Thursday, September 14, 2017

‘Explorer’ Editorial: Consider a Convention for New York

PHOTO BY JOHNATHAN ESPER

This November’s election may be an off-year, but it’s an important one for New Yorkers. The ballot will include the question of whether to hold a convention to make changes to the New York State Constitution, a chance that comes along once every twenty years.

New York State residents with ties to the Adirondacks should be conflicted: on the one hand, their state constitution is in desperate need of revision — punctuated by a string of corruption convictions against state leaders in recent years. The changes needed to fix this problem aren’t likely to come from lawmakers themselves through constitutional amendment.

But while taking back control of our constitution seems a desirable goal, opening the potential for harm to Article 14, which includes the forever-wild clause protecting the Forest Preserve in the Adirondacks and Catskills, is a proposition scarier to some than politicians lining their pockets with public money. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Champlain Watershed Road Salt Deicing Conference Planned

AdirondackMuseum-CabinFeverSundays_RoadSalt_Jan10On Sept. 29 University of Vermont (UVM) Extension, Lake Champlain Sea Grant and the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District will host a Lake Champlain Watershed Deicing Conference.

This free, day-long educational event will be held from 8 am to 5 pm at the Dudley H. Davis Center on the UVM campus in Burlington. Although open to everyone, it specifically targets municipal road maintenance staff, private winter maintenance contractors and elected officials, businesses and nonprofits tasked with decision-making or public education about deicing roads, driveways, sidewalks or parking lots in local communities.  » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Buzz Over Adirondack High Peaks Helicopter Tours

A Go Aviation helicopter flies low over Duck Hole in the High Peaks Wilderness. Chip Moeser hiked fifteen miles from Lake Placid in early July to spend the night at Duck Hole deep in the High Peaks Wilderness. He was looking for quiet, but in the late afternoon, a helicopter started descending from overhead.

“It was coming in like it was going to land,” Moeser said, adding that it got as close as ten feet to the ground before taking off.

At first, he had assumed it was a state helicopter. In fact, it was owned by Go Aviation, which this summer started flying helicopter tours out of Lake Placid and Lake Clear. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Constitutional Convention Vote Raises Article 14 Fears

Monuments at Monument Falls along the West Branch of the Ausable River near Lake Placid Every two decades, New Yorkers go to the polls to decide whether they want to rewrite the language in their state constitution. Historically, they take a pass on this opportunity — in more than a century, only three constitutional conventions have been called by the voters, the most recent in 1967. And even in that year, the same voters who called for the convention decided they didn’t like the result and rejected the changes proposed by the convention’s delegates.

But if last year’s presidential elections and the rise of a self-styled populist to power were reflective of anything, it was that much of the electorate is irritated with business as usual and might be willing to take chances in the name of draining the swamp. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

New Leadership For Lake George Land Conservancy Board

Mike O'ReillyDuring its Annual Meeting in August, the Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) announced the appointment of Michael O’Reilly as the organization’s new President of the Board of Directors. O’Reilly is taking over the role from 11-year President John J. Macionis.

O’Reilly joined the LGLC Board of Directors in January of 2010, and served as Treasurer since August of 2011, and Vice President of Finance since August 2012. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

APA Awaits Governor Cuomo’s Final Decision on Boreas Ponds

Photo by Phil Brown 2016. View of Gothics from Boreas Ponds.The best information to trickle out so far is that the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will take up the Boreas Ponds classification deliberations starting at the October 2017 meeting in Ray Brook, but that it could be delayed until November. The APA has, apparently completed much of the paper work on the Environmental Impact Statement and organized its response to public comments. The APA has also organized various options for consideration by the APA Board; mostly they are similar to those taken to public hearing last fall. The missing piece is final layout of the classification of the Boreas Ponds tract that will be used as the APA’s “Preferred Option.” For that, the APA is waiting on Governor Cuomo to make the final call and tell the APA what his, and their, “Preferred Option” will be.

Governor Cuomo’s preferred option faces a number of questions, which will affect the process and timing of the APA’s final decision. For instance, if the Governor decides he wants a new Intensive Use area on any of the lands in question this will necessitate a change to the EIS and a new round of public hearings. If the Governor decides to leave a blank 5-acre cutout that remains unclassified “pending classification,” the decisions on the surrounding classifications will limit what can eventually be authorized in the unclassified tract. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Peg Olsen to Lead TNC’s Adirondack Chapter

The Nature Conservancy has announced Peg Olsen as the Adirondack Chapter’s new director.  Olsen most recently served as The National Audubon Society’s Chief Conservation Officer and Atlantic Flyway Vice President, overseeing 23 state programs, including 46 nature centers, as well as international programs.

She is returning to The Nature Conservancy, where she worked from 1989 – 2003, holding various positions, including Eastern New York Chapter Director, overseeing a staff of 17, and Asia Pacific Region Deputy Director, managing operations with 185 staff across 14 times zones in China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, the Solomon Islands, Palau, Australia and the United States. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Acid Rain Still Impacting Adirondack Lakes and Forests

In a recent newsletter from Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, she mentioned visiting the facilities of the Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation to discuss strategies for measuring and combating acid rain in the Adirondacks. Although acid rain remains an important topic of study and discussion, the once commonplace phrase has become somewhat obscure in recent years and the problems associated with acid rain have taken a back seat to other, more widely discussed environment-impacting issues.

Like global warming, acid rain results from burning fossil fuels, either to generate electricity at large power plants or to run vehicles and heavy equipment. As the resulting ‘acid gasses’ are released into the air, they combine with water vapor, producing sulfuric and nitric acids, which fall to earth in acidified rain, snow, sleet, fog, mist, or hail. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Still No Source For Contamination At Million Dollar Beach

As the season draws to a close, Lake George partner groups, including the Fund for Lake George, Lake George Waterkeeper Program and the Lake George Association, along with state and local governments, continue to search for the source of contamination to the lake water at Million Dollar Beach. The Department of Environmental Conservation closed the beach again recently after detecting bacterial contamination.

“Unfortunately, Lake George continues to be compromised through contamination from an apparent human source at Million Dollar Beach,” said Chris Navitsky, the Lake George Waterkeeper, in a press release issued by the Fund for Lake George. “While tracing the exact origin of the contamination is a complicated issue, we are confident this problem can be solved with a focused, science-driven plan of action.” » Continue Reading.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Louis Marshall: Wilderness Conservationist; Seeker of Social Justice

Louis Marshall Wilderness preservationist Louis Marshall would have not only commented about the extremism, murder and related tragic loss of life in Charlottesville, VA. He would have been outspoken against the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazi followers that caused it. Further, he would have responded vigorously and explicitly against President Trump’s persistent equivocation about who caused the violence and loss of life. To the lawyer and civil rights advocate Louis Marshall, love of justice and love of nature bubbled up from the same headwaters.

We continue to live in a time of specialists where our humanity is defined and constrained as lanes we live and practice within. The messages we receive daily are to stay in our separate lanes, interests and specialties. By dint of his and world history and by force of personality, Louis Marshall (1856-1929) would not stay in any lane. Nor did Martin Luther King. Nor do young people today. Nor should any of us. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

New Adirondack Research On Invasive Phragmites

Lake Placid Wetland - Phragmites Management TimelapsePractitioners from the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) and researchers from Cornell University published the results of a seven-year study evaluating management of Phragmites australis (Phragmites), an aggressive wetland invasive plant, in the Adirondacks.

Published in the latest issue of Biological Invasions, “Management of invasive Phragmites australis in the Adirondacks: a cautionary tale about prospects of eradication,” documents broad success in controlling the species and suggests that over 70% of infestations within the interior Adirondacks will eventually be successfully eradicated, allowing native species to recolonize.

Since 2010, APIPP has managed 334 infestations of Phragmites in the interior Adirondacks. As of 2016, 212 of these managed sites have been documented as Phragmites-free; 104 have been documented as Phragmites-free for three consecutive years and are deemed eradicated. Researchers point to two primary reasons for this success: Small size of Phragmites infestations upon discovery (average size is less than one acre); and APIPP’s sustained early detection, rapid response, and monitoring efforts. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Final Papers Submitted In Adirondack Park Snowmobile Trail Trial

section of the Newcomb to Minerva trail built in 2015On July 31, 2017 final papers were submitted in the trial in state Supreme Court in Albany over management of the Forest Preserve. The trial ended in early April. The trial focused on management of the public “forever wild” Forest Preserve by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency.

These agencies are currently building a network of 9-12 foot wide class II community connector snowmobile trails (Class II trails) on the Adirondack Forest Preserve that require cutting thousands of trees, extensive grading.

The lawsuit was filed by Protect the Adirondacks (PROTECT) against the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency in 2013, and alleges that these trails violate Article XIV, Section 1, the forever wild provision of the NYS Constitution. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

APA Agenda: Building Bike Trails, Piseco Lake Campground, Hamilton Co Towers

APA Building in Ray Brook NYThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its monthly meeting at its headquarters in Ray Brook, NY on Thursday, August 10th, 2017.

The meeting will address the siting, construction and maintenance of bike trails on state land, the Piseco Lake Campground UMP, the appearance of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in Warren County, and consider two emergency communication towers in Hamilton County.

What follows is the agenda issued by the APA: » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Adirondack High Peaks Management Plan Unmet, Outdated

There has been detailed documentation in the Adirondack Almanack about ongoing recreational pressures and resulting damage to parts of the High Peaks Wilderness Area, the largest Wilderness unit in the NYS Forest Preserve (and in most of the country).

Severe impacts have resulted to some adjacent trailheads, highways, roads, and parking areas, and certain areas of the interior. NYS DEC personnel, Summit Stewards, and town governments, indeed all of us, feel the pressure from large numbers of us enjoying the Eastern High Peaks, and in some cases requiring search and rescue. What to do about it all has been debated in this space by various stakeholders, including DEC Forest Rangers, with much good information exchanged and good comments and suggestions.

However, current comments and conditions feel like déjà vu all over again. I refer to the 17 year-old document that very specifically guides our public land manager, the NYS DEC, in addressing recreational user pressure on the High Peaks and how to keep the High Peaks as wilderness.

The 1999 High Peaks Wilderness Complex Unit Management Plan (UMP) is that guiding document. I propose that we spend more time addressing this plan, its management recommendations and actions to date, and how the UMP might be updated to reflect the era, conditions and user pressures we are now encountering. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Millennial Focus at Lake George Land Conservancy Meeting

lglc logoThe Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) will hold its Annual Meeting at the Bolton Conservation Park on Saturday, August 19, from 10 am to 12 pm, followed by a guided hike to The Pinnacle and picnic lunch.

Guest speaker Michelle Clement from the Regional Office Of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) will present a discussion on the economic benefits of conservation and recreation and the emerging relationship between the Adirondacks, nature and millennials. » Continue Reading.



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