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.


Saturday, June 20, 2020

Happy Father’s Day and Happy Solstice!

Happy Father’s Day weekend and happy start of summer. In recognition of both, I’ve pulled a few related stories from the Almanack archive to share:

Frog Jumping Contest: Even though this year’s event is sadly canceled due to COVID-19, Diane Chase wrote about this fun annual “Frog Jumping Contest” typically held on Father’s Day. This popular Old Forge tradition is approaching its 50th anniversary. From 2018: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2018/06/forty-six-years-of-frog-jumping-fathers-days.html.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Farmers markets open, with some changes

For many of us in the Adirondacks, the opening of our local farmers market is one of the real harbingers of summer. Some of the 800 markets and farm stands statewide are seasonal ones and have recently begun the process of opening, for a year like no other. In the aftermath of COVID-19, markets across the region are operating with new sets of rules designed to keep vendors and patrons safe.

Our summer intern Sierra McGivney talked to organizers and vendors for the Keene Valley and Saranac Lake farmers markets. Read all about it in the Adirondack Explorer’s Food and Farms section: https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/food_and_farms/adirondack-farmers-markets-open-with-some-changes

Image: The Saranac Lake Farmers Market has some new changes this season. Map by Gail Brill

Sunday, June 14, 2020

A deeper dive into aquatic invasives

Although Invasive Species Awareness Week has wrapped up for this year, the work to combat the spread of aquatic invasives in our Adirondack lakes, ponds and other bodies of water is ongoing.

Here’s a recap of some recent coverage:

Adirondack Explorer’s policy reporter Gwen Craig discusses efforts to fight the spread of aquatic invasives in this recent Capital Pressroom interview: http://www.wcny.org/june-11-2020-adirondacks-prepare-for-next-bout-with-invasive-species/

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 6, 2020

From the Archive: The scourge of ticks

tick next to dime‘Tis the season to hit the trails. At the same time, all outdoor enthusiasts hope to avoid the worst of all biting insects: The tick.

Here are a few selections from the Almanack archive that address these most-maligned insects:

From 2017: In a personal take on ticks, Tim Rowland writes: “I’d always viewed ticks as benign, but now I have to put them into that “one more thing to worry about” category, which is already quite an overcrowded field. After a recent hike in Essex County I picked two of the bastards off of me, and of course it happened in the middle of the night when everything seems more dramatic than it is. So where previously, I would never have given it a second thought, I instead lied awake for an hour wondering, ‘Am I doomed?'”

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 30, 2020

From the Archive: Fire season

fire

The recent rash of wildfires reminds us of fires from the past that altered the natural and physical landscape:

From 2018: The Long Lake West Fire was not the first major forest fire in the Adirondacks, nor would it be the last. But the fire in 1908 caused the most property damage, writes Mike Prescott: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2018/09/adirondack-wildfire-the-destruction-of-long-lake-west.html

From 2015: Sheila Myers shared information about “Yellow Day” fires in the late 1880s-early 1900s: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2015/05/yellow-days-adirondack-forest-fires-and-air-quality.html

From 2011: A fire at Spencer Boatworks in Saranac Lake, in which many historic, antique boats were destroyed: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2011/05/spencer-boatworks-fire-update.html. That fire reminded contributor Mark Wilson about a fire in 1919 that saw similar loss of watercraft: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2011/05/spencer-boatworks-fire-recalls-1919-blaze.html

Photo: Rangers fight wildfires over Memorial Day Weekend/DEC photo

 


Friday, May 15, 2020

Adirondack Outdoor Conditions (5/14): Beaches will open; campgrounds remain closed

Per NYS Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily news briefing:

“As a region we have established a joint agreement on beaches in NY, NJ, CT and DE. State beaches will open Friday of Memorial Day weekend with strict precautions. Beaches will be at 50 percent capacity & masks will be required when social distance not possible. Staff will enforce.”

That re-opening applies to NYS-run beaches.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 10, 2020

Happy Mother’s Day

In honor of Mother’s Day, a few stories from the Almanack archive:

Ruffed GrouseThe Ruffed Grouse: Defender of young

In late spring many infants are emerging from the safety of their den or nest and most mothers try to provide some form of protection from potential danger to their babies. Perhaps the most remarkable display of parental courage for a creature of its size is seen in the hen ruffed grouse. This bird will aggressively confront and challenge any human that happens to come too close to its recently hatched chicks.

From Tom Kalinowski: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2018/05/adirondack-wildlife-ruffed-grouse.html

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 2, 2020

From the Archive: Infamous Murder Revisited

Murder in the Adirondacks bookFrom 2017: Betsy Kepes reviews an updated edition of Craig Brandon’s classic 1986 book “Murder in the Adirondacks.” Over 100 years ago, the Chester Gillette Grace Brown murder case was considered the trial of the century. The case became the basis for Theodore Dreiser’s classic novel “An American Tragedy” and the movie “A Place in the Sun,” starring Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor. Brandon’s book revisits the tragedy at Big Moose Lake and the ensuing trial.

According to Kepes, when North Country Books asked Brandon if he’d be interested in writing a revised edition, he jumped at the chance.

Read more here: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2017/04/infamous-murder-in-adirondacks-revisited.html

 

One year ago: Peter Bauer looks at 40 Years of Household Income Trends in Rural America

Five years ago: Dan Crane discovers illegal trails in the Five Ponds, Pepperbox Wilderness Areas:  https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2015/05/illegal-trail-straddles-five-ponds-pepperbox-wilderness.html

 

Stay informed about news and information about the Adirondacks by signing up for the Almanack’s daily news digest: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/sign-email-updates

 


Friday, May 1, 2020

Quarantine reads: More recommended Adirondack reading

Thanks to all who responded to our call for recommended Adirondack, environmental and nature-themed reading to pass the time in COVID-19 quarantine.

Here’s the original post

We also reached out to a handful of Almanack contributors to ask for their input and here’s some additional suggestions to add to the list:

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 23, 2020

Quarantine reads: Suggestions from Almanack readers

Anne LaBastille, author of the “Woodswoman” series.

Looking for new ways to pass the time indoors?

Here are some suggestions for Adirondack and/or environmental themed books offered up by Almanack readers, who responded to a post on our Facebook page.

A mix of fiction and non-fiction, old and new (in no particular order), feel free to share your favorites in the comments!

» Continue Reading.


Monday, April 20, 2020

NYS eases up on boat launch, marina restrictions

boat launch courtesy decAfter days of back and forth about the closure of privately owned boat launches and marina and what that means for state-owned facilities, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday an easing of restrictions that were put into effect last week.

In a news release sent over the weekend, Cuomo, in conjunction with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced marinas, boatyards and marine manufacturers will be allowed to open for personal use as long as strict social distancing and sanitization protocols are followed. Chartered watercraft services or rentals will not be allowed, and restaurant activity at these sites must be limited to take-out or delivery only, like anywhere else in the three states.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, April 13, 2020

NYS closes boat launches, marinas, golf courses

LGA Lake Steward Monika LaPlante inspects a boat in 2010 at the Norowal MarinaAdditional clarification of the “NY PAUSE” definition of “non-essential” businesses has resulted in the shuttering of boat launches, marinas and golf courses across the state.

In an update on April 9, Empire State Development issued the following:

  • Parks and other open public spaces, except playgrounds and other areas of congregation where social distancing cannot be abided
  • However, golf courses are not essential
  • However, use of boat launches and marinas for recreational vessels is not considered essential

NYSDEC and State Parks, too

To limit the community spread of COVID-19, use of all DEC, Canal Corp., and State Parks-owned boat launches is temporarily suspended for recreational boaters.


Sunday, April 12, 2020

Lake George delays start of boat inspections

Lake George Park Commission has announced a delay the opening of the Mandatory Boat Inspection Program until June 1, a decision that has full support of the Lake George Association Board of Directors and members.

“At this time of year, we understand there is little risk of transporting and/or introducing viable invasive species to Lake George,” said Kristen Wilde, LGA Director of Education. “That fact doesn’t preclude boaters from ensuring they are following the state’s ‘Clean, Drained, Dry’ directives until the inspectors are present.”

“We want everyone to stay safe and stay healthy,” said LGA Executive Director Walt Lender. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Park Commission now and the inspectors later in the season.”

The Lake George Association is the oldest and most experienced lake protection organization in the country, whose members support water quality protection, water quality monitoring, education and lake-friendly living programs that benefit the watershed from Lake George Village to Ticonderoga.

All the money raised by the Lake George Association goes to projects and programs that benefit the Lake and the watershed, protecting Lake George water quality now and in the future.

For more information, call (518) 668-3558 or go to http://www.LakeGeorgeAssociation.org

File photo courtesy of Carl Heilman


Saturday, April 11, 2020

From the archive: Ruminations on Mud Season

From the Almanack archive, here are some classic features for a few suggested “weekend reads”:

Adirondack High Peaks Trail Mud SeasonFrom 2011: Mud Season: Sloshing Through Wet Trails by Dan Crane:

“There are many challenges for the backcountry explorer during this messy time of the year. These challenges require additional planning, preparation and in some cases caution. But there are a few benefits to being in the backcountry this time of the year as well. In addition, there are some important environmental impacts of hiking in mud season that need identification and management so as to ameliorate their negative impacts.”

 

From 2014Pete Nelson’s “Lost Brook Tract in April: Adirondack Rite of Spring

From 2017: Dave Gibson on the North Hudson “Gateway”: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2017/04/one-world-class-park.html

HOT TOPIC: Dave Gibson’s piece about Boreas Ponds from 2016 generated 96 comments: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2016/04/boreas-ponds-reacting-to-its-acquisition.html

 

 


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Tri-Lakes crafters mobilize around COVID-19 masks

gail brillWhile it can be easy to feel helpless when shut inside during the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of crafters in the Tri-lakes area of the Adirondacks have sprung into action, sewing and distributing cloth masks to essential workers around the area.

The project started with Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake and has quickly grown to include other “frontline” workers, said Gail Brill, who along with two other women, is helping to organize the project.

“I touched base with a friend who works at the hospital, asking what they need,” she said. They adapted a pattern for fabric masks to create one designed to fit over N-95 masks to extend their use.

From there, word spread and requests started coming in from other places. Brill said the group is currently working with places that care for and house vulnerable populations, such as Sunmount and Mercy Living Center in Tupper Lake, St. Joseph’s Addiction Treatment Centers, and Will Rogers retirement community in Saranac Lake. 

» Continue Reading.



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