited reprint of Louis J. Simmons’s “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock” (previously only available in an expensive collectible first edition) is now available thanks to Andy Flynn of Saranac Lake’s Hungry Bear Publishing and the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library.

Louis Simmons, Editor of the Tupper Lake Free Press, published just 2,000 copies of Tupper Lake’s first comprehensive history in June 1976 and it went quickly out of print. Like the original, the new edition includes more than 140 photos (Simmons’s wife Grace was a longtime Tupper Lake librarian after whom the research room is now named).

There are more then 450 pages on the settlement of the village of Tupper Lake and the Town of Altamont (the name of the town was changed to Tupper Lake in 2004) including the local logging industry, railroads, churches, schools, hotels, the Sunmount facility, and local businesses such as the Oval Wood Dish Corporation. The new edition also includes a new index, compiled by Tupper Lake native Carol Payment Poole. Tupper Lake Free Press Publisher Dan McClelland wrote a new foreword for the 2009 edition.

Here’s a short bio of Simmons from the publisher:

Simmons used more than four decades of experience at the editorial helm of the Tupper Lake Free Press to write “Mostly Spruce and Hemlock.” A 1926 graduate of the Tupper Lake High School and 1930 graduate of Syracuse University, he was hired as the Tupper Lake Free Press editor in 1932. He retired as full-time editor in 1979 and continued writing and editing until his death on April 4, 1995. He was also the Tupper Lake historian for many years.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Warren County 4-H Shooting Sports Program Announced

FROM A WARREN COUNTY 4-H PRESS RELEASE:

Ever wonder what 4-H Shooting Sports is all about? Do you want to find out? Then mark your calendars! 4-H Shooting Sports will be hosting a general interest meeting on Thursday, December 3rd at the Dunham’s Bay Fish and Game Club. The meeting will start at 6pm and cover the basics of 4-H Shooting Sports as well as offer Laser Shot and Archery activities that evening. Any interested youth over the age of nine is welcome.

4-H Shooting Sports fosters responsibility and helps youth acquire knowledge, skills, abilities related to firearms safety, and sound decision making. Shooting sports helps develop social skills, leadership techniques, and provides opportunities for community service.

There are, however, some limitations to participation due to New York State policy. They are as follows: youth age 12 and up can participate in all disciplines which include archery, air rifle, and conventional firearms. Ages 10-12 can participate in archery, living history, and air rifle only. Ages 9-10 can participate in archery and living history only. All youth are able and encouraged to participate in the different projects that enhance 4-H Shooting Sports. These policies are in line with the NYS 4-H Shooting Sports guidelines and are designated based on the “Ages and Stages” curriculum outline.

All participants must be fully enrolled in 4-H prior to participation in any shooting activities. Enrollment will be available the night of the event. Registration is required and can be done by calling Cornell Cooperative Extension at 668-4881 or 623-3291.

Photo: Archery program participant Caroline Lomnitzer of Indian Lake.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

What’s in a Name? Adirondack Waterbody Trivia

Many of our region’s lakes and ponds share the same name—Moose, Long, and Black come to mind as some overused ones. While our rivers have generally fared better, there are still many examples of name-sharing. Here’s some name-related trivia to help get through the non-paddling months.

Several rivers share the same name. There are two Deers (one in Franklin County and another near the Tug Hill Plateau), two rivers named The Branch (one a tributary of the Schroon and the other a small tributary of the Boquet), two Littles (one flows into the East Branch Oswegatchie and the other into the Grass near Canton); and two Blacks (the major river draining the western Adirondacks and Tug Hill Plateau, plus a small one flowing into the Boquet).

In a tie for 1st place we have the Salmon and the Indian, each with three. The three Salmons flow east into Lake Champlain near Plattsburgh, north through Malone into the St. Lawrence River, and west from the Tug Hill Plateau into Lake Ontario. The three Indians include the major stream that flows into the Hudson, another flowing north into the South Branch Moose, and another north of the Beaver near Natural Bridge. There are way too many creeks/brooks with the same name to catalog them—my guess is that Alder is the most popular name.

There are some river-pairs that sound like they should flow into one another though never do—the Great Chazy/Little Chazy and the Ausable/Little Ausable. Some rivers have East, West, and Middle Branches (Sacandaga, St. Regis, Oswegatchie) while others have North, South, and Middle Branches (Grass, Moose). In a class by itself, the Boquet has South and North Forks near its headwaters, and a North Branch further downstream. In a different vein, we have the South Branch Grass claiming a 1st and 2nd Brook, only to be outdone by the Independence, which claims 1st through 5th Creeks.

There are several rivers with multiple tributaries of the same name: The Cold has two Moose Pond Outlets, each from a different Moose Pond—one west of Duck Hole, and one near Shattuck Clearing. The South Branch Moose has two Otter Creeks, one in the Moose Plains and the other in Adirondack League Club lands. The East Branch Oswegatchie has two Skate Creeks, one flowing into Cranberry Lake and another into the Flat Rock impoundment. The Raquette has three (!) Dead Creeks, one near Piercefield and two flowing into the Blake Falls and South Colton Reservoirs. The Saranac has two Fish Creeks (one near the campground of the same name and the other flowing into Lower Saranac Lake) and also has two Cold Brooks (one near the lower lock and the other near Bloomingdale). If we stretch things a bit, we could add the Cold Brook that flows into the North Branch Saranac near Riverview. As usual, there are some near misses—Cold Brook and Little Cold Brook flow into Carry Falls Reservoir (Raquette) and the East Branch St. Regis has both a Big Cold Brook and a Little Cold Brook.

Finally, rivers almost always have streams and brooks as tributaries. Is there a situation when this is reversed and a brook has a river as a tributary? You bet. Quebec Brook (itself a tributary of the Middle Branch St. Regis) claims the Onion River as a tributary. Go figure.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hyde Exhibition of Modern Art to Open Today

FROM A HYDE COLLECTION PRESS RELEASE:

On Saturday, November 28, The Hyde Collection will open Divided by a common language? British and American Works from The Murray Collection. The exhibition of approximately twenty works of Modern art from the twentieth century are part of a larger collection donated to the Museum by the late Jane Murray.

Between 1991 and 1996, Murray gave nearly sixty works of Modern art to the Museum, the first significant donation of twentieth-century art received by The Hyde. An additional group of works was bequeathed by Murray upon her death earlier this year. This donation helped to form the foundation of the Museum’s Modernist holdings.

The exhibit, curated by The Hyde’s Executive Director David F. Setford, celebrates the works donated by Murray and reflects the breadth of her collection, while looking at differences and similarities between British and American Modernism. Artists represented in the exhibition include Britain’s Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, John Piper, Howard Hodgkin, and Paul Mount. American artists include Gregory Amenoff, Betty Parsons, Stuart Davis, and Ellsworth Kelly.

“This exhibition was organized as a tribute to Jane Murray’s legacy,” said Setford, “Her generosity to our Museum is only surpassed by the attention she paid in selecting works for her impressive Modern art collection.“

According to Setford, the exhibition pieces were selected to help visitors examine the similarities and differences between American and British works of the period, as both are areas of particular strength in the Murray Collection.

The exhibition in Hoopes Gallery will be open through Sunday, February 28, 2010. Admission to the Museum complex is free for members. Voluntary suggested donation for non-members is five dollars. For more information, contact The Hyde Collection at 518-792-1761 or visit www.hydecollection.org.

Photo: Betty Parsons, American, 1900-1982, Guardian, 1980.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Weekly Adirondack Web Highlights

Each Friday Adirondack Almanack compiles for our readers the week’s best stories and links from the web about the Adirondacks. You can find all our weekly web highlights here.


Friday, November 27, 2009

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene: Phish, Bluegrass and Jazz

The big event this weekend will be in Albany where Phish is playing two shows at the Knickerbocker Arena (Times Union Center). I’ll be attending at least Friday night. Raisinhead is playing a post-Phish show at Jillian’s downtown Saturday night. Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 27

Phish at the Knickerbocker Arena (Times Union Center) in Albany. Doors at 7pm.
http://www.phish.com
http://www.timesunioncenter-albany.com

The Stony Creek Band will be playing at the Stony Creek Inn at 5pm. Mexican Menu starts at 4pm. One month left at The Inn until they close for the winter.
http://www.stonycreekband.com
http://www.stonycreekinn.net

Saturday, November 28

Phish at the Knickerbocker Arena (Times Union Center) in Albany. Doors at 7pm.
http://www.phish.com
http://www.timesunioncenter-albany.com

Dreaded Wheat is at Laura’s Tavern downtown North Creek at 9pm.
http://www.myspace.com/dreadedwheat
http://www.laurastavern.com

Wednesday, December 2

Tony Jenkins Jazz Trip plays barVino in North Creek from 8-10pm.
http://www.myspace.com/thetonyjenkinsjazztrip
http://www.barvino.net


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Adk Museum Announces 2010 Cabin Fever Sunday Programs

The Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake has announced its 2010 Cabin Fever Sunday schedule. Complete information about all of the Cabin Fever Sunday programs can be found on the Adirondack Museum’s web site at www.adirondackmuseum.org
.
In addition to the cabin fever programs, the museum will introduce a program in North Creek, on January 10th, entitled “North Creek Songs and Stories – Working for the Man.” The special presentation will feature folktales and music from the region’s mining and logging industries with Lee Knight and Christine Campeau.

Here’s what’s on the Cabin Fever Sunday schedule:

Jan. 17, “19th Century Magic and Beyond,” a magic show featuring Tom Verner

Feb. 14, “Passion in the Park,” Valentine’s Day presentation with Curator Hallie Bond

Feb. 28, “Rosin & Rhyme” with Bill Smith and Don Woodcock, at Saranac Village at Will Rogers

Mar. 14, “Epic Stories of the Iroquois,” by Darren Bonaparte

Mar. 28, “Moose on the Loose in the Adirondacks,” with Ed Reed

Apr. 11, “An Armchair Paddlers’ Guide to the Schroon River” by Mike Prescott

Photo: A vintage valentine from the collection of the Adirondack Museum.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

John Brown 150th Commemoration Event

Margaret Gibbs, Director of the Essex County Historical Society / Adirondack History Center Museum in Elizabethtown has sent along the following notice of the 150th Commemoration of John Brown scheduled for December 6th. Regular Adirondack Almanack readers know that I have been writing a series of posts on John Brown, his anti-slavery raid on Harpers Ferry Virginia, subsequent capture, trial, and execution. You can read the entire series here.

Here is the press release outlining the commemoration events:

On Sunday, December 6, 2009 the Adirondack History Center Museum is commemorating John Brown on the 150th anniversary of his death and the return of his body to Essex County. Events are scheduled in Westport and Elizabethtown in recognition of the role Essex County citizens played at the time of the return of John Brown’s body to his final resting place in North Elba. In the cause of abolition, John Brown raided the U. S. arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia on the night of October 16, 1859. The raid resulted in the capture of John Brown and the deaths of his sons Oliver & Watson and his sons-in-law William and Dauphin Watson. John Brown was tried in Charles Town, Virginia on charges of treason and inciting slaves to rebellion and murder. He was found guilty and hanged on December 2, 1859.

John Brown’s body was transported from Harper’s Ferry to Vergennes, VT, accompanied by his widow, Mary Brown. From Vermont the body was taken across Lake Champlain by sail ferry to Barber’s Point in Westport, and the journey continued through the Town of Westport and on to Elizabethtown. The funeral cortege arrived in Elizabethtown at 6 o’clock on the evening of December 6th 1859. The body of John Brown was taken to the Essex County Court House and “watched” through the night by four local young men. Mary Brown and her companions spent the night across the street at the Mansion House, now known as the Deer’s Head Inn. On the morning of December 7th the party continued on to North Elba. The burial of John Brown was on December 8th attended by many residents of Essex County.

The commemorative program on December 6th begins at 1:00 pm at the Westport Heritage House with award-winning author Russell Banks reading from his national bestselling novel, Cloudsplitter, about John Brown, his character and his part in the abolitionist movement. The program continues with a lecture by Don Papson, John Brown and the Underground Railroad, on whether or not Brown sheltered runaway slaves at his North Elba farm. Don Papson is the founding President of the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association. The program continues in Elizabethtown at 3:30 pm at the United Church of Christ with The Language that Shaped the World, a tapestry of sounds, stories and characters portraying the human spirit and the fight for freedom. At 4:30 pm a procession follows John Brown’s coffin from the United Church of Christ to the Old Essex County Courthouse. At 5:00 pm the public may pay their respects at the Old Essex County Courthouse with the coffin lying in state. The program concludes at 5:30 PM with a reception held at the Deer’s Head Inn.

The cost for all events of the day including the Deer’s Head Inn reception is $40 ticket, or a $15 donation covers the programs at the Westport Heritage House and The Language that Shaped the World only. Reservations are requested. The procession and Courthouse are free and open to the public. The Westport Heritage House is located at 6459 Main Street, Westport, NY. The United Church of Christ, is located beside the museum on Court Street, Elizabethtown, NY. For more information, please contact the museum at 518-873-6466 or email echs@adkhistorycenter.org.

The December 6th program is part of a series of events from December 4-8, 2009 presented for the John Brown Coming Home Commemoration through the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau. For a complete schedule of events go to www.johnbrowncominghome.com.


Monday, November 23, 2009

New Scholarship Fund for DEC Conservation Education Camps

Since 1948 when Camp DeBruce opened in the Catskills, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has operated a residential conservation education summer camp for young New Yorkers. Four camps, Camp Colby (near Saranac Lake), at the Pack Demonstration Forest in Warrensburg, and DeBruce and Rushford (downstate), serve children 12 to 14 and also provide locations for week-long Ecology Workshops for 15 to 17-year-olds.

Students who want to attend the camps can choose from one of eight weeks in July and August. They are encouraged to participate in Returnee Week, for campers who have already had the camp program. Returnee week includes special trips and activities and includes more than 200 annual returning campers. According to the DEC, “Returning campers are specially chosen for their demonstrated interest in building upon their outdoor recreation experiences and their knowledge of the state’s natural resources.”

This past week DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis announced that DEC and the National Heritage Trust (NHT) has established a summer camp scholarship fund in memory of Emily Timbrook (above left), a camper who attended and later volunteered at Camp Rushford in Allegany County and who was tragically killed in an automobile accident in April 2009.

The money collected through donations to the scholarship fund will be used for scholarships to send some returning campers to DEC’s summer camps for free.

Those who want to contribute to the scholarship fund to help send a young person to camp can send a check to NHT Camps, c/o Director of Management and Budget Services,
NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-5010.

Those wishing to make a contribution in memory of Emily Timbrook, should write “Emily” in the memo section of the check. NHT is tax exempt pursuant to Section 170(b) of the Internal Revenue Code and has been designated a 501(c)(3) corporation. The Trust will send out acknowledgment letters to donors.

Information and detailed program descriptions of the environmental education camps are
available at www.dec.ny.gov/education/29.html. For additional information contact edcamps@gw.dec.state.ny.us or call 518-402-8014. Registration starts in early February.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Supporting Christie Sausa, Lake Placid Skater

Lake Placid Skater blog author Christie Sausa is looking for our help. Sausa entered a blog contest sponsored by Microsoft Office and the United States Olympic Committee. Two lucky bloggers will win a trip to Vancouver to cover the Olympics on their blog. Last week, Sausa learned that she has been chosen as one of contest’s semi-finalists in the Student Category. The ten semi-finalist were chosen by a panel of celebrity judges, including five-time Olympic gold medalist Bonnie Blair and online video stars Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld from CollegeHumor.com. Now Christie Sausa needs our help – you can vote here.

The next three finalists for each category will be decided by online voting. We can help Sausa by heading over to the contest site and casting your vote for our local favorite. You can vote once per day per email address.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

No Adirondack Park Agency Meeting in December

The Adirondack Park Agency will not hold its December 10-11, 2009 regularly scheduled board meeting. According to an APA press release, “No agency proceedings requiring Board action are necessary before the regularly scheduled January 2010 meeting.” APA Chairman Curtis F. Stiles stated (in the release) that “Due to a lack of actionable content for our December meeting, it is in the best economic interest of the Agency and New York State to cancel our meeting originally scheduled for December 10 and 11, 2009.”

The Agency will resume its monthly meeting schedule January 14 and 15, 2010.

For informtaion about the agency’s meetings, public hearings and other activities visit http://www.apa.state.ny.us/.



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