When the air is crisp and the leaves are the color of lollipops and hikers descend on Keene Valley like seagulls on a sub, thoughts in this quarter inevitably turn to Cranberry Lake in the Adirondack’s northwest quadrant.
Cranberry Lake in the autumn has the feel of an outpost on civilization’s edge — a port from which the last ship has sailed for the year, leaving behind a skeleton crew of people to keep systems operational through a long dark winter.
Town of Clifton St. Lawrence County Wilderness Search: On June 3 at 6:05 p.m., Forest Ranger Morehouse received a call from staff at the Wanakena Ranger School reporting a student lost in the woods. Two Forest Rangers responded to assist Ranger School staff who were able to locate the missing 30-year-old student from Marcellus by using cell phone coordinates. Rangers helped her use her compass to find her way out of the woods and the incident concluded by 8 p.m.
Locally-made art, visits to the Clifton Town Museum and Ranger School, and a talk on the first County Historian will be the highlights of the St. Lawrence County Historical Association’s 70th Annual Meeting in Wanakena on November 4th.
In celebrating SLCHA’s 70th anniversary, Clifton Town Historian Mark Friden will present a program on St. Lawrence County’s first historian, J. Otto Hamele.
Hamele was born in Cattaraugus County and arrived in Wanakena in 1901 to work for the Rich Lumber Company. He became County Historian in 1945, two years before his death, after years of supporting the local community and Ranger School.
A new store that caters to outdoor sports enthusiasts has opened in Wanakena, a tiny hamlet near Cranberry Lake with a population of less than 100.
The Trading Post at the Pine Cone Grill opened this winter to fill the gap created by the closing of the Wanakena General Store, which sold groceries and basic outdoor supplies.
Rick Kovacs, who owned the Wanakena General Store, shut down in October saying he couldn’t make enough money in the winter months. He had owned the store for about six years, and said one had been at that location for about 60 years. » Continue Reading.
Enjoy the beauty of winter in Star Lake, Cranberry Lake, and Wanakena with winter activities for the entire family at the two day-event White Out Weekend on Saturday February 28th, 2015 in the Hamlets of Star Lake and Wanakena and Sunday March 1st in the Hamlet of Cranberry Lake.
Events will start at 11am and continue into the early evening on both days. There is no cost to attend most events. » Continue Reading.
Several nonprofits from across the Adirondack region have partnered to raise funds to rebuild the historic and iconic Wanakena Footbridge in the Clifton-Fine community. The suspension bridge was destroyed in January, 2014 when an ice jam on the Oswegatchie River broke and slammed into its side.
Built in 1902 by the Rich Lumber Company, the footbridge provided pedestrian access to residential and commercial areas of Wanakena. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Estimates put the full cost of construction at $250,000.
The Wanakena Historical Association has already raised nearly $38,000, but to extend the campaign’s, reach the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) has partnered with other local nonprofits to establish an online Adirondack Gives crowdfunding effort. The Wanakena Footbridge campaign can be found on the Adirondack Gives website. » Continue Reading.
Earlier this winter, after several long days in the office, I went to bed dreaming of my first backcountry ski trip of the season, a jaunt to High Rock in the Five Ponds Wilderness. Conditions would be perfect. Over the last few days, we had received eight inches of fluffy powder.
Then I woke up. Outside, it was twenty-four below zero, according to my Weather Channel app. Like any sensible person, I immediately broadcast this fact to Facebook. A few people suggested I postpone my trip.
“I have skied at 20 below, but I was 14 and foolish. Stay home, for god’s sake,” posted a former colleague.
But most of my Facebook friends were surprisingly indifferent to the possibility of my freezing to death.
On the Peavine Swamp trail system in the northwestern Adirondacks near Cranberry Lake I found a tranquil route through open forest, culminating on a knoll overlooking the Oswegatchie River. Removed from the more challenging terrain of the High Peaks backcountry, the trails allow the skier to settle into a soothing rhythm of kick and glide over level ground and rolling ridges. The occasional gully or steeper pitch is enough to rate the trail’s difficulty moderate or intermediate—but in a low-key way.
It’s a good trip for looking around and appreciating the forest, and on a clear day in early January, I was accompanied by two skiers who were well qualified to be guides through these woods: Jamie Savage, professor at the Ranger School in Wanakena, and John Wood, senior forester for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Jamie uses these lands as an outdoor classroom for his students. And John, working with Jamie and other partners in the area, has been developing plans for increasing hiking and skiing routes near Cranberry Lake. » Continue Reading.
The general public is invited to attend this weekend’s “Forest Festival” at the Ranger School in Wanakena, NY. The first-ever forestry festival, in 1908, celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Biltmore Forest School in western North Carolina. That school was the first of its kind and, in fact, the first forestry school of any kind in the United States.
Biltmore was a technical school that conveyed lessons in ‘practical forestry.’ Students endured an intense schedule but benefited from first-hand, field-oriented learning opportunities. Empolyers were eager to hire the job-ready Biltmore School graduates. Various factors lead to the closure of Biltmore in 1913, but the need for professional and para-professional foresters was growing. As such, technical forestry schools and colleges were readily being established around the country. » Continue Reading.
Sept 7 – 9 there will be a congregation of artists, scholars, historians, and writers in Lake Placid for an exploration of Adirondack cultural heritage (more info). Free and open to the public, it should prove to be enjoyable and informative to all who love this place. I was thinking about this event as I paddled with a group of friends on the Oswegatchie River, in the Five Ponds Wilderness. Our objective was High Rock – not a terribly difficult or long paddle, although it was challenging in places because the water levels were pretty low and rocks were exposed. Having recently returned from almost four weeks in Glacier National Park – where the “big sky” glacier carved landscapes are truly magnificent – I couldn’t get over the fact that I was still moved by the scenery flowing past me along the Oswegatchie.
Orange brown rocks just beneath the surface, covered with colorful paint swatches from all the boats that have scraped across them for more than a century. Massive white pines that probably were too scrawny to harvest during the logging booms of the 1900’s, were now towering over the river. The tag alder filled flood plain that this wild river was meandering through. The Five Ponds Wilderness is a prime example of how this amazing place can inspire. » Continue Reading.
When classes started a few weeks ago at the Ranger School in Wanakena, NY, it was anything but ‘business as usual.’ A new curriculum in Environmental and Natural Resources Conservation is credited with increasing the School’s enrollment by nearly 50%. With additional programs, more students and new teaching staff, the Ranger School is poised to begin its second century (in 2012) on a very positive note. It has been over 25 years since the Ranger School–a regional campus of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF)–has welcomed such a large class. After seeing stable enrollment of about 40-45 students each of the last several years, this year’s class of 59 represents a significant increase.
Much of the increase in enrollment is attributed to a brand new AAS-degree program in Environmental and Natural Resources Conservation (ENRC). The new program focuses less on timber production and traditional forest management and more on wildlife, forest recreation, soils and water conservation. It also includes an intriguing new class called “Adirondack Cultural Ecology,” wherein students learn about the ways that the natural resources of the Adirondacks have influenced human use and the general culture of the Park, and vice-versa.
The ENRC program is designed to prepare graduates for a shifting job market which, in turn, reflects a shift in the way Society values forests. It’s still important to grow trees to meet society’s demand for lumber, paper, firewood and other traditional products, but it’s increasingly important to understand, protect and sustainably manage forests for wilderness, wildlife, clean air, clean water, carbon storage, forest recreation, and aesthetics.
The Ranger School maintains two other AAS-degree programs, one in Forest Technology, and one in Land Surveying Technology. The former curriculum has been in place in one form or another since the School’s primitive beginnings in 1912. The Surveying program was first offered in 1995 and recently received ABET accreditation.
In August of 2012, the Ranger School celebrates 100 years of hands-on, technical forestry education. As such, it is the longest running program of its kind in North America. The School was formed one year after the birth of its parent institution, ESF (known then as the College of Forestry at Syracuse University), with a donation of 1,800 acres of land from the Rich Lumber Company. More information about the Ranger School and its upcoming Centennial Celebration can be found at the School’s website.
Photos: Above, entrance to Ranger School campus in Wanakena, NY; below, Aerial view of Ranger School. Courtesy Jamie Savage.
Jamie Savage is a Professor at the SUNY-ESF Ranger School, Certified Forester, Licensed Outdoor Guide, and Adirondack singer-songwriter from Piercefield, NY.
Participants in the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program’s 10th annual aquatic invasive plant training program will learn aquatic plant identification tips and survey techniques for both native and aquatic invasive plants.
The training is free, but space is limited. Please RSVP by June 17 to [email protected] and provide your name, contact info, training location and lake of interest.
Sessions are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
June 28, Darrin Fresh Water Institute, Bolton Landing or June 30, Wanakena Ranger School on Cranberry Lake » Continue Reading.
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