Tuesday, September 28, 2021

David Gibson to give Paul Schaefer talk at Union College

Paul Schaefer Adirondack Conservation – Paul Schaefer and Links in a Long, Historic Chain with David Gibson

September 30, 2021
(Rain Date October 7, 2021)
5:00 p.m.

Kelly Adirondack Center Amphitheater
897 St. David’s Lane, Niskayuna

This event is free and open to the public.

As the years go by, let us never forget that Paul Schaefer and his allies during the 20th century saved the Forest Preserve and the integrity of our 19th century ‘forever wild’ constitution for current generations. His victories over those who would exploit the Forest Preserve were never assured. This program will review how Schaefer and allies did it, what we owe them today, and how we try to extend their legacy in the 21st century.

Paul Schaefer (right) with his mentor John S. Apperson in the Adirondacks
photo by Howard Zahniser


Monday, August 30, 2021

A view of St. Regis Mountain fire tower

My first day at Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) back in June I sat on a couch in front of the bird feeders eating lunch. As I ate and watched the birds I noticed something else out of the corner of my eye. I saw a tiny spec peeking out over St. Regis Mountain’s bare top. It was the St. Regis Mountain Fire Tower, the longest active fire station in the Adirondacks.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 29, 2021

The Great Canoe Race Conspiracy

How the Adirondack Park Agency lead counsel’s legal shenanigans denied the Environmental Conservation Department a canoe racing victory 

The year was 1977. I was 13 years old. It was the summer before I entered my freshman year at Saranac Lake High School.  My Dad, Tom Monroe, had just been appointed in April by Commissioner Berle as DEC’s (then referred to as “Encon”) Region 5 Regional Director, following the long and distinguished career of the legendary William E. Petty.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Adirondack Story Project tops goal

Adirondack community story project
Keene Valley Library celebrates the success of project, replicated across the country

Town of Keene residents have exceeded this summer’s 200-story goal for stories available through Adirondack Community: Capturing, Retaining, and Communicating the Stories of Who We Are. 

Adirondack Community, sponsored by the Keene Valley Library, is a multi-year local history project that collects and organizes 3- to 5-minute audio stories and related photographs from town of Keene community members through an online platform to share the rich social and cultural history of this community located in New York state’s Adirondack Mountains. Stories are used in classrooms from elementary school through college. In a town of about 1,100 residents, over four times that number of users have clicked on the website to listen to stories and podcasts have been listened to almost 1,400 times.

Since project launch in June 2019, volunteer storytellers have recorded over 220 stories. The celebration planned for late this month has been postponed due to current COVID-19 concerns.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 21, 2021

Paul Smith’s College celebrates 75 years

paul smithsPAUL SMITHS, N.Y. – The 75th anniversary of Paul Smith’s College is underway as the College of the Adirondacks celebrates its position as one of the iconic educational institutions in Northern New York.

Phelps Smith, son of (Apollos) Paul Smith who passed in 1937, founded the college through his bequest. It was his father Paul who built the Paul Smith’s Hotel in 1859, one of the first resorts in the Adirondacks. 

The college’s first class matriculated in 1946. Two and four-year degrees are offered in environmental sciences, hospitality, forestry, business, and a new Master’s degree in natural resource management rounds out the academic offerings. Most recently, it has committed to a sport and education initiative whereby PSC has developed official working relationships with USA Nordic and US Biathlon. Student/athletes in those sports can attend PSC, train right outside their dorm rooms, and simultaneously pursue an education. 

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 1, 2021

Message In a Bottle

bottles on shelves

When I was a boy growing up in our house on 1 Stevenson Lane, my mom had an antique bottle collection that she kept on a shelf.  One of those bottles had a rustically intricate attached metal stopper. The engraved circular glass on the front read “ISAAC MERKEL & SON, BOSS LAGER, SARANAC LAKE.” That bottle always held a special fascination for me. I still have it.

It all began innocently enough, quite by accident really, about three summers ago as I quietly rowed my Zen boat canoe from South Creek into camp. As I crossed some shallows near the shore of an island as I entered the lake, something glistened blue, reflecting morning sunlight from the lake’s bottom.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Proposed Great Schroon Lake (or the Dams that Never Were)

Line drawing of the proposed Tumblehead Falls Dam (1895 )

Line drawing of the proposed Tumblehead Falls Dam (1895 )

I recently saw a Facebook post by singer/songwriter Dan Berggren in which he outlined the Rural Free Delivery route, of his Uncle Harry, in Minerva, N. Y. from 1915-1945.  The song “When Harry Carried the Mail”  reminded me of an article that I wrote for Adirondack Life, March/April, 2012 titled “Great Schroon Lake: The Dam Plan Would Have Altered the Park.”

In that article I wrote about the proposed dam that was to be constructed on the Schroon River at Tumblehead Falls, not far from Chestertown. (Great Schroon Lake: The Dam Plan Would Have Altered the Park) That dam was to be located at what has become to be known as Hello Mountain at mile marker 71 of the Northway. (On the mountain side across the Schroon River valley there are large white plywood letters spelling out the word “Hello” )  This was going to be the anchor of one side of a 70 foot-tall dam that would have impounded the Schroon River, all of Schroon Lake, Paradox Lake and Brant Lake.  However there is more to the story than appeared in that article.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 22, 2021

A Story of an Aluminum Basket

Linking communities, social media, and family

A few weeks ago, I found an aluminum basket at a shop in Massena. In style, it mimics baskets that are traditionally made from black ash. Available information indicated it was made by someone who worked at Alcoa some years ago.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 15, 2021

John Brown Farm and New York’s Voter Suppression History

voter suppressionThis year we are celebrating New York State’s acquisition of John Brown Farm 125 years ago.  And it is good that we are.

But let us also recall a 200th Anniversary linked to the John Brown Farm – a connection that has particular importance this year as we witness a voter suppression spree around our country.  Two hundred years ago, that was us–our New York ancestors–enacting explicit rules to keep blacks from voting.

John Brown and his family came here to the Adirondacks as part of an effort to counteract New York State-sponsored suppression of voting rights for black men.

We are now seeing a wave of voter suppression efforts in states controlled by Republican legislators fearful of losing their majority power.  Well, guess what?  That’s exactly what was going on here in good old New York back in the early 1800’s.  We New Yorkers apparently were leaders in voter suppression.  We even put it into the state constitution!  That’s more than the states are doing today.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 8, 2021

Historical profile: The person behind Kempshall Mountain

In the southwestern spur of the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness lies Kempshall Mountain, a peak with a prominent history in fire observation.  Rising 3,350 feet on the northeast side of Long Lake, it is the town’s highest peak.  After the 35-foot steel tower on its summit was closed in 1971 and dismantled in June 1977, the trail to it from Long Lake was left largely unmaintained and nature was allowed to slowly consume what man had made.  Today, some old State trail markers can be seen along parts of the former trail.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 20, 2021

Ticonderoga Historical Society commemorates WW II with Home Front Program

Ticonderoga, NY – The Ticonderoga Historical Society will commemorate U.S. entry into World War II with a free public program on Friday, June 25 at 7 p.m.  at the Hancock House, 6 Moses Circle, Ticonderoga.  

“We’ll Meet Again:  The Home Front in World War II” will take a look at the significant efforts of the men, women and children who helped staff coastal defenses, established victory gardens, took over jobs in factories and farms, and otherwise contributed to support the overall war effort.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which led to the United States’ entry into the war.  “Wars are not only fought on battlefields,” said program presenter Diane O’Connor.  “The physical and emotional support of the citizens at home was a vital element in ultimate victory.  During World War II, citizens took part in bond and scrap drives, put up with shortages and rationing of food and materials, stepped into jobs vacated by young men in factories and on farms, and otherwise supported the war effort in a remarkable manner.  We have to ask if we would be up to facing those challenges today.”

The program will be held outdoors, under a tent and attendees should bring their own lawn chairs.  Reservations may be made by calling the Hancock House at 518-585-7868 or via e-mail to:  [email protected]


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The End of Arbitrary Powers to Dam Adirondack Rivers

indian river

The State Legislature has just adjourned, but on a good many nights this past month I grew sleepy watching legislative TV or legislative proceedings on the internet. For the non-debate pieces of legislation, meaning when the legislative majority is not allowing minority debate on bills, the viewer is treated to the following exchanges in a monotone, one after the other:  The speaker or his representative, or the Senate president or her representative: “The clerk will read the bill.” The clerk: “a bill to” …whatever it does. The speaker or his representative: “The clerk will read the final section.” The clerk: “this act shall take effect immediately.” The speaker, president or their representative: “The vote: 63 in favor. The bill is passed.” All of that has taken less than ten seconds. Next.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 10, 2021

Adirondack History Museum Open for 2021 Season

A collection of 46er hiking canisters in the Hiking Exhibit.

ELIZABETHTOWN — Doors to the Adirondack History Museum opened Memorial Day weekend with additions and new exhibits that promise to intrigue, inform and delight.

Lobby and ground floor rooms and halls welcome area residents and guests to explore the history of fishing in the Adirondacks with Gone Fishin’, a look at how lakes, ponds, and rivers sustained and challenged fishermen going back to the earliest inhabitants of these lands. Some of the Essex County Historical Society’s most rare fishing rods, lures and reels are on display.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 27, 2021

Historic lodging in Blue Mountain Lake celebrates centennial

the hedges

The Hedges on Blue Mountain Lake is commemorating its 100th season in 2021. In recognition of this milestone, Hamilton County and the Town of Indian Lake have designated May 28 as “The Hedges Centennial Day.” The NYS Legislature also recognized the anniversary.

Richard and Margaret Collins welcomed the first lodging guests on May 28, 1921, and the rustic resort in the Great Camp tradition has been operating ever since, opening this year on June 9. » Continue Reading.


Monday, May 10, 2021

A ‘Wild Idea’

wild idea eventHear about the wild ideas that became “A Wild Idea: How the Environmental Movement Tamed the Adirondacks” by Brad Edmondson.

Adirondack Explorer Editor Brandon Loomis will interview Edmondson about his 19-year project interviewing the people who fought for and against the Adirondack Park Agency Act that culminated in the book and a special series for the Adirondack Explorer Regulators and rebels: The forever wild fight.

Presented by Adirondack Explorer and Adirondack Center for Writing 7 p.m. Thursday, May 13.

Sign up here