The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) was one of 26 projects across New York State to receive the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s highest honor: the Environmental Quality Award. The award ceremony was held last week in Manhattan in conjunction with Earth Day. Founded in 1998 and housed by The Nature Conservancy in Keene Valley, APIPP is leading the charge to protect Adirondack natural resources from the damaging effects of invasive species by engaging partners and finding solutions through a coordinated, strategic, and integrated regional approach. Unlike many places, the opportunity exists in the Adirondacks to hold the line against invasive species and prevent them from wreaking havoc on natural resources and economic vitality. » Continue Reading.
Kunstler’s 2005 book, subtitled “Surviving the converging catastrophes of the 21st Century,” has received international attention, but the Saratoga Springs resident has long had an Adirondack following. In 1987 he wrote one of the funniest things ever to appear in Adirondack Life: “The Man Who Would Be King,” a profile of Roger Jakubowski, in which he let the megalomaniacal then-owner of Great Camp Topridge bury himself under pronouncements about his plan to amass an Adirondack empire. (That empire has been whittled to a dormant water-bottling plant in Port Kent.)
The author’s humor is intact even though his subject now is sobering: the implosion of oil-based economies and a transformation of day-to-day life. Kunstler tells the Almanack that the Adirondacks will probably lose population under the new world order.
MT: Have you given any thought, in light of the system failures you foresee, to how well people in the Adirondacks will fare?
JHK: Well it seems to me the Adirondacks have always basically been a resource economy, with a recent overlay of mass tourism; before the Second World War it was mostly elite tourism. And that’s what your economy has been. It’s a pretty poor resource area for what it is. And my guess is that the Adirondack region will contract in population a lot.
MT: What do you think will cause that? The collapse of the tourism economy, the lack of a resource economy?
JHK: Not just tourism but motor-based tourism in particular. It’s conceivable that the Adirondacks would remain a retreat for wealthy people, if we continue to have wealthy people. If you don’t get trains running back into the region you’re gonna be in a lot of trouble.
MT: I’ve read a lot of your writing, and I know that you feel that people in the big cities won’t be able to turn to the land, just won’t have the resources that people in the country will have . . .
JHK: Well, I’m often misunderstood about that. I don’t see it quite that simply because there are many forces swirling around in that picture, some of them counterintuitive. For instance, people assume that when I say the big cities will be troubled places, that everyone would move to the country in one form or another, and let’s remember there are several very different kinds of rural landscapes. At the same time people assume when I say the suburbs will fail that I mean everybody will simply leave and move elsewhere. This is not what I mean at all. There will surely be big demographic shifts, but they will occur in ways we may not expect.
For instance, I see the probability that our small towns and smaller cities will be re-inhabited and reactivated because they are more appropriately scaled to the energy realities of the future. In the meantime our rural landscapes are likely to be inhabited quite differently than they are today. For one thing, in the places that can produce food, farming will almost certainly require more human attention. These are the broad outlines that I see. But we don’t know exactly how this might play out.
MT: I live in Saranac Lake, and I see this as a great small town but one with maybe a 90-day growing season and a seven-month heating season. How does that fit into your picture?
JHK: I think places like Saranac Lake will contract while they re-densify at their centers. One thing you’ve got going in all these places like Saranac or Lake Placid, despite the Adirondack Park Agency, is a suburban overlay that just isn’t going to work after a certain point. Despite the APA rules, the basic template of highway development and strip development that became normal all over the rest of the United States was not so different in the Adirondacks, [in terms of] where most of the new business after 1960 located. At the same time, the postwar car culture allowed people to spread their houses out in the landscape in a way that wouldn’t have been possible before the car and won’t be possible after the car.
To clarify, what you’re seeing really is almost nothing could defeat these habits and practices of suburbanization even in a place as rigorously controlled as the Adirondacks. All that stuff on the highway between Placid and Saranac, all the people living 14 miles out of town making a living running front-end loaders or whatever they do, they’re gonna run into trouble with these living arrangements. That’s apart from the issue of how the economy functions.
The guy running the front-end loader living in Rainbow Lake, he’s basically living a suburban life although he thinks he’s living in the country. The issue of how does he make a living now now that he isn’t doing site preparation for other people building houses in Rainbow Lake and places like it — an awful lot of the economy in the Adirondacks, just like the economy in the rest of the U.S. for the last 30 years, has been based on building more suburban sprawl. Up in the Adirondacks you guys have sort of put a sort of lifestyle dressing over it. But it’s still suburban, and it functions very differently from the pre–World-War II towns.
Now even if the population goes down in the Adirondacks it certainly doesn’t mean your towns will die; in fact they may be more lively as they re-densify. All the spread-out stuff is going to lose value and incrementally be abandoned, in my opinion.
MT: I’m actually encouraged because I was wondering whether you think the towns themselves were just too isolated?
JHK: Well they are isolated and that’s a big problem, and that’s why I say if you don’t get railroad service back there you’re going to have enormous problem. You’re basically going to be stuck in the same situation that you were in in 1840, where nothing really got past Lake George or Warrensburg and it was nothing but horse and wagons from there on.
It’s desperately important for the nation as a whole to rebuild the railroad system, but it’s particularly critical in a place like the Adirondacks. I think we fail to appreciate how swiftly the car system could collapse.
MT: Have you ever put a timeline on it?
JHK: It is really pretty hard to predict. But I would say within ten years we’re going to have serious problems, and probably within five.
JHK: Like most of America, you could plunk down in any county in the USA except maybe the desert and you wouldn’t have to turn 60 degrees to see something really horrible.
MT: In the 1990s I went to a talk you gave at the Adirondack Park Agency — in your Geography of Nowhere days — and what you said about the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid really stuck with me.
JHK: It’s really f*****g horrible.
MT: You didn’t say that, you said something more like, “It says, ‘We don’t care about you.’ It’s a big wall facing the road.”
JHK: Actually that’s more succinct. Every time I go by I just marvel at it, that we’re a society that can’t even imagine putting up a building that has any generosity.
Probably 90 percent of the buildings anywhere in the USA now, including Saranac Lake, were either built with no thought or have been cobbed up so badly that they’ve destroyed their original value. We’re seeing in part the diminishing returns of technology. The more cheap crappy building materials you make available the more people will use them. The more easily they can be assembled the more universal they’ll become.
The good news is that we’ll have far fewer cheap synthetic modular building materials in the future. What we’ll see all across the nation is we’ll have to return to using regional materials. . . .
MT: Do you have a theme for your talk at Paul Smith’s College?
JHK: Generally addressing the themes of my 2005 book The Long Emergency, which is now under way. And I try to focus on intelligent responses to this predicament. I tend to be suspicious of the word “solutions.” I don’t use it myself because I notice when other people use it that they mean to suggest that there’s some way we can keep running American life the way we do, and I don’t subscribe to that. I think that we have to live a lot differently, and we’re pretty poorly prepared to think about that.
It’s not that surprising to me because the psychological investment in our current arrangement is so huge it’s just difficult for people to think about doing things differently — the investments we’ve made in everything, the automobile structure. Think of the Adirondacks: the fact that over the last 50 years the Adirondacks has based its economy on building houses and servicing the arrival of ever more people — that’s not going to be happening anymore. You’re going in the other direction now. And you’re not going to be building more houses in Rainbow Lake and other distant places.
The DEC has announced the opening of limited public access for recreation to three parcels of conservation easement land formerly owned by International Paper Company and currently owned by Lyme Timber. The public will be able to access the lands for non-motorized recreation now; motorized access will be allowed in the future.
The three parcels are the 17,125-acre Black Brook Tract in the Town of Black Brook, Clinton County; the 7,870-acre Altamont Tract in the Town of Tupper Lake, Franklin County; and the 19,000-acre Kushaqua Tract in the Towns of Brighton and Franklin, Franklin County. The parcels are part of one of New York State’s largest land conservation projects – 256,649 acres of land – which was announced on Earth Day in 2004.
The Black Brook, Altamont and Kushaqua Tracts had a five year waiting period before the properties could be opened to the public, which expired on April 22. The three tracts are open to public access for non-motorized recreation only- on foot, mountain bike, on horse, or canoe/kayak. According to the DEC “The full array of recreation rights purchased will not be available at this time due to lack of resources.” Currently permitted recreational activities include hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife viewing and canoeing/kayaking. Camping and campfires are also prohibited until camp sites are designated.
Parking lots, trails, and trailheads, have not been buit and there is no signage yet. Trails for motorized recreation will be developed in the future following a planning process. Access to the property is by adjoining public highways and the DEC has asked that users avoid blocking any gates or obstructing traffic when parking.
These lands are privately owned and actively managed for timber. The landowner also leases private recreation camps. Lessees have the exclusive right to use one acre of land surrounding their camp which are not open to ANY public use or access. The one-acre camp parcels, however, may not block public access to or use of main access roads, trails, streams or ponds.
Visitors to these lands may encounter logging and construction equipment used in forest management and motorized vehicles, including ATVs, belonging to the landowner, their employees or camp lessees. The DEC asks that the public respect the rights of the landowner, camp lessees and their guests when using the property.
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- Adirondack View: The Heart of the Adirondacks
- Matt Funiciello: Mr. Murphy Goes to Washington
- Politicker: Scott Murphy And The Blueing of the 20th
- The Albany Project: Teabaggers Crash Murphy’s Event
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- 3 Suspect Flu Cases in Clinton Co
- Scozzafava Is Minority Leader Pro Tem
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- East Lake George Petition Rejected
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For all you Adirondack news junkies, I’ve changed the schedule of our Friday news and blogging round-ups. The week’s top Adirondack news stories will now be posted at 6 am, and the weekly Adirondack blogging round-up at noon. That’s serious news for your morning read and lighter afternoon reads. Important breaking news and hot blogging that appears on Friday will be included in the following week’s round-up. Enjoy, and thanks for reading Adirondack Almanack.
If you’re in or near Lake Placid tonight @ 7:30, Station Street Bar and Grille will inaugurate its weekly open mic, hosted by Fritz and Annie. Station Street is located at the bottom of Mill Hill at 6115 Sentinel Road. You can call 837-5178 for more details. I love open mics – you never know who will stop in and it’s usually a very supportive friendly scene.
Tomorrow night in Ellenburg, just beyond the Blue Line, the Gibson Brothers are playing the Northern Adirondack Central School at 7:00. For tickets, call 518-594-3962 or 518-497-6962.
Saturday at 7PM in Glens Falls, Lindsey Mae is playing Rockhill Bakehouse. Cover charge of $3. Call 518-615-0777 for details.
The relative dearth of events this weekend brings up an issue that bothers many musicians and fans of live music in communities across the Park. We have a problem coordinating our musical events up here which can result in feast-or-famine conditions: Too few events one weekend; too many the next.
For much of the year many of our communities don’t have the population to support more than a very few events on any given evening. A wonderful event can draw only twenty or so people because two other bands are playing nearby. It’s not sustainable.
With better coordination, a slow weekend like this would’ve been a great opportunity for a band to be the only gig in town! So, I’d like to help with this problem and I’m sending out a plea to everyone reading this: Get in touch. Let me know about upcoming musical events and I will attempt to keep track . Maybe we can spread the talent and support more evenly.
We’re delighted to announce that Shamim Allen joins Adirondack Almanack this week as our music sherpa. Shamim writes music, plays guitar and sings in the popular Saranac Lake band the Dust Bunnies, and she’s also an avid listener of other musicians. She will guide us to good live music in and around the Adirondacks with her posts every Thursday at 3 p.m.
The Clinton-Essex Counties Roundtable will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 9, 2009 at the Northern New York American Canadian Genealogy Society, Keeseville Civic Center, 1802 Main St., Keeseville. The topic will be “Community Scholars Training: Interviewing & Oral History” and will be presented by Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY) Executive Director Jill Breit.
Breit will share examples of successful oral history projects and demonstrate the many ways interviews can be used for different outcomes. She will focus on how to organize an oral history project, the basics of an oral history interview, the importance of field notes and follow-up interviews, recorders and other equipment for collecting oral history.
The roundtable is provided free of charge to the public on behalf of the Northern New York Library Network, Potsdam, and Documentary Heritage Program. To register for this event contact the NNYLN at 315-265-1119, or sign up on-line at www.nnyln.org and click on “Classes.”
Researchers, summit stewards and others interested in protecting northeast alpine zones will gather in the Adirondacks May 29 and 30 to explore the impact of climate change on these fragile ecosystems. The Northeastern Alpine Stewardship Gathering is held every two years to allow researchers, planners, managers, stewards and others to share information and improve the understanding of the alpine areas of the Northeast. The 2009 conference, the first to be held in the Adirondacks, will feature presentations by environmentalist and author Bill McKibben and award-winning photographer Carl Heilman.
Alpine zones are areas above the treeline that are home to rare and endangered species more commonly found in arctic regions. In the Adirondacks, alpine zones cover about 170 acres atop more than a dozen High Peaks, including Marcy, Algonquin and Wright. Because these summits experience heavy recreational use, New York’s alpine habitat is one of the most imperiled ecosystems in the state. Alpine vegetation is also highly susceptible to climate change and acts as a biological monitor of changing climate conditions.
The conference, which will be held at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Lake Placid, kicks off Thursday evening with a reception and Carl Heilman’s multimedia presentation. Friday will feature a full day of sessions on such subjects as “The Effects of a Changing Climate on the Alpine Zone” and “Visitor Use and Management of Alpine Areas.”
On Saturday, conference attendees will have an opportunity to participate in a variety of field trips, such as guided hikes to a High Peak summit, a morning bird walk or a visit to the Wild Center.
The $40 conference fee includes Thursday mixer, Friday lunch, Friday dinner and Saturday bag lunch.
The 2009 Gathering is hosted by the Adirondack High Peaks Summit Steward Program, a partnership of the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The Gathering is sponsored by the Adirondack Mountain Club, the Adirondack Forty-Sixers and the Waterman Alpine Stewardship Fund. Conference partners include the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, the Adirondack Park Agency Visitor’s Interpretive Center, the Crowne Plaza Resort, New York Natural Heritage Program, DEC, Paul Smith’s College and the Wild Center.
Rooms are available at the Crowne Plaza. For reservations, call (800) 874-1980 or (518) 523-2556. Camping and lodging are available at the Adirondak Loj, six miles south of the village of Lake Placid. For reservations, call (518) 523-3441. Additional lodging options may be found at www.lakeplacid.com.
For more information, call Julia Goren at (518) 523-3480 Ext. 18 or visit ADK’s Web site at www.adk.org.
To coincide with the Lake Champlain Quadricentennial, Adirondack Life has published Lake Champlain: An Illustrated History, a big beautiful book about a singular expanse of water and the lands that surround it.
Every page of the large-format hardcover tome is rich with maps, illustrations and/or color photographs. The book gives due attention to the glaciers and natural and human history that pre-date the July 1609 arrival of explorer Samuel de Champlain, who fired the starting gun for two centuries of European warfare and upheaval.
The volume is divided into chapters about New York, Vermont and Quebec towns along the shoreline; the lake’s geology and biology; native inhabitants and their displacement; the waterway’s importance in colonial power struggles; its era as a highway for commercial transport; and finally Lake Champlain as a place of recreation.
The 220-page book is $44.95, available at adirondacklife.com and in regional bookstores.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has closed King Philip’s spring, apparently for good. DEC removed a pipe that connected the fenced-off spring to a popular pull-off on Route 73/9 in the town of North Hudson near Exit 30 of the Northway (I-87), citing high levels of coliform bacteria as the reason. (Wish I’d known before I filled a water bottle there a week ago. I wound up pouring most of it on a plant anyway.)
Coliform indicates human or animal waste has gotten into the water. It’s unlikely DEC tested for giardia or E coli (such tests are hit or miss), but the chronic presence of feces brings risk of these and other disease-causing organisms. Following is DEC’s press release:
DEC removed the pipe to the spring after periodic waters samples taken by DEC over the past six months indicated high levels of coliform bacteria exceeding Department of Health water quality standards.
“The Department understands that obtaining water from the spring is very popular with visitors and residents,” said DEC Regional Director Betsy Lowe. “The decision to close the spring was made after considerable deliberation, however, it reflects our responsibility to ensure the safety of the public.”
Coliform bacteria are found in the digestive tracts of animals, including humans, and their wastes. While not necessarily a pathogen themselves, the presence of these bacteria in drinking water, however, generally is a result of a problem with water treatment or the pipes which distribute the water, and indicates that the water may be contaminated with organisms that can cause disease. Disease symptoms may include diarrhea, cramps, nausea and possibly jaundice and any associated headaches and fatigue.
DEC weighed a number of factors before making the decision to close the spring, such as NYS Department of Health (DOH) regulation and disinfection.
DOH regulations require that public drinking water supplies be treated or taken from underground wells— the spring is essentially a surface water supply.
Measures to disinfect the pipe and spring are only temporary. Due to the location and accessibility of the spring, it can be easily contaminated by humans or animals at any time — even shortly after the system has been disinfected.
Constructing and maintaining a permanent structure and with equipment to disinfect the water would not comply with the Article XIV of the State Constitution and the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. It most likely would be costly, ruin the experience of obtaining water from the spring and change the taste of the spring water, as well.
DEC regrets the inconvenience caused by the closure of the spring, but can not ignore its responsibility to protect the public. DEC continues to recommend that users of the Adirondack Forest Preserve treat any water obtained from surface waters, including springs, before drinking or cooking with it. Questions from the public may be directed to the DEC Region 5 Lands & Forests Office at (518) 897-1291 or email@example.com.
Galen Crane wrote an enlightening article about water quality at popular Adirondack springs in the 2001 Collectors Issue of Adirondack Life. At that time DEC did not test springwater, and the magazine did an independent test. Crane found that coliform was present — though in insignificant amounts — at six of seven springs sampled, including King Philip’s. Some people advocate drinking even untreated, unfiltered surface water in the Adirondack backcountry, arguing that worries about giardia are overblown. But where coliform is confirmed, doctors say it’s prudent not to gamble with that water source.
King Philip’s spring is reputed to have been named after a Wampanoag Native American chief who waged war on New England colonists in the late 17th century and was beheaded in 1676. If anyone knows why this spring bears his name, please tell.
NYS Darrel Aubertine, D-Watertown, and Assemblywoman Roann Destito, D-Rome, introduced legislation creating the New York Wood Products Development Council to help steer attention and federal dollars into programs and investments that will spur the development of new products and markets.
The legislation was introduced [yesterday] at a 12:15 p.m. press conference hosted by the Northern Forest Center and the Empire State Forest Products Association. Also on hand for the press conference were Assemblyman David Koon, Brian Houseal, Executive Director of the Adirondack Council; John Bartow, Executive Director of the Tug Hill Commission, Jeff Williams of the New York Farm Bureau and others. » Continue Reading.
2009 is the 50th anniversary of the Essex County Historical Society / Adirondack History Center Museum’s Brewster Memorial Library in Elizabethtown. The organization has a variety of exhibitions, tours, and other special events planned for the coming year — take the time to check them out.
Inside the Landscape (May 23 – October 31)
An exhibit showcasing contemporary artist Edward Cornell, cultivator of poignant creations which meld art, history and the present life of community. Cornell’s landscape paintings and farming-implement sculptures provide viewers with a deeper appreciation of the past which widens our perspective of the present day landscape.
In and Around Essex (May 23 – September 20)
An exhibition of thirty-one color photographs taken by photographer Betsy Tisdale in 1972 and originally showcased in the early 1980’s. The exhibit has been revitalized for 2009 to convey how the human landscape of Essex, New York has changed over the past twenty-seven years.
From Dusty Shelves to Intellectual Access (June 13 – October 31)
2009 celebrates the 50th anniversary of the museum’s research library, the Brewster Memorial Library. The exhibit examines 50 years of collecting, preserving and providing access to Essex County’s cultural history. It illuminates Essex County history by embracing its people, places, and events and honors 50 years of dedicated patronage by researchers, educators and the community.
Race, Gender and Class: Architecture & Society in Essex County (May 23 – October 31)
Race, gender, and class are explored in this exhibit by examining Essex County’s industrial, religious, and educational past through architecture using historic and contemporary photographs.
ANCA Cover Art Show (September 22 – October 31)
The 22nd year of the Arts Council for the Northern Adirondacks (ACNA) Cover Art Show featuring local artists. The Cover Art winner this year is Ray Jenkins of Tupper Lake with his watercolor “Sailboat Race- One Minute to Start” to be raffled at “Field, Forest and Stream Day” on September 26th, 2009. Thirty donated artworks for a Silent Auction are included in the exhibition.
Ways of the Woods: People and the Land in the Northern Forest (September 26)
As part of this year’s Field Forest and Stream Day, the Northern Forest Center’s mobile museum, Ways of the Woods, come to the museum grounds. Visitors step into the back of a 53 foot tractor-trailer to enjoy this exciting, innovative exhibit which illuminates the “changing relationships among people” through interactive displays, live performance and demonstration.
Architectural Heritage Tour of Elizabethtown with Adirondack Architectural Heritage (May 23, 9 a.m. & 1 p.m.)
As part of the Lake Champlain Quadricentennial celebration, Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) is presenting a new tour series, Architecture of the Champlain Valley. Together with the Adirondack History Center Museum, come explore the architecture and rich cultural heritage of Elizabethtown on a half day walking tour led by professional guides. Please contact AARCH for reservations @ 518-834-9328
Boquet River Cemetery Tour (June 14, 3p.m.)
Margaret Bartley leads a walking tour of the Boquet River Cemetery in New Russia as another project of the popular New Russia History Project. The tour will locate and identify the tombstones of early settlers to the area.
Architecture and Society in Essex County (July 12, 4 p.m.)
A lecture offered by Ellen Ryan, Community Outreach Director with Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) to correspond with this season’s exhibit “Race, Gender, And Class: Architecture and Society in Essex County”. The lecture focuses on the question “What can we learn about people and their environment by looking at architecture?”
Bits and Pieces Performance Tour: From the Center of the World, A Celebration of Lake Champlain (Fridays: July 17, 24, 31 @ 11 a.m. Sundays: July 19, 26, and August 2 @4 p.m.)
A theatrical exploration of the changing landscape and the curious process of human “discovery” related to the 400th anniversary of Champlain’s journey on the lake that bears his name.
Historic Elizabethtown Slide Show (July 19, 3 p.m.)
Margaret Bartley conducts a slide show on Elizabethtown’s history as part of the Etown Day celebration. The lecture discusses the evolution of Elizabethtown by examining the various sections of town.
Settlers and Settlements (August 20, 4 p.m.)
Shirley LaForest, Essex Town Historian, offers a PowerPoint slide show and lecture depicting the life of successful local farmers in the 19th century. The lecture shows the commercial and social advantages of settlement in the Champlain Valley and northern Adirondack region.
Field Forest & Stream (September 26, 10 a.m. — 4:30 p.m.)
A harvest festival featuring demonstrations and exhibits by regional craftspeople, antique dealers with storytellers and musical performances.
Walking Tour of the Supernatural (October 24 & 31)
Gather at the Museum for cider & donuts and a ghostly beginning. Walk to the Riverside Cemetery for graveside revelations, and then through the woods to the Hand House for a haunting drawing room performance.
John Brown Commemorative (December 6)
Event commemorating the 150th anniversary of John Brown death at Harper’s Ferry and the return of the body for burial at his farm in North Elba.