Posts Tagged ‘Trails – Access – Navigation Rights’

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Analysis: Rail or Trail on the Adirondack Railroad?

What follows is a guest analysis by Billy Martin, a senior at Paul Smith’s College in the Natural Resource Management and Policy program who is interested in the economic and environmental sustainability of the Adirondack Park.

Adirondack history has been shaped by contention over how to manage the region’s resources. Maintaining this historical trend, contention over the use of a state-owned rail corridor between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake has led to another divide among residents. The Adirondack Recreational Trails Advocacy (ARTA) and the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) represent opposing poles on the issue, each with seemingly equal support from residents of the Tri-Lakes Region.
» Continue Reading.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Newcomb Completes Purchase of Conservancy Lands

The Town of Newcomb has completed its purchase of 348 acres for a total of $256,591.00 from The Nature Conservancy. The town officials hope the purchase will boost economic development and public access, particularly along the Route 28N travel corridor, and other community objectives outlined in its Comprehensive Plan, which was updated in 2009.

“There are all kinds of options for these lands,” said Newcomb Supervisor George Cannon. “Now that the transactions with The Nature Conservancy are complete, we look forward to exploring those options. The log yard parcel is probably the most important acquisition; it is an excellent site for a potential business.” Cannon has been a vocal opponent of state land purchases in the past. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Wilmington Snowmobile Connection to State Land

A new snowmobile trail segment has been completed connecting the hamlet of Wilmington’s business district with a trail that leads to the remote Cooper Kiln Pond in the Wilmington Wild Forest.

The new three-mile trail segment will allow snowmobilers to travel from the Essex County hamlet, connect with the previously existing Cooper Kiln Pond Trail and travel another three miles to the pond. It creates a 12.6-mile round trip snowmobiling opportunity. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Paul Smith’s College VIC Expands Winter Trails

Cross-country skiers and snowshoers will have even more terrain to explore at the Paul Smith’s College VIC this winter. “We’ve made some significant upgrades,” said Brian McDonnell, the VIC’s director. “We’ve almost doubled the size of the trail system, and we now have trails to suit both classic and skate skiers.” A groomer purchased by Paul Smith’s College last winter will be used to maintain the expanded trail network.

Since the college acquired the VIC from the state in January, it has made improvements to the building and grounds. To help defray the cost of the trail improvements and the purchase of grooming equipment, VIC patrons will be required to purchase a day or season pass to the trails. Access to the VIC trails will remain free during the non-winter months.

“We’re trying to improve the trail system for the community, but we need to cover our expenses,” McDonnell said. “We’re on a five-year plan to make the VIC self-sustaining.”

Three categories of trails, for snowshoeing, classic and skate skiing, will be maintained and marked for daily use from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Classic-ski trails will typically be groomed 4 feet wide with a track for both snowshoeing and classic skiing, while skating ski trails will be cut 7 to 10 feet wide and groomed to accommodate both skate and classic skiers. Snowshoe trails will be packed primarily for snowshoeing but may also be skied on when conditions permit.

Some trails will also be designated for skijoring, or dog-drawn skiing. Leashed dogs are allowed on the snowshoe trails at anytime, as well.

Trail users will be asked to register at the visitor’s building. Trails will be monitored by a trained volunteer first-aid ski patrol, and a courtesy patrol to assist people with directions.

McDonnell said the trail network is likely to be expanded next year. The VIC staff has scouted a network of potential trails that could be added to the nature center, which covers nearly 3,000 acres.

“This is a transitional year, and future expansion will depend on how much interest we have from the community for the varied ski-trail network,” McDonnell said.

Fees:

Day pass

Under 6 years old: Free
Child (6-17): $5
Adult (18-64): $10
Senior (65+): $5
Current Paul Smith’s faculty, staff and alumni: $5
Current Paul Smith’s students: Free
Other college students: $5
Groups of 10 or more: $8 each

Season pass

Under 6 years old: Free
Child (6-17): $50
Adult (18-64): $75
Senior (65+): $ 50
Current Paul Smith’s faculty, staff and alumni: $50
Current Paul Smith’s students: Free
Other college students: $50
Family: $150 (Buy 2 adult season passes and children under 18 in the household ski free.)
Guest pass: Add an additional $25 to any season pass and bring a guest.

Snowshoe-only pass

Individual day pass: $5
Individual season pass: $50

Additionally, the VIC will rent cross-country skis for $25 a day and snowshoes for $15. Trail fees will be included in the cost of the rental.

Trail pass holders will be eligible for discounts on weekend events and program at the VIC, including bird watching walks; natural-history themed walks and events; and backcountry snowshoeing led by VIC staff up the Adirondack Low Peaks. Several other weekend programs are in the works.

For more information, call the Paul Smith’s College VIC at (518) 327-6241.

Photo: The pack sprints from the starting line during a snowshoe race at the Paul Smith’s College VIC (photo provided).


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Seeing the Adirondacks on Horseback

What follows is a guest essay from the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership (AFPEP).

Looking for a Challenge? Try riding some of the Adirondack horse trails. There is something for everyone, from horse camping to mountain tops or lake shores – whatever scenery you are looking for can be found. If you don’t have your own horse, check with area Chambers of Commerce for names and contact information of stables that take people on public trail horseback rides.

Trail riding is an excellent way for you and your horse to enjoy and deepen the bond of partnership, trusting in one another to negotiate the many obstacles that appear on the trail. A jaunt down the trail can refresh the show veteran, season the young horse or invigorate an old trail hand. Just be sure to choose terrain and distance suitable to your equine friend’s condition and enjoy the view between your friend’s ears!

From your horses back you will see, hear and smell things you would otherwise miss from a motor vehicle. There will be the sound of the babbling brook, the song of a bird, the breath taking view that appears around the bend, glorious fall foilage and the wonderful aroma of pine needles, moss and wildflowers. Your horse can carry you on adventures you’ll remember for a lifetime. So pack a lunch, some horse treats and your camera and get out there!!

Before your go here are a few tips:

Know Where You are Going

* Obtain and study maps of the area.
* Familiarize yourself with the trails and terrain.
* Research parking area sizes to make sure your rig will fit.
* Check to see if mounting blocks and hitching rails are available

Prepare Your Horse

* Check your horse’s shoes to make sure they are tight.
* Ensure your horse is conditioned for rugged terrain.
* Bring insect repellent for yourself and horse.
* Rabies shot and negative coggins are required.

Carry and Use Proper Equipment

* Use of safety helmet is strongly recommended.
* Pack a first aid kit with the basics for you and your horse.
* Weather can be changeable, prepare for rain or cold.
* Carry a cell phone on you, not your horse – that way if you part company with your horse, you have the phone.

Act Properly on the Trail

* Ride on designated horse trails only.
* Sign in at trail registers.
* Slow horses to a walk if you meet other users, i.e. hikers, bikers and other horses.
* Ask people to speak to you and horse – horses have different eyesight and may not recognize people with packs or on bikes as people.
* Do not tie horses to live trees.
* Be prepared to encounter wildlife – deer, bear, turkeys, grouse, etc.

If you spend a little time on preparation, training and research, you will both be richly rewarded with a great outdoor experience!

Photo courtesy Old Forge Camping Resort.

This guest essay was contributed by the Adirondack Forest Preserve Education Partnership, a coalition of Adirondack organizations building on the Leave No Trace philosophy. Their goal is to provide public education about the Forest Preserve and Conservation Easements with an emphasis on how to safely enjoy, share, and protect these unique lands. To learn more about AFPEP visit www.adirondackoutdoors.org.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rebuilding Trails After Hurricane Irene

Trail work calls many a climber but with life getting in the way it’s only a lucky few who actually get to enjoy this dream job. One needs time and energy to spare to fully enjoy climbing a peak all the while trimming, chopping, and tossing. For us stalwarts, trail work is a kind of luxury. Year after year we observe the effects of weather and people on the mountains while marveling at the ever evolving beauty of wild flowers and other vegetation as our slow pace allows us to monitor the progress of spring and fall.

Sometimes we get too close to a branch and drop blood on the trail, or suddenly become a delicious buffet for a hive of Yellow Jackets. Gushing head wounds are the best as patient and caregiver take a break from the trail to partake in murder mystery and general hospital all in one. Obviously the audience is limited but one day when retiring from trail work we will be more than ready for the big screen.

Repellent works nicely thank you against black flies and by the time deer and horse flies abound summer has arrived and trail work pauses. Anyway, we have to admit that but for a handful of spring days black flies do not harass volunteer trail workers since they much prefer “fresh” peak baggers!

Let’s mention the invaluable fringe benefits of a tree hugging job: mud caking, soaking dew showers, balsam needles coating, pitch smears, spruce scratches: all combined to keep one forever young and cute.

There are countless ways to participate in trail work depending on one’s availability. It’s all under DEC governance and rules but mostly via the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), Adirondack Trail Improvement Society (ATIS) and the 46ers. Volunteers can either register for one or several of the trail days organized every year by the ADK and the 46ers or become the steward of a particular section of trail, an agreement renewed on a yearly basis. Being a steward is more of a commitment but it gives the adopter schedule flexibility.

Luckily, as there is much more to do than volunteers can undertake, the DEC, ATIS and ADK have professional trail crews in the field every year for a certain number of weeks depending on projects and funding.

Tony Goodwin has been Director of ATIS (founded in 1897) for 25 years and never lacks for things to be done. As he is known to utter, “Trail work is never done”. In his capacity he takes care of 105 miles of public trails and walks most of them once every year! At the ADK (founded in 1922), from early spring to late fall, Wes Lampman, Director of Field Programs, does not have a minute to himself either. The ADK oversees close to 200 miles of trails.

As for the 46Rs (founded in 1948) volunteers clear 36 miles of trail every year. The toughest job for volunteers is no doubt adopting a herd path as some have been doing since 2004. The relatively high turnover in stewards testifies to the mental and physical fortitude it takes to actually do herd path maintenance. Most herd paths are far from trailheads and often consist of roots, mud and steep ledges galore. One volunteer in particular, Matt Clark, deserves our admiration for his unfailing commitment (8 years and counting) to the Redfield path.

Then the occasional hurricane re-routes trails and brooks not always for the best. Following Irene’s furry, the DEC sent a large and experienced trail crew composed from the various neighboring regions staff to clear trails during most of September allowing the re-opening of the High Peaks in record time.

As a result of Irene’s massive destruction, many a brook and a river found themselves occupied by heavy machinery trying to restore the past in an attempt to temper future flooding. The resulting uniform landscape seen from every bridge is not getting a round of applause and the jury is still out on the efficiency of the work. Below is a picture (A) of the new and improved Roaring Brook bed (New Russia side of the Giant Wilderness) as it goes under Route 9 to enter the Boquet. Photo B shows the same brook 20 yards upstream from the brook work where a house partially collapsed during the tropical storm. Photos C and D are views of the same brook 100 yards upstream!

Irene did have one positive impact. The Orebed Trail ladders had been in need of extensive repairs for years until finally thanks to Kris A. Alberga, District Forester (DEC), Wes Lampman (ADK), Ranger Jim Giglinto and a few generous climbers, rebuilding began in mid-August. The work progressed until Irene decided to take control of the situation. The newly built ladders (E) resisted Irene’s onslaught but the environment was drastically re-organized (F). Consequently, upon close inspection, Ranger Giglinto determined that the new gentle and stair-like slide above would make for an easy enough climb without any further manmade assistance. Unused funds earmarked for this work will be available for other projects.

The numerous bridges and dams which were crushed or pushed aside may make fall and winter travel tougher than usual as it will take time (and money) to re-position and rebuild them (if at all in certain cases). Duck Hole (photos G & H) will no doubt be an ongoing story for months if not years as the debate will rage about the pros and cons of rebuilding the historic dam. However, there seems to be a consensus about the urgency of rebuilding Marcy Dam.

In the meantime, we wish you and ourselves many more years of trail work and all joys and rewards that come with it. Photos (I & J) show Gary Koch and Pete Biesemeyer doing just that along the Upper Range Trail this past spring. Pete has been doing trail work every year since 1954 while Gary adopted his first lean-to in 1986 and became a trail steward in 1989. Both would easily convince any passer-by they are not a day over seventeen!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Kate Fish: Local Rail Remains Important to Infrastructure

What follows is a guest essay by Kate Fish, Executive Director of the Adirondack North Country Association and a member of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council.

Recent news that the Lake Placid to Saranac Lake rail side recreation path project received a $1.2 million grant should put to rest any debate about what “should” be done with the northern portion of the 119-mile Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor.

The Federal Highway Administration grant has been awarded to the Adirondack North Country Association on behalf of New York State Department of Transportation through a very competitive process – 1,800 applications were submitted, requesting more than 30 times the funds available — for projects under the National Scenic Byways Program. This grant is one of the largest amounts received in this round of funding, indicating strong support at the national level to boost recreation and improve infrastructure simultaneously. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Phil Brown: Climbing the ‘Hundred Highest’

What’s a mountain climber to do once he or she has summited the Adirondack Forty-Six, the Catskill Thirty-Five, and the Northeast 115? Create a new list, of course.

And so we have the Adirondack Hundred Highest—the obsession of hard-core hikers who don’t mind surrendering a few pints of blood in their quest to stand atop the region’s tallest mountains.

The Hundred Highest includes the forty-six High Peaks first climbed by Bob and George Marshall and their guide, Herb Clark, in the first quarter of the last century. All of these peaks now have marked trails or obvious herd paths, so climbing them is not as difficult as it was in the Marshalls’ day.



Not so with most of the other fifty-four of the Hundred Highest. Thirty-nine of these peaks lack trails. Climbing them entails bushwhacking up streambeds, scrambling over or under fallen trees, and pushing through phalanxes of spruce that guard the summits. Those who undertake such a trek can expect to be poked, scratched, bruised, and bitten. It’s not for inexperienced hikers.

In 2007, Spencer Morrissey wrote a guidebook titled The Other 54 for adventurous souls aspiring to join the Hundred Highest club. Morrissey estimates that only forty or so hikers have done all the peaks. Those who qualify can request a patch from the Hundred Highest website.

Morrissey sold all 2,500 copies of the first edition of The Other 54 and has just come out with a second edition, which he published under his Inca-pah-cho Wilderness Guides imprint (the name derives from the Algonquin name for Long Lake, Morrissey’s hometown). It remains the only guidebook available to bushwhacking the pathless peaks.

The second edition updates trail conditions, describes several additional routes, and corrects many misspellings and grammatical errors (full disclosure: my son was the copy editor). In an improvement over the first edition, Morrissey arranges the chapters (one per peak) geographically rather than by the heights of the summits. This makes it easier to plan multi-peak treks. He could have made things even easier, though, by dividing the book into regions and including locater maps.

Most chapters include at least one black-and-white photograph. All include a topographical map showing the various routes to the summit. In the first edition, all the maps were grouped in a color gallery at the back of the book. The current layout is more convenient, but the tradeoff is the maps are black and white.

One odd feature is that Morrissey repeats directions unnecessarily. In the chapter on Lost Pond Peak, for instance, he describes four routes to the summit, all starting on the same trail at Adirondak Loj. Instead of providing the driving directions once, he repeats them at the start of each route description. Likewise, sections of the route descriptions are repeated. It’s like déjà vu all over again.

Given the author’s enthusiasm and sense of humor, it’s easy to forgive the book’s shortcomings. Besides, whatever its flaws, The Other 54 is essential equipment for Hundred Highest aspirants.

A more serious criticism (whether justified or not) is that the book will lead to environmental degradation on summits that are now pristine, just as the Forty-Sixer craze led to the creation of herd paths.

“You simply can’t have thousands of people doing this, or even hundreds, and hope to maintain the resource or wilderness qualities of this place,” says Jim Close, an avid hiker who has climbed the Hundred Highest himself.

Since the Marshalls, more than seven thousand people have climbed the Forty-Six. They were rewarded with grand vistas on most of the summits. One wonders how many of these hikers would have wanted to endure an arduous bushwhack up Sawtooth No. 5 for a glimpse of the horizon through the trees.

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer. The above review is adapted from an article that will appear in the September/October issue of the newsmagazine.



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Changes Planned for Independence River Snowmobile Trails

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced its plans to amend the Independence River Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP). The Independence River Wild Forest includes over 79,000 acres in Lewis and Herkimer counties.

The draft amendment proposes the rerouting of several trails or trail segments to reduce environmental impacts and the designation of several old roads as new snowmobile trails. Additionally, the amendment will classify all snowmobile trails as Class I, Secondary Trails or Class II, Community Connector Trails, as defined in Adirondack Park Snowmobile Management Guidance [pdf]. A public meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 19, 2011, from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Lowville DEC sub-office located at 7327 State Route 812. The public will have an opportunity to offer comments regarding the draft amendment. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Scenic RR Summer Events

There certainly is controversy about the Adirondack Scenic Railroad being a viable tourist attraction versus the tracks becoming an interconnecting bike path through the towns of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake.

Those that believe the expense, need and usage isn’t warranted are often pitted against nostalgic train riders who want to ride the rails. For now the Adirondack Scenic Railroad is running full steam ahead for the summer season. For parents wishing for a different type of experience, perhaps this is the way to go.

I have never been sure what made my son stop in his tracks when he heard a train’s whistle. Is it a taste of magic, new destinations or a promise of adventure? For us as we board the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and hear the conductor yell “Ready to button up,” it is a bit of each. With our busy lives this is one Adirondack family activity where we really do get to sit and watch clouds go by. » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Conflict Over Snowmobile Access Threatens Bike Trail

If Warren County permits snowmobiles to use the Warren County Bikeway where it traverses land owned by the Magic Forest theme park, the trail could be barricaded, severing the trail link between Lake George and Glens Falls. That, at any rate, is one option available to Magic Forest’s owner, Jack Gillette, said Gillette’s attorney, Mike Stafford.

Whereas Warren County owns outright or by easement most of the 17-mile trail, Magic Forest owns the 350 feet of trail over the park’s land, Gillette said. » Continue Reading.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Shingle Shanty Paddling Rights Case Update

The state’s effort to intervene in the trespassing case against Adirondack Explorer editor Phil Brown hurts private property owners, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit argued early last week.

“This case is asking the court to say, basically, ‘Have canoe, will travel,’” said Dennis Phillips, the Glens Falls attorney representing the Friends of Thayer Lake and the Brandreth Park Association. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Adirondack Philosophy: Our Divided Interests

The 18th century Scottish philosopher David Hume may seem like an unlikely lens through which to interrogate our Adirondack situation, except that all of our contemporary discord over public versus private land ownership and conflict over the need to manage natural resources in order to ensure human and other-than-human flourishing for generations to come, all sounds vaguely familiar.

Hume makes an impassioned argument for the commons when he writes of a world where resources “would be used freely, without regard to property; but cautiously too” after all he asks “why raise land-marks between my neighbor’s field and mine, when my heart has made no division between our interests” (Hume, 1777). » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

SNIRT ATV Rally Comes Under Fire

An ATV rally, SNIRT (Snow/Dirt), is coming under fire from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Council for apparent purposeful destruction of wetlands near Otter Creek and Brantingham Lake in the Southwest part of the Adirondack Park in Lewis County (the Eastern side of the Tug Hill Plateau).

The event drew attention after YouTube videos of the event from 2008 and 2010 surfaced showing ATV users riding through wetlands, past posted signs, and drinking at the event, and after the rally’s organizers sought to move the event onto some state lands. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Adirondack Legend Jim Goodwin Has Passed

James A. Goodwin, 101, passed away peacefully April 7 at Adirondack Medical Center of complications of pneumonia. Born March 8, 1910 in Hartford, CT, his parents were Howard Goodwin and Charlotte Alton Goodwin. His long association with the Adirondacks began when he spent his first three summers at his grandfather Charles Alton’s resort, Undercliff, on Lake Placid. After a few summers in Connecticut, the family returned to the Adirondacks and spent many summers in Keene Valley, starting at Interbrook Lodge on Johns Brook Lane when Jim was nine. By the age of 12, Jim was guiding parties to Mt. Marcy – a career that only ended on Saturday, March 26 when he was the guest of honor at the New York State Outdoor Guides Rendezvous luncheon.

Jim attended Kingswood School in Hartford, CT, graduating in 1928. He then graduated from Williams College in 1932 and went on to receive an M.A. in English from Harvard in 1934. After Harvard, Jim returned to teach at Kingswood (later Kingswood-Oxford) School, teaching there until his retirement in 1975.

During the 1930′s, Jim made many trips west to climb in the Canadian Rockies, ascents by which he gained admission to the American Alpine Club. He also continued to climb in the Adirondacks, making the first winter ascent of Mt. Colden’s Trap Dike in 1935 and becoming Adirondack 46-R #24 in 1940.

In 1941, Jim married Jane Morgan Bacon, daughter of Herbert and Isabel Huntington Bacon. After Pearl Harbor, Jim enlisted in the 10th Mountain Division where by virtue of his membership in the American Alpine Club he served as a rock climbing instructor, first in Colorado and later at Seneca Rocks, West Virginia. Afterwards, he served as a medic during the division’s combat in Italy. Discharged in 1945, Jim returned to teaching at Kingswood School where he was instrumental in starting a ski team and an outing club.

Jim’s heart, however, was always in the Adirondacks where he spent most of his summers until moving to Keene Valley permanently in 2002 and living in the cabin he built in 1940. Starting in 2007, he was a resident of the Keene Valley Neighborhood House. During his summers in Keene Valley he both cut new trails and maintained existing ones while also guiding many aspiring 46-Rs on the peaks. The new trails he cut include Porter Mt. from Keene Valley (1924), Big Slide from the Brothers (1951), Hedgehog(1953), Ridge Trail to Giant (1955), and the Pyramid Gothics Trail(1966). His long association with the Adirondack Trail Improvement Society, as both director and trail maintainer, led to the new, 1998, trail to Rooster Comb being named in his honor.

Jim’s memberships included the Adirondack 46-Rs, Adirondack Mountain Club, American Alpine Club, and NYS Outdoor Guides Association. At the time of his retirement in 1975, Bill Dunham, then AMR President made him an honorary member of the AMR. In that same year he assumed the presidency of ATIS, an office he would hold for a total of eight years between 1975 and 1987. Jim also served as the AMR’s field representative in the extended negotiations that led to the 1978 land sale.

He is survived by sons James, Jr.(Tony) and wife Emily Apthorp Goodwin of Keene and Peter and wife Susan Rohm Goodwin of Wolfeboro, NH. Additional survivors are nephews James and Christopher O’Brien of Clifton Park and Troy as well as grandchildren Morgan, Robert, and Liza Goodwin of Keene and Hunt and John Goodwin of Wolfeboro, NH. He was predeceased by Jane, his wife of 50 years, as well as his sisters, Margaret (Peg) O’Brien and Charlotte Craig.

There will be a memorial service on Saturday, April 23 at 3 PM at the Keene Valley Congregational Church with a reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Kingswood-Oxford School, 170 Kingswood Road, West Hartford, CT 06119 or Keene Valley Neighborhood House, P.O. Box 46, Keene Valley, NY 12943.

Photo: Jim Goodwin, age 9, on top of Hopkins Mountain.

Editor’s Note: The obituary was posted at adkhighpeaks.com. Hat tip to Drew Haas’s blog.

Almanack contributor Phil Brown wrote about Jim Goodwin just last year when he turned 100.

NCPR’s Brian Mann interviewed Jim Goodwin last year about his experiences with the 10th Mountain Division here.