Wednesday, January 10, 2024

2024 legislative session

A senator and assemblyman


Lawmakers are back in Albany for a busy session before November’s elections. We have a round-up of some of the bills and other forest preserve-related business we are watching here.

Gov. Kathy Hochul is set to deliver her State of the State address [Jan. 9] in the Assembly chambers. She revealed some of her priority initiatives in press conferences over the last couple of weeks. Some of them include more state investment in swimming opportunities, establishing paid prenatal leave, addressing how literacy is taught in schools and protecting consumers from unfair business practices.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Food Webs and Tapestries

tapestry weaving: credit of Maximo Laura, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Connecting the Dots
Back in primary school in the ‘70s, we learned about nature’s “food chain.” In this linear model, which I assume was devised by surveyors who normally lay out rail lines and utility corridors, a tiny creature, let’s say a minnow, gets eaten by a bigger fish, and so on until the biggest fish of all eventually dies and its rotting carcass is maybe nibbled on by vengeful small fish.

After a while, someone recognized that life on Earth was probably more complex than a straight line, and thus the “food web” template was born. The food web, which preceded the world-wide web, was meant to fully explain how nature worked, or at the very least, how spiders make a living.

Scottish-American naturalist John Muir, who founded The Sierra Club and helped create the U.S. National Park system, wrote about nature’s interconnectedness more than a century ago. In 1911 he famously said “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” This suggests something more complicated than a web – a tapestry, for instance. » Continue Reading.

Monday, January 8, 2024

LGLC Receives Donation of Land in South Basin

Stream flowing through East Brook Preserve Addition.

Bolton Landing, NY – The Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) has been given a donation of 4.4 acres of undeveloped land in the Town of Lake George. This property borders the LGLC’s 12-acre East Brook Preserve and includes more than three acres of wetlands and 600 feet of forested steam corridor that help to naturally protect water quality.

The “East Brook Addition” donation was gifted to the LGLC by Karen Azer and her late mother Helene Horn.

“I am glad the parcel will remain forever wild,” said Karen Azer, “not only benefitting water quality but also protecting habitat for wildlife.”

» Continue Reading.

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Adirondack Land Trust to host virtual events, Jan. 11, Feb. 22

Image by Chris DeSorbo, provided by Scott Weidensaul; Scott Weidensaul, the featured speaker at the virtual event hosted by the Adirondack Land Trust

Keene, NY – The Adirondack Land Trust is pleased to announce the following free, virtual events, open to all. To register, visit

Caught in the SNOWstorm
Thursday, January 11, 2024 | 7-8 p.m.
This event features author, researcher and Pulitzer Prize finalist Scott Weidensaul who will share the story of Project SNOWstorm. The winter of 2013-14 saw the largest invasion of snowy owls into the eastern United States in perhaps a century and marked an unprecedented opportunity to learn more about these mysterious Arctic hunters. It led to Project SNOWstorm, a collaborative research effort focused on snowy owls that came together in a few frantic weeks, funded with the help of people from around the world.  A decade later, the project continues to make discoveries and unexpected insights into the life and ecology of this great white raptor. » Continue Reading.

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Where’s winter?

Pond hockey and skating on Holcomb Pond in the Sentinel Wilderness area of the Adirondacks, near Lake Placid.

Last winter in the Adirondacks saw relatively mild temperatures and unstable ice. By February 2023, one skater said he would have traversed 200 miles of ice by then. But conditions caused Dan Spada, a retired supervisor in the natural resources department at the state Adirondack Park Agency, to lose about a fourth of that mileage.

Lake Champlain, a favorite wild ice skating spot of Spada’s, has yet to fully freeze this winter, he said. Human-caused climate change is spiking temperatures across the globe, leading to thin ice and rainy winters in climes like the Adirondacks.

The park, along with the entire Northeast, is already feeling the effects of climate change.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, January 5, 2024

Forest Rangers’ Wives – A Story of Dedication

NYS forest rangers and their wives

By Louis Curth

Retired forest ranger Gary Lee’s recollections about the life that he and Karen shared at the West Canada Lakes Ranger Station tell an important story about the vital role of forest ranger wives back in the 1960s. In those days, [female] forest rangers were scarce to non-existent. It was no secret that the Conservation Department favored hiring married men for ranger positions. Married men were viewed as more reliable and better able to fit into the rural community lifestyle of most of the assigned ranger districts. On top of that, the department obtained the many additional services performed by the ranger’s wife for free! 

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

DEC Seeks Public Comment on Big Moose Tract RMP

nys dec logo

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is seeking public comment on the draft Recreation Management Plan (RMP) for the Big Moose Tract Conservation Easement in the town of Webb, Herkimer County. The RMP outlines public recreation opportunities and facilities that are proposed on the conservation easement and is available for public comment until Feb. 2, 2024.

The Big Moose Tract is approximately 23,850 acres and contains commercially managed forestland, several small ponds, portions of Birch, Fourth, Sunday, and Twitchell creeks, the Independence River, and the West Branch of the Beaver River. Under the terms of an interim RMP, a trail to the Stillwater Mountain fire tower and 12.4 miles of public snowmobile trails are open to the public.

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Water Line goes West

The Sandy River at Oxbow Regional Park

Coalition of the undammed

Drop by a riverside hike on a holiday vacation to the Pacific Northwest and get an unexpected lesson on dam removal.

The Sandy River near Portland, Oregon, has flown freely since 2007. That summer Portland General Electric blew to pieces its Marmot Dam and the electricity it generated for around 16,500 homes.

A few months later, as planned, a massive deluge washed away a temporary earthen cofferdam used for removal and much of the gargantuan load of sediment that had built up behind the dam since it was installed in 1913.

When salmon were federally listed as threatened in 1998, their runs on the Sandy, which originates from glaciers on Mount Hood, were down to as little as 10% of historic levels. That status required new protective measures when the dam went up for license renewal.

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Beavers Changed His Life Forever

Paul Schaefer presents the beaver gavel to Governor Mario M. Cuomo

Paul Schaefer once told me that his mentor, “Forever Wild” advocate and organizer John Apperson, would occasionally dress in fur to be more noticeable when, during lobbying of the state legislature, Apperson opposed threats to Lake George, the Forest Preserve and its constitutional protection. Schaefer learned from Apperson how and when to be most noticed and effective.


For example, as an elder in the wilderness movement Schaefer once stood up (or down) Governor Mario Cuomo. The governor had just signed the Environmental Protection Fund legislation in the summer of 1993. The setting was Split Rock Farm above Lake Champlain. The dignitaries had all spoken and Cuomo was the last to speak. Completing his speech, Cuomo ( like the rest of us in attendance) was completely taken aback when Paul Schaefer rose and moved to the podium. Cuomo was forced to sit in Schaefer’s now unoccupied chair to listen to what Paul had to say. However congratulatory (of the governor) his remarks, Schaefer had the last word.

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

APA to hold Jan. 11 meeting, draft agenda released

APA logo.

Ray Brook, NY – The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, January 11, 2024. The meeting will be held at the Agency’s headquarters in Ray Brook, NY. The public is welcome to attend in person or remotely.

Public comment will be available to members of the public who attend the Agency meeting in person as well as those who participate remotely. If you would like the opportunity to make a public comment remotely, please email your name and the phone number used to call into the Board Meeting to Those who sign up for public comment will be limited to three minutes each. Public comment will not be accepted on any agenda items that are before the Board.

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Happy New Year!

total solar eclipse

Happy New Year!

I’m celebrating my fourth year at the Adirondack Explorer. Thank you for following along, reading and contributing. I have appreciated your story ideas, thoughtful comments and corrections. You don’t always know what news is around the corner. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy this job so much. But we also have plenty of stories we continue to follow for you.

Editor Jim Odato previews some of them we know will be on our dockets this year. Check it out by clicking here.

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

DEC Campground Ambassador applications due Feb. 1

Lewey Lake Campgrounds and Day Use Area.

On December 29, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the start of the 2024 application period for the Campground Ambassador program, which helps connect New Yorkers and visitors with the outdoors. Like other campground host programs, volunteer Campground Ambassadors assist DEC staff in welcoming and assisting the millions of visitors to State campgrounds in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks each year. DEC encourages New Yorkers who are passionate about camping and the outdoors to help introduce new campers to DEC facilities and outdoor recreation.

» Continue Reading.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

$25 million available through NYSERDA program

Interior of a highway garage

Saranac Lake, NY — In the eight years the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) has coordinated the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Clean Energy Communities (CEC) program for the North Country, the regional nonprofit has helped over 100 municipalities access resources and grants for projects that reduce energy use and costs. Last week, New York State launched the CEC program’s latest round, which makes available over $25 million in match-free grant funding for clean energy projects statewide. ANCA aims to help more North Country communities benefit from the updated “Clean Energy Communities 3.0.”

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

From the Archives: Animals in Winter

Black bear mother and cub hibernating - University of Minnesota
The past few days have been a strange start to our Adirondack winter, with warm temperatures in the 40s and a drizzly rain.
But, don’t be deceived… winter is officially here! So, what happens to the wildlife in the ADKs when the temperatures drop and the snow starts to fall?

Check out some of these great articles from the Adirondack Almanack archives:


» Continue Reading.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Recapping year’s top stories

These battery modules, supplied by the battery company BYD

Happy holidays! I hope you are all enjoying time with family and friends and getting out for some wonderful adventures in the Adirondacks.

This will be my last newsletter of 2023. On our website, we are recapping some of the top news stories of the year. Here, I’d like to share a few links to the stories I’m most proud of this year. We appreciate your readership and look forward to providing you with news and recreation coverage in the new year!

» Continue Reading.

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