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]


Monday, January 25, 2021

Gratitude for Partnerships

partnership iconBy Danielle Delaini, Adirondack North Country Association

We at ANCA are struggling (as we imagine many of you are ) to comprehend, process and heal from the deep divisions that are happening in the U.S. today. Sometimes it can feel like our work is such a small drop in a large ocean of economic and social troubles flooding our region and our country. It can feel isolating. It can feel insurmountable.

Of course, it is nothing compared to the weight that minoritized individuals feel in experiencing the same burnt, torn landscape of our nation in this moment.

We recommit ourselves everyday to overcome those feelings and continually move forward — to work at a systems level in order to make outsized impact from a modestly sized organization.

Committing to that hope is possible because we never stand alone.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, January 18, 2021

Window restoration: A panestaking task

By Joanne Uris, Great Camp Sagamore

Even if snow removal isn’t necessary this winter (yeah, right!), Great Camp Sagamore’s Director of Facilities, and Assistant Caretaker, will have plenty of indoor work to keep them busy. Ted and Richard are restoring seventy windows in the Chalet and the Carpenter and Boat Shop.

The labor-intensive process for each window consists of six steps: strip existing paint and glazing, prime, reglaze, prime new glazing, paint two coats.

At the start of the project, it took a minimum of one hour to deglaze each window.  Chipping away at the glazing, and using a heat gun, resulted in occasional breakage of glass.  Twelve windows in, there had to be a more efficient way.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Finally, a solution for Debar Lodge

By Howard Kirschenbaum

Debar Lodge, a grand camp complex listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Franklin County, has been a dilemma for New York State since it took ownership in 1979 and possession in 2004.

Located on the shore of secluded Debar Pond in the Debar Wild Forest unit of the Adirondack Forest Preserve, the lodge and associated buildings were designed by leading Adirondack architect William Distin and represent an outstanding example of rustic log construction. 

Although Debar has great potential for public educational programs and lodging, the state has been unable or unwilling to find legal and appropriate uses for the structures.  Rather it has recently proposed to tear down the buildings and reclassify the land as an Intensive Use area for camping, boating and day use.

Fortunately, there is a better solution—one that preserves and uses the historic buildings in the public interest AND allows public recreational access to Debar Pond and the surrounding Forest Preserve.   

» Continue Reading.


Monday, January 11, 2021

It’s Debatable: Debar Pond Lodge

Coming tomorrow: A coalition proposes a new solution for Debar Lodge.

Before that, we’ll revisit the ongoing debate around this historic structure.

In the Jan/Feb 2021 issue of Adirondack Explorer, we posed the question:

Is there a legal and practical solution for preserving Debar Pond Lodge?

» Continue Reading.


Monday, December 28, 2020

When Jack Frost comes a’calling

hoarfrost

In folklore and literature, Jack Frost is often portrayed as a mischievous guy, sort of Old Man Winter’s younger self. He’s a personification of everything cold. In our region he’s a busy guy, at least for half of the year.

And an artistic one.

He gets credit for painting the trees orange and yellow and red in the fall. And we’re all familiar with ground frost, that harbinger of winter that looks like a dusting of snow. This phenomenon occurs when the temperature of objects near the ground falls below freezing. Water in the air freezes onto objects, sometimes as what looks like frozen dewdrops, sometimes as branched crystals.

Other times, Jack Frost picks up another brush to load everything with the lacy, feathery designs of hoarfrost.

Hoarfrost derives from the old English word “hoary,” meaning, getting on in age. It has the power to excite the poet in us. When you wake on a cold morning and look out to see the entire world — trees, bushes, your car — draped with lacy, feathery crystals glinting in the sunlight, it’s magical. The word “fairyland” comes to mind.

According to John Goff, the lead meteorologist at the National Weather Service Office in Burlington, hoarfrost is a “common occurrence” across the northern tier of the US, but almost nonexistent in areas with dryer, warmer climates. To form, hoarfrost requires a supersaturated column of cold air extending well above the surface of the ground.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Last-minute shop local (and surviving the holidays) guide

By Audrey Schwartzberg, Communications Associate, Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA)

The 2020 holiday season will most certainly look and feel different.

These are stressful times for many of us: financially, emotionally, mentally.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 19, 2020

The moving of a monument

By Diane Parmeter Wills, vice regent of the Saranac Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)

As of 10:15 this morning, November 17, 2020, the Battle of Valcour-Benedict Arnold monument on Route 9 south of Plattsburgh, erected in 1928 by the Saranac Chapter of the DAR, is in the protective hands of Doug McCabe of the DEC and CCHA Past President Roger Harwood waiting for reinstallation at the Peru Dock as the centerpiece of the historic half ship’s wheel designed by the DEC.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

IT’S DEBATABLE: Whitney Park

Editor’s note: This “It’s Debatable” column is running in the Nov/Dec issue of Adirondack Explorer. Click here to subscribe to the digital magazine for only $10/year.

The Question: Should the state pursue buying the Whitney Park estate?  
YES By Peter Bauer 

The 36,000-acre Whitney Park is up for sale. With 22 lakes and ponds and  over 100 miles of undeveloped shore line, this extraordinary tract has been at the  top of New York’s land protection priority list  for 50 years. This sale raises serious issues  for all who are concerned about the future of  the Adirondack Park. First, the state of New  York must buy Whitney Park and add it to  the public forest preserve. Second, we should  not heed the calls of those who want to cap the forest preserve and give up on the 125- year bipartisan and multi-generational success of the forest preserve. 

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Leaf it Alone: Fall tips to help overwintering pollinators

Editor’s note: The following content was provided by AdkAction

When crisp fall weather arrives, and the last flowers of the late-blooming perennials have gone, it’s easy to forget that being a pollinator steward is a year-round job. However, there is much that can be accomplished in the fall to ensure that your local pollinators will thrive in the spring and summer.

While migratory pollinators such as Monarch butterflies and the Rufous hummingbird travel great distances to escape northern winters, many insect pollinators such as moths, butterflies, and bees stay right here all winter long, in a variety of developmental stages that allow them to endure the cold.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, October 19, 2020

Eastern Red Bat sighting

red batHalloween came early this year at the CATS Ancient Oak Trail when CATS Development Director, Derek Rogers, noticed a bat flying around the meadow area adjacent to the forest. It was actively feeding on insects and made a few close passes, allowing for some fun flight photographs.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 18, 2020

In remembrance: Abenaki elder Joseph Alfred Elie Joubert

By Eric Jenks

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of our dear friend, mentor, and educator, Joseph Alfred Elie Joubert. A mainstay of our Abenaki language education program, our Saratoga Native American Festival, and the board here at Ndakinna, we will miss his wit, his caring, and his dedication to the Abenaki community. We will continue to honor his memory and the work that he did in educating the future.

Born May 3rd, 1944 at the Odanak Indian Reservation in the Provence of Quebec, Canada, Joubert was raised by his parents Alfred and Cecile Joubert in both Odanak and Troy, NY.

A man of many strengths, he rose to the rank of Command Master Chief Petty Officer during his 20 years in the Navy. Outside of the Navy, he received an Associate in Arts Degree from Hartford University. A published author, Joubert wrote three books in the Abenaki Language: Language of Basket Making, First Council Fire, and the Abenaki Dictionary with Ndakinna’s Jesse Bruchac.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 17, 2020

Locals Say No To Heartbeat International In The Adirondack Park 

adirondack pregnancy centerBy David Lynch and Carolyn Koestner

Back in March, the Saranac Lake Development Board approved a new “Hospital” to open its doors in town: the innocent-sounding Adirondack Pregnancy Center (APC). However, a closer look at the APC reveals a very nefarious motive, one that poses a great danger to Saranac Lake and the Adirondacks at large. 

» Continue Reading.


Monday, October 12, 2020

The man behind the butterfly house at Paul Smith’s VIC

By Anna M. Butler

Breckinridge “Breck” Chapin of Saranac Lake, New York passed July 11, 2000. He spent the last ten years of his life serving as the Coordinator of Volunteer Services at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center, where he worked to establish the Butterfly House. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 12, 2020

Working together for healthier schools, healthier communities

By Ann Morgan, North Country Healthy Heart Network

For the last five years, the North Country Healthy Heart Network’s Creating Healthy Schools and Communities program has worked with partners across Franklin County to increase access to affordable, nutritious food for all age groups.

Rural municipalities and school districts in Franklin County are frequently isolated from bigger grocery stores and farmers markets, thus limiting access to healthy, fresh produce. Healthier food options help lower the risk of chronic disease and improve health outcomes. Students need nutritious food to perform their best at school, and the tools and education to incorporate healthy living into their lifestyles.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, October 9, 2020

A few words from a young City Visitor (Also Your Neighbor)

By Vanessa Banti

Awake! Open your eyes, my friend from that small Adirondack town. Do you hear the distant sound of my car exiting the Northway? It’s me, the young city dweller! I am coming to visit. 

My Subaru is stuffed with gear, and I’m listening to a liberal podcast. I’ve started driving at 4AM to snag trailhead parking. I’m coming to AirBnB, to regular BnB, to hammock, to hike, to paddle, to leaf peep, to mountain bike, (even to take Instagram photos!) and to generally hang around in your wilderness. Yes, I know, because a lot of people remind me: it’s your wilderness, and I am but a visitor. 

But perhaps you don’t think that last bit is quite right. Since I’ve woken you up, my headlights strafing past your window, I think the least I owe you is an explanation. 

» Continue Reading.



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