Almanack Contributor Phil Brown

Phil Brown is the former Editor of Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues, the same topics he writes about here at Adirondack Almanack. Phil is also an energetic outdoorsman whose job and personal interests often find him hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, trail running, and backcountry skiing. He is the author of Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures, which he co-published with the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the editor of Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, an anthology of Marshall’s writings.Visit Lost Pond Press for more information.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Push For Clustering Of Developments

Woodworth_lots Courtesy of APAEnvironmentalists say the approval of a housing development at a former Boy Scout camp underscores the need for tighter regulation of privately owned backcountry lands in the Adirondacks.

All four of the Adirondack Park’s major environmental groups opposed a plan to subdivide 1,119 acres in Fulton County into twenty-four building lots, most of them bordering two water bodies, Woodworth Lake and Hines Pond.

Nevertheless, the Adirondack Park Agency board voted unanimously to approve the subdivision in January. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

TR’s Diary Of An Adirondack Birding Trip

63061_covThe State University of New York Press is coming out with an edition of Teddy Roosevelt’s diaries from 1877 to 1886, when the future president was in his late teens and twenties. Given TR’s ties to the Adirondacks, I expected to find some entries from our neck of the woods and was not disappointed.

In 1877, Roosevelt and a friend, H.D. Minot, wrote a short article with a list of birds they had observed near Paul Smiths, The article – “The Summer Birds of the Adirondacks in Franklin County, N. Y.” – was TR’s first published work. Click here to read the article.

The article is based on three birding trips in the Adirondacks, in 1874, 1875, and 1877. Minot, a Harvard classmate, accompanied Roosevelt only on the last trip. TR’s diaries contain several short entries from that excursion.

The SUNY book, edited by Edward P. Kohn, a historian, is titled A Most Glorious Ride: The Diaries of Theodore Roosevelt 1877-1886. It is due out April 1.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Bike Trails In Wilmington Are Great For Skiing

Keith on PMDWilmington is gaining a reputation as a mountain-bike mecca, but what’s less well known is that many of the biking trails in town make great ski trails.

Mike Lynch, a writer/photographer with the Adirondack Explorer, and I learned this firsthand when we skied a trail called Poor Man’s Downhill with Keith McKeever this week.

Keith happens to be the spokesman for the Adirondack Park Agency, but he also is active in the Barkeater Trail Alliance (BETA), a group of mountain bikers that has been creating and maintaining bike trails in Wilmington, Lake Placid, and Saranac Lake. As noted in an earlier article on Adirondack Almanack this week, BETA recently merged with the Adirondack Ski Touring Council. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Goodwin Stepping Down As Head Of Ski Touring Council

tony-ski2After nearly thirty years in the post, Tony Goodwin is resigning as executive director of the Adirondack Ski Touring Council, the organization that created and still maintains the Jackrabbit Ski Trail, a popular backcountry route that connects Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, and Keene.

“I am actually of retirement age. I had been thinking that when someone with the right skill set comes along that it would be time to bow out,” said Goodwin, who lives in Keene. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Should DEC Plan For The Return Of The Wolf?

March coverCan wolves return to the Adirondacks on their own? If so, should the state Department of Environmental Conservation develop a plan to facilitate their recovery?

These are questions discussed in Mike Lynch’s cover story for the March-April issue of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine—the second in a series of articles on the Adirondacks’ missing predators.

Some people believe that the wolf, like the moose before it, could disperse to the Adirondacks. The nearest wolf population is only a few hundred miles away in Algonquin Provincial Park. There also is a substantial wolf population in the western Great Lakes states. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hunter Admits Shooting Bull Moose

MooseA New Hampshire man has admitted illegally shooting a bull moose in the town of Croghan just west of the Adirondack Park.

Steven Zehr of Walpole, New Hampshire, turned himself in after shooting the animal on private land on the morning of November 25, according to Stephen Litwhiler, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Litwhiler said Zehr was in a tree stand and mistook the moose, which weighed nearly 690 pounds, for an antlered deer. It was about 10 a.m. when the moose was killed. Zehr was charged with illegally taking wild game, a misdemeanor, and paid a $1,200 civil fine. » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 26, 2015

A New Hike To Lake Andrew

Lake_andrew by Carl Heilman IIAfter writing about the state’s acquisition of the MacIntyre West Tract for the last issue of the Explorer, I was eager to explore it, and Lake Andrew seemed like the logical place to start.

In early December, my friend Carol and I hiked the 4.7 miles to the lake and, on the way back, took a side trip to a spectacular view of the Twin Slides on Santanoni Peak. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cross-Country Skiing Tips For This Weekend

A skier starts out on the Upper Hudson Ski Trail. Photo by Phil Brown.It’s late January, but we’re still waiting for midwinter ski conditions. That said, you can find good skiing if you pick the right spots.

At lower elevations, you want to stick to smoother trails – such as former truck trails and old woods roads – as there might not be enough snow to cover big rocks and roots.

At higher elevations, this is less of a problem. Tony Goodwin reports on the Jackrabbit Trail website that there is 26 inches of snow at Lake Colden and three to four feet above the 4,000-foot contour. » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Plethora Of Proposals For Forest Preserve Lands

snowmobiles photo by Nancie BattagliaThis fall, the Adirondack Park Agency invited the public to offer ideas for revising the State Land Master Plan – which hasn’t been substantially amended since 1987 – and the agency got an earful.Among those submitting suggestions were the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, environmental organizations, mountain bikers, and backcountry skiers.

The Local Government Review Board, which has a non-voting seat on the APA board, proposed a number of amendments. Perhaps the most fundamental change would put economic development on an equal footing with natural resource protection in the plan’s mission statement. » Continue Reading.


Friday, January 16, 2015

DEC Opens Ski Trail Along Upper Hudson

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe state Department of Environmental Conservation has opened a new cross-country-ski trail on former Finch, Pruyn timberlands that takes you along the Goodnow and Hudson rivers in the town of Newcomb.

I skied the 4.2-mile loop trail on Wednesday afternoon with my neighbor, Tim Peartree, and we had a blast.

“I liked the variety, the ups and downs, the scenery. It’s a terrific trail,” Tim said after our trip.

The ski trip is possible thanks to the state’s purchase of lands in the Essex Chain Lakes region from the Nature Conservancy a few years ago. The conservancy had purchased the land from Finch, Pruyn & Company in 2007.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

APA Approves Controversial Subdivision

WoodworthLakeThe Adirondack Park Agency board voted unanimously Thursday to approve a controversial development at a former Boy Scouts camp in the southern Adirondacks.

New York Land and Lakes Development LLC plans to subdivide the 1,119-acre property into 24 building lots, most of them bordering two water bodies, Hines Pond and Woodworth Lake. The lots range from three acres to 145 acres.

All of the Park’s four major environmental groups as well as the regional chapter of the Sierra Club opposed the project. They contend that the developers should be forced to minimize fragmentation of the forest by clustering homes closer together.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, January 12, 2015

NYCO Begins Drilling In Jay Mt. Wilderness Area

plumley-lot-8-300x2051NYCO Minerals has begun cutting trees and drilling for wollastonite in the Jay Mountain Wilderness, actions that could render moot legal efforts to thwart the company’s plans.

NYCO spokesman John Brodt confirmed that the company began work in December after New York State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Buchanan dismissed a lawsuit challenging NYCO’s permit.

Last week, Earthjustice filed a notice of appeal with the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, but it’s uncertain whether it will follow through. The nonprofit organization is representing Protect the Adirondacks, Adirondack Wild, the Sierra Club, and the Atlantic States Legal Foundation.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Adirondackers Await Rail Corridor Decision

Train_overhead-Nancie BattagliaAfter four public meetings on the future of the eighty-mile rail corridor between Big Moose and Lake Placid, the public seems as divided as ever, and the state now must make a decision sure to leave many people unhappy.

The Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation plan to review the public comments and make a recommendation for the best use of the state-owned corridor. After the public has had a chance to weigh in on that recommendation, the departments will make a final decision. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Push For Forest Preserve Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking by Nancie BattagliaThe Adirondack Park Agency’s promise to consider allowing mountain biking in the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area has generated a broader discussion – with much disagreement – of the place of bikes in the Forest Preserve.

The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan allows bikes on trails in tracts classified as Wild Forest Areas but prohibits them in Wilderness Areas. They are allowed in Primitive Areas only on old roads used by state officials for managing natural resources. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Book Review: ‘Adirondack Trail Skier’

trail skier bookAfter last week’s snowstorm, a lot of people got out to ski and or at least were prompted into thinking of skiing. Ah, but where to go?

For years, the bible for the region’s cross-country skiers has been Tony Goodwin’s Ski and Snowshoe Trails in the Adirondacks.

Now there’s another book on the market: Adirondack Trail Skier by Spencer Morrissey.

Morrissey self-published his guidebook in 2013, but I didn’t get a copy until late last winter, so I held off reviewing it until now. » Continue Reading.