Thursday, March 12, 2015

Nothing Rotten about Deadwood

TOS_WoodyDebrisA guy down the road has been working in his woods for the last couple of years. He’s cleaning them up. And I mean cleaning. He cuts the underbrush. Takes out the dead trees, the downed logs, the dead branches.

Okay, I confess. The neatnik in me is envious. Part of me would like my 70 acres of woods to look like a park. But that’s the problem. A park is not a forest and the forest is more than the trees. It’s an entire suite of complex systems, merging and interacting. An ecological orchestra in the woods.

Dead and dying wood, standing snags, rotting branches are more than Mother Nature’s litter. They’re an integral part of the forest symphony – what forestry types call “coarse woody debris,” or CWD for short. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Research Should Drive APA’s State Land Master Plan Reform

APSLMP - LogoThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is investigating potentially significant changes to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP), which sets Forest Preserve management standards and guidelines. As part of the resolution passed by the APA in December 2013, two issues were identified for SLMP reform: 1) the requirement that bridges in Wild Forest areas be constructed with natural materials; 2) the prohibition of mountain biking on designated roads in Primitive Areas.

Last fall, the APA solicited public comments on these two items, as well as anything else members of the public want to see changed in the SLMP and afterward convened a group of stakeholders for a scoping meeting. Because APA staff has not yet released recommendations for SLMP changes and the APA Commissioners have not yet acted to start the public review process, we are still in the early stages of formulating a process and schedule for how to undertake SLMP reform and select issues.

As they move ahead, APA would be well-served to adhere to the adage that good science makes good policy. The APA needs to bring solid data to the public about the issues they select for SLMP reform. We live in an age of stunning research and science, yet this is also an age where politics rather than science drive public policy. SLMP reform by anecdote is unacceptable. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

With All This Cold, What About Global Warming?

Global Mean Tempertures RiseI had such high hopes for global warming, but when the first week in March was just as cold as February, I felt disappointed. Betrayed, even. I thought the planet was heating up. All my plans for a northern NY citrus and banana orchard, out the window.

Turns out it’s easy to mix up climate and weather, two very different things. There’s a saying in the Adirondacks (and elsewhere, I’m sure) that if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. That’s weather: what we experience in a given day, week, season or year. » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Jay Mtn Wilderness Mining: Appraising Lot 8’s Value

NYCO's open pit mine as seen from Bald Peak in 2013Now that the issue of mineral exploration on “Lot 8” in the Jay Mountain Wilderness by NYCO Minerals has left the courts, it remains for the mining company to complete its exploratory drilling, ongoing since the turn of the year. Changes in the DEC’s temporary revocable permit for the exploratory test drilling, announced on February 18, are as follows:

“The TRP will be amended to reduce the total pad locations from 21 to 10 and eliminate the third phase. The maximum number of holes drilled will decrease from 21 to 18. Elimination of the third phase will result in a substantial reduction in the number of trees cut for access corridors and pad sites. Other amendments to the TRP include relocation of two pad sites and changes in the water system to allow winter operation.” » Continue Reading.


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 1, 2015

Adirondack Lake Trout At Risk

Adirondack Lake TroutIn one traditional method of lake-trout fishing, an angler holds in his or her hand a weighted line while trolling from a boat. To collect the line, the angler uses a jerry-rigged Victrola record player with a spool in the middle.

“As they pulled in the line, they turned on their [hand-cranked] Victrola,” said Joe Hackett, a fishing guide from Ray Brook. “Lake-trout fishing is so specialized. That’s something you learn from your father, or uncle, or grandfather.” » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Major Changes Afoot For ‘Forever Wild’ Forest Preserve

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome major changes are afoot for our “Forever Wild” Adirondack Forest Preserve. Last fall, the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) held a series of “listening sessions” regarding possible amendments to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP).

The APA sought ideas and comments at these meetings, which staff members dutifully recorded. The APA also solicited comments by mail, fax, or email. All told, the APA received over 1,600 pages of comments, which were distilled to a 15-page report that the APA produced in January. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Recognizing the Adirondacks’ Hidden Diversity

TMDA LogoWilderness advocates in the environmental movement have known for years there is a problem when it comes to diversity and the future of the Adirondacks. We look around the backcountry on an inviting summer weekend and we see people who use, love, and defend New York’s wildest lands. But we don’t see many people of color. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Report Details DEC’s Economic Woes

Search and rescue (Forest Rangers DEC Photo) 3The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has experienced staff cuts and constrained funding since 2003, while its responsibilities have grown, according to a report released in December by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. “DEC’s staff has declined while funding has barely kept pace with inflation and now is projected to decline,” DiNapoli said.

DEC is responsible for most of New York’s programs to protect wildlife, natural resources and environmental quality. DEC programs range widely from managing fish and game populations and overseeing the extraction of natural resources to monitoring the discharge of pollutants and hazardous materials and cleaning up contaminated sites. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Peter Bauer: New Criteria For Forest Preserve Amendments

Article 14, Section 1 - croppedArticle XIV, Section 1, of the New York State Constitution states: “The lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed.”

These words, approved by New York voters in 1894 and unchanged ever since, should be amended only under extraordinary circumstances and only to secure a clearly identified and significant public benefit. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Cuomo Endorses A Park-Wide Invasive Species Plan

Andrew Cuomo in the AdirondacksThe Adirondack Park may become the first region in New York State to have its own, integrated program to halt the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has asked the state legislature to appropriate $1 million  to develop the  Adirondack-wide strategy.

According to Morris Peters, a spokesman for the Division of the Budget, the money for the new initiative will come from an increase in appropriations to the Environmental Protection Fund. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Learn To Spot Emerald Ash Borer

EABadult4in72DavidCappaertMichiganStateUOne of the invasive species that deserves attention by forest owners is the emerald ash borer (EAB). Having eaten its way through the Great Lakes states and portions of the upper Midwest, the EAB is on a fast track to Northern New York.

Since its discovery in 2002, the emerald ash borer has stripped cities and villages of all ash trees. Dorothy wouldn’t recognize one of these “emerald cities.” Treeless neighborhoods in places like Fort Wayne, IN, or Dayton, OH are a far cry from the emerald city of Oz. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Watch for Hemlock Wooly Adelgid

HWA_Whitmore_smallDon’t look now, but the sky is falling. Again. This time it’s poised ominously over our hemlock trees, whose verdant canopies shade many a North Country stream and glen. Although hemlocks make lush hedges for home landscapes, they’re best known as stately forest giants that form cathedral-like stands in the Adirondacks and elsewhere. It’s hard to believe these titans are being killed by a tiny insect less than a sixteenth of an inch long. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Lake George ‘Pinnacle’ Protection, Trails Planned

PinnacleThe Pinnacle, the Bolton landmark visible from Lake George and the Cat and Thomas Mountains Preserve, may be protected from development after all. More than five years after Ernest Oberer first proposed building houses on the ridgeline, the Lake George Land Conservancy intends to purchase the property, said Jamie Brown, the Conservancy’s new executive director. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Are Snowshoes, Microspikes Damaging Alpine Zones?

BW - Algonquin Snowshoe Trail Close(1)The last several years have seen a boom in winter hiking in the Adirondacks.

The Adirondack Mountain Club and Adirondack 46ers both report more people on the trails in the High Peaks Region. Along with this hiking boom there’s been an increasing number of winter traction devices hitting the market. » Continue Reading.



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