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Adirondack Explorer

August, 2016

Ban bikes for safety, not aesthetics

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In New York City, only bicycles with solid tires ridden by children under twelve are allowed on the sidewalks. The reason? A moving bike can injure and kill. And each year many do. Mixing bicycles with hikers on steep, narrow, and rocky Adirondack trails is a bad idea because the two activities are incompatible with one another. However, I do not believe allowing bicycles on Adirondack trails violates the “aesthetic” of the wilderness ideal, as Pete Nelson has put it [“It’s debatable,” May/June 2016]. When I go camping, whether by foot or by carbon canoe, I carry a flashlight and a butane stove. I wear shoes with Vibram soles, >>More


August, 2016

‘Arranged’ walks would draw visitors

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I read the article “Moose inspires idea for trail” [May/June 2016] with great interest. The Algonquin-to-Adirondacks trail, which is proposed to promote a wildlife corridor, could also provide economic benefits to nearby villages and hamlets. I’ve backpacked many times in the Adirondacks, including the Northville-Placid Trail. I also enjoy long-distance treks that enable hikers to spend evenings in B&Bs or inns along the way. I’ve done such walks in the British Isles, where the terrain and the existence of small villages along the way is conducive to such adventures. A local company provided me with multiple options based on distance, terrain, etc. They coordinated overnight lodging. They arranged the daily transport of my >>More


August, 2016

Use trestle to keep trail off road

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Bill Ingersoll’s “A flawed trail plan” [Viewpoint, March/April 2016] refers to the “inexcusable gap” in the state’s proposal for the North Country National Scenic Trail between North Creek and Minerva. The NCNST must cross the Hudson in this vicinity, where the only public bridge is at North Creek. Using this bridge would result in having “to route the NCNST along a portion of Route 28N that is very narrow and winding.” But the presently unused railroad trestle over the Hudson just upstream of the Boreas River offers a solution to this problem. The trestle connects on both sides to state land and would keep the trail in the woods. Surely a pedestrian walkway >>More


August, 2016

Landowners’ warning spoiled day

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I just read in the Ithaca Journal about your lawsuit over public access to navigable creeks and rivers in the Adirondacks. We attempted to canoe the Beaver River from Lake Lila but were surprised to find our access blocked by a severe warning posted by private-land owners in addition to a log over the creek. We were aware from our map that Beaver River traversed private property, but we believed that, as a waterway, the creek should be accessible. Do the landowners have a right to block access to the creek? We had three kids along and were very upset by the menacing nature of the postings. This wasn’t a good introduction to canoeing in >>More


August, 2016

Rail trails can showcase history

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It is never an easy decision to remove railroad tracks, but as far as destroying history I agree with Philip Terrie that a rail trail can actually increase awareness of the industrial past. [“Would rail trail destroy a piece of history?” March/April 2016]. This winter I bicycled the 152-kilometer Otago Central Rail Trail on the South Island of New Zealand. Every few kilometers, well-placed signs tell of local history, often with fascinating photos. A few small train stations are still intact, and at an old gold mine I enjoyed learning how gold was “harvested.” Thousands of people a year travel the trail and read the signs. The people in Central Otago didn’t >>More


July, 2016

A defining moment for APA

Since its creation in 1971 the Adirondack Park Agency has borne the responsibility of shaping the character of the Adirondack Park. Its decisions on how to manage state Forest Preserve and regulate the use of private lands set priorities and chart a future course. Its actions provide the answers to big questions: Will we value our critical natural areas? Will we respect a legal framework that consistently applies principles of preservation across the Park? Or will we substitute political opportunism and expedience and weaken laws designed to safeguard a vulnerable region for generations to come? Too often in recent years the APA has failed to take the firm, politically courageous stands that effective stewardship demands. >>More


July, 2016

‘Frenzy’ perfect word for finches

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The title of your article about finches [“A frenzy of finches,” January/February, 2016] really hit home at our house! We put out a feeder specifically designed for finches this year, and the results have been spectacular at times. The thistle seed has brought them like oiled sunflower never has in the past. I’m attaching a photo that will illustrate. After the birds grab some seed at the feeders, they often land in the cherry tree that is outside our living-room window. Barry Lobdell, Saranac Lake


July, 2016

Letter’s attack uncalled for

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The articles on climate change have been well researched and clearly communicate the latest science for anyone to understand. We are well educated and read broadly and find your information well documented and in the mainstream of climate-change research. We were disheartened, but not surprised, by the letter from Jeffrey Munson of Rangeley, Maine. Having survived three years as residents of Rangeley, we are sorry this self-appointed spokesman has attacked you so bitterly. Rangeley is a beautiful place to visit, but our choice for actually living is the Adirondacks where opinions may differ but vitriolic language is curbed. PS: Pete Nelson’s article, “Park needs diversity,” was absolutely excellent. Thank you. Reverend Wendy and >>More


July, 2016

Hikers do help local businesses

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I have to disagree with Town of Keene Supervisor Bill Ferebee’s claim in his interview with Publisher Tom Woodman [November/December 2015] that “hikers don’t spend a lot in our communities.” The last time I was in Keene Valley (October 2015), I stayed at the Ausable Inn ($45), ate breakfast at the Noonmark Diner ($10), shopped at the Mountaineer ($170), stopped at the Sunday morning farmers’ market in Marcy Field ($20), and paid $22 for the Adirondack Forty-Sixer fund-raising dinner to support the Keene Central School senior class. All in less than twenty-four hours. Many in the hiking community live and work in the Adirondacks as teachers, techies, nurses, business owners who shop locally, >>More


July, 2016

Don’t build Cedar River bridge

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Environmental groups’ objections that maintaining the Polaris Bridge over the Hudson violates the Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers System Act (“Essex Chain questions,” January/February 2016) appear unfounded. Instead, the proposed Cedar River Bridge is the more pressing issue. The primary purpose of the act is to designate high-quality rivers of the state that “shall be preserved in a free-flowing condition and shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.” The law is an important tool to prevent degradation but is not intended to force the removal of infrastructure. Indeed, the maintenance of existing structures (including bridges) is permitted in the act’s Table of Use Guidelines. While the Polaris Bridge >>More