Last weekend I was returning from Nubble Cliff in the Giant Mountain Wilderness when I passed a tent on the southeast shore of the Giant’s Washbowl and heard someone breaking branches or dead trees, presumably gathering wood for a campfire. Campfires are an Adirondack tradition. Who doesn’t like a fire when sleeping under the stars? Nevertheless, I couldn’t help thinking that this was not good for the environment. Rather, it was destructive. The state Department of Environmental Conservation banned campfires in the eastern High Peaks for a reason. Over time, campers collecting wood left patches of forest virtually denuded. DEC >>More
The Open Space Institute has purchased a 618-acre parcel along Lake Champlain, including 4,000 feet of shoreline, and plans to sell it to the state to be added to the forever-wild Forest Preserve. The property lies across from Schuyler Island, an undeveloped island already in the Forest Preserve. OSI bought the land, which includes Trembleau Mountain, from the Gellert family for $500,000. It offers views of the High Peaks, Lake Champlain, and the Green Mountains of Vermont. The Department of Environmental Conservation plans to create trails after the state acquires the property. The highest summit of Trembleau is owned by >>More
Scientists are trying to understand how salmon are impacted by alewives, an invasive species that has become a main source of food for salmon, a keystone predator that eats smaller fish.
The state has added the historic Marion River carry to the Forest Preserve, ending a long-running dispute over the ownership of 216 parcels of land near the hamlet of Raquette Lake. The deal secures a five-hundred-yard trail used by paddlers portaging between Utowana Lake and the Marion River. The carry is an essential part of a canoe route between Blue Mountain Lake and Raquette Lake. The Open Space Institute bought the 296-acre parcel in 2012 for $2 million and transferred it to the state this year at no cost to the state. Before OSI stepped in, the Marion River property >>More
The Adirondack Park Agency held public hearings on Boreas Ponds at eight different locations around the state in November and December. Hundreds of people spoke, offering a potpourri of opinions. But one constant was a sea of green T-shirts bearing the slogan “I Want Wilderness.”
Adirondack Wilderness Advocates has sent the Adirondack Park Agency a detailed paper, replete with photos, maps, and charts, arguing for a Wilderness classification for nearly all of the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract. The 46-page document also contains recommendations for several other lands recently added to the public Forest Preserve. The first half of the document is devoted to the Boreas Ponds Tract, the most controversial and largest of the classification decisions facing the APA. Adirondack Wilderness Advocates was formed last year by Bill Ingersoll, Brendan Wiltse, and Pete Nelson to counter classification proposals from environmental groups that they say fail >>More
Bear encounters in the backcountry and in residential areas were much more common than usual during the summer of 2016 in the Adirondack Park.
Protect the Adirondacks lawsuit could clarify state constitution’s mandate against destroying trees in the Forest Preserve. By PHIL BROWN A rose is a rose is a rose, Gertrude Stein said. Defining a tree is not so simple. That question—what is a tree?—has emerged as a central issue in a long-running dispute over the construction of “community-connector” snowmobile trails in the Forest Preserve. These trails, which link hamlets, are nine feet wide (twelve feet on curves) and graded to make them smooth. Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, contends they resemble roads more than trails. Since 2013, Protect has >>More
Observers say more money is needed to repair and maintain an antiquated network of hiking routes. By MIKE LYNCH When many of the High Peaks’ trails were cut more than a century ago, the work was done by guides and hired hands. Keene Valley’s Orson “Old Mountain” Phelps created the first trail up Mount Marcy in 1861; Verplanck Colvin’s survey workers cut routes up Algonquin and Dix in the late 1800s; and Henry Van Hoevenberg developed a trail system for the Adirondack Lodge (as it was then spelled). The early trails opened up the High Peaks to more people and laid the groundwork for today’s trail system, but some of the original trails continue to >>More
By PHILIP TERRIE On a snowy winter night in Lake George, in 2010, Cindy Eggleston’s motion-detecting light came on in her back yard. She looked out her kitchen window and saw a big cat. A really big cat. Her husband, a retired conservation officer, guessed that it must have been a bobcat. No, she said, “it had a long tail.” So he went out to look around. In the snow he found huge tracks and, eventually, a hair sample. DNA analysis subsequently showed that these hairs came from a cougar, an animal whose last proven presence in the Adirondacks had occurred over a century before. The life and death of this wandering >>More