The story was in the tracks. Thursday was cold, but sunny – I’d had a hunch that it might be a good day to get off the groomed trails and do some exploring. There were a couple of inches of fresh powder on top of a hard crust that covered probably two feet of snow, and skies as blue as they could be.
I drove up to Santa Clara and parked on route 458 by the gated road and the Pinnacle trail sign. It looked like two people had skied the old logging road the day before. Possibly earlier in the day, someone post-holing, walked in with a large dog. That person eventually put on snowshoes and continued to trudge in on top of the ski track. I just skied up onto the crust however, and glided along – probably the smoothest, easiest skiing I’d done all year. The person with the dog didn’t make it very far and turned around. Good – now I could start watching for wild animal tracks in the fresh snow. » Continue Reading.
The village of Brandon, in the town of Santa Clara, Franklin County, was built by a lumber company for its workers. When the company and the lumber industry declined, most of the people left. John D. Rockefeller’s brother, Standard Oil co-founder William Avery Rockefeller Jr., bought the land surrounding the village, fenced it in, and posted it. Woods located on private property that had been open for years to sportsmen and other residents were suddenly closed.
William Rockefeller made offers to the villagers for their houses and in the end just a few residents remained. One was Civil War veteran Oliver Lamora, with whom Rockefeller would battle over access to his new property for years. The full story of Lamora’s battles, financial and legal, against Rockefeller is given in Lawrence Gooley’s excellent 2007 book Oliver’s War (I wrote this article several years before Gooley’s book). » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released the draft unit management plans (UMPs) for the Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area and the Saint Regis Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area. The UMPs contain management proposals for the fire observation towers located on the summit of Hurricane Mountain in the Town of Keene, Essex County, and the summit of Saint Regis Mountain in the Town of Santa Clara, Franklin County.
The Hurricane Mountain fire tower was discontinued for use as a fire observation station in 1979, and the Saint Regis Mountain fire tower was shut down in 1990. Both structures have been closed to the public ever since. The UMPs propose to restore the two fire towers to a condition that will accommodate full public access of the structures and include interpretive materials related to the towers’ history. » Continue Reading.
There are not many privately owned estates like Brandon Park left in the Adirondacks: twenty-eight thousand acres with seven miles of pristine river, eleven brook-trout ponds, and a 2,200-foot mountain. It sounds like a recreational paradise, and it’s for sale.
Ordinarily, you’d think environmentalists would be goading the state to buy Brandon Park for the forever-wild Forest Preserve, but so far that’s not been the case.
For one thing, the state doesn’t have as much money for land acquisition as it had in the years before the current recession. For another, the state already is committed to spend $50 million over the next several years to acquire lands once owned by the Finch, Pruyn & Company. » Continue Reading.
Today we were going to list the Ten Most Influential Adirondackers, based on input from you, the Almanack readers. We’ve decided to keep nominations open for one more week (please make your recommendations here). In the meantime, one of you suggested, “How about the Adirondacks’ ten biggest asshats? . . . [T]hat’s one discussion I’d like to read.”
So, scroll through for a list of ten all-star Adirondack jerks and a-hats, in no particular order. » Continue Reading.
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