Posts Tagged ‘Forest Preserve’

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: Surveying the Unknown

TheodoliteHow does a surveyor traipse into the woods and come out with accurate heights, positions, distances and property lines for artifacts in the middle of nowhere?  It’s magic, of course, but it is mathematical magic that has been well understood for a good two-thousand years.  In last week’s Dispatch I covered the core of that mathematics, which is the simple but incredible marriage between proportions and triangles.

I finished  by presenting  a fact little understood by the typical person: because of this mathematics you can measure the distance to anything in the world by simply pointing to it.  No direct measurement is needed.  This week in my continuing series on the magic of surveying I’m going to show how it is done, finishing with an Adirondack example of note. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

DEC Plan for Former Finch Lands Unveiled

essex classification map - hi resThe state Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing to classify the Essex Chain of Lakes and the surrounding landscape Wild Forest, a designation that environmental activists contend will allow too much motorized access.

Under DEC’s proposal, 13,000 of the Essex Chain Tract’s 18,000 acres would be classified Wild Forest. It would be called the Essex Chain Canoe Recreation Area. The other 5,000 acres, in the vicinity of the Hudson River, would become part of a Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area. The Wilderness Area would incorporate other lands that the state owns or intends to buy.

The Adirondack Council, Protect the Adirondacks, and the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) all want to see the bulk of the Essex Chain Tract classified Wilderness. (Click here to read about the council’s and Protect’s rival visions for the tract.) The major difference between Wilderness and Wild Forest is that motorized use is forbidden in Wilderness Areas. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: The Magic of Surveying

Surveying Tools, 1728Today I begin a series of Dispatches on surveying, one of the greatest and richest interactions between humans and their natural environment, rife with beauties,  drama and challenge.  And magic.

There are many perspectives from which to tell the story of the history of the Adirondacks.  Indeed the numerous Adirondack history books available to the curious reader feature a wide variety of approaches.  Some are essentially chronological in nature; some are cultural; some are political.  I especially enjoy the many historical writings about the region that are thematically organized around the personalities of the unequaled cast of characters whose fates were intertwined with the Adirondack Mountains.  From To Charles Herreshoff to John Brown to Ned Buntline to Thomas Clark Durant the variety of people and their various enterprises is remarkable.
» Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: Promoting Wilderness

Looking up the cliffs to Adam's Ledge and the summit of Burton's PeakLike all who know and love the Adirondacks I have always felt a personal stake in the grand debate over private versus public land and the extent to which the state of New York should support and expand its wilderness holdings.   It’s no secret I firmly believe that the Adirondacks’ greatest asset is its mountainous wilderness character and that increasing this asset and leveraging the image of the Adirondacks as a wild place holds the key to gaining its best economic future.

Plenty of people disagree with me.  So I laid out my arguments in great detail in a series of Dispatches running from October through November of last year that promoted what I called a wild, mountainous Adirondack Image.  All told these Dispatches engendered more than a hundred and seventy comments, which is a wonderful.  Meanwhile the same debate raged on in columns ranging from the State’s acquisitions of the Nature Conservancy offering to tourism, Adirondack branding and others.  As I read various postings and comments I found myself thinking all too often that people still don’t get it, that so many of the viewpoints are myopic, embracing a very narrow focus at the expense of the bigger picture. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Snowmobile Trail Through The Forest Preserve

Late December snow makes it likely that a good base will develop for snowmobiling throughout this winter. A new 13-mile snowmobile (and hiking, possibly biking) trail has been established, a so-called community connector trail between the Moose River Plains Road (Limekiln-Cedar River Road) and Raquette Lake.

Nearly a dozen alternate locations for this trail were included in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest Unit Management Plan approved by the NYS DEC and APA in 2011. One was chosen as the preferred alternative, deemed most in compliance with the state’s Snowmobile Trail Guidance approved by DEC and APA in 2010. The new trail is nearly completed as it reaches the north end of Sagamore Road near Raquette Lake village, utilizing DEC operations and other staff pulled in from all over the state. Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve investigated the trail construction in mid-October. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What Makes This A Park?

The Adirondack Park is more than double the size of Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks combined, but its greatness is not always apparent. Silver lakes and dark woods beckon from some roadsides, while lawns and driveways interrupt the wild scenery from others. With its mix of private and public land, the Adirondacks have always had something of an identity problem.

Four decades after the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) was created to oversee development on private lands, the Park is still in search of a coherent look. Brown road signs with yellow lettering suggest to visitors they are in a special place. But are signs enough?

“The Adirondacks mean nothing if you don’t know you’re in a park,” said George Davis, who led the state’s Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century in 1990. “Where else do you have six million acres of [largely] forested land? Not this side of Minnesota.”  The commission proposed a series of recommendations to make the Adirondacks more park-like, including establishing an Adirondack Park Administration to oversee planning of both private and public lands and an Adirondack Park Service that would manage the public lands. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: The Tree of Magic

During our time at Lost Brook Tract one of our great pleasures has been discovering and measuring larger examples of the old growth trees that cover most of the land.   There are four canonical species of tree in our boreal wonderland: red spruce, balsam, white birch and yellow birch, plus an occasional mountain ash.  Both the red spruce and yellow birch impress in old-growth form, the latter in girth more than height.

Our catalog of giants includes a yellow birch with a diameter over three feet and multiple red spruces with heights over eighty feet and diameters in the two-foot range.  One red spruce, just a little bit down slope from our property, exceeds a hundred feet by a good margin. At our elevation trees like these are impressive and very rare in the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Rescuing A Lean-to Before The Damage Is Done

What follows is an e-mail recently sent by Paul Delucia, of Lean2Rescue, one of several volunteer organizations who work to build and maintain facilities in the Adirondack Park’s backcountry.

Rarely do we get a chance to rescue a lean-to before the damage is done.

On Thanksgiving, Hilary Moynihan (ADK lean-to adopter coordinator) and I were notified that somebody had chopped down a tree at the Gull Lake lean-to (Black River Wild Forest). Sadly, it was live spruce tree (about 60 ft tall) left hanging precariously in a smaller cherry tree. It threatened both the lean-to and anybody that might visit it. I sent out a broadcast to all that might be in the Woodgate / Old Forge Area on a moment’s notice. By Saturday, a crew of eight from Lean2Rescue arrived with nearly 150 lbs of equipment (ropes, climbing gear, saws), and a tree climber (me). After about an hour, the tree was safely down and the lean-to standing unharmed.
» Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: The Allure of Lost Brook

I grew up appreciating Adirondack water primarily in the form of its lakes and ponds.  Our family began vacationing at Blue Mountain Lake nearly sixty years ago and by now I feel as though I know every island and every inch of its depths and shoreline.

There are many other bodies of water that became at least somewhat familiar to me in my boyhood: Eagle and Utowana Lakes, Long Lake, Piseco Lake, parts of the Fulton chain, Minnow Pond, Stephens Pond, Cascade Pond, Rock Pond (one of the many), the Sargent Ponds, Lake Durant, Tirrell Pond, Indian Lake, Heart Lake.  As an adult I have come to even more intimate terms with many more, primarily in the High Peaks and Saint Regis areas. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Stewarding the Wild Adirondacks

“We are part of a movement,” Dale Penny reminded the 50 people and representatives of 25 organizations gathered for the workshop on Nov. 3, 2012. Stewarding the Wild Adirondacks was the first workshop of its kind to bring as many of the Adirondack Park’s natural resource stewardship programs as possible together in one place to discuss ways to better collaborate. Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve was the workshop sponsor, and Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center its host. International Paper helped provide underwriting support for the event.

Dale Penny is president of the Student Conservation Association, America’s conservation service organization which places over 4,200 young people annually in demanding conservation and stewardship jobs in rural and urban settings across the country, including the Adirondack Park.
» Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Building the Adirondack Economy

Last week’s Dispatch provoked a healthy discussion in the comments section.  The readers of the Almanack proved once again to be light years ahead of your average blog trollers by being thoughtful and respectful.  My arguments about economic reality in the park and elitism in the question of land use were not met with a single angry or accusatory response, but rather thoughtful commentary.  So thanks to all.

In fact, I was a little surprised to see that my economic argument was left virtually unchallenged.  Instead the discussion followed the common theme over whether there is enough wilderness in the Adirondacks, but along two lines so as to apparently dismiss the claim that a local perspective is elitist.  The first line was to question the value of wilderness in the first place (as I strictly defined it for the purposes of this argument).  Is an area of untrammeled Adirondack wilderness really that valuable to anyone, much less someone leagues away living in Cleveland?  The second line was to argue over usage, both locally and from a national perspective: who uses Adirondack wilderness and how much? » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pace Law School Profs Issue Forest Preserve Papers

 

Lean-To in Forest Preserve

The High Peaks Wilderness is part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. Photo by Mike Lynch

At the Bar Association’s Environmental Law Conference in Lake Placid on October 13, Pace University Law School professors Nicholas Robinson and Philip Weinberg released twelve edited papers – eleven by their law school students – that review the history, and relevancy today of New York’s Article 14.

Effective since 1895 and known as the “Forever Wild” provision of our State Constitution which protects the State’s Forest Preserve in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, Article 14 states that “the lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands.”
» Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches:
Economic Reality and Wilderness Protection

In last week’s Dispatch I claimed that we do not have nearly enough protected wilderness in America.  I promised to address counterarguments and objections this week.   I would like to thank all commenters for what were on the balance quite thoughtful observations.

After reading the comments and thinking about what issues a reasonable person might raise I came up with three possible objections to my parade of numbers: » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

APA: Land Classification, Mirror Lake, GIS, Invasives

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting at its Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY on Thursday, October 11 and Friday, October 12, 2012. Included on the agenda are set-back and height variances for a project on Mirror Lake, an extension of the Barton Mine wind power tower weather monitoring stations in Johnsburg, an update on the status of Asian clam eradication permits, a discussion of the vulnerability of at-risk species to climate change, and informational presentations on the state land classification process, the use of GIS for recording public trail use data, and invasive species in Lake George and Lake Champlain.
» Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

How Much Wilderness is Enough?

A week ago last Monday I was in my kitchen preparing for my classes and enjoying a cup of coffee.  I loaded up the Almanack and read the just-published article by Phil Brown about his trip to the Boreas Ponds as part of Governor Cuomo’s visit.

I enjoyed it and found it informative.  It certainly whetted my appetite for seeing the ponds in person.  A couple of predictable comments had been logged on the article but nothing that really grabbed my attention.  I finished my coffee and got on with my day. » Continue Reading.



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