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

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Mowing blues



by Bibi Wein

We’d been walking since dawn. The midday sun was hot, but the night we’d spent in the forest under a makeshift shelter of hemlock boughs had been cold and long. It was our second summer here. My husband and I had stepped out of our cabin for a short walk before dinner, lost our way. Sixteen hours later, we were still lost in the woods. We’d trudged uphill and down, slogged through swamps, followed old logging roads that led nowhere. Now we were on yet another narrow, winding track, dense with shrubs and wildflowers. Suddenly: a power pole. We were home! Or very nearly so.Until that moment, we hadn’t realized  our own road was as wild as the forest around it. 

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Author Candace O’Connor pens new local history book, A Gem of the Adirondacks: Garnet Lake

by Judy Thomson of the Garnet Lake Conservation Association

Garnet Lake, its north end in Johnsburg and its south in Thurman, is not one of the larger Adirondack lakes nor is it one of the best known.  With three-quarters of the lake surrounded by “Forever Wild” state land, fewer than 50 families live on and around it, though visitors stop by for kayaking and canoeing.

In her new book, A Gem of the Adirondacks: Garnet Lake, author Candace O’Connor—whose family is one of those 50— makes the case that this lake is one of the loveliest, with its undeveloped shoreline and its view of the majestic Crane Mountain. And in his foreword, environmentalist Bill McKibben echoes that view, calling it: “Not the biggest, not the deepest, not the clearest lake that ever was. But the sweetest.”

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Thursday, October 13, 2022

Calling on the Park Service to do more for Indigenous people

National park service logo

As an advocate for our public lands, mainly managed by the US Park Service, I wholeheartedly agree with David Treuer in giving Indigenous peoples enhanced rights and management of their lands (“Return the National Parks to the Tribesthe Atlantic, May 2021). However, I was disappointed to see the lack of coverage of this in the Adirondack Almanack, and hope to create heightened awareness, especially following Indigenous People’s Day this week, and given the significance National Parks have in many residents’ lives in the Adirondack area. Native people should be given much more responsibility, management, and profit from National Parks, and as such, I call on the National Parks Service to put this control into the hands of Indigenous peoples, and you, as readers, to contact NPS and push them to do so.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Statement from Adirondack Health on planned closure of Lake Placid emergency room

lake placid health center

An open letter from Adirondack Health:

Six months ago, spirits at Adirondack Health were running high. We seemed to be on the right side of the COVID-19 pandemic, with things looking up for the first time in a long time.

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Saturday, October 8, 2022

Land trusts are for the birds

Photograph of a sedge wren by Derek Rogers

By Derek Rogers
Stewardship Manager, Adirondack Land Trust

The Adirondack Park has long been a popular destination for bird-watching. Rugged yet accessible wildlands offer visitors and residents the chance to observe species that are not commonly found elsewhere in New York State.

From the highest peaks to the boreal lowlands and down to the shores of Lake Champlain, the mosaic of habitats presents birding opportunities unequaled in the Northeast.

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Thursday, October 6, 2022

It’s Debatable: Environmental Bond Act


Highway and water supervisor Jason Monroe, left, and Town Supervisor Craig Leggett discuss water and sewer issues on Wednesday, June 2, 2021, in Pottersville in the Town of Chester, N.Y. PHOTO BY CINDY SCHULTZ

Editor’s note: This commentary is in the Sept/Oct 2022 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. For more on this issue, read the issue’s cover story by Gwendolyn Craig. Click here to subscribe to the magazine, available in both print and digital formats:

The question: Should voters approve an environmental bond act?

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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Hair ice on Humphrey Mountain

hair ice

By Kent Stanton

I have to credit my brother for bringing “hair ice” into my vocabulary. We had hiked up to the long-abandoned garnet mine site on Humphrey Mountain and were on our way down when he pointed out some odd looking white stuff on a log near the trail. 

A first guess was that this was some kind of fungus but a closer look revealed what appeared to be tiny filaments of ice clumped together forming silky, swirling patterns. Neither of us had seen or heard of anything like this and ice didn’t really make sense. It was November, but the prior week had been unusually mild and we had not seen snow or ice anywhere on the mountain. It was a cool day, with the temperature hovering right at freezing, but the only unusual thing about the weather was that it was noticeably humid. 

» Continue Reading.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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