May, 2016

Dick Booth to step down from APA board

APA Commissioner Dick Booth contended
that the legal status of the rail corridor would
change if tracks are removed.
Photo by Mike Lynch

The Adirondack Park Agency board will soon lose its strongest defender of wilderness: Dick Booth does not intend to serve another term. Booth’s current four-year term expires June 30, but he said he will stay on awhile if a successor is not appointed by then. A professor in Cornell’s Department of City and Regional Planning, Booth told the Adirondack Explorer he is leaving partly out of frustration with decisions at the agency. He also said the long drive from Ithaca to Ray Brook for monthly meetings and poring over stacks of documents in preparation for those meetings proved draining over >>More

October, 2015

DEC Tickets Hiker After Keg Party On Phelps

Photos from the keg party on Phelps Mountain before they were taken down from Facebook.

You may have seen the photos on Facebook this week of a bunch of hikers having a keg party on top of Phelps Mountain. The photos sparked a lot of comments. Many people (not all) condemned the hikers. In researching the matter for the next issue of the Adirondack Explorer, Mike Lynch discovered that the guy behind the party has been ticketed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Given the interest in the story, we thought we’d post it here before we go to press.   By Mike Lynch and Phil Brown A hiker who posted photos of a keg party >>More

September, 2015

Biking An Old Woods Road To Pine Pond

The road to Pine Pond parallels the East Branch of Cold Brook.

Last winter Carol Fox and I skied from Averyville outside Lake Placid to Oseetah Lake outside Saranac Lake, following an old woods road that constitutes part of the northern boundary of the High Peaks Wilderness. We had a great time. You will be able to read about our adventure in a forthcoming issue of the Adirondack Explorer. On Labor Day weekend I returned to the old road with my mountain bike and rode about six and a half miles to Pine Pond, a beautiful body of water with a sandy beach. As on our ski trip, I saw ample evidence >>More

April, 2015

DEC Proposes Trail, Lean-to In Pepperbox Wilderness


The 22,560-acre Pepperbox in the western Adirondacks is one of the smaller Wilderness Areas in the Park, but it also is one of the wildest. It has no lean-tos and only two miles of foot trails. The State Land Master Plan observes that the lack of a trail system “offers an opportunity to retain a portion of the Adirondack landscape in a state that even a purist might call wilderness.” Now the state Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing to create a 1.3-mile trail to Gregg Lake and build a lean-to at a primitive campsite on the lake. The trail >>More

April, 2015

Yes, It’s April, But Don’t Put Away Skis Yet


It may be April, but there’s still skiing to be had in the backcountry. On Tuesday morning I skied to the top of Dewey Mountain outside Saranac Lake and enjoyed a fun run down in virtually midwinter conditions. Last weekend, Carol MacKinnon Fox and I skied over the summit of Mount Van Hoevenberg and found plenty of snow on the descent. There also was plenty of snow last weekend on the Mr. Van Trail in the High Peaks Wilderness. I hear the conditions at higher elevations were fantastic. The Adirondack Ski Touring Council reports there is still five to six >>More

March, 2015

DEC Closes Rock-Climbing Cliffs For Falcons

Nesting falcons. Photo from DEC website.

You know winter is coming to an end when the state Department of Environmental Conservation closes rock-climbing cliffs where peregrine falcons are known to breed. Peregrines are on the state’s endangered-species list, and so each spring DEC closes cliffs to protect their nesting sites. Cliffs will be reopened if no nesting occurs on them. Those cliffs used for nesting will be reopened in the summer after the chicks fledge. Click here to read about the cliff-closure policy. Click here for updates on cliff closures. This week, DEC announced that effective April 1, the following rock-climbing routes will be closed: Moss >>More

March, 2015

Skiing Up Marcy Trail Is Great Even If You Fall Short

Tim Peartree ascends Mount Marcy in a whiteout Sunday. Photos by Phil Brown.

This has been a great winter for powder skiing in the backcountry, thanks to a two-month-plus stretch of cold weather without a serious thaw. Alas, that stretch ended last week, leaving me a bit apprehensive about ski conditions. On Sunday, I skied Mount Marcy with my neighbor, Tim Peartree, starting from Adirondak Loj. As it turned out, the trail was in great shape for skiing. The first good sign was that there was an inch or two of fresh powder over a packed base. The second good sign was that there were no exposed rocks on the way to Marcy >>More

January, 2015

Backcountry-Ski Conditions Still Getting Better

Carol Fox skis over a fallen tree on the Pine Pond Trail. (Photo by Phil Brown)

On Friday afternoon I checked out the cross-country trails at Dewey Mountain in Saranac Lake. As expected, the groomed trails were in fine shape, but I was more interested in the ungroomed, rougher trails that lead to the top of the mountain as they more closely mirror conditions likely to be found on many backcountry trails. I hadn’t been on Dewey’s ungroomed trails in several weeks due to a dearth of snow. In the past week, however, we had a few light snowfalls (including two or three inches in the past 24 hours), so I figured they’d be skiable. And >>More

January, 2015

Skiing Isn’t Bad If You Know Where To Go

A skier starts out on the Upper Hudson Ski Trail. Photo by Phil Brown.

It’s late January, but we’re still waiting for midwinter ski conditions. That said, you can find good skiing if you pick the right spots. At lower elevations, you want to stick to smoother trails—such as truck trails and old woods roads—as there might not be enough snow to cover big rocks and roots. At higher elevations, this is less of a problem. Tony Goodwin reports on the Jackrabbit Trail website that there is 26 inches of snow at Lake Colden and three to four feet above the 4,000-foot contour. The Jackrabbit itself, which stretches 24 miles from Saranac Lake to >>More

January, 2015

The Backcountry Skiing Is Improving


Backcountry skiing has improved in the Adirondacks since the Great Thaw in late December, but we still don’t have as much snow as we’d like for mid-January. Shortly after Christmas, Carol Fox and I “skied” the hill above Whiteface Inn Lane on the Jackrabbit Trail. There were so many exposed rocks and so much open drainage that Carol removed her skis for much of the descent. I kept mine on, but not without inflicting a few scratches on my boards. When I skied the same hill on Tuesday afternoon, it was fully covered, with a few inches of fresh powder >>More

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