Last month, ADK moved into Cascade Ski Center. After a year of negotiating, signing paperwork, and visioning, it felt a little surreal to enter the great room not as a visitor, but as part of an organization that now can tap into this property’s incredible potential.
Almost concurrently, we concluded a month of community engagement where we heard from over 100 people who took the time to share their feedback with us through group sessions, individual meetings, and emails. Representing everything from ADK members to local ski areas to state agencies, we heard from a diverse array of stakeholders who all shared in our enthusiasm for Cascade Ski Center’s potential. I want to thank each and every one of them for their time and input.
It’s a rare day that I’m not asked, whether it’s by email, phone, or even after being stopped in the grocery store: what is ADK going to do now that it has purchased Cascade Cross Country Ski Center? Great question.
Let’s start with what we know: ADK’s intent broadly is to use Cascade Ski Center and its location to improve local recreational offerings, reach more visitors with educational outreach, and support local and state visitor use management goals. Within this framework, we already plan to continue offering groomed cross-country skiing and snowshoeing with rentals and retail in the winter months. In the summer, we will offer information services and restrooms to the general public.
What happens beyond that and the degree to which we align our efforts with certain initiatives will depend largely on your input as community members and stakeholders. There is a great deal of potential for what could be done there, ranging from meeting space for community groups to mountain biking to birding programs. We must also consider what needs to be done to ensure that the property facilitates access for everyone, regardless of background, to our incredible public spaces.
Lake Placid, NY — The Town of North Elba has awarded ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club) a $50,000 grant from the Local Enhancement & Advancement Fund (LEAF) to improve accessibility on the Mt. Jo Long Trail.
Serving over 15,000 hikers a year, Mt. Jo is an iconic mountain in North Elba that is often visited by first-time outdoor recreators and used as a classroom for ADK’s fourth grade school outreach program. However, the Long Trail—one of two approaches to the summit—is severely damaged, creating challenging conditions for hikers.
46ers support ADK professional trail crew for 21st consecutive year
For the twenty-first consecutive year, the Adirondack 46ers have pledged support for ADK’s (Adirondack Mountain Club’s) professional trail crew by announcing a $46,000 donation to fund trail projects in the High Peaks Wilderness for the 2022 season. This is in addition to a 2020 commitment to donate $25,000 a year to ADK for the Adirondack High Peaks Summit Stewardship Program through 2023. » Continue Reading.
DackMap Update Includes Online Parking Capacity, Virtual Trailhead Check-ins for High Peaks Region
ADK and DackMap are excited to announce an updated version of the cellphone application that includes real-time information for hikers visiting the High Peaks Wilderness. After announcing a partnership back in March, ADK and DackMap have worked together to improve the app so that it reaches Adirondack Park visitors well in advance of their arrival. The update includes:
Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) is resuming its summer naturalist programming at Heart Lake. Visitors are welcome to explore the natural world of the Adirondacks through hands-on activities by attending one or all of the following Naturalist led interpretive programs, which will begin today, June 28, and run through August. All programs are free and open to the public.
“The shortest distance between two points is a straight line” – Archimedes
The early Greek mathematician posed this rule for flat surfaces, which the Adirondacks are anything but. Yet this was the scheme for our first mountain trails – hardly layouts, but ad hoc routes to get hikers and particularly Fire Observers, to the summits ASAP. After twisting past down trees, boulders, cliffs, or water, their lines would straighten right back out. Trails out West more gently curve along the contours and switchback to ease their ascents, but not those here. Most of our old direct goat paths are still in place.
Elizabeth W. Little was born in 1884, probably in the grand home that her grandparents built in Menands on the south side of the Menand Road in the 1860’s.
She was the daughter of Charles W. Little and Edith Elizabeth Herbert. Elizabeth was the youngest of three daughters born to the C.W. Little family. Elizabeth’s grandfather was Weare C. Little, who was born in Bangor, Maine but moved to the Albany area and established a very successful book publishing and selling business on State Street in Albany by 1828. By 1868, Weare C. Little’s name appears in the Albany City Directories as residing at Menands. Tax records of 1870-71 show that he owned 46 acres of land with buildings in Menands.
The W.C. Little’s publishing company was very profitable, enabling him to purchase the 46 acres of very desirable land on the south side of the Old Menand Road just west of the present day entrance to the Sage Estate. His land continued westward up the old Menand Road to a point about opposite of the present day intersection with Schuyler Road.
In 1921, nearly a hundred years ago, a few dozen people met with the idea of forming an organization that would help facilitate public access to the Adirondack wilderness through trail building. A year later the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) was formed and, soon thereafter, ADK completed the Northville-Placid Trail. In the years that followed, ADK has not only worked to educate the public on how to steward public lands but also advocated for their protection at the highest levels, including in the various New York State courts. And, as other advocacy groups came into the picture, it became the norm to join forces in our collective strength to litigate against anything that ran afoul of Article 14 of the NYS Constitution, the Forest Preserve’s “forever wild” provision.
In response to impending construction on the proposed Class II Community Connector Snowmobile Trails—the center of today’s controversy—ADK went out and began counting trees along the intended corridor to assess the legality of this work and in anticipation of reconvening with the other Adirondack groups on how best to proceed. However, before we could, a lawsuit was singularly commenced. From the perspective of our traditional cooperation, this challenge was not off to a good start. Sadly, the arguments presented went well beyond challenging the proposed construction under the existing standard (3 inch dbh) that had served us well in balancing the Park’s wild nature with “facilitating meaningful public access and enjoyment.”
Instead, petitioners advocated for a new standard that will actually do considerable harm to the natural resources of the Forest Preserve.
A few weeks ago, Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) submitted an amicus brief in Protect the Adirondacks! Inc. v. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency, wherein Protect challenged the constitutionality of the state’s decision to cut down thousands of trees while building new snowmobile trails in the Forest Preserve. (I am on the Board of Protect the Adirondacks! and testified as an expert witness in the trial for this litigation. What I am saying here is not endorsed by Protect.)
This litigation began in the Supreme Court in Albany and was appealed to the Appellate Division, where a crucial element of Protect’s interpretation of Article 14, section 1, of the NY Constitution, was upheld. Then the state appealed to the NY Court of Appeals, our highest court, where oral arguments will be heard on March 23. The ruling there will be final and cannot be appealed further, although it’s possible the Court of Appeals could return the matter to the lower courts. This is a historic case and will determine the future of state policy with respect to the Forest Preserve and the viability of wilderness in the Adirondacks.
Changes reflect new zoning, recent additions to the High Peaks Wilderness
The brand-new 15th edition of High Peaks Trails, the flagship of ADK’s (Adirondack Mountain Club’s) comprehensive Forest Preserve Series of guidebooks, has just been released. The volume is edited by longtime Adirondack adventurer Tony Goodwin, who has been writing and updating guidebooks for over 30 years.
Since the 14th edition was published in 2012, 47,000 acres of Forest Preserve have been added to the High Peaks Wilderness Area. Its boundaries have been redrawn, and new regulations governing use of these areas are anticipated. The new 15th edition addresses the significant zone changes that have been implemented by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, as well as new acquisitions, new trails, reroutes, restored and altered trailheads, and parking regulations.
The first known ascent of Mount Marcy occurred on August 5, 1837 when a team of New York State Geologists, led by Ebenezer Emmons, spent a glorious five hours on top of the peak.
But it was not Emmons that best described what his team saw that day. Instead, it was his intrepid guide, John Cheney, that historians most often quote. Looking out over the vast range of mountains and lakes below them, Cheney observed, “It makes a man feel what it is to have all creation placed beneath his feet.” What Emmons did make note of on that brilliant August day was the presence of ice patches up to a half-inch thick scattered about the summit. Still, the lead geologist for the New York State Survey could not comprehend the existence of huge boulders, or erratics, that were left behind by glaciers. Emmons thought at the time that they were there as a result of a biblical-type flood.
Dedicated trail volunteers Norm Kuchar and Walt Hayes were recently honored with the North Country Trail Association ADK Affiliate Honor Award. For the past 12 years, these two members of the Schenectady Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club have taken more than 120 trips to scout and GPS routes for the eastern Adirondack section of the North Country National Scenic Trail. Norm and Walt have been critical partners to DEC planners and foresters as they’ve helped define the best route for this trail in the Adirondacks. Congratulations to Norm and Walt on this well-deserved honor!
When completed, the North Country National Scenic Trail will stretch approximately 4,700 miles from North Dakota to Vermont, with about 160 miles passing through the central Adirondacks from Black River Wild Forest to Crown Point State Historic Site.
Fall at Heart Lake is usually accompanied by the sounds and sights of fourth graders exploring Mt. Jo as participants in ADK’s (Adirondack Mountain Club’s) Marie L. Haberl School Outreach Program: Three Seasons at Heart Lake. As foliage shifts from green to shades of red, orange, and yellow, ADK educators use this time of year to show fourth graders the natural processes behind seasonal changes. But this year, with many students learning remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, ADK is bringing outdoor learning online to continue inspiring a love for nature in the next generation.
The ADK Iroquois Chapter has created a unique challenge that requires participants to camp in 18 of the 21 designated wilderness areas within the Adirondack Park.
Statement from ADK: Ideally, these types of initiatives would undergo wider scrutiny, not just by the ADK Board, relevant committees and staff, but also by partner organizations, such as the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Regrettably, this challenge was not. We are hoping that the Iroquois Chapter will delay a launch so the challenge can be discussed in more detail.
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