In all the far reaches of the Park, celebrating snow and ice is a tradition showcasing the playful aspects of wintertime. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘wanakena’
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.
Rick Kovacs, who ran the store for the past five years with his wife, Angie Oliver, said business was too slow in the off-seasons to make a living. » 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.
“Burrrrrr & Enjoy!” wrote one. » Continue Reading.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
June 30, Wanakena Ranger School on Cranberry Lake » Continue Reading.
The Red Horse Trail is a prime example of an Adirondack wilderness trail. Located in the southern portion of the Five Ponds Wilderness this trail stretches from Big Burnt Lake along the northern shore of Stillwater Reservoir to Clear Lake five miles to the north. The trail provides numerous opportunities to experience the wilderness from secluded lakes to wild streams and everything in between.
The Red Horse Trail is one of the oldest Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) established hiking trails dating as far back as 1922. At that time the trail went from Wanakena all the way to the Beaver River with a bridge traversing the Oswegatchie River at High Falls. Today the middle portion of the trail has been long abandoned but its course can still be found on a historical topographical map. Only the southern-most section of the original trail remains today.
The limited access to this trail probably has a lot to do with its wilderness character. The typical access is by boat via either Big Burnt Lake or Trout Pond. Both of these water bodies are inland bays of Stillwater Reservoir although at one time before the Beaver River was dammed they were independent water bodies in their own right.
There are many interesting sites to see hiking the Red Horse Trail. Along the trail are 3 large secluded lakes (Salmon Lake, Witchhopple Lake and Clear Lake), a lean-to (at Trout Pond), numerous wetland-crossing boardwalks, several beaver ponds, a northern whitecedar lined stream, old-growth northern hardwood forests and majestic towering eastern white pines. All in a length of only five miles!
Although the southern terminus of the trail is along the northern shore of Big Burnt Lake, Trout Pond appears to be the most popular access point due to the presence of the trail register and the nearby lean-to. A couple of sizeable designated camping sites exist along the trail in the direction of Big Burnt Lake.
The Red Horse Trail can be broken up into three different sections. The first consists of the section from Trout Pond to the southern edge of Salmon Lake. The second traverses along the edge of Salmon Lake and beyond until reaching the western shore of Witchhopple Lake. The third section stretches to the north and ends at the southern tip of Clear Lake. The amount of use of the trail appears to decrease with each succeeding section.
From Trout Pond it is only one mile to the southern edge of Salmon Lake. This section of trail is mostly level and parallels along the stream between Trout Pond and Salmon Lake. Unusual for the Adirondacks this stream is bordered by large eastern white cedars whose roots invade the trail and provide a hazard to the distracted hiker.
The trail meets Salmon Lake at its southern end at an old lean-to site. Although the lean-to burned down years ago an outhouse and two fireplaces still stand at the site. Since Salmon Lake lies north-south the view of the entire lake here is stunning.
After leaving the southern end of Salmon Lake the trail parallels the eastern shore of the lake although rarely in sight of the lake. Except for a couple wet areas (a legendary one is just north of the old lean-to site) the trail is mostly dry as it weaves its way through a mature hardwood forest. After about one more mile the trail rejoins Salmon Lake at its very northern end.
After leaving Salmon Lakes’ northern end the trail weaves through several wetlands via boardwalks before finally arriving at Witchhopple Lake. Some of the boardwalks here are half-submerged in water and can be quite treacherous due to their slipperiness.
At Witchhopple Lake the trail bisects a large camping site with plenty of open places for tenting. A large fire ring lies here and there is typically a plentiful supply of cut wood. This site appears to get a lot of use, probably during the hunting season. Litter is often plentiful here too with garbage, Styrofoam, old tarping and half burned rubbish strewn about. Despite the often filthy condition of this campsite the view of Witchhopple Lake is outstanding. Expect to be serenaded by loons and legions of frogs if you chose to camp at this site.
Beyond the Witchhopple Lake campsite is the most harrowing portion of the entire trail. The crossing of the outlet here is one of the most convoluted I have ever seen in the entire Adirondacks.
A series of small streams weave their way through tall gasses and reeds making it difficult to discern dry land from flowing water. Usually a maze of different trails weaves their way through the vegetation only some of which provide boardwalks over swift running water. The key to a successful crossing is to use a large downed tree located in the center of the vegetation as a bridge to make it over the widest stream at the northern edge of the confluence.
The northern most portion of the trail is the most remote and appears to get much less use than its southern segments. Some bridgeless minor stream crossings exist just beyond the Witchhopple outlet but should pose no difficulty for the intrepid soul who reached this point on the trail. This portion of the trail continues to gain elevation for the majority of its length through mostly hardwood forests with an occasional beaver pond passing.
The southern end of Clear Lake functions as the northern terminus of the trail. After a very slick crossing on a boardwalk the trail ends at a large camping site. Typically an old metal rowboat is located here. Summit Mountain can be seen looming over the northern end of the lake.
The trail provides addition opportunities beyond just hiking and backpacking. Canoeing and kayaking opportunities abound along the Red Horse Trail. In addition to accessing the trail via Stillwater Reservoir the three large wilderness lakes remain close enough to one another that the trail can be used as a canoe carry. Both Clear and Witchhopple Lakes provide access to even more secluded bodies of water to the north and east, respectively.
Although most visitors to the Red Horse Trail arrive by boat bushwhacking to the trail is always an option. I have bushwhacked from both the west (starting at the end of Necessary Dam Road) and the north (off the Sand Lake Trail). This option requires days of aggressive travel through remote wilderness with the northern route being the more difficult due to the plethora of scattered blowdown from the 1995 microburst.
Whether reached via boat or through bushwhacking the Red Horse Trail provides a true wilderness experience with plenty of natural beauty to satisfy even the most ardent outdoorsman/outdoorswoman. If one is looking for quiet and solitude far from the more popular trails within the Adirondacks then it is impossible to go wrong with the Red Horse Trail. Giddy-up!
Photos: Sign at Trout Pond, Salmon Lake and log crossing at Witchhopple Lake outlet by Dan Crane.
Dan Crane blogs about his bushwhacking adventures at Bushwhacking Fool.
The Cranberry Lake 50 (CL50), the fifty-mile hiking route that circles Cranberry Lake, has been featured as one of the best multi-day hikes in the Northeast in the January 2011 issue of Backpacker Magazine. Here is an excerpt from the article:
“For lakeside shoreline, traipse trough the Adirondacks’ Five Ponds Wilderness on a 50-mile loop around 7,000-acre Cranberry Lake. [Times Union outdoors blogger] Gillian Scott suggests starting in Wanakena and traveling counterclockwise for an easier first day, when your pack is heaviest. Along the loop you’ll see beaver ponds, sandy beaches, evergreen islands, and winding Oswegatchie River oxbows – but not a lot of people. “We went in July and didn’t see anyone,” Scott says.
Rick Hapanowicz, Jim Houghtailing and six others did the CL50 as a straight through overnight speed hike in May of this year. You can read about their trip online.
As noted in an earlier post, some local politicians deride hikers, paddlers, and similar riff-raff as “granola-eaters” who seldom part with a dime while inside the Adirondack Park.