The Proposed Final Drafts of the Hurricane Mountain and St. Regis Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area Unit Management Plans (UMPs) were presented by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) staff to the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) Board at their monthly meeting on February 14, 2014. Pursuant to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP) requirements for Historic Areas, the Agency will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 to solicit public comments related to the proposed UMPs’ conformity with the provisions of the SLMP.
The Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area is located on the Summit of Hurricane Mountain in the Town of Keene, Essex County. The St. Regis Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area is located on the summit of St. Regis Mountain in the Town of Santa Clara, Franklin County. » Continue Reading.
Bluebird days make for great opportunities to photograph the striking contrast between the blue sky and snow. Typically photographing mid-day produces lack luster photographs. A polarizing filter will help cut the harshness of the light and produce a deep blue sky. Regardless of whether you are interested in photography, days such as these should be spent outside, not behind a desk.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released the draft unit management plans (UMPs) for the Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area and the Saint Regis Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area. The UMPs contain management proposals for the fire observation towers located on the summit of Hurricane Mountain in the Town of Keene, Essex County, and the summit of Saint Regis Mountain in the Town of Santa Clara, Franklin County.
The Hurricane Mountain fire tower was discontinued for use as a fire observation station in 1979, and the Saint Regis Mountain fire tower was shut down in 1990. Both structures have been closed to the public ever since. The UMPs propose to restore the two fire towers to a condition that will accommodate full public access of the structures and include interpretive materials related to the towers’ history. » Continue Reading.
A 2.8-mile trail to the fire tower on the summit of Loon Lake Mountain in the northern Adirondacks is complete and open to the public, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced.
The new trail includes a parking area and trailhead on the west side of County Route 26 in the Town of Franklin in Franklin County, approximately 4.7 miles north of the hamlet of Loon Lake. The trailhead and the lower portion of the trail are on the Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands (CEL), while the upper portion is on forest preserve lands in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest.
The trail rises more than 1,600 feet from the trailhead to the 3,355-foot summit of Loon Lake Mountain. The open bedrock summit provides views of Lyon Mountain, Whiteface Mountain, the High Peaks Wilderness Area, Debar Mountain and other nearby summits. » Continue Reading.
One hundred years ago this September the Keene Valley faced the second massive fire to threaten it from the south since the dawn of the young century. The irrepressible artist Harold Weston, then a young man of nineteen, was on the front lines along with his family; his father, secretary of Adirondack Trail Improvement Society (ATIS) at the time, was chief adviser to the Army platoon that President Woodrow Wilson had sent to help fight the fires.
In his collection Freedom in the Wilds Weston recounts the progress of the fire up the ridge of Noonmark and over the southern part of Round Mountain to Chapel Pond as crews of men, pressed beyond the point of exhaustion, tried to stop it with fire lines and back fires set at the edges of the 1903 fire’s advance. » Continue Reading.
A year ago last April I wrote about the Spring 1903 fire season during which nearly half a million acres burned in multiple fires throughout the Adirondacks. The largest fires were in Keene and North Elba; these had a personal relevance to me as they ringed Lost Brook Tract. The one sweeping into the heart of the High Peaks from the north came within six minutes of consuming the entire tract before drenching rains stopped it.
Thanks to meteorological luck as much as the brave and exhausting work by men and women fighting their advance, the 1903 fires did not result in major losses to towns or settlements. But there were incredibly close calls: the same drenching rains that saved Lost Brook Tract also saved Keene and Keene Valley from certain destruction: so imminent were the blazes in at least two directions that their heat could be felt and ash blanketed the hamlets. Residents had buried their belongings and fled; only fate gave them homes to which to return » Continue Reading.
Minerva Volunteer Fire and Rescue will be hosting “Minerva is Going to the Dogs: An All Breed Fun Dog Show” on Saturday, September 14th from noon to 5 pm at Minerva Beach.
The event features an agility and rally course, a silent auction, vendors, trainers, dog demos, fun competitions for dogs of all ages and abilities, and food and drink. The “Call Of The Wild” sled dogs will also be on hand. » Continue Reading.
I’m a traitor. I went to Vermont to go hiking this week. A friend and I hiked Elmore Mountain to an old fire tower. The fire tower was open to the public even though it was decommissioned, which is a big change from New York. Most of the fire towers here have had their first two flights of stairs removed, with the small, obligatory “Warning” sign attached somewhere.
When I went over Sunday afternoon on the Port Kent ferry, the overwhelming view of both Vermont and the Adirondacks was still green. The shoreline of Lake Champlain on both sides of the lake showed little sign of the cooling temperatures of mid-September. » Continue Reading.
It’s dry. Too dry. I dug a hole the other day and it was like digging in a sand box. A foot down and the dirt was still bone dry. I only remember one other drought like this, when I was at Paul Smiths. Doc Kudish pointed out to me that the leaves on the trees were actually wilting. The same thing is happening now, and there’s even a few that are starting to change color. And it’s not because it’s been cool out.
Both of the spring-fed streams that run through the property are dry because the water table has dropped so low. There are no blueberries, which is a shame because wild blueberries are hands-down one of the greatest foods known to man. We did get some rain earlier this week, and it was much needed, but it’s not enough to make up for what we haven’t gotten over the course of the summer. » Continue Reading.
The woods are dry out there. This week, forest fire fighters needed state police helicopters to douse a carelessly set, poorly extinguished fire up on Sawteeth Mountain. In such cases, the informal NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) policy is to fight and extinguish the fire as part of its legal responsibilities for care, custody and control of the Forest Preserve.
Ought there be a state policy of graduated measures to address forest fires in the Forest Preserve, particularly in remote areas? Greater dialogue and sharing of information on the subject of forest fire in the wilds of the Park, public or private, would be helpful. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondacks and the surrounding region are at High Fire Danger Levels, warns the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers. Recent warm and dry weather has created a “High Fire Danger” condition that allows wildfires to start easily and spread quickly with devastating effects.
Three fires in the Adirondacks, one of which was started by an unattended campfire, have already burned eight acres of wild lands. The U.S. Drought Monitor is also reporting abnormally dry conditions in Clinton, Franklin, Northern Essex, Western Hamilton, Lewis, and Oneida counties. » Continue Reading.
I was slapping myself stupid trying to get all the mosquitoes. There was a nice breeze coming off the lake and the fire was helping keep them down a little, but I was still getting eaten alive.
I threw another piece of wood on the fire. It was some leftover wood from last year’s hurricane that had blown down during the storm. The red pines that came down around here were huge old trees, but growing in sand a lot them just tipped over.
Back in the cabin, the woodstove hasn’t been used in months. I think back to all the winter nights when I really would have liked to see the fire. But my stove doesn’t have any glass in it, just a big black box. A little bit of light is nice when the sun goes down at five in the afternoon. » Continue Reading.
The recent exploits of Nik Wallenda at Niagara Falls call to mind North Country folks who once performed daredevil stunts and amazing feats, some of them more than a century ago. One who secured his place in history was Robert Emmet Odlum, a St. Lawrence County native whose most famous effort earned him footnote status in the story of one of America’s most famous landmarks.
While Odlum’s origins (he was born August 31, 1851) have been reported as Washington, DC, and Memphis, Tennessee, he was born in St. Lawrence County, New York. That information is in stone, literally―Ogdensburg is the birthplace that is carved into the obelisk atop Odlum’s grave. (He was buried in Washington, which may account for some of the confusion.)
Robert’s entire life was linked to water, beginning with the St. Lawrence River, where it is said that he learned to swim as a very young child. That information comes from his mother, who wrote Robert’s life story after he died. » Continue Reading.
Chilson Volunteer Fire Department will celebrate hold its second antique and classic firefighting equipment show at the department’s annual barbecue. The event, which is open to the public, takes place on Saturday, July 14th at the department’s headquarters, 60 Putts Pond Road in Ticonderoga. Festivities begin at noon and the barbecue will be served beginning at 2:00 p.m. The barbecue – a summer tradition for the Ticonderoga-Chilson community – includes chicken and all the fixins, as well as an afternoon of music, entertainment and fun for the whole family.
Last year’s event sold out, with more than 350 in attendance and a good showing of classic trucks; this year organizers expect even more antique and classic fire trucks, as the show is catching on with area departments and collectors. Antique and classic fire trucks from around the region will compete for trophies. » Continue Reading.
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