I try to stay away from the more popular Adirondack peaks during the summer season, because at my age I’m always afraid some college kid is going to stop me on the trail and ask me to sit for an oral history project.
But I figured I needed to climb Owls Head in Keene before it closes later this year due to overuse and the poor manners of hikers whose cars were blocking the driveways of homeowners on the privately owned property.
I had seen Owls Head many times as I descended from the Cascade lakes on Rt. 73. I’d always thought to myself, What a cute little mountain; I wonder why nobody ever climbs that? This shows what an idiot I am, because apparently about 7 million people a day climb Owls Head, part of the creeping Cascadeism that turns the stunning pass into a three-mile parking lot on the weekends. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that the trail to the summit of Owls Head in the town of Keene is closed to public access and use on weekends, effective immediately. The trailhead and all but the last 0.1 mile of the trail are located on private lands.
According to an announcement by DEC: “The large number of vehicles parked on the private road during the Memorial Day weekend blocked access for private landowners, and now the landowners are prohibiting the public to park on the private road between 4 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Monday and have posted signs along the road reflecting this decision.” » Continue Reading.
Several speakers with direct experience in the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s and Water Protectors’ efforts to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline Project over the past year will present their personal stories in an open community dialogue event next Thursday, March 30th at the Keene Valley Congregational Church. The public is encouraged to attend.
From 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm, presentations will begin in the sanctuary space with speakers presenting their experience and perspectives of the Standing Rock movement. Presenters include Katie Wilson, Tom Smith, Nicky Frechette and Dan Plumley – veterans and activists on the Standing Rock issue from Keene. Mohawk traditional elder and teacher Alan Brant from Ontario, Canada will be attending and will help open the event as well as offer his indigenous perspective on this new era of Standing Rock awareness. » Continue Reading.
Manhattan resident Kathy Drake has seen nearly 600 different bird species in her life and regularly travels to observe them. So when she recently found out there was a great gray owl in Keene, she decided to drive up to the Adirondacks to see it. After all, it was a lot closer to home than Minnesota, where she spent four days last year unsuccessfully looking for the bird.
“You don’t have any idea how magical this is,” Drake said. “It really is.”
Drake said she arrived in Keene with her friends in the early afternoon on Wednesday and planned to spend the night in Upper Jay before heading back to New York City the next day. » Continue Reading.
Lake Placid Land Conservancy (LPLC) recently acquired 25 acres of Laurentian-Acadian pine, hemlock, and hardwood forest adjacent to the High Peaks Wilderness in Keene. The lands were donated by Ed and Carolyn Fowler of Keene and Bloomfield, CT.
“Conservation of the property will permanently protect a variety of terrestrial and aquatic habitats, including a portion of a critical tributary to the headwaters of the East Branch of the Ausable River,” an announcement sent to the Almanack said. » Continue Reading.
In late December, the rustic red barn that stood at the intersection of Routes 73 and 9N in Keene was taken down by the Department of Environmental Conservation after it became hazardous.
Although not an officially-recognized historic landmark, many who have traveled through Keene saw the barn, with its majestic High Peaks in the background, as a quaint countryside icon.
Since it came down, folks have waxed nostalgic while mourning the abrupt loss of this unassuming structure. I decided to dig into the barn’s history and see if there was more to it than met the eye. » Continue Reading.
For amateur photographer Nick Palmieri, the structure known as the “Keene barn” was always a welcome sight as he arrived in the High Peaks region.
“I’ve always called it the gateway to the High Peaks,” said Palmieri, who lives in New Jersey and runs the Save the Keene New York Barn Facebook page. “From an artists’ point of view that barn just sits in the perfect spot, just to make the scene perfectly beautiful.” » Continue Reading.
Adirondack Guide Smith Brett Lawrence passed away on Thursday, June 30, every bit as much an icon of Keene, NY as Giant Mountain, Noonmark Diner, and the old red barn at the bottom of Spruce Hill (at the junction of routes 73 and 9N).
His full white beard and his red truck from which he flew the American flag gave Brett presence. He was also one of the last visages of an era that stretches back to the early days of the 19th century, and of a family that for four generations made their living as a guide and caretaker. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Transportation has begun work this week on a project to create a parking and scenic viewing area at the intersection of Routes 73 and 9N in Keene, Essex County.
The estimated $40,000 project at the southwest corner of the intersection will create an area to parallel park eight cars, along with an approximately 35-foot long gravel walking path leading to an approximate 20-foot diameter viewing area. Boulders will be placed at the rear of the parking area to help define the space. » Continue Reading.
On a clear night stargazers can often be found at the heights of Norton Cemetery in Keene looking up.
A recent weekend provided stellar nights for gazing. Not perfect as high cirrus clouds shaded a few assets, but four great ones were clear: Jupiter and its four moons, Mercury, the Moon in its pocketed glory, and space lab whizzing by. » Continue Reading.
How can the Adirondack Region be more welcoming to refugees in a time when the need is acute but the political atmosphere is often hostile? On Dr. Martin Luther King Day, the Keene Valley Congregational Church (KVCC) hosted a Refugee Summit for area faith communities to begin a discussion about how to open hearts and homes to refugees in a time of international crisis. Conceived by the KVCC Steering Committee and Minister Milton Dudley, the three-hour event was attended by about seventy people from nearly a dozen churches and faith organizations from throughout the North Country and as far away as Saratoga Springs.
Speaking of the high turnout and the immediate sense of purpose in the room, Reverend Dudley said the gathering went “way above and beyond” his expectations. “I think the spirit here is ‘We want to do something, so let’s go.’ The analysis will come later.” » Continue Reading.
The state attorney general is seeking dismissal of a lawsuit brought against the state Department of Environmental Conservation in a long-running feud over the status of Old Mountain Road in the towns of North Elba and Keene.
The state is also seeking to transfer the case from State Supreme Court in Essex County to the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Albany.
The Old Mountain Road is a dirt thoroughfare, often flooded by beavers, that runs through the Sentinel Range Wilderness. It is part of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail, which stretches from Keene to Saranac Lake. » Continue Reading.
Thirteen years after he was first ticketed for driving a snowmobile on Old Mountain Road, Jim McCulley is still fighting the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
In his latest legal action, McCulley claims DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens violated his civil rights when Martens overturned earlier decisions in the case and ruled that Old Mountain Road is part of the Forest Preserve, not a town road.
“It’s like beating your head against the wall, over and over. Why do they keep coming back?” said Lake Placid attorney Matt Norfolk, who represents McCulley.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
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