Posts Tagged ‘wilderness’

Friday, May 17, 2013

Hearings On New State Lands to Begin June 12

Essex ChainThe Adirondack Park Agency will kick off on June 12 a series of public hearings on the use and management of 22,500 acres of new state land, including the Essex Chain Lakes and parts of the Hudson River.

After the hearings, the APA will decide how to classify the lands—a decision that will affect how people can recreate and how accessible the lands will be. The state recently bought the former Finch, Pruyn timberlands from the Nature Conservancy.
» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The New Canoe Trip On The Upper Hudson River

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJoe Martens may be the head of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, but he is no different from a lot of paddlers: he couldn’t wait to canoe a stretch of the upper Hudson River recently added to the Forest Preserve.

On Tuesday, Martens and Mike Carr, executive director of the Adirondack Nature Conservancy, led a flotilla of canoes on an all-day trip down the river, giving us a preview of an excursion that will soon be open to the public, perhaps in a few weeks. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Improving The High Peaks Wilderness

Great Range from the First BrotherThis week I am getting my mountain fix in the Pacific Northwest, where Amy and I are attending a school in wilderness woodcraft.  That circumstance will make this week’s Dispatch mercifully short.  It will have to serve as a prelude to a more substantial missive I have been working on for a few weeks, one  which will offer suggestions – some of them certain to provoke disagreement – for improving the wilderness experience in the High Peaks, better protecting the Forest Preserve in general and sensitive high mountain terrain in particular.

Regular readers know that I am a proponent of expanding the State’s wilderness holdings.  I have written a number of Dispatches on this topic, so will not repeat my justification for this position here.  But equal to that desire is the desire to see existing wilderness holdings become wilder and healthier over time.  It should be said right at the forefront that the people of the State of New York have done extremely well with that.  Tony Goodwin, commenting to me this week on a number of topics that will be part of my coming Dispatch, gave me a useful and important perspective on this when he described the conditions when he first climbed Mount Marcy, in 1957: » Continue Reading.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Finch Lands Public Hearings Planned

Essex Chain and nearby ponds (Photo by Carl Heilman)The Adirondack Park Agency board voted Friday to schedule public hearings on seven options for classifying about 22,500 acres formerly owned by Finch, Pruyn & Company as well as up to 25,300 acres of adjacent Forest Preserve.

The APA has yet to determine the dates and locales, but the hearings likely will take place in June and July in several communities around the state, including hamlets inside the Park.

The agency could vote on a preferred option as early as its August meeting.

The pending classification of the former Finch lands already has sparked disagreement among the Park’s various factions. At stake is the degree of access to the Essex Chain Lakes, a string of connect pond in the interior, and to takeouts on the Hudson River.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Adirondack Wild Seeks ‘Wild Rivers Wilderness’

essexchainAdirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve is proposing newly acquired Forest Preserve in Newcomb and Minerva to be classified Wilderness in honor of one of the Park’s most influential conservation leaders of the 20th century.

The group wants New York State to recognize Paul Schaefer’s historic legacy of protecting the Upper Hudson River by advocating for a Paul Schaefer Wild Rivers Wilderness that is inclusive of the recently acquired Essex Chain of Lakes-Cedar River tract (13,000 acres), Hudson River Stillwater tract (5,000 acres), the Indian River tract (1,400 acres), and the OK Slip Falls tract (2,800 acres).
» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

APA Lays Out Options For New State Lands

Wilderness mapThe staff of the Adirondack Park Agency has proposed seven options for the classification of 22,538 acres of former Finch, Pruyn & Company lands recently acquired by the state, all calling for the creation of a Hudson Gorge Wilderness.

The size of the new Wilderness Area—which would require the reclassification of lands already in the Forest Preserve—would range from 18,829 acres to 45,347 acres, depending on the option.

Under six of the proposals, the Wilderness Area would extend from just south of Newcomb through the Hudson Gorge to just north of the hamlet of North River. Under the other proposal, part of the river corridor would instead be classified a Canoe Area.

Because motorized use is forbidden in Wilderness Areas, local governments often oppose such a classification in favor of Wild Forest, which is less restrictive.  However, Fred Monroe, executive director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, thinks local officials can accept the creation of a Hudson Gorge Wilderness. The battle, he said, is likely to be waged over the classification of the nearby Essex Chain of Lakes and the degree of motorized access to both the Essex Chain and the Hudson. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: The Survey of Lost Brook Tract

Lost Brook Tract SurveyToday I bring to a close my long series on surveying.  In doing so I have the pleasure of returning to Lost Brook Tract and its abiding magic.

As I described four weeks ago, in 1812 Judge John Richards determined the northern boundary line of Lost Brook Tract as part of his survey of the Old Military Tract, when it and all its surroundings were unexplored wilderness.  Here’s the romantic part for me: history shows definitively that after Richards’ survey no one else mapped or explored any part of the tract for another hundred and thirty-six years.  That’s all the way until 1948. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Profile: New Adirondack Council Leader Willie Janeway

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn his first day on the new job, Willie Janeway said he has no big changes in mind at the Adirondack Council—at least, not right away.

Janeway, who is forty-nine, resigned this year as a regional director for the state Department of Environmental Conservation to become executive director of the council.

“I get to be an ambassador for the Adirondack Park. What a great thing to sell—the Adirondacks,” Janeway said Wednesday in an interview with the Adirondack Explorer and Adirondack Daily Enterprise. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches:
Is the Adirondack Futures Project Anti-Environment?

The title of this Dispatch has the question.  My answer?  Unequivocally no.  In fact from my point of view it is and ought to be the opposite.  As I write this we have just celebrated Earth Day.  What in the name of Gaylord Nelson is going on here?

One week ago I wrote a Dispatch supporting the Adirondack Futures Project.  Two days later, out came Peter Bauer’s column taking the project and its founders, Dave Mason and Jim Herman, to task for “taking cheap shots at environmentalists” and “ridicule of a single faction” in an article about the project for Adirondack Life. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ex-DEC Official Disagrees With Essex Chain Plan

Essex Chain and nearby ponds (Photo by Carl Heilman)A former top official in the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) says the department’s proposal for managing the Essex Chain of Lakes will jeopardize the region’s natural resources.

In the May/June issue of the Adirondack Explorer, Christopher Amato calls for classifying the Essex Chain as a Canoe Area, a designation that would prohibit the public use of motorboats, floatplanes, and motor vehicles. DEC has proposed classifying the area as Wild Forest, which would permit motorized access.

Amato’s proposal is closer in spirit to proposals by the Adirondack Council and Protect the Adirondacks to classify all or most of the tract as Wilderness. Motorized use is also prohibited in Wilderness Areas. But Amato, who served as DEC’s assistant commissioner for natural resources from 2007 to 2011, contends that the Canoe designation is a better fit.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

State Buys OK Slip Falls, Hudson Riverfront

Blue LedgeGovernor Andrew Cuomo announced today that the state has purchased two jewels of the former Finch, Pruyn lands—OK Slip Falls and Blue Ledges—as well as a takeout on the Hudson River that will open up a twelve-mile canoe trip from Newcomb.

In all, the state bought 9,300 acres from the Nature Conservancy for $6.3 million. The land is split among six parcels, four in the Adirondack Park, two lying just outside it.

One parcel coveted by paddlers is a 940-acre tract at the confluence of the Hudson and Indian rivers. With this acquisition, the public will be able to put in Harris Lake at the town beach in Newcomb and then paddle south on the Hudson, taking out at the confluence.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation expects that paddlers will have access to the newly acquired river corridor in late May or early June. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: The Empty Nest

Right by our tent areaLast Monday night I was sitting at my dining room table, swamped with paperwork, mostly taxes and some business records that needed attention.  My head was thick with check stubs  and receipts.  I felt heavy and cluttered; taxes are my least favorite thing upon which to concentrate as I have had a couple of bad bouts with them.

But this was different and I knew it.  I could feel the roiling just below the surface, the brooding disturbance I had lived with the previous week, still there, still strong.  I had not fully understood it then, had not understood that it portended an emotional eruption, a torrent of joy and pain and regret and longing that comes to human beings only a few times over the course of their lives.  When it finally did burst, in a gush of memory and effluent from the deeper strata of my makeup, it left me briefly overwhelmed by the very living of life itself.   Now, sitting at the table amidst the jumbled boxes and messy stacks of paper I recognized it rising up again, provoked by sight and smell of old scribblings, letters, report cards and lists littered among the other records, personal vestiges of the past I had not seen in a long time. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: The Discovery of Lost Brook Tract

Towards the SummitToday we move our surveying saga forward from the eighteenth century to the nineteenth.  We will not dwell in this century for long.  The stories of two dominant explorers of the 1800’s, geologist Ebenezer Emmons and surveyor Verplanck Colvin, have been well documented and need no retelling here.  But before Emmons, who was active in the region in the  1830′,s there was plenty of important surveying work done in the Adirondacks.

If you will, please consider the following two résumés, each an example of early American pioneering virtue: » Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches:
Brodhead’s Astonishing High Peaks Survey

Personal McIntyre RangeGet your coffee, kids.  Here comes one hell of a story.

When last we left surveyor Charles Brodhead he was standing in two feet of snow atop Giant Mountain.  His task, to finally survey the boundary between the Old Military Tract and the Totten and Crossfield Purchase and in the process connect to Archibald Campbell’s distant northern line, lay before him, directly into the formidable jumble of higher peaks ahead.  Unlike his predecessors, all of whom managed to avoid setting this line, Brodhead, the hard-headed, uncongenial tough guy that he was, took in the view without written comment, recorded his chain measurements and headed down into the Keene Valley and history. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Debate Continues Over Motors On New State Lands

Essex Chain and nearby ponds (Photo by Carl Heilman)

  Essex Chain (Carl Heilman Photo). 

More than five years after the Nature Conservancy bought all 161,000 acres of Finch, Pruyn & Company’s timberlands, the state has acquired eighteen thousand acres for the Forest Preserve and intends to open up some of the land to the public this spring.

As a result of the state acquisition in December, canoeists and kayakers will be able to paddle south on the Hudson River from Newcomb to a takeout just south of the confluence with the Goodnow River.

Wayne Failing, a longtime fishing and rafting guide, describes the six-mile stretch as a mix of flatwater and mild rapids in a wild setting. “It’s a fabulous section,” he said. “I’ve done the trip many times.” » Continue Reading.