The village of Lake Placid will host the 8th Annual Holiday Village Stroll, complete with holiday shopping, family fun, arts and entertainment from Friday, Dec. 9 through Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016.
The Holiday Village Stroll weekend includes activities for kids and families such as a skating party, opportunities to visit with Santa, holiday movie screenings at the Palace Theatre, a tree-lighting ceremony, holiday crafts, story time and cookie decorating. » Continue Reading.
The US National Fly Fishing Championships begins Wednesday, June 1st, when some of the best anglers in the country check-in at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center at 7 pm. There will be three days of competition for spots on the National Fly Fishing Team.
According to event organizer Ken Crane, this is the first year the nationals have come to the area. Two regional qualifiers were held in the area last June. “We have 55 anglers: 11 teams of five guys, at five venues: three rivers and two lakes,” says Crane. “The competitors each get a beat, a section of the river or lake and have a three-hour catch and release session.” » Continue Reading.
The nation’s best fly anglers will be returning to Lake Placid, Wilmington, Saranac Lake, Redford and Malone, June 1–4, 2016 for the U.S. National Fly Fishing Championships, and organizers are looking for volunteers to assist anglers over the three-day catch-and-release competition.
“The event relies on volunteers to record the size and species of every fish caught, and is a great opportunity for avid fishermen to learn from these top anglers and share local ‘intel’, too,” said Ken Crane, event and volunteer organizer. “Anglers will be fishing on the Ausable, Saranac and Salmon Rivers while wading, and Mirror Lake and Lake Colby from boats. No experience is required.” » Continue Reading.
A pond hockey game brings back the simplicity of winter sport and what better place to enjoy one than the home of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice.”
For the 11th year, the CanAm Hockey Tournament has come to Lake Placid to celebrate the spirit of hockey under the backdrop of the Adirondack High Peaks. Currently 74 teams are waiting to take to the 20 ice rinks on Mirror Lake this weekend, January 28-31, 2016.
According to Tournament Director Eric Chapman this weekend’s pond hockey match-ups are only open to adults, but spectators have just as much fun watching the players hit the rinks. » Continue Reading.
This Sunday, more than 2,800 athletes will compete in the 2013 IRONMAN Lake Placid, one of nearly 30 events in the global IRONMAN Series, is the oldest IRONMAN event in the continental U.S. and features one of the most scenic courses on the circuit.
The two-loop swim course takes place in Mirror Lake, followed by a unique transition in the Olympic Speed-Skating Oval. The 112-mile bike route leads athletes along state, county and local roads. The spectator friendly marathon (26.2 miles) run through downtown Lake Placid. The event offers a total professional prize purse of $25,000 and 60 coveted slots to the 2013 IRONMAN World Championship, taking place on October 12 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. » Continue Reading.
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.
This weekend, approximately 2,000 competitors will swim, run, and bike through the Adirondack region for the Lake Placid Ironman Triathlon. The Lake Placid event is the second oldest race location in the Ironman series, and one of the most popular. Contestants participating will undergo a grueling competition; the triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike, and a 26.2-mile run. » Continue Reading.
In 1935, after years of planning, debate, and construction, the Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway was completed. It was named in honor of America’s veterans of the so-called “Great War” (World War I), and was expected to be a major tourist attraction.
Automobiles were becoming commonplace in the North Country at that time, and travelers to the region now had a thrilling view available to them at the press of a gas pedal. Seventy-five years later, it remains a spectacular drive and a great family excursion. But the macadam highway to the summit almost never came to be. New Hampshire’s Mount Washington nearly had a New York counterpart. » Continue Reading.
In 1999, Fox 2000 Pictures released the film Lake Placid. Despite the title, the story takes place on fictional Black Lake in Maine. The folks at Fox apparently figured the name of an internationally renowned Olympic site in New York might attract more attention than Black Lake, which was, after all, placid, just like the title said. Except for those times when a giant killer crocodile was thrashing on the surface, gulping down humans for lunch.
It was hard to tell which was less believable: that Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman, and the legendary Betty White would sign on for such a project; that a movie based on such a far-fetched concept could make money; or that a member of the order Crocodilia could be found on any lake within 700 miles north of the Carolinas. If you’re a betting person, which is/are true? The answers: Yes—Fonda, Pullman, and White (plus Oliver Platt and Brendan Gleeson) played the major roles in the movie. Yes, it earned money—nearly $32 million, enough to spawn Lake Placid 2 in 2007, and Lake Placid 3, scheduled for release on June 26, 2010. And yes, members of the order Crocodilia have lived recently in the north woods. All bets are winners!
The gator of Mirror Lake existed, appropriately enough, in the village of Lake Placid, and it scared the heck out of some very surprised tourists. I was once an avid fisherman, and before you take a fisherman’s word on something as ridiculous as this, it’s probably best to seek a higher authority, say, the New York Times. In 1903, they ran a story titled “Alligator in Lake Placid.”
That was two decades before “Lake Placid South” (Lake Placid, Florida) came into existence, so rest assured, the story applied to Lake Placid in the Adirondacks. The tale in the Times began in early 1903 when the Stevens brothers, proprietors of the famed Stevens House, learned the answer to that age-old question, “What do you give someone who has everything?” The obvious answer: a reptile from the tropics, given to them as a gift by a friend who was returning from Florida.
A young alligator became the newest addition to the hotel’s amenities (deterrents?), housed temporarily in a bathtub. Around May, when ponds were open and the snow was melting, they made a decidedly non-tropical decision, releasing the gator into Mirror Lake. Frigid nights brought ice to the lake’s shallows, leaving only the slightest hope for the gator’s survival.
A few weeks later, on a warm, sunny day, appeared the oddest of sights at Mirror Lake—an alligator catching some rays on the beach. Because of its size, the gator posed little threat to humans, and the Stevens had a new attraction for patrons and curious northerners who, in the summer of ′03, hoped to glimpse the elusive newcomer.
Imagine the surprise of visitors a year later, innocently walking the shoreline of Mirror Lake in early summer, and stumbling upon an alligator! They reported their amazing find to management, who explained it was merely the Stevens’ family pet. (We can assume the Stevens housed it for the winter, but in warmer climes, gators can survive the cold in underground dens. Lake Placid’s temps would have provided a stern test of that system.)
Though the whole story seems like a once-in-a-lifetime tale, especially for those of us familiar with Adirondack wildlife, the Mirror Lake gator was not as unusual as you’d think. Similar incidents have occurred from Malone to Keeseville, and Ausable Forks to Ticonderoga. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, it became fashionable to have exotic pets, and many small alligators were among those carried home from Florida to the Adirondacks. Most of them were less than two feet long. Some escaped from their owners, while others were released into the wild.
It’s unclear what became of the survivors, like the Mirror Lake alligator or the many pets kept by private individuals. Or the one at the Lake Placid Club in 1933. That’s another story that defies belief. George Martin, the swimming instructor at the club, captured (with help) a seven-foot alligator from southern Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp. They wrapped the reptile’s huge jaws in wire and prepared to take him north.
How do you transport a 7-foot alligator 1,000 miles? By George’s reckoning, you crate it, lay the crate on the car’s running board (most cars had them back then), lash the gator’s tail to the car’s rear fender, and hit the road. Though the wires around his jaws were snipped, the animal refused to eat, but they did make frequent stops at gas stations to water him down. He was christened “Mike,” and the club made plans for a facility where the animal could spend the winter. In the meantime, he was kept among Jacques Suzanne’s menagerie about a mile south of the village.
On a few occasions in the North Country, folks have unexpectedly stumbled upon alligators, and it’s hard to imagine the shock of the moment. Unfortunately, the reaction was uniform: kill it. A young boy from Malone, startled with his find (an 18-inch gator), dispatched it with a rock.
Another alligator’s death begs the question “Why?” The story was reported in the Wells area in late October 1957. Two bow hunters were hoping to bag a buck, but they spied a 32-inch alligator treading water near a beaver dam. One of the men put an arrow into the gator just behind the head, killing it. It was assumed to have been a released pet surviving on its own. No one knew how long it had been there, or if it had denned and somehow weathered the previous winter. (Not likely.)
Back in 1924, a young gator in Keeseville survived as a pet for three years until a couple of barn cats settled a longstanding feud, dragging it from its tank, killing it after an intense battle, and partially devouring the carcass before the owners drove them off.
But not all the alligators in the Adirondacks met tragic ends. Some were part of a traveling show associated with the Seminole Indians of Florida. Virtually every Florida carnival and sideshow featured alligator wrestlers, and among the best was George Storm. In the 1950s, a complete Seminole village was set up at Michael Covert’s hotel in Wilmington, and part of the daily show that summer was Storm performing his specialty.
Considering the unknown fate of Lake Placid’s alligators, their known proclivity for longevity, and the movies by the same name, it might be a good idea during the Ironman Triathlon to count swimmers going into Mirror Lake as well as those coming out. Just in case.
Photo Above: Poster from the first Lake Placid movie.
Photo Below: The Stevens House as it looked when it hosted the alligator.
Lawrence Gooley has authored eight books and several articles on the North Country’s past. He and his partner, Jill McKee, founded Bloated Toe Enterprises in 2004 and have recently begun to expand their services and publishing work. For information on book publishing, visit Bloated Toe Publishing.
The NYS Senate granted unanimous approval (58-0) today to two bills designed to help three small communities qualify for economic development and community enhancement projects through money available from the NYS Department of State and provided through the federal Coastal Resources program. If signed by Governor Paterson, the bills would grant inland waterway status to Lake Placid, Mirror Lake and the Little River in the Town of Franklin. According to the Adirondack Council’s John Sheehan, “these programs encourage comprehensive planning and sustainable economic development, especially projects that also help to protect water quality and other natural resources. Businesses and residents will be eligible for state and federal matching funds for business development and community beautification/revitalization programs.” » Continue Reading.
The Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort in Lake Placid, New York retired 132 tons of carbon dioxide for the month of December 2008. The Golden Arrow accomplished this by working jointly with the Adirondack Council and their Cool Park/ Healthy Planet Carbon Retirement Program. The program was created by the Adirondack Council to prevent thousands of tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted by power plants from Maine to Delaware.
The Golden Arrow committed to retire enough carbon credits to offset the total number of occupied room nights for the month of December. It has been estimated that the there are 100 lbs of carbon emitted per room night. The Golden Arrow had a goal to retire 100 tons of carbon credits through the program. A total of 2590 rooms were occupied at the resort for the month of December.
The resort through the program permanently retired 132 tons, which was almost one third more than their original goal. It was their objective to make guests and the public to understand that they can really help make a difference. » Continue Reading.
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