Fifty springs ago, the Upper Hudson River was conserved as a wild, free flowing river. The Schenectady Gazette’s writer Pete Jacobs reported the news in the April 17, 1969 edition of that newspaper:
“Without opposition, the Assembly gave swift approval to legislation prohibiting the construction of the Gooley Dam on the Upper Hudson River, branded by conservationists as a threat to the wild river country.”
In addition to Gooley, the bill blocks construction of any reservoirs on the river from Luzerne to its source in the Adirondack Park.» Continue Reading.
Let’s stipulate that religious epiphany requires an understanding of one’s relationship to the divine … to the creator … to God. I would further submit that this understanding is fundamentally a matter of humility. Humility is the recognition that we are not masters of the universe — not even of our own little corners of it — and that we need something more than ourselves if we are to make sense of our lives. What Kennedy’s observation suggests is that this understanding — this humility — is best attained in wilderness.
I am not going to argue that other human experiences cannot have this effect. Try giving birth, for example. Or, if you are not properly equipped, watch your wife do it. Listen to a symphony. Or head to a museum or gallery and see what Georgia O’Keeffe or Ansel Adams saw when they looked at the wild. » Continue Reading.
In 2018, state agencies combined the Dix Mountain and High Peaks Wilderness areas into one grand 275,000-acre Wilderness area, which is now celebrated as the 3rd largest Wilderness area east of the Mississippi River, behind the Florida Everglades and the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. This action certainly merits heralding as a major accomplishment in the history of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve.
It shines a spotlight on the High Peaks Wilderness as a world-class landscape and it begs the questions of how and when will state agencies start to put together a world-class management system that the High Peaks Wilderness deserves. » Continue Reading.
Jack articulates well what many of us baby boomers are feeling as we take up a ski, paddle, hike, or bike with younger friends and colleagues. We think we are reasonably fit, but how to keep up? Especially, as Jack wondered, on the uphill sections? » Continue Reading.
In March 1848 a colleague of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harrison Gray Otis Blake, sought out Henry David Thoreau to help him on his spiritual pilgrimage, recognizing Thoreau’s need to live a “fresh, simple life with God.”
Thoreau wanted to live his life free from the trappings of the commercial world, enabling him to enrich his inner life. He escaped to his Walden Pond to experience “nature as goodness crystalized.” » Continue Reading.
Do we need more wilderness? Don’t be silly — yes, of course we do. Wilderness has been a defining element of the Adirondacks for more than two centuries, as much an iconic part of the landscape as loons, black bears and red efts. Even if we can’t always be in the wilderness, we find inspiration knowing that it’s out there, somewhere past those foothills on the horizon. » Continue Reading.
This July seventy-two teachers from across the country will spend their summer break in a classroom six-million acres wide thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
“Forever Wild,” a week-long immersive experience for K-12 educators, reveals the historical importance of the Adirondack wilderness during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, including how Americans from bustling cities made use of the natural landscape during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. » Continue Reading.
As an advocate for quiet waters, on August 18, 2018, I joined with 36 canoes and guide boats on a Canoe-In to Weller Pond and Little Weller Pond to lobby for no motors on these pristine bodies of water (cul-de-sacs of the Saranac Chain of Lakes.) As we paddled toward the channel to Weller Pond nine powerboats lined the shore of nearby Hungry Bay. We chanted “All we want is 2%: You have 98,” referencing the amount of the waters open to motors on these lakes. The entire 17.5- mile route from Lower Saranac to Upper Saranac Lake allows for the unlimited use of motorboats.
The motor-boaters held signs urging that Weller be kept open to them. After hearing about the Canoe-In, they had sponsored an advertisement in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise on August 11 encouraging “Motorboat owners and boat enthusiasts to come and show your support in preserving and protecting our rights on the water.” » Continue Reading.
New York State is one of the birthplaces of the American idea of wilderness. The Adirondack Park stands with Yellowstone and Yosemite as iconic landscapes that helped shape our ideas of the value of wild places. The Adirondacks served as inspiration to many of the early champions of wilderness preservation, from Ralph Waldo Emerson and his compatriots at the famed Philosophers’ Camp to Bob Marshall and Howard Zahniser, who pushed to create a national wilderness-preservation system.
Indeed, the Adirondack Park is of global significance. UNESCO recognized the value of these lands and waters when it established the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve in 1989. It is one of just thirty Biosphere Reserves in the United States. » Continue Reading.
In July 1946, Howard and Alice Zahniser drove with their children to the Adirondacks for the first time. Howard had started work as the first executive of The Wilderness Society in Washington D.C. the year prior. Howard would begin drafting the federal Wilderness Act of 1964 (66 drafts in all) from a cabin he acquired in the Adirondacks.
Howard kept a journal of his first trip to the Adirondack Park. The rest of us know about it thanks to his son Ed Zahniser’s small book, Where Wilderness Preservation Began – Adirondack Writings of Howard Zahniser (Ed Zahniser, Editor., North Country Books, 1992). For 72 years the extended Zahniser family, now including the fourth generation, has returned to the same place in the Adirondacks. This August I held a cook-out to welcome them back. » Continue Reading.
What follows is a press release issued by Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve:
At public meetings held in Albany and Newcomb this week, the non-profit advocate Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve told the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and NYS Adirondack Park Agency (APA) that the agencies are rushing to approve complex amendments to management plans for the High Peaks Wilderness and nearby Forest Preserve units. Such haste risks exposing these wilderness landscapes to more overuse and degradation of their natural resources and wild character.
The agencies are on course to approve the amendments in just over 45 days, or half the time that the agencies previously agreed should be taken to consider complex unit management plans for “forever wild” state lands. » Continue Reading.
I’d like to recognize the Adirondack Daily Enterprise for its recent editorial “APA, DEC Skimp on Public Meetings.” The newspaper wrote that two public meetings, both held on the same day (Wednesday, May 23) about numerous management amendments to the High Peaks Wilderness and Vanderwhacker Wild Forest:
“while important, are also severely wanting. These lands belong to the people of New York, and folks near New York City, in Syracuse and Buffalo, Watertown and Ithaca all deserve to have APA and DEC staff come explain what the plans mean and hear the public’s concerns. Together, the two UMP amendments run to more than 300 pages, and it would be beneficial to the public to have them explained by the people who wrote them.”
Now that the classifications are decided and amendments to the unit management plans (UMP) are underway, the process seems highly accelerated and rushed. » Continue Reading.
As the upcoming Canadian Victoria Day holiday weekend (May 19-21) kicks-off the start of the busy season in the Adirondack High Peaks, local advocates and officials are assessing overcrowding, making plans to accommodate more visitors, and proposing new regulations and a sweeping expansion of backcountry facilities. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its monthly meeting at its headquarters in Ray Brook, NY on Thursday, May 10th, 2018.
The meeting will include discussion on the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest and the High Peaks Wilderness Unit Management Plans (UMPs), proposed amendments to the Gore Mountain Intensive Use Ski Area UMP, an Arbor Day tree dedication, a presentation on the Lake Champlain Basin Program, and discuss proposed enhancements for the Ski Bowl Village located in the Town of Johnsburg. What follows is the agenda issued by the APA: » Continue Reading.
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