Almanack Contributor Mike Prescott

Mike Prescott

Mike Prescott is a former history teacher and secondary school principal who found a new retirement avocation in paddling Adirondack waters and exploring their history.

Mike is a New York State Licensed Guide, and also volunteers with the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, the Raquette River Blueway Corridor, the New York State Trails Council and with the Adirondack Mountain Club.

Feel free to contact him at [email protected]



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dam History: The Proposed Tupper Lake Reservoir

Tupper Flooded Outlined labelsI am often dwarfed by the vastness of the landforms which surround me.  The glacial lake basin that forms part of the Raquette River Valley is one such formation.  The old meandering Raquette River from Raquette Falls to Piercefield Falls is a good example.  The river twist and turns, almost comes back upon itself for several miles, as it flows towards its mouth on the St. Lawrence River.  At one point it flows into a lake area and makes a series of rather long graceful turns.   The already slow moving water slows even more, and the current of the river is almost unnoticeable.  Such is the glacial river basin that forms Simon Pond, Tupper Lake and Raquette Pond.  Here the particulate matter, which once came from the surrounding mountains, falls out of suspension.  The slowing of the river as it passes through these lakes, over centuries and centuries, over thousands and thousands of years, since the last glacier, allows for great deposits of earth (sand, mud and muck) to build up on the floor of the lakes.

It is here that the dam story continues.   In prior articles in the Adirondack Almanack I wrote about another proposal for a dam at the Oxbow on the Raquette River, “Dam History: The Oxbow Reservoir Project”.  I also wrote about two smaller dams, “Raquette River History: Setting Pole and Piercefield Dams”.   But now the story of the proposed Tupper Lake Reservoir Dam(s), and how all of these dam proposals are related.  Yes, two proposals (Dam #1 and Dam #2). » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Raquette River History: Setting Pole and Piercefield Dams

Seneca Ray Stoddard photo “the Cut” with Simon(d) Pond and Mt. Morris (1888)Over the past several years I have been involved with the Raquette River Blueway Corridor (RRBC), which organizes Raquette River Awareness Week,  a week of events along the river from its source at Blue Mountain Lake to the St. Lawrence River at Akewesasne.

The staff at The Wild Center have also been involved, by helping to educate the public about the natural history of river with a week of river-related activities, and a river clean-up from “The Crusher” boat launch on Route 30 between Tupper Lake and Upper Saranac Lake, to Simon(d) Pond. This section of the Raquette includes the Oxbow and “The Cut” (an area just north of Simon Pond). » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dam History: The Oxbow Reservoir Project

Proposed Oxbow DamThe Raquette River, from Raquette Falls to the State Boat Launch on Tupper Lake, is one of the nicest stretches of flat-water anywhere in the Adirondacks.  Paddling this river corridor under a clear cerulean blue sky, on a sunny autumn day with the riverbanks ablaze in orange and red, is exquisite.  For me, though, the river’s history is as captivating as its natural beauty.

Countless people have traveled this section of river over the centuries.  There were native peoples who hunted, fished, and trapped, the hinterlands of Long Lake and further into the Raquette Lake area, long before whites appeared on the Adirondack Plateau.  There were the early farmers and families wanting to start a new livelihood.  There were the guides and their wealthy “sports”, (and later the families of these sports) desiring adventure and recreation.  There were people seeking better health and relief from the despair and disease of the cities.  There were merchants, hotelkeepers, charwomen, day labors, ax-men, river drivers, and a host of others. There were the famous, the not so famous, and the down-and-out.

All of these people, and many others, used the Raquette ( Racket or Racquette ) River as a transportation highway.  The number of footfalls on the carries at and around Raquette Falls is limited only to the imagination.  In his book Adirondack Canoe Waters: North Flow, Paul Jamieson refers to the nearby Indian Carry, at Corey’s separating the Raquette River system from the Sacanac River system, as the “Times Square of the woods.”  ( Note: In the Adirondacks one “carries” around rapids and waterfalls, one does not “portage.” ) » Continue Reading.