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Adirondack Explorer

May, 2018

DEC begins Superfund cleanup in Lake Flower


Visitors to Saranac Lake this summer will be greeted by an unpretty sight: six hundred feet of green fencing, construction cranes, and a giant temporary storage facility on the shore of Lake Flower. The state Department of Environmental Conservation plans to remove tons of sediment in Pontiac Bay contaminated with coal tar, coke, and ash from a gas plant in the village. Other pollutants include volatile organic compounds such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes. Starting in the late 1800s, the Saranac Lake Gas Company used a coal-gasification process to manufacture gas for lighting. The site of the plant on >>More


May, 2018

APA fast-tracks proposals for High Peaks


The Adirondack Park Agency board voted Thursday to fast-track a number of proposals for the High Peaks Wilderness and Vanderhacker Wild Forest, including tens of thousands of acres of newly acquired state lands. Some environmental groups contend the agency is moving too fast. Among other things, the proposals call for parking lots that would allow easy access to Boreas Ponds; new hiking, biking, ski, and equestrian trails; new campsites, canoe launches, and kiosks; and relocating the trailhead for Cascade Mountain. The APA and Department of Environmental Conservation will hold two public hearings on May 23: 10 a.m. at DEC headquarters, >>More


May, 2018

DEC hopes to reroute Wright Peak Ski Trail


Several years ago we skied two High Peaks in spring with Ron Konowitz. We did a few laps in the bowl on Algonquin Peak, climbed over Wright Peak, and descended the Wright Peak Ski Trail. The Wright Peak trail is one of the few trails designed for down-mountain skiing in the Adirondacks. It was built in the 1930s, fell into disuse, and then was restored in 1980s by volunteers, including Tony Goodwin, the longtime executive director of the Adirondack Ski Touring Council. But there was a problem. After a mile or so, the ski trail converged with the Algonquin hiking >>More


May, 2018

DEC proposes put-ins along upper Hudson


Opalescent River

Soon after the state purchased the MacIntyre East Tract, Brian Mann and I explored it by paddling the Hudson and the Opalescent rivers. We launched our canoes beneath a bridge over the Hudson and took out at a spot where the river abuts the Tahawus Road. From the bridge we paddled down the Hudson through Sanford Lake (a widening of the river) for a mile to the confluence with the Opalescent. We then went up the Opalescent, enjoying a great view of Allen Mountain, one of the remotest of the High Peaks. After lunch, we drifted back down the Hudson >>More


May, 2018

DEC proposes parking area for Chapel Pond Slab


Chapel Pond Slab

Chapel Pond Slab is one of the most popular rock-climbing venues in the Adirondacks, in part for its long, moderate routes, in part for its easy access. However, parking can be a problem. Most climbers park just off the shoulder of the often-busy Route 73. The state Department of Environmental Conservation aims to fix things. In a draft  amendment to the High Peaks Wilderness management plan, DEC  proposes to build two twenty-car parking areas along Route 73 and expand the Round Pond parking area located just down the road (to twenty-five cars). DEC says climbers will be able to use >>More


May, 2018

DEC issues Boreas Ponds management proposals


Boreas Ponds

Hikers will be able to drive to within a tenth of a mile of Boreas Ponds, but most probably will have to park farther away, under a draft management plan written by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The Boreas Ponds parking area is just one of numerous proposals for other parking areas, trails, canoe launches, campsites, kiosks, and other facilities in the High Peaks Wilderness and Vanderwhacker Wild Forest. Most of the facilities would be on former Finch, Pruyn lands or other tracts acquired by the state in recent years. One major recommendation on pre-existing Forest Preserve calls for >>More


May, 2018

A cycling map for Lake Placid/Saranac Lake


After we got six inches of snow in Saranac Lake this week you could understand why people were wondering if winter would ever end. Never fear: summer is on its way, and Green Goat Maps can help you make the most of it. Green Goat recently published its “Lake Placid and Saranac Lake Cycling Map” and “Saranac Lake Boating & Fishing Map.” They hit stores just a few months after the company published its first map, “Lake Placid and Saranac Lake Winter Trails Map.” Like the first map, the two new ones measure 24 inches by 18 inches and fold >>More


April, 2018

Should state buy the Tahawus rail line?


The controversy over the use of a thirty-mile rail line in the central Adirondacks got a lot more interesting in recent weeks. The railroad that has been storing empty tank cars on the line–to the consternation of state and local officials–now wants out. Ed Ellis, president of Iowa Pacific Holdings, told Warren County supervisors in March that he wants to sell the line to the county for $5 million. If he doesn’t get the money, Ellis warned, his subsidiary, Saratoga and North Creek Railway, would cease operations. S&NCR intends to shut down Saturday (April 7). As the railway’s name suggests, >>More


March, 2018

Skiing Mount Marcy’s summit in a whiteout


Mount Marcy skiing

I try to ski Mount Marcy every year around my birthday (March 30), and so I did the trip Thursday with Brian Mann of North Country Public Radio. It was the first time I skied the summit in a whiteout. The weather was mild and overcast when we started up the Van Hoevenberg Trail from the High Peaks Information Center. There was plenty of snow on the trail. Because we haven’t had a snowfall in a while, the trail was packed down hard, but the surface was soft, even grabby. We stopped at Indian Falls, about halfway to the summit. >>More


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