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]


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.


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.

» Continue Reading.


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:

» Continue Reading.


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.



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