Almanack Contributor Melissa Hart

Melissa is a journalist with experience as a reporter and editor with the Burlington Free Press, Ithaca Journal and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. She worked as a communications specialist for the Adirondack North Country Association and is currently digital editor for Adirondack Explorer, overseeing both the Explorer's website and its community forum the Adirondack Almanack. She enjoys hiking, camping and other outdoors activities, and spending time with her husband, their twin daughters, and rescue animals -- two dogs and two cats.


Monday, December 21, 2020

12 months of Almanack: February story highlights

From now until the New Year we’re counting 2020, looking back month by month at the most popular stories that ran in the Almanack.

Here are the top five from February:

  1. UNLIMITED ACCESS? Peter Bauer argues that rather than curb High Peaks use, the state is enabling an increase in hikers. https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2020/02/viewpoint-state-facilitating-unlimited-access-to-high-peaks.html

    » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 20, 2020

12 months of Almanack: January story highlights

Starting today, we’ll count down the year, looking back month by month at the most popular stories that ran in the Almanack. 

We’ll start with the top five from January:

  1. SAVE THE RAILS: Guest essay about preserving our rail infrastructure. https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2020/01/viewpoint-tearing-out-railroads-is-not-progress.html
  2. MAKE SOME TRAILS: On the other side of “rails vs. trails” is Peter Bauer, in a commentary about the Hudson River line from North Creek to Saratoga. https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2020/01/viewpoint-convert-hudson-river-rails-to-multi-use-trai.html
  3. HISTORIC RESCUE: Forest Ranger Scott van Laer looks back on a memorable incident on Algonquin. https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2020/01/on-algonquin-in-winter-bad-luck-can-be-fatal.html
  4. DIVERSITY GOALS: Area museums receive grant funds to advance their work in meeting the needs of all visitors. https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2020/01/adkx-wild-center-working-on-diversity.html
  5. HIGH PEAKS CROWDS: Adirondack Council Executive Director Willie Janeway shared an update about patterns of use in the High Peaks Wilderness. https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2020/01/early-results-on-overuse-visitors-still-surging.html

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Top stories of 2020

woolly bearAs of mid-December, we’ve published 1,354 stories, commentaries, news releases and other posts. That’s pretty impressive, especially when you also consider the 425 stories that were posted to our sister site Adirondack Explorer (.org) in 2020, in addition to 40 photo galleries and 25 videos to the Explorer’s YouTube channel.

Almanack top 10

Here are the Adirondack Almanack’s 10 most-read stories from 2020 (taken from Google Analytics):

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Adirondack history website brings museums, orgs together in one place

To say that John Sasso is passionate about Adirondack history would be an understatement.

He’s the founder of the History and Legends of the Adirondacks group on Facebook, which launched five years ago and has since grown to almost 21,000 members. In that forum, Sasso frequently posts his own research into the history of different peaks and the areas that surround them. Some of those historic peak profiles have been published here as well. Click here to see John’s work on the Almanack.

On top of all that, John has been quietly working behind the scenes on a personal project: An interactive map of historical organizations, museums and related landmarks.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, December 18, 2020

Adirondack Communities: Developing Support Networks for an Aging Population 

The Adirondack population is rapidly getting older. By 2030, according to projections from the New  York State Office for the Aging, more than one third of the population in most North Country counties will be over the age of 60. New York State itself ranks fourth in the nation in the number of adults over 60. And state-wide the fastest growing population is over 85. For the remote towns and villages of the Adirondack region, this represents a challenge and an opportunity. 

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 17, 2020

Where to see holiday lights in the Adirondacks

Let’s face it, there’s not much going on for events this holiday season. So every more reason to head out for a drive to check out some socially distance lights displays.

Here are a few taking place around the Adirondack region:

» Continue Reading.


Monday, December 14, 2020

Adirondack communities: Fixing food insecurity, child care gaps

The Adirondack Explorer/Adirondack Almanack is partnering with Adirondack Foundation to shine a light on unmet needs in the region as well as highlight promising efforts to address them. This special series was inspired by the Foundation’s 2019 report “Meeting the Needs of Adirondack Communities.”  To learn more, visit adirondackfoundation.org/meeting-needs-adirondack-communities.

In our previous post, we gave an overview of some of the struggles working families face — finding child care and access to fresh, healthy food options. look at organizations that are working to address the problems that working families face.

Here, we’ll highlight some new ways organizations are addressing the needs of working families. 

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 13, 2020

Send us your story ideas

As we round the bend into 2021, we’d like to hear from you. What kinds of stories would you like to see more of? Is there something happening in your community we should know about?

Send your thoughts and feedback to editor@adirondackalmanack.com.


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Adirondack communities: Working families face challenges

The child care landscape is “bombed out and pitted,” said Jamie Basiliere, executive director of the Child Care Coordinating Council of the North Country, speaking to Adam Federman for an article that ran in the Adirondack Explorer earlier this year.

That same story found that virtually every corner of the region has been impacted by the shortage of providers. Across all seven North Country counties, 86 percent of census tracts, which roughly accord with towns and villages, qualify as child care deserts where the number of young children exceeds the system’s capacity. According to a report from the Child Care Coordinating Council of the North Country, there are on average nearly six children for every child care slot in a regulated facility. In Franklin County, for example, there are 2,405 children ages birth to 5, but only 1,602 openings in child care programs. Since July 2019, a staggering 28 programs have closed.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, December 7, 2020

Adirondack communities: Addressing needs, coming up with solutions

The Adirondack Explorer/Adirondack Almanack is partnering with Adirondack Foundation to shine a light on unmet needs in the region as well as highlight promising efforts to address them. This special series was inspired by the Foundation’s 2019 report “Meeting the Needs of Adirondack Communities.”  To learn more, visit adirondackfoundation.org/meeting-needs-adirondack-communities.

From the report’s introduction:

The needs and barriers across the Adirondack region are real. And the solutions are not always  obvious. The percentage of families who earn too much to qualify for public assistance but not  enough to make ends meet has grown dramatically in recent years. There’s a critical shortage of child  care providers, which can make it difficult for parents to commit to full time employment or advance  their careers. Meanwhile access to public transportation and safe, affordable housing in the region is  limited.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Gobble gobble: All about wild turkeys

wild turkey - maleHappy Thanksgiving. In honor of the holiday, I’ve plucked out some stories about wild turkeys from the Almanack archive.

Found in all 50 states and hunted in every state but Hawaii, American sportsmen and women harvest roughly 700,000 turkeys annually. That makes turkeys the most sought after gamebird on the continent, according to Richard Gast in this 2018 article.

In Wild Turkeys Were Once Rare, Ellen Rathbone wrote about her encounters with them. Wild turkeys are an Almanack favorite, and you can read more stories about them here.

In our sister site the Adirondack Explorer, a recent column from the Nov/Dec 2020 issue of the magazine is posted here.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Outdoor tips for winter hiking and other excursions

winter gearEarlier in 2020, Explorer intern Zach Lawrence wrote a series of articles that aim to help beginners get started with winter hiking.

Here they are, for a reference, as we gear up for the start of snow season:

Food essentials: Packing the proper—and right amount—of food for your backcountry winter excursions can be overwhelming when you’re first starting out. You can get ideas online, but the bottom line is you have to find out what works best for you.

Everyone’s dietary preferences and needs are different, but there are items everyone should include. This guide provides a baseline. READ MORE

Footwear: In the winter, there are several pieces of footwear that will be necessary depending on the activity you are interested in as well as the conditions of the trail you want to explore. What you put on your feet will be dependent on variables such as snow depth, ice, and the difficulty of your planned excursion. READ MORE

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Make it: Last-minute local food ideas for Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m taking today and the next few days off for the holiday. In case you are looking for some last-minute recipes or food inspiration, here are a few treasures from the Almanack archive:

Kim and Pam Ladd, who wrote the popular “Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide,” are two ladies who know cocktails. They put together some favorite Thanksgiving Cocktail Recipes.

Paul Hetzler has a piece on Native Foods on the Thanksgiving Table. Larry Gooley has one on an old-time ritual, Nutting Season.

If you’re not into eating crickets, maybe apples are your thing. There’s a recipe for a traditional Thanksgiving Apple Pie or  Farmhouse Apple Crisp.

Ever wonder How Cranberries Get Their Color? Paul Hetzler’s piece All About Cranberries is a perfect primer on the native berry. Also try Annette Nielsen’s Adirondack Cranberry Compote.


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Paul Smith’s VIC to open Dec. 5 for ski season

Weather dependent, the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Information Center plans to open its doors on Saturday the 5th of December for the winter season.
Ski passes are on now on sale (season passes available here), which gives users access to more than 40K of groomed ski and snowshoeing trails. Click here for details on the fees for day use and season passes.
Please note: You can opt out of shipping and pick up your pass at the front desk. You’ll need to sign a NYS ski waiver. If you’d prefer to print an application and mail it to us, you will find the form and address online as well.
With users’ help and cooperation, staff aim to keep the building open throughout the season. Details on what to expect when you arrive at the VIC are forthcoming.
Photo courtesy of Paul Smith’s VIC

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Newsletter survey: Share your thoughts

Wanted: Your feedback
At the Explorer, we’ve added to our slate of newsletters this past year, and we’d love to hear from Almanack readers on how we’re doing.
Whether you are only subscribed to the daily Almanack news digest or if you are signed up for all the topics-based newsletters, please take a moment to share your thoughts.

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Click here to take the survey

And as always, I welcome you to send along your story ideas and topics you’d like to see covered in the Almanack. Contact me at editor@adirondackalmanack.com.



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