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, 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.


Thursday, January 28, 2021

A librarian’s memories of working at ‘The Club’ and Dewey’s legacy

By Wayne Miller

Gary Peacock’s piece on Melvil Dui, nee Melville Dewey, spurred my memories about both ‘The (Lake Placid) Club’ and Mr. Dewey.

Dewey had additional connections to the Adirondacks: The Library Bureau and its plant in Ilion produced a number of innovative products constructed of Adirondack maple and other hardwoods, including the card catalog cabinets that used to greet patrons as they entered every library. These and other library staples were needed to implement the Dewey Decimal System. While online catalogs have decimated card catalogs, some of the Library Bureau’s products, like the book truck, remain staples of libraries and bookstores world-wide.

Prior to the system’s invention by Melvil, libraries were arranged using an assortment of methods including when the book was added to the collection, the size of the book, or its color. The system itself was dependent upon use of a printed work whose size and complexity grew as the sum total of recorded human knowledge grew. By the third quarter of the 20th century, the full Dewey Decimal System had grown to three large, thick volumes or, for smaller libraries, an Abridged version, itself several inches thick. Used by over 80% of the world’s libraries, each of the more than twenty new editions became an essential purchase for every library using the DDS. This extensive recurring market and the profits it generated became a part of a brilliant tax avoidance scheme.

» Continue Reading.


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.



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