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Adirondack Explorer

July, 2015

Music, now silent, lives in memory

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The hills were alive with the sound of music—even before Julie Andrews sang of them. In 1947 the New York State Music Camp opened its first summer season at the Otter Lake Hotel. The building is long gone, but a historical plaque marks the location. For nine summers hundreds of students and faculty from the United States, Canada, and overseas had classes in music theory, harmony, conducting, composition, and arranging. They performed in bands, orchestras and choirs. They gave concerts at Otter Lake but also at the Boonville Fair and Old Forge. Weekly programs were broadcast on WBIX, Utica. The final concert was the evening of August 25, 1955—sixty years ago this >>More


July, 2015

Askenota created lifelong memories

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To say I was absolutely thrilled after reading about Camp Askenota [“The joys of summer,” May/June 2015] would be an understatement. I spent two of the most memorable weeks of my youth at that Boy Scout camp on Moose Island in Lake Placid in August of 1953. The memories are still quite vivid even now at seventy-six years young. Some memories: I completely filled my canoe with pine boughs, which each Explorer had to obtain for his bed. I believe that I had the most comfortable bough bed in the camp. “Nurse” (Barbara Wadsworth) owned a Dalmation at that time, and this dog would not go near anyone. >>More


July, 2015

Cranberry Lake tied to Park history

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In Philip Terrie’s article “The Battle of 1915” [May/ June 2015], I was particularly interested in the mention of James S. Whipple, former chief of the Forest, Fish, and Game Commission (now the Department of Environmental Conservation). Whipple is no stranger to those of us here at Cranberry Lake. A land-investment company was formed here in 1902 called the Bear Mountain Park Association. It bought a large tract of land on Cranberry Lake and had it platted and subdivided into lots. Their property included Birch Island, and that island was the first piece of property they sold (in 1903). The purchaser was none other than James S. Whipple, in partnership with >>More


May, 2015

Californians are fine with cougars

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Are Californians braver, smarter, more mature, and more tolerant than Easterners? Apparently so, if you believe Peter Nye’s argument against bringing cougars back to the Adirondacks [“It’s Debatable,” January/February 2015]. As a Californian (since 1976) and an Adirondacker (a camp on Piseco Lake, and a family history in the Adirondacks from the 1700s), I have a unique perspective on this silly (and never-ending) debate. Here, within the city of Los Angeles, we have a lovely permanent cougar population. A big, beautiful male lives under the “Hollywood” sign. We hardly notice. Cougars are great at staying away from people, so much so that here, in the middle of the nation’s second-biggest city, their >>More


May, 2015

More on birth of environmental fund

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Thanks to Tony Hall for his Viewpoint [“Mario Cuomo’s legacy” March/April 2015], citing Governor Mario Cuomo’s vital role in creating the Environmental Protection Fund. I appreciated Tony’s mention of Bob Bendick and myself as participants at the state Department of Environmental Conservation. I would like to elaborate a bit on events of that time. In 1986, DEC created a committee of a few staff members to work on projects to be acquired with funds from a 1986 Environmental Quality Bond Act. I was assigned to coordinate the acquisition of Tahawus, then in the process of being sold by National Lead to NL Industries. (Negotiations ultimately fell through.) I also managed the acquisition >>More


May, 2015

Red-bellies rule!

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I read with interest John Thaxton’s column on red-bellied woodpeckers [Birdwatch, March/April 2015]. I live in the southern Adirondack Park in Hadley. Last year we spotted a pair of red-bellies in our yard. They often came to our feeder and ate only the cracked corn we had mixed in with the sunflower seeds. The male was very aggressive and would only let the female eat after he had finished. We also have a pair of hairy and downy woodpeckers. They were also fearful of the red-belly. He seemed to rule. We saw him a few times in February, but that was all. I hope he/they come back. Jean >>More


May, 2015

APA not protecting sensitive lands

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Kudos to the Explorer for knowing what’s important. The March/April issue devoted three full pages to the impending regulatory tsunami that threatens to wipe out the protections we’ve assumed were in place for Resource Management lands in the Park. The first wave hit a few years ago with approval of the sprawling Adirondack Club and Resort on over six thousand acres in Tupper Lake. Now, the Woodworth Lake subdivision in the southern Adirondacks follows in its wake. While not the worst development plan I’ve seen in my years as a land-use planner, the APA-approved layout for Woodworth Lake is not nearly good enough for the wildest of private lands in >>More


May, 2015

Wolves would be Adirondack attraction

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I agree with Larry Master’s comments about how wolves enhance visits to Algonquin and Yellowstone parks and boost ecotourism [“The wolf at our door,” March/April 2015]. The wolf would do the same for the Adirondacks and the Northeast. I too, spent many summers camping in Algonquin Park in my late teens and early twenties. There’s nothing like hearing the howl of the wolf, and I too wish to have them back in the Adirondacks. Joseph S. Butera, Floral Park Editor’s Note: Butera is president and co-founder of the Northeast Ecological Recovery Society.


March, 2015

Rescue Saranac River from trash

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I stopped by your office in August to tell you how much I enjoy your publication, especially the paddling articles. After leaving your office I paddled on the Saranac River for five miles. I was saddened by all the trash (soda and beer cans and bottles, hubcaps, traffic cones, car and appliance parts) that was in the river. Later I talked with a friend who is a guide, and he told me that St. Regis Canoe Outfitters has organized clean-ups in the past. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone took the bull by the horns and organized a river clean-up >>More


March, 2015

Hidden pleasures of Debar Pond area

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I’ve hunted in the Loon Lake/Debar/Baldface area for over fifty years, so I enjoyed your article “Return to Debar Pond” [July/August 2014]. We’ve fished Debar Pond, and there is a family of loons there every year. I’ve been on top of Baldface a number of times, but we hunt more toward Debar and the lower portion of Baldface to the west. We come in from the south side along the Debar/Mullins line, the property line between state land and private property. Well, it used to be Mullins; remember I’ve hunted there for over fifty years. The land isn’t Mullins’ anymore; >>More