Shortly after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, it was realized that airmarks could be used by enemy planes, so the order was given to remove 2,500 airmarks that stood within 150 miles of the nation’s coasts. Six weeks later, those marks were obliterated, undoing six years of labor—but shortly after, the blanket order was modified. Why? The absence of airmarks was causing military pilot trainees to become lost. The new order allowed airmarks within 50 miles of flight training airfields.
The national program resumed after the war, with improved methods (including government-supplied plywood templates for lettering) and greater participation, but it’s truly remarkable that despite historic advances in communications and airplanes, the airmark system remained in use into the 1970s.
If you’re old enough to have flown locally back then, you might recall some North Country rooftop markings, some of which are listed below with their year of origin. Most were maintained until the system became outdated. » Continue Reading.
We take navigation for granted today, what with Siri, GPS, radio communications, radar, and services like Google Maps. But imagine you were a pilot in upstate New York back in the 1920s, when aviation was first coming into its own. If you took to the air, as many citizens did, how would you avoid getting lost?
The answer quite often was — you probably wouldn’t, and with potentially fatal consequences. Many pilots died in crashes after running out of fuel while trying to find a destination. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency has received a flood of letters and emails seeking to influence its forthcoming decision on the future of a state-owned rail corridor that extends 119 miles from Remsen to Lake Placid.
At its November meeting, the APA board voted to solicit public comments on whether a plan to split the corridor into a trail segment and a rail segment complies with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. The agency may vote on the matter as early as next month.
Comments were accepted through December 18. Pursuant to a freedom-of-information request, the Adirondack Almanack recently obtained and reviewed the comments. The PDF file provided by the agency comprises 373 pages, but it includes some duplication. » Continue Reading.
It has often been said by various Park planners that the availability of convenient air travel from the Adirondack region is an important piece of the North Country’s economic puzzle. But what has seemed colloquially obvious now has interesting research to back it up. If we can draw any parallels to the same issue out West, we can say with more certainty that convenient air travel is in fact an essential piece.
The Adirondack Region offers a great deal to the remote worker: world-class natural beauty, unsurpassed recreational opportunities, a pristine environment, a surprising level of cultural amenities, good restaurants and expanding broadband availability. I’ve even been pleased with shipping and postage times, considerably better than I had expected before I moved here. Indeed, for people who want to be able to live in the Park while participating in a global business world, the overall story is getting more persuasive. But transportation in, around and out of the Adirondacks is a real problem. » Continue Reading.
There aren’t many Nordic ski routes where you can gauge your progress by mileage markers. The exception, I learned last weekend, is the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway.
When the state repaved the highway recently, it installed highway reference markers along the shoulder. These are the small rectangular signs on metal posts that you see along state-maintained roads every tenth or two-tenths of a mile. Usually they’re green, but those on the Whiteface highway are brown. » Continue Reading.
The wrangling over the future of the state-owned rail corridor that stretches 119 miles from Remsen to Lake Placid has proved to be one of the most contentious issues in the Adirondack Park in recent years.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation received hundreds of public comments, raising many of the same questions that have appeared in articles and comments on Adirondack Almanack.
In their final plan for the corridor, the departments summarized the comments and provided their official responses. Given the public interest in this topic, the Almanack is reprinting those comments and responses. The result is a post that is much longer than usual. Of course, you don’t have to read all the comments, but we bet some people will.
The Adirondack Park Agency intends to seek public comment on a plan to remove the railroad tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake to create a recreational trail, but agency officials do not foresee any legal obstacles to the controversial proposal.
The APA has little authority to alter the proposal. Rather, its role is to determine whether it complies with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.
If all goes as planned, the state would open the recreational trail in 2017 at the earliest.» Continue Reading.
While researching the Raquette Lake Railway, I found several historical traditions that were repeatedly used by authors in their works regarding the railroad’s origin. Below I examine these traditions and then provide my research on its origin from period correspondence and historical sources, including the rationale from the words of its builder, Collis P. Huntington. » Continue Reading.
Making the Adirondack Park more attractive to youth of all backgrounds and preferences was the focus of the second Towards a More Diverse Adirondacks Symposium on August 15th at SUNY-ESF in Newcomb. We had a robust discussion, and the bulk of our time was given to the voices of high school and college-age students, from inside and outside the Adirondacks.
A new kind of culvert is being installed on an Ausable River tributary in Wilmington. The project is part of a initiative led by the Ausable River Association (AsRA) and the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (the Conservancy) to improve stream connectivity, fish habitat, and community flood resilience in the Ausable watershed by replacing road-stream crossings with designs engineered to allow for natural stream pattern and flow. » Continue Reading.
Bushwhacking is hard work. Trudging through dense forest, struggling with hobblebush thickets, climbing over downed trees, and dodging wetlands is no simple walk in the park; unless it’s the Adirondack Park.
An well-trod path provides welcome relief from all this effort, whether it’s a herd path or a marked trail. Old forest roads offer another opportunity for respite, while still retaining that wilderness feel. In the Adirondack backcountry, these old roads are rather abundant. » Continue Reading.
On Sunday, August 30, 2015, at 1 pm, history and views from the Lake Champlain Bridge will be the highlights of a guided bridge walk offered by the Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison, Vermont, and Crown Point State Historic Site in Crown Point, New York. Site manager Elsa Gilbertson (VT) and historian Tom Hughes (NY) will lead the tour.
Participants should meet at the Chimney Point State Historic Site museum on the Vermont end of the bridge to start. Allow two hours to walk back and forth across the bridge during the tour that explores the 9,000 years of human habitation at this important location on Lake Champlain. » Continue Reading.
After years of public debate and numerous public meetings, the state is nearing a final decision on the future of the rail corridor between Old Forge and Lake Placid, but railroad supporters and rail-trail advocates continue to disagree.
On Wednesday night, the Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Transportation held a public hearing on its plan to remove 34 miles of track between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake and refurbish 45 miles of track between Tupper Lake and Big Moose (a depot northeast of Old Forge).
About 120 people attended the hearing at Tupper Lake’s high school, and 38 spoke. Some favored the state’s plan, seeing it as a reasonable compromise. Rail supporters, however, opposed the removal of tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid, while trail advocates opposed the state’s spending millions of dollars to fix up the rail line south of Tupper Lake.
Last year I saw only one monarch butterfly and found only one monarch caterpillar at our house. This is after cultivating milkweed at numerous spots around my yard and planting three seasons of nectar plants. The only other monarchs my family was lucky enough to see were hatched by the Wild Center and at the Paul Smiths VIC Butterfly House as part of their programs to raise awareness regarding the perils of the monarch habitat.
Since milkweed is critically important to monarchs, both butterfly and caterpillars, we decided to widen our milkweed patch. Last fall we did a bit of seed sprinkling along the berm across the street from our house. I followed up with a few phone calls to our town supervisor and highway crew to let them know I could maintain the patch. It was important for me to communicate with as many people as possible. It was an encouraging conversation.
Now that the trees are finally starting to bud, my children and I are on the lookout for young milkweed shoots. We hope that this new patch will encourage a few more butterflies to make our street a monarch stopover.
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