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Adirondack Explorer

February, 2015

Interest in rail is all about the ride

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Railroad? Trail? Why are people fighting each other? Converting the rail line into a multi-use corridor (hike, bike, snowmobile, train) will create unlimited possibilities for backcountry recreation, camping, and even lodging. Dick Beamish, in his Viewpoint [“Confronting history on 2 wheels,” January/February 2015], argues correctly that the rail corridor has great historic value, conveniently forgetting, however, that the most historic thing about the corridor is the train ride itself. Wilderness advocates may cringe at the idea, but for outdoor recreationists and others, the chance to develop a rail-and-trail system that would create easy access for all to remote areas of >>More


February, 2015

Look to NYC for great rail trail

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I am writing to the Explorer again, as I have done a few times already, in support of the rail-trail corridor, only this time with another viewpoint that I’m surprised has not been mentioned previously. In the heart of New York City the existing unused elevated train rails, instead of being demolished, have been converted into an elevated walkway called the Highline. It is currently a mile long with further expansion under development. What a popular walkway this has been. On a nice day it is actually crowded with people. My point is that forward-thinking people have taken an abandoned >>More


February, 2015

Don’t glorify careless hiking

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I read the article “A Passion for Peaks” [November/December 2014] and have to take issue with what was portrayed while Bethany Garretson was hiking Owls Head Mountain. Granted that Owls Head is not a major peak and it’s a short hiking distance, but to romanticize and glorify someone who begins hiking at 8 p.m. with no hiking clothes and barefoot in thirty-eight-degree weather is quite irresponsible. Hiking is serious business, especially for beginners and the inexperienced that may be reading your publication, and there are basic fundamentals in preparedness and safety that need to be followed. Just read the many >>More


December, 2014

Skiers need to share the trail

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The writer of the letter “Trail etiquette for snowshoers” [November/December, 2014] seems to feel that cross-country skiing should be given preeminence in the use of a foot trail once ski tracks are laid down. I could certainly agree while using established and signed ski trails throughout the Adirondacks, but when on multi-use foot trails during the winter, “trail etiquette” is not so clear-cut in favor of skiers. A ski track on a foot trail does not a ski trail make. I use all methods of trekking on my favorite multi-use trails in the foothills of the Adirondacks. During the winter, >>More


December, 2014

Give campfires a chance in Essex Chain

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Having just spent a couple of days canoeing and camping on the Essex Chain Lakes, I was interested to read “Should fires be banned at Essex Chain Lakes?” [It’s Debatable, November/December 2014]. Both commentators make some good points and some that strike me as off the mark. Joe Hackett’s rhapsody about “a blazing campfire” and the sight of “a thousand sparks climbing into the night air” is downright scary—the last thing we want to see in the Adirondack woods. But he is right that the potential impact of permitting fires can be carefully monitored and the policy changed if needed. >>More


December, 2014

DOT didn’t do its homework

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At recent hearings on the plan for the 120-mile Adirondack Rail Corridor, the state Department of Transportation’s presenter, Ray Hessinger, said that DOT had been “doing their homework” since the listening sessions in 2013. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the railroad’s business plan was on the list of “required reading,” even though it is a crucial document in determining whether the state should invest tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to achieve the railroad’s dream of full-corridor operations. The plan emphasizes that “cross-platform transfers” from Amtrak in Utica would ensure success in carrying a profitable number of passengers from Utica >>More


December, 2014

What happened to beet juice?

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Thanks for your article about salt being a serious problem for our environment [“Cutting down on salt,” November/December, 2014]. Few of us stop to realize it, but it’s important. Neither your article nor the editorial mentioned beet juice as a de-icer for highways. The New York State Department of Transportation and the Thruway Authority were going to try it. How did it work out? Or is it too slippery—maybe as slippery as ice? Milton Zimmerman, Elka Park


December, 2014

Winter road option: use no salt

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The article “Cutting down on Salt” [November/December 2014] brought up several good points. One idea not discussed is the use of no salt on roads. Use salt only on hills and intersections. My wife and I lived in western Montana for several winters. We lived on a ranch in a very rural area. No salt was used at all; they just plowed the roads. We had a 4×4 truck and drove differently than most people do “back East.” It required a more cautious driving style along with a set of tire chains, but it was worth it. Taxes were much >>More


November, 2014

Trail etiquette for snowshoers

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Considerably more outdoor enthusiasts are taking up snowshoeing, and traveling trails once used only in the summer. However, one big problem has begun to arise because of the increased popularity in the sport: lack of trail etiquette. While cross-country skiing throughout the Adirondacks, and the United States in general, I am seeing more and more snowshoers walking two, three, and four wide on trails also used by skiers. Some snowshoers walk only on the set tracks of skiers, thinking they are doing the skier a favor. Last season I met several shoers and dogs walking side by side on a trail, accompanied by two others in hiking boots only. When I speak >>More


November, 2014

Baldface Mountain a great find

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Thanks for your story about Baldface Mountain [Return to Debar Pond, July/August 2014”]. Ted Mack and I bushwhacked it last week and enjoyed lunch with a view. As you said in your article the woods were pretty open until the dog-hair spruce toward the summit. We did get a bit turned around on the way down, coming out at the south end of the pond initially. There is a huge old metal culvert, partially flattened, in the inlet at that end of the pond, and I was wondering what use it might have been put to. Any thoughts? We also had a nice paddle on the pond prior to >>More