Sunday, April 5, 2015

Road Salt Use Wasteful, Damaging

TOS_SALT_BRINEAll of a sudden, sap season is here and winter’s on its way out. Chances are though, a few more snow or ice squalls are still to come. The next time you find yourself driving behind a big plow truck, take a look at what’s coming out of the spreader. What is used makes a difference for wildlife, especially as the snow melts. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Willie Janeway: NYS Budget Adirondack Impacts

nycapitolNegotiations over the NYS budget for fiscal year 2015-16 were messy and dominated by arguments over ethics reforms and education funding, but the final plan contained much-needed investments in clean water, wilderness, wildlife and communities of the Adirondack Park.

Foremost is a three-year, $200-million capital program to repair wastewater treatment and drinking water facilities. Under the program, the state would set aside $50 million this year and $75 million in each of the next two fiscal years to pay for matching grants to communities for up to 60 percent of upgrades for local drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

DEC Environmental Awards Applications Sought

DEC LogoNYS DEC is now accepting applications for New York State’s annual Environmental Excellence Awards. Eligible applicants include businesses, educational institutions, not-for-profit organizations, facilities, government agencies and individuals implementing innovative, sustainable actions or working in creative partnership to improve and protect New York’s environmental resources and contribute to a viable economy. » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Santanoni: Historic Preservation And Nature

Entering the Santanoni main compoundAs I skied south and uphill, away from Santanoni Great Camp, I was asked – “on the record” – for my reactions. It was family weekend recently at Santanoni, with plenty of skiers in family groups including dogs.  I said something like “this ski has become an annual ritual.” After all everyone knows that Newcomb has the best Adirondack snow come late winter. I looked forward to seeing and listening again to the camp’s master carpenter, Michael Frenette, over a hot drink.

The chance to see Santanoni and Moose Mountains rising into the blue sky above the winter glare of Newcomb Lake is also very attractive. The Japanese influence on the camp’s layout, the impact the architecture makes, the history there – it does set your mind going. After talking into the reporter’s microphone, I had to admit that my attitude towards the restoration of the Santanoni had changed over the years. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fund: Lake George Salt Levels Can Be Cut 40%

Snowplow (Lake George Mirror file photo)The salt in Lake George would decrease by 40% over a ten-year period if highway departments reduce its use now, by half, says Dr. Jeff Short, a science advisor to The Fund for Lake George.

“Any actions we take will be apparent almost immediately,” said Short.  “If we cap loading now and then dial down, the results will be clear. So the incentive for taking action is huge.”

The Fund for Lake George is crafting a strategy to achieve that goal, said Eric Siy, The Fund’s executive director. » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Teen Aquatic Stewardship Program Announced

Ausable Image by Brendan WiltseThe Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) and the Ausable River Association (AsRA) have announced a new aquatic stewardship program for teens this summer.

Discovering the Ausable: An Aquatic Stewardship Program is a free five-day, four-night adventure in camping and aquatic stewardship for teens age 14-17. » Continue Reading.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Forest Pest Surveying: The Next Generation

Tom and Lenny use binoculars to scan tree bark for invasive insect exit holes.  Emerald ash borer exit holes are shaped like a D while Asian longhorned beetle exit holes are round and the size of a dime.  Forests, the final frontier. These are the voyages of forest pest surveyors. They’re lifelong mission: to explore strange new woodlands, to seek out invasive insects and pests that harm trees, to boldly go where no pest surveyor has gone before.

Invasive insects are to conservationists like Romulans are to Vulcans. Emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, hemlock woolly adelgid, and balsam woolly adelgid threaten the economy with costly tree removal, environment with adverse impacts to forest health, and public safety with dead limbs that fall on cars and homes. They found their way from their Eurasian home range to the United States in nursery stock and wood packing materials. Without the natural checks and balances found on their home turf, they reproduce as fast as tribbles. Forest pest surveys are important because early detection leads to rapid response and better management options. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bolton Quick Launch’s Proposed Height Raises Concerns

Bolton Landing Marina from Bolton Bay with Architect rendering of marina with 20 foot height expansionA proposal by the owner of the Bolton Landing Marina to increase the quick launch facility’s height by twenty feet is drawing the scrutiny of Bolton’s Zoning and Planning Boards, both of which will have to approve the expansion before it can be sent to the Adirondack Park Agency for its review.

“No one, to my knowledge, has ever sought a variance to exceed Bolton’s 35-foot height limit,” said Henry Caldwell, a member of the Planning Board. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Divesting from Fossil Fuels

Global_Carbon_Emissions.svgIt’s official – 2014 was the hottest year on record. And most everyone I talk to is concerned about the threat that global warming and climate change, with their potentially devastating and possibly permanent consequences, pose to the lives and livelihoods of our children and grandchildren.

Scientists tell us that sea levels and water temperatures are rising, imperiling coastal populations, as well as regional environments and economies; that sea ice is being lost and glaciers receding at unprecedented rates or disappearing altogether; that seasons and plant and animal ranges are shifting and habitat vanishing, threatening to drive entire species of animals to extinction; that weather patterns are becoming more erratic and less predictable; and that worldwide, the number, intensity, and resilience of violent tropical storms is increasing. They warn that other potential future effects of global climate change include more frequent wildfires, more severe heat waves, sustained periods of drought in certain regions, and unprecedented winter weather conditions in others; all of which jeopardize fresh water supplies, wildlife, and in some instances, indigenous people and their ways of life. » Continue Reading.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Avoiding A Return To The Era Of Ill Feelings

Anti APA activist Anthony D'Elia, State Senator Ron Stafford and Governor Mario Cuomo in Essex County in the 1980s - mirror file photoAfter former Governor Mario Cuomo’s death on January 1, a former colleague reminded  us that when Cuomo signed the legislation authorizing the creation of an Environmental Protection Fund on Lake Champlain in 1993, much of the tension that had on occasion erupted into violence as a result of the  restrictive recommendations of the 1990 Commission on the Adirondacks in the 21st Century, was defused.

A compromise had been reached. Funds were awarded for land acquisition, but there was also money for local governments in the form of grants for infrastructure and hamlet re-development. Of greater importance, the self-appointed leaders of the so-called Property Rights movement lost their constituencies and many of them left the area. Reasonable, responsible people on both sides of the issue reasserted control of the conversation. That’s how things have stood, more or less, until recently. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Giant Ausable River Ice Pile Creates Concern

AsRA - Wilmington Dam IceThe Ausable River Association is concerned that an enormous pile of ice below the Wilmington Dam could exacerbate spring flooding and may have hurt the trout population.

The ice pile on the West Branch of the AuSable River was created in recent weeks by construction crews working to replace the Wilmington Bridge, built in 1934 and located just upstream. The crews broke up ice and moved it below the dam in order to create open water so they could work off river barges. » Continue Reading.


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.



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