Posts Tagged ‘adirondack report’

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Close encounters of the loon kind (and some recent policy news)

loon

Loon and chick photograph by Sue Kiesel. Photo provided by the Old Forge Library.

I’m back from a short vacation traveling around upstate New York. One of our stops was Big Moose Lake in Eagle Bay. Dave and I went for a paddle and two loons shot up from underwater very close to our canoe. It was a moody weather day to boot, and when they dove underwater and popped up again, their howling calls made the hairs on the back of my neck stand. Here’s a snippet from our paddle after the loons swam further out. It was one of the top wildlife encounters of my life and particularly exciting for me since writing a second-grade report on the common loon (spelled “commen” in bright yellow letters on my poster board, but live and learn). In case you missed it, give Gary Lee’s piece about wrapping up loon-banding season a read.

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Friday, August 12, 2022

Cold-weather thoughts to beat the heat

blue mountain in winter

These 90-degree days are making me miss snow. I posted a short video you can watch here of our hike up Blue Mountain in the winter, and some on Twitter agreed with me. I know by March I will be eager for spring birdsong and blossoms. But even those things are changing. In my backyard I’m noticing the impacts of our warming temperatures. My tomatoes are not changing from green to red, which Cornell Cooperative Extension says could be because of the high heat. “When temperatures exceed 85 to 90 F, the ripening process slows significantly or even stops. At these temperatures, lycopene and carotene, pigments responsible for giving the fruit their typical orange to red appearance cannot be produced. As a result, the fruit can stay in a mature green phase for quite some time,” the article states. Is anyone else having this trouble?

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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

A High Peaks panel discussion

cascade welcome center sign

Thanks very much to those who came out to our panel discussion at the Adirondack Mountain Club’s new visitor center last week. As part of our ongoing solutions reporting, the event focused on issues around High Peaks use. We had a great team of experts to talk about the importance of data collection for making management decisions and the importance of visitor centers, stewards and forest rangers for educating the public. Our audience had some wonderful insight and questions, too.

If you weren’t able to make it out, but are interested in watching, you can check out our video below.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Gun legislation: What does it mean?

pinnacle

Newly passed gun legislation has Democrats and Republicans at odds over what it could mean for Adirondack Park residents and visitors. I spoke with Environmental Conservation Officer Matt Krug about his key takeaways and how it may be enforced in the park. Since that story, state Sen. Dan Stec, R-Queensbury and state Assembly Matt Simpson, R-Horicon, are introducing legislation that would exempt the Adirondacks and Catskills. The Legislature’s extraordinary session is over, so we’ll have to see when and if lawmakers will take up the amendment.

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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Adirondacks for all

Gwen in acadia

After about a year of reporting and a summer of travel, our initial series on solutions to increasing visitor use is complete. My last two stories ran in our May/June issue and are now up on our website. Of course this story never ends. This was our first crack at exploring what other outdoor destinations are doing to balance natural resource protection, accessibility and inclusivity.

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Thursday, June 16, 2022

The latest state, APA policy news

APA 50th anniversary logo

I know I previewed this in my last newsletter, but in case you didn’t get a chance to read it, here is my roundup of the four Adirondack Park constitutional amendments that didn’t get first passage this legislative session. The conservation design bill, legislation intended to protect more open space and natural resources when planning for some subdivisions, passed the Assembly but not the Senate. Also of note, a bill that brings forest rangers and environmental conservation officers’ retirements up to the same standards as State Police passed both chambers. We’ll see if Gov. Kathy Hochul signs it this time.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2022

State announces hiking season preparations

high peaks preparationIn anticipation of a busy hiking season, state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos took a trip up to the Adirondacks last week to recap all the visitor management initiatives DEC and partners have implemented.

“This is paradise,” Seggos said. “This is New York’s Yellowstone, and New Yorkers have discovered that.”

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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

APA to vote on Whiteface amendment

whiteface

The Adirondack Park Agency is meeting in person this week for the first time since last summer. The two-day meeting will start at 10 a.m. on Thursday at the APA’s Ray Brook headquarters. It will pick back up at 9 a.m. on Friday. The meeting will be broadcast live online, but public comment will have to be made in person. Face masks are not required but encouraged, the agency wrote.

There are several projects the board is expected to vote on including an amendment to the Whiteface Ski Center Unit Management Plan. More background on that here. Staff are recommending approval for the amendment’s conformance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.

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Saturday, March 19, 2022

Debating solar and cell tower aesthetics

cell tower

Barbara Rice attended her first Adirondack Park Agency meeting last week as its new executive director just a few days after starting the job. It was a packed five-hour meeting.

“The one thing that stands out to me is how dedicated and hard working the staff here is,” Rice said, at the start of the meeting.

We published a couple of stories out of that Thursday marathon, including how the Olympic Regional Development Authority plans to widen some ski trails at Whiteface Mountain.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The State of the State, Adirondacks

kathy hochul state of the state

In case you missed it, Gov. Kathy Hochul delivered her first State of the State speech last week. This is where the governor tells New Yorkers what she’s hoping to accomplish within the next year. It will be followed by a state budget presentation later this month.

My first time covering a State of the State address was January 2020. The coronavirus pandemic was barely a whisper in the Capitol building. Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo held his address inside The Egg in Albany where hundreds of people were in attendance. Out of curiosity I filed a records request for a list of those invited, but it took me over a year to get it from the Cuomo administration. Cuomo, even during his State of the State in 2021, used big PowerPoint presentations and video snippets. In 2020, a couple of dozen journalists were there. I couldn’t tell you how many photographers and videographers were scouting out their best shots while walking through the crowd.

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Saturday, December 4, 2021

Has any park gotten it right?

acadiaThis summer and fall I travelled to the Catskills, Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire and Acadia National Park in Maine to look at how other popular outdoors destinations are handling crowds. My colleagues also took some trips this summer.

We’re going to share with you over the next several magazines what we learned and how different management techniques are working. These are things that could come to the Adirondack Park, or are already in pilot stages. If you’re not a magazine subscriber and haven’t read this yet, click here to read an overview of our solutions journalism project. (And if you’re not a subscriber and would like to be, click here.)

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Permits in the preserves

AMR lotIn September I had a chance to try out the Adirondack Mountain Reserve’s reservation system. The Monday Dave and I went, it was pouring and there were a handful of cars in the parking lot and no people. Not exactly a good start for a journalist looking to chat with folks about how they liked the new system.

We sat in the car for a bit, and sure enough a car drove up and based on the amount of time it was parked near the parking attendant shelter, it looked like they might not have a permit. I secured my raincoat, grabbed my recorder and dashed to the vehicle in case it was about to turn around and head out to Route 73. Instead, the car drove into the parking lot and the couple that got out were equally eager to talk to me. They asked if they could jump on my hiking permit as they did not have one. One free permit can be good for up to eight people.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

An APA meeting with a chairman

APA signJohn Ernst chaired his first Adirondack Park Agency meeting last week. The agency met virtually again. It was not without technical hiccups. A state-run web system crash left some APA staff unable to control the Webex meeting for a time. This meant public commenters had to wait until the end of the meeting to speak, and some staff could not show their PowerPoint presentations. But the presentations were posted online so board members and the public could follow along. Patient members of the public waited nearly three hours later to speak.

Ernst fielded an agenda thick with information about solar projects and the agency’s role. In case you missed it, we had a short story about that last week you can read here.

We continue to follow the agency’s first public comment period over a subdivision in Jay. The APA is regularly updating its website with the latest comments submitted.

At the other end of the park in the town of Mayfield, we talked to an entrepreneur who wants to build an RV park on Great Sacandaga Lake. He has not yet submitted a permit application to the APA, but his plans are before the town’s planning board. Several folks in the neighborhood are against the proposal. You can read more about that here or by clicking the story below.

Have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Gwen’s weekly “Adirondack Report” email. Click here to sign up.


Thursday, November 11, 2021

A plan for transparency

proposed jay resort

Last week, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration released state agency reports and plans for improving transparency. Around the same time, the Olympic Regional Development Authority said it would appeal a judge’s order for transparency on certain accident records requested by the Adirondack Explorer.

You can also read ORDA’s transparency plan here, along with the Adirondack Park Agency’s and the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s. The APA appears to be taking some steps, including issuing a press release today on projects out for public comment. Typically I would have to watch the website on a near-daily basis to see if any new projects were on the docket. This is a change to have a press release.

This led to our latest story about a Miami-based developer proposing a development on 350 acres in Jay. You can check out the initial story here, as well as initial reactions to it here

Image of proposed development courtesy of APA

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Gwen’s weekly “Adirondack Report” newsletter. Click here to sign up


Friday, October 22, 2021

APA back to public comments and more updates

The Adirondack Park Agency met last week for the first time since July. Board members had quite a bit of business to attend to while back in virtual format due to increasing concerns over the coronavirus. They approved a 20-megawatt solar farm in Ticonderoga, approved updates to the management plan for Fish Creek Pond Campground and Day Use Area and heard a presentation from the Olympic Regional Development Authority on proposed updates to Whiteface Mountain.

To top it off, this was the first virtual meeting in the last year-and-a-half of the pandemic that the APA allowed for live, public comment. Dave Gibson, managing partner of Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve, was the only person to make use of the comment period time afforded at the beginning and end of the meeting. In meetings prior, the agency collected public comments through an email address. It’s good to have the public be able to directly address board members again. This also coincided with Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plans for all state agencies and departments to draft transparency guidelines, something the APA will have to do soon.

Fall hikes

On another note, I’ve received quite a few phone calls from folks asking me how to get a permit or reservation to hike in the Adirondacks. There is still clearly some confusion over the reservation system for the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, a gateway to a number of popular hikes, but certainly not the only spot to see beautiful views. Most of the people who have called me say they have trouble using a computer and wish to book a reservation over the phone. I’ve also gotten quite a few phone calls asking about the status of our autumn foliage colors in the Adirondacks.

For those curious, we have a webpage with some answers on the reservation system for the Adirondack Mountain reserve here. You can also keep track of the fall colors through the I Love NY’s fall foliage reports, which we’ve been running on the Adirondack Almanack.

Photo from Rooster Comb in Keene on Oct. 11.

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Gwen’s weekly “Adirondack Report” newsletter. Click here to sign up.



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