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]


Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Applauding the Plattsburgh Compact

The historic collaboration between the city and town of Plattsburgh — both anchors of the upstate New York economy — is a commitment by local and regional leaders to strive for transformational and generational change that creates harmony, prosperity and lasting impacts for the people and businesses of the greater Plattsburgh region and the North Country.

As community based nonprofit organizations, we applaud the groundbreaking Plattsburgh Compact. We recognize that this promise of collaboration goes deeper than the typical duties of local government, creating a tangible spirit of partnership through public service.

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Thursday, May 6, 2021

It’s Debatable: Hiking permits

AMR lotEditor’s note: This commentary is in the March/April 2021 issue of Adirondack Explorer magazine, as part of our “It’s Debatable” feature. In this regular column, we invite organizations and/or individuals to address a particular issue. Click here to subscribe to the magazine, available in both print and digital formats: www.adirondackexplorer.org/subscribe.

The question: Should the Adirondack Mountain Reserve require reservations?

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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Is the Adirondack Park dying for recreational activities?

Class II Snowmobile connector trailBy Harsh Vaish, Skidmore College

The Department of Environmental Conservation – henceforth referred to as DEC – has been developing plans for major community connector snowmobile trails between Adirondack communities for a number of years. Protect the Adirondacks first sued the DEC in 2013, contending the trials cause significant environmental damage and violate the Constitutional clause for the ‘forever wild’.

Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, the environmental organization that sued to block the construction said the litigation is about Class 2 snowmobile trails and not hiking trails. He specifically called out the Adirondack Mountain Club and Open Space Institute’s concerns “specious claims.”

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Tree cutting lawsuit: A timeline and background

Class II Snowmobile connector trailA timeline of events that lead to today’s court decision:

  • Protect the Adirondacks launched this lawsuit against the Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency in 2013 alleging that Class II trails violated Article 14, Section 1, of the New York State Constitution due to excessive tree cutting and terrain alterations.
  • Protect the Adirondacks and its expert witnesses undertook extensive fieldwork in 2012-13 and in 2015-16 to document abuses to the Forest Preserve. Counts of over 16,000 tree stumps on Class II trails, with diameter measurements and GPS locations, including photographs of over 12,000 tree stumps, were made.
  • In the summer of 2016 Protect the Adirondacks obtained a temporary restraining order that stopped all tree cutting by the state on Class II trails after the first 34 miles of trails were in various stages of development. The DEC and APA had approved plans for a network of hundreds of miles of Class II trails in the Forest Preserve in the Adirondacks.
  • In early 2017, a 13-day trial was held in state Supreme Court in Albany. In December 2017 the trial judge ruled against Protect the Adirondacks. In 2018, Protect the Adirondacks appealed to the Appellate Division, Third Department, which in a 4-1 decision overturned the lower court’s ruling in July 2019. In 2020, the DEC and APA appealed to the Court of Appeals. Oral arguments were held in March 2021 at the Court of Appeals. Today, the Court of Appeals ruled 4 to 2 in favor of Protect the Adirondacks that the DEC and APA have violated the forever wild clause of the New York State Constitution.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Court of Appeals: Snowmobile trails violate state constitution

  • Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Protect the Adirondacks, Finds Cuomo Administration Violated Forever Wild Clause of State Constitution
  • The Cuomo administration’s plan to expand motorized use on the public Forest Preserve in the Adirondacks by building hundreds of miles of wide Class II snowmobile trails was ruled unconstitutional by the state’s highest court.
  • This historic decision will shape Forest Preserve management for decades to come.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, May 3, 2021

Poetry: Hermits

Hermits

Han Shan, Cold Mountain, that Zen sage

1200 years ago enjoyed a view from his cave

better than the Emperor saw when he

looked out his windows in the Forbidden City.

Han Shan also used–with the other monks

from the caves around his– a heated pool

at least four times a month.

Living in his own stench was not his style.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 2, 2021

Housing in the Adirondack region: one crisis away from crumbling

House fire adirondacksBy Alexis Subra, Membership & Events Coordinator, Adirondack North Country Association

The COVD-19 Era is not the first time a large crisis spurred an affordable housing shortage in the North Country. From pandemics to terrorist attacks, communities across the Adirondack Park have felt the economic shockwaves of global events. As a region, as long as we remain passive towards the issue of accessible housing and the negative impacts it has on our workforce, we will always be one crisis away from crumbling our economy.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

When the rescuers become the rescued

eagle pastelBy Wendy Hall

The Adirondack Wildlife Refuge LLC has always worked tirelessly to help preserve wildlife through direct public outreach. A mission right from our hearts we share with all of you and with hard work and perseverance we will continue to perform well into the future. We do however have some hills to climb to ensure that we can continue to provide you with a wholesome and safe place to bring your entire family and admire the incredible “ambassador” animals that we share the planet with. We do this in the form of non-releasable species who are given a lifesaving forever home and happy stimulating environment while we share their story with all of you.

We are currently raising funds to build a “required” 1,500-foot parameter fence to ensure regulatory compliance, by June 1 (a matter of weeks from now). This mandated and difficult project is over $100k to complete. It’s a tough hill for us to climb but with all of your support, I know we can and must achieve this to keep our bears and wolves and many other animals home!

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Friday, April 16, 2021

Should NYS cull feral cats?

feral catBy Hunter Peters

In the United States, we have invested significant government resources toward the control of invasive species populations, with the aim of reducing their impact on native species. But there is one invasive species that has largely avoided this level of government investment and public attention: the domestic cat. For cat lovers in particular, the idea of cats being an invasive species probably borders on offensive (full disclosure: I’m really more of a dog person.)

However we may feel, though, the fact remains that cats are not native to the United States, and as birdwatcher Noah Strycker puts it, in order to find a “more successful” invasive species, “you’ll need a mirror.”

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Monday, April 5, 2021

Commending healthcare orgs for work to address chronic disease

heart graphicBy Ann Morgan

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an enormous strain on health systems in the North Country, requiring them to respond to a multitude of immediate, pressing needs — and they’ve done an admirable job given extraordinary circumstances.

Perhaps more admirable, though, is the work the North Country Healthy Heart Network’s partners have done to continue long term, proactive programs aimed at reducing the risk of chronic disease. Through the North Country Chronic Disease Prevention Coalition, these organizations are demonstrating a commitment to replicating a successful program piloted by Adirondack Health: Moving Forward Together (MFT) to Prevent Diabetes.

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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Spring comes to the mountains

springBy Patti Reiss Brooks

With windows shut, curtains drawn, and doors firmly latched against a long cold winter, no one heard her come on a breeze scented with sunshine and earth. She wore a fluttery light green dress that left her slim arms bare. Her slippered feet appeared to float over the hardened snow and in her wake birds, like bridesmaids, flew, singing their joy in following her.

If they had been looking they’d see how the drifts parted as she came down the mountain pass.

North Wind noticed and was not pleased with the ease she slipped in, softening his winter’s work. He reigned with a force that snapped trees as though they were twigs. Everything sought shelter and shivered when he howled. They cowered when he blustered. But this one … she didn’t lower her head in proper acquiesces when he blew.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Elizabeth ‘Bessie’ Little: Suffragette and charter member of ADK

Elizabeth W. Little was born in 1884, probably in the grand home that her grandparents built in Menands on the south side of the Menand Road in the 1860’s.

She was the daughter of Charles W. Little and Edith Elizabeth Herbert.  Elizabeth was the youngest of three daughters born to the C.W. Little family.   Elizabeth’s grandfather was Weare C. Little,  who was born in Bangor, Maine but moved to the Albany area and established a very successful book publishing and selling business on State Street in Albany by 1828.  By 1868, Weare C. Little’s name appears in the Albany City Directories as residing at Menands.   Tax records of 1870-71 show that he owned 46 acres of land with buildings in Menands.

The W.C. Little’s publishing company was very profitable, enabling him to purchase the 46 acres of very desirable land on the south side of the Old Menand Road just west of the present day entrance to the Sage Estate.  His land continued westward up the old Menand Road to a point about opposite of the present day intersection with Schuyler Road.

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Monday, March 22, 2021

A New Day is Dawning on Lake George Protection

Lake GeorgeBy Walt Lender, Executive Director, Lake George Association and Eric Siy, Executive Director, The FUND for Lake George

The unprecedented threats imperiling the water quality of Lake George demanded a game-changing response. It came on March 9.

In a move that was both visionary in purpose and difference-making in action, the boards of the Lake George Association and The FUND for Lake George approved a merger that will create a single new preeminent and more powerful protector for the Queen of American Lakes.

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Sunday, March 21, 2021

It’s Debatable: Green amendment

Boreas River headwaters. Photo by Phil Brown 9/5/16.Editor’s note: This commentary is in the March/April 2021 issue of Adirondack Explorer magazine, as part of our “It’s Debatable” feature. In this regular column, we invite organizations and/or individuals to address a particular issue. Click here to subscribe to the magazine, available in both print and digital formats: www.adirondackexplorer.org/subscribe.

The question: Should clean air and water be added to the New York State Bill of Rights?”

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 13, 2021

Living ‘leave no trace’ principles mean speaking up in the moment

Brandon Wiltse photo

By Tyler Merriam, Donor Outreach Associate, Ausable River Association

Most of us recognize that throwing orange peels on the trail and leaving toilet paper on the ground does not leave the Adirondack ecosystem in its natural state. But how do we communicate that to less experienced outdoor recreationists? The answer, I believe, is to help people understand how their actions affect the areas they care about. The next time you’re hiking that special trail or paddling that glassy pond and see someone do something less than ideal, put your anger aside and give that person the benefit of the doubt. Remind them what a beautiful resource we have here and how lucky we all are to experience it together. Then, as a fellow recreationist, share with them the lessons you’ve learned over the years to keep this resource from being loved to death. Once outdoor enthusiasts develop their own land ethics, they’re far more likely to pass them along to friends, family, and the next generation of Adirondack stewards.

» Continue Reading.