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Adirondack Explorer

January, 2004

The Fire Observation Towers of New York State
Author: Paul Laskey

Review by: PHIL BROWN

Marty Podskoch is not the only author with an interest in fire towers. Paul Laskey has just finished The Fire Observation Towers of New York State, with gorgeous photographs of the towers and the views from summits. He also describes hikes to most of the towers in the state, not just those in the Adirondacks. To obtain a copy, write MKL Publishing, P.O. Box 407, Ballston Spa, NY 12020 or e-mail mklpublishing@aol.com. You also can purchase the book on compact disk for $16.95. The photos in the CD version are in color.


January, 2004

Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore
Author: Martin Podskoch

Review by: NEAL BURDICK

Time was when fire towers punctuated many an Adirondack peak. From these spindly steel skeletons with glassed-in boxes (called “cabs”) on top, observers would spend their summers looking for signs of suspicious wisps of smoke that might balloon into a forest conflagration. They would also welcome hikers, point out the sights and dispense wallet cards as proof the hikers had climbed so-and-so mountain. They and their perches were icons in the Adirondacks for the first three-quarters of the 20th century. But new technology made the towers obsolete. Aerial surveillance gradually took over the role of the observers in the last >>More


January, 2004

Mammal Tracks and Sign of the Northeast
Author: Diane K. Gibbons

Review by: EDWARD KANZE

You’re out on skis, crossing a field of powder. Or maybe it’s a warmer time of year, and you’re paddling along a muddy lakeshore. You think you’re the first one there. Then you spy footprints. Who made them? If the tracks don’t reveal the imprint of skis, snowshoes, or Vibram soles, odds are you’re following something that walks or hops on four legs. But what? Here you must know how to track. The best way to learn tracking is simply to get out there and do it. Look. Ask questions. Sleuth until you find the answers. No prior knowledge required. >>More


January, 2004

Mammal Tracks & Sign A Guide to North American Species
Author: Mark Elbroch

Review by: EDWARD KANZE

You’re out on skis, crossing a field of powder. Or maybe it’s a warmer time of year, and you’re paddling along a muddy lakeshore. You think you’re the first one there. Then you spy footprints. Who made them? If the tracks don’t reveal the imprint of skis, snowshoes, or Vibram soles, odds are you’re following something that walks or hops on four legs. But what? Here you must know how to track. The best way to learn tracking is simply to get out there and do it. Look. Ask questions. Sleuth until you find the answers. No prior knowledge required. >>More


January, 2004

Mammals of North America
Author: Roland W. Kays and Don E. Wilson

Review by: EDWARD KANZE

You’re out on skis, crossing a field of powder. Or maybe it’s a warmer time of year, and you’re paddling along a muddy lakeshore. You think you’re the first one there. Then you spy footprints. Who made them? If the tracks don’t reveal the imprint of skis, snowshoes, or Vibram soles, odds are you’re following something that walks or hops on four legs. But what? Here you must know how to track. The best way to learn tracking is simply to get out there and do it. Look. Ask questions. Sleuth until you find the answers. No prior knowledge required. >>More


November, 2003

With Wilderness at Heart: A Short History of the Adirondack Mountain Club
Author: Bruce Wadsworth

Review by: FRED LEBRUN

The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) has a history book of its own. In 1997, ADK published With Wilderness at Heart:A Short History of the Adirondack Mountain Club to commemorate the organization’s 75th anniversary. It was written by Bruce Wadsworth, who also has authored some of the club’s guidebooks. Read it to find out what a U.S. president, a bigfish tale and a Big Apple sporting goods store had to do with the founding of an enduring institution. Softcover,


November, 2003

A Centennial History of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks: 1901 – 2003
Author: Edith Pilcher

Review by: FRED LEBRUN

They were first. At the dawn of the 20th century, before the Adirondack Mountain Club, before the Adirondack Council, before the Adirondack Nature Conservancy, the only organization dedicated to safeguarding these mountains was the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks. The association’s leaders were watchdogs who rose to the occasion at a critical time when regular assaults on the very idea of a “forever wild” Forest Preserve were hellishly strong, as Edith Pilcher points out in her thoughtful history of the organization’s century of advocacy. Pilcher was in an ideal position to write A Centennial History of the Association >>More


November, 2003

Woodswoman IIII Book Four of the Woodswoman’s Adventures
Author: ByAnne LaBastille

Review by: JOHN DAVIS

Making a living in the Adirondacks has never been easy. Long winters, rough terrain and biting insects keep out or keep poor most who would make the Park their home. Too often, those who stick around do so by taking too much from the land—extracting non-renewable resources or renewable ones at non-renewable rates. My friend and neighbor Anne LaBastille, in contrast, has managed to persevere thanks to her frugality, independence and love of wild nature. These qualities shine through all of her writings, including her 10th and latest book, Woodswoman IIII. Indeed, this woodswoman has accomplished, largely through her writings, >>More


July, 2003

Adirondack Cuisine
Author: Armand C. Vanderstigchel and Robert E. Birkel, Jr.

Review by: BILL MCKIBBEN

Buried in the middle of this long recipe collection, there’s a two-page spread devoted to Nettle Meadow Farms, a goat dairy on the Thurman- Johnsburg line. It’s a small place, just a few dozen goats, and owners Ronald Hebert and Laurie Goodhart do all the work themselves— milking, cheesemaking, packaging, delivery. The chevre is unbelievably tangy and fresh. And it is also an example of something remarkably rare—an honest-to-God Adirondack farm product. If you climb Crane Mountain, the peak that overlooks Nettle Meadow Farm, you look out on an unbroken expanse of forested hills. The Wilcox Lake Wild Forest, the >>More


March, 2003

Nehasane Fire Observer
Author: Frances Boone Seaman

Review by: NEAL BURDICK

One day early in the summer of 1942, Bill Touhey, on duty in the Salmon Lake Mountain fire tower in Whitney Park west of Long Lake, took a phone call from the observer on Mount Electra, not far away in Nehasane Park. A stereotype of the gruff old Adirondacker, he was perhaps a bit more gruff than usual in his response. After a startled silence, he growled, “Well, I’ll be!” The voice was that of a young woman’s. “He soon warmed up and it wasn’t long before we were comparing notes about which towers and what bodies of water we >>More