Posts Tagged ‘wilderness’

Saturday, October 6, 2012

How Much Wilderness is Enough?

A week ago last Monday I was in my kitchen preparing for my classes and enjoying a cup of coffee.  I loaded up the Almanack and read the just-published article by Phil Brown about his trip to the Boreas Ponds as part of Governor Cuomo’s visit.

I enjoyed it and found it informative.  It certainly whetted my appetite for seeing the ponds in person.  A couple of predictable comments had been logged on the article but nothing that really grabbed my attention.  I finished my coffee and got on with my day. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 24, 2012

New State Lands: The Long Road To Boreas Ponds

Boreas Ponds in the Adirondack MountainsBoreas Ponds lives up to expectations, but getting there is not easy, even by car. It would be much harder if the state decides to close the seven-and-a-half mile dirt road that leads to the mile-long lake, which affords stupendous views of the High Peaks.

This Sunday I visited Boreas Ponds for the first time as part of the band of reporters accompanying Governor Andrew Cuomo and other state officials.  Boreas Ponds is not open to the public now, but it will be sometime in the next five years.

The state intends to buy Boreas Ponds and the surrounding timberlands—some twenty-two thousand acres in all—from the Nature Conservancy in the coming years. All told, the state will buy sixty-nine thousand acres from the conservancy, nearly all of it former Finch Pruyn land. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Commentary: At APA It’s Subdivide Now, Plan Later

Months after approving the largest subdivision in its history (Adirondack Club and Resort), the NYS Adirondack Park Agency (APA) has approved another residential subdivision on substantial acreage in Resource Management – the Park’s most protected private land use classification. In August, APA approved a 13-lot subdivision off Styles Brook Road in the Town of Keene, part of a beautiful farm and landscape of 1,336 acres lying between the Hurricane Mountain-Jay Mountain Wilderness Areas, parts of the NYS Forest Preserve.

Moreover, the subdivision lies in an area identified by the Northeast Wilderness Trust as important to protect a wildlife movement corridor linking the Split Rock Wild Forest along Lake Champlain to the Jay-Hurricane-Giant-Dix-High Peaks Wilderness areas to the west. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Hal Burton’s Peak

When I first set out to explore Lost Brook Tract one of my burning curiosities was to discover what views there might be.  After all I knew the land was situated on the side of a high ridge surrounded by significant mountains; surely there had to be some great sights.  Like everyone reading this I love my Adirondack views, so I could hardly wait to go hunting. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Stories About The New State Lands You May Have Missed

One month ago, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York State  will acquire 69,000 acres of the former Finch Pruyn and other Nature Conservancy lands throughout the Adirondacks over the next five years, including such long-sought after tracts as the Essex Chain Lakes, Boreas Ponds, and OK Slip Falls.

The land acquisition is the largest single addition to the Adirondack Forest Preserve in more than a century, opens some lands that have been closed to the public for more than 150 years, and provide new opportunities for remote communities like Newcomb.  Adirondack Almanack contributors have been considering what the new state lands means to our communities, wildlife, economies, and more, in a series of stories about the new lands you may have missed. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dan Crane: Managing New State Land for Bushwhacking

The recent announcement of the largest addition to the State Forest Preserve in 117 years in the former Finch Pruyn lands is excellent news for anyone seeking additional outdoor recreational opportunities in the Adirondacks. These new properties make over 69,000 acres of backcountry available to the public for the first time in over 150 years, including such exotic-sounding places as the Essex Chain of Lakes, OK Slip Falls and Boreas Pond.

The many new opportunities for recreational opportunities on these properties is often cited, typically including hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, etc. The implication is these new areas will be highly managed for human recreation, with a plethora of trails, campsites, signs, bridges and so on. Despite all the new outdoor recreational opportunities cited, one activity always remains noticeably absent: bushwhacking.
» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The New State Lands: Tourism and Destination Planning

Canoe on Upper Hudson River Near NewcombThe state acquisition of 69,000 acres of the former Finch Pruyn lands in the Adirondack Park has spurred much discussion. I thought I’d chime in from a tourism perspective.

In general, the purchase will ultimately mean public access to incredible natural resources for recreational activity. Or, according to a press release from Governor Cuomo’s office on August 5th, “Opening these lands to public use and enjoyment for the first time in 150 years will provide extraordinary new outdoor recreational opportunities, increase the number of visitors to the North Country and generate additional tourism revenue.”

I applaud the Governor’s office and their efforts, and appreciate that there is opportunity for the adjacent communities to realize a positive economic impact from the resulting increased visitation. » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Adirondack Ecology: Wildlife, Wilderness and Dead Wood

Discussions regarding the ecological value of wilderness compared to an actively managed forest often centers around the health and well being of specific members of the wildlife community. While the flora and fauna that a tract of wilderness supports may be strikingly similar to that which occurs in periodically logged woodlands, the relative abundance of the various plants and animals contained in each is often quite different.In wilderness regions, there eventually develops a much higher concentration of those organisms whose lives are connected either directly or indirectly to the presence of dead wood.

Forests that are protected from timber harvesting operations contain substantially more dead wood on the ground and on the stump. While some trees that succumb to a disease or insect infestation may remain upright for only a few years after they die, many remain standing for decades before they eventually fall. Standing dead trees, especially ones that are larger than a foot in diameter, harbor numerous living entities and provide many animals with shelter. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Children in the Backcountry

As I write this Dispatch Amy and I are in Ohio dropping off our youngest son Adam at the Columbus College of Art and Design.  All three of our boys are in college now: Alex is just about to finish, Zach is in the middle and now Adam has left home.

Amy and I are not the kind of people who spend much time dwelling in the past, but today I find myself reminiscing.  It is a tremendous day of change for Adam but it is also a day of transition for us.  We are basically empty-nesters now.  Our future plans lie directly in front of us, no longer distant and vague.  At some point in the next few years we will move to the Adirondacks permanently.  Lost Brook Tract will be much closer to us and much more a part of our lives.   I am thinking about that but I am also thinking about the years and stories that have brought us to this day.  As I write tonight past, present and future seem to have blended together, illuminating both our long journey as parents and the way forward. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Adirondack Ragweed and Hay Fever Season

August is a month known for ripening raspberries and blackberries, the appearance of locally grown sweet corn and other fresh produce at farm stands, the return of back to school ads on TV, and the unwelcome arrival of hay fever season.

For many people, exposure to certain types of pollen triggers a most unpleasant nasal reaction that can linger for days. While the pollen of numerous plants contributes to this often severe irritation of the nose, sinus cavities and upper respiratory tract of many, ordinarily healthy people, ragweed is, by far, the leading culprit responsible for making life miserable for those unfortunate enough to be afflicted with this common medical condition. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

DEC State Land Management Survey Underway

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is conducting a survey to assess how the State’s management of State Forests affects public use of those forests.

DEC seeks input from groups and individuals who use State Forests for recreation and/or whose daily lives are affected by State Land management. The 10-question survey, which has been widely circulated by the pro-motorized access New York State Conservation Council, will be used to interpret current uses of State Forests, and to possibly influence future State Forest management practices. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Life in the Wild

I noticed that guide and outdoor writer Joe Hackett had a column last week in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise asking whether there is any true wilderness in the Adirondacks. This is a question – entailing in turn the question of what we mean by wilderness – which I took up in several Dispatches some months ago.  I’ll not return to those arguments now except to restate that yes, I think there is unquestionably true wilderness in the park.  I know because I have lived there.

I am just settling into the experience of being on Lost Brook Tract with Amy for much of July, just feeling ready to write about it.  It has taken me some days: this was a deeply moving time in my life.  If there has been one over-arching theme in my reflections it has been that our stay there did not in any way feel like a vacation – indeed we did not intend it as a vacation.  We intended to just live there.  And so we did.  It could have been three weeks or three years for all I felt.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Champion of the Forest Preserve: David Newhouse

It’s been my honor and privilege to know some great Adirondack conservation leaders in the late 20th century. One I feel deserves a lot “more ink” is the late David L. Newhouse, a native of the Midwest and graduate of Purdue University, who arrived in New York State following World War II to become a leading metallurgical engineer with the General Electric Company in Schenectady.

His interest and leadership quickly expanded into the Adirondacks for, as Dave wrote rather formally and very modestly in a biographical paragraph: “My interest in the Adirondacks and Catskills had its roots in my developing recreational use of them, for hiking, climbing, camping, and canoeing in the Forest Preserve and other wildlands. I learned about pressures for competing and incompatible uses of these lands that threatened their character, and became very involved in conservation of their values and in education as a means of gaining popular and political support for wilderness and wild forest values.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

ADK Lecture Series Focuses on Outdoors, Environment

The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) summer lecture series at the High Peaks Information Center (HPIC) will focus on the glories of the natural world and serious environmental threats that could greatly alter that world.

The Saturday evening series will include talks on climate change by author Jerry Jenkins and hydraulic fracturing by ADK Executive Director Neil Woodworth; presentations about the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and the backcountry of New Zealand; and even a night of music with the eclectic sounds of Annie and The Hedonists.

Saturday evening lectures at HPIC begin at 8 p.m. All programs are free and open to the public. HPIC is located on ADK’s Heart Lake property on Adirondack Loj Road, about 8 miles south of Lake Placid. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: A May Visit

Praise the fates!  Throw your arms skyward!  Since we last got together I have undergone one of the greatest miracles of this or any other life, a staggering experience, a profoundly humbling event, a happening that left me weeping with joy and gratefulness, trembling with disbelief and awe almost beyond description: I just spent three days on Lost Brook Tract, in late May, with unseasonably warm, sunny, humid and windless conditions and as far as I can tell I suffered two black fly bites.

Those of you who do not understand why I am raving about that should forget the Almanack and go peruse the Perez Hilton website instead. » Continue Reading.