I’ve canoed all over the Adirondacks without ever seeing a black-crowned night-heron. Last weekend, I finally got to see one. On the Bronx River.
We saw other birds as well, including great blue herons, mallards, gulls, and (I think) cormorants. This being the Bronx, we also saw a lot of trash: plastic bags, soda bottles, an electric fan, a sunken tire.
But the river is much cleaner and more loved than in the past, thanks to a nonprofit organization called the Bronx River Alliance.
Some Forest Preserve advocates are concerned that the state’s decision to allow people to ride mountain bikes to Boreas Ponds under an interim-access plan could become the permanent policy for the newly acquired Boreas Ponds Tract.
Willie Janeway, executive director of the Adirondack Council, and David Gibson, a partner in Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve, criticized this and other aspects of the interim plan released by the state Department of Environmental Conservation in late August.
The interim plan allows the public to drive 3.2 miles up the dirt Gulf Brook Road. From there, people can hike or bicycle the remaining 3.6 miles to the ponds.
“Surfing” is popular in many forms in the Adirondack Park. There’s wakeboarding, windsurfing, kiteboarding, kayak surfing in rapids, and other options. One of the greatest thrills I’ve ever experienced on the water is what I’ve since referred to as “canoe surfing,” sometimes riding hundreds of feet on large waves. It’s not a recommended activity, and this is not a suggestion to try it. In fact, the first time I did it was serendipitous: I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to catch a wave.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch windsurfers and kiteboarders locally, check out this video taken in June on Plattsburgh’s Cumberland Bay, just outside the Park. As you’ll see, the mountain views from Lake Champlain are spectacular and the boarding action is exciting. (Simple searches will yield more videos.) » Continue Reading.
Recently my son Adam and his seven-year-old daughter Mckenna were canoeing on the Hudson River above the Feeder Dam in Glens Falls when they noticed a small tree growing atop an old stone pier about 30 feet from shore – and something more. Tangled in the roots, they found a large old rusted chain with links 4 inches wide by 6 inches long.
Sharing pictures with Richard “Dick” Nason, the unofficial Finch Pruyn historian and an authority on river log drives, it appears likely the chain was left over from the heyday of log drives on the Hudson River. The chain was found in the Big Boom sorting area. Logs were released from the Big Boom upriver and floated down to the sorting area where they were tallied by owners, identified by the owner’s mark stamped on the butt end of each log. The sorting area was used from 1851 to 1929. Dick suspects the chain may be from the late 1800s. » Continue Reading.
At Boreas Ponds, access is an issue, as it has been with most of the publicly-owned lands and waters that contain valuable natural resources. Restoration (or preservation) of these resources into a wilderness or near-wilderness condition requires careful thought.
An Interim Access Plan recently announced by the DEC will allow public access to the ponds by opening the Gulf Brook Road to motor vehicles for 3.2 miles from the state highway, Boreas – Blue Ridge Road. A gate will prevent further motor vehicle travel to the ponds. » Continue Reading.
About 600 paddlers will hit the waters between Old Forge and Saranac Lake this weekend in the 34th annual Adirondack Canoe Classic. The event starts Friday morning at 8 a.m. on Old Forge Pond and finishes up Sunday afternoon on Lake Flower. This year’s event has attracted about 250 teams, which will be paddling canoes, kayaks, and SUPs and rowing guideboats.
The 90-Miler is organized by Brian and Grace McDonnell, who run Mac’s Canoe Livery and Adirondack Watershed Alliance in Lake Clear. The couple has run the race for 18 years.
A large portion of this year’s participants will be in the non-competitive open touring class, which consists of people looking simply to finish the course and not compete with the racers. However, the class is often full of people with interesting stories. For instance, Tom and Theresa Standing, who are from the Old Forge area and paddling a tandem canoe, will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this weekend. » Continue Reading.
When I lugged my boat more than six miles to paddle Boreas Ponds in early June, I saw exactly no one. That wasn’t the case this past Labor Day weekend.
Evidently, more people are willing to visit the ponds now that the state has opened up the first 3.2 miles of Gulf Brook Road to motor vehicles.
When my girlfriend Carol and I arrived at the new parking lot on Sunday morning, there were already seven other cars. We biked to Boreas Ponds, as allowed under an interim-access plan released last week, and then hiked for several miles on old logging roads in the vicinity of the ponds. » Continue Reading.
Whitewater kayaking at Stone Valley is a highlight of Labor Day weekend activities in the Town of Colton. The last two water releases of the summer by Brookfield Renewable Energy for expert-level whitewater kayakers to paddle the Stone Valley section of the Raquette River are scheduled for Saturday, September 3 and Monday, September 5. The largest turnout is expected Saturday when paddlers will be doing timed runs in the afternoon on the Class 5 section of the river which begins just below the dam in the hamlet of Colton.
Spectators can expect to see expert kayakers who come from places within the eastern United States and Canada for the predictable and challenging conditions at Stone Valley on release days. They paddle the river at their own risk and on release days they usually get going by 10 am when the water is at the full release level. Beforehand paddlers will hike the trails to check conditions of the river. » Continue Reading.
In a long-awaited interim-access plan for the Boreas Ponds Tract, the state has opened to motor vehicles part of a former logging road leading to Boreas Ponds and opened all of the road to bicycles.
The future of the dirt thoroughfare, known as Gulf Brook Road, has been the subject of several articles and much debate on Adirondack Almanack and in the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.
Gulf Brook Road starts at County Route 2 (also known as the Boreas Road or Blue Ridge Road) and leads in 6.7 miles to the dam at Boreas Ponds. On Wednesday afternoon, state Department of Environmental Conservation announced that the first 3.2 miles will be open to motor vehicles and that mountain bikers will be able to pedal all the way to the dam.
New York State is seeking proposals for an entity to administer the Adirondack Park Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Spread Prevention Program. The program is expected to provide support to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species throughout Adirondacks through a network of boat stewards and decontamination stations.
With more than 2,300 lakes and ponds, 1,500 miles of rivers, and 30,000 miles of brooks and streams, the Adirondack region is particularly vulnerable to the introduction of AIS. Once established, species such as zebra mussels and Eurasian water milfoil can spread rapidly through connecting waterways or by “hitchhiking” on recreational boat equipment, including propellers, trailers, rudders, and motors. Strategically placed boat stewards will help prevent the spread of AIS by educating boaters on how to properly identify and remove AIS, and performing voluntary boat and equipment inspections. » Continue Reading.
The Ausable River Association (AsRA), in partnership with the Kayak Shack of Plattsburgh, is hosting a Paddling River Clean-Up on Saturday, August 27th in Peru. The clean-up is open to all community members who want to restore and protect the beauty of the Ausable River.
AsRA will be working with the Kayak Shack at their Baggs’ Landing location to remove trash in and along the banks of the Ausable River from Carpenter’s Flats to the mouth at Lake Champlain. » Continue Reading.
A coalition of environmental groups that includes the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, and Adirondack Wild has significantly altered its proposal for the recently acquired Boreas Ponds Tract, calling for less of the region to be classified Wilderness.
Under the original proposal, about 15,000 of the tract’s 20,758 acres would have been added to the High Peaks Wilderness. This included land north and south of Gulf Brook Road, a durable logging road that leads to Boreas Ponds. The road itself would have been designated a Primitive Corridor, allowing visitors to drive as far as LaBier Flow, some six miles from County Route 2.
Under the new plan, Gulf Brook Road and the land south of it would be Wild Forest, a less-restrictive classification that allows motorized use. Thus, it would not be necessary to designate Gulf Brook Road a Primitive Corridor to allow people to drive to LaBier Flow. Some 13,000 acres north of the road would be Wilderness.
In early June, I enjoyed one of my most memorable canoe trips in the Adirondacks: I spent the morning paddling around lovely Boreas Ponds, taking in breathtaking views of the High Peaks.
I had the place all to myself. This might seem surprising, given that the state had only recently purchased Boreas Ponds from the Nature Conservancy. Usually, such a magnificent acquisition to the Forest Preserve will attract curiosity seekers. Yes, it was a weekday, but my guess is that the explanation lies in the difficulty of getting there — especially with a canoe. » Continue Reading.
As part of an effort to resolve a century-old dispute over the ownership of land near Raquette Lake, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has agreed to acquire not only the Marion River carry, but also more than 1,400 acres of land in other parts of the Adirondack Park.
In a letter to Assemblyman Steven Englebright, DEC chief Basil Seggos said the state is committed to buying from the Open State Institute 836 acres on Huckleberry Mountain in Warren County and 616 acres along Lake Champlain, including 4,000 feet of shoreline.
In addition, Seggos said DEC will be buying “some or all” of the following properties: » Continue Reading.
The acquisitions of former Finch, Pruyn lands have created a plethora of paddling opportunities ranging from whitewater dashes to pristine lakes and ponds.
A group of paddling enthusiasts, brought together by the magic of an internet forum, took my suggestions and joined me to paddle the outflow of the Essex Chain Lakes, or more simply, the Chain Drain.
We booked campsites at nearby Lake Harris for the sake of convenience and the size of our group. Groups of us began trickling in to the campsite on a Friday, the first day of the 2016 camping season at Lake Harris campground. All were greeted by warm, sunny skies and a multitude of black flies.
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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