I’m sorry to report that Gary Lovett, a forest ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, died last month while cross country skiing in the Catskills. Lovett was a source I could often turn to about Adirondack forestry issues, and was most recently featured in our January/February issue for a story about hemlock woolly adelgid. I learned of his death this weekend from Mark Whitmore, of the New York State Hemlock Institute at Cornell University. Whitmore and Lovett had recently presented at an Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program summit on invasive species in October. Whitmore said Lovett’s “passing leaves a huge gap in New York’s scientific awareness of issues impacting our forests.”
Posts Tagged ‘adirondack report’
The Adirondack Park Agency gave its stamp of approval for an RV campground in the town of Mayfield at is monthly meeting last week. It also sent out to public comment plans for an expanded boat launch and a beach closure in Broadalbin, about seven miles from where the campground is planned.
The two projects brought up some interesting questions about the park’s boundary, which does not include the southern tip of Great Sacandaga Lake. You can read more about the projects and the Blue Line discussion here.
Last week, about a couple of hundred people attended a ceremonial groundbreaking of the Champlain Hudson Power Express in Whitehall, including Gov. Kathy Hochul. Whitehall is just outside the Adirondack Park in Washington County. Its population is about 2,485. It’s the birthplace of the U.S. Navy and perhaps also known for its Sasquatch Calling Festival. The village has had its share of building and water infrastructure struggles. I’ve covered some of them in past newspaper jobs, but just this morning I received a New York alert from Whitehall’s department of public works about a water emergency, asking users to conserve water and to look for any signs of a major leak.
John Ernst has been chair of the Adirondack Park Agency for over a year now. I sat down with him and his wife Margot over the summer to see how his new role was going. We also talked about his deep family connection to the Adirondacks, which is how I learned that Ernst’s grandfather, a magician and the attorney for escape artist Harry Houdini, started the multi-generation treks to Elk Lake from New York City.
Last week, voters approved a $4.2 billion environmental bond act and kept Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul in office. We took a look at how voters within the Blue Line cast their ballots. Adirondack Park residents heavily favored Hochul’s competition, Republican Lee Zeldin. They also had mixed voting on the bond act.
We are getting to that time of year where you can more easily check hemlock trees for invasive woolly adelgids. The insects sprout white wool to keep them warm in the winter, which is easier to see than the black specks they tend to look like in the spring. Remember to flip the branches over to look.
It’s strange talking about aphids bundling up for the cold weather, though, when it has been such a warm start to November. Some of our local lilac bushes have budded, and my small vegetable garden rebounded with a few grape tomatoes–a tasty surprise, but unsettling. But back to the bugs.
Environmental Advocates Action released its scorecard of 2022 last week, ranking lawmakers on their environmental voting records.
State Sen. Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, received a score of 47/100 and state Sen. Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, received 59/100. In the state Assembly, Plattsburgh Democrat Billy Jones received a 63/100 while Horicon Republican Matt Simpson received a 34/100. You can view the full scorecard here.
There were very few pops of bright color on Blue Mountain Lake last week now that we are past peak leaf season. Zach Matson and I were out there last Wednesday listening to the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program’s speakers on invasive species. We are working on stories in our next issue of the magazine about some of the different forest pests and what is being done about them.
In case you missed it, Mike Lynch had a story up online today about beech leaf disease, another kind of threat to trees that was spotted this summer in the southwestern Adirondacks. Read that story here.
The New York Outdoor Recreation Coalition and the Open Space Institute released a report on how the state needs to do more when it comes to making open spaces and parks more inclusive, equitable and accessible. This issue was part of our solutions reporting on how to make sure the Adirondack Park is welcoming for all people. You can see our series on solutions to visitor management here: https://www.
The Adirondack Park Agency will not be meeting this week, “due to no agenda items that require board action,” according to its website. I do have some update to share with you about how the APA is running its public comments and hearings page.
Upon glancing at the APA’s website this morning, I do see that the agency will be holding a virtual training for commissioners on shoreline setbacks, which the public is invited to watch on WebEx. Got to the APA’s homepage for more info: https://apa.ny.gov/.
The leaves are changing color quickly in the Adirondacks and were quite beautiful on Friday when the Explorer team met in Long Lake for a birding walk. Larry Master, one of our board members and a talented wildlife photographer, helped us spot wood ducks, great blue herons, song sparrows and belted kingfishers on our trip to Shaw Pond.
In case you missed it, last week state and local agricultural leaders attended a conference in Saratoga Springs. I stopped by and asked New York State Agricultural Commissioner Richard Ball and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack some questions including what their thoughts were about solar development on farmland. Read the story here.
Last week was Climate Week, which meant an influx of daily announcements from state government about clean energy, the environment and climate change. For instance, the village of Lake Placid earned the “Climate Smart Community” designation, as part of a joint state agency program encouraging municipalities to take climate change mitigation actions. We noticed, however, that the state Assembly has yet to deliver a climate-related bill to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s desk.
Last week the Adirondack Park Agency approved a 20-megawatt solar project on the former Benson Mines’s tailings pile in the Town of Clifton. It is the state’s first “build ready” solar project. There are still a handful of other permits the state needs to acquire before it can hold an auction and turn the project over to a solar developer. But, it looks like the Adirondacks is one step closer to hosting a large renewable energy project.
In April of last year, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state’s first “build-ready” solar project to be hosted on the old tailings pile of Benson Mines in the Town of Clifton. Well, we’re seeing this 20-megawatt facility again, with plans for more than 62,000 panels, this time with confirmation that the Adirondack Park Agency must weigh in on its approval. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has applied for permits including for a large, public utility, and APA commissioners will decide whether to sign off at their board meeting on Thursday. (Editor’s note: The project was approved. See story here.)
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