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, 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.

» Continue Reading.


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!

» Continue Reading.


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.”

» Continue Reading.


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.

» Continue Reading.


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.

» Continue Reading.


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.

» Continue Reading.


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.

» Continue Reading.


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.


Thursday, March 11, 2021

Black Tuberculosis Patients in Saranac Lake

Black TB patientsBy Chessie Monks-Kelly, Historic Saranac Lake

Following Black History Month, we have been thinking about something we’re often asked about at the Saranac Laboratory Museum – were there Black TB patients in Saranac Lake, and where did they stay? We know that as long as people came to Saranac Lake and the Adirondacks for their health, Black patients were among them. One early health-seeker was Henry Ossawa Tanner, who was one of the first Black artists to be internationally famous. He first came to Rainbow Lake for his health in 1878, five years after Dr. Trudeau.

Due to accidental loss or intentional destruction of records from the sanatoria, cure cottages, and public agencies following the closure of the TB industry, there is a lot that we don’t know. We have large gaps in our knowledge about the names, hometowns, race, and more of patients coming to Saranac Lake and where they stayed. This is true for patients of all races. But it is also true that Black patients were excluded from certain sanatoria and cure cottages, and did not have access to the same resources that white patients did.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 4, 2021

Group makes a Hornbeck canoe, donates it to Loon Center raffle

Hornbeck canoe

 

By Daniel Way

As the dismal year of 2020 circled the drain in the waning months of summer, the tremendous impact of the COVID pandemic was being felt throughout the country, including the Adirondacks. Even the League of Extraordinary Adirondack Gentlemen, our tongue-in-cheek group of men of a certain age who enjoy an annual outing within the Blue Line found it hard to convince our significant others (and ourselves) that we could behave, stay safe, and maintain social distancing while having fun around a campfire for over 24 hours. In order to justify our continued existence, we needed to think outside the box.

Although the hiking trails and campsites we usually frequented were being heavily used as a welcome escape from the news cycle and the virus, the many non-profit organizations that help local causes were taking a financial beating.  In the end we decided to combat the coronavirus’s negative impact on fund-raising for Adirondack non-profit organizations by using our combined manpower in an altruistic fashion. The inspiration for a new agenda came from our senior member Peter Hornbeck who, as he often does, came up with a simple yet clever idea. (Editor’s note: See Dan’s poignant tribute to Pete Hornbeck, who passed away Dec. 26, 2020)

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Lake George is ‘iced-in’ as of Feb.11

skate sailors on lake georgeFrom the Lake George Association (LGA):

 The LGA, in consultation with our members — and our friends at the Darrin Fresh Water Institute — have determined that “Ice-In” for Lake George was Thursday morning, Feb. 11, 2021.

We expect there were a few areas without ice on Feb. 11, as occurs every year, but the conditions met the definition of “ice-in” we have always used: when someone could walk from one end of the Lake to the other solely on the ice – though it is NOT SAFE TO WALK ON YET in some areas!

Much of the Lake had already frozen by that time, but the stubborn area in Hague had open water across the Lake through Tuesday, Feb. 9. The wind stopped after the snow on Tuesday night and the rest froze.

The Lake did not fully freeze last year, so it is the first time it is fully covered in ice since 2019. (Ice-out in 2019 was April 13, Ice-in in 2019 was January 22.)

In fact, according to LGA records that date back to 1908, the Lake has stayed “open” (not fully frozen over) seven of the last 21 years.

Skate sailors on Lake George/Almanack file photo


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Skidmore College Students Investigate Inclusivity in the Adirondack Park

Adirondack Park MapThe Adirondack Park is a recreational destination in Upstate New York with more than 12 million visitors to the Park every year. While public lands are owned by all, and should be a welcoming, safe, and inclusive space, racial and economic disparities affect visitors, visitation rates, as well as perceptions of inclusion and safety.

While the Park is open to the public (with hardly any visitor fees), the Adirondacks attract predominantly white, male visitors. Research has traced this disparity as far back as the 18th century, when slavery was a harsh reality within the area.

This structural inequality has persisted to this day, with racially-targeted incidents, such as racist graffiti, have occurred in the Adirondack park. One of these occurrences targeted a regular park visitor, a Black woman who lives near the area. This unacceptable treatment of visitors of color is a pattern, bringing the divide apparent in the 18th century present to today.

One of the organizations working to combat this is the Adirondack Diversity Initiative, a collective which is seeking to make changes in the diversity and inclusion of the park. They are continually promoting equity and inclusivity by offering diversity training programs and educational resources about race. In addition, they are working with other groups, such as the Adirondack Mountain Club, who are focusing their efforts on getting children more comfortable and excited about being outdoors, while also teaching about the importance of an inclusive park.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Seagle Music Colony changes name to Seagle Festival

Seagle Music Colony logoUpdate from Tony Kostecki, General Director:

From our founding in 1915 Seagle has been a place for singers to study and learn. In the early years the use of colony in our name was very appropriate as the beautiful Adirondack campus in Schroon Lake was a place to retreat for study.

Over the years, however, we have added many facets to our mission and operations which work in opposition to the idea of Seagle as a retreat.

Most obvious is that we now produce high-quality performances for the public in addition to our work training top-tier emerging vocalists. Furthermore, we have become an incubator for new works of music theater in our summer and fall seasons. These initiatives are all pursued with an eye to the public and the greater opera field.

» Continue Reading.