Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Family stranded on Middle Saranac Lake

forest ranger logoRecent DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Harrietstown
Franklin County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Aug. 5 at 3:24 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a man reporting that he was stranded with his wife and two granddaughters (10 and 16 years old) on the shore of Middle Saranac Lake. He stated that the wind was too strong to paddle back the way they came. The caller estimated that the group was about a quarter of a mile north of the outlet of Middle and Lower Saranac lakes. Forest Ranger DiCintio responded to assist with the help of DEC Operations staff. Two boats were deployed to the stranded canoeists’ location, one to transport the group of four and the other to tow their canoe and two kayaks. At 6:13 p.m., Ranger DiCintio advised that the group from Cincinnati, Ohio, had been dropped off at the South Creek boat launch where their vehicle was located.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Should ‘secret spots’ stay that way?

SECRET SPOTS: We all have them. In a commentary in the Almanack, outdoors enthusiast Paul Kalac questions whether the rise in social media is doing a disservice to our treasured places.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: Should ‘secret spots’ stay that way? Is the internet to blame? Join the conversation in the comments section or send an email to [email protected].


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Tread Lightly on the Internet

By Paul Kalac

I was a thirteen or fourteen-year-old boy in the early 80’s when I started fly-fishing for trout.  I’m not sure if I instinctively understood to keep my favorite trout streams to myself, or if I was taught to keep them to myself by the old-timers who made me a fly-fisher. But I was imperfect.  I shared my favorite trout streams with some high school buddies. I know some of those guys were not my closest friends. So there’s no telling with whom they talked after we fished together.  I’m sure word got around to some degree.

A watershed association made up of key groups and individuals formed on my favorite trout stream in the 1990’s and I became secretary. I had since learned that trout streams need friends, not button-lipped fly fishers.  The minds of the old-timers who wanted to keep the stream’s secrets to themselves were flawed; all those who enjoyed or profited from the resource needed to come together to discuss and tackle issues related to the health of the watershed.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, August 10, 2020

Exploring forgotten lands: The Sable Highlands

While crowds of people continue to show up at High Peak trailheads between St. Huberts and Lake Placid, there are still plenty of wild places in the Adirondacks where you can spend time and possibly not even see another person.

Just the other day, I took a quick paddle on Grass Pond in the Sable Highlands, located near Loon Lake in the northern Adirondacks, and didn’t see another soul.

Earlier in the year, I took a bike ride and hike with former Explorer editor Phil Brown on the same easement property and also didn’t see anyone else recreating. That day, Phil and I left from a parking area at Fishhole Pond. We were exploring the property because Phil was working on a story about a bike route and trail that had been planned by the state but had never been implemented.

Phil spent a good amount his time exploring the Sable Highlands easement lands this spring and summer. What he found is that many of the recreation routes that the state had been planning to develop were never completed.

In recent weeks we’ve started publishing Phil’s explorations of the Sable Highlands easement lands on our website.

You can read the pieces he’s published already by following the links here. One is about a planned bike route near Fishhole Pond and the other is about a trail up Norton Peak near Standish that was never built.


Monday, August 10, 2020

ADK releases 2nd edition of Kids on the Trail guidebook

ADK’s long-popular Kids on the Trail! Hiking with Children in the Adirondacks, by Rose Rivezzi and David Trithart, has been released in a second edition. Seventy-one hike descriptions are accompanied by distance and elevation data, color maps, and color photos.

Almost 40 percent of the hikes are new to the book, and nine descriptions have been added since the first edition.

Representing a variety of destinations across the Adirondacks, this guide encourages readers to visit lesser known locations as they enjoy the beauty of the Park. Anecdotal asides, observations, and logistical advice are interspersed.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 8, 2020

Essex Chain Lakes provides quiet solitude

The state’s proposal to attract more visitors to the Essex Chain Lakes by allowing lakeside campfires had the effect of immediately attracting two visitors recently: me and my son.

We’ve been planning to get our canoes into the Adirondack backcountry at some point this summer. Upon hearing how uncrowded the lakes south of Newcomb are, we decided to carry them into this primitive area for a look around. We were not disappointed.

These lakes are teeming with wildlife, from deer and bald eagles to belted kingfishers, great blue herons and, of course, loons. We heard loons throughout the night and then had a close visit from a pair in the morning, when they swam within about 35 yards of our camp. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 8, 2020

Weekend read: Leave no Trace

The DEC had a special reminder to treat the High Peaks with care and respect in this week’s Outdoor Conditions report.

Also, in the Adirondack Explorer, Mike Lynch reports on Marcy stewards’ frustration over lack of preparedness and the flood of hikers this summer. (Mike’s photo from the Marcy summit shown here)

One of those stewards, Michaela Dunn, wrote about her own experiences in this blog entry that’s been widely circulating online.

In the spirit of “Leave no Trace,” a look through the Almanack archive found this post from 2014: Brandon Wiltse writes about a wildlife encounter he had: https://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2014/01/leave-trace-dont-feed-wildlife.html


Friday, August 7, 2020

What’s on your Adirondack summer bucket list?

Phil Brown canoes Shingle Shanty Brook in 2009People all over the country are flocking outside during this pandemic summer. And recent top stories from AdirondackExplorer.org and AdirondackAlmanack.com reflect the strangeness of recreating amid Covid-19, I as wrote about in my weekly “Adk News Briefing” e-mail newsletter. (Click here to subscribe to it.)

I’m curious to know what’s on your Adirondack summer “to do” list. Have you tried something new this summer? Have you joined the crowds or ventured into more remote territory? Feel free to leave a comment or share an email: [email protected]

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

DEC fights wildfires in St. Lawrence County; conducts helicopter bucket training

Recent DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Malta
Saratoga County
Wildland Helicopter Bucket Training:
 On July 27, DEC’s Forest Rangers and the Army National Guard Air Assault Battalion out of the Albany Airport conducted specialized wildland firefighting training on Round Lake using two Army UH60-A Blackhawk Helicopters outfitted with 660-gallon Bambi Buckets. Forest Rangers and Army National Guard Crew Chiefs and Pilots simulated aerial firefighting tactics on the lake. Rangers communicated with the pilots from within the helicopter and from the ground, guiding them during a hover of the lake to fill buckets and drop water on a simulated fire line. View the photos on DEC’s Flickr album.

Photo of fire training over Round Lake taken by the New York National Guard

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Paddling and Covid-19

I have such gratitude for the Adirondack woods and waters during this Covid-19 pandemic. Paddling my solo canoe is the best. When I’m with friends, we easily keep our social distance as we float on the open waters and maneuver up a stream bed. 

Keeping six-feet away from the crowds at canoe access sites this summer is another matter. Often it’s difficult finding a parking spot with enough room to keep clear of others walking around their cars while lifting canoes and kayaks. My friends and I wear our masks, but not all do. Families are relieved that their kids can run around, which they do in the parking lots and beaches that serve as canoe and kayak put-in and take-outs. I stick with water access points that are maintained for use by cartop water craft, rather than launching sites appropriate for motor boats.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Ausable River Association hosts free outdoors programs

The Ausable River Association (AsRA) is offering free guided community paddling, hiking, and interpretive experience programs in the Ausable watershed this summer, with special consideration given to COVID-19 safety.

Paddling trips utilize the Ausable Paddling Nature Trail on Lake Everest in Wilmington, established by AsRA in 2010. “Interpretive paddling nature trails are unique. This is a self-guided paddling nature trail that anyone can follow. There is a full-color guide booklet in the kiosk at the boat launch on Lake Everest at the Wilmington town beach, and paddlers can also follow the route on their AllTrails App” says Research Associate, Carrianne Pershyn.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 30, 2020

Backpacking during a pandemic

The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted just about every aspect of life in recent months, including backpacking.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stay home. Ask writer Betsy Kepes. She spent a few days with a small group this spring on a trip on the Cranberry 50, a hiking route in the northwestern Adirondacks.

Kepes found the trip enjoyable, but it wasn’t without challenges. For instance, what do you do about sharing a lean-to or camping site with others during a pandemic? What happens when you make hot water? Should you share it?

If you’re curious about her experience on her hiking journey, you can read about it on our website. Here is a link to her story: https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/stories/hiking-the-cranberry-50-during-the-covid-19-crisis

Hiking the Cranberry Lake 50 during the Covid-19 pandemic are writer Betsy Kepes (greenish/blue shirt, off-white mask), husband Tom Vandewater (black shirt,off-white mask), and friends Amanda Oldacre (white shirt, black patterned mask) and Jim Burdick (gray/blue shirt black patterned mask). Social distancing and wearing face masks were suggested. Photo by Nancie Battaglia.

Editor’s note: This originally appeared in Mike’s weekly “Backcountry Journal” newsletter. Click here to subscribe.


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Backcountry magic

There are experiences that can add a wild and magical element to a backcountry trip.

I recall as a child coming across the first impressively large beaver dam I had ever seen in the backwoods. It was on a brook trout fishing trip in a canoe in the northern Adirondacks. The structure must have been 6 feet tall and 100 feet wide. After I climbed up the dam and stood on top, it felt like I had entered a new world. As I looked out over the calm pond full of fish and vegetation, I remember being in awe that beavers could have such a drastic impact.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

DEC Announces New Dates for Guiding License Exam

DEC logoThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that the Licensed Guides exam for anyone currently registered is now scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 1. This exam will be offered to all applicants that previously signed up to take the exam. Out of an abundance of caution and to limit the community spread of COVID-19, DEC previously postponed examinations scheduled in March, April, May, and June. Exams for new applicants will be held Sept. 17. 

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Second trap dike rescue in week’s time

forest ranger logoRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On July 24 at 12:45 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch was contacted about two 19-year-old hikers from Rye, New York, and Louisville, Kentucky, who were trapped on the Western slope of the Trap Dike. Forest Rangers Burns, DiCintio, Mecus, and Praczkajlo responded with the help of the New York State Police Aviation Unit for a hoist rescue operation. Ranger Burns and Climbing Specialist Crofoot flew from Lake Clear to Lake Placid and picked up Forest Rangers Mecus and Praczjaklo at 2:30 p.m. From there, the officers flew and lowered the rescue team to the Trap Dike to the hikers’ location high up on the slide. At 3:30 p.m., contact was made, and using a series of technical rope systems, the hikers were lowered to safety. At approximately 6:30 p.m., the rescue team was at the base of the Trap Dike along with the hikers who were then able to walk out on their own.

» Continue Reading.



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