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]


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.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Supply chains, from global to local

Hi! My name is Maura Maguire and I graduated this past May from Clarkson University with a Bachelor’s in Global Supply Chain Management and will start my Master’s in Environmental Policy in the fall. During this lengthy economic pause, I have had a lot of time to reflect on my experiences as a supply chain major and watch local and global supply chains alike falter under the pressure of a pandemic.

What is a supply chain? 

The concept of supply chains is thrown around a lot in industry, and it can be difficult to find a clear and concise definition on the topic. I will admit that I chose to be a Supply Chain Major without knowing what a supply chain was! All I knew is that I wanted to work in business and engage in activities that help businesses and communities run efficiently.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Litter Clean-Up Day in Lake Luzerne

By James Sullivan

On July 15,  the Morgan Duke Conservation Society, along with seven new volunteers came together and had a litter clean-up day at the Hudson River Special Management Area, known as the Buttermilk & Bear Slides in Lake Luzerne.

The new volunteers came from Hudson Falls, Glens Falls, Hadley, and Lake Luzerne and other places.  They helped picked up garbage throughout the area, along the road, and around campsites near the Hudson River. Several of the volunteers removed some of the graffiti that was on the rocks.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

PSC VIC marks National Moth Week

By Anna M. Butler

Dr. Janet Mihuc is a biologist who specializes in entomology, which is the study of insects. She is a professor at Paul Smiths College in their Natural Sciences Department where she teaches courses in entomology, aquatic invertebrates, invertebrate zoology, and guides senior students’ research for their capstone projects. For several years she has been building a checklist of the moth species present on Paul Smith’s College lands. She served as the Director of Project Silkmoth, a citizen science project designed to document sightings of giant silk moths in northern New York State. She holds a Doctor of Arts in Biology from the Idaho State University.

National Moth Week is an international citizen science project. It runs July 18-26 this year.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Responding To Call For Help, LGA Partners With Putnam To Solve Issue

By Patrick Dowd

Polluted stormwater isn’t just a problem in developed areas around Lake George. Just last week Lake George Association staff worked with the Town of Putnam’s Highway Superintendent, Gary Treadway, to implement a solution that stems the flow of polluted stormwater and protects the Lake’s water quality.

A small grassy swale (designed to capture stormwater) adjacent to the Town of Putnam Fire Department’s Lake access area in Glenburnie (northern Washington County) was filled to capacity with sediment, causing polluted stormwater to run into the lake and onto the neighbor’s dock and property.

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Saturday, July 18, 2020

It’s Debatable: Restore Mother Nature Bond Act

From the July/August 2020 issue of Adirondack Explorer, editors asked the question: “Is now the right time for New York to move forward with the Restore Mother Nature Bond Act?”
Below is the “YES” response, from John Sheehan of the Adirondack Council and “NO,” from Roger Dziengelski, retired woodlands manager, chief forester and senior vice president for Finch Paper in Glens Falls.
Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!

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Friday, July 10, 2020

Sparking widespread interest in composting

Editor’s note: This article is reprinted with permission and first appeared here

Soon, large-scale producers of food waste in NYS will be required to either compost or donate their food waste to food pantries. Like many other states, my guess is that it’s just a matter of time before all landfilling of food wastes will be banned in New York State. Vermont banned residential food waste from landfills this year.

Is it possible to compost everything that comes out of commercial and residential kitchens? Absolutely. Some of you in the Adirondacks have been doing this successfully for decades. However, incorporating meat and dairy into compost systems can be tricky. Until recently.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Courage and cowardice: Now’s the time to act

By Chris Morris

I begin this commentary stating three facts: Black lives matter; systemic racism is real and deeply woven into every fabric of this country; and it is not safe for Black, African American and persons of color to navigate daily life in the Adirondacks and North Country. Whether it’s the very real possibility of being murdered at the hands of the police, or experiencing daily microaggressions and unconscious biases, life for non-white peoples is often precarious.

Since the death of George Floyd, and subsequent protests condemning and denouncing police brutality, I have sat with my thoughts, searching for something to put in words, carefully considering whether my voice is necessary or if it’s taking up space.

Over the weekend, I watched Saranac Lake High School valedictorian Francine Newman stand in front of her peers, parents and teachers to deliver a thoughtful, forceful and deeply personal speech highlighting the racism she experienced growing up as an Asian American in Saranac Lake.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Great Camp Sagamore updates resources for its historic trail network

By Jen Maguder, Great Camp Sagamore’s Program Director

Big Slope BridgeIn mid-May, seasonal staffers Lily Whiteman and Charles Sykes returned to work remotely for Great Camp Sagamore. Their positions are supported by the Payroll Protection Program, introduced by the federal government to encourage workforce retention and hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lily and Charles are helping to upgrade our online resources for visitors to the Historic Great Camps Special Management Area (HGCSMA).

It’s a long title, so we’re calling Lily and Charles’ work the “trails project” for now.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 11, 2020

We All Have A Part Protecting From Invasives

Adirondack Watershed Institute steward watches over the Second Pond boat launch near Saranac LakeBy Walt Lender, Executive Director, Lake George Association (LGA)

A recent release from the Adirondack Council states that virtually all of the trailered boats on the Northway passed right by the boat inspection station set up at the rest area south of Exit 18, which was located there to stop the spread of invasive species throughout the Adirondacks.

It is disturbing news as we head into the busy summer season in northern New York, and as  recognize New York’s Invasive Species Awareness Week (June 7-13).

 

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Thursday, June 11, 2020

‘Celebrate Paddling’ month to forge ahead, in new ways

celebrate paddlingJune is Celebrate Paddling month in the Adirondacks, but it will look a lot different this year because of COVID-19. Starting three years ago, outfitters, guides, community leaders, students and more have teamed up each June to participate in clinics, guided trips, races and river clean-ups across the Tri-Lakes region of the Adirondack Park.

The goal of Celebrate Paddling ADK is in the name — it’s an occasion to acknowledge the incredible role that paddling plays in communities across the Adirondacks and the Northern Forest as a whole. Paddling supports local economies, strengthens our bond with nature and keeps us physically and mentally healthy.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Neighbors Helping Neighbors: The Hamilton Helps Initiative

Earlier this winter, as the Blue Mountain Center (a social justice oriented conference center and artist residency in Blue Mountain Lake) began considering the possibility of cancelling its spring/summer programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic, staff began to think about how to best re-orient to serve the local Adirondack community.

As the severity of the crisis became clear, the creation of Hamilton Helps, a partnership between BMC, Hamilton County services, community leaders and residents, was set into motion. Beginning with seniors and residents in need, the project seeks to ensure first and foremost that Hamilton County residents have access to food. The project has now grown, and Sawyer Cresap (originally hired to join the BMC staff as an innkeeper/cook) has adopted the position of community coordinator. 

Sawyer (pictured here) spends much of her time working with local organizations like the Indian Lake Community Development Corporation and Hamilton County Community Action,  plugging into projects from all over the region — everything from applying for funding to support local food security initiatives, to arranging for a loaned chest freezer to be moved from Eagle Nest to the Indian Lake Theater (where it now sits packed with food for use by a local food pantry,) to collaborating with local mask making efforts and news outlets to ensure that residents are updated about available services and support. 

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

In search of spring salamanders

By Thompson Tomaszewski, Lead Naturalist, Paul Smith’s College VIC

Every resident of the Park marks the changing of the seasons in their own way. We all joke about the “12 seasons of the Adirondacks” that include second winter, false spring, mud season (followed by third winter) and so on as if we are bothered by the seasonality of our landscape, but that is far from the truth. Us blue-liners have come to terms with our seasonal lives, and find excitement in the signs of seasonal changes.

The call of spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) (pictured at left) is by far my favorite sound; no noise of any other critter compares. I could sit and listen for hours on end to their high pitched peeps. This, to me, is the song of spring in the Adirondacks.

Laced into this soprano song is the clucking call of the wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus). Their rough tune is starkly contrasted with that of their neighbor’s but is equally a part of this choir that I’ve come to know and yearn for each April.

This choir is my favorite for two reasons: 1) it’s pleasing to the ear, and 2) it means that salamanders are getting ready to move.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 30, 2020

Ode to an outhouse, and gatherings with old friends

By Susan Hennessey

There are many things that bring joy to my life; the majesty of the Adirondacks, the deep cold lakes nestled in those mountains, the endless trails for hiking, the smoke that unfurls from the chimneys of the sweet cabins that dot the woods, and believe it or not my girlfriend Margie’s outhouse. 

Yes, her outhouse is like no other. Located at the foot of Whiteface Mountain on the outskirts of Margie’s summer campsite sits the most darling outhouse. It was built from love and a whole lot of hard work.

My high school girlfriend Margie and her husband Brian were fortunate enough to have inherited a plot of land near Whiteface that they have been developing for 30 something years into the most efficient, adorable, campsite. LL Bean and Campmore would rival to have its photograph on the cover of their yearly catalogues. Blood sweat and tears have driven this project.

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Saturday, May 9, 2020

Quarantine reads: Excerpt from ‘Mountain Shadows’

Set in 1925, Mountain Shadows (written by Lake Placid native Patti Brooks) tells the tale of a poor, young couple, Joe and Alice Devlin, who come to the Adirondacks seeking a cure for the wife’s tuberculosis. Alice is placed in a “cure cottage” in Saranac Lake. Joe, a wiz of an auto mechanic, lands a job in the Lake Placid Club’s garage. Finding that Alice’s treatment costs far more than the Club can pay him, Joe takes up with bootleggers who are running liquor from the Canadian border through the Adirondacks to the big cities farther south.

(Introduction to the excerpt:  Joe Devlin has been accosted and left for dead on his walk from NYC to Saranac Lake in order to be with his wife who is taking the TB cure.)

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