“Where do you plan to camp tonight?” our river guide yelled to the young man paddling his raft past our campsite. “North River,” he said.
“That’s too far, you’ll never make it before dark,” our guide responded – although his words went unheard as the raft disappeared around a bend of the Upper Hudson River.
More rafts followed with a half-dozen young men and women waving and laughing as they paddled by our campsite, seemingly oblivious to the set of whitewater rapids they were about to encounter. » Continue Reading.
Just inside the Blue Line in the southern Adirondacks in the Towns of Bleecker and Johnstown, a new 1,118-acre, 26-lot subdivision on lands zoned Resource Management is poised for approval by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). An application has been completed, and now the APA must either issue a permit or send the project to an official adjudicatory public hearing. The developer is a professional outfit called New York Land & Lakes, and it completes a half dozen major subdivisions each year throughout the northeast. This is its first project in the Adirondack Park.
This development involves lands of the former Woodworth Lake Boy Scout Camp on an 1,118-acre site that was operated by the Boy Scouts from 1950-1992 as a retreat center and sold in 2013. On the tract, there are two lakes, Hines Pond and Woodworth Lake, and extensive wetlands and steep slopes. The tract is bordered by Forest Preserve in the Shaker Mountain Wild Forest around the north end. Some 97% of this tract is classified as Resource Management and 3% Low Intensity under the APA Land Use and Development Plan.
This is the biggest Resource Management project since the Adirondack Club & Resort (ACR) project was approved in 2012. The ACR project cut 4,739 acres of Resource Management lands into 80 lots. The maximum development density for Resource Management is 15 units per square mile, which averages to 42.7 acres per principal building. » Continue Reading.
The Boy Scouts of America has been called the largest environmental organization in the country, and its handbook a conservation best seller.
That both were launched one hundred years ago on Lake George, at Silver Bay, might have remained forgotten were it not for the work of a fifteen year old film maker from Latham.
Blake Cortright’s “First Encampment,” a documentary about the Scouts’ first camp at Silver Bay, will be shown on the Capital District’s WMHT on May 29 and on other public television stations later this year.
In 1910, representatives of boys’ groups from across the country gathered at Silver Bay to create an experimental camp devoted to the teaching of outdoor and leadership skills. Among them were Dan Beard and Ernest Thompson Seton, both writers, editors and illustrators who were friends of the vigor-worshiping Theodore Roosevelt.
At the end of a trail through the woods, the groups set up camp and built an amphitheater they called the Council Ring, where the Boy Scouts of America came into being around the blazing fires.
(Seton, who wrote the Boy Scout Handbook, designed the Scouts’ uniform at the site.)
“I would not have known about the First Encampment had our troop not made a pilgrimage to Silver Bay in 2008 to trace the roots of scouting,” said Cortright, an Eagle Scout himself.
At the very same Council Ring, Silver Bay volunteer and historian Robert James regaled the scouts with the tale of the organization’s birth.
“For forty five minutes, the kids listened with rapt attention,” said Cortright.
That presentation was the germ of the documentary, which relies upon James’ research and features interviews with him at his home in Slingerlands.
Silver Bay’s archives provided many of the early 20th century photos illustrating the narrative, much of it delivered by John Kearny.
Kearny, a Lake George steamboat captain, actor and voice-over artist, was recruited by his son Kyle, a scouting friend of Cortright’s.
Once the documentary was completed, Cortright’s mother Connie made certain that it was seen.
“I made a cold call to WMHT and persuaded the staff to watch it,” said Connie. “They called back a month later and said they were prepared to put it on the air. I didn’t realize at the time how difficult it is to get something broadcast.”
“First Encampment” is Cortright’s first documentary, but unlikely to be his last. He hopes to go film school.
“I learned everything by doing it backwards, but it was a wonderful experience,” said Cortright.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
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