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Adirondack Explorer

June, 2016

Hard-learned lessons
Author: Peter W. Kick

Review by: Tony Goodwin

  Desperate Steps is a collection of twenty narratives of backcountry accidents and misadventures in the Northeast. The incidents are about evenly divided among Maine, New Hampshire, and the Adirondacks with one incident in Vermont and two in the Catskills. Most of the incidents occurred within the past fifteen years, but the book includes a 1963 incident on Mount Katahdin where both the initial victim and the intended rescuer perished. Fifteen of the incidents involved at least one fatality, and in five of these incidents there were no survivors, leaving only informed speculation as to their decision-making and final moments. The author, Peter Kick, says the purpose of the book “is to help you enact a more >>More


May, 2016

Climate deniers get it wrong
Author: Craig D. Idso, Robert M. Carter and S. Fred Singer

Review by: Curt Stager

BOOK REVIEW By CURT STAGER The main premise of this 106-page book is that many scientists do not believe that human-driven global warming is real because the evidence for it is deeply flawed. In reality, it is this book that is deeply flawed. The primary audience is not scientists but policy-makers, and its release last November was timed to coincide with the climate-change meeting in Paris. The Heartland Institute funds publications such as this one from the “Non-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” (NIPCC). The panel’s name is a tongue-in-cheek jab at the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which summarizes peer-reviewed scientific literature. Author Craig Idso has a doctorate in geography and >>More


April, 2016

So There We Were: River Running in the Hudson Gorge
Author: Jeff Dickinson

Review by: Michael Virtanen

The flow of history Book review by Michael Virtanen Jeff Dickinson’s history of running the whitewater of the Hudson River is weighty with research: it has 111 pages of footnotes and bibliography. Those follow his 237-page narrative that launches with descriptions of the landscape and Colonial explorers, flows on through decades of log drivers and adventurers, then crests with the commercial rafting that began in the 1980s and brought tourists to the Adirondacks in the once-spare shoulder season of melting snow. Rafting has since matured into a spring and summer enterprise that extends even into autumn. Dickinson, a whitewater guide >>More


March, 2016

Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and the Rise of American Environmentalism
Author: Mark Stoll

Review by: Philip Terrie

Saving God’s creation Book Review by Philip Terrie In 1967, Science published an article destined to be one of the most controversial and most frequently cited ever to appear in that distinguished journal: “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis.” The author, Lynn White Jr., was a medieval historian, a professor at UCLA. He argued that the devastating and unsustainable exploitation of nature that began with the Industrial Revolution had its intellectual roots in the Judeo-Christian tradition, especially in the creation story in the book of Genesis. White saw the patriarchal, exploitative, frequently abusive treatment of the natural world that >>More


January, 2016

Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home
Author: Pope Francis

Review by: Bill McKibben

  The pope’s green message The old conceit that the president has a “bully pulpit” needs updating; it’s clear that the pulpit at St. Peter’s Basilica is now the bulliest of all. Pope Francis may lack legions, but he has 6.3 million followers on Twitter, and for days before its official release, the world followed the leaks of his new encyclical on climate change and the environment. Laudato Si’ is a remarkable 183-page document, incredibly rich—it’s not dense, but it is studded with aphorisms and insights. A few things are immediately evident. First, simply by writing it, the pope—the single >>More


November, 2015

Celebrating our parks
Author: Ian Shive

Review by: Philip Terrie

On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed legislation creating Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first effort to set aside a large undeveloped tract, protect it solely for its scenic and natural appeal, and make it available to the public. Exactly what Grant and the Congress had in mind for Yellowstone was unclear, as was whose responsibility it was to take care of it. For several decades, protecting the natural splendors found there was assigned to the United States Army, which for the most part had other obligations it considered more pressing. It wasn’t until 1916, after complaints from >>More


July, 2015

Philosophers at Follensby
Author: Stephen L. Dyson / James Schlett

Review by: Philip Terrie

Few incidents in nineteenth-century Adirondack history have been more often recounted than the famous Philosophers’ Camp at Follensby Pond. The story of how Ralph Waldo Emerson and an assortment of VIPs from the Concord-Cambridge axis camped for several weeks in 1858 on the shores of a virtually untouched lake deep in the wilderness has become a familiar chestnut in the Adirondack canon. Curiously, it has been largely ignored by scholars. Emerson is the subject of more academic studies than you can count. His first book, Nature (1836), is among the most analyzed, anthologized, and cited works in American literature and >>More


May, 2015

The Kid’s Guide to Exploring Nature
Author: Marilyn Smith

Review by: Jaime Armstrong

Did you know that wood frogs have natural antifreeze in their cells? Pigeons are descendants of escapee rock doves. You can estimate the temperature outside by counting cricket chirps. Ants will actually farm aphids so they can steal the sweet syrup that they produce. Nature is full of fascinating tales. As a science teacher, I’m constantly looking for new, engaging resources to share with my students, and The Kid’s Guide to Exploring Nature fits the bill. It also provides a great opportunity for parents to expose their children to the wonders of the natural world around them. The book is organized according to seasons, which makes it easy to find just the right activity >>More


May, 2015

Adirondack Outlaws
Author: Niki Kourofsky

Review by: Neal Burdick

Lives of crime Backcountry fastnesses—mountains, forests, canyons—have always been havens for those who take proper behavior with a (sometimes very large) grain of salt. Think the Wild Bunch (also known to moviegoers as the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang) or the Hatfields and McCoys. Closer to home, we have the likes of French Louie and Noah Rondeau, individualists who operated on the fringes of society and lived by their own code of conduct, although, by way of hometown defense, those two never killed anyone. Perhaps tipping our hats to an independent streak that goes back to Colonial times, we tend to make folk heroes out of these characters. But places like the Adirondacks have also harbored more >>More


March, 2015

Lost Ski Areas of the Northern Adirondacks
Author: Jeremy K. Davis

Review by: Neal Burdick

Pages of skiing’s past When we think of Adirondack ski areas, it’s usually the charismatic ones that come to mind: Whiteface, Gore Mountain, and McCauley Mountain for downhillers, Lapland Lake and Mount Van Hoevenberg if your tastes run to Nordic. These and a handful of others can be counted on from year to year, either because they receive sufficient natural snow, even in an era of less-reliable “white gold,” or they have the wherewithal to make the stuff. But there have been lots of other, smaller areas over the years, and while they were beloved by some they have not >>More