Almanack Contributor Guest Contributor

Guest Essayist

The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional guest essays from Adirondack residents, visitors, and those with an interest in the Adirondack Park.

Submissions should be directed to Almanack editor Melissa Hart at [email protected]


Sunday, September 27, 2020

The Long Path of New York: A historic note

By James M Schaefer

The Long Path was created in 1931 by my father, the late Vincent J Schaefer (1906-1993). It followed in the tradition of the Appalachian Trail (Georgia to Maine) and The Long Trail of Vermont. Both the AT and Long Trail popularized “End-to-End”—through hiking. 

The Long Path was designed as a corridor rather than as a singular blazed trail. My father’s hiking philosophy was to leave no trace – “all one needs is a compass, map and good woods sense.” From the start his concept was to engage hikers in finding landmarks on the Long Path — a mountaintop, a waterfalls, a geologic anomaly, or a cultural or historic site.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Winter treks can be easier with proper gear

By Joseph M. Dash

Oh the perils of winter camping – at least when you use modern equipment. I read the article, “A Winter Trail Too Far,” (posted Jan. 29, 2020 in the Adirondack Explorer) with great interest. My sympathies to the brave team hiking the Northville-Placid trail in winter. Hearing about the toil of breaking trail, frozen clothes, iced-over boots and the physical exhaustion from days  in the cold made me realize how inadequate modern equipment is for winter.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Left behind: A lesson in the dangers of splitting up on the trail

By Paul Czajkowski

It was a warm clear morning when I met Ben at 4 a.m. to go hiking in the High Peaks of New York’s Adirondack Mountains.  The weather was forecasted to be sunny, dry and very hot (100+°F).

We had a great drive up to the trailhead and arrived around 6:30 a.m., it was already around 80°F.

Our plan for the day was to hike up over Blueberry Mountain and summit Porter, one of the Adirondacks’ designated 46 high peaks.  We made good time getting to the shoulder of Blueberry where we stopped to take a break.  Ben said he wanted to make a video to send to his old college friends back in Ohio.  He said to go on ahead and he would catch up to me.  I went ahead about 100 yards and found a nice rock outcropping facing towards Whiteface where I stopped to have a snack and take a couple pictures. 

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 12, 2020

Commentary: Attracting young people to the region

By Connor Smith, 2020 ANCA Graduate Fellow
My introduction to the Adirondack Park was made through a summer camp in 2016 when a friend convinced me to work in Saranac Lake. As a resident of the West Coast, I was excited for an opportunity to explore the East as I knew nothing about the area. Somewhere along the way, I must have caught the Adirondack bug, because four years later I am back in the area.

I’ve been working this summer as a Graduate Fellow at ANCA, supporting the work of  the Center for Businesses of Transition. As I ponder what my future will look like upon the completion of my fellowship, moving to the North Country is an option I am considering. I do have reservations about transitioning to full time life inside the Blue Line. Here are some of the questions I ask myself:

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Thursday, September 3, 2020

Commentary: The healing power of the forest

Denuding the Adirondack Woods.

There is in the previous sentence a title of a book. There are many reasons why we go into the Wilderness. I go to be away from people and visit my church, if you will excuse the expression.

The natural wonder of nature and of being in a wild place calms my nerves and feeds my soul more than anything else I can do in my day to day life. The Adirondacks feel timeless, and throwback to an early period in American history. Trees, water, rocks, sand, wildlife, all of this profoundly changed during the many periods of ice advancement from Canada almost down to Virginia. Advance and retreat, then repeat and repeat again.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Tread Lightly on the Internet

By Paul Kalac

I was a thirteen or fourteen-year-old boy in the early 80’s when I started fly-fishing for trout.  I’m not sure if I instinctively understood to keep my favorite trout streams to myself, or if I was taught to keep them to myself by the old-timers who made me a fly-fisher. But I was imperfect.  I shared my favorite trout streams with some high school buddies. I know some of those guys were not my closest friends. So there’s no telling with whom they talked after we fished together.  I’m sure word got around to some degree.

A watershed association made up of key groups and individuals formed on my favorite trout stream in the 1990’s and I became secretary. I had since learned that trout streams need friends, not button-lipped fly fishers.  The minds of the old-timers who wanted to keep the stream’s secrets to themselves were flawed; all those who enjoyed or profited from the resource needed to come together to discuss and tackle issues related to the health of the watershed.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Supply chains, from global to local

Hi! My name is Maura Maguire and I graduated this past May from Clarkson University with a Bachelor’s in Global Supply Chain Management and will start my Master’s in Environmental Policy in the fall. During this lengthy economic pause, I have had a lot of time to reflect on my experiences as a supply chain major and watch local and global supply chains alike falter under the pressure of a pandemic.

What is a supply chain? 

The concept of supply chains is thrown around a lot in industry, and it can be difficult to find a clear and concise definition on the topic. I will admit that I chose to be a Supply Chain Major without knowing what a supply chain was! All I knew is that I wanted to work in business and engage in activities that help businesses and communities run efficiently.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Litter Clean-Up Day in Lake Luzerne

By James Sullivan

On July 15,  the Morgan Duke Conservation Society, along with seven new volunteers came together and had a litter clean-up day at the Hudson River Special Management Area, known as the Buttermilk & Bear Slides in Lake Luzerne.

The new volunteers came from Hudson Falls, Glens Falls, Hadley, and Lake Luzerne and other places.  They helped picked up garbage throughout the area, along the road, and around campsites near the Hudson River. Several of the volunteers removed some of the graffiti that was on the rocks.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

PSC VIC marks National Moth Week

By Anna M. Butler

Dr. Janet Mihuc is a biologist who specializes in entomology, which is the study of insects. She is a professor at Paul Smiths College in their Natural Sciences Department where she teaches courses in entomology, aquatic invertebrates, invertebrate zoology, and guides senior students’ research for their capstone projects. For several years she has been building a checklist of the moth species present on Paul Smith’s College lands. She served as the Director of Project Silkmoth, a citizen science project designed to document sightings of giant silk moths in northern New York State. She holds a Doctor of Arts in Biology from the Idaho State University.

National Moth Week is an international citizen science project. It runs July 18-26 this year.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Responding To Call For Help, LGA Partners With Putnam To Solve Issue

By Patrick Dowd

Polluted stormwater isn’t just a problem in developed areas around Lake George. Just last week Lake George Association staff worked with the Town of Putnam’s Highway Superintendent, Gary Treadway, to implement a solution that stems the flow of polluted stormwater and protects the Lake’s water quality.

A small grassy swale (designed to capture stormwater) adjacent to the Town of Putnam Fire Department’s Lake access area in Glenburnie (northern Washington County) was filled to capacity with sediment, causing polluted stormwater to run into the lake and onto the neighbor’s dock and property.

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Saturday, July 18, 2020

It’s Debatable: Restore Mother Nature Bond Act

From the July/August 2020 issue of Adirondack Explorer, editors asked the question: “Is now the right time for New York to move forward with the Restore Mother Nature Bond Act?”
Below is the “YES” response, from John Sheehan of the Adirondack Council and “NO,” from Roger Dziengelski, retired woodlands manager, chief forester and senior vice president for Finch Paper in Glens Falls.
Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!

» Continue Reading.


Friday, July 10, 2020

Sparking widespread interest in composting

Editor’s note: This article is reprinted with permission and first appeared here

Soon, large-scale producers of food waste in NYS will be required to either compost or donate their food waste to food pantries. Like many other states, my guess is that it’s just a matter of time before all landfilling of food wastes will be banned in New York State. Vermont banned residential food waste from landfills this year.

Is it possible to compost everything that comes out of commercial and residential kitchens? Absolutely. Some of you in the Adirondacks have been doing this successfully for decades. However, incorporating meat and dairy into compost systems can be tricky. Until recently.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Courage and cowardice: Now’s the time to act

By Chris Morris

I begin this commentary stating three facts: Black lives matter; systemic racism is real and deeply woven into every fabric of this country; and it is not safe for Black, African American and persons of color to navigate daily life in the Adirondacks and North Country. Whether it’s the very real possibility of being murdered at the hands of the police, or experiencing daily microaggressions and unconscious biases, life for non-white peoples is often precarious.

Since the death of George Floyd, and subsequent protests condemning and denouncing police brutality, I have sat with my thoughts, searching for something to put in words, carefully considering whether my voice is necessary or if it’s taking up space.

Over the weekend, I watched Saranac Lake High School valedictorian Francine Newman stand in front of her peers, parents and teachers to deliver a thoughtful, forceful and deeply personal speech highlighting the racism she experienced growing up as an Asian American in Saranac Lake.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Great Camp Sagamore updates resources for its historic trail network

By Jen Maguder, Great Camp Sagamore’s Program Director

Big Slope BridgeIn mid-May, seasonal staffers Lily Whiteman and Charles Sykes returned to work remotely for Great Camp Sagamore. Their positions are supported by the Payroll Protection Program, introduced by the federal government to encourage workforce retention and hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lily and Charles are helping to upgrade our online resources for visitors to the Historic Great Camps Special Management Area (HGCSMA).

It’s a long title, so we’re calling Lily and Charles’ work the “trails project” for now.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 11, 2020

We All Have A Part Protecting From Invasives

Adirondack Watershed Institute steward watches over the Second Pond boat launch near Saranac LakeBy Walt Lender, Executive Director, Lake George Association (LGA)

A recent release from the Adirondack Council states that virtually all of the trailered boats on the Northway passed right by the boat inspection station set up at the rest area south of Exit 18, which was located there to stop the spread of invasive species throughout the Adirondacks.

It is disturbing news as we head into the busy summer season in northern New York, and as  recognize New York’s Invasive Species Awareness Week (June 7-13).

 

» Continue Reading.



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