For more than two years, rail-trail activists have been pushing state officials to end decades of financial support for the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and convert a ninety-mile rail corridor between Old Forge and Lake Placid into a year-round multi-use recreational trail.
Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA) has argued that the tourism train has been a financial failure, requiring too much taxpayer support, and claimed that a rail trail would provide a bigger tourism draw. » Continue Reading.
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is proposing a new experiment trying to combine intensive public motorized recreational use and natural resource management. The DEC has released a draft Recreation Management Plan (RMP) for the Kushaqua Conservation Easement tract located in the Towns of Franklin and Brighton in Franklin County. Throughout this tract, the DEC is proposing to open a number of roads to all terrain vehicles (ATVs).
The DEC went down this road once before in the mid-1990s when they opened scores of roads on the Forest Preserve to ATVs. Though official processes were not followed at that time, scores of roads and trails throughout the western Adirondacks were opened to ATVs. Trespassing in other areas was also widespread across the Forest Preserve. After extensive damage to roads, trails, and natural resources, the DEC and APA backtracked in 2005 and closed scores of Forest Preserve roads to ATV use.
At that time, public ATV use on the Forest Preserve was seen by many as an experiment that failed. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency began deliberations Wednesday on the classification of 21,200 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands, with staff members explaining why the agency’s staff settled on a Primitive classification for the Essex Chain Lakes. However, some questions were left unanswered.
The staff had considered proposals to classify the Essex Chain as Wilderness, Canoe, and Wild Forest. As reported earlier on the Almanack, the staff rejected the Wilderness and Canoe designations largely because local towns own the floatplane rights to First Lake, which is part of the Essex Chain, as well as Pine Lake, which is located a mile and a half south of the chain.
“The presence of floatplanes landing and taking off would detract from the sense of wilderness,” Kathy Regan, a senior natural resource planner, told the APA board.
Wilderness is the most restrictive and most protective of the Adirondack Park Agency’s seven classifications for Forest Preserve lands, so perhaps it’s no surprise that environmental groups pushed for a Wilderness designation for the Essex Chain Lakes.
The APA staff instead recommended a Primitive classification. Ordinarily, this might be seen as a slight downgrade in protection, but in this case an argument can be made that natural resources are actually better protected under the Primitive classification. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency is weighing seven options for the classification of the 17,320-acre Essex Chain Tract. Perhaps they should consider an eighth.
Three college students have studied the various issues pertaining to classification and come up with their own recommendation: designate the tract Wild Forest with special restrictions.
The students—Azaria Bower, Kayla Bartheleme, and Erin Ulcickas—collaborated on the project this fall during their semester at the Newcomb campus of the State University College of Environmental Science and Forestry. » Continue Reading.
A number of new facilities and access opportunities on the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands in Franklin and Clinton counties (former Domtar Industries lands near Lyon Mountain) are now available for public use, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. DEC and its partners have constructed new parking lots, opened some roads for motorized use, and installed informational kiosks. Roads and trails have been opened through private lease areas to provide access under sporting leases to areas open to public use.
The Sable Highlands easement lands include more than 28,000 acres of lands distributed over 14 public use areas, all of which are open and available for public access and recreation in accordance with the April 2009 Interim Recreation Management Plan. More than 56,000 acres of the Sable Highlands easement lands are leased by the landowner to hunting, fishing and recreation clubs for their exclusive private use. » Continue Reading.
This was not the bike trip I had hoped for. It seemed like a good idea, until I saw my girlfriend Liz dragging her bicycle up and over slippery rocks in a rushing stream. After a push and pull to gain some ground and a quick break to study the best way to rock hop with a bike in hand, she stumbled and fell. While dropping her beloved Surly bicycle into the water in an attempt to gain her balance she just groaned with exasperation. Now, with the bike partially submerged and her feet wet, we were both starting to question our reasoning. Not only were we fording streams, we found ourselves dragging bicycles over downed trees, ducking and weaving around overhanging branches, pushing through thick brush only to find the path strangled by even more vegetation and debris.
Our plan was pretty simple; retrace the route of the abandoned D and H Railroad from Plattsburgh to Saranac Lake. The maps all showed it, locals talked about its existence and one bike shop mechanic told us he traveled the whole thing by dirt bike years ago. “Although, “he said, “the right of way seems to be lost in places.” After some roadside scouting of the railroad grade via our little Toyota, we concluded that the best place to begin was outside of Cadyville where there were no houses or any no trespassing signs blocking our way. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) have announced that they will hold four public meetings in September about the management of the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor, a 119-mile nineteenth-century rail line in the western Adirondacks.
A bitter debate has raged in the Adirondacks over the past several years after rail-trail advocates began pushing to have the historic railroad tracks torn-up. In 2011, an organization calling themselves Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates began calling for the outser of the tourist railroad operation and for conversion of the rail bed to a multi-use trail. More than 10,000 people have signed-on to a petition calling for the removal of the tracks. The trail advocates’ call for a reassessment of the corridor’s management plan has resulted in this round of public hearings. » Continue Reading.
This Sunday, more than 2,800 athletes will compete in the 2013 IRONMAN Lake Placid, one of nearly 30 events in the global IRONMAN Series, is the oldest IRONMAN event in the continental U.S. and features one of the most scenic courses on the circuit.
The two-loop swim course takes place in Mirror Lake, followed by a unique transition in the Olympic Speed-Skating Oval. The 112-mile bike route leads athletes along state, county and local roads. The spectator friendly marathon (26.2 miles) run through downtown Lake Placid. The event offers a total professional prize purse of $25,000 and 60 coveted slots to the 2013 IRONMAN World Championship, taking place on October 12 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. » Continue Reading.
The Ausable River Association’s second annual Ride for the River is happening this weekend on Sunday, July 21. Three new Ride routes designed by Keene Valley bike shop LeepOff Cycles, music by Darryl Stout and Eric Klotzko, and a Hornbeck Boats canoe raffle are planned. This year’s Ride is in memory of Carol Rupprecht, a dedicated steward of the Ausable River.
The Ride for the River celebrates the scenic and recreational resources of the Ausable River as well as the communities and businesses that make the Ausable Valley a great place to live, work and play. Cyclists of all ages and skill levels can register for one of three scenic routes alongside the Ausable River and across its hills and valleys. » Continue Reading.
Dewey Mountain Recreation Center inaugurated 5.5 miles of new mountain biking trails with a ribbon cutting Sunday in Saranac Lake.
Volunteers from Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA) built the trails over the course of the past four years. There are options for beginners as well as experts, made clear by a new trail map and signage installed by BETA and North Country Healthy Heart Network. The trails are free and open to the public. Hikers and runners are also welcome to use the Dewey network of ski, snowshoe and bike trails during non-snow months.
Dewey Mountain Recreation Center is a four-season mountain-sports venue founded by the town of Harrietstown in 1980. The entrance is one mile west of downtown Saranac Lake on state Route 3. » Continue Reading.
The three-day celebration of two wheels, the Annual Wilmington Whiteface Bike Fest, will roll into the Lake Placid region once again from June 14-16. The bikefest is designed to promote and showcase cycling opportunities in and around Wilmington. This year’s festival will feature a beginner, instructional mountain bike program, the popular jump jam, the “Poor Man’s Downhill race, beach party, food games, lives music, a “best calves” contest and the 12th annual Whiteface Mountain Uphill Bike Race.
On Sunday, hundreds of cyclists will hit the roads, back country roads and trails during the Wilmington Whiteface 100k (WW100) mountain bike race. Cyclists from throughout the northeastern United States and Canada hope that this event will qualify them for one of 70 to 100 spots in the prestigious Leadville 100 (LT100). » Continue Reading.
I have just re-entered the cycling fold after a hiatus of 25 years. Growing up in Ottawa, I used to ride everywhere. Back in the day, Ottawa was already pretty bike-friendly and a bicycle was my only real transportation. Weather permitting, I would ride dozens of miles a day – to school, work, to the homes of friends – I never thought about distance. I had no car, no license, and lived in a city with affordable and convenient public transportation.
I resisted the temptation to succumb to Canadian progressivism though, and I couldn’t wait to begin burning fossil fuels with abandon. Just before my 17th birthday I did just that, first on a ’79 Yamaha XS400, a motorcycle bought with my summer job money, and eventually with a hand-me-down Buick Skyhawk. I don’t remember what happened to my old bicycle. » Continue Reading.
The Ausable River Association (AsRA) will hold its second Ride for the River bike ride and invites residents and visitors to join in on Sunday, July 21. The Ride for the River celebrates the scenic and recreational resources of the Ausable River as well as the communities and businesses of the Ausable Valley. Cyclists of all ages and skill level can register for one of three scenic routes alongside the Ausable River and across its hills and valleys.
Following the Ride, enjoy a picnic and live music with fellow riders as well as friends and family at Jay Covered Bridge in Jay, NY. All proceeds of the Ride benefit the Ausable River Association’s work to protect and restore the valued resources of the Ausable River for their benefit to the ecosystem and human communities. This year’s ride is in memory of Carol Rupprecht, a dedicated steward of the Ausable River. » Continue Reading.
The 12.8-mile Seventh Lake Mountain Multiple Use Trail (the Moose River Plains Connector) between the communities of Inlet and Raquette Lake through the Moose River Plains Wild Forest in Hamilton County is now open for public use.
The trail will provide a four season trail connection (including snowmobiles and mountain bikes) between the communities of Raquette Lake in the Town of Long Lake to the towns of Indian Lake and Inlet. The new trail connects with the existing Moose River Plains Wild Forest trail system which connects to Newcomb in Essex County and Old Forge in Herkimer County. » Continue Reading.
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