John Warren has been exploring the woods and waters of the Adirondacks for almost 50 years. After a career as a print journalist and documentary television producer he founded Adirondack Almanack in 2005 and co-founded the geolocation services company Adirondack Atlas in 2015.
John remains active in traditional media. His Adirondack Outdoors Conditions Report can be heard Friday mornings across the region on the stations of North Country Public Radio and on 93.3 / 102.1 The Mix. Since 2008, John has been a media specialist on the staff of the New York State Writers Institute.
John is also a professional researcher and historian with a M.A. in Public History. He edits The New York History Blog and is the author of two books of regional history. As a Grant Consultant for the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, he has reviewed hundreds of historic roadside marker grant applications from around New York State for historical accuracy.
The New York State Department of Conservation is seeking comments on their Recreational Management Plan (RMP) for the Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands in the northern Adirondack Park. The plan includes extensive development for motor vehicles, including more than 100 miles of roads to be used by cars and trucks, snowmobiles, and ATVs, and six new parking lots.
Legal Adirondack weed is one step closer to reality today after New York State announced that a new Town of Chester company is one of five to receive licenses to grow and distribute medical marijuana.
Etain LLC, and offshoot of Peckham Industries involving Amy Peckham and her daughters Kelley and Hillary Peckham, is expected to build a growing facility on Route 9 South of Chestertown across from the Peckham mine. The company was one of 48 that applied for the licenses. » Continue Reading.
The so-called confederate flag has been removed from the Newcomb House. Several residents of Newcomb told me they made an effort to talk to the owner of the business to explain how damaging their actions are. It appears those conversations worked. An open sore in our Adirondack community has been bandaged – it hasn’t been healed.
The online response to yesterday’s report that the owner of one of Newcomb’s most well-known establishments had hoisted the confederate flag at a prominent location was varied. I think it might be helpful to review a few of those responses here. » Continue Reading.
7/17 UPDATE: The Newcomb House has taken down the confederate flag. You can read about it here.
The folks at the Newcomb House have raised a flag – one flown by white supremacists and traitors – the so-called confederate flag. Let me start by saying that although I’m troubled that they took down the American flag to raise the flag of an enemy of the United States, they are free to raise whatever banner they like on their flagpole. That’s part of the free expression we enjoy (but which the Confederates States of America did not).
At the same time, I’m free to call them to the carpet, as we used to say in the submarine service. It’s a despicable act to fly a flag in support of America’s sworn enemies, past or present. It’s an ignorant, arrogant, and anti-social act to fly a flag that symbolizes opposition to civil rights, and that insults your neighbors, guests, and visitors. The people of Newcomb should be ashamed. I know many are. » Continue Reading.
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens, who announced his resignation this week, has announced that his agency will open nearly 20 miles of roads in the Essex Chain of Lakes to mountain bikers beginning Saturday.
DEC is using a technicality to open the roads before public comment has closed on the Unit Management Plan required by the State Land Master Plan.
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens will be stepping down in July according to an e-mail sent to staffers on Tuesday. Martens is expected to return to the Manhattan-based Open Space Institute, which he headed before moving to DEC, to work on national climate change issues.
He was appointed in 2011, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo was elected to his first term. Although popular with anti-fracking advocates for DEC’s ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF), Martens has received mixed reviews from advocates of protecting state lands in the Adirondacks from development. » Continue Reading.
Brandon Park, the 28,100-acre former estate of William A. Rockefeller, Jr. (a co-founder of Standard Oil with his brother John D. Rockefeller) has been purchased by Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma of China for $23 million according to the Wall Street Journal. Alibaba is the world’s largest e-commerce company. The property was put on the market in 2012, and the sale was completed in May of this year.
He bought the property “principally for conservation purposes, but also plans to use [it] as an occasional personal retreat,” the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a spokesman for Ma. Brandon Park is located west of Paul Smiths and north of the St. Regis Canoe Area and includes about eight miles of the Middle Branch of the St. Regis River, nearly a dozen trout ponds, and 2,200-foot Buck Mountain. » Continue Reading.
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Transportation (DOT) have announced their long-awaited decision in a controversial effort to tear up most of the 119-mile historic railroad running through the central Adirondacks. The decision has been issued in the form of a proposed amendment to the Remsen to Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan (UMP).
The plan would remove the rails between Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, and Lake Placid in favor of a multi-use recreational trail for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. It also calls for maintaining the railroad from Remsen to Big Moose Station and rehabilitating the 45 miles of rail from Big Moose to the Village of Tupper Lake. Also included is a plan to use at least some of the corridor as a long-range snowmobile trail that would connect to communities along the line, including Beaver River. » Continue Reading.
The search continues today for two men who escaped from the maximum security prison at Dannemora, Clinton County. State Police say David P. Sweat (age 35) and Richard Matt (age 49) were both incarcerated for murder and are “very dangerous individuals”. They are asking that any suspicious activity be reported to (518) 563-3761 or by email to [email protected].
A mining company in Chestertown wants to be the first to grow legal marijuana in the Adirondack Park. Etain, a subsidiary of Peckham Industries, wants to use property on Route 9 just south of the village for a medical marijuana growing facility. A portion of the property is currently used as a log yard.
The proposal has won unanimous support from the Chester Town Board and considerable buzz among supporters. “It’s a product that would benefit patients in need,” Town Supervisor and Adirondack Local Government Review Board Executive Director Fred Monroe told the Post Star. Monroe said that it would provide jobs and offer a tax benefit to Warren County. A front page story in the Glens Falls Chronicle by news editor Gordon Woodworth proclaimed “Medical marijuana helped me”. » Continue Reading.
In the nearly ten years of editing the Adirondack Almanack, I’ve seen some pretty nutty and occasionally outrageous writing. Rarely does it warrant a response, but an anonymous foaming-mouthed editorial in Friday’s Denton papers (Adirondack Journal, North Creek News Enterprise, Times of Ti, Valley News, etc.) simply cannot go unanswered.
It is perhaps the most vicious, poorly researched, and cowardly personal attack published in the Adirondacks in the last 20 years. » Continue Reading.
One hundred and fifty-five years ago today John Brown was executed after leading an anti-slavery raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, part of the radical movement of tens of thousands of Americans struggling to undermine the institution of slavery in America before the Civil War.
It’s often said that just one thing secured Brown’s place in the hearts of millions of Americans – his execution and martyrdom. But there is another more important reason to celebrate the life of John Brown – his courage in standing against unjust state and federal laws, the press, and popular culture in the cause of basic human rights.
In 2009, I wrote a ten-part series of posts following the last days of John Brown’s fight to end slavery. You can find that here (to read in chronological order, start at the bottom).
It looks like Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) did not want a mandatory invasive species boat inspection and control program on Lake George. Governor Cuomo and the DEC tried to fire Dave Wick, the executive director of the Lake George Park Commission (LGPC), and on both accounts, Cuomo and the DEC seem to have lost.
On Tuesday evening, November 25th, news broke that the Cuomo Administration had backed down and agreed to suspend Wick without pay for two weeks and then let him return to his job. It apparently had nothing to do with a gas spill – the original pretense for Wick’s firing. » Continue Reading.
Republican Elise Stefanik has soundly won election to the US House of Representatives. At just 30 years old, she will be the youngest women ever elected to the House, breaking a record set by 31-year-old Elizabeth Holtzman (D – Brooklyn) in 1973.
With 578 of 589 districts reporting it appears that Stefanik’s Democratic challenger Aaron Woolf drew just 32 percent, and the Green Party’s Matt Funiciello, the only candidate who has been truly living in the district, garnered 11 percent. Stefanik’s opponents combined did not poll enough to top her 53 percent which should diminish the effectiveness of Democratic cries of “spoiler”.
This election marks a major step forward for the Green Party locally. Their candidate secured three important newspaper endorsements: from the Glens Falls Post Star and the widely read Chronicle, and the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake. In Warren County Funiciello picked up 23.5% of the vote and came close to beating Woolf – falling just 201 votes short of that mark, though Stefanik still won a majority of the votes in Warren County (Stefanik 8,822; Woolf 4,445; and Funiciello 4,245). District-wide, even with all of Funiciello’s votes Woolf still would have been soundly defeated however. » Continue Reading.