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]


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Beloved, Photogenic Keene Barn Comes Down

For amateur photographer Nick Palmieri, the structure known as the “Keene barn” was always a welcome sight as he arrived in the High Peaks region.

“I’ve always called it the gateway to the High Peaks,” said Palmieri, who lives in New Jersey and runs the Save the Keene New York Barn Facebook page. “From an artists’ point of view that barn just sits in the perfect spot, just to make the scene perfectly beautiful.” » Continue Reading.


Friday, December 16, 2016

Volunteer Searchers Play Key Role in Algonquin Search

missing-hikers

Volunteer searcher and well-known Lake Placid climber Don Mellor was hiking just above treeline on a frigid Algonquin Peak when he heard the faint sound of a man calling. Then he heard a woman’s yell.

That’s when he knew he had found them. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Alpine Plants on High Peaks Summits in Jeopardy

alpine floraThe growing number of hikers in the High Peaks in recent years has heightened concern for the fragile alpine vegetation found on many of the summits.

If the number continues to increase, summit stewards charged with educating hikers may find themselves overwhelmed, said Julia Goren, the Adirondack Mountain Club’s education director.

“I don’t think we’ve lost ground yet,” said Goren, who heads the summit-steward program. “But I do think it’s not hyperbolic that we’re kind of at a tipping point where there’s not much more we can take before there’s going to be some kind of loss. One summit steward can’t talk to six hundred people in a day and make sure that people are respecting every patch of alpine vegetation.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Hiker’s Role In Disturbing The Wild

scarlet tanagerA trail weaving its way through the woods to a summit takes up just a minuscule fraction of the wild lands it traverses, which may leave the impression that trails have little impact on wildlife. Research in recent years by the Wildlife Conservation Society suggests that is not the case.

“You’d be surprised by the ripples left by a day hiker’s ramble through the woods,” wrote Christopher Solomon in the New York Times in 2015. “In 2008 Sarah Reed, an associate conservation scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society, and her colleagues found fivefold declines in detections of bobcats, coyotes and other midsize carnivores in protected areas in California that allowed quiet recreation activities like hiking, compared with protected areas that prohibited those activities.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Adirondack Hiking Trails Show Their Age

the-state-pays-the-adirondack-mountain-club-and-other-groups-to-maintain-trails When many of the High Peaks’ trails were cut more than a century ago, the work was done by guides and hired hands. Keene Valley’s Orson “Old Mountain” Phelps created the first trail up Mount Marcy in 1861; Verplanck Colvin’s survey workers cut routes up Algonquin and Dix in the late 1800s; and Henry Van Hoevenberg developed a trail system for the Adirondack Lodge (as it was then spelled).

The early trails opened up the High Peaks to more people and laid the groundwork for today’s trail system, but some of the original trails continue to cause maintenance problems. » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 3, 2016

Boat Builder Allison Warner Breaks the Mold

Allison Warner and Rob DavidsonMen have dominated the craft of building guideboats ever since the middle of the nineteenth century, when the first guideboats were made. The only known female builder is Allison Warner from Lake Clear.

Warner’s interest in wooden boats dates back to when she paddled wooden canoes while growing up in southern Texas. As a young adult, she moved to the Adirondacks and began working with AmeriCorps as a carpenter’s helper at Great Camp Santanoni under Tupper Lake carpenter Michael Frenette, who introduced her to boat restoration and guideboats in 1999. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Adirondack Guideboats: Building On Tradition

Boat-builder Jim Cameron Building a traditional Adirondack guideboat is a complex task, with ribs carved from spruce-tree roots and with thin hull planks held in place with several thousand tiny tacks. It can take many weeks to complete one.

“I grew up working with wood one way or another, and these are by far the most complex, demanding things, by a long shot, I’ve ever built,” said Rob Davidson, who started building guideboats a few years ago after moving to the Adirondacks from Oregon. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Adirondack Wild Calls For DEC To Address High Peaks Issues

Cascade

An Adirondack Park advocacy group wants the state Department of Environmental Conservation to re-establish a High Peaks Citizen’s Advisory Committee to address increasing usage and resulting impacts to the High Peaks Wilderness.

Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve sent a letter to DEC Region 5 Director Bob Stegemann today, asking for the department to address the surging number of hikers in the High Peaks with a comprehensive approach that includes possible updates to the High Peaks unit management plan. » Continue Reading.


Friday, September 16, 2016

DEC To Turn Away Vehicles From High Peaks Access Road

State forest rangers will be turning away motor vehicles from the Adirondack Loj Road on weekends this fall due to an excessive number of hikers and vehicles that have been showing up there.

On busy weekends recently hikers have parked on the Adirondack Loj Road after the Adirondack Mountain Club’s parking lot reached its capacity at 200 vehicles. Now motor vehicles will be turned away after the lot is full. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Social Media Adds To Adirondack Summit Ills

The Trap Dike on Mount ColdenGetting information to visitors of the Adirondack Park has always been a challenge for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Unlike other state and national parks, the Adirondack Park lacks an entrance facility where visitors can pick up brochures, maps, or other handouts.

In the past, recreational users relied on local visitor centers, guidebooks and maps, guides and outfitters, and word-of-mouth for ideas on where to go and what to do. It took time to plan a trip. That changed with the rise of the internet. Now information can be found in just seconds or minutes from websites and social-media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Updated: Group Of 67 People Ticketed On Algonquin Peak

Personal McIntyre RangeTwo trip leaders were ticketed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation Saturday after their group of 67 people drew attention on the trail to Algonquin Peak in the High Peaks Wilderness, according to the DEC. One of the men who says he was one of the leaders now says he is receiving death threats.

A forest ranger charged a 34-year-old Quebec man, who organized the trip, with exceeding the High Peaks Wilderness day-use group-size limit and guiding without a license. A 27-year-old Quebec woman was also charged with guiding without a license. The DEC has not provided the Almanack with the names of those charged in this incident. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 29, 2016

As 46er Ranks Grow, Summits Take A Beating

adk 46rThe Adirondack Forty-Sixers organization has seen a record number of people joining its ranks in recent years. Started in 1925, the club now has 9,425 members—more than a third of whom joined over the last ten years.

The club is open to hikers who have climbed its list of forty-six High Peaks, most of which top four thousand feet. It has seen a record number of new members each year since 2009. Last year, 606 hikers joined. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Beyond Peak Capacity: A Boom In High Peaks Hikers

Cascade Mountain outside Lake Placid by Mike Lynch The number of hikers in the High Peaks has been steadily increasing in recent years, especially near Lake Placid and Keene Valley, raising concerns about safety and degradation of natural resources.

“I think that we’ve got a serious overuse of some of our places in the High Peaks,” said Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK). “Clearly, Cascade and Pitchoff are just getting a very large number of people.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hiker Neil Luckhurst Raising Money For Search and Rescue

Bennys Brook_0003A Montreal man is using a thru-hike through the High Peaks to raise funds for a local search and rescue organization.

Neil Luckhurst said he plans to start his hike on August 5 in the Dix Mountain Range and continue for 16 days until he finishes up in the Sentinel Mountain Range. Money raised through the trip will go to Lower Adirondack Search and Rescue, which is based in the southern Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Loon And Trails Center Opens In Saranac Lake

LoonHHCenterTwo Adirondack organizations have come together to form the Adirondack Loon and Trails Center in Saranac Lake.

The center is combined effort between Biodiversity Research Institute’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation and Adirondack Hamlet to Huts, the new initiative to connect trail systems to lodging in communities. The organizations recently had a ribbon-cutting ceremony to announce the center’s opening.

The loon program has been in existence for years under director Nina Schoch, who has operated out of her home in Ray Brook. The program has conducted extensive research projects on mercury and led educational campaigns to protect loons from the dangers of lead fishing tackle, among other things. » Continue Reading.