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Adirondack Explorer

February, 2010

OSI protects 1,400 acres

Our March/April issue, which should be mailed in a few weeks, includes a profile of Joe Martens, the president of the Open Space Institute. In the Adirondacks, Joe is best known as the guy who engineered the institute’s purchase of the ten-thousand-acre Tahawus Tract in 2003, but he also has been involved smaller projects in the Park. Recently, a landowner donated to OSI a conservation easement on 1,400 acres near Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain.  As a result, the land is protected forever from development. The owner, Eric Johanson, starting acquiring the land decades ago when he was just nineteen years old. “I >>More


February, 2010

DEC plans to remove two fire towers

In a controversial decision, the state Department of Environmental Conservation is recommending the removal of old fire towers on St. Regis Mountain and Hurricane Mountain. Environmental groups have argued that the towers should be removed because they are in areas that are managed, by and large, as Wilderness. The guidelines for managing Wilderness Areas require the removal of most man-made structures. Also, environmentalists point out that both summits offer wide-open views without the towers. Nevertheless, many local residents (and no doubt many visitors as well) want the towers to remain. They see the structures as reminders of the region’s history. >>More


January, 2010

My other blog

Some of you may know that I also contribute to Adirondack Almanack, a compendium of blogs, news, and links created by John Warren, a writer and journalist with a strong interest in local history. If you like Outtakes, I think you’ll enjoy Adirondack Almanack as well. I post every Monday afternoon. Following are links to my recent posts: Saranac Lakes Wild Forest: Oseetah Marsh The Jackrabbit Trail and Other Epic Adventures Guilty Pleasures: Skiing Adirondack Backcountry Glades The Problem with the Wright Peak Ski Trail When Things Go Wrong: Building Emergency Snow Shelters Clarence Petty’s Last Words of Wisdom In the >>More


January, 2010

Trying to save the VICs

Paul Smith’s College will host a meeting of elected officials and other interested parties next week to try to keep the state-run Visitor Interpretive Centers from closing. Governor David Paterson has proposed shutting the two VICs, located in Paul Smiths and Newcomb, to save money. They would close by next January. The college leases to the state the land occupied by the Paul Smiths VIC—more than 2,700 acres.  “We recognize the importance of the VIC to the community,” said Kenneth Aaron, a college spokesman, “and we want to find a way to keep it open.” He acknowledged that the college >>More


January, 2010

Governor proposes land moratorium

In his proposed 2010-11 budget, Governor David Paterson has recommended a moratorium on land acquisition and closure of the Adirondack Park Agency’s two Visitor Interpretive Centers. “This is an all-out attack on the environment by the governor. This threatens to destroy the Environmental Protection Fund,” said John Sheehan, a spokesman for the Adirondack Council. The EPF is used to pay for a variety of environmental initiatives, including land acquisition and preservation. The fund was allocated $255 million in the last fiscal year and $212 million in the current year. Paterson proposes cutting it to $143 million. The Executive Budget Briefing >>More


January, 2010

Bauer opposes boathouse regs

The Fund for Lake George is opposing boathouse regulations proposed by the Adirondack Park Agency, saying they will do nothing to benefit water quality of Lake George and might prove counterproductive. Among other things, the regulations would outlaw roofed docks, which are popular around Lake George. “Decks on roofed docks will be transferred to the shoreline, which will frustrate efforts to encourage robust shoreline vegetated buffers, smaller lawn and impervious areas, decreases in the use of seawalls, and improved stormwater management,” Peter Bauer, the fund’s executive director, wrote the APA in a letter dated January 17. “A deck over a >>More


January, 2010

War of words over Lows Lake

The Albany Times Union recently ran a story in which Protect the Adirondacks blamed Governor David Paterson for the Adirondack Park Agency’s refusal to classify Lows Lake as Wilderness. “To our knowledge, this represents an unprecedented level of interference from the governor’s office,” said Dave Gibson, the environmental group’s executive director. “The governor not only failed to appreciate this magnificent region of Lows Lake, but then … apparently allowed his staff to actively twist arms.” The article drew a strong response from Fred Monroe, the executive director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, which lobbied against the Wilderness >>More


December, 2009

Champlain Bridge’s demolition

Seth Lang was part of the media horde that showed up Monday morning to watch the demolition of the Champlain Bridge. But the event held a special poignance for Seth, who grew up in Crown Point, just five miles from the bridge. “I can’t help but feel saddened by the loss of our bridge,” he says. “Having witnessed the demolition first-hand it was overwhelming for me personally.” Seth, who is twenty-seven, was taking photos for the Adirondack Explorer, two of which are shown here. The dismal weather was far from ideal for photography, but his shots are as good as >>More


December, 2009

Revisiting Crane Pond Road

In the next issue of the Adirondack Explorer, we plan to publish an article by Adam Federman on the implications of the Old Mountain Road decision on the state Forest Preserve. Federman notes that probably hundreds of old roads crisscross the Preserve. As a result of the Old Mountain Road case, observers are asking whether towns could reopen these roads to snowmobiles and/or other motor vehicles. Any attempt to open these roads is sure to put the state Department of Environmental Conservation in the crossfire between local governments and environmental groups. Remember Crane Pond Road? The dirt lane penetrates nearly >>More


December, 2009

More on Clarence Petty

The next issue of the Adirondack Explorer will feature a tribute to Clarence Petty, who died last week at 104. Dick Beamish, the Explorer founder, wrote a long article summarizing Clarence’s eventful life. Dick had known Clarence since the early 1970s, when both worked at the Adirondack Park Agency. Our tribute also will include a selection from the popular “Questions for Clarence” column. Meantime, you can learn more about Clarence’s life online: Over the weekend, the New York Times ran a well-written obituary by Dennis Hevesi. Brian Mann aired a lengthy story today on North Country Public Radio, with lots >>More