The Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine have been working since 1997 to restore the fire tower and trails on that mountain. The group is a coalition of Adirondack Architectural Heritage, the town of Chesterfield, Champlain Area Trails (CATS), the Mountaineer, local summer camps and businesses, several Adirondack Mountain Club chapters, and hundreds of individuals who know and love the mountain.
The fire tower was fully restored as an interpretive site in 2005. Educational displays showcase fire-tower and local history and the land uses within the viewshed of the mountain. Since 2002, the Friends have employed tower stewards for the summer hiking season.
We have redeveloped the Ranger Trail as an interpretive trail with eleven numbered stops keyed to a brochure on the human and natural history of “Poke-O.” We also worked with the Adirondack Nature Conservancy to guarantee access to a second trail, the Observers’ Trail, which was the original vehicle route to the fire observer’s cabin below the summit. » Continue Reading.
The Open Space Institute has announced that a private landowner has donated a conservation easement that will protect a nearly 1,400-acre forest in the northeast corner of the Adirondack Park. The property borders the western shore of Butternut Pond and is bisected by several brooks, most of which feed into Auger Lake, which in turn empties into the Ausable River and eventually into Lake Champlain.
The parcel, a largely wooded Essex County tract owned by the Johanson family, buffers state lands, including Pokamoonshine Mountain, and sits within the viewshed of the historic firetower on the summit of Pokamoonshine, a popular destination for rock climbers, hikers and cross-country skiers. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at APA Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY. This month’s meeting is one day only. The meeting will be webcast live online. Meeting materials are available for download from the Agency’s website.
The Full Agency will convene on Thursday morning at 9:00 for Executive Director Terry Martino’s report where she will brief the Board on monthly activities and accomplishments. At 9:30 a.m., Regulatory Programs Deputy Director Richard Weber will update the Board on the status of the Champlain Bridge project, telecommunication projects and the Agency’s emergency flood response. The Regulatory Programs Committee will then consider approving a shoreline setback variance and a second renewal for construction of structures in Resource Management and Rural Use lands. The Committee will also deliberate authorizing General Permit 2011G-2 which allows for the use of Herbicides for vegetative management around guide rails, signs and delineator posts adjacent to wetlands.
At 1:00, the Park Policy and Planning Committee will convene for a staff presentation that highlights the various Geographic Information System applications and services which staff diligently provides to local governments and other stakeholders in the Park. The Agency’s GIS and staff expertise is routinely used by municipalities in support of local land use planning efforts.
At 1:45, the Enforcement Committee will hear a second reading of the revised Civil Penalty Guidance. The guidance is intended to assist Agency staff in the determination of appropriate, fair civil penalties for violations. The committee will also discuss a new strategy to deal with violations related to older subdivisions of land.
At 2:30, Town of Chesterfield, Essex County Supervisor Gerald Morrow will provide the Community Spotlight with an overview of his Essex County community. Supervisor Morrow will discuss town accomplishments, opportunities and challenges ahead.
At 3:15, the Legal Affairs Committee will hear a report on legal guidance for the upcoming building season. Agency staff will review information flyers prepared for the general public that cover camping units in DOH-permitted private campgrounds, shoreline expansions and group camp principal buildings.
At 4:00, the Full Agency will assemble to take action as necessary and conclude with committee reports, public and member comment.
The June Agency is scheduled for June 9-10, 2011 at Agency headquarters in Ray Brook.
July Agency Meeting: July 14-15 at the Adirondack Park Agency Headquarters.
Untouched scenic vistas and natural landscapes are treasured in the Adirondacks. Seventy years ago, a popular landmark, since admired by millions, was nearly transformed into something far different from its present appearance.
It all began in 1937 with the editor of the Essex County Republican-News, C. F. Peterson. Formerly a Port Henry newspaperman, active in multiple civic organizations, and clearly pro-development and pro-North Country, Peterson was a force to be reckoned with. » Continue Reading.
The recent collapse of the bridge spanning the Mississippi River at Minneapolis brought to mind the tragic history of similar events in the Adirondacks.
Workers building the historic Stone Arch Bridge (photo above from the late 1800s) over the Ausable River in Keeseville had a close call in 1842. The bridge of native stone, believed at the time to be the largest such bridge in the country, was being built to replace the original wooden structure erected in 1805. The men had completed the first course of stone including the keystones and had nearly finished the second course when a violent storm blew in. Just as more then 30 men fled the storm’s heavy rain to a wooden shed on the bank of the river the entire bridge collapsed into the Ausable with a thunderous crash. The tremendous crash was said to have shaken buildings as far away as Port Kent.
Delays in the construction of the bridge caused by the collapse inadvertently caused a more tragic accident that same year. On local militia “muster day,” September 13, 1842, the unfinished bridge caused the Essex County militia to cross a smaller swinging bridge (supported by chains) nearby. The bridge was filled with bystanders as they marched across in lock step. It’s believed the overloaded bridge combined with the stamping feet of the marchers caused the bridge to collapse into the churning river below. Local newspapers reported that nine people were drowned, and four later died of exposure. Two boys, Richard Pope and Richard Peabody, were swept over a nearby dam with their arms around each other and were among those drowned.
A similar accident twice befell the men building what was then longest bridge in the world (3,239 feet) over the St. Lawrence River at Quebec. As one of the enormous spans was being raised from pontoons, it gave way and crashed into the river taking with it fifty men. Observers said the central span, weighing more than 5,000 tons, buckled at the center before it fell. At least five were killed. The accident occurred in 1916, but just nine years before a similar accident on the same bridge killed 70.In the spring of 1931 the Whallonsburg bridge, which carried much of the Albany-Montreal traffic over the Bouquet River in Essex County, collapsed while Robert O’Neil of Willsboro was crossing. O’Neil’s car fell nearly twelve feet but he escaped uninjured. The bridge’s steel trusses slipped from one of its abutments. The next day four boys were sitting on the railing of the wrecked bridge when it gave way and they went into the water. Kenneth McDougall was knocked unconscious from a serious head injury but the others escaped relatively unharmed. The photo at right shows the new abutments, made of rough quartzite from Champlain Stone.The 1842 Chain Bridge Collapse ranks among the deadliest accidents ever in the Adirondack region. Read more about the others here.