Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Adirondack Park Agency Meeting This Week

APA officeThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting at its Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY on Thursday, September 12 and Friday, September 13, 2013.  Among the issues the meeting will address are the use of Rotenone to kill largemouth bass in Lower Sargent Pond, the expansion of a Westport RV campground, a Webb subdivision, and more.

Although a decision is not expected, the APA will continue deliberations on how the former Finch Pruyn / Nature Conservancy lands recently added to the State Forest Preserve will be managed. These new state lands are located in the Towns of Minerva and Newcomb, and Indian Lake and include the Essex Chain Lakes, Indian River and OK Slip Falls. The meeting is streamed live online at the APA website. What follows is the meeting agenda released to the media. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Study: Wetlands Key to Revitalizing Acid Streams

New York GLA team of University of Texas at Arlington biologists working with the U.S. Geological Survey in the Black and Oswegatchie river basins has found that watershed wetlands can serve as a natural source for the improvement of streams polluted by acid rain.

The group, led by associate professor of biology Sophia Passy, also contends that recent increases in the level of organic matter in surface waters in regions of North America and Europe – also known as “brownification” – holds benefits for aquatic ecosystems.  The research team’s work appears in the September issue of the journal Global Change Biology. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

No Decision Yet On New State Lands: A Deliberations Update

Essex ChainAdirondack Park Agency (APA) spokesperson Keith McKeever has confirmed that the agency will not make a decision at its September meeting on how former Finch Paper lands recently acquired by New York State will be managed.

The classification of the lands around the Essex Chain of Lakes and Hudson Gorge is one of the biggest Forest Preserve decisions the APA has faced in more than a decade, one that has recently dominated public discussion in the Adirondacks.  » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Adirondack Council’s Willie Janeway On His First 100 Days

Entering-Adirondack-ParkWhen I started as the Council’s executive director on May 1, friends in the Park said “welcome home.”  I had worked here for the Adirondack Mountain Club for close to 10 years after graduating from St. Lawrence University with a degree in Economics and Environmental studies back in 1985.

That led to work with The Nature Conservancy, the Hudson River Greenway Council and – for the past six years – as a Regional Director for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in the Hudson Valley/Catskills region. I continued to visit the park when time allowed and kept myself current on park issues, hoping that someday I would get a chance to return to this special place. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Adirondack Explorer Hosting Conference On The APA

Paul Smiths AreaIn this 40th anniversary year of the Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan, experts from the Adirondack Park and around the country will convene at the Paul Smith’s Visitor Interpretive Center on September 26, 2013 to assess the progress and unfinished business of the Adirondack Park Agency (APA).

The conference hopes to identify ways the agency can be strengthened, based on successful examples here and elsewhere of preserving water quality, wildlife habitat, and scenic beauty, while also bolstering the regional economy. The principles of conservation design will be a theme of the conference.   A $25 registration fee covers coffee, lunch, and a reception following the event. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Monitoring Sacandaga Lake For Invasive Species

Eurasian watermilfoil can hitchhike to new lakes on boat motors.  The voice of the woman on the other end of the phone was laden with concern.  She called to report a possible infestation of Eurasian watermilfoil in the outlet of Sacandaga Lake, just past the Route 8 bridge in Lake Pleasant.  I took down her contact information and told her I would check it out.

That evening, my husband and I loaded up his Carolina Skiff with a glass jar full of water to collect a plant sample, a cooler to keep the sample cold, and an aquatic plant identification book.  The sky was streaked with ominous clouds against a low, red sun, and the boat ride would have been enjoyable if I were not so anxious to get to the plant bed.  Images of benthic mats and hand harvesting SCUBA divers flashed before my eyes, and my thoughts turned to the expensive cost of milfoil management that could take years to successfully eradicate.  According to a 2003 study, New York State spends an estimated $500,000 to control Eurasian watermilfoil each year. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pete Nelson: An Open Letter to Governor Cuomo

Third Lake, Essex ChainDear Governor Cuomo:

I write today to urge you to support a Wilderness Classification for the former Finch Pruyn lands surrounding the Hudson River and the Essex Chain of Lakes.  After a comment period and series of public hearings that has given the citizens of New York an opportunity to voice their opinion, the decision lies in the hands of the Adirondack Park Agency.  But the final approval is yours alone.  More important, the chance to lead on an issue of national importance that lies at the heart of our journey into the future as New Yorkers and Americans is yours alone as well. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Renewing the Two Row Wampum

Leaders w Anrust_b“We need a global solution. We need to set aside our differences. Our leaders are not paying attention. Washington is filled with millionaires. What the hell do they care? They are out of touch. We are losing time. Now is the time for people to come together and act to protect and heal our environment. If we do not act now no matter what we do it will be too late.” said Oren Lyons, a member of the National Council of Chiefs and the Faith Keeper of the Onondaga, standing on the shores of the Hudson River on a overcast Sunday morning to the hundreds of people gathered.

Four hundred years ago the Dutch and the Iroquois, the Haunensaunee or the “People of the Long House”, the league of five nations of indigenous people known as the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca, made an agreement to live and trade in harmony, and to respect and care for the natural environment, an agreement symbolized by a two row wampum belt. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cabin Life: The Missing Chickens

The GirlsEvery once in a while, I reach for the faucet to turn on the water.  This usually happens when I’m brushing my teeth, but even though there’s a dish rag hanging on the spout and I haven’t had running water in almost two years, this old habit dies hard.

Summer, on the other hand, is dying a very easy and quick death.  As I walked out into the front yard this morning, I noticed a small maple that was almost entirely red.  The birches are beginning to turn yellow and even the big cherry tree in the yard was not so green anymore.

The days have been warm and the nights cool, feeling more like the heart of fall than the end of August.  This is my favorite type of weather, but I’m not quite ready for it yet.  I still want some summer. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Commentary: Give The People Wilderness Peace and Quiet

Essex ChainWith good reason, a large coalition of organizations interested in preservation of New York State Forest Preserve lands in the Adirondacks is today trumpeting a four to one margin in written comments made to the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) that supports banning motorized vehicles from newly acquired state lands.  The second most popular option was allowing motorized access.

An analysis by PROTECT’s Peter Bauer here at the Adirondack Almanack three weeks ago reached a similar conclusion. The APA received about 3,600 comments, totaling nearly 5,000 pages, and petitions totaling about 2,500 signatures. Although not included in the analysis of written comments received, eight public hearings were also held (only three outside the Adirondacks), at which around 200 people spoke – they were largely divided. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cabin Life: Installing A First Solar Panel

The PanelWell, it’s finally happened, I have electricity.  Granted, it’s not much electricity, but it’s a start.  I don’t need enough to run appliances or a whole house, just enough so that my phone and computer don’t go dead, and hopefully a light or two to read by.

A few months ago I got an e-mail from a reader who said he had an old solar panel lying around and didn’t need or want it anymore.  It was mine, he said, if I just came and picked it up.

You never know who you’re meeting through an e-mail, so I was a little wary.  So, fighting the urge to tell everyone where I was going and with whom just in case I didn’t make it back, I drove the little ways to his camp.  I did bring my girlfriend with me, you know, for protection.  » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Visit to the Great Range

IMG_6635This July during our Adirondack residency I took some time away from Lost Brook Tract to accompany my brother-in-law Dan and his nine year old son Jonah on Jonah’s first hard-core backpacking trip, a two-day traverse of the Great Range followed by the McIntyre Range the next day.  I was filled with anticipation for the two-fold effect awaiting Jonah: the immediate joy and the lasting legacy.  At nine I would have passed out with excitement from such an adventure, from being on the grand and imposing rock of that range.  But then, as veteran hikers know, the hard work and toil attendant to scaling such rugged ups and downs, the persistence of the pack weight sinking into you, the slow, sustained rhythm that sees you steadily progress through high Adirondack forest, these things work deeply into your body, into your muscle memory and your larger psyche where they embed themselves and cure there, strengthening your experience to a level that leaves you changed forever.  To imagine these effects working on my young nephew brought me immense pleasure. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Gibson: Make Protection, Preservation of New Lands Paramount

Essex ChainWhen the Adirondack Park Agency  was reviewing the Adirondack Club and Resort in 2011, board member Richard Booth encouraged APA staff to put all of the most important legal and other considerations from the hearing record on the table early in the review process. Avoid having Agency members get buried in minutia was his advice because it is easy for a board to get overwhelmed by a lot of presentation data, or to assume they know the most important factors and considerations when, in fact, they may not. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: Merlin Ridge

Jill.  Gorgeous.The beginning of the trail to the summit of Burton’s Peak climbs steeply up through dense tree cover to the crest of a forested ridge where a short jog to the side gives the first lovely view.  From there it follows the ridge line more gradually upward, skirting mossy rock shelves before the final steep pitch to the top of the headwall.  Along the east-facing slope of this ridge the forest of spruce, balsam and birch is more open, hinting at a view of the valley far below and the distant profile of the Giant and Jay ranges.

This ridge walk, lovely as it is, was not an especially noteworthy part of our beautiful trail, at least not until now.  Now it has a name, Merlin Ridge, and a story to go with it. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

People Not Welcome: A New Land Classification?

Forest near Middle South PondSome recent events started me thinking about land classifications in the Adirondacks, and their possible inadequacy to preserve biological diversity in the future. With the twin threats of climate change and invasive exotic species, new strategies may be necessary. One such strategy is a new land classification, one where human beings will no longer be welcome.

I started thinking about the necessity of a new land classification when I read recent articles by Bill Ingersoll and Pete Nelson proposing their own new classification categories. Where their proposals were for a new category wedged between the current Wilderness and Wild Forest classes, mine would be the most restrictive land class in the Adirondacks, essentially preserving the land exclusively for the use of the other living organisms. » Continue Reading.