Almanack Contributor Guest Contributor

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

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Adirondack Geology on Paradox Lake

Adirondack Marble with folded Amphibolite and Calc-Silicate rock.

Text and photos provided by Stephen L., of Adirondack Aerial & Ground Imagery Showcase Page

While staying at the Paradox Lake State Campground in Paradox NY back in late July. I took a relaxing kayaking paddle on the second day there. It was a nice day and there was hardly any wind or current and not to hot either.
I decided to paddle across Dark Bay and skirt the shore line on the east side not far from the state campground boat launch. I have included a sketch of the path on Google Maps along with some pencil marks in case others would like to see this cool geological outcrop.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Lake Placid Laughs interview featuring Hollie Harper, acclaimed comedian & Lake Placid Film Festival collaborator

Lake Placid Laughs featuring Hollie Harper
Now, in conversation with Noah Ramer

In the first minute of my interaction with the acclaimed comedian and recent Lake Placid Film Festival collaborator, one attribute became immediately apparent: Hollie Harper loves the spoken word. “I’m a linguistics nerd, I love everything from the etymology of words to new slang.” It’s this passion for words and how they resonate across communities and cultures that has influenced every step of Hollie’s professional journey in comedy.

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Innkeepers Wear White Hats: A homage to The Hedges

the hedges book cover

By Roger Kessel 

In the historical and continuing conflict between preserving the natural beauty of the Adirondack Park and fostering economic development, members of the hospitality industry are not infrequently depicted as the bad guys—the black hats willing to forego preservation of the wilderness in a selfish quest for profit. The reality is much more complicated and, based on my experience, the reverse is true.  Let me explain.

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Protecting Monarchs in the Adirondacks

by Lisa Salamon, Adirondack Pollinator Project


The iconic Monarch butterfly was added to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species in July. The List, known as the IUCN Red List, founded in 1964, is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. It uses a set of precise criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and is recognized as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity.

» Continue Reading.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

From Oars to Props: The Transportation Evolution in Long Lake

By Hallie Bond, Town of Long Lake Historian

The Adirondack Canoe Classic, known to many of us as The 90-Miler, is coming up! On September 10, we can stand on the bridge over Long Lake and cheer on those brave souls who are paddling or rowing all the way from Old Forge to Saranac Lake. They will be traveling an ancient route, one that has seen the full range of propulsion options, from human to the gasoline engine. The death this summer of Tom Helms, proprietor for nearly half a century of Helms Aero Service, reminds us that in one Long Lake family we can see most of this evolution happening on this lake over the past 160 years.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, August 26, 2022

An 80+ mile bike ride in the central Adirondacks

bike ride selfie

By Garrett Thelander
Water, check. Spare tube with CO2 cartridge, check. Sun screen, check.  ID, check.  $20 in cash, check.  Ok, with this very rudimentary preflight checklist, I felt ready to embark on a bicycle ride I have had on my radar for some time, the approximately 81 mile loop beginning in Blue Mountain Lake, heading clockwise, first north to Long Lake, then east to Newcomb, then south to Minerva, then on to North Creek, west to Indian Lake, with the finish back at Steamboat Landing in Blue Mountain Lake, where I was staying for the weekend.  I was up in the Adirondacks the weekend starting July 29
th, in order to attend the Adirondack Experience fundraising Gala (I am a Board member of the Experience) that was held on Saturday, July 30th.  My wife was not able to attend, so I had plenty of free time (at least in theory) Saturday before the Gala to accomplish this ride on my own.  

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Commentary: Time to bring back wolves


Wolf (Canis lupus) – captive. Larry Master photo

By Joseph S. Butera
The First Law of Ecology: Complexity brings forth stability:   The more complex an ecosystem is, the more  able  it is to withstand environmental stress.
 E.O. Wilson coined the phrase Bio-diversity, which is another way of saying of keeping an ecosystem more complex and healthy.
We all need to start thinking of ecosystems  as whole units, all the niches contributing to the workings of ecological systems as a whole and intact units of living things.
Predators play a key role in keeping the ecology healthy and complex, by removing the the less fit animals allowing the stronger more fit to survive. They also help control diseases which affect us, such as Chronic Wasting Disease, CWD, Lyme disease, mosquito-borne illnesses, and many others.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

It’s debatable: Keeping out the round goby

round goby

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: The invasive round goby fish.

Q: How can we block invasives from Champlain Canal?

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Adk Council to DEC: Rural communities’ needs should be considered in ‘disadvantaged’ list

adirondack council new logo

Earlier this year, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation held a public comment and meeting period regarding the Draft Disadvantaged Communities Criteria (DAC). This criteria, which is being overseen by the Climate Justice Working Group, will help the state “identify disadvantaged communities to ensure that frontline and otherwise underserved communities benefit from the state’s historic transition to cleaner, greener sources of energy, reduced pollution and cleaner air, and economic opportunities.”

While the Adirondack Council supports the overall effort of the DAC criteria, the focus is on urban and suburban areas of New York. The Council feels the criteria should be updated to include the challenges faced by the rural communities of New York, in particular those in the Adirondack Park. Our comments on the DAC criteria are below, as written by Adirondack Council Director of Conservation Jackie Bowen and Clarence Petty Climate and Conservation Intern Andrea Shipton.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Misnomer: Stoney Creek (a poem)

stoney creek grasses

With clear blue skies and a gentle wind

We paddled on Stoney Creek

The banks aligned with tall swamp maples spread their trunks as if they were elms

Paddling upstream to Little Stoney Pond with tall grasses along the banks— topped with light purple plumes

But there was nary a stone in sight

» Continue Reading.

Monday, August 1, 2022

DNA analysis confirms animal killed in New York state was a wolf

wolf trail cam

DNA analysis of an 85 pound canid shot by a New York hunter in December 2021, has verified the animal to have been a wolf.  The animal was killed in central New York and the hunter posted photos of the animal on social media.  At the time that it was killed, wolves had been removed from the federal Endangered Species list.  They have since been reinstated to the list after a successful lawsuit by wildlife advocates.

In a collaborative effort between the Northeast Ecological Recovery Society (NERS) and the Maine Wolf Coalition (MWC), the hunter graciously provided tissue samples of the animal for DNA analysis, some of which were sent by NERS at considerable expense to the Natural Resources DNA Profiling and Forensic Centre at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.  The DNA analysis was paid for by Protect the Adirondacks. We thank the hunter for his cooperation, without which we would not have gotten samples for analysis.  The findings concluded that the animal was effectively 100% wolf with DNA from Great Lakes wolves, Northwest Territories gray wolves and Eastern wolves, in decreasing order of DNA percentage.  The complex nature and purity of the wolf DNA may be consistent with a wild wolf that dispersed from Canada where various wolf populations are known to intermingle.  » Continue Reading.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Pondering An Old Friend


By D.C. Rohleder

As I sit on a West-facing porch on a humid mid-July morning drinking strong black coffee, my attention  is drawn to an ailing old Friend. This Friend has been a rock for me and others in the 20+ years I have lived here – providing entertainment, respite, and nourishment for myself and numerous species of wildlife. No other organism on my property is more magnanimous.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, July 8, 2022

It’s debatable: Whiteface redesigns

ski patrol on whiteface courtesy whiteface orda

Editor’s note: This first appeared in the May/June 2022 issue of Adirondack Explorer magazine. 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:

The question: Should ORDA reshape Whiteface?

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Once Upon a Dam

indian lake dam

By Daniel Way

Well, we’ve finally done it. The human race, which emerged from the mists of time millions of years ago, needed only two centuries since discovering fossil fuels to belch so much carbon dioxide and methane into the Earth’s atmosphere that our glaciers and permafrost are melting, sea levels are rising, and violent storms are causing massive damage to our farmlands, coastlines and residential areas. According to Bill McKibben, the avatar against climate change and founder of the worldwide environmental movement, mankind has pumped as much CO2 into the atmosphere since 1989 as it did in all of human history before that. Whole countries such as India, Micronesia, The Seychelles, Maldives, and other island countries may become unlivable or submerged, vast swaths of Australia and California are being incinerated, and mass extinctions are underway. Although some countries are belatedly taking real steps to combat climate change, ours as a nation is not one of them. Our individual states are left to deal with the problem in whatever way works best for them, if they do anything at all. 

» Continue Reading.

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.

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