Posts Tagged ‘Paddling’

Monday, October 29, 2012

Shingle Shanty Paddling Suit Advances

The landowners suing Adirondack Explorer Editor Phil Brown for trespass say he’s just the latest in a long line of people who have tried to pry open closed waters for public use, and if he succeeds, they argue, he will weaken traditional standards of property rights.

In a legal memorandum filed in late September, Dennis Phillips, the attorney for the Friends of Thayer Lake and the Brandreth Park Association, asserts that Brown is carrying the flag for a small band of paddling fanatics, including members of the Sierra Club, who would open just about every stream in New York State to canoes and kayaks.
» Continue Reading.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Judge Rules Against Rafting Company

Blue Ledge on Hudson River GorgeA State Supreme Court judge ruled today that Hudson River Rafting Company cannot operate until a final decision is made in a lawsuit filed against the company by the state attorney general’s office.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued Hudson River Rafting and its owner, Patrick Cunningham, a few weeks after one of its clients drowned in the Indian River. He accuses the company of running unsafe whitewater excursions, sometimes sending customers on trips without licensed guides or with no guides at all. Click here to read the account of one unhappy customer. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

One Man’s Experience with Hudson River Rafting Company

Tomorrow there will be a hearing in Hamilton County Supreme Court (convening in Fulton County, in Johnstown) as the New York State Attorney General’s Office seeks a formal court order requiring Hudson River Rafting Company to cease operations until a list of safety concerns can be addressed.

As one of the company’s guides remains jailed on a charge of criminally negligent homicide in the death of a customer who drowned last month, Hudson River Rafting Company and its owner Patrick Cunningham also face a Hamilton County District Attorney motion to reinstate two 2010 charges of reckless endangerment. The DA argues that Cunningham violated the terms of a dismissal agreement by sending passengers down the wilderness whitewater of the upper Hudson River this summer in unguided boats.

Following are verbatim excerpts from one affidavit, an account by Richard Belson, from Pennsylvania, who says Hudson River Rafting Company launched him and a friend in an unguided inflatable kayak even though they had no paddling experience. To read the full affidavit, click here.
» Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

A New Southeastern Adirondacks Kayaker’s Guide

A Kayaker’s Guide to Lake George, the Saratoga Region & Great Sacandaga Lake (Blackdome Press, 2012) is the latest effort by Albany writer Russell Dunn, a licensed guide and author of 10 books on the great outdoors of eastern New York and western New England. The guide includes detailed directions, information on launch sites, maps, GPS coordinates, photographs, safety and comfort tips, a wealth of historical and geological information, and directories of paddling outfitters, organizations and clubs.

The 352-page book features 58 paddling adventures in the southeastern Adirondacks, including Lake Desolation,  the upper Hudson River, Lake George, Lake Luzerne, Great Sacandaga Lake and the Sacandaga River, the Champlain Canal and Glens Falls Feeder Canal, Kayaderosseras Creek, Round Lake, Saratoga Lake, and Ballston Lake. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Oufitter: ‘No Idea’ Guide Was Drunk

The owner of the Hudson River Rafting Company said today he couldn’t comment on a fatal accident on the Indian River last week other than to assert that he did not know if the employee guiding the raft was intoxicated.

“We had no idea he was drunk,” Pat Cunningham said, “and I don’t know all that happened.”

State Police say the guide, Rory Fay of North Creek, was indeed intoxicated when he undertook the whitewater trip last Thursday morning. They arrested him on a charge of criminally negligent homicide, a class E felony. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

DA Seeks To Reinstate Charges Against Cunningham

The owner of a rafting company in the spotlight after a drowning last week is accused of violating a court agreement stemming from criminal charges lodged two years ago, according to court papers.

Patrick J. Cunningham, the owner of the Hudson River Rafting Company, was indicted in November 2010 on misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment.

In one count, Cunningham was accused of sending two customers downriver in an inflatable kayak even though they lacked kayak and whitewater experience. Free-lance writer Mary Thill reported last year that the customers capsized in the second rapid and then hitched a ride in an overloaded raft, which also flipped. » Continue Reading.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Rafting Guide Arrested in Drowning

A woman drowned on a rafting trip in the Adirondacks yesterday morning, and State Police say her guide was intoxicated.

Rory F. Fay of North Creek, a guide for Hudson River Rafting Company, faces a charge of criminally negligent homicide, a felony, according to state troopers.

Fay was guiding two clients from Columbus, Ohio—Richard J. Clar, 53, and Tamara F. Blake, also 53—on a trip down the Indian and Hudson rivers. Before they made it to the Hudson, Blake and Fay were ejected from the raft, police say. Clar stayed in the raft and steered it to shore. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 24, 2012

New State Lands: The Long Road To Boreas Ponds

Boreas Ponds in the Adirondack MountainsBoreas Ponds lives up to expectations, but getting there is not easy, even by car. It would be much harder if the state decides to close the seven-and-a-half mile dirt road that leads to the mile-long lake, which affords stupendous views of the High Peaks.

This Sunday I visited Boreas Ponds for the first time as part of the band of reporters accompanying Governor Andrew Cuomo and other state officials.  Boreas Ponds is not open to the public now, but it will be sometime in the next five years.

The state intends to buy Boreas Ponds and the surrounding timberlands—some twenty-two thousand acres in all—from the Nature Conservancy in the coming years. All told, the state will buy sixty-nine thousand acres from the conservancy, nearly all of it former Finch Pruyn land. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Adirondacks: A Place to Dream

View from High RockSept 7 – 9 there will be a congregation of artists, scholars, historians, and writers in Lake Placid for an exploration of Adirondack cultural heritage (more info). Free and open to the public, it should prove to be enjoyable and informative to all who love this place. I was thinking about this event as I paddled with a group of friends on the Oswegatchie River, in the Five Ponds Wilderness. Our objective was High Rock – not a terribly difficult or long paddle, although it was challenging in places because the water levels were pretty low and rocks were exposed. Having recently returned from almost four weeks in Glacier National Park – where the “big sky” glacier carved landscapes are truly magnificent – I couldn’t get over the fact that I was still moved by the scenery flowing past me along the Oswegatchie.

Orange brown rocks just beneath the surface, covered with colorful paint swatches from all the boats that have scraped across them for more than a century. Massive white pines that probably were too scrawny to harvest during the logging booms of the 1900’s, were now towering over the river. The tag alder filled flood plain that this wild river was meandering through. The Five Ponds Wilderness is a prime example of how this amazing place can inspire. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Children and Resilience

I was sitting with my middle son Zach the other day, talking about Adirondack memories.  Zach is twenty, in college and interested in writing and film.  He is tall, thin and quiet.  He knows a lot about the current culture and one would find him perfectly modern but he also knows his way around the woods in the most primitive conditions.   I think of our three children Zach has the strongest connection to these mountains: they tug at his gut just as they do mine. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Kissing Kate

One of the most wonderful experiences in life is the impossible happening.  Perhaps it is an amazing coincidence or an incident that defies the laws if time and space; perhaps it is an unexpected moment of fame; maybe it is a miraculous cure or a cheat of death that should never have been able to happen.

Whatever the circumstances it seems that most people have had at least one impossible happening in the narrative of their lives, whether real or imagined.  I think that such happenings are at base romantic.  We yearn for them, seek them out and even create them because in romance – in the broad sense of the word – we find meaning that affirms the richest parts of our humanity.

The luckiest among us might experience an impossible happening that is romantic to the core.  I had such an impossible happening a few years ago and as it turns out it is an Adirondack story. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Red Spruce: Queen of the Adirondacks

There is a well-known story included in the wonderful Adirondack Reader (a collection everyone on the planet should own, in my humble opinion), which happens to be one of my favorite Adirondack tales.  It is a narrative account of the journey of a young teacher and his student on the Raquette River in 1843 when its course was still largely unknown to the white man.  Teacher and student made it as far as they could on a raft until they were stopped by debris clogging the river near approaching rapids.  There on the banks they were come upon by the soon-to-be-famous guide Mitchell Sabattis.   Sabattis and party agreed to guide the young travelers, saving them from their predicament.

The two men needed a proper craft to continue their voyage, so Sabattis and his companions built them a canoe.  They selected a tall conifer with a straight trunk and a diameter of a foot-and-a-half and felled it.  From that trunk they easily spudded off a sheet of bark roughly five by fifteen feet in dimension.  With careful cuts of the outer layer of the bark they folded the whole into a canoe shape, then sowed it in place using the roots of the very same tree as thread.  To seal the threads and make the craft watertight they chewed the sap of this tree and made gum which they pushed into the holes. Thus it was that one tree – a conifer of marvelous qualities – supplied the hull of a canoe that carried four men and their gear down the rapids of the Raquette River. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Local Events Promote Raquette River Awareness Week

This year the Raquette River Blueway Corridor’s Advisory Committee will be hosting several events throughout the corridor during Raquette River Awareness Week (Saturday, July 28th through Saturday, August 4th) to highlight the assets the Raquette River has to offer.

A variety of events held in communities all along the river will feature the grand opening celebration of a canoe access trail to the Raquette River near Moody Falls in Sevey Corners and will be punctuated with three screenings of “The Raquette River Experience”, a travel documentary on the Raquette River produced by the Raquette River Blueway Corridor’s partner, WPBS-DT, Watertown, NY. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Popular Boat Launch Overhaul Planned Near High Peaks

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) have announced a plan to update the popular Second Pond Boat Launch on Route 3 in Harrietstown, part of a 10.5-acre Intensive Use Area that provides key access to the Saranac Lakes. A part of the plan includes a land swap with the adjacent High Peaks Wilderness Area.

The DEC is planning to rebuild and expand the boat launch and resurface the parking area, including the addition of a new firewood storage building, the removal of an old cabin, and the construction of a new registration booth and invasive species kiosk. According to press reports a boat washing station, considered important to prevent the spread of invasive species by boaters, was not included in the plan. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Pushing Too Hard

If all has gone according to plan, while you are reading this Saturday morning I will be having breakfast with my friend Vinny.  Vinny sprained his ankle on a trail run some weeks ago and has been nursing it back to health.  As many of you surely know, a sprain can be a tricky thing, more severe and with a longer healing time than a broken bone, so it is taking some time.

I’m hoping that by this morning I will find Vinny has recovered sufficiently to be able to join us for a hike into Lost Brook Tract.  But this is no certain thing, for there have been setbacks.  Vinny wrote me a couple of weeks ago to tell me that he had “pushed too hard” with some sort of activity and was paying the price.  Those of you who have met Vinny through my previous Dispatch should not be surprised to hear this.  Vinny doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy to sit around and knit afghans with his ankle elevated, peacefully waiting for it to heal up. » Continue Reading.