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Adirondack Explorer

January, 2008

Acid Rain in the Adirondacks: An Environmental History
Author: Jerry Jenkins, Karen Roy, Charles Driscoll & Christopher Buerkett

Review by: PHILIP TERRIE

This past fall, Adirondack lakes and ponds got some much-needed good news. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, eight states and a host of environmental organizations reached a settlement in a suit filed in 1999 against American Electric Power (AEP), an Ohio-based power company with coal-burning plants in five states. To cut back the sulfur and nitrogen it has been spewing into the atmosphere for decades—in violation of the 1970 Clean Air Act—AEP agreed to implement pollution-control measures costing $4.6 billion. It was the largest settlement in the history of American environmental litigation. AEPalso agreed to pay a $15 million fine >>More


November, 2007

Pardon Me, Sir … There’s a Moose in Your Tent
Author: Larry Weill

Review by: NEAL BURDICK

Larry Weill has been many things in his life: financial planner, technical writer, trainer, Naval officer. He’s also been a wilderness ranger in the Adirondacks, and that led to another item on his resume—storyteller. Weill shares his experiences from his three years as a ranger in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness Area, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, in two books published in the last three years (he is contemplating a third). Weill’s job in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness, one of the largest and least-visited wild tracts in the Adirondacks, was to greet, assist and sometimes take care >>More


November, 2007

Excuse Me, Sir … Your Socks Are on Fire
Author: Larry Weill

Review by: NEAL BURDICK

Larry Weill has been many things in his life: financial planner, technical writer, trainer, Naval officer. He’s also been a wilderness ranger in the Adirondacks, and that led to another item on his resume—storyteller. Weill shares his experiences from his three years as a ranger in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness Area, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, in two books published in the last three years (he is contemplating a third). Weill’s job in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness, one of the largest and least-visited wild tracts in the Adirondacks, was to greet, assist and sometimes take care >>More


July, 2007

Around Raquette Lake
Author: James M. Kammer

Review by: NEAL BURDICK

What do Andrew Carnegie, Benjamin Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and Mme. Chiang Kai-shek have in common? They all spent time around Raquette Lake for one reason or another. Who knew such a seemingly unprepossessing spot on the Adirondack map could have played host to such luminaries? You will, once you peruse a new book by James M. Kammer, Raquette Lake resident and historian. Around Raquette Lake, appropriately named because it takes us on just the tour its title suggests, is an installment of Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series, and it >>More


July, 2007

Adirondack Alpine Summits: An Ecological Field Guide
Author: Nancy G. Slack and Allison W. Bell

Review by: EDWARD KANZE

Anyone who thinks the world’s going to hell in a hand basket can take heart. Nancy G. Slack and Allison W. Bell’s Adirondack Alpine Summits: An Ecological Field Guide, recently published by the Adirondack Mountain Club, demonstrates that some things are getting better, and even excellence can be improved upon. This handy and remarkably thorough introduction to the lichens, plants and animals of fragile Adirondack summit environments breathes new life and vivid color into its distinguished 1993 forebear, 85 Acres: A Field Guide to the Adirondack Alpine Summits, by the same authors. One admirable thing about this book, in addition >>More


May, 2007

Adirondacks Alive
Author: Photography by Olaf Soot Essays by Don Mellor

Review by: MIKE VIRTANEN

The crowded field of Adirondack photography is filled with magnificent vistas and stunning details of the natural world. In a way, that’s the problem. Any fool with a disposable point-and-shoot can’t help but return from an outing to the old North Woods with some fetching images. I’ve done it, and there’s the proof. The professionals elevate the game, with better composition, superior equipment and technical precision. But they usually don’t have much to say about their photographs, except the place, time, weather, exposure, etc. One thing that sets Adirondacks Alive apart is the text. Writer Don Mellor, a longtime Adirondack >>More


May, 2007

The Outside Story
Author: Chuck Wooster

Review by: EDWARD KANZE

If you’ve ever stood on an Adirondack summit on a clear day and gazed eastward, you’ve seen the ghostly shapes of Vermont’s Green Mountains haunting the far horizon. Beyond them, hidden from view, lie New Hampshire’s higher and more rugged White Mountains, “white” because they hold snow much of the year. Those ranges and the valleys they cradle represent a world apart. Every time I skim Lake Champlain on an eastbound ferry, I feel as though I’m crossing Lake Geneva, bound for Switzerland. Still, as alien as the territory on the far side appears at a distance, you don’t need >>More


March, 2007

The Songs of Wild Birds
Author: Lang Elliott

Review by: JOHN THAXTON

As the owner of several CD collections of bird songs, I have tried, tediously often, and with negative results, to sharpen my birding-by-ear skills sufficiently to identify the most common birds in my backyard. The scenario unfolds the same way every time: After getting frustrated by spending 40 minutes trying to see an embarrassingly common backyard warbler whose song I couldn’t identify, I storm into the house, grab a field guide and listen to the songs of the warblers. I study a picture of each warbler as I listen to its song, its call and perhaps its distress call; then >>More


March, 2007

A Cavalryman Under Custer: Reminiscences of the Civil War
Author: Corporal E.M. Johnson With notes by Janet Carson

Review by: PHILIP G. TERRIE

Wartime letters, written by soldiers on the front, are the essential raw material of military history. While the memoirs of generals and politicians and the reportage of contemporary journalists help us to comprehend the long view and grasp battles and strategy, it’s the first-hand narratives of the men in the fire and fog of conflict that detail the horrifying realities, as well as the daily banalities, of war. About 15 years ago, I transcribed letters written by my father to his mother during World War II. He survived convoy duty in the North Atlantic and finished the war as a >>More


March, 2007

Oswegatchie: A North Country River
Author: Christopher Angus

Review by: BRIAN MANN

Afew years ago, a friend and I made the long carry from Lows Lake to the upper reaches of the Oswegatchie River. Neither of us had hiked the trail before, so we had no idea how long it would take. Humping our dry bags and my big fiberglass canoe through endless blowdown, witchhobble and slash, we felt like a couple of big-city suckers tricked into a snipe hunt. We eventually found the black, shining thread of the river and were rewarded with a couple of ripe summer days spent swimming, hiking, and scuttling gleefully across moss-slick beaver dams. I’ve been >>More




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