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Adirondack Explorer

June, 2018

Split Rock Wildway: Scouting the Adirondack Park’s Most Diverse Wildlife Corridor
Author: John Davis

Review by: Tim Rowland

It’s not entirely out of the question that Adirondack history will one day associate John Davis with wildlife in the same manner that it associates Bob Marshall with mountains. Through Herculean physical exploits, the formation of advocacy groups, and incessant PR, Marshall showed that the oft-exploited wilderness was deserving of our protection and respect, both for its sake and ours. Davis, a resident of Essex in the Champlain Valley, blazes much the same trail as it pertains to animals, reptiles, birds, fish, amphibians and (most) insects. His cause célèbre is an American network of forested corridors that would restore ancestral >>More


May, 2018

Still Waters: The Secret World of Lakes
Author: Curt Stager

Review by: Ed Kanze

A choice passage in Curt Stager’s new book Still Waters: The Secret World of Lakes puts the author and a group of his Paul Smith’s College students in a remote spot near Lake Baikal, deep in the wilds of Siberia. With his charges nearby but otherwise occupied, Stager wanders off alone and blunders into some rough-looking men. His hackles rise. “Their outfits were filthy, their faces were unshaven, and they outnumbered the adults in our party two to one,” he writes. On his guard, Stager lets himself be persuaded to join them. The only word the men utter that makes >>More


April, 2018

Venom: The Secrets of Nature’s Deadliest Weapon
Author: Ronald Jenner and Eivind Undheim

Review by: Ed Kanze

A resident or seasonal explorer of the Adirondacks, you may believe that our cool, northern landscapes are devoid of venomous animals. Sure, rattlesnakes inhabit a smattering of sun-warmed spots along the shores of Lake George and Lake Champlain, but that’s all, isn’t it? You might fall off a cliff here, or die of hypothermia, or be eaten by a bear, the bear being chiefly theoretical because no one we know of has been eaten by one in the Park to date. But you can rest assured that no venomous creature will do you harm. That’s a pleasant fantasy, yet it’s >>More


March, 2018

Radio Free Vermont
Author: Bill McKibben

Review by: Betsy Kepes

On the third page of Radio Free Vermont, Bill McKibben’s first novel, a Coors beer truck follows detour signs as it enters Vermont from the Crown Point Bridge. At the end of a long dirt road the driver is presented with a bag lunch (made with Vermont products) as people in balaclavas release the air from the truck’s tires, then dump hundreds of bottles of the “foreign” beer onto the ground. The apologetic activists also give the stunned driver a generous gift pack of beer selected from the fifty-one breweries in Vermont. McKibben—environmentalist, activist, and author—doesn’t worry about getting the >>More


March, 2018

Fishing the Adirondacks: A Complete Angler’s Guide to the Adirondack Park and Northern New York
Author: Spider Rybaak

Review by: Tim Rowland

Fish, being creatures of habit, usually return to the same hole. Anglers, being creatures of habit, do too. Yet the Adirondacks has in the neighborhood of thirty thousand miles of rivers and streams, and three thousand ponds and lakes, so men and women who like to fish hardly have an excuse for not exploring some new waters every now and again. But where to start? Simply listing all the waters in the Adirondacks and environs would be a daunting task, but parsing the vagaries of each individual fishery is a job sure to wear a lot of rubber off the >>More


January, 2018

Seeing the Forest: Reviews, Musings, and Opinions from an Adirondack Historian
Author: Philip Terrie

Review by: Neal Burdick

  I first met Phil Terrie many years ago, when he invited me to his cabin on Long Lake, partway down from Long Lake village toward the outlet. At the time, he was acting as a consultant for a Mountain Lake PBS documentary on Adirondack history, so producers, cameramen, and so on were hovering around. In the midst of all that, word came that a hiker was missing. Rangers and volunteers appeared, and he began helping them get the lay of the land to the southeast in the vicinity of Kempshall Mountain and to northeast up the Cold River valley >>More


January, 2018

A Field Guide to Tracking Mammals in the Northeast
Author: Linda J. Spielman

Review by: Ed Kanze

You don’t need a magnifying glass, a deerstalker cap, and a Dr. Watson to track the mammals you suspect to be traversing your favorite pieces of Adirondack real estate. What are required most of all are curiosity and a willingness to invest the considerable time and energy it takes to study footprints, partially eaten food items, and scat. I mean to really scrutinize them, not glance at them in passing. To grow as a tracker, it also helps to find a teacher. Since most of us don’t shell out money to go to tracking schools, our teachers tend to be >>More


December, 2017

Exploring architecture
Author: Janet A. Null & Richard Longstreth

Review by: Neal Burdick

Two things can be said for Adirondack architecture. It’s eclectic, to put it mildly. And there is no distinctly Adirondack style. Oh, we talk about rustic, but that’s as much a décor and an invention of modern real-estate agents, curators, and retailers. Those are some of the conclusions that can be drawn from two new books that not only discuss architecture in the Adirondacks in considerable detail, but also help you find it. Neither Janet Null’s The Adirondack Architecture Guide: South-Central Region nor Richard Longstreth’s A Guide to Architecture in the Adirondacks is what you might expect of a typical >>More


November, 2017

Blacks in the Adirondacks: A History
Author: Sally Svenson

Review by: Philip Terrie

The history of the Adirondacks, as it’s usually presented, is blindingly white. Nearly all of our stories—logging, tourism, the Saranac Lake TB nexus, you name it—have familiar iterations, and they seem to involve only white people. Reading, or hearing, these often-repeated narratives, you might wonder if an African-American ever crossed the Blue Line. Sally Svenson asked herself that very question and set off on a quest through a mountain of primary materials—census and church records, every New York newspaper she could find, a few rare diaries, and a host of other obscure but essential sources—and has produced an invaluable corrective >>More


October, 2017

The Stranger in the Woods The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit
Author: Michael Finkel

Review by: Philip Terrie

Adirondack camp owners and bushwhackers will love this book. And so will people interested in the meaning of extreme solitude—who can tolerate it, who can’t. I’m not talking about the sort of solitude we all appreciate when we have an afternoon or maybe even a couple of days entirely to ourselves. This book is about a man who lived alone in the Maine woods for twenty-seven years. During that time, he uttered one word to another human being, and that word was “Hi.” I’m also not talking about hermits along the lines of those we’ve read about in the Adirondacks. >>More


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