The last 24 oil tanker railcars that were stored all winter on the banks of the Opalescent River were hauled 30 miles south to the North Creek Depot on Tuesday, May 8th.
Just under 100 oil tankers were stored all winter in the Adirondacks. Widespread opposition from state and local leaders, and an array of environmental organizations, last fall stopped storage of oil tankers at just under 100. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency’s proposal to amend its definition of a Travel Corridor was prompted by the state’s desire to build a rail trail between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake, but the change also could affect another rail corridor in the news.
We mean the line between North Creek and Tahawus. This is where Iowa Pacific Holdings has been storing used oil-tanker cars, much to the consternation of state and local officials.
As reported in the March/April issue of the Adirondack Explorer, local officials and others are now talking about someday converting this corridor into a rail trail. However, the story points out that there are legal questions, among them: since the corridor passes through forever-wild Forest Preserve, would it be lawful to create a rail trail suitable for road bikes? » Continue Reading.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Adirondack Council and many others have offered well earned thanks to Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, whose subsidiary Union Tank Car Company announced the day after Christmas the planned removal of its derelict oil tank rail cars from the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
This is a victory for the preservation of the wild character and wilderness of the Adirondack Park and efforts to foster more sustainable vibrant communities. After those who deserve it take a victory lap, there is an opportunity to switch from defense to offense and secure a more positive future for the Tahawus spur above North Creek. » Continue Reading.
The history of railroads in the Adirondack region has been well documented. The names of Dr. William Seward Webb and Dr. Thomas Clark Durant are permanently etched in the annals of railroading with evidence of their work still in existence today. However, the first Adirondack railroad to bear the name was established decades earlier.
In April of 1839, by an act of the State Legislature, a corporation was chartered with $100,000 capital to be known as the Adirondack Railroad Company, with David Henderson, Archibald Mclntyre, and Archibald Robertson as owners. These names should sound familiar. Although subscription books were opened with all due formality, there would really be no stockholders excepting the original proprietors. The route was to run from the Adirondack Iron and Steel Company’s works in McIntyre (later known as Adirondac) to Israel Johnson’s Inn at Clear Pond in the town of Moriah. » Continue Reading.
Protect the Adirondacks has released a proposal to expand Wilderness areas in the Adirondack Park by over 36,500 acres. This includes Wilderness classification for much of The Nature Conservancy/former Finch, Pruyn and Company lands that border the High Peaks Wilderness and the creation of a new West Stony Creek Wilderness area in the southern Adirondacks.
This would be the biggest expansion of Wilderness in the Adirondacks since Governor Pataki acted in 2000 to establish the 20,000-acre William C. Whitney Wilderness area, which included upgrading of the 7,500-acre Lake Lila Primitive Area to Wilderness, and expanded both the Five Ponds Wilderness and Pepperbox Wilderness by over 21,000 acres.
Ours is a realistic proposal that provides Wilderness classification and protection for the most important natural resource areas of the land involved. It also aims to facilitate motorized access for limited roads open to the public and snowmobiles. We make a good faith effort at providing a workable and realistic classification and management that complies with the law, protects natural resources, and meets the objectives of many different interests. » Continue Reading.
Iowa Pacific is nearing an agreement to move waste rock from an old mine in Tahawus and has no immediate plans to store empty oil railcars on its tracks, according to Ed Ellis, the railroad’s president.
Ellis touched off a controversy in late July when he told a committee of Warren County supervisors that Iowa Pacific was exploring the possibility of storing hundreds of oil tankers on its tracks, which run twenty-nine miles from North Creek to Tahawus. » Continue Reading.
Pay a visit to the Adirondack Research Library (ARL, operated by Union College’s Kelly Adirondack Center) sometime. The Library is located at the former home of wilderness champion Paul Schaefer, where he and Carolyn Schaefer raised their family beginning in 1934. Reading in that library offers me a healthy reminder of the tight rope walked by former defenders of “forever wild.” When it came to standing up for wild country, our predecessors were often up against a wall, just as we sometimes feel today.
I recently visited the ARL to reacquaint myself with the federal government’s 1942 condemnation of a 100-ft Right of Way “for the rail transportation of strategic materials vital to the successful prosecution of the War” from the soon-to be built mine at Tahawus, Newcomb. In the ARL archives, the name Marshall McLean frequently crops up. He was the attorney representing the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks in court in 1942-43. » Continue Reading.
A rail company that wants to store used oil-tanker cars on tracks in the Adirondack Park is threatening to press charges against the executive director of Protect the Adirondacks if he returns to the rail corridor — even though the corridor runs through publicly owned Forest Preserve.
Iowa Pacific Holdings, which is based in Chicago, sent a letter to Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, warning him to stay out of the corridor after Bauer and Brian Mann, a reporter for North Country Public Radio, hiked a section of the tracks and posted photos of old railcars. » Continue Reading.
The Iowa-Pacific rail company took state officials and environmental activists by surprise in July when it unveiled a plan to store hundreds of drained oil-tanker cars on its tracks near Tahawus on the edge of the High Peaks Wilderness.
Ed Ellis, the president of Iowa Pacific, says revenue from storing the cars will help keep afloat its tourist train, the Saratoga & North Creek Railway, which has been losing money. Critics contend Iowa Pacific is creating a quasi-junkyard in the Adirondack Park. » Continue Reading.
The contradictory, disconnected, segmented, illegal and impractical ways that the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (with full cooperation from the Adirondack Park Agency so far and support from Governor Andrew Cuomo) is going about the business of planning and building community connector snowmobile routes in the Adirondack Park continues apace. Work planning for the just approved community connector between Newcomb and Minerva, for example, will prove very interesting indeed and will be challenged in every sense of that word. » Continue Reading.
Owners of the Saratoga-North Creek Railway have big plans for a new use of the railroad line from North Creek into the High Peaks.
Last week, company President Ed Ellis made a presentation to the Warren County Board of Supervisors Public Works Committee about the company’s new plans. Ellis sees an exciting business opportunity for his rail lines with low traffic in the long-term storage of hundreds of oil-soaked tanker cars. » Continue Reading.
It seems that every big city now has a “ghost tour,” but here in the Adirondacks we have our very own ghost town. And what could be more appropriate than a Halloween tour of a ghost town?
Iron ore was discovered on the banks of the upper Hudson in 1826 and two businessmen, Archibald McIntyre and David Henderson, soon developed a mining operation that they conducted with varying success for the next three decades. To house the workers, a nearby village was built and named McIntyre, then renamed Adirondac around 1840.
McIntyre’s Adirondack Iron & Steel Company came to an end in 1858, and so did the village. Reasons for their demise include the difficulty in transporting iron from such a remote mountain location, impurities in the ore that made it difficult to process, a downturn in the global economy, a devastating flood that washed out the dams, and McIntyre’s death. The settlement of Adirondac again changed names, now being called simply “the deserted village.” » Continue Reading.
The Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Report below is issued intermittently by DEC and is not a comprehensive list of all emergencies in the back-country, these are only a few of those recently reported by DEC.
The events reported below are reminders that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry and always carry a flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.
Usually a trip to the Upper Works in Newcomb for my family doesn’t include an extended history lesson, but I always have a few interesting facts to tell our visitors while driving this seemingly endless stretch of County Route 25 to the southern entrance of the High Peaks. We are usually there to hike, though the area’s history is just as vast and interesting as its trails.
I share that the McNaughton Cottage is where Vice President Theodore Roosevelt and his family were staying in 1901 when he took his “midnight ride” after receiving word that President McKinley had taken a turn for the worst from an assassination attempt six days before. The Roosevelt family was climbing Mount Marcy when the official word of McKinley’s fate was received via telegram.
I could even give some vague references to the McIntyre Iron Works Blast Furnace and the dilapidated condition of an old mining town called Adirondac.
But now when we go to the Upper Works, we schedule a bit more time to explore this area with the addition of interpretive signs detailing the historical significance of these buildings, the mining operation and the blast furnace that would produce iron for only two years. » Continue Reading.
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