A rafting outfitter who sent a father and daughter down the Indian River without a guide was acquitted of reckless endangerment today after a three-day trial in Hamilton County Court.
Pat Cunningham, the owner of Hudson River Rafting Company, had been indicted on two misdemeanor reckless-endangerment charges stemming from separate incidents in August 2010. One of the charges was dismissed because the witnesses did not want to testify, according to Marsha Purdue, the county’s district attorney. » Continue Reading.
When Robert Carson asked his daughter Savannah how she wanted to celebrate her twenty-first birthday, she told him she wanted to take a whitewater rafting trip. Carson did some research on the Internet and booked a trip with the Hudson River Rafting Company in August 2010.
Initially, the father and daughter planned to ride in a guided raft with other customers down the Indian and Hudson rivers, but as things turned out, they would start their trip in an inflatable kayak, a two-person vessel with no room for a guide. » Continue Reading.
On March 30, 2012, Hamilton County Court gave Patrick Cunningham a second chance. It came with conditions and a warning.
Judge S. Peter Feldstein told the defendant: “My goal in this matter, as I said at the beginning, was to affect how you do business. Now, I understand, Mr. Cunningham, through your attorney, that you do not feel that you’ve committed any crimes and you’re perfectly within your rights and you’re innocent before this court, but I want to be sure you understand that if you engaged in the behavior alleged in the indictment, I have no doubt that you committed crimes.” » Continue Reading.
A whitewater rafting guide pleaded guilty today to criminally negligent homicide and two other charges arising from the accidental drowning of a client in the Indian River this fall.
Rory Fay of North Creek, 37, admitted in Hamilton County Court that he was intoxicated on the morning he and a client were thrown from their raft.
The body of the victim—Tamara F. Blake, 53, of Columbus, Ohio—was found five miles downstream in the Hudson River. Blake’s boyfriend, Richard J. Clar, 53, also of Columbus, managed to stay in the raft and steer it to shore. » Continue Reading.
Protect the Adirondacks has released a proposal calling for the creation of a new 39,000-acre Upper Hudson River Wilderness Area. This proposed new Wilderness Area would be centered on 22 miles of the Upper Hudson River that stretches from the Town of Newcomb to North River and would include over five miles of the Cedar River and four miles of the Indian River as well as dozens of other lakes and ponds.
The new Wilderness Area would be created from roughly 19,000 acres of former Finch Paper lands to be purchased by the State of New York from The Nature Conservancy and 20,000 acres of existing Forest Preserve lands in the Hudson Gorge Primitive Area (17,000 acres) and in the Blue Mountain and Vanderwhacker Wild Forest Areas (3,000 acres). » Continue Reading.
A 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s been a bit surreal to read about this summer’s record-breaking drought from the lush, thunderstorm-drenched environs of Long Lake. But while the central Adirondacks may have had plenty of rain this summer, other parts of the North Country have not.
I have been tracking drought conditions across the region with stream gage data from US Geological Survey that measures stream levels and transmits the information in real-time to the internet. The USGS began stream gage construction in the late 19th century, and now maintains 7,500 gages across the country including dozens in the Adirondack region. The data from these gages are used for many purposes including flood forecasting, water supply allocation, wastewater treatment, highway engineering and recreation (rafting anyone?). » Continue Reading.
The banner beneath Basil & Wick’s trail marker sign read Roadkill Throwdown. To the uninitiated, Throwdown is a Food Network show in which chef Bobby Flay challenges a chef in preparing a specific food. Throwdown in North Creek? How did we not hear about this? And what roadkill would be coaxed into fine cuisine? We were on our way to Long Lake for Happy Hour, but vowed to stop in on our way back through, hoping we’d see Basil & Wick’s chef Chuck Jennings take Bobby down. » Continue Reading.
Hudson River Rafting Company owner Pat Cunningham pleaded not guilty in Hamilton County Court Thursday to two counts of reckless endangerment. He is scheduled to go to trial in August. Adirondack Life just posted details of the case in “Risky Business,” a story Mary reported for its May/June issue. The Almanack asked Mary Thill to bring our readers up to speed on the latest developments – ed.
The charges are connected to two trips on the Upper Hudson River last summer. But for more than a decade, guides who’ve worked for Cunningham have said that the Hudson River Rafting Company sometimes 1.) overbooks rafts 2.) sends customers in rafts piloted by unlicensed guides-in-training and 3.) launches inexperienced customers in their own boats without guides. The company’s reputation among the guiding community and in rafting towns like North Creek and Indian Lake has not been good for a while. For reasons that are explored in the article, that reputation has been held as local knowledge, until recently. » Continue Reading.
July 17th marked the beginning of Upper Hudson River Railroad’s two-train Saturdays, when both morning and afternoon trains are scheduled, taking passengers northward in the morning to enjoy not only the scenic excursion by rail, but also allowing them to enjoy an outing in one of the First Wilderness Heritage Corridor communities along the route. These Saturday offerings will continue through August 21st. » Continue Reading.
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