Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Adirondack Iron Ore Program in Wilmington

The Wilmington Historical Society will sponsor the program “Adirondack-Champlain Iron: Creator of Boom Towns & Ghost Towns, 1750s-1970s” with guest speaker John Moravek, Associate Professor of Geography, SUNY Plattsburgh. The program will be held at the Wilmington Community Center on Springfield Road in Wilmington, Essex County, on Friday, July 17, at 7 pm. The public is encouraged to attend. Refreshments will be served. For further information, contact Karen Peters at 946-7586 or Merri Peck at 946- 7627.

About the speaker: John Moravek has been on the faculty at SUNY Plattsburgh since arriving in fall semester of 1969. Now an Associate Professor of Geography, he teaches a variety of courses, including Physical Geography, Historical and Cultural Geography of the United States; as well as the History and Cultural Geography of Russia. He has also offered a popular and intensive two-week workshop (a 3-credit course) on the Historical Geography of the Adirondack Region every July for the past 26 years consecutively which he considers a genuine labor of love as an incorrigible “Adirondackophile”. John is also an official Forty-Sixer, having climbed the first 45 mountains solo. His doctoral dissertation, completed in 1976, investigated a number of facets of the history and geography of the Adirondack-Champlain Iron Industry. He has also presented several papers on the topic at professional meetings, with aspirations of writing a book on the topic at some future date. Currently, his publications include a number of Review Essays/Book Critiques on various topics, primarily related to the Adirondack Region.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Opinion: DEC’s Low-keyed Response to Aquatic Invasives

First appeared in the June 28, 2009 Sunday Gazette

Summer has come to the Adirondacks, and with it the anticipated flotilla of recreational boaters and fishing fleet, accessing our waterways through a dense network of public and private boat launches.

Joining this annual cavalcade, a horde of invading plants and marine animals: organisms with a proven record of destroying the lakes, ponds and streams they infest. Lake associations and other private organizations across the park are once again gearing up for another season of defense against the introduction of these dangerous pests. » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Lake George Theater Lab Announces 2009 Season

The 2009 season of the Lake George Theater Lab (LGTL) in Bolton Landing has been announced. The LGTL, now in its fifth season, does new American productions in bare-bones style that feature Broadway and off-Broadway talent (and according to them, “way off-off-Broadway pay”). Two of the shows are free, and their main stage is only $15 (plus discounts for students and seniors).

The season kicks off on July 9 with LGTL’s annual free outdoor Shakespeare: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” directed by Daniel Spector, with a cast drawn from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Classical Studio. “Midsummer,” one of Shakespeare’s most performed plays, will take over Rogers Park, on Route 9N in central Bolton Landing, on July 9-11, at 7:30 PM. Bring a blanket and picnic.

Next in the schedule is a world premiere by Jesse McKinley, a national correspondent (and former Broadway reporter) for The New York Times: “The Theory of Everything,” a paean to true love, the Thea-tah, and the beauty of the Adirondacks. A comedy with heart – and a mystery or two — “The Theory of Everything,” directed by Mark Schneider, runs July 16-18, 8:00 PM, Bolton Central School, 26 Horicon Avenue, Bolton Landing. Reservations: 518-207-0143. $15.

Then “Belle of Amherst”, William Luce’s celebrated 1976 solo piece about Emily Dickinson, will be performed as a co-production with LGTL’s frequent artistic partner, the Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum. “Belle” will star LGTL artistic director Lindsey Gates in the role that won Julie Harris a Tony Award as the reclusive poet. A one night only event directed by Michael Barakiva, “Belle” will be on July 25, at 7:30 PM, the Opera Museum, 4800 Lake Shore Drive, Bolton Landing. Reservations: 518-644-2431. $25. Ms. Gates will also join her mother, Toni Gates, to present a family-friendly performance of “Stone Soup,” at Bolton Free Library, Route 9N, Central Bolton Landing, July 29th, at 7 P.M. A classic about making something from nothing, “Soup” is ideal for kids of all ages (and adults, too), and is free.

Finally, the premiere of “Rest, In Pieces” by Steve Bluestein, in association with Ted Seifman, Silverwood Films, Susi Adamski, and the Charles Wood Theater. A comedy about a family finding themselves through death, “RIP” stars Marcia Wallace (“The Bob Newhart Show”) and Richard Kline (“Three’s Company”) and is directed by John Bowab. At the Wood Theater, 207 Glen Street, Glens Falls, NY, “RIP” runs from August 27-September 6, 8 PM. (Sundays at 2 PM.) Reservations: 518-874-0800. $30.

Photo: Drew Cortese, Jose Febus, Jenny Maguire, Mary Lou Wittmer performing “Leo” by Daniel Heath in 2008.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Latest APA Classifications: Public Comments Sought

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) has opened the public comment period and will conduct three public hearings on its proposals to classify and reclassify 12,545 acres of state lands and water of the Five Ponds Wilderness Area, Lows Lake Primitive Area, Hitchens Pond Primitive Area, Round Lake Wilderness Area Lows Lake, Hitchens Pond and the Bog River. These areas are located in the northwest part of the Adirondack Park in Hamilton and St. Lawrence Counties. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Please Welcome Our New Sponsor, NCCC

Please join me in welcoming North Country Community College (NCCC) as a sponsor for Adirondack Almanack. Support from advertisers like NCCC helps make the Almanack possible. If you are interested in supporting Adirondack Almanack through advertising, let us know.

The people of Essex and Franklin Counties of New York founded North Country Community College in 1967. The College’s mission is to provide the highest quality public, post secondary education to area residents, as well as those outside the region, who desire to live, learn and grow in a unique educational setting.

NCCC maintains a strong reputation for progressive academic curriculum that is anchored in the liberal arts tradition. College programs are ideal for those students who plan on attaining a 2 or 4 year degree, as well as those seeking a career change.

Begun in the spring of 2005, the Almanack has grown to be the region’s most popular online journal of news and opinion, covering local politics, culture, history, regional development, outdoor recreation, the environment and other issues. Adirondack Almanack has become a go-to regional news resource for Adirondackers and for those outside the park who want to stay current on Adirondack news and events.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Deer-Proofing the Adirondack Garden?

“There’s a deer in the hummingbird garden,” our intern said in a stage whisper. “It’ll probably be gone by the time I get there,” I said, as I grabbed the camera and made a dash for the door. Lo and behold, the deer stood there, ripping through our hosta as though it was so much buttercrunch lettuce, completely ignoring me as I stepped closer and closer snapping one shot after another.

While this certainly gave us a wonderful wildlife encounter, it isn’t really the type of wildlife we want to see in our butterfly and hummingbird gardens. Already it has pruned the hollyhocks, and who knows what else it will munch on next. We’ve had little problem with deer before now, but once they’ve discovered the choice produce aisle, it is hard to keep them away. What is a gardener to do? » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Whiteface to Debut Disc Golf Course July 11th

The New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) announced Tuesday the addition of a nine-hole disc golf course at Whiteface set to open July 11. The new course features nine distinct “holes” around the lower part of Whiteface that incorporate Mixing Bowl, Wolf, Boreen, Round-a-Bout, Lower Valley and other trails into the layout, with the start and finish area located at the base of the Facelift.

Disc golf consists of players using flying discs instead of clubs and balls to go from the tee box to the hole, usually a metal chain basket of some sort. Players normally have three discs – a driver for teeing off, a mid-range one, and the putter for using around the hole. The object of the game is to complete each hole with the fewest number of throws.

“We are excited about becoming involved in a sport that is growing across the nation,” said Whiteface General Manager Jay Rand. “We have consulted with Dave Messner – the principle of the Lake Placid Middle School – who has played on courses throughout the country.”

Disc golf at Whiteface begins will run daily from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. through September 7. Cost is $5 per person per nine holes, and includes one disc rental. Additional discs may be rented for $2 per disc. For more information contact Whiteface at (518) 946-2223. Information on disc golf can be found at the Professional Disc Golf Association.

For more information on ORDA venues and events and for web cams from five locations, please log on to .


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wild and Woolly Adirondack Aphids

While hustling a group of first and second graders along the trail to get them back to their bus on time, I hit the breaks when my eye was caught by masses of white fuzz in the alders along the boardwalk. I zoomed in on the fuzz, with the kids right beside me. What could it be? When I got close enough, I knew what we had: woolly alder aphids (Paraprociphilus tesselatus).

Usually we see these insects in late summer and early fall when the bits of white fuzz start flying around. They are kind of pretty, in a fluffy faerie sort of way, with just a hint of pale blue showing through the fuzz. But, they are aphids, after all, and we all know that aphids tend to be bad news for plants.

In preparation for writing this post, I read up on woolly alder aphids, and it turns out that, like so many things on this planet, they are pretty interesting characters. For example, let’s look at that glorious white fuzz. It’s more than just a pretty covering. This cottony fluff is actually a waxy substance that the aphids exude to protect their juicy grey bodies from predators. After all, if you were looking for a mouthful of tender insect, and instead you got a mouthful of waxy fuzz, you might think twice about snacking at this location.

But every problem has a solution, and indeed there are two major predators of these aphids: the larvae of green lacewings (Chrysopa slossonae) and the caterpillar of a butterfly appropriately known as the Harvester (Feniseca tarquinius). This caterpillar, by the way, is one of the world’s only predaceous butterfly caterpillars. Both these predators adapt a pretty interesting hunting strategy: they cover themselves with the aphids’ own waxy fuzz. Thus disguised, they become veritable wolves in sheep’s clothing, hunkering down among the aphid colony and munching away.

But wait…the story doesn’t end here. The disguise adapted by these larvae isn’t so much to hide them from the aphids as it is to hide them from the aphids’ body guards. Like many aphids worldwide, woolly alder aphids have an arrangement with Ant Protective Services. If you find a colony of aphids, look closely and you will surely find ants nearby. These ants may look like simple shepherds, herding flocks of aphids and “milking” them for honeydew, but the arrangement isn’t quite so bucolic. Sure, the aphids squeeze out droplets of super sweet liquid (a by-product of the sap they sucked from the plant – more on this in a moment) when stroked by the ants’ antennae, and the ants then tote these droplets home for dinner, but in exchange for this the ants protect the colony from all intruders. Go ahead and stick your finger among the aphids and see what happens. Quickly your finger will be attacked by the nearest ants. So the clever costumes used by the lacewing and butterfly larvae do a pretty good job of tricking the ants. If you don’t believe it, consider this: some researchers introduced undisguised larvae to an aphid colony and the ants patrols effectively removed them from the scene.

The aphids get an additional benefit from the “milking” process mentioned above. As we all know, a steady diet of sugars isn’t nutritionally balanced; even aphids need some protein, especially when it comes time to reproduce. In order to acquire the necessary nutrition (nitrogen), the aphids consume more sugary sap than they need. Their systems then separate out the minute traces of nitrogen and excrete the excess sugars (honeydew). The nitrogen is then utilized in making the necessary proteins for reproduction.

And this brings us to the life cycle of the woolly alder aphid. When you gaze upon a colony of aphids coating the twigs and branches of your alders, you are looking naught but females. There won’t be a male in sight. This is because these insects reproduce asexually, via a process known as parthenogenesis. This system of reproduction is actually a lot more common than you’d think. Unlike many insects, the virgin female aphid gives birth to live young (no time and energy wasted in making eggs), all of which are daughters. In almost no time at all, the daughters are squeezing out girls of their own. This reproductive strategy has the advantage of producing individuals perfectly adapted for the host plant and its immediate environment. Some researcher with nothing better to do once calculated that one female aphid could give rise to over 600 BILLION clones of herself over the course of a single season! Thank goodness for predators, parasites, diseases and limited numbers of host plants, eh?

But, even this sort of perfection has its limits, and towards the end of the summer, the host plant may be weakening, or the colony just needs to move on (perhaps the host is getting too crowded). Things become stressful and suddenly a generation is produced that has males. You will know this has happened when the formerly stationary insects have produced models with wings. The resources are now available for sexual reproduction, which results in the mixing up of genetic material. This in turn produces offspring that may be better able to survive conditions in other locations, so off they go. Natural selection will then determine which ones will survive.

What an amazing world we live in. Every time you turn around there is something new to discover. Who knew that white fuzz on a shrub could turn out to be so strange and exotic! I love science fiction, but part of me really believes that we don’t need to travel the expanses of the universe to find bizarre lifeforms: they are already here and living among us. So go forth, ye citizens of Earth, and see what fantastic lives you can uncover right in your own back yard!


Friday, June 26, 2009

This Weekend: Free Fishing in New York State

DEC’S Free Fishing Weekend this Saturday and Sunday is a great opportunity to introduce new anglers to the classic outdoor pastime of fishing. This weekend, June 27 and 28, anglers able to fish in New York’s lakes, rivers and streams without a state license. According to the DEC: “The annual free fishing weekend is the perfect time for residents and vistors to share the sport of fishing and create lasting memories with a friend or family member out fishing for the first time, or to reignite interest among those who may not have taken to the water in recent years. DEC first held the weekend in 1991 to allow all people the opportunity to sample the incredible fishing New York State has to offer.”

While no DEC fishing license is required during free fishing weekend, other fishing rules and regulations remain in effect. To learn more about New York’s regulations and information on how and where to get a fishing license, visit this DEC website.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Adirondack Weekly Blogging Round-Up


Friday, June 26, 2009

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Milfoil Discovered in Lake Placid

The Board of Trustees of the Lake Placid Shore Owners’ Association (LPSOA) today reported that a strain or strains of milfoil have been discovered at three sites on Lake Placid. Over the past week, two separate samples were removed from Paradox Bay and one from East Lake. Biologists working with the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) have tentatively identified two of the samples as Variable Leaf Milfoil (VLM).

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension describes Variable Leaf Milfoil as “an aggressive aquatic plant that can form dense mats that congest waterways and crowd out native aquatic plants. Thick growth of this plant can impair recreational uses of waterways including boating, swimming and fishing. Dense growth of variable-leaf milfoil degrades the native habitat of fish and other wildlife, and may also provide breeding areas for mosquitoes. The main method of dispersal of this plant appears to be fragmentation. Plant fragments are moved around by people, animals and water currents.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

ADK Music Scene: Groovin’ with Natty B to Stony Creek Bluegrassin’

Tonight, at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake – Jamie Notarthomas is playing the patio party at 7 pm. A prolific songwriter, with strong voice who backs himself up with acoustic guitar and harmonica. He put on a very good one man show that I caught at the Hole last year – not only is he extremely talented, he’s also a super nice fellow. Check out his videos and decide for yourself. He is also playing Zig Zags (518-523-8221) tomorrow in Lake Placid at 10 pm.

This Saturday at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake, Natural Breakdown is playing at 9:30 pm. Natty B, as they are sometimes called, sounds great on their myspace site – a song of theirs called “Hallellujah” had me bobbing up and down in my chair while I was writing. Another song with an Indian influence made me want to close my eyes, sway and groove – counterproductive given what I’m doing right now (I can’t type without looking) but tempting. These guys are tight and yet between guitars, bass, drums and excellent vocals they leave plenty of room to let loose and jam.

Also on Saturday in North Creek from 7 -10 pm you have a free concert by Jamie Notarthomas. This is part of the Concert Series on the River, call (800)989-7238 for more information. A prolific songwriter, with strong voice who backs himself up with acoustic guitar and harmonica. Check him out on youtube.

On Sunday at The Robert Louis Stevenson Cottage in Saranac Lake there will be a benefit from 1 – 6 pm. Music will be provided by a Pennsylvania band Celtic Cats they start at 2:30 pm. This is a free event, however, donations are accepted and encouraged throughout the day.

On Sunday in at the Stony Creek Inn in Stony Creek the five piece bluegrass band Stony Creek Band is performing at 7 pm.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

$250k For Local Snowmobile Clubs, Trails

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced $3.3 million in grant awards for 32 trail-related projects around the state as part of the federal Recreational Trails Program. Over a quarter million dollars is slated to be spent on local snowmobile trails. The grants will be used for such projects as creating new trails, improving trails, providing connections and purchasing equipment. Trail development plans must emphasize providing access for people with disabilities and minimizing environmental impact.

New York has one of the most expansive trail systems in the nation. The trails, which lead through public and private lands, are developed and maintained by state and local municipalities and volunteers.

State Parks administers the federal matching grant program providing funding to state and local governments, not-for-profit organizations, corporations, and partnerships for the maintenance, renovation, development, acquisition and construction of trails and trail-related facilities. Funding is provided through the Federal Highway Administration’s Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).

Projects recommended for funding in the Adirondack counties include:

Hamilton County

Pleasant Rider Snowmobilers Inc $54,900 – The grant will go toward the purchase of equipment for public snowmobile trail maintenance in Lake Pleasant, Hamilton County.

Herkimer County

Salisbury Ridgerunners Snowmobile Club, Inc. $132,782 – The Salisbury Ridgerunners Snowmobile Club will purchase equipment to groom and improve 79 miles of heavily utilized, multipurpose, year-round trails in the Southern Adirondack-Mohawk Valley region.

Jefferson County

Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District $107,760 – The project is to restore approximately six miles of trails, including improving stream crossings and drainage, on two county forest lots as part of a multi-county trails system.

Village of West Carthage $114,908 – The village will expand public and pedestrian access, walkways, and amenities at the South Main Street Boat Launch area, including an asphalt walkway, a picnic shelter, a wood chip wetland trail, a concrete boat launch ramp, an asphalt road and parking area, tree plantings, interpretive panels and signage, and benches.

Lewis County

Lewis County Department of Forestry, Parks and Recreation $110,550 – The project will create a Tug Hill Trail System using county reforestation lands, and private land for motorized and non-motorized recreation.

Barnes Corners Sno-Pals, Inc. $37,064 – The Barnes Corners Sno-Pals, which maintains over 100 miles of snowmobile trails, will purchase an all-season tractor with a front end loader and rotary cutter to perform all-season trail maintenance.

Saratoga County

Town of Halfmoon $200,000 – The Town of Halfmoon will construct a second segment of the Champlain Canal Towpath trail.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

NYT Middle East Correspondent to Speak on Iran


New York Times Middle East correspondent Robert F. Worth, recently returned home from Tehran, will provide his perspective on the unfolding events in Iran that have captured the people’s attention around the world as thousands have taken to the streets to protest the Iranian election as a fraud.

Worth will provide his insights tonight, Thursday evening, June 25 at 7:30 PM at the Keene Valley Library on how Mir Hussein Moussavi, a political insider became the leader of a popular upwelling that has resulted in a harsh crackdown, the reported death of 17 protesters, a harsh clampdown and beating of Iranian citizens, and a flood video clips reaching the international media through the efforts of people defying the orders of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Guardian Counsel and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader in the largest anti- government demonstration in Iran since the 1979 revolution.

Son of Bob and Blaikie Worth of Keene Valley, Worth joined the Times in 2000, began reporting from Baghdad in 2003 and became their Middle East correspondent in 2007.

For more information contact Naj Wikoff at naj@kvvi.net or 576-2063.