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January, 2016

Rail trail offers greatest benefits

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Much attention has been given to the new “rail bike” concession operating on a six-mile section of the rail corridor that runs through the Adirondacks. The rail bikes ride on the tracks and accommodate from two to four customers. The charge is $25 each to pedal these large, heavy machines single-file between Saranac Lake and Lake Clear. If that experience is fun, and it appears to be, I can only say that the best is yet to come. When the tracks are removed and the corridor becomes a recreation trail, we will be able to ride real bicycles as far >>More


January, 2016

A bold vision for High Peaks

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We enthusiastically support the solid proposal by the Adirondack Council and several other conservation organizations for expansion of the Adirondack Park High Peaks Wilderness by addition of the Macintyre West and most of the Boreas Ponds and Macintyre East tracts. Acquisition of and classification as Wilderness of these tracts by the State of New York would in our opinion, in combination with the existing High Peaks and Dix Wilderness Areas, create a dynamic and unique Wilderness by the State of New York in the heart of the Adirondack Park. A Primitive Area giving road access along the Gulf Brook Road >>More


January, 2016

Newcomb man touched many lives

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Kudos for Chris Morris’s Viewpoint “The man who loved Newcomb” [November/December 2015]. Like many people of the Adirondacks, the subject of this article, Marvin Bissell, was one of a kind. As owner of Bissell’s Store in Newcomb, Marvin affected thousands of people in a very positive way. I first met Marvin in 1962 when going to our hunting camp in Newcomb. After my retirement in 1998, Holly and I moved to Newcomb as full-time residents. Marvin and I got to know each other well in the next fifteen years, and we shared a love of historical people and events. I >>More


January, 2016

Trail would boost Adirondacks

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I often travel to Burlington, VT, and the province of Quebec when I want an off-road bicycling outing—places that are safe and amenable to biking. Wouldn’t it be pleasant to have that experience in the Adirondacks? That’s why it’s an excellent idea to create a rail trail from Lake Placid to Tupper Lake and put on hold upgrading the track from Tupper to Big Moose. Also a rail trail between North Creek and Tahawus would offer self-propelled people another opportunity to enjoy the Adirondacks. I live near the Great Allegheny Passage in Pittsburgh and have observed the heavy usage this >>More


November, 2015

Essex Chain carry too much for seniors

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I am writing to express my disappointment with the location of the parking area for the Essex Chain Lakes. It has two bad options: 1. Portage for about a quarter-mile, then down a steep bank, put your canoe in on Deer Pond, paddle two hundred yards across the pond, take out, and portage again for another three-quarters of a mile to the put-in on Third Lake; or 2. Portage around Deer Pond on the existing logging road and go directly to the Third Lake put-in (my choice), which is less trouble but more than a mile of portaging. I am >>More


November, 2015

A big day on a far summit

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Reading your article “An Easier Way to Allen,” [July/August 2015] stimulated memories of how I climbed Allen to complete becoming a Forty-Sixer in June 1960. I and my climbing partner did not use any of the customarily described routes to Allen then or now. Here is how I recall what we did. In 1959, we were sitting on the summit rock on Redfield. Of course, one can see the whole valley between Redfield and Allen from there. We decided to bushwhack the connecting ridge between Skylight and Allen. We noted that blowdown seemed to be less just off the north >>More


November, 2015

Stop oil trains to protect lake

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Paul Post’s article “Fuel for Debate” [July/August 2015] quoted Matt Dempsey, a spokesman for the Independent Petroleum Association of America, responding to a report by environmental groups about the threat to Lake Champlain caused by trains carrying oil tankers along the lakeshore. Dempsey said: “The biggest issue with this report is that it doesn’t distinguish between a risk and a hazard.” This brings to mind a quote from Dr. Priscilla Laws of Columbia, Maryland, to the effect that “It is better to turn off the tap than mop up the floor!” In this case the risk is transporting oil by >>More


November, 2015

Summer camps had lifelong impact

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It was with great pleasure that I read the article “The joys of summer” by Joseph Mercurio [May/June 2015]. At first, I just noticed his name and thought that it sounded somewhat familiar. Then, as I read on further, I realized that he was writing about an experience we had both shared back in the 1950s: Camp Askenonta! I was one of those lucky Girl Scouts who got to attend the camp on Moose Island in Lake Placid. Little did I realize over these years how groundbreaking many of the camping activities of Hiawatha Council were. My dad had been >>More


November, 2015

Leashing dogs can prevent conflicts

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I love walking in the woods with our dog. All of us who do, however, must acknowledge that dog/wildlife encounters are often not pleasant for one side or the other. I gather from the article about the bear mauling a hiker in August [“Hiker mauled by bear,” September/October 2015], Eric Spinner’s dog, Pippy, was off leash when the encounter with the bear occurred. It is not always what we want for our dogs, but keeping them on leash in the woods usually is the best thing for them and for us. All the “how to avoid bear encounters” advice should >>More


September, 2015

Trail beats junk rail for Tahawus

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In August I rode the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Ididaride bike tour out of North Creek, along with five hundred other cyclists who came from far and wide. A grueling ride like this attracts only a small fraction of the general bicycling population—most greatly prefer the gentle and peaceful environment of a bike trail.  When I looked at all the cars in the field where we parked, I thought about how many cars were parked at the nearby rail station—a few dozen, perhaps. I thought about how wonderful it would be seeing regular people and their families walking and biking on the rail corridor through North Creek. That is, if it >>More


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