Those of you who read Adirondack Almanack regularly know we’ve attempted to keep you informed about the controversy over how to classify the former Finch, Pruyn lands recently acquired by the state from the Nature Conservancy.
The same is true of our print partner, Adirondack Explorer. In the July-August issue, which was just finished, you’ll find a detailed explanation of the various options for managing the lands—with maps and a chart—as well as firsthand accounts of outings on these additions to the Forest Preserve.
The photo on the cover, taken by Nancie Battaglia, shows two canoeists running a rapid on a stretch of the upper Hudson. The trip we did that day, from Newcomb to a new takeout just below the confluence of the Goodnow River, was made possible by the Finch, Pruyn acquisition. » Continue Reading.
What to put on the cover? That’s always a big question at magazines. At the Adirondack Explorer, our designer, Susan Bibeau, usually mocks up two or three versions of the cover and then lets the rest of us choose. Sometimes it’s hard to decide, but not this time.
The cover of our May/June issue shows Daniel Burdick holding his son, Charlie, on top of the Pinnacle near Santa Clara. It was Charlie’s first climb. Charlie’s grandpa, Neal Burdick, wrote about the hike.
The Pinnacle is on the northern edge of the Adirondack Park, a bit remote for most folks, but if you happen to be in the neighborhood it’s a great little hike. And judging from Neal’s story, it’s an ideal trail for introducing young children to the joys of hiking. » Continue Reading.
The owners of a remote Adirondack waterway who lost a bid in court to keep it closed to the public will appeal the decision, their lawyer told the Adirondack Almanack on Thursday.
Dennis Phillips, a Glens Falls attorney representing the Friends of Thayer Lake and the Brandreth Park Association, confirmed via email that his clients intend to file an appeal. He did not explain the basis behind it. » Continue Reading.
Now that attorney John Caffry has successfully defended the public’s right to paddle a remote waterway near the Whitney Wilderness—at least for the time being—he hopes the case will have broader benefits for canoeists and kayakers.
“It’s a good victory for the rights of the public and the rights of paddlers that the judge upheld the right to use this waterway,” Caffry said. “Hopefully it will discourage other property owners from trying to close off streams through their property that are navigable, so people don’t have to go court.”
The Glens Falls lawyer represented Adirondack Explorer Editor Phil Brown, who paddled the disputed waterway in May 2009 while traveling between tracts of the state-owned Whitney Wilderness. Brown later wrote an article for the Explorer about the trip and the issue of navigation rights. » Continue Reading.
Adirondack Explorer Editor Phil Brown did not commit trespass in 2009 when he canoed over a waterway through private land, because that waterway was legally open to the public, a state Supreme Court justice ruled in a decision released today.
Justice Richard T. Aulisi dismissed or denied all complaints against Brown filed by the Friends of Thayer Lake and the Brandreth Park Association. He also issued a declaratory judgment that the waterway in question is “navigable in fact” and so open to all paddlers. He ordered the Friends of Thayer Lake and the Brandreth Park Association, owners of the land through which the water flows, to stop posting the route as closed to the public. The route in question includes Mud Pond, Mud Pond Outlet and a portion of Shingle Shanty Brook in the central Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.
They say we live in a park, but it’s a strange kind of park, one that’s home to more than 130,000 year-round residents.
So what makes it a park? Well, there’s all that public land, with thousands of miles of hiking trails. And then there’s the Adirondack Park Agency, which regulates development on private land, presumably to maintain the region’s park-like character.
The truth is, though, that people can drive through the Adirondacks without realizing that they’re in a park. Sure, they’ll see some pretty scenery, but they’ll also see the same kind of sign clutter, sprawl, and development they see outside the Park—not as much, perhaps, but it exists. » Continue Reading.
State Supreme Court Justice Richard T. Aulisi is scheduled to hear arguments in a navigation-rights lawsuit at 9:30 a.m. Friday in the Fulton County Courthouse.
The suit was filed after I paddled through private property owned by the Friends of Thayer Lake and the Brandreth Park Association in 2009. I wrote about the trip for the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) and Lost Pond Press have released Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures, a full-color guidebook that offers recommendations for canoeing and kayaking trips throughout the Adirondack Park.
Written by Phil Brown, Adirondack Almanack contributor and editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine, the guidebook gives detailed descriptions of more than 60 trips on the region’s lakes, ponds and rivers. It also includes GPS coordinates for put-ins and takeouts, driving directions, color maps and more than 150 color photos of landscapes, wildlife and wildflowers. » Continue Reading.
The landowners suing Adirondack Explorer Editor Phil Brown for trespass say he’s just the latest in a long line of people who have tried to pry open closed waters for public use, and if he succeeds, they argue, he will weaken traditional standards of property rights.
In a legal memorandum filed in late September, Dennis Phillips, the attorney for the Friends of Thayer Lake and the Brandreth Park Association, asserts that Brown is carrying the flag for a small band of paddling fanatics, including members of the Sierra Club, who would open just about every stream in New York State to canoes and kayaks. » Continue Reading.
In a field bordered by forested hills and rocky ridges, Dan Plumley unfurled a zoning map of the Adirondack Park. The color-coded map was a reminder of how much private land lay before him, and how potentially fleeting the natural views from Marcy Field could be.
He pointed to a bald patch on Corliss Point above the valley, where lights from a house inconspicuous by day blaze into a flying saucer at night, one of many signs that growth in the backcountry is creeping higher.
“Hundreds of thousands of people drive by on this road every year,” said Plumley, gesturing toward Route 73. “They see this view and think it will always be there. I’m here to say that the way this land-use plan is being implemented, the transcendental beauty and ecological integrity of this scene is in jeopardy.” » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park has a few thousand miles of trails, but few were designed for biking. The Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA) is trying to change that.
A group of passionate mountain bikers, BETA has developed dozens of trails in the Wilmington, Lake Placid, and Saranac Lake region and dreams of connecting them so visitors someday will be able to ride all day without their rubber hitting pavement.
There are only three more days until the deadline for submissions to the Adirondack Paddlers Photo Contest. By this Friday, May 11, photos from pond lilies to loon babies should be on their way to the contest’s Flickr site. Start the process at Adirondack Explorer.
Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company, View, and the Adirondack Explorer are co-sponsoring the inaugural contest. The rules are simple: photos have to have been taken in the Adirondack Park and from a canoe or kayak. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine and the online journal Adirondack Almanack have formed a partnership designed to enhance the online presence of both media outlets.
Tom Woodman, the publisher of the Explorer, and John Warren, the founder of the Almanack, signed an agreement today to integrate their online operations. Warren will continue to run the Almanack, which will now fall under the Explorer rubric. Both organizations will continue to be hosted on their own domains: www.adirondackalmanack.com and www.adirondackexplorer.org.
Founded in 1998, the Explorer is a nonprofit newsmagazine (with offices in Saranac Lake) that focuses on environmental issues, outdoor recreation, natural history, and general news about the Adirondack Park. Warren, who lives in Chestertown, started the Almanack in 2005 and built it into one of the Adirondack Park’s premier websites. The site features the work of more than 20 contributors who write on a wide range of topics, including the arts, history, outdoor recreation, and the environment. The Almanack also posts a daily list of links to regional news.
The partnership will combine the Almanack’s community journalism with the Explorer’s news coverage. The coming months will see the rollout of new mobile applications, redesigns for the websites of both organizations, and an expanded social media presence.
“This is an outstanding opportunity for two organizations with similar missions to collaborate in a unique way at a time when local media is changing dramatically,” Warren said. “Almanack contributors have engaged regular readers and helped expand the dialogue about Adirondack issues. Now we’ll have the administrative support to broaden their reach.”
“The journalists of the Adirondack Explorer and the community voices of the Adirondack Almanack will join to create an expansive electronic meeting place for news and conversations about the Adirondack Park,” said Explorer Publisher Tom Woodman. “We hope this partnership will help bring people together in a kind of digital town square to learn about and discuss issues that shape the future of the Adirondacks—and to share all the ways to enjoy this unique Park.”
In 2010, Warren received Eleanor Brown Communication Award from the Adirondack Mountain Club. Explorer Editor Phil Brown received the same award in 2008.
What follows is a special report by Tom Woodman, publisher of Adirondack Explorer, who resides in Keene.
I live in the Town of Keene just outside the hamlet and so I had an idea of how damaging Irene was. Starting with our rain gauge, which measured 11 inches of rainfall from the storm and including seeing the shower of pine branches brought down on our house by the winds, it was clear we were in the middle of something bad.
But it wasn’t until I grabbed a camera and started surveying the area on Tuesday morning that I understood what we had experienced.
The hamlet of Keene is an astonishing and deeply saddening sight. The fire station has been torn in half by rampaging waters of a tributary of the East Branch of the Ausable. Buildings that house the dreams of merchants and restaurateurs, who have brought new life to Keene, are battered, blanketed in mud, and perched on craters scoured out by the flood waters.
I headed east on Route 73, which has been closed to traffic, to see what damage I could reach and how bad it is. In Keene Valley, shops had piles of merchandise outside for drying and cleaning. Before I got to the road-closing near the Ausable Club, I parked near the entrance to and headed out on foot to explorer St. Huberts, a small community tucked on the banks of the East Branch. It’s badly hurt. A bridge that carried the one road over the river is collapsed into the waters. Upstream the river has cut under a house, leaving an addition and part of a garage hanging in air. The roadway is buried in mud a foot or more deep and trees and utility poles lean at sharp angles.
From the west, Route 73 is closed at the entrance to the Ausable Club. Parking there, I again set out on foot. Within sight of that entrance are two washouts at least four feet deep and chewed most of the way across the two-lane highway. One has Roaring Brook tumbling through it, the river having changed its course during the flood so that it now flows where the highway is supposed to be.
Several other washouts eat into the highway between the Ausable Club and the overlook for Roaring Brook Falls. A couple cut deeply into at least half the width of the road. Others are slides at the edge of the highway. Guard rails dangle over these, the ground that had held them, resting fifty feet or more below them in the river’s valley.
I’m not qualified to estimate how long it will be before this road, the major entry to the High Peaks Region from the south, will reopen. But it seems months away at best.
Carol Breen, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, assured us this afternoon that despite the heavy damage Route 73 will reopen before winter. That’s good news for Keene Valley, Lake Placid, and the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area. Breen said DOT expects to reopen Route 9N, which connects Keene and Upper Jay, in a few days.
For news on the storm’s damage to the backcountry, check out these posts on the Outtakes blog on the Adirondack Explorer website (the most recent is listed first):
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