Almanack Contributor Mike Lynch

Mike Lynch

Mike Lynch is a staff writer and photographer for the nonprofit Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly news magazine with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues.

Mike’s favorite outdoor activities include paddling, hiking, fishing and backcountry skiing. In 2011, he paddled the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine.

From 2007 until 2014, Mike worked as an outdoors writer and photographer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake.

Mike welcomes story ideas and can be reached at [email protected]


Monday, September 14, 2020

Fighting a hemlock invasion

Hemlock woolly adelgidScientists have found a large swath of trees with hemlock woolly adelgid in the Lake George watershed, including a 1.5-mile stretch along the eastern shoreline. This is in addition to some that was found in August on Glen Island.

This is considered especially troubling for the Lake George region because hemlocks are so prevalent there, and they play a key role in the ecosystem, providing habitat for trout and other wildlife.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 29, 2020

On the search for the elusive moose

Wednesday morning I rolled out of bed a little before 5 a.m. to meet up with Explorer intern Francesca Krempa to see if we could catch a glimpse of a moose in the early dawn hours.

Francesca is working on a story about the health and size of the moose population, and in these pandemic times, she had been unable to find a biologist or guide to go out into the field on a moose survey.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 18, 2020

When the secret’s out

People who spend a lot of time in the woods often develop favorite spots. I’ve had plenty of these over the years, and one of my chosen ones was a swimming hole in the Catskill Park.

I developed an affinity for this spot while living and working as a landscaper and dry-stone mason just outside of Woodstock after college. I loved doing this work because it was physically demanding and job sites were in scenic locations. Many days after work, my co-worker and I would be completely exhausted and overheated, so we’d take a drive to a place called the Blue Hole, a little-known swimming hole he’d discovered by word of mouth that was an easy walk from the road.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, August 10, 2020

Exploring forgotten lands: The Sable Highlands

While crowds of people continue to show up at High Peak trailheads between St. Huberts and Lake Placid, there are still plenty of wild places in the Adirondacks where you can spend time and possibly not even see another person.

Just the other day, I took a quick paddle on Grass Pond in the Sable Highlands, located near Loon Lake in the northern Adirondacks, and didn’t see another soul.

Earlier in the year, I took a bike ride and hike with former Explorer editor Phil Brown on the same easement property and also didn’t see anyone else recreating. That day, Phil and I left from a parking area at Fishhole Pond. We were exploring the property because Phil was working on a story about a bike route and trail that had been planned by the state but had never been implemented.

Phil spent a good amount his time exploring the Sable Highlands easement lands this spring and summer. What he found is that many of the recreation routes that the state had been planning to develop were never completed.

In recent weeks we’ve started publishing Phil’s explorations of the Sable Highlands easement lands on our website.

You can read the pieces he’s published already by following the links here. One is about a planned bike route near Fishhole Pond and the other is about a trail up Norton Peak near Standish that was never built.


Thursday, July 30, 2020

Backpacking during a pandemic

The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted just about every aspect of life in recent months, including backpacking.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stay home. Ask writer Betsy Kepes. She spent a few days with a small group this spring on a trip on the Cranberry 50, a hiking route in the northwestern Adirondacks.

Kepes found the trip enjoyable, but it wasn’t without challenges. For instance, what do you do about sharing a lean-to or camping site with others during a pandemic? What happens when you make hot water? Should you share it?

If you’re curious about her experience on her hiking journey, you can read about it on our website. Here is a link to her story: https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/stories/hiking-the-cranberry-50-during-the-covid-19-crisis

Hiking the Cranberry Lake 50 during the Covid-19 pandemic are writer Betsy Kepes (greenish/blue shirt, off-white mask), husband Tom Vandewater (black shirt,off-white mask), and friends Amanda Oldacre (white shirt, black patterned mask) and Jim Burdick (gray/blue shirt black patterned mask). Social distancing and wearing face masks were suggested. Photo by Nancie Battaglia.

Editor’s note: This originally appeared in Mike’s weekly “Backcountry Journal” newsletter. Click here to subscribe.


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Backcountry magic

There are experiences that can add a wild and magical element to a backcountry trip.

I recall as a child coming across the first impressively large beaver dam I had ever seen in the backwoods. It was on a brook trout fishing trip in a canoe in the northern Adirondacks. The structure must have been 6 feet tall and 100 feet wide. After I climbed up the dam and stood on top, it felt like I had entered a new world. As I looked out over the calm pond full of fish and vegetation, I remember being in awe that beavers could have such a drastic impact.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The cycle of killing habituated bears continues

black bearSeveral campsites and lean-tos were temporarily closed in the High Peaks Wilderness on July 5 due to an aggressive black bear that had been roaming the area looking for human food.

A day later the state Department of Environmental Conservation captured and later killed the animal.

As DEC officials have often said to me in these situations, “A fed bear is a dead bear.”

What does that mean? It means if a bear gets food from humans too many times, it will get habituated to the food. The bear will then continue to seek out food from campers, especially when natural food sources aren’t available such as during dry years. In some cases, the bear will then get too close to people and be considered dangerous. In these situations, bears don’t win. Instead, they are killed.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Getting started with bird watching

During this pandemic one of the safest forms of recreation is birding. It’s an activity you can do away from crowds in the woods, or if you have space, in your backyard.

If it’s not an activity you’re familiar with, we have you covered.
Recently, Explorer contributor Molly Ormsbee produced a video on the topic that you can find on our website. In the video, birder and photographer Larry Master provides tips about bird houses, feed, and other information to get you started.

“Hearing the sounds of the birds and seeing them is a great, great therapy. It’s just endless entertainment if you’re interested in nature,” says Master.
» Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 4, 2020

In celebration of camping

About a year ago, I was paddling from Middle Saranac Lake to Lower Saranac Lake with three friends to finish up a week of camping that had taken me to several destinations throughout the Adirondacks.

The final night’s destination was an island at the end of Lower Saranac Lake, which is part of a state campground run by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, June 12, 2020

Flattening the curve…of backcountry rescues

During the pandemic this spring and early summer, hiking has continued to be an activity that people have engaged in to stay healthy and find respite.

One indication that people are out and about is the weekly search-and-rescue bulletin issued by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The most recent one contains nine incidents in the Adirondack region, indicating that forest rangers have been keeping busy.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

ADK leaders ask visitors to act responsibly, be patient

In a Facebook Live forum held recently, three Adirondack leaders asked visitors to make sure they are wearing masks and practicing social distancing this Memorial Day weekend, which is expected to be busy because of the holiday and the warm, dry weather forecasted for the region.

“We have some responsibilities to our local communities and residents to make sure we keep our infection rates low, so anyone coming from outside the region, we’re really encouraging them to get back to the principles,” said ROOST CEO Jim McKenna. “Let’s go beyond social distancing as much as possible, a mask all the time whether it’s required inside or not, let’s wear masks.”

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 7, 2020

Lesser known hikes in the Southern Adirondacks

Sawyer Mountain, Indian LakeEarlier this spring, I asked the state Department of Environmental Conservation for a list of lesser known hikes in the Adirondacks in an effort to provide people with options outside of the more popular trails. (As I recently wrote about the challenges that surround social distancing on well-traveled routes.) Part of that list ran in the May-June issue of the Adirondack Explorer, but the entire list can be found below. Many of the trails are relatively flat and go to ponds, a type of route that tends to attract few people but can be just as rewarding as a summit hike. 

This list will provide you with the hikes. You can use other tools to find the details of each hike, such as maps, guidebooks, and the DEC’s website.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 2, 2020

NYS elaborates on COVID-19 recreation policy

hiker on Giant MountainThe state has launched a new #RecreateLocal hashtag and issued guidance that encourages people to recreate responsibly, practice social distancing, and stay near their homes during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a recent press release.

The guidance includes recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Health for reducing the spread of infectious diseases.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Using outdoor skills during the coronavirus outbreak

(The following is from Backcountry Journal, a weekly newsletter by Adirondack Explorer multimedia reporter Mike Lynch.)

Getting through the coming weeks and months is going to be challenging as the coronavirus spreads, and being prepared as you navigate through this new world is going to be important. It’s not too late to get organized for dealing with it, and you can use your outdoor skills to help you get through it, even if most of your time in the near future is spent inside.

People who hike, camp, paddle, fish and hunt develop survival and organization skills through these activities. Now is the time to put those to use. Here are some thoughts about how you can do that, framing this upcoming journey as a backcountry trip.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, March 27, 2020

Rangers rescue missing Marcy hiker

forest ranger logoForest rangers located a missing Mount Marcy hiker Saturday March 21, a 46-year-old Greenwich woman.

The hiker had planned to hike Marcy, Skylight and Gray mountains Friday, starting at 4:30 a.m., according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

When the woman didn’t return by Saturday morning, she was reported missing to DEC dispatch in Ray Brook.

She was located by forest ranger Sarah Bode on a trail and walked out under her own power at about 3 p.m.

She was brought to AMC Lake Placid and treated for frostbite.

The search included multiple forest rangers, a Lake Colden caretaker, and the state police in a helicopter.

DEC recommends future hikers stay local, be cautious, and follow the NY Hike Smart Guidelines that can be found here: https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28708.html

These reports are brought to you by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers, who respond to search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the Adirondack backcountry.

 



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