Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Top Ten Adirondack Books

I have a number of books that publishers have sent me for reviews and those will be on the way, but in the meantime, I thought I would take a look at what folks interested in the Adirondacks are reading. So here is what I discovered, the top ten Adirondack related books on Amazon:

#1 – Peter Bronski, At the Mercy of the Mountains: True Stories of Survival and Tragedy in New York’s Adirondacks

#2 – Anne LaBastille, Woodswoman: Living Alone in the Adirondack Wilderness

#3 – Bill McKibben, Wandering Home: A Long Walk Across America’s Most Hopeful Landscape:Vermont’s Champlain Valley and New York’s Adirondacks (Crown Journeys)

#4 – Barbara McMartin, 50 Hikes in the Adirondacks: Short Walks, Day Trips, and Backpacks Throughout the Park, Fourth Edition

#5 – Tony Goodwin, Adirondack Trails High Peaks Region (Forest Preserve Series, V. 1)

#6 – Jerry C. Jenkins, The Adirondack Atlas: A Geographic Portrait of the Adirondack Park

#7 – Carl Heilman, The Adirondacks

#8 – Ralph Kylloe, Adirondack Home

#9 – Paul Schneider, The Adirondacks: A History of America’s First Wilderness

#10 – Philip G. Terrie, Contested Terrain: A New History of Nature and People in the Adirondacks (A New Edition)


Monday, November 10, 2008

Adirondack Museum Student Writing Competition

The Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, New York has introduced the Harry G. Remington Adirondack History Writing Competition. Open to students in grades 9 – 12 in school districts wholly or partially within the Adirondack Park, the competition offers awards for the three best essays about an historical person, place, document, organization, time period, business, event, or location relating to a community or communities within or bordering the Park. The first place winner will receive $500, the second place winner $300, and the third place $200.

Essays must be 1500 to 2500 words in length and be the original work of the entrant. Entries must be received by or on March 1, 2009. The essays will be judged on originality of idea, quality of research, and the use of a variety of resources such as books, maps, publications, documents, photographs, oral history interviews, artifacts, or other historical resources.

A panel consisting of two members of the Adirondack Museum’s professional staff and a history teacher from an eligible school will read and judge the essays. The winners of the essay competition will be announced on June 1, 2009. Awards will be presented at the student’s school graduation and at the Adirondack Museum’s annual Harold K. Hochschild Award ceremony in August 2009.

The Adirondack History Writing Competition is dedicated to the memory of Harry G. Remington whose love of the Adirondacks ran deep, nurtured by a lifetime of summers spent at his family camp in Franklin County. Remington’s belief that history matters came from his family’s own rich history. His grandfather, Ashbel Parmelee Fitch, was born in Mooers, N.Y. and became a prominent lawyer and New York City politician who once was challenged to a duel by an impulsive Theodore Roosevelt.

One of Fitch’s grandfathers, Reverend Ashbel Parmelee, was the minister at the First Congregational Church of Malone, N.Y. for thirty-six years, served as a chaplain in the war of 1812 and at Clinton Prison in Dannamora, N.Y. According to local lore, his home was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Fitch’s other grandfather, Jabez Fitch Jr., was a licensed physician in Mooers who late in life became a physician at Clinton prison. Fitch’s cousin, Morton Parmelee, was a Franklin County lumberman who became an unlikely public advocate for sustainable forestry and the preservation of
Adirondack forests during the 1880s and 1890s.

For additional information about the Harry G. Remington Adirondack History Writing Competition, please contact Christine Campeau, School Program Coordinator and Museum Educator at ccampeau@adkmuseum.org.


Friday, November 7, 2008

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Adirondack Hacks

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.

Winter Project: Build A Kayak
Tame Your Google Calendar
Get Me Out of Here: Schedule Cell Phone Calls
Get Your Furnace Ready For Winter
Install A Water Saving Shower Shut-Off

Adirondack Hacks is an occasional feature of Adirondack Almanack. Take a look at our Adirondack Hacks archive here.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Discounted Whiteface-Gore Season Passes Deadline Near

The deadline to purchase discounted 2008-09 ski and ride season passes for Whiteface and Gore Mountains is November 14.

Skiers and riders may purchase an interchangeable non-holiday pass good at both Whiteface and Gore Mountains for $649. This pass for adults (ages 23-64) excludes the Christmas Week, Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, and Presidents’ Week holiday periods. Seniors (ages 65-69) may purchase the same pass at the same price at any time for just $399. The adult full season pass is $799 and increases to $959 on November 15. Young adult (13-22) full season passes are available for $335, and junior full season passes are only $275 through Nov. 14. The prices increase to $449 for the young adult pass and $375 for the junior pass starting Nov. 15.

Seniors 70 and over and children six and under pay just $40 for a full season pass until Nov. 14, with the price increasing $10 thereafter.

Kids Kampus is once again offering membership into the Cloudsplitter Club and Cloudsplitter Teen Club. The Cloudsplitter Club is for children ages 7-12 while the Teen Club is for teenagers 13-16, regardless of ability. Both clubs are committed to the development of young skiers and riders and focus on safety, fun and learning. The program coaching staff will focus on mileage and the non-competitive aspect of skiing and snowboarding to instill a love for the sport. Cloudsplitter Club membership is $1,020, while the Cloudsplitter Teen Club is $1,095 until Nov. 14.

The popular Snow Sampler – a group of four interchangeable Gore/Whiteface lift tickets that can be used at any time during the season – is just $225 until December 14. The Snow Sampler is not available for purchase after that date.

Whiteface will also offer time-honored programs such as the Play-n-Ski for children at Kids Kampus, the Snowboomers Club for the young at heart, NASTAR season passes and much more.

In addition, season passes for cross country skiing at Mt. Van Hoevenberg and skating on the Olympic Oval may be purchased at the same time.

The full menu of passes and programs, payment deadlines and online store may be found at www.whiteface.com or www.goremountain.com. Most items may be purchased online, or people may contact the mountains directly.

For a complete listing of ORDA activities, venue-by-venue, and web cams from five locations, please log on to www.orda.org.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Adirondack Climate Change Conference Details

The Wild Center has unveiled final plans for the Adirondack Climate gathering, describing the economic focus of the event. The conference, open to the public, will take place November 18 and 19 at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. Officially titled ‘The American Response to Climate Change – The Adirondack Model: Using Climate Change Solutions to Restore a Rural American Economy,’ the event has been in the planning stages for more than a year. The Conference will include the release of a major study by the Wildlife Conservation Society compiling information on the current impacts of climate change on the Adirondacks and showing detailed projections for the region in the near future.

The goal of the Conference according to organizers is to develop a local plan to boost the region’s economy in a world changed by climate related economics. Mickey Desmarais, who is the Mayor of Tupper Lake, is part of the Conference planning team. “We are all in agreement that new type of green power production is exciting,” he said, “but the biggest and most effective thing we can all do is to conserve what we have. It has to be done at every level, town, village, and in each and every home. We have never had this cost incentive before–-now we do and we are paying attention. We need to keep educating ourselves and the discussion at the conference will help us do that. We know our winter weather is more severe than other parts of the state so that is all the more reason to be smarter about energy. ”

The Adirondack Conference will include groups focused on energy-efficient buildings that will reduce area energy bills and create new jobs through retrofits of existing buildings and new construction, alternative fuels including cellulosic biofuels and forest by-products, small scale power generation technologies and how they could be developed in the region, the development of new local businesses that will benefit from the expected new cap on national carbon emissions, and the role of natural resources, such as clean water and forests. With water shortages predicted by many climate models, the Adirondack supply may have special future value. There is more information about the conference at its official website, www.usclimateaction.org.

“Many of us think this is the best place in the world to live and raise families,” said Ann Heidenreich, Executive Director of Community Energy Services and another of the Conference organizers. “The people here know how to do things. We like to be independent, we get things done ourselves. I don’t see any reason in the world that we can’t get together as Adirondackers and take this opportunity to have the rest of the country say, ‘wow, those guys figured it out.’ I think we can figure out how to put energy money back into our own neighborhoods instead of sending it to Canada or Saudi Arabia for oil.”

Kate Fish, a Lake Placid resident who is Conference Director for both the National and Adirondack Conferences, said that the Adirondack gathering could have immediate impact, and said that many grassroots organizations were already helping to boost the region. “There is something big already happening here. People are looking into the future and seeing that the age of cheap energy is over – that means a possible new day for local food, for locally-generated electricity, for local materials that used to be priced out of the market because it was cheaper to truck something from Mexico than to buy it from a local maker, and when all that changes, a place like the Adirondacks could actually come out ahead.” She cited a study that says that every dollar spent locally circulates between 5 and 14 times in the local community. Fish said that last year Essex County residents alone spent $15 million on fuel oil to heat their homes, 70 percent of it imported. “That’s a lot of money to send away, and a lot that could be invested it in local power generation or savings.”

Stephanie Ratcliffe is executive director of The Wild Center where the idea for the national climate conference held last June and the regional conference was created. Ratcliffe says the conferences were custom-made for the new Museum. “We’re here in part so people can come together to dig into ideas that are important for how the Adirondacks work. We do need a better economy here, and we don’t need a snowless winter. The Adirondack idea of people living with nature works when our kids don’t have to move away to find jobs, and when we can still swim in clean lakes, this Conference gets at both those issues.”

The Adirondack Conference will take place after the election. “Washington won’t start to move until 2009,” said Lake Placid Mayor Jamie Rogers, one of the Conference co-chairs. “The more you look at this the more you see two things. We actually can do this. We can become more independent, and then you see that we’re in great shape to be out in front in the Adirondacks. We don’t have billions of dollars of skyscrapers that all have to be redone. I think of someone in New York City trying to get local food, or a local hydro dam or cutting the waste in their water system, boy it would be tough. We’ve already cut our electric use in Lake Placid by enlisting the scouts to sell energy efficient light bulbs instead of candy.”

The Adirondack Conference will be attended by members of the following businesses, academic institutions, and organizations: New York State Tug Hill Commission, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Wildlife Conservations Society, The Nature Conservancy, Adirondack Park Agency, New York State Department of State, Workforce Development Institute, Adirondack Community Housing Trust, Adirondack Council, Union of Concerned Scientists, SUNY – ESF, St. Lawrence University, Houghton College, Hamilton College, Paul Smith’s College, Community Power Network, Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks, Adirondack Mountain Club, Energy $mart Park Initiative, and the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks.

The Conference is open to the public. To register, please visit www.usclimateaction.org


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Some News Items for Adirondack Hunters

A hat tip to ADKhunter.com for these news items for Adirondack hunters:

Peter Schoonmaker, author of Seasonal Drift: Adirondack Hunts & Wilderness Tales, has an article in North American Whitetail Magazine about legendary New York deer biologist and researcher C.W. “Bill” Severinghaus.

Old Hunting Camp Photos, Film, & Video Wanted: Local film company On Track Production will be producing a documentary on Adirondack Deer Camps for Mountain Lakes PBS. If you have old home movies or photos of Adirondack hunting camps, contact them or adkhunter.com.

Donate Your Deer Hide: A Saratoga-area synagogue is looking for deer hide donations to make into a parchment Torah scroll. Any size hides in good shape can be used. Contact Rabbi Linda at 518-587-0160.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Four Nations Hockey Tournament Begins Nov 4

USA Hockey and the Olympic Regional Development Authority will host a pair of international tournaments simultaneously at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, N.Y., from Nov. 4-9, 2008. The Women’s Four Nations Cup will feature the United States, Canada, Finland and Sweden, while the Men’s Under-18 Four Nations Cup will highlight the United States, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.

The majority of the games will take place in the 1980 Rink Herb Brooks Arena, the location of the historic “Miracle on Ice” victory. The remainder of the games will also take place in the Olympic Center, at the 1932 Arena.

Both tournaments will get underway Tues., November 4, with the men’s championship games set for Sat., November 8, and the women’s championship games to take place Sun., November 9.

On the men’s side, the U.S. National Under-18 Team will take part in the event, which is part of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. For the women, the U.S. Women’s Select Team will play in the tournament.


Friday, October 31, 2008

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


Friday, October 31, 2008

Photos of New Chair Lift Going Up at Whiteface

Here are some photos of the helicopter placing lift towers for the new Lookout Mountain Triple Chairlift at Whiteface last Thursday. The lift will service three new trails on Lookout Mountain, Whiteface’s third peak. The area reclaimed a portion of the Cloudsplitter Trail that was a part of Whiteface in the 1950s. Lookout Mountain will open this season with two expert runs, one 2.5-mile long intermediate trail, as well as more glade skiing.



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Great Camp Uncas Now A National Historic Landmark.

US Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced yesterday that Great Camp Uncas on Mohegan Lake has been selected as a National Historic Landmark.

Camp Uncas is located a few miles south of the hamlet of Raquette Lake, in the Town of Long Lake, Hamilton County. It is close to the geographic center of the 9,300-square mile Adirondack Park. The camp was built by William West Durant, pre-eminent architect and builder of the Park’s most famous and well-preserve great camps (including the adjacent Great Camp Sagamore, also an Historic Landmark and open to the public for day trips and overnight stays).

The designation of Great Camp Uncas marks the third building in the tiny hamlet of Raquette Lake to be awarded National Landmark status. The other two are Great Camp Sagamore and Great Camp Pine Knot, all built by Durant.

Great Camps are compounds of buildings meant as a self-contained (often self-sustaining) seasonal retreat for a wealthy family, mimicking a tiny rural village. Great camp architecture reached its peak around the dawn of 20th Century, as the industrial magnates of the Gilded Age were spending their fortunes on ways to escape the crowded and polluted cites of the Northeast. Each building served a separate purpose, with dining halls, libraries, game rooms, blacksmith shops, boathouses, carriage houses, barns, farms, guest quarters, servants quarters and lounges.

Many great camps fell into disrepair as the wealthy owners passed away or lost their fortunes in the Great Depression. Some were later purchased by scout groups and other institutions that had the means to keep them in order.

Perhaps the two most important features of Durant’s great camps are his use of the landscape to conceal the buildings from view until you are right next to them, and his use of whole logs, rock and bark to create a rustic look that matched the landscape but also provided great comfort within. It was a combination of the American log cabin and the opulent European ski chalet. The style has been widely emulated, serving as the prototype for nearly every major lodge and administrative structure built by the National Park Service, including Yellowstone Lodge in Montana.

While Durant built Great Camp Uncas for himself, he was forced to sell it to pay his debts. New owner J. P. Morgan used it as a wilderness retreat for many years.

For the past 30 years, visitors to Great Camp Sagamore have been given tours of Uncas as well. More than 20 group tours came through just this past summer. Uncas and Sagamore have each hosted the Adirondack Council’s Annual Forever Wild Dinner and Conservationist of the Year Award celebration. This year, Uncas hosted the Adirondack Architectural Heritage organization’s annual meeting as well.

The Sagamore and Uncas roads are designated bike trails, surrounded by Adirondack Forest Preserve lands.

Here is an excerpt from today’s Department of the Interior news release announcing the new designation for Great Camp Uncas:

* Camp Uncas was developed 1893 to 1895 on Mohegan Lake in what is now the Adirondack Forest Preserve.

* Camp Uncas is one of the best examples of Adirondack camp architecture, which was designed for leisure. It is of exceptional historical and architectural significance as the first Adirondack camp to be planned as a single unit by William West Durant, widely recognized as one of the most important innovators of the property type.

* At Camp Uncas, Durant developed the camp as a single cohesive unit: a “compound plan” for camps that provided for an array of separate buildings, all subordinate to the natural setting. Camp Uncas was built as an ensemble from start to finish.

* The Adirondack camp had a strong and lasting influence on the design of rustic buildings developed for national and state park systems in the 20th century.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Keep An Eye Out for Emerald Ash Borer

The arrival of the shiny, emerald green beetle, about 1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide, in the U.S. may be as serious a threat to white, green, and black ash trees as Dutch elm disease was to the American elm.

Ash trees are a common species; green and black ash grow in wet swampy areas and along streams and rivers; white ash is common in drier, upland soils. Many species of wildlife, including some waterfowl and game birds, feed on ash seeds. Ash is used as a source for hardwood timber, firewood, and for the manufacturing of baseball bats and hockey sticks. The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets estimates the total economic value of New York’s white ash to be $1.9 billion dollars. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Adk Club To Hold Auction Fundraiser

The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) is bringing a little bit of wilderness to the Capital Region of New York when it hosts “A Wilderness Affair 2008: Get Wild for Wilderness!” from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., on Saturday, Nov. 1, at the Albany Marriott Hotel. This will be ADK’s 12th annual silent and live auction gala. The event is open to the public and guests will enjoy dinner, music by a jazz trio and an ale sampling hosted by the Cooperstown Brewing Co. There will also be a cash bar.

Auction items will include original art, rustic Adirondack-style furnishings, sports gear, jewelry, adventure trips, getaway packages, concert and theater tickets, and unique gift baskets donated by ADK chapters. Items can be previewed at www.adk.org. There will also be a drawing for a canoe, a camping package and a handmade quilt. Proceeds will help support the club’s conservation, environmental advocacy, education and recreation programs. This is a great opportunity to find unique gift ideas for the holidays while supporting a good cause.

Fred LeBrun, columnist for the Albany Times Union, is honorary chair of the event, and Gregory McKnight will be the master of ceremonies. The auction will be conducted by Jim and Danielle Carter of Acorn Estates & Appraisals. Corporate sponsors include Velocity Print Solutions, JBI Helicopter Services, Ringer Leasing Corp., TD Banknorth and Cooperstown Brewing Co.

Tickets are $55 per person. Reservations are required and can be made online or by calling (800) 395-8080 Ext. 25. To donate an auction item or become a corporate sponsor, call (800) 395-8080 Ext. 14.

The Adirondack Mountain Club, founded in 1922, is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting the New York State Forest Preserve and other wild lands and waters through conservation and advocacy, environmental education and responsible recreation.


Monday, October 27, 2008

ADK Vows to Fight Bush’s Latest Attack on Clean Air

The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) has vowed to vigorously oppose the Bush administration’s efforts to reinstate a federal regulation that would expose the environment to mercury contamination.

In February, a federal appeals court ruled that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) conflicted with the clear language of the federal Clean Air Act, which requires power plants to install the best technology available to reduce mercury emissions. Now, the administration is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse that decision.

CAMR, a cap-and-trade program, allowed polluters to buy pollution credits and emit mercury without pollution controls, which in turn resulted in regional mercury “hot spots.” Two recent studies have linked coal-fired power plants to mercury hot spots in the Adirondacks and Catskills.

ADK has joined with more than a dozen states, leading medical, health care and public health groups, and several prominent national environmental advocacy groups to challenge CAMR. In January 2007, ADK filed a brief with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia asserting that CAMR was an illegal attempt to weaken the strict mercury emission controls in the Clean Air Act.

Last Friday, acting Solicitor General Greg Garre filed a petition asking the high court to restore the EPA mercury rule. The power industry is also seeking a Supreme Court review of the case.

In enacting the Clean Air Act, Congress provided for strict limits on mercury emissions through the installation of maximum achievable control technology, which Congress made applicable to all coal-burning power plants. By contrast, the EPA administrative rule would have delayed for two decades the elimination of airborne mercury emissions as a source of mercury toxins in the Northeast.

Furthermore, the contested rule would have allowed many of the worst polluters to buy “pollution rights,” continue to release mercury up their smokestacks and perpetuate mercury hot spots in New York and the Northeast.

The Adirondacks and Catskills are downwind of numerous coal-burning power plants, whose mercury emissions contribute significantly to mercury pollution in these regions. A 2007 independent study by Charles Driscoll and the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation estimated that mercury emissions from U.S. coal-fired power plants are responsible for 40 percent to 65 percent of mercury deposition in the Northeast.

Current levels of mercury deposition in the Northeast are four to six times higher than the levels recorded in 1900. Ninety-six percent of the lakes in the Adirondack region and 40 percent of the lakes in New Hampshire and Vermont exceed the recommended EPA action level for methyl mercury in fish. Because of high mercury levels in fish from six reservoirs in the Catskills, state health officials have warned that infants, children under 15 and women of childbearing age should not eat any fish from these reservoirs.

A long-term study by the Wildlife Conservation Society, released earlier this year, confirmed that human-generated mercury emissions are degrading the health and reproductive success of loons in the Northeast. High mercury levels have also been recorded in eagles, songbirds, otters and other animals in the Northeast.


Friday, October 24, 2008

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories