Monday, June 6, 2016

AdkAction Hires Director, Celebrates 5 Years

Brittany ChristensonAdkAction.org, established in 2011 by a group of local residents, is celebrating its 5th anniversary and has hired a new full-time Executive Director. According to an announcement sent to the press, the organization’s core mission is “getting things done for the Adirondacks by taking on non-partisan projects with widespread support that will benefit both permanent and seasonal residents.”  Originally formed over property assessments, the group has since worked on Monarch butterfly preservation, a park-wide arts symposium, road salt and stream monitoring, and more.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Lives of Pileated Woodpeckers

tos pileated woodpeckerWuk-wuk- wuk-wuk! With a rattling call, a large bird took off from a tree and flew in an undulating fashion across our field towards the woods. It was black and the size of a crow, but flashes of white on the underside of its wings and a red crest on its head easily identified it as a pileated woodpecker.

We had seen the unmistakable signs of pileateds foraging for insects in the adjacent woodland: huge rectangular holes excavated in trees with big wood chips littering the ground below, long strips of bark pulled off a dead elm, a rotten log torn apart. We had heard their loud drumming echoing through the forest. There was likely a nest nearby, although we never found it. The pileated woodpecker, up to 19 inches long with a wingspan up to 30 inches, is North America’s largest woodpecker. (The ivory-billed, of southeastern swamps and Cuba, was larger, but that species is believed to be extinct.) Pileated means “crested”; years ago, the bird was often called a log-cock. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

New Report On The State of North America’s Birds

north american birds 2016The North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) just released The State of North America’s Birds 2016, the first comprehensive report assessing the conservation status of all bird species that occur in Canada, the continental United States and Mexico. NABCI was created by Canada, the United States and Mexico as a tri-national commitment to protect birds and their habitats.

The report argues that more than one third of all North American bird species need urgent conservation action and calls for a renewed, continent-wide commitment to saving birds and their habitats. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Council Names Joe Martens Conservationist Of The Year

Joseph MartensFormer NYS Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens will be awarded Conservationist of the Year at the Forever Wild Day celebration hosted by the Adirondack Council on July 9.

The event will be held at the Inn at the Bridge in Northville. The Adirondack Council’s annual Forever Wild Day celebration will include a luncheon, annual meeting and outdoor activities.

Martens’s first work in the Adirondack Park came as assistant secretary and deputy secretary for energy and the environment under Gov. Mario Cuomo. He later served as chair of the board of the Olympic Regional Development Authority.

Currently, Martens is a Senior Fellow at the Open Space Institute, where he is working on national climate change policy and new strategies for promoting smart and effective land conservation in combating climate change. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Lake Placid Land Conservancy Wins DEC Outreach Grant

A144-acre property in Jay with a view of the Sentinel Range being conserved with a conservation easement by the Lake Placid land Conservancy.The Lake Placid Land Conservancy (LPLC) has been awarded a $25,000 New York State Conservation Partnership Program  grant to expand its outreach efforts across the Lake Placid region, including the towns of North Elba, Keene, Jay, Wilmington, Saranac Lake and St. Armand.

Once developed, the program is expected to offer interested, qualified landowners in the region the opportunity to develop conservation management plans for their properties and implement any one of a number of citizen science tools on their properties to monitor wildlife, invasive species, plant and animal phenology or climate change. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

More Trail Development Sought For Wilmington Wild Forest

view from cobble lookout by decThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is accepting public comment for proposed amendments to the Wilmington Wild Forest Area Unit Management Plan (UMP) Amendment.

The Wilmington Wild Forest Area is located in the Towns of Wilmington, Jay, Keene, and Saint Armand in Essex County and the Town of Black Brook in Clinton County. The UMP covers about 17,000 acres across several detached Forest Preserve parcels. The core area is located on the east-facing slopes of Whiteface Mountain between the Whiteface Mountain Ski center and the Whiteface Veterans’ Memorial Highway. The APA will accept public comment regarding Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan conformance for this amendment until June 10, 2016. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Peter Bauer: 7 Simple Rules For Classifying The Boreas Tract

Boreas-600x343The purchase of the Boreas Ponds tract is a major milestone in the history of the Adirondack Forest Preserve, a stellar accomplishment by the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and a feather in the cap of the Cuomo Administration. This marks the completion of the state’s purchase of 69,000 acres of new Forest Preserve announced in 2012. While over 95,000 acres of the former Finch, Pruyn and Company lands were protected as conservation easements, the 69,000 acres purchased for the Forest Preserve included natural gems like OK Slip Falls, the Blue Ledges of the Hudson Gorge, the Essex Chain Lakes, 15 miles of the Hudson River, the West Stony Creek river valley, five miles of the Cedar River, and much much more.

At the Governor’s announcement of the Boreas Ponds purchase last week at Elk Lake he said he wanted to see a speedy classification of the newly purchased lands. There are more than 35,000 acres of land to be classified, mostly bordering the High Peaks Wilderness, but also in scattered parcels in the southern Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Dealing With Adirondack Climate Change

ProSnowThe Adirondack Park is already experiencing the impacts of climate change. Lakes and ponds are covered with ice for fewer days than they were a century ago; spring is starting earlier in the lower elevations; and storms are becoming more intense and frequent.

Scientists predict that in the future the Park will be a much different place. Wildlife species that can’t adapt to the warmer weather are expected to move northward or to higher elevations. Buildings that remain in floodplains are expected to be more vulnerable to flooding. Plant communities, especially those on high summits and boreal lowlands, could change significantly or even disappear.  » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

New Study: Wilderness Helps Adirondack Economy

Wilderness around Fulton Chain from Castle Rock above Blue Mountain LakeA new study conducted by Clarkson University argues that the Adirondack Park’s constitutionally protected Forest Preserve is an economic asset to the private lands and communities near it, and the wildest of those lands returns the greatest financial benefit.

Clarkson’s study showed that people seeking to purchase homes and businesses in northern New York paid more for the same property inside the Adirondack Park than they would have outside of it. Buyers paid up to 25 percent more if that property was close to a wilderness area. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dick Booth: Boreas Ponds Should Be Wilderness

Boreas Ponds aerialDick Booth probably won’t be on the Adirondack Park Agency’s board when it decides how to classify the recently acquired Boreas Ponds Tract, but he is convinced that most of the 20,758 acres should be designated Wilderness, the strictest of the APA’s land-use categories.

“The great bulk of the lands, including the ponds, should be Wilderness,” Booth told Adirondack Almanack on Tuesday, a day after revealing he intends to retire from the APA.

Environmental groups concur that the three linked ponds — with their stupendous views of the High Peaks — should be classified Wilderness, but local towns are arguing for a less-restrictive Wild Forest classification for the ponds and nearby land. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Volunteers Needed At Cook Mountain Near Ticonderoga

GF middle school vwdThe Lake George Land Conservancy is hosting a three-day effort to eradicate invasive shrubby honeysuckle from the Cook Mountain Preserve in Ticonderoga, June 7-9, 10 am to 6 pm.

The forest of the Cook Mountain Preserve has become overtaken by invasive shrubby honeysuckle, an aggressive non-native plant that overtakes forest understories, pushing out native plants that are needed to provide food and shelter for wildlife. Their growth is often so dense that no other plants grow beneath its branches, leaving the ground bare. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dick Booth To Step Down From APA Board

BoothThe Adirondack Park Agency board will soon lose its strongest defender of wilderness: Dick Booth does not intend to serve another term.

Booth’s current four-year term expires June 30, but he said he will stay on awhile if a successor is not appointed by then.

A professor in Cornell’s Department of City and Regional Planning, Booth told Adirondack Almanack he is leaving partly out of frustration with decisions at the agency. He also said the long drive from Ithaca to Ray Brook for monthly meetings and poring over stacks of documents in preparation for those meetings proved draining over the years.

“I’ve been there eight and a half years,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed it, but at some point it’s time to step aside.”

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dave Gibson: DEC’s Essex Chain Double Standards

_DSC0161DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos signed the Essex Chain of Lakes Primitive Area Unit Management Plan (UMP) in late March, and issued a Findings Statement required by law.

The final UMP and the Findings do not appear to alter the basic management decisions ratified by the Adirondack Park Agency last November as being in compliance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. Those management decisions include creation of motorized corridors within Wild and Scenic River areas and other matters which the nonprofits Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve and Protect the Adirondacks considered in serious violation of existing law and regulation. Two members of the APA voted against the UMP compliance determination because of the Environmental Conservation Department’s apparent disregard for provisions in the Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act and regulations. The nonprofit organizations consequently filed a lawsuit in January. The legal matters are pending in court.

DEC has asserted from the beginning and continues to assert that as a matter of law prior uses by the private owner Finch,Pruyn and Company and its private lessees and guests, uses ending when Finch, Pruyn sold the property in 2007, justify continued uses by the public today after the land reverted to publicly- owned Forest Preserve in 2012. This is one of the several contested issues before the court. » Continue Reading.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Towns Favor Wild Forest Designation For Boreas Ponds

Boreas_Ponds Map_20160401Five local towns have set forth a land-use proposal for the newly acquired Boreas Ponds Tract that would allow mountain biking and “reasonable” motorized access — an alternative to plans supported by environmentalists.

Both the towns and environmental groups have proposed classification schemes that divide the 20,758-acre tract into Wilderness, where motors and bikes are prohibited, and Wild Forest, a less-restrictive classification. The major difference is that the towns recommend that the Boreas Ponds themselves be designated Wild Forest.

Under all the plans, most people would be allowed to drive on the dirt Gulf Brook Road only as far as LaBier Flow, an impoundment on the Boreas River, the outlet of the ponds. From there, hikers would have to walk a mile or so to the ponds. Canoeists would have to paddle up the flow and then portage to the ponds.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Adirondack Winter That Wasn’t

Whiteface Mountain with little snow 2016 Mike Lynch PhotoSnow-sport events are a staple of winter tourism in the Adirondacks, drawing participants and spectators into small villages where they eat in restaurants, stay in hotels, and spend money in stores. This winter, many events had to be canceled because of frequent thaws and a dearth of snow.

Among the canceled events were the Lake Placid Loppet, a cross-country-ski race, and a World Cup skiing competition in the Lake Placid region; the annual Adirondack Backcountry Ski Festival, sponsored by the Mountaineer in Keene Valley; and Dewey Mountain Days in Saranac Lake. Dangerous ice conditions led to the cancellation of ice-fishing contests around the Adirondack Park. » Continue Reading.



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