Out west the summer of 2022 will long be remembered as the year of fire, but the Adirondacks also has a history of fire.
The years 1903 and 1908 were two great fire years in the Adirondacks. An article titled “Years of Fire” in the March/April 1981 Adirondack Life notes that “During both years the northeast suffered from drought. Due to sloppy logging, the woods were filled with piles of slash, the discarded tops, and limbs of trees. The railroads, which crossed the Adirondacks in the 1890s, failed to equip their wood and coal burning locomotives with spark arrestors. Although mandated by state law the penalties for violating the equipment law were so insignificant the railroads ignored them, and fires started all up and down the rail lines.”
We at Adirondack Architectural Heritage were devastated to hear of the terrible fire that engulfed several of the buildings at White Pine Camp on Sunday evening. By Monday morning, we learned that the fire had been contained to a cluster of buildings in what was the former service complex and that the camp’s Main Lodge, lakeside cabins, boathouses, and other buildings were spared.
Almost 30 years ago, Dana Carvey’s character, “Grumpy Old Man,” was a popular recurring feature of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update.
He’d offer an assessment of current times compared to the so-called “good old days,” highlighting some barbaric practices of the past (exaggerated to great comedic effect) with the closing line, “And we liked it!”
I was reminded of that concept while perusing some shocking guidelines suggested in the early 1900s regarding the enjoyment of a safe Christmas season. Regional newspapers carried a list of suggestions for an enhanced experience … and I liked it! » Continue Reading.
The Club Camp is often mentioned as the first permanent structure built on Big Moose Lake. The word permanent is rather ironic because this hunting and fishing establishment had a relatively short history of just 28 years. Today the camp’s origins, visitors, and sad end seem largely forgotten.
According to Joseph F. Grady’s The Adirondacks: Fulton Chain-Big Moose Region (1933), the Club Camp was constructed in 1878 at the request of several sportsmen from New York City who had been spending summers on the lake in previous years.
At the time, Big Moose, near Old Forge, NY, was difficult to reach — the railroad would not arrive in the area until 1892. Before 1878, only lean-tos or shanties were available on Big Moose, notably that of businessman William “Billy” Dutton, which was built in 1876, and that of guide Jack Sheppard which was set up around the same time. » Continue Reading.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is reminding the public that they can help protect New York State’s forests from invasive pests and diseases by following the New York State Firewood Regulation.
Untreated, NY-grown firewood must stay within a 50-mile radius of its source or origin.
Untreated firewood may not be brought into NY from any other state.
Heat-treated firewood can be transported anywhere in NY, but it must have a receipt or label that says, “New York Approved Heat-Treated Firewood/Pest-Free”. » Continue Reading.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is participating in events across the state this month to celebrate Smokey Bear’s 75th anniversary.
DEC is teaming up with the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters, and the Ad Council to celebrate 75 years since the 1944 launch of the Smokey Bear Wildfire Prevention campaign, the longest-running public service advertising campaign in U.S. history. » Continue Reading.
With the start of camping season underway, Department of Environmental Conservation is reminding campers that the New York State firewood transportation regulation is still in effect.
Untreated firewood may contain invasive pests that kill trees, and to protect New York’s forests, untreated firewood should not be moved more than 50 miles from its source of origin. » Continue Reading.
Over the years I have put my canoe into the waters at Low’s Lower Dam (constructed 1907); and paddled the meandering Bog River Flow up to Hitchins Pond.
I have carried around Low’s Upper Dam (built in 1903*), many times. I usually choose to camp on Low’s Lake, so I keep on going. But occasionally a day paddle and a short hike around Hitchins Pond is in order. It’s on these day paddles that I often walk the road (actually the old Maple Valley Railroad bed), as part of the Horse Shoe Forestry Company, constructed by Abbot Augustus “Gus” Low in 1900. If you know where to look, there are “sidings” where A. A. Low’s sugarhouses were located. » Continue Reading.
The last few years have brought a dramatic shift in fire behavior in the Western United States. Fires are more intense, more common in the wildland-urban interface, and the burning seasons are longer. Most fire professionals no longer even recognize “fire seasons” in parts of the country, but rather “fire years.” All of this is occurring while there is shrinking pool of human resources to fight fires.
The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), is the country’s support center for wildland firefighting. Its policy states that “Wildland fire recognizes no ownership or jurisdictional boundaries on the landscape; nor do the complex issues of fire management. As a result, perhaps nowhere is the practice of interagency and interdepartmental cooperation more prevalent and effective as in the nation’s wildland fire community.” » Continue Reading.
Recent news stories on both sides of Lake Champlain reported a huge, dark cloud of smoke rising above northern Clinton County. A section of the Altona Flat Rock was afire, and within a day, more than 300 acres were scorched.
Dry conditions across the North Country were cited as the reason it spread so quickly, but there were other factors I happen to be familiar with because the first book I wrote, back in 1980, was titled A History of the Altona Flat Rock. The area in question comprises fifteen square miles of uninhabited wildlands which, by nature, is a very dry environment. » Continue Reading.
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has reminded the public that with spring approaching and conditions for wildfires heightened, residential brush burning is prohibited through May 14th across New York State.
Even though much of the state is currently blanketed in snow, warming temperatures can quickly cause wildfire conditions to arise. » Continue Reading.
Chilson Volunteer Fire Department will mark National Fire Prevention Week this year with a pancake breakfast on Saturday, October 14 from 8 am to 10 am at the department’s Chilson Community House at 60 Putts Pond Road.
Drop in to enjoy Larry Lauman’s famous apple pancakes, with sides of bacon and sausage – and plenty of coffee, of course. Breakfast is free to Chilson and Ticonderoga neighbors and friends (although donations will be gratefully accepted).
For Chilson Fire District residents, the department will offer free smoke alarms and free smoke-alarm batteries. » Continue Reading.
Recently, I was returning from Nubble Cliff in the Giant Mountain Wilderness when I passed a tent on the southeast shore of the Giant’s Washbowl and heard someone breaking branches or dead trees, presumably gathering wood for a campfire.
Campfires are an Adirondack tradition. Who doesn’t like a fire when sleeping under the stars? Nevertheless, I couldn’t help thinking that this was not good for the environment. Rather, it was destructive. » Continue Reading.
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