Monday, December 3, 2012

Fracking and the Adirondacks

One doesn’t read much about high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing (HVHHF) for natural gas extraction in the Adirondack media – for a good reason. After all, who thinks they would ever profit from drilling into the bedrock of North America – crystalline granitic-gneissic bedrock yielding uphill to massive anorthosite blocks making up the high peaks region, part of the Canadian Shield, and among the oldest root rocks in North America. The geological survey of the Mount Marcy region in 1837 knew more than enough of their science not to expect gas-laden sediments here.
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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cabin Life: Keeping Up With The Joneses

The tea kettle is warming up on the stove so I can have the first of many, many cups of tea today.  There’s cough drop wrappers strewn about the table and all of my handkerchiefs are in the laundry basket.  I hate being sick.

The worst part about this particular cold is that I finally took a day off from work and had to spend it lying on the couch doing nothing.  It was a beautiful day yesterday, with the first real snow of the year settling on the ground.  Being in a snow belt, I got a few more inches than most people and if there was any possibility of being able to breathe through my nose, I would have loved to go out for my first cross-country ski of the year.
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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: The Allure of Lost Brook

I grew up appreciating Adirondack water primarily in the form of its lakes and ponds.  Our family began vacationing at Blue Mountain Lake nearly sixty years ago and by now I feel as though I know every island and every inch of its depths and shoreline.

There are many other bodies of water that became at least somewhat familiar to me in my boyhood: Eagle and Utowana Lakes, Long Lake, Piseco Lake, parts of the Fulton chain, Minnow Pond, Stephens Pond, Cascade Pond, Rock Pond (one of the many), the Sargent Ponds, Lake Durant, Tirrell Pond, Indian Lake, Heart Lake.  As an adult I have come to even more intimate terms with many more, primarily in the High Peaks and Saint Regis areas. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Origins of Adk Land Use Planning

After publishing “Robert Moses and the Lake George Park Commission” in this space a couple of months ago, several people asked me to explain a reference  I had made in that piece to a proposed  Adirondack Park-wide authority or commission modeled upon the original Lake George Park Commission.

It’s not surprising that few people remember it. After the legislative session of 1964, the enabling legislation was shelved, and by 1967, the public’s attention had shifted to  Laurence Rockefeller’s proposal for an Adirondack National Park and later, to Governor Nelson Rockefeller’s Temporary Study Commission on the Future of the Adirondacks and its most important recommendation, the formation of an Adirondack Park Agency.
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Stewarding the Wild Adirondacks

“We are part of a movement,” Dale Penny reminded the 50 people and representatives of 25 organizations gathered for the workshop on Nov. 3, 2012. Stewarding the Wild Adirondacks was the first workshop of its kind to bring as many of the Adirondack Park’s natural resource stewardship programs as possible together in one place to discuss ways to better collaborate. Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve was the workshop sponsor, and Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center its host. International Paper helped provide underwriting support for the event.

Dale Penny is president of the Student Conservation Association, America’s conservation service organization which places over 4,200 young people annually in demanding conservation and stewardship jobs in rural and urban settings across the country, including the Adirondack Park.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New Upper Hudson Wilderness Area Proposed

Protect the Adirondacks has released a proposal calling for the creation of a new 39,000-acre Upper Hudson River Wilderness Area. This proposed new Wilderness Area would be centered on 22 miles of the Upper Hudson River that stretches from the Town of Newcomb to North River and would include over five miles of the Cedar River and four miles of the Indian River as well as dozens of other lakes and ponds.

The new Wilderness Area would be created from roughly 19,000 acres of former Finch Paper lands to be purchased by the State of New York from The Nature Conservancy and 20,000 acres of existing Forest Preserve lands in the Hudson Gorge Primitive Area (17,000 acres) and in the Blue Mountain and Vanderwhacker Wild Forest Areas (3,000 acres). » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cabin Life: A Day At The Cabin

A reader recently asked me what a normal day out at the cabin was like.  Unfortunately, most of my days consist of getting up, going to work, and coming home to go to bed.  But on the weekends and when I’m not working, I’ve settled into a nice routine mixed with plenty of different chores.  No, not chores.  Activities.

Pico or Ed usually wake me up on the weekend, so I get to sleep in until about six.  After ignoring them for an indeterminate amount of time, I relent and get their food.  Then Pico and I take a walk up the Right Trail to the Upper Camp.  I check the log cabin that’s another quarter mile or so into the woods.  I live in the middle of nowhere, and Upper Camp is even closer to the center of the middle of nowhere. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Brandon Park: 28,000 Acres For Sale

There are not many privately owned estates like Brandon Park left in the Adirondacks: twenty-eight thousand acres with seven miles of pristine river, eleven brook-trout ponds, and a 2,200-foot mountain. It sounds like a recreational paradise, and it’s for sale.

Ordinarily, you’d think environmentalists would be goading the state to buy Brandon Park for the forever-wild Forest Preserve, but so far that’s not been the case.

For one thing, the state doesn’t have as much money for land acquisition as it had in the years before the current recession. For another, the state already is committed to spend $50 million over the next several years to acquire lands once owned by the Finch, Pruyn & Company. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cabin Life: The Day’s Worries

There’s big fat flakes of snow slowing drifting down out of the sky.  I just threw a few logs in the wood stove and the small waft of smoke that escaped is mixing with the aroma of the black beans I’m simmering on the stove.  It’s a nice night to be out here in the cabin.

Ed’s curled up next to the computer and his tail is leisurely hitting the back of my hand.  Herbie’s asleep and snoring on the foot stool near the wood stove while Pico is contentedly laying on the bed.  The temperature is supposed to go up a little in the next few days, but for now, it feels like winter.  If it does warm up, it will be a nice treat.

My parents came up this weekend to help stack the wood in the shed.  Four cords are in there, along with the other four stacked outside under tarps.  It’s nice to be all set with heat for the winter, bringing a deserved sense of satisfaction in having taken care of that one aspect.  When you live in nature, like most Adirondackers, you try to control what you can, knowing that you can’t control it all.  No one knows what type of winter it will be, but we can get ready the best we know how, and in the spring take pride in the fact that we made through another one.
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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Outside Story: The Ecology Of Leaf Litter

It’s one of the pleasures of fall: walking in the woods on a warm day, scuffing my feet through a deep layer of newly fallen leaves. Looking down, I notice the gold coins of aspen leaves against the bread-knife serrations of brown beech leaves. My feet make that “swoosh, swoosh” sound that takes me back to when I was a kid.

It’s November and the color blast has faded. The woods are gray and brown. The much admired “fall foliage” has drifted earthward to become the more prosaic “leaf litter.” I understand the term, but the word litter grates a little. It connotes trash, yet leaves are just the opposite of trash. Their contribution to forest health, to the ecosystem, is incalculable. They help make the forest what it is.
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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tracking Invasive Insects Using Your Smartphone

As the days grow shorter and the evening temperatures cool, hobos of the insect community begin making their way to our doorstep. Reduced light and temperature act as a switch to halt their feeding frenzy, turning now to find shelter for the winter months that lay ahead. Having stocked up on food reserves, they intend to use our homes as over wintering sites, guest cottages if you will, to increase their chance of survival.

Two invasive insects making their way into our homes include the newly invasive brown marmorated stink bug and the multicolored Asian ladybird beetle. Both are exotic species that hail from regions of China, Korea, and Japan yet readily adapted to climates and habitats in the U.S. They are most commonly found this time of year gathering on the sun-facing exposure of structures, restlessly making their way into the upper rooms and attic of your home. In the spring, they will all leave. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Snowmobile ‘Connecter Trail’ Construction Criticised

Protect the Adirondacks (PROTECT) has published an online critique of a new snowmobile trail being built by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest.

DEC trail crews are building a new 5.1-mile snowmobile trail that will connect the Limekiln-Cedar River Road near Fawn Lake to State Route 28 near the Seventh Lake Boat Launch. The trail is phase one of a long-distance “community connector” designed to link Indian Lake, Inlet, Raquette Lake and Long Lake.

PROTECT reviewed the work being done along the new snowmobile trail and documented what they found. “Field work revealed that this ‘trail’, really a de facto new road, is much worse than we feared,” Protect’s Executive Director Peter Bauer wrote in an e-mail to the press. PROTECT detailed their specific objections to the way in which the trail is being constructed with more than 20 photos posted online. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lake George Stream Work Completed

This fall the Lake George Association (LGA) has been at work along waters that flow into Lake George, including Foster Brook in the hamlet of Huletts Landing, and English Brook in Lake George Village. The LGA also partnered with the Warren County Conservation District (WCSWCD), and the towns of Hague and Bolton to remove over 1300 cubic yards of material from eight sediment basins in the two towns, the equivalent of about 110 dump truck loads.

At Huletts, Foster Brook was severely eroded during last year’s Tropical Storm Irene. Lots of unwanted material was deposited along the banks and within the stream, interrupting the natural flow of the water. This material was removed, and some was used, along with new stone, to stabilize the streambanks. In October, dozens of native plants and shrubs were planted along English Brook near its mouth at Lake George.
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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Fear in the Wild

I take a break from economics, tourism and telecommuting this week to honor my favorite holiday, Halloween, and the fear and imagination it is meant to celebrate.

It is a crisp Adirondack morning, barely six AM and the water is glass. A dense mist hangs on the lake and the air is heavy with silence.  Just a few yards into my paddle across to Osprey Island the canoe has become enveloped, leaving me to make the trip only on instinct and the experience of dozens of similar journeys.  There is nothing but white to be seen, that and the slate gray surface of the water, disturbed only slightly by the ripples spreading out from the bow.  » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Adirondack Stewardship Programs Meeting Saturday

The president and chief executive officer of the Student Conservation Association and Dr. Curt Stager of Paul Smith’s College will be among the speakers featured at a November 3 workshop seeking to connect the Park’s various natural resource stewardship programs together to improve communication and collaboration. The workshop is underwritten by a grant from International Paper and organized by Adirondack Wild.

“Stewardship programs for the Adirondack Park’s wild summits, lakes, backcountry and biota have proliferated as natural resource challenges have grown, yet there are few opportunities for all these programs to communicate among each other. Adirondack Wild wants to start that process,” Dan Plumley of Adirondack Wild said in a statement to the press. “Through this workshop, which has never been attempted before, we will connect a variety of programs which train and sponsor field stewards, educators and researchers.”
» Continue Reading.


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