Posts Tagged ‘Follensby Pond’

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

How many lake trout in Follensby Pond?

Follensby Pond

A new Adirondack laboratory

Over a decade ago, The Nature Conservancy paid a team of lake ecologists to assess the fish population at Follensby Pond, especially its prized lake trout fishery.

TNC had acquired the 970-acre lake and the surrounding 14,600 acres and were in the slow process of working out the details of its future with the state

The scientists, led by Chris Solomon, now of the Cary Institute, estimated the lake trout population in the low thousands (with just over 100 trophy-sized individuals topping 30 inches) and found that Follensby lake trout appeared to grow more slowly than typical of the slow-growing species. They simulated how the lake trout would respond to a variety of different angling pressures.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Discussion time: Follensby Pond

discussion graphic

After waiting since The Nature Conservancy (TNC) bought the. property in 2008, the state and TNC have announced an agreement for protecting Follensby Park.

New York state and The Nature Conservancy have reached a “novel” compromise for both protecting and providing public access to parts of Follensby Park, the 14,600-acre property near Tupper Lake where Ralph Waldo Emerson held his historic philosophers camp. The announcement was made during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.

The state is under contract for two conservation easements. One provides recreational access to lands on the western side of the Raquette River, including the Moose Creek watershed. The other protects the 970-acre Follensby Pond, with limited access permitted for “scientific, educational and cultural purposes.” The final terms of the easement are not currently available and the property remains closed for now.

Read the story here and weigh in with your thoughts. Should Follensby Pond be open to the general public?


Monday, February 19, 2024

Rewiring winter

An electric snowmobile in winter snow.

Despite the season’s limited snowfall, snowmobilers trekked across parts of the park in January and February, including on the Adirondack Rail Trail. Research shows that snowmobiles cause harm to the environment from their exhaust and noise pollution.

But new technology points to a zero-emission transition.

Developed in Canada, electric snowmobiles have yet to become popular in the states and in the Adirondacks, though some are encouraging their presence. That includes the former executive director of the New York State Snowmobile Association.

Read the story here.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Stillman’s Historic Painting and the Future of Follensby Pond

stillman painting from follensby pond

William James Stillman’s painting “The Philosophers’ Camp in the Adirondacks.” Courtesy of Concord Free Public Library

By Philip Kokotailo

Will recently reported discussions about the future of Follensby Pond (between representatives of the Nature Conservancy and New York State) acknowledge the powerful themes of art as well as the enduring lessons of history?  Let’s hope so.  It was Follensby Pond, after all, that provided the setting for William James Stillman’s 1858 painting, The Philosophers’ Camp in the Adirondacks.  It has become, in the 163 years that followed, the most frequently reproduced image of a much-celebrated event.  The past two summers in particular reveal why.  

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 9, 2021

The future of Follensby Pond

follensby pond

In case you missed it, the state and The Nature Conservancy are in discussion over the future of Follensby Pond. The tract in Tupper Lake has a storied past from its days hosting great philosophers like Ralph Waldo Emerson. Its heritage lake trout are also legendary. We haven’t heard much about this property. The Nature Conservancy purchased it about 13 years ago.

Some believe state and conservancy negotiations will lead to Follensby Pond closed to the public, while others have high hopes it will be part of the forest preserve. What would you like to see?

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Philosophers’ Camp at Follensby Pond

Philosopher_CampFew incidents in nineteenth-century Adirondack history have been more often recounted than the famous Philosophers’ Camp at Follensby Pond. The story of how Ralph Waldo Emerson and an assortment of VIPs from the Concord-Cambridge axis camped for several weeks in 1858 on the shores of a virtually untouched lake deep in the wilderness has become a familiar chestnut in the Adirondack canon. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Philosophers’ Camp Talk In Saratoga Springs

The Story of the Philosophers CampIn 1858 some of the leading lights of American art, literature, and science camped together on Follensby Pond near Tupper Lake at what is now known as the Philosophers’ Camp.

The gathering was organized by Willam James Stillman, artist and editor of acclaimed art magazine of the time, The Crayon. It included transcendental philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, the poet James Russel Lowell, Harvard scientist Jean Louis Agassiz, and others.

The meeting at Follensby was widely covered in the popular press of the time and fueled an interest in the Adirondacks and retreating into the wilderness to write, make art and discuss the issues of the day. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Adirondack Lake Trout At Risk

Adirondack Lake TroutIn one traditional method of lake-trout fishing, an angler holds in his or her hand a weighted line while trolling from a boat. To collect the line, the angler uses a jerry-rigged Victrola record player with a spool in the middle.

“As they pulled in the line, they turned on their [hand-cranked] Victrola,” said Joe Hackett, a fishing guide from Ray Brook. “Lake-trout fishing is so specialized. That’s something you learn from your father, or uncle, or grandfather.” » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Lake Trout Research At Follensby Pond

2013 Lake PLacid Lake Trout Survey (Mary Thill Photo)Can well-managed lakes in the Adirondacks provide important refuges for lake trout in the face of climate change?

That’s the focus of a new intensive research effort being conducted at Follensby Pond, a 1,000-acre lake purchased by The Nature Conservancy in 2008.

The pond offers the perfect opportunity to research lake trout at the southern end of their range, to determine how these large and ecologically important fish could best be managed and protected given rising temperatures and other environmental changes. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Peter Bauer:
Governor Cuomo’s Role in Forest Preserve Classification

Essex ChainGovernor Andrew Cuomo visited the Adirondack Park on Thursday September 26th and devoted a full day to discussions with various parties about the looming decision by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) on the Forest Preserve classification of 21,000-acres of former Finch Paper lands along the Hudson River and around the Essex Chain Lakes.

I give the Governor high marks for making the trip and holding these meetings. (In the interest of full disclosure no one from Protect the Adirondacks was invited to these meetings. We are, after all, suing the Cuomo Administration with two pretty big lawsuits.) With Joe Martens, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in tow, the Governor met at Follensby Pond (his second trip there) with the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, the Adirondack Council and ADK. Those most closely aligned with the Cuomo Administration, who supported for the Adirondack Club & Resort project and/or the NYCO land swap, get to go fishing with the Governor.

The Governor then went to Gore Mountain and met with seven local government officials as well as Senator Betty Little and Assemblyman Dan Stec. At Gore, the Governor held a press conference. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dam History: The Oxbow Reservoir Project

Proposed Oxbow DamThe Raquette River, from Raquette Falls to the State Boat Launch on Tupper Lake, is one of the nicest stretches of flat-water anywhere in the Adirondacks.  Paddling this river corridor under a clear cerulean blue sky, on a sunny autumn day with the riverbanks ablaze in orange and red, is exquisite.  For me, though, the river’s history is as captivating as its natural beauty.

Countless people have traveled this section of river over the centuries.  There were native peoples who hunted, fished, and trapped, the hinterlands of Long Lake and further into the Raquette Lake area, long before whites appeared on the Adirondack Plateau.  There were the early farmers and families wanting to start a new livelihood.  There were the guides and their wealthy “sports”, (and later the families of these sports) desiring adventure and recreation.  There were people seeking better health and relief from the despair and disease of the cities.  There were merchants, hotelkeepers, charwomen, day labors, ax-men, river drivers, and a host of others. There were the famous, the not so famous, and the down-and-out.

All of these people, and many others, used the Raquette ( Racket or Racquette ) River as a transportation highway.  The number of footfalls on the carries at and around Raquette Falls is limited only to the imagination.  In his book Adirondack Canoe Waters: North Flow, Paul Jamieson refers to the nearby Indian Carry, at Corey’s separating the Raquette River system from the Sacanac River system, as the “Times Square of the woods.”  ( Note: In the Adirondacks one “carries” around rapids and waterfalls, one does not “portage.” ) » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 4, 2013

State Loses $2.5M Follensby Grant Amid Calls For Funding

follensby pondThe Adirondack Council urged state lawmakers to increase funding for environmental priorities in the FY2013-14 NYS Budget in testimony today at the legislature’s budget hearing. The Council cited the recent loss of a $2.5 million grant secured to aid the purchase of the Follensby Tract as a sign that New York’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) needs an expedited increase in funding.

Adirondack Council Legislative Director Scott Lorey called for an additional $11 million to be added in the EPF and also urged Governor Andrew Cuomo to rebuild the staffing at key regulatory agencies whose budgets have been cut in recent years, including the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Park Agency. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Philosophy: Should Adk Professionals SpeakTheir Mind?

A few months back one of my colleagues here at the Almanack wrote a fine post that raised the question of whether or not it is feasible for New York State to acquire Follensby Pond and surrounding lands.

I had great fun weighing-in on an element of philosophical gamesmanship that Phil Brown touched on related to Aristotle’s notion of begging the question. A short while later, I was describing what I thought had been my clever contribution to a friend who asked “yes, but what was your position?” Well I never! No really, I never even considered entering the conversation with my position on the situation.

As a philosopher, much of my work involves drawing out the views of others into a constructive space where disagreement operates alongside mutual respect for differences of opinion. In this process I act as facilitator, offering my own opinion only when it might help to further the discourse. This method is useful, at the same time it is almost entirely without risk. Whereas others who participate in a dialog (say around Adirondack land acquisition) lead with their position and without the safety of neutral ground. This came up for me during a recent conversation with a few colleagues who work in the field of environmental education.

We were talking about how much of what we believe can and should we reveal when talk turns to issues that are invariably fraught with tension and where perspectives, and ultimately the people who hold them, are judged by what they believe. In other words, how much of our personal and ideological positions can we show up with while taking care to subject ourselves to the least amount of ire?

Each of us enters into a private negotiation to gauge this type of risk countless times a day. And the stakes are particularly high when viewpoints push past our personal belief into a professional space where often unspoken expectations about who we are and what we think are nearly written into our job descriptions as environmental educators, ecologists, biologists, and naturalists etc.

But what happens when our personal and public personas don’t seamlessly match, or when I hold to a belief that might put the two in conflict? What are the boundaries of my duty or the limits of my professional responsibility when what I believe isn’t consistent with what I am expected to believe? Am I duty bound, as German philosopher Immanuel Kant believed, to conduct myself with an artificial unanimity when I am in service to an institution or organization acting in the interest of the community? In this case is Kant right to call for obedience or submission to a disciplinary or professional agenda?

Maybe, but as members of the whole community or of a society of world citizens and thus in the role of a scholar he can argue without hurting the affairs for which he is in part responsible. In other words, as citizens and public intellectuals we are indeed obligated to speak our minds. Kant’s adamant belief in our responsibility as public and private citizens comes from his belief that freedom and righteousness always operate in concert. He envisions a landscape where we emerge as independent thinkers who value our own worth and every man’s vocation for thinking for himself where a greater degree of civil freedom appears advantageous to the freedom of mind which fosters the propensity and vocation to free thinking.

From What is Enlightenment, Immanuel Kant, 1784.

Marianne is a philosopher living, writing and teaching in the Adirondacks.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Monroe Still Questions Land Purchases

One of the local officials who supported an investigation of the Adirondack Nature Conservancy’s sale of land to the state says he still thinks the state’s land-acquisition policy needs to be reformed–even though the probe found no wrongdoing.

Fred Monroe, executive director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, continues to question why the state paid $3.7 million more for the land in 2008 than the Nature Conservancy paid four years earlier. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

DEC Seeks Money for Follensby Pond

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is fighting for federal monies to help pay for the acquisition of Follensby Pond near Tupper Lake.

The Adirondack Nature Conservancy bought Follensby Pond and its surrounding forest—some 14,600 acres, in all—for $16 million in 2008 with the intention of selling it to the state. The property had been on the wish list of preservationists for decades. » Continue Reading.



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