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 mike@adirondackexplorer.org.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Adirondack Monarch Butterfly Tag Found In Mexico

800px-Monarch_In_MayThe journey of the monarch butterfly from the northeastern United States to the tropical forests in Mexico every fall is considered a magical one. How could such a lightweight, delicate looking insect survive a journey of more than 3,000 miles?

The feat has drawn the admiration of naturalists and others, including Dan Jenkins, who lives on the shores of Upper Saranac Lake. Jenkins’s property is located on what, he says, is a monarch flyway between Upper Saranac Lake and Raquette River. Because of that, he consistently sees monarchs passing through his yard in the fall as the insects head south. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Adirondack Winter That Wasn’t

Whiteface Mountain with little snow 2016 Mike Lynch PhotoSnow-sport events are a staple of winter tourism in the Adirondacks, drawing participants and spectators into small villages where they eat in restaurants, stay in hotels, and spend money in stores. This winter, many events had to be canceled because of frequent thaws and a dearth of snow.

Among the canceled events were the Lake Placid Loppet, a cross-country-ski race, and a World Cup skiing competition in the Lake Placid region; the annual Adirondack Backcountry Ski Festival, sponsored by the Mountaineer in Keene Valley; and Dewey Mountain Days in Saranac Lake. Dangerous ice conditions led to the cancellation of ice-fishing contests around the Adirondack Park. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Adirondack Climate Change: Deluges In The Forecast

Tropical Storm Irene destroyed or damaged many buildings in Keene and other hamlets in 2011.Photo by Nancie BattagliaA few years ago, Paul Smith’s College scientist Curt Stager came across a rare find that he says helps tell the story of climate change in the Adirondacks: the journal of Bob Simon, a retired engineer and longtime resident of Cranberry Lake.

Simon, who died in 1991, kept a meticulous journal with entries for temperature, wind direction, barometric pressure, water level, ice cover, when loons arrived, and when thunderstorms occurred. He made entries twice a day, morning and night, for the last thirty-two years of his life. Stager received the journal from someone who found it in Simon’s former home, years after the man died. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Hiking Community Saddened By Recent Death

Hua 2 smallThe death of 61-year-old Delaware hiker Hua Davis has both puzzled and saddened her friends in the hiking community.

Davis died of hypothermia Friday in frigid temperatures near the summit of MacNaughton Mountain, which is located about seven miles from the Adirondack Loj trailhead, where her car was found. The mountain’s peak is accessed via herd paths. It is considered the 47th High Peak because it is about 4,000 feet. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Personal Locator Beacon Key To Mount Marcy Rescue

KatieTylerwebRescues involving personal locator beacons are rare in the Adirondacks, but one played a key role in the search-and-rescue of a 47-year-old Long Island woman on Mount Marcy during whiteout conditions in early February.

Maria Nobles had been hiking with a group of six people on February 6 when she lost her way near Schofield Cobble on her way to Marcy’s summit, which is less than a mile away. Realizing she was in trouble, Nobles sent a distress signal on her locator beacon. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Trading Post Opens At Pine Cone Grill In Wanakena

Pine ConeA new store that caters to outdoor sports enthusiasts has opened in Wanakena, a tiny hamlet near Cranberry Lake with a  population of less than 100.

The Trading Post at the Pine Cone Grill opened this winter to fill the gap created by the closing of the Wanakena General Store, which sold groceries and basic outdoor supplies.

Rick Kovacs, who owned the Wanakena General Store, shut down in October saying he couldn’t make enough money in the winter months. He had owned the store for about six years, and said one had been at that location for about 60 years. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Winter: Part Of Adirondack Cultural Identity

White Stuff = Green StuffClimate change threatens not only the winter economy of the Adirondacks, but also the cultural identity of the region.

Lake Placid twice hosted the Winter Olympics, in 1932 and 1980, and continues to capitalize on its history, attracting a variety of winter-sports events such as the Winter Empire State Games and international skiing and sliding competitions.

The Adirondack Park has spawned a number of Olympic athletes. Drive through tiny Vermontville and you’ll see signs celebrating that it is home to Billy Demong, who won the gold medal for Nordic combined in 2010. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

As Climate Changes, Poor Winters Hurt Adirondack Tourism

Mountaineer in Keene ValleyThe most profitable months for the tourism-based businesses in the Adirondacks are without question July and August. This is when families take their summer vacations, the weather is warm, and the bugs are tolerable. But while summer is crucial for small businesses, a successful winter season can mean the difference between making money or not for the year.

Vinny McClelland, owner of the Mountaineer in Keene Valley, knows this as much as anyone. His business depends on customers who recreate in the outdoors. In winter, they include backcountry skiers, ice climbers, mountaineers, and snowshoers. If there is a shortage of snow or ice in the winter, chances are there will be a shortage of customers visiting the Adirondacks and his store.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Paddling In Nessmuk’s Adirondack Wake

Will_Madison - NessmukThe nineteenth-century writings of George W. Sears – best known as Nessmuk – have inspired countless Adirondack paddlers. Among the most recent is his great-great-great-grandson Will Madison.

In September, the twenty-two-year-old St. Lawrence University graduate retraced much of Nessmuk’s 1883 canoe trip from the Old Forge area to Paul Smiths and back. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Will Adirondack Trout Survive A Warming Climate?

Scientist Spencer Bruce, right, collects brook trout for his statewide genetic study. Photo by Mike Lynch.Sitting beside a small stream in the southwestern Adirondacks, Spencer Bruce clipped a tiny brook-trout fin and placed it in a small container. The fin is one of more than a thousand he has collected in recent years from waters in New York State for a genetic study.

Studying the genetic makeup of fish may provide clues to how resilient a population is to climate change and other environmental problems. In the Adirondack Park, several cold-water species of fish are thought to be at risk from climate change. Besides brook trout, they include lake trout and round whitefish. Other aquatic species, including amphibians and loons, also could be at risk. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hiker Ticketed After Keg Party Atop Adirondack High Peak

KegPartyA hiker who posted photos on Facebook of a keg party on top of Phelps Mountain over Columbus Day weekend has been ticketed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Raja Bhatt of Queens was ticketed for allegedly taking part in a “day-use group” with more than fifteen people — the legal limit for a hike in the High Peaks Wilderness Area.

Bhatt, who is thirty-two, said he didn’t organize the hike or the keg party.

“I was simply on the summit with some friends, and some friend of a friend brought a keg,” he said. » Continue Reading.


Friday, September 18, 2015

DEC Starts Dismantling Marcy Dam

MarcyDam-1The state Department of Environmental Conservation started dismantling Marcy Dam this week, the first step in its effort to remove the wooden structure over the next five years.

Located in the High Peaks Wilderness, the wooden Marcy Dam has been a popular stopping point for hikers, skiers and snowshoers  for decades. It was severely damaged by flooding during Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Climate Change Threatens Adirondack Boreal Species

Tabor-moose-600x438On a warm day in June, state wildlife biologist Ben Tabor knelt in a dark forest in the northern Adirondacks, peering through his binoculars at a dark shape a few hundred feet away that he suspected was a moose with a GPS collar. After a few minutes, he moved forward for a closer look. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Adirondack Search and Rescue Highlights (August)

DEC Forest RangerForest rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. 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 backcountry.

August missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks include: » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hiker Tells Story of Near-Deadly Bear Encounter

bedEric Spinner often hikes with his beloved Pippy, a little border terrier. The two of them were in the woods in the southern Adirondacks on the afternoon of August 11 when Pippy came running up the trail, a black bear in pursuit.

Spinner did what the books tell you to do: in an effort to intimidate the bear he stood tall and raised his arms. He also started shouting. The bear kept coming. When Spinner stooped to scoop up Pippy, he slipped and fell, and the next thing he knew he was wrestling a bear. At one point, he thought his life was over. » Continue Reading.