Almanack Contributor Guest Contributor

Guest writer

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, July 4, 2022

The Rebranding of American Wilderness, as seen through historic postcards

historic postcard

By Margie Amodeo

In his “Essay on American Scenery,” Thomas Cole wrote that whether an American “beholds the Hudson mingling water with the Atlantic – explores the central wilds of this vast continent, or stands on the margins of distant Oregon, he is still in the midst of American scenery – it is his own land; its beauty, its magnificence, its sublimity – all are his; and how undeserving of such a birthright, if he can turn towards it an undeserving eye, an unaffected heart!”

Those who read the Adirondack Almanack regularly know it is not revolutionary to write that tourism in the Adirondacks became a model for tourism in the American consciousness. What has made such an impression on me, scanning over 1,200 postcards as a part of a digitization project in the Adirondack Research Library at the Kelly Adirondack Center of Union College, is how inextricably linked Adirondack tourists’ experiences are with American identity. 

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 3, 2022

NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery July Exhibit Features Catherine Hartung and Damon Hartman

by Susan Whiteman 

NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery members Catherine Hartung and Damon Hartman are having a dual featured show during the month of July. The exhibit, “Turning Color,” opened on Friday, July 1 at 85 Main Street in Saranac Lake.

Catherine went to school for fine art, worked as a graphic artist, and currently creates distinctive, colorful paintings in acrylic and watercolor.  She has been a member of NorthWind since 2013.

Damon, who is a forester and woodturner, joined the gallery last year.  They were immediately drawn to one another’s work. When Catherine asked Damon if he’d like to have an exhibit with her, he immediately said yes and notes, “I think we are both connected to the forest.”

The feeling was mutual.

“I think that all of Damon’s wood working is another way the trees tell a story,” Catherine added. “That thought was behind my initial inspiration to collaborate with Damon. I felt like we were both telling the trees’ story.”

» Continue Reading.


Friday, May 27, 2022

Celebrate Paddling ADK launches a month of events

celebrate paddling logo

By Rivka Cilley

Canoeing is so ingrained in our heritage here in the Adirondacks that it is easy to overlook and take for granted.  With free public access to lakes and rivers in every direction, it is possible to jump on a paddle board, slide into a kayak, or step into a canoe for a day or a week.  Locals are fortunate to be surrounded by state land that is clean and protected.  Many people in the area can trace their ancestors back to the original settlers or native people who came to the Adirondacks.  Water routes were the most efficient means of travel prior to the invention of motorized vehicles.  Many of the canoe routes and portages that we recreate on today were used as trading routes or for fishing.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 12, 2022

Current Events: Exploring via a new canoe

canoe

 

 

By Zach Lawrence

I had been eyeing this section of river for a few years now. Its twists and turns carved through the High Peaks anorthosite in an irresistible ribbon of smooth mountain drainage.  I used to drive along its banks every day last winter on my way to work at Cascade when it was covered in snow and ice. The way the snow blanketed it was just too tranquil not to dream of paddling the water when it was liquid again. All I needed then was spring and a boat, and I spent the winter scheming up a plan to acquire the latter.

This past summer I had the good fortune of working in the Vermont paddle-tourism industry. Dollars from Massachusetts and Connecticut accumulated in my pockets hoping to be turned into a watercraft. Come November, I took a nice chunk of those dollars over to Tupper Lake and spent them on a Minnesota-made canoe. Late this April, I plunked that canoe into the river here in Lake Placid just a tri-lake over from where I first held a single-blade paddle. How’s that for full circle?

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Septic systems need funds to start fixes flowing

By David Miller, Adirondack Council Clean Water Program Coordinator

Failing septic systems are degrading pure waters in the Adirondack Park. Many of these waterbodies serve as drinking water supplies for the Park’s year-round and seasonal residents and visitors.

Thankfully, the New York State historic Clean Water Fund includes septic replacement grant funds for homeowners. Under this program, money is allocated in bulk amounts to counties that then provide grants to homeowners who have applied for them. Homeowners can receive up to $10,000 in these grants to help them pay for their septic system replacements, which typically range between $15,000 and $30,000. These grants make an enormous difference to residents in the rural counties by making septic improvements affordable.

There is a great need for this funding in the Adirondacks, but the question remains why so little of this money has actually made its way to the Park.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 24, 2022

Debatable: Solar projects

solar panels

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Adirondack Explorer’s March/April 2022 issue, in its ongoing “It’s Debatable” column. Click here to subscribe. The topic: Solar projects in the Adirondacks.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, April 18, 2022

Town of Hague opposes use of milfoil herbicide in Lake George

Blair's Bay on Lake George is site of proposed herbicide treatmentThe Lake George Park Commission (LGPC) applied for and was granted on April 14 a permit from the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) to put the herbicide ProcellaCOR into Lake George at two pilot sites: Blair’s Bay in Glen Burnie and Sheep Meadow Bay in Hulett’s Landing. Although both sites are located on the east side of the lake, they are part of the Town of Hague, whose boundaries extend to the eastern shoreline.  

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 17, 2022

A dog’s-eye view of the ADK-9 Challenge

murphy on the K9 challenge

By Moose Murphy

When I was a puppy, my Uncle Ray often came to my house to see Papa (Joe). I was so excited to see Uncle Ray that I would run to the front door as fast as my little paws could scurry across the floor. I was taught not to jump on people or go crazy when a visitor came to our house, but I couldn’t help running circles around Uncle Ray and doing figure-eights in between and around his legs. He always says, “That’s a good lookin’ dog you got there, Joe!”

Uncle Ray stayed for a short time before Papa grabbed his backpack and headed out the door with him. I had so many questions for Papa as he patted me on the head and said goodbye. Where are you going? Why can’t I go? When will you be home? Papa and Uncle Ray smiled and joked as they left, so I thought wherever they were headed it was going to be fun. When Papa returned home happy and sometimes muddy and dirty, I knew he had a great time.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 27, 2022

The Forest for the Trees: Remembrance of Frank Dorchak by his son

frank dorchak

By F. P. (Frank) Dorchak

It was 2:20 p.m. February 20, 2022.

I stood in the middle of my dad’s workshop, listening to the drone of the space heater switching on and off against the howling winter swirling and eddying outside the building. I imagined my dad, here, by himself…working on all his woodwork under the bright LED lighting lining the ceiling and beams…calming, classical music playing in the background…puffing on a pipe when he was smoking, otherwise not…his presence—honed from a lifetime of being underwater, in the woods, and helping and leading others—permeating everything. Hands confidently and skillfully manipulating wood to conform to his will, his specifications…smoothing it over…verifying its obedience…

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Timbuctoo Institute would build opportunity in the Adirondacks

john brown and timbuctoo

By Aaron Mair

The Adirondack Park is a national treasure because our ancestors had the foresight in the 1880s and 1890s to protect its forests and waters as a legacy for future generations to inherit and enjoy. Creating the Forest Preserve and the “forever wild” clause of the state constitution were bold, new ideas.

Now, more than 120 years later, we can see how smart our ancestors were. The Adirondack Park was transformed in less than a century from a smoldering mess of wildfires, clear-cut forests and muddy rivers into the world’s largest intact, temperate deciduous forest. Today, it hosts most of the rare forest wildlife, wilderness and old-growth forest remaining in the Northeast.

What caused people as far away as New York City to act?

 

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Improving APA Procedures Will Not Result in the Visionary Planning Needed. What Will?

APA sign regional planning

This is prompted by David Gibson’s op-ed a week or so ago. David calls for the APA to return to its former practice of reporting finds of fact. He believes, as I read him, that this would justify the exemption of the agency from New York’s environmental review law, SEQRA, and result in better decisions.

I agree. Experience throughout the U.S. makes it clear that the best way, which is to say the most disciplined and defensible way to report significant land use decisions is in the form of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The terminology can vary, but these functions are essential. I will also take David’s argument further. Proposed findings and conclusions should be available for public review and comment before the public hearing that should precede all significant land-use decisions. That’s the minimum transparency needed.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 10, 2022

Five Loons Rescued on Lake Champlain

By Eric Teed

Our crew has a lunch policy. “Not a rule mind you, just a policy” put forward years ago by John Rosenthal. Lunch may not be taken before noon, seating should be comfortable, in the sun, and out of the wind. Given we had been skating for hours on incredible black ice, we were euphoric and ravenous. The speck of dirt called Diamond Island in Lake Champlain’s Narrows would have to do. Then, I saw the loons. I almost missed lunch, and the next day would be one I will always remember.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 17, 2022

Calling on New York State Leaders to Protect Lake Champlain from Invasive Species

 

round gobyBy Peg Olsen

Here in the Adirondack region, we know how special Lake Champlain is. It provides year-round recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike and drives our local economies. It hosts some of the best fishing in the nation and is home to an abundance of wildlife. Lake Champlain provides so much to our communities, and now we need the state to step up and protect it.

Invasive species outcompete native wildlife and cause severe harm to our ecosystems and our economies. Their proliferation can lead to the extinction of native plants and animals and threaten our way of life.

Lake Champlain is facing that threat now, with the looming introduction of invasive round goby. Round goby is a small fish species native to southeastern Europe that arrived in the Great Lakes 31 years ago in a ship’s untreated ballast water. Round gobies aggressively outcompete native fish for habitat and feed on their eggs and young, harming native fisheries and local businesses.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 10, 2022

Keeping a healthy habitat for grouse

ruffed grouse

By Suzanne Treyger

Bruce and Gail Cushing knew they had a diverse property before they started connecting with forestry professionals.

Located in Clemons, (Washington County), the Cushings’ 117 acres has a variety of mature tree species – maples, beech, birches, eastern hemlock, oaks, and some large shagbark hickory. Interspersed throughout the mature forest are openings of different sizes that are full of young, regenerating forest.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Psychologist’s Question of Courage While Facing TB in ADKs Resonates amid COVID-19

Rollo May

 

By James Schlett

Eighty years ago, in 1942, a graduate student named Rollo May was diagnosed with Tuberculosis, the early twentieth century’s version of COVID-19. He later joined the thousands of people who retreated to the Adirondacks to help save them from the disease, which what was then known as “the captain of death.” At the time of his diagnosis, May was a former pastor who had recently enrolled in a psychology program at Columbia University Teachers College in New York. Tuberculosis had threatened to cut short this life that showed so much promise and later heralded the American existential psychology movement.

» Continue Reading.



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