A lesson for our times When we fiddle with nature, there can be unforeseen consequences. When we fiddle with nature in big ways, entire civilizations collapse. This was the essence of a densely written book, Man and Nature; or, Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action, published in 1864 in New York and London. It wasn’t much anticipated, and the author, George Perkins Marsh, a former congressman from Vermont, was little known. Yet it went on to be an international bestseller, was translated into multiple languages, was repeatedly updated in expanded editions, and is now generally recognized to be one >>More
Man and Nature: George Perkins MarshAuthor: David Lowenthal
An Adirondack lifeAuthor: by Edward Kanze
As nature lovers, we hoped to take root not just anywhere, but in, or along the edge of, a wild place. We insisted that the spot be governed by restrictions certain to prevent abuse. We had seen the landscape of our youth despoiled by “development”—a curious word often meaning the reduction of a landscape from a habitat shared democratically by thousands of species to a place dominated ruthlessly by one.
Watching the pageant of nature play out at our place, a grand show with tens of thousands of actors crowding the stage, it’s clear that appointing ourselves stewards of “our” eighteen acres would be ludicrous. The web of interconnections, an “Internet” if ever there was one, is impossibly complex, so much so that it would be impossible for anyone to comprehend it, let alone manage the system intelligently. All we can do is try to be on our best behavior, live modestly, take care of our needs, and hope for the best outcomes.
The world according to BillAuthor: by William C. Frenette
Lifelong Tupper Laker Bill Frenette embodied the word “active.” Here are some highlights (you might want to go get a sandwich or something; this may take a while): He was a founder and leader of the ski patrol at the Big Tupper Ski Area, whose trails he helped design. He served as president of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers. He once guided Robert F. Kennedy and his family through the Hudson Gorge. He climbed in South Africa and Bavaria, surfed in Hawaii, bicycled in Newfoundland, rafted the Grand Canyon, skied in the Italian Alps, and swam the fjords of Norway. Since all >>More
A reputation rescuedAuthor: Herbert C. Hallas
BORN IN MALONE in 1819, William Almon Wheeler spent his early years in relative comfort. That ended precipitously when his father died at the age of thirty-seven, leaving scant resources to his wife and children; William was six months short of his tenth birthday. His determined and indefatigable mother, Eliza, kept her family together, provided William a loving and supporting environment, and made sure that he was educated. He was a regular at the Malone Congregational Church, and he picked up a little cash by doing odd jobs for neighbors. With perseverance, native intelligence, and his mother’s work ethic, William >>More
Good Ol’ Fish CreekAuthor: Good Ol' Fish Creek by Edward W. Larkin Jr.
CAR CAMPING is an Adirondack tradition with a long history, but not much has been written about it in comparison with the verbiage on canoeing, climbing, hunting, and so on. That gap has been narrowed with the arrival of Good Ol’ Fish Creek, Edward Larkin Jr.’s recollections of fifty-eight consecutive summers of camping at the popular state campground of that name in the Saranac Lake headwaters region. This is a love song to a venerated annual fortnight, a time-honored way of spending that interlude, and a place he calls his Shangri-La. In this thin, exuberant volume we gain insight into >>More
Adirondack Reflections & North Country ReflectionsAuthor: Edited by Neal Burdick & Maurice Kenny
Essays on how we live. People often visit the Adirondacks because of what it is not. It is not crowded. It is not loud. And it is not full of big-box chain stores. But people choose to make the Adirondacks their home because of what this place is. It is beautiful. It has a deeply connected community. One can find true wilderness if she so seeks. Like many others, I began as a visitor. I found myself returning again and again to visit family and friends. Eventually, at a crossroads in life, I came for what I believed would be >>More
Growing Up in Lake PlacidAuthor: Barbara Tyrell Kelly
LAKE PLACID isn’t like other towns. What other place has hosted two Winter Olympics, after all? But in other ways, it’s pretty much the same: people are born and die, try to make a living through good times and bad, laugh, and cry. Native daughter Barbara Tyrell Kelly captures this dichotomy—the world-famous resort versus the village where generations of “just plain folks” grew up—in her entertaining collection of short essays Growing Up in Lake Placid. This combination of memoir and local history collects columns that Kelly wrote for the Lake Placid News from 2006 to 2011. She’d previously contributed articles >>More
The Allure of Deep Woods Backpacking the Northville-Placid TrailAuthor: Walt McLaughlin
AMERICANS like a challenge, and that includes our hiking trails. We’ve got the Appalachian Trail on the East Coast and the Pacific Crest Trail on the West Coast and hikers who walk them end to end. Fortunately there are also shorter through trails to explore, and one of them runs north to south in the Adirondacks. Walt McLaughlin hoped his fifty-year-old body could walk the 122-mile Northville-Lake Placid Trail (NPT) during a two-week stretch in September. “I want to prove to myself that I can still do it. I want to stop the steady erosion of my physical options. I’m >>More
Louis Marshall and the Rise of Jewish Ethnicity in AmericaAuthor: M.M. Silver
IF WE WERE to make a list of Adirondack families that have left a truly lasting imprint, both here and in the rest of the country, the Marshalls would surely be near or at the top. Most Adirondack enthusiasts are probably familiar with the impressive credentials of Robert Marshall: one of the original Adirondack Forty-Sixers, indefatigable long-distance hiker, author of widely read books on Alaska and forestry, co-founder of the Wilderness Society, and one of the most important American environmentalists of the first half of the twentieth century. But how many know about the distinguished career of his father, Louis >>More
Women on WaterAuthor: Ruth Dandrea, Kathy DeLong, Carol Moseman, and Bonnie Sanderson
Women on Water is a difficult book to categorize. It looks like a guidebook, with a table of contents that lists twenty-five day trips, most of them in the southwestern Adirondacks. Flipping through the book I admired the hand-drawn maps, beautiful pen-and-ink drawings that reminded me of Nancy Bernstein’s work in the Adirondack Explorer. Black-and-white photos show kayakers in scenic locations and close-ups of loons and butterflies. But don’t expect many facts and figures in this book. The trip descriptions rarely include landmarks or mileage, and the maps do not include a scale. I wondered, is the Francis Lake trip >>More