Saturday, October 9, 2021

Back in the Adirondacks

mountain vista in the adirondacks

I haven’t had time to process everything that’s happened this summer. My name is different and my hair is shorter, my body less used to hiking and my mind still breaking down a life-shaping two months. 

I had a bear- encounter next to a cliff, preformed CPR, mentored teens through panic attacks, eating disorders, dysphoria, and sexual assault trauma. I drove a van pulling a trailer through five lanes of Seattle traffic, and piloted my red truck a total of 7,600 miles through 20 states and 11 National Parks. All while coming to grips with my own identity and being openly trans for the first time in my life. 

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Saturday, October 9, 2021

NYS Birding Trail Takes Flight

bird watchingDEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the launch of the new NYS Birding Trail to highlight world-class birding opportunities across the state. Birding or birdwatching is one of the fastest-growing recreation and tourism activities and requires little to no experience or equipment to get started.

The New York State Birding Trail provides information on places anyone can go to find birds amid beautiful natural settings across the state. The trail is not a physically connected or built trail but a network of promoted birding locations that can be accessed by car or public transportation and provides an inclusive experience for all.

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Kid next to water
Saturday, October 9, 2021

The future of Follensby Pond

follensby pond

In case you missed it, the state and The Nature Conservancy are in discussion over the future of Follensby Pond. The tract in Tupper Lake has a storied past from its days hosting great philosophers like Ralph Waldo Emerson. Its heritage lake trout are also legendary. We haven’t heard much about this property. The Nature Conservancy purchased it about 13 years ago.

Some believe state and conservancy negotiations will lead to Follensby Pond closed to the public, while others have high hopes it will be part of the forest preserve. What would you like to see?

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Friday, October 8, 2021

Camping, with a stranger

richard monroe(A True Story) 

“Folks would pay big bucks for this experience.”

 My non-hunting brother uttered those words, as he sat dining fireside one early September lake evening.

Taking advantage of the special early NYS military/veteran’s waterfowl hunt, I had experienced success, and bagged several ducks. What good is hunter’s bounty not shared? So, I called up my brother;

“If you want a “Camp Chef” duck dinner, meet me up on the lake. I’ve got my spices, some olive oil, butter, and an onion already. Bring a frying pan, spatula, some scallions, and a fork. I’ll kindle a fire. When you get up this way, just look for the smoke.”

     I didn’t have to ask twice. There were no leftovers.

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Friday, October 8, 2021

Latest News Headlines

Here’s a look at news from around the Adirondacks this week:

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Friday, October 8, 2021

Outdoor conditions (10/8): Camp Six Road open

outdoor conditions logoThe following are the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for comprehensive and up-to-date information on seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.

Essex Chain of Lakes Complex: Camp Six Road, a seasonal access road, is now open.

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Thursday, October 7, 2021

Butterfly house: Where Humanity and Nature Unite

butterfly house

SKY Lyfe was born out of love for the tiny life keepers, we call bees and butterflies.  As apiarists and lepidopterists our hearts were moved over a decade ago, to research and support some of the World’s most innocent insects as well as one of the most feared. It is our mission to bring awareness to these creatures, in hopes of conserving their lives and global importance to humans and animals alike.

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Thursday, October 7, 2021

Fall foliage report: Peek the peak of color

fall foliage report

This is the fifth 2021 I LOVE NY Fall Foliage Report for New York State. Reports are obtained from volunteer field observers and reflect expected color conditions for the coming weekend. Reports are issued every Wednesday afternoon. I LOVE NY urges travelers to follow all COVID-related public health and safety guidelines while enjoying the foliage this season. Visitors should call ahead and check websites and social media to make sure attractions are open and available. More information on New York State travel and COVID-19 is available here.

Vibrant peak and near-peak leaves will continue to arrive in the Adirondacks this weekend while making their first appearances in the Catskills. Some near-peak foliage is also expected in parts of the Thousand Islands-Seaway region this weekend.

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Thursday, October 7, 2021

Hear some classic ranger stories at Paul Smiths this weekend

van laer ranger familyRangers and Galaxies Above: Week Three of the Adirondack Lecture Series

The Adirondack Lecture Series is still in full swing here at the VIC. Week three of the series starts Saturday, October 9th at 2pm. Join retired rangers in “Old Rangers Tell Old Adirondack Rescue Stories.” If you have ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the life of a ranger, this talk is for you. Learn about historic rescues that took place only a few miles away from your backyard. VIC Director and retired ranger Scott van Laer, an occasional contributor to the Adirondack Almanack, will moderate the discussion.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The Adirondack Park Agency Should Embrace Transparency

Recently, we saw news that Governor Kathy Hochul has instructed state agencies to develop and submit plans for greater transparency. As I wrote in a related piece, this is good news and welcome news. I’ve watched over the decades as state agencies have restricted more and more of what was once basic and easily accessible public information.

In a related piece I wrote about how the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) could improve its work and embrace openness and transparency. I provided a list of suggestions for ways to change its Forest Preserve work and other items relating to the Adirondack Park. These ideas would make meaningful and important reforms and should be included in the DEC’s “Transparency Plan” that it is soon to submit to Governor Hochul.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The secret life of water

At the recently opened Essex Quarry Nature Park, a classic Adirondack brook winds through a cedar forest, chatters over boulders artfully accented with moss and ferns and then — disappears.

Like water running down a drain, it plunges down a stony crevice in the earth and is gone. Trail stewards say it doesn’t reappear again until it reaches Lake Champlain. Precisely where it goes and what it encounters along the way will likely forever be a mystery.

The Secret Life of Water is a fascinating story that escapes most people as they appreciate the beauty and charm of Adirondack lakes, rivers and streams. Paddlers might not realize that beneath the surface Mirror Lake, to pick one example, has important work to do, and some of that work is fraught.

Water sustains life, but it is also a mover, a builder, a gardener and an excavator. What it encounters in one spot can have implications in another, as we’ve seen with road salt and excessive nutrients.

Gov. Kathy Hochul was in Lake Placid on Friday, talking about the importance of water quality and showing off permeable pavement that allows rain to seep through the ground before it reaches the lake instead of running along the surface collecting man-made toxins as it goes.

Water is the reason the Adirondack Park was created. Left to its own devices, it does its job well. But where development has knocked it off its game, sometimes it can use a little help.

 A scene from the Essex Quarry trail. Mike Lynch photo


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Rangers locate lost hikers on Sleeping Beauty, at Nicks Lake trail

forest ranger reportsRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Fort Ann
Washington County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Oct. 1 at 6:53 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance from two hikers who became disoriented while hiking Sleeping Beauty Mountain. The 65- and 69-year-old hikers from Long Island were on a trail, but were not sure which trail, as the trail markers were not the same color as the markers on their original trail. Neither hiker had headlamps, maps, food, water, or hiking equipment. At 9:40 p.m., Forest Rangers Donegan and Arnold located the couple on the trail near Bumps Pond, approximately 1.5 miles from the trailhead. The Rangers provided the hikers with jackets, food, and water before escorting them to the trailhead. Forest Rangers and the hikers were back at the trailhead at 12:20 a.m.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

When doing your best means doing nothing

Painting: Dawn Loading by Kathleen Kolb

Painting: Dawn Loading by Kathleen Kolb

“If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.” David Henry Thoreau’s statement, funny in a way, also brings to mind the grave harm done to cultures around the world by Western powers in the guise of “helping” them. In a less horrific sense it applies to how we’ve “assisted” nature to disastrous ends. Cane toads in Australia, mongoose in Hawaii, Kudzu in the Southeast, and Asian harlequin ladybeetles that invade our homes each fall are a few examples of being too helpful.

I get a lot of questions from folks who’ve recently purchased a few acres of forest or home on a wooded lot and want to know if they should clear brush, thin trees, or do other things to improve the woods. It’s a fair question, and an important one.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Fall cleaning tips for purging old clothes

donation bin for clothesThe calendar turns to another month and we are moving into fall. While this is a great time of the year to get outdoors and enjoy our environment — consider spending a bit of time indoors to clean out your clothing closet and prepare for the seasons ahead. As leaves will be falling off of the trees, before we know it, sweater weather will be here. Get your clothes ready and do so in a green way.

Closet clean out — save green
From clothing swaps, to hand me downs, to mixing and matching and adding fun accessories — clothes you already own can get a new look and extended life. Planning is key to saving green — the environment and money that is. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

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Tuesday, October 5, 2021

ESF’s Center for Native Peoples and the Environment and The Nature Conservancy Embark on Transformational Partnership

center for native peoples (ALL INTERNAL RIGHTS, LIMITED EXTERNAL RIGHTS) June 2015. Jamaica Bay Wildlife Reserve. Photo credit: © Kevin Arnold and the environment

Syracuse, NY – A new partnership between the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s (ESF) Center for Native Peoples and the Environment (CNPE) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) will serve as a bridge between traditional ecological knowledge and Western scientific approaches, embracing a “two-eyed” way of seeing and informing conservation.

“This partnership arises out of shared interests and common goals to conserve cherished landscapes and biodiversity,” said Dr. Robin Kimmerer, CNPE Director, botanist, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She is also the author of the bestselling book ‘Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants.’ “This as an opportunity for co-learning between the CNPE and TNC and Indigenous communities, who are a critical partner in this work.”

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Kid next to water

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