My plane is not yet spirit, I am in flux, always, Fighting between body and soul. The sultry air calms me, Reminds me, To always Look up. Surely you can find your way, Wind whispers in my ear. Watch how birds traverse the wild sky, Mind to mind, they are linked, Over miles, Keeping pace As one. Butterflies speak in soft tongues, Imparting lessons learned. Though their breadth of life may be brief, They live colors of hope, Taking all, And giving all They are.
The Town of Keene is prohibiting spill-over hiking parking, in order to reduce health risks during the governor’s “New York State on PAUSE” directive. Access to the Garden, a jumping off point for all major trails into John’s Brook Valley and the Great Range, will remain open to local hikers and visitors, but once the 46-car lot is full, no more parking will be allowed. There will be signs and barricades to mark where it has been made illegal to park and violators of the new restrictions will have their vehicles towed.
On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, I think about my sister’s prescient and intentional decision to live a life that is marginally dependent on global systems, as locally sourced as possible, and with as light a carbon footprint as she can muster.
My sister lives on a high mesa in Utah. Her home sits 16 miles up Sand Flats Road, just outside of Moab. She has no power, no water, no cable or WiFi, or connections to the normal things that link most of the rest of us to greater dependence on global systems.
She built the house herself. Since she had no power and everything had to be sawed by hand, she designed the house using standard-sized lumber which required minimal sawing.
The Adirondack Health Foundation of Saranac Lake has made three scholarships available for local students who are planning careers in health care. The scholarships are awarded to those who have already been accepted into a nursing program, or another approved allied health career.
For the safety of all visitors and to reduce the community spread of COVID-19, DEC and State Parks are undertaking steps to reduce public density:
Closing all playgrounds;
Limiting access to athletic courts and sporting fields
Canceling all public programs and events at state parks, lands, forests and facilities until further notice;
Closing all indoor visitor facilities, such as nature centers, environmental education centers, visitor centers, and historic houses to the public until further notice;
State Parks has closed all State Parks golf courses;
DEC is closing access to DEC-controlled fire towers to the public. Trails and the summits to the towers remain open, but the towers themselves present a potential risk with multiple people climbing the stairs, in close quarters, unable to appropriately socially distance, and using the same handrails; and
Limiting parking. If the parking lot is full, visit a different location to recreate responsibly. For visitor safety and the safety of others, do not park on roadsides and only park in designated parking areas.
If you must “shelter in place”, the North Country is a good place to do so. Those of us fortunate to live in New York’s great Adirondack Park are already accustomed to “social distancing”, and generally have ample space to get fresh air and exercise – thanks to the good work of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and regional land trusts in protecting millions of acres of wild lands and waters. We are also fortunate to have thousands of brave neighbors continuing to go to work to provide us essentials, like groceries, heating fuel, and health care.
Still, even we lucky Adirondackers – nearly as much as our fellow New Yorkers down-state wishing they could be up here – likely have more time alone now than we usually have. Quiet time affords us chances to read. Here is a quick list of books of regional interest and/or environmental bent that I’d suggest to neighbors sheltered at home through this upsetting pandemic.
Now that face masks are deemed “essential,” (and required in public to help stop the spread of COVID-19), a group of volunteers in Indian Lake have been making cloth masks and distributing them free of charge. As of Friday, April 17, they are available for pick up at Pines Country Store in Indian Lake and in the vestibule of the Adirondack Lakes Center for The Arts in Blue Mountain Lake. The contributors ask people to only take one per person. Those willing to help out with the effort by donating masks can drop them off at the Pines Country Store.
The DEC and State Park’s staff work every spring to install docks at all sites before the opening day of fishing season. Docks are being installed at boat launches statewide, and schedules for installations are dependent on water levels, weather, and ice conditions. Sites are still available for public use regardless of dock installations, but boaters are encouraged to call their regional fisheries office or the state park to check the status of a boat launch.
Restrooms will remain closed at these facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and boat launches at DEC campgrounds will remain closed as well.
Saranac Lake’s Lake Flower boat launch will remain closed due to ongoing construction.
This season the DEC wants to make sure that when boating or fishing, you follow the COVID-19 public health crises recommendations. Please avoid busy waters, congested parking lots and fishing spots, avoid contact and maintain 6 feet of social distance.
The Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter has shared the following activities for joining in the online festivities on this 50th anniversary of Earth Day:
Learn About Nature: some parents are finding it stressful to take on the roles of their teachers while the schools are closed, but the NCAC has created a Nature Lab to help children and parents alike to take part in nature related activities, in turn learning the science behind nature and what we can do to preserve it. View the Nature Lab’s resources for K-12 students here.
During the quarantine, Pendragon Theatre is hosting a “Germ-Free Season” series of virtual events, productions, and alternative performance formats. First up is an encore presentation of Pendragon’s 2015 production of “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen. Streaming 24/7 at www.pendragontheatre.org.
“The Snow Queen” is directed by Matt Sorensen and features his own puppet creations. In fact, he credits that show as launching his interest in puppet making. In that vein, Sorensen has produced and posted two stay-at-home puppet camp sessions, sponsored by Adirondack Health. Children can learn how to build and perform with shadow puppets, rod puppets, sock puppets and toy theater, using common household supplies.
Join Sorensen for a unique “Sock and Sip” online event on Friday May 1, from 6-8 p.m. Sorensen will walk step by step through making a sock puppet, using basic supplies (which can be found here). It costs $25 to sign up via zoom, and all proceeds go to support Pendragon’s free virtual workshops. Click here to sign up.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, everyone is invited to take part in a national virtual action event. Today through Thursday, activists, performers, thought leaders, and artists will all be collaborating on a 3-day live stream. Organized by the US Climate Strike Coalition and Stop The Money Pipeline Coalition, who together are made up of over 500 organizations, have come together to organize Earth Day Live.
Town of Keeseville Essex County Protecting Peregrines: On April 11, Forest Ranger Sarah Bode cited two rock climbers for Failure to Obey a DEC sign. The tickets were written to a 31-year-old man from Bernardsville, New Jersey, and a 32-year-old woman from New York City for climbing closed routes on Poke O Moonshine. DEC wildlife staff closes certain cliffs and climbing routes to allow peregrine falcons to breed, select a nesting site, and encourage the birds to return to their nesting sites. Once nesting has begun, DEC wildlife staff work with Forest Rangers and other DEC programs in notifying the climbing community and public of these closures and may open climbing routes that can be used without disturbing the nesting falcons and their young. After the young falcons have fledged, climbing routes are opened. The rock climbing community has been cooperative with DEC’s efforts and climbers have volunteered to be observers, monitoring falcons and nesting activity. DEC last issued tickets to climbers for climbing on the closed routes in the early 2000s, and Forest Rangers continue to patrol and enforce these routes.