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.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ex-APA Commissioner Favors Canoe Area For Essex Chain

Essex ChainThe hearings on the classification of the former Finch, Pruyn lands are finished, but the public can submit written comments to the Adirondack Park Agency through July 19.

In one such comment, a former APA board member recommends classifying the Essex Chain Lakes a Canoe Area.

Rick Hoffman, who served on the board as a representative of the New York State Department of State from 1998 to 2008, argues that a Canoe classification would be as protective of the natural resources as a Wilderness classification and would stimulate paddling tourism. » Continue Reading.

Friday, June 28, 2013

‘Adirondack Explorer’ Has Finch, Pruyn Deal Covered

Explorer-coverThose of you who read Adirondack Almanack regularly know we’ve attempted to keep you informed about the controversy over how to classify the former Finch, Pruyn lands recently acquired by the state from the Nature Conservancy.

The same is true of our print partner, Adirondack Explorer. In the July-August issue, which was just finished, you’ll find a detailed explanation of the various options for managing the lands—with maps and a chart—as well as firsthand accounts of outings on these additions to the Forest Preserve.

The photo on the cover, taken by Nancie Battaglia, shows two canoeists running a rapid on a stretch of the upper Hudson. The trip we did that day, from Newcomb to a new takeout just below the confluence of the Goodnow River, was made possible by the Finch, Pruyn acquisition. » Continue Reading.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Adirondack Loon Researchers Need Money

ACLCLogoThe Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation got its start more than a decade ago (albeit under a different name) with the mission of monitoring a bird that appeared to be in trouble–from acid rain, mercury contamination, lead sinkers, and other environmental threats. Now it appears the researchers are in trouble.

Nina Schoch, coordinator of the center, hopes to raise about $20,000 over the next few weeks to hire field staff to monitor loon nesting on some ninety lakes across the Adirondack Park. She has had monitors in the field for the past eleven summers, but she doesn’t have enough money  to hire them this year. » Continue Reading.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Old Climbing Routes On Noonmark Mountain

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe other day I hiked to the summit of Noonmark Mountain, celebrated for its knockout views of the High Peaks. I enjoyed the views, but my real reason for hiking Noonmark was to check out some old rock-climbing routes first ascended by Fritz Wiessner and friends in the 1930s and 1940s.

In his heyday, Wiessner was one of the best climbers in the country. He discovered the Shawangunks and put up routes all over the country, including the Adirondacks. The July-August issue of the Adirondack Explorer contains an article about a climb of the Wiessner Route on Upper Washbowl in Chapel Pond Pass. » Continue Reading.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Adirondack Stand-Up Paddling Festival This Weekend

SUPIf you’ve been wondering what the stand-up paddling (SUP) craze is all about, check out the Adirondack SUP Festival at Lake Colby Beach in Saranac Lake this weekend.

Sponsored by Adirondack Lakes and Trails, the annual festival will feature instructional clinics, competitive and family-fun races, SUP fitness and yoga classes, guided paddling trips, and dealer booths. Visitors will be able to demo equipment, and there will be special discounts on boards, paddles, and accessories. » Continue Reading.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

DEC To Open 7,200 Acres Of Former Finch, Pruyn Lands

Essex ChainGovernor Andrew Cuomo announced today that 7,200 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands are about to open to the public, enabling canoeists and kayakers to paddle down a remote stretch of the Hudson River and fishermen and hikers to walk to the Cedar River.

The state recently acquired 21,200 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands from the Nature Conservancy, but most of the lands are still under lease to hunting clubs and so not open to the public.

The 7,200 acres will be open as of midday Friday, according to Dave Winchell, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The lands include a twelve-mile corridor of the Hudson River south of the hamlet of Newcomb. As a result, paddlers will be able to put in at the town beach on Harris Lake in Newcomb and travel downriver to one of two takeouts, the first just after the confluence with the Goodnow River and the second just before the confluence with the Indian River. Both takeouts are marked by signs.

Beware that this part of the river is not for beginning paddlers. It includes several class II rapids, some approaching class III in difficulty. Flat-water paddlers could carry around the rapids or line their boats, but when we did the trip to the Goodnow this spring, the carry trails were only rough paths. DEC does not expect to construct carry trails for a while.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Options For New State Lands: Wild Forest

Essex ChainSo far, we have looked at proposals to designate most of the former Finch, Pruyn lands Wilderness, Primitive, or Canoe. In the last article in our series, we examine two proposals to classify most of the lands Wild Forest—the least restrictive of the four classifications.

Altogether, the Adirondack Park Agency has put together seven options for the management and use of 21,200 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands that the state purchased from the Nature Conservancy. The options will be discussed at a series of public hearings. The first will be this Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the APA office in Ray Brook. The last hearing will be July 2. The APA board could vote on a final proposal as early as August.

In each article in the Adirondack Almanack series, we examine one proposal or two related proposals. We include the APA map or maps showing the classification of the lands under the proposal in question. » Continue Reading.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

State To Reconsider Use Of Adirondack Rail Corridor

ray-brook-railThe state announced today that it intends to revisit the management plan for a controversial rail corridor that traverses the Adirondacks, but don’t expect a quick decision.

The Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation have only just begun to prepare for a lengthy review that will include plenty of opportunity for public input.

A decision on the best use of the 119-mile corridor will take at least a year, according to DOT spokesman Beau Duffy. » Continue Reading.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Outfitter Now Offers Two ‘Adirondack Paddler’s Maps’

paddler mapsDave Cilley’s waterproof “Adirondack Paddler’s Map” has been a big hit since he first published it in 2004.  It covers a lot of territory, which is both its virtue and its vice.

I consulted the map often while researching my guidebook Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures. The amount of detail is impressive: it shows the locations of lean-tos, campsites, trails, and put-ins and identifies just about every peak, pond, island, and stream that would be of interest to paddlers. » Continue Reading.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Cuomo Nominates Downstate Attorney To APA Board

APA officeGovernor Andrew Cuomo has nominated attorney Karen Feldman of Hudson to a seat on the board of the Adirondack Park Agency to replace longtime commissioner Cecil Wray.

Like Wray, Feldman is a Democrat. She has served as an adviser to a number of Democratic candidates and politicians, including U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. She graduated from Yale University in 1978 and earned a law degree from the University of Miami in 1983.

Feldman is the live-in partner of Thomas Williams, the president of the Adirondack Landowners Association.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, June 3, 2013

APA Schedules NYC Hearing On Finch Lands

Essex ChainThe Adirondack Park Agency has scheduled a hearing in New York City on various options for classifying of 21,200 acres of former Finch, Pruyn land and up to 24,200 acres of adjacent Forest Preserve. The classification decision will determine whether motorized access and recreation will be allowed on the lands and waters in question.

The hearing will be in the Downtown Conference Center at Pace University on Wednesday, June 19, at 6 p.m. The center is located at 157 William Street, 18th Floor, in Manhattan.

The APA plans to hold eight hearings throughout the state on the Finch, Pruyn lands, which the state recently acquired from the Nature Conservancy. The agency had previously announced the dates and locations of the other seven. » Continue Reading.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Options For New State Lands: Canoe Area

Essex ChainIn the first two articles of this series, we looked at proposals to classify the former Finch, Pruyn lands Wilderness or Primitive. This week we look at two proposals for creating the Park’s second Canoe Area.

Altogether, the Adirondack Park Agency has put together seven options for the management and use of 22,500 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands that the state purchased from the Nature Conservancy. The options will be discussed at a series of public hearings from June 12 to July 2. The APA board could vote on a final proposal as early as August.

The four articles in this Adirondack Almanack series endeavor to explain these options. In each, we examine one proposal or two related proposals. The text is accompanied by the APA map or maps showing the classification of the lands under the proposal in question. » Continue Reading.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Nancie Battaglia Photo Exhibit Opens Tonight

Strand Theatre in Old ForgeNancie Battaglia—well known for her photography of the Adirondacks and the Olympics—will be exhibiting more than two hundred examples of her work at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LCPA) through June 22.

Titled “inPRINT,” the exhibit focuses on photos that have been published in newspapers, magazines, and other media, such as book covers, brochures, and even cereal boxes. Her photos have appeared in national publications such as National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, and the New York Times and in regional publications such as the Adirondack Explorer and Adirondack Life.

The public is invited to an opening reception at the LCPA from 5 to 7 tonight. » Continue Reading.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

DEC: Skiers Face Uphill Battle For Glades In Preserve

Ron Konowitz skis on Lyon MountainBackcountry skiers who want the state to allow them to maintain ski glades on Lyon Mountain face an uphill battle, but it might be said that those who “earn their turns” are used to uphill battles.

At a public meeting in Saranac last week, several skiers said the glades on Lyon offer some of the best backcountry skiing in the Adirondack Park.

“We’re not looking to cut down mature forest; we’re looking to maintain what’s already there,” said Dean Schneller, a lawyer representing the Adirondack Powder Skier Association. » Continue Reading.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Options For New State Lands: Primitive

Essex ChainThe state’s acquisition of 22,500 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy raises important questions about how these lands will be used and managed. The Adirondack Park Agency has submitted seven management proposals that will be discussed at public hearings starting June 12. The APA board could vote on a final proposal as early as August.

Adirondack Almanack has prepared a series of four articles to explain these proposals. In each article, we look at one proposal or two related proposals. The text will be accompanied by the APA map or maps showing the classification of the lands under the proposal in question. The maps will be the starting point for the discussion.

In the first article, we talked about two proposals for classifying most of the former Finch lands Wilderness. In this article, we discuss the option of creating a Primitive Area. Under the State Land Master Plan, a Primitive Area is “essentially wilderness,” but it may have a man-made structure or use that is incompatible with a Wilderness classification.

» Continue Reading.

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