On Saturday, Oct. 18, the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) Trails Program will hold its 16th annual Fall Trails Day in the High Peaks Wilderness of the Adirondack Park.
Volunteers, working with trained leaders, will use hand tools to clean drainage, trim overgrown sections of trail and remove downed trees. This maintenance work will help prepare the trails and their existing erosion-control structures for spring. Once debris is cleared from drainage ditches, the trails will be better suited to withstand rainwater and spring snowmelt runoff. All maintenance work is in cooperation with the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). “Numerous projects are scheduled for participants of all abilities, including half- and full-day trips,” said Wes Lampman, ADK’s director of field programs. “Cleaning all of the existing drainage may be one of the most important things we can do to help the trails. It’s a great way for hikers to give back to the trails they enjoyed all year.”
The day will commence with a simple breakfast at the High Peaks Information Center near the Adirondak Loj. Participants will receive a Volunteer Trail Program T-shirt upon completion of the project. Most volunteers pre-register, but walk-in participants will be welcomed. Participants can stay at ADK’s Wilderness Campground for free on both Friday and Saturday nights.
For more information on volunteering and registering for Adirondack Fall Trails Day, contact the ADK Trails Program, P.O. Box 867, Lake Placid, NY 12946, (518) 523-3441 or visit our Web site at www.adk.org .
ADK is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the protection and responsible recreational use of New York state’s Forest Preserve, parks and other wild lands and waters. The Club has over 30,000 members and 26 chapters across the state and region. ADK operates two wilderness lodges and conducts conservation, education and natural history programs.
The Adirondack Council reserved its highest praise for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation, while offering criticism to the federal government and State Senate in its 23rd Annual “State of the Park” report. The publication tracks the actions of local, state and federal officials who helped or hurt the ecological health or wild beauty of the Adirondack Park over the past 12 months.
A non-partisan environmental research, education and advocacy organization based in the Adirondack Park, the Adirondack Council is funded solely through private donations. It doesn’t accept government grants or taxpayer-funded contributions of any kind. The Council does not endorse candidates for public office. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency has rejected a proposal by the state Department of Environmental Conservation that would have allowed commercial floatplanes to continue to use Lows Lake for up to 10 years under a permit system. Agency commissioners rejected the plan 6-5. Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, said the decision is not just a win for canoeists and kayakers who use Lows Lake, which straddles the Hamilton-St. Lawrence county border in the western Adirondacks. It is also a victory for anyone who cares about the future management of the Adirondack Forest Preserve, he said.
“There is much more at stake here than whether commercial floatplanes should be allowed on a particular Adirondack lake,” Woodworth said. “The real issue is whether DEC is bound by the provisions of the Adirondack Master Plan. APA said today that they are.”
In rejecting DEC’s proposal, APA commissioners followed the recommendations of APA counsel and staff, who concluded that the proposal was “inconsistent with the guidelines and criteria of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.” According to the Master Plan, which is part of state Executive Law, the “preservation of the wild character of this canoe route without motorboat or airplane usage … is the primary management goal for this primitive area.”
At 3,100 acres, Lows Lake is one of the larger lakes in the Adirondack Park. The lake stretches about 10 miles east to west and is the centerpiece of two wilderness canoe routes. Floatplanes were rare on Lows Lake until the mid-1990s. Sometime before 1990, non-native bass were illegally introduced into the lake, and as public awareness of the bass fishery grew, floatplanes and motorboat use increased.
In January 2003, when it signed the Bog River Unit Management Plan, DEC agreed to phase out commercial floatplane use of Lows Lake within five years, but the agency never developed the regulation to implement the ban. In May, ADK, the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, the Sierra Club and the Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks sued DEC. The lawsuit was adjourned while APA considered DEC’s proposed amendment to the Bog River UMP, which would have established a permit system for floatplane operators and limited flights into the lake.
APA’s decision to reject the amendment was supported by state law and regulation, including DEC’s 2005 regulation to ban motorboats on Lows Lake. DEC rejected a proposal to zone the lake to provide designated areas for motorboat use, noting that “it would not satisfy the legislative intent to manage the waterway ‘without motorboat or airplane use’ as set forth in the Master Plan.” DEC’s Regulatory Impact Statement for the regulation also refers to the Master Plan as a “legal mandate.”
APA also considered the 1994 UMP for the Five Ponds Wilderness Area that designated the lake as part of a wilderness canoe route. An Oct. 1 APA staff memo noted that that the canoe route was designated “for use by those primarily seeking a wilderness experience.”
DEC has argued that banning floatplanes from Lows Lake would cause financial hardship for the two floatplane businesses in the Adirondacks, but APA staff pointed out that economic considerations were irrelevant to compliance with the Master Plan. Steve Erman, APA’s economic adviser, said in a memo that DEC had provided “little information to indicate that either of these floatplane operations is truly at risk if flight operations to Lows Lake were halted.”
On the other hand, Erman noted that DEC failed to look at the potential economic benefits of paddling on outfitters, lodging, restautants and other businesses in the Adirondacks. “The economy of the Boundary Waters Area of northern Minnesota has been heavily promoted for paddling for years and it has become a significant economic generator,” he said.
Removing commercial floatplanes from Lows Lake will go a long way in bringing to fruition DEC’s goal of expanding “quiet waters” opportunities in the Adirondacks. Roughly 90 percent of the lake and pond surface in the Adirondack Park is open to motorized vessels.
“In light of the law and the recommendations of APA staff, the agency really had no choice but to reject DEC’s proposed amendment,” Woodworth said. “Now it is incumbent upon DEC to move forward on a regulation that will enhance the wilderness character of this important canoe route and prohibit floatplanes on Lows Lake before the 2009 season.”
In court papers, DEC agreed to promulgate regulations to ban floatplanes if its proposal were rejected by the APA. “If the agency (APA) determines that the proposed amendment does not conform to the Master Plan, this proceeding will likely become moot because DEC will then begin to promulgate regulations eliminating public floatplane access to Lows Lake,” according to a motion by Lawrence Rappoport of the state Attorney General’s Office.
Mining in the Adirondacks was labor-intensive, dangerous work. More than 250 mines and ore processing sites have operated over time in the region, extracting eleven different minerals. Ores from the Adirondacks fed a national hunger for iron as the country expanded in the late 1800s. Mining is a major Adirondack story, which has been covered in part here at the Adirondack Almanack (and then picked up by NCPR). This week the Adirondack Museum (which closes for the year Sunday FYI) announced that it will re-install its exhibit on Mining in the Adirondacks (expected to open in 2011). According to the Museum, “the extensive new interactive exhibition will tell powerful stories of people and the communities that grew around mines and forges.” As plans for the exhibit progress, the museum has formed a regional advisory committee to serve as a sounding board for curators and museum educators – unfortunately the advisory committee contains no experts on immigration or labor history and it should.
Various immigrant groups, African Americans, and Native Americans have a long history of laboring in Adirondack mines and related industries, and they should be represented in the Adirondack Museum’s planning. Often their stories have been left untold, just as they often went unnamed in local news reports.
In 1907, five unnamed miners – “Polanders, and it was impossible to learn their names” – where injured when the roof of a mine at Lyon Mountain caved in. Two men broke their legs and the other three were less seriously wounded.
“An Italian who was blown up at Tongue Mountain died Thursday,” one report noted. “He accidentally struck a stick of dynamite with a crowbar. The man’s left arm was blown off at the shoulder, there is a compound fracture of his right arm just above the hand, both eyes were blown out of his head, a stone was jammed against his heart and his head was bruised.” It was a remarkable that he wasn’t killed instantly.
The Adirondack Museum has a perfect opportunity to tell the stories of immigrant labor and others who labored in the mines, but they cannot do that properly without including historian of labor and immigration in the process. The museum claims it will convey the “the ebb and flow of a transient population of immigrant workers, work shifts, and company-sponsored social activities set the rhythm of life in mining towns.” The museum’s advisory committee includes a retired GE engineer, a retired mining executive, a retired mining engineer, a mining reclamation specialist, and lots of other bigwigs – but not a single miner; and that’s wrong.
Members of the Mining Advisory Committee include: Dick Merrill, retired General Electric engineer, historian and author from Queensbury, N.Y.; Scott Bombard, Graymont, Plattsburgh, N.Y.; Conrad Sharrow, retired college administrator and Dorothy Sharrow, retired elementary school teacher, Clifton Park, N.Y.; Vincent McLean, retired mining executive, Lake Placid, N.Y.; Gordon Pollard, professor SUNY Plattsburgh, and industrial archeologist; Carol Burke, professor, CAL-Irvine, oral historian, folklorist, and former Tahawus resident, Irvine, Ca.; Bob Meldrum, Slate Valley Museum, Granville, N.Y.; Don Grout, retired mining engineer, Lake Placid, N.Y.; Betsy Lowe, Director, DEC Region 5 and mining reclamation specialist, Lake Placid, N.Y.; and Adirondack Museum Board of Trustee members Rhonda Brunner, AuSable Forks, N.Y.; Gilda Wray, Keene Valley, N.Y.; and Glenn Pearsall, Johnsburgh, N.Y.
For the seventh time in his last eight competitions in Lake Placid, Anders Johnson [video] of Park City, Utah, ski jumped to the head of the field Sunday in completing a sweep of the Flaming Leaves Festival. After taking Saturday’s national championship on the 90 meter hill, Johnson returned to the same Olympic Jumping Complex 24 hours later, under similar sunshine and 65 degree weather, and captured the NYSEF 90 Meter Super Tour event.
Not to be outdone, Lindsey Van [video], also of Park City, took both ends of the Lake Placid doubleheader by winning Sunday’s women’s 90 meter on the artificial surfaces. “I’ve jumped here many times and have always jumped well,” said the past Winter Olympian. “I feel every time I’m here, I can do well.” For a struggling ski jumper, the six-foot-three-inch athlete appreciated the friendly confine of the 1980 Winter Olympic site. “The start of summer training wasn’t so good for me,” continued Johnson. “But I’ve jumped better since August.”
Then came a month in Europe where he performed better in summer Continental Cups and World Cups. “That got my confidence back. The jumps here this weekend were some of my best of the season. Now I feel confident for this winter.”
While vendors offered their goods and live bands performed under the tent, Johnson had the two best jumps of the day at 100.5 and 102 meters. His distance and style points totaled 263.5 for an easy victory. Eric Camerota of Park City was second with 249.5 points on jumps of 99.5 and 93 meters. Third place went to Nick Alexander of Lebanon, N.H. after jumping 99 and 92.5 meters for 246 points. Lake Placid’s Andrew Bliss was fourth on the strength of his opening jump of 97 meters. A second attempt of 89.5 gave Bliss 240 points.
Bill Demong of Vermontville, N.Y., sponsored by the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), was eighth after placing third in the national championship ski jump and second in the Nordic combined nationals, both on Saturday. Demong is preparing to be inducted into the Saranac Lake High School Hall of Fame this week as part of the 1995 state high school championship cross country team.
The diminutive Van, trying to overcome a knee injury incurred last winter, posted jumps of 98.5 and 92 meters, picking up 249 points in the process. “I took myself totally out of the situation and told myself to worry about it (the injury) later,” said Van, who will now go west and seek the care of orthopedic specialist Dr. Richard Steadman. “This weekend was a lot better for me. I concentrated on my in-run position because the in-run here is a bit bumpy. Otherwise, I had stable conditions. It was a great weekend and I had lots of fun. Now I feel good about the winter and will try to stay healthy in the process.”
Jessica Jerome of Park City was next with 97 and 89.5 meter jumps for 237.5 points. Avery Ardovino, Park City, secured third by jumping 89 and 92.5 meters for 226.5 points. Sisters Nina and Danielle Lussi of Lake Placid finished 10th and 11th, respectively. Canadian jumpers came to the surface in the junior division as Calgary, Alberta’s Yukon De Leeuw grabbed the title ahead of teammate Matthew Rowley, also of Calgary. Brian Wallace of Woodbury, Minn. placed third, just a point from second place.
With the close of the Flaming Leaves Festival comes the start of a fall training camp in Lake Placid for many of these competitors. The winter version of this sport gets underway, on snow, next month.
For complete results, including event photos, please log on to www.orda.org.
Mark Frauenfelder over at BoingBoing has a review of James Howard Kunstler’s new, World Made by Hand. A futuristic novel set in an an upstate New York town (somewhere in the Washington or Saratoga counties?), Kunstler’s book looks at what the world could be like in a future laid low by energy shortages and global warming. According to Frauenfelder’s review:
The story is told by Robert Earle, who used to be a software executive. Now he’s a hand-tool using carpenter living in a town in upstate New York without Internet, TV, or newspapers. The electricity comes on every couple of weeks for a few minutes at a time. When that happens, nothing’s on the radio but hysterical religious talk. Rumors of goings-on in the rest of the world are vague…
The story kicks off when Earle (who lost his wife and daughter in the plague and hasn’t seen his 19-year-old son since the boy took off a couple of years earlier to find out what’s happened in the rest of the country) is elected mayor and joins a search party to look for a freight boat and its crew, which disappeared on its way to Albany. Their horse-mounted odyssey takes them on a tour through a post-apocalyptic world of insanity, greed, kindness, corruption, and ingenuity.
While life in Kunstler’s world is lawless and harsh and populated with opportunistic characters that make Boss Tweed look like Glinda the Good, it’s not without charms. Local communities are active and productive. Neighbors all know each other and look after one another. People grow and trade their own produce and livestock, and meals are tasty — lots of buttery corn bread, eggs, chicken, vegetables, streaks, fish. They get together and play music a lot, and because people aren’t stuck in their living rooms watching TV, they actually attend live performances.
Kunstler has been a frequently discussed here at the Almanack; at Amazon you can buy World Made by Hand.
Next month, The Wild Center will be taking another important step with a another significant conference – American Response to Climate Change Conference: The Adirondack Model. This latest event follows-up on the national leadership meeting held this past June that addressed greenhouse gas abatement policies for the United States. This conference, however, will have a regional approach, with a focus on the Adirondacks. The work of the Adirondack Conference will, in part, be shaped by the research, findings and recommendations from the national conference. According to the website:
The primary conference objective will be to develop a Climate Action Plan for the Adirondacks. This will include specific action recommendations for individuals, communities, and enterprises; detailing climate change driven economic opportunities and benefits for region; concrete time-bound goals for efficiency improvements in buildings and transportation; alternative fuels and small scale power generation options; the role of Adirondack forests and natural systems mitigating greenhouse gas emissions; adaptation measures for local government and economics in changing climate; the role of local governments; policy recommendations for region and state; identification of priority messages and strategies for broad communication efforts; and the creation of an ongoing structure to forward action after the conference.
More than 150 leaders from businesses, local and state government, academia, Adirondack non-profits, and experts in climate mitigation in the areas of building efficiency, alternative fuel sources, small scale power generation technologies, transportation, natural systems and resources, rural areas and local economies.
The conference will take place on November 18th and 19th, 2008; Conservationist of the Year Bill McKibben will be a featured speaker.
BTW, on October 22nd, The Wild Center will announce, with its research partner the Wildlife Conservation Society and Jerry Jenkins, author of The Adirondack Atlas, a major research effort concerning impacts of climate change in the Adirondacks.
Congratulations Wild Center, for showing the way in making our region a leader in the discussions over local impacts to global warming.
I asked John Hammond, Executive Director of the Northern New York Library Network (NNYLN), five questions about the library consortium’s efforts to digitize northern New York newspapers. The NNYLN added its millionth page earlier this year. AA: What is the North New York Library Network?
JH: The Northern New York Library Network is a consortium of public, academic, school, and specialized libraries chartered in 1965 to improve library and research service to the people of the North Country. Our service area consists of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Lewis, Jefferson, and Oswego counties. In addition to the Northern New York Historical Newspapers project, we support several other initiatives such as an online catalog of all the materials held in all the libraries in the region (ICEPAC) and a regional digital history project (North Country Digital History). All of our projects can be accessed from our main site: www.nnyln.org
AA: How many newspapers / pages do you currently have online?
JH: We currently have thirty-four newspaper titles online, totaling 1.2 million pages. The site has proven to be quite popular – for instance, there were 24,356,486 individual searches conducted on the site in the last twelve months. From the feedback we receive, it appears that researchers from all over the country find the site to be very useful.
AA: What’s the process you use to get the newspapers online?
JH: We use a Mekel automated scanner to scan previously microfilmed newspapers, and then run those results through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. When you enter a search term, you are actually searching the results of the OCRing, but then get to read the digital image of the actual newspaper article you’re interested in….with your search term highlighted on that page. We load both the images of the actual newspapers and the OCR results on servers here in the NNYLN office in Potsdam, NY.
AA: Who pays for the NNYLN Newspaper Project?
JH: Paying for a project of this magnitude is an ongoing challenge. The NNYLN paid the start-up costs from special projects funds, and we have been very fortunate to receive support from many sources, including the Lake Placid Education Fund, the New York State Library, the Friends of the Potsdam Public Museum, the St. Regis Falls Historians Association, the St. Lawrence County Genealogical Society, and many individual researchers who contribute using our online form.
AA: You must see a lot of newspapers – is there a favorite? Which one?
JH: Each newspaper has its own story to tell….they all did a wonderful job reporting local news over the years. Of course, since we are processing so many materials – some in better shape than others- we like those that are the most legible so that our efforts result in a product of greatest research value.
On Friday, the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, 4th Department, ruled in the Dillenburg Case that the state may continue to make tax payments on state-owned land. The ruling will ultimately protect the Forest Preserve, local schools and governments, and the local economy.
In December of last year New York State Supreme Court Judge Timothy Walker issued an order throwing out payments in lieu of taxes for state lands. The move threatened to have a huge impact on towns, schools, and taxpayers in the region. Town of Inlet Supervisor J.R. Risley, said his town has about 400 year-round residents, 10,000 summer residents, and that 93 percent of the land is state-owned. The ruling was expected to double the town’s tax rate. Twenty-two percent of the Saranac Lake Central School District tax levy comes from taxes on state land – the number is fourteen percent in Tupper Lake. The ruling had been stayed while awaiting appeal – it was #2 on Adirondack Almanack’s Top Stories of 2007. » Continue Reading.
This marathon political season is coming to a close, so I thought I would survey the local Adirondack political scene online. By the way, Friday is the last day to register to vote.
Thanks to outrageous gerrymandering, the Adirondacks is split into a number of districts: 20th House – Kirsten Gillibrand (Blue Dog Dem) vs. Sandy Treadwell (Right Wing Repub)
23th House – John McHugh (Moderate Republican) vs. Mike Oot (Moderate Democrat)
24th House – Michael Arcuri (Conservative Dem) vs. Richard Hanna (Conservative Repub)
45th Senate – Betty Little (Conservative Republican) UNOPPOSED 47th Senate – Joseph Griffo (Cons. R) vs. Michael Boncella (Working Fam) 48th Senate – Darrel Aubertine (Mod. D) vs. David Renzi (Cons. R) 51st Senate – James Seward (Cons. R) vs. Don Barber (Mod. Dem)
112th Assembly – Ian McGaughey (D) vs. Tony Jordan (R) 113th Assembly – Teresa Sayward (Cons. R) UNOPPOSED 114th Assembly – Janet Duprey (R) UNOPPOSED 115th Assembly – David Townsend (Mod. R) vs. Daniel LeClair (Cons. R) 117th Assembly – Marc Butler (R) vs. Daniel Carter (D) 118th Assembly – Addie Jenne Russell (D) vs. Robert W. Cantwell III (R) 122nd Assembly – DeeDee Scozzafava (R) UNOPPOSED
Adirondack Almanack has several ways to follow the local political scene. You can read all the political blog posts here. You can also get our complete elections RSS feed here. Last year’s election round-up is here.
Here are the districts I tend to cover (I will endeavor to improve this list by the next election):
Don’t miss the Adirondack Museum‘s annual Harvest Festival at Blue Mountain Lake, New York on October 4 and 5, 2008.
Each day will feature activities for the whole family from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The Adirondack Museum offers free admission to year-round residents of the Adirondack Park in the month of October – making Harvest Festival the perfect fall outing for Adirondackers! Dean, Dick, and Mary Merrill will return to the museum once again to demonstrate apple pressing with an authentic steam powered cider press from the 1800s. Visitors can grind apples and press cider themselves using a hand-cranked fruit press. Everyone is invited to taste freshly made cider!
The Circle B Ranch of Chestertown, N.Y. will offer leisurely rides through the museum’s beautiful grounds in a rustic wagon. Youngsters can enjoy pony rides as well, providing a wonderful photo opportunity for parents!
John Scarlett of Little Tree Forge, Rossie, N.Y. will demonstrate traditional blacksmithing techniques throughout the day. Scarlett is known for both decorative and useful iron pieces, created using a coal-fired forge and time-honored tools.
Inspired by the glorious foliage and fruits of fall, the museum will offer pumpkin painting, apple printmaking, and the creation of one-of-kind works of art from natural materials. Join Adirondack Museum staff for creativity and fun!
On Saturday, October 4 only, the Siver Family Bluegrass Band from Crown Point, N.Y., will play two sets of hand-clapping, toe-tapping music from 1:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. The Siver Family band features eleven-year-old Dorothy Jane Siver, the 2007 Lake Champlain Young Fiddler of the Year.
Randomly organized links to ideas for making life in the Adirondacks just a little bit easier – technology tools and tips, do-it-yourself projects, and anything else that offers a more interesting, more convenient, or healthier way of life in our region.
Three years ago this week the Adirondack Almanack was mourning the death of one of the regions great historians and cultural and environmental advocates, Barbara McMartin; we were also reporting on one of the region’s deadliest disasters – the sinking of the 40-foot Lake George cruise boat Ethan Allen.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
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