Explorer staffers have begun traveling to other parks this summer to learn what lessons they may hold for managing popular trails and attractions. These stories will appear in the magazine later this fall and winter, and will focus largely on New England. This week, though, I’m mixing personal travel with some research, meeting my son at Grand Teton National Park for some backpacking on a permit that I reserved months ago.
Posts Tagged ‘explore more’
A couple of weekends ago, I paddled along with a group of mostly first-time Adirondack canoeists as they watched loons and enjoyed the soothing waters of Little Green Pond and Little Clear Pond — adjacent water bodies near Paul Smiths and the St. Regis Canoe Area wilderness. It was a rare occasion in this park when I stood out for the color of my skin — white. And that was by design.
The Explorer’s website, AdirondackExplorer.org, recently published a story contemplating the potential for marijuana to drive new tourism business in the park if local governments are open to allowing dispensaries. Under New York law, communities will have until the end of the year to decide whether they want to prohibit such businesses. Opting out would mean no local sales, but it wouldn’t make marijuana possession illegal under state law.
Beyond our core issues of the environment and outdoor recreation, we at the Explorer track rural economics affecting the park and its communities. So the questions surrounding new business and taxation are sure to generate intriguing stories as this new market emerges. Will cannabis and the Adirondacks, as one source in the story suggests, provide the sort of “match made in heaven” that some nature lovers seek? Will legalization and sales create new problems in a park already attracting millions of visitors? Time will tell.
This issue of Adirondack Explorer magazine will be a doozy.
It will offer readers thorough explainers surrounding the recent court ruling against “community connector” snowmobile trails; the struggle by small Adirondack communities to fund proper water treatment; Essex County’s remarkable job of being a statewide leader in preventing COVID in the face of a serious tourism rush; a program to fight one non-native species with another; the pressures leading the Whitney estate’s owner to subdivide and sell that coveted Adirondack woodland; even a fascinating look at how and why (and at what cost) Adirondack communities ship all of the park’s garbage elsewhere.
This spring, I paddled out across Kiwassa Lake to see the volunteers at Lean2Rescue put the finishing touches on a newly restored lean-to shelter. They had moved it, piece by piece, from Middle Saranac Lake, so they could replace the roof and some rotting logs at the base. And they left in its place a new lean-to for Middle Saranac.
This is what these guys do. They told me I could do it too, if I had an IQ in the range of a “bag of hammers.” It’s their joke for the mania that drives them to head out into the wilderness to move 400-pound logs around. What they do is no joke, though. It keeps a certain local architectural heritage alive, and gives paddlers and backpackers shelter in the woods.
The May/June Adirondack Explorer now landing in subscribers’ mailboxes contains two profiles of forest rangers, Julie Harjung and Scott van Laer, by reporter Gwendolyn Craig. Both of these rangers have worked the woods for 25 years and are now retiring. Gwen visited van Laer as he wrapped up is work, and shot the short video that you can view here.
These stories honor the work these public servants have done to keep us and every Adirondack visitor safe and educated. Gwen revisits their careers, including the lives they saved, the rescues that sadly turned to recoveries, the work that van Laer did in advocating for the ranger corps, and the paramedic experience that Harjung put to work in training colleagues and others to become wilderness first responders.
There’s an abundance of serendipity in these parts, and in our work.
Often, related themes and stories emerge like magic, to make it appear to readers that we had planned them to run side-by-side in our magazine. Sometimes we do that, but others, like in our upcoming May/June issue, the stars just align. And one of the stars of this issue is an old-time hermit named Noah John Rondeau. (The photo of him here is courtesy of the Adirondack Experience museum in Blue Mountain Lake.)
He lived in the same Adirondack woods where hermit thrushes are now returning for spring, and where hikers and backpackers will soon flock to seek refuge from another pandemic summer. If you’ve been following our online series about the struggle to form the Adirondack Park Agency 50 years ago, you’ve had a preview of the history story in which he’ll make an appearance in print. The writer, author Brad Edmondson, presents him as a sort of bridge from the old and truly wild North Country — squatting on public lands in a time when no one really cared — to the modern, regulated park. He died just as the Northway’s fresh pavement was about to deliver a surge of new visitors.
A couple of years ago we started kicking around some ideas for sharing with readers the story of the people who fought to create the Adirondack Park Agency: their fervor and idealism, their mapping and lobbying, and the pushback they encountered then and for years to come.
We had only started to discuss how we might go about assembling such a narrative, and who might be best to write it, when Ithaca journalist and author Brad Edmondson wrote us an unsolicited email suggesting that we might have a use for a bunch of interviews he had conducted with the same characters — both APA proponents and opponents — over the years. He had taped some of them with the understanding that he wouldn’t print anything until after they had died, and now that time had arrived.
Ready to read a good book by a mountain lake? That’s a pleasant thought after a troubling year, and the time for it is creeping up on us. Maybe this summer we’ll even feel safe to mingle in bookshops, or do our reading around others in coffee shops.
Remember those days?
With high hopes, we at the Adirondack Explorer are assembling a summer reading list and some reviews, for recent books with Adirondack themes or interests.
There’s a lot of talk about truth in the news these days: What’s real? What’s “fake news”? Who decides?
Are you one of those who just knows it when you see it? Honestly, I kinda am, as well. But I’ve had more than 30 years of reporting, editing and immersing myself in the news media, so my lie detector is always on, if not always 100 percent accurate. For people just trying to learn what’s what in their community or places that matter to them, I realize that the internet has complicated things.