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Adirondack Explorer

September, 2011

DEC to reopen to some trails

The state Department of Environmental Conservation expects to reopen some trails in the eastern High Peaks Wilderness before this weekend. In fact, some trails may be reopened today, according to DEC spokesman David Winchell. “We’re working on what trails can be reopened and hope to make an announcement later today,” Winchell told me this morning. Winchell said some trails will be open right away and others may open within a week, but others will remain closed for longer. Hurricane Irene caused extensive damage to trails in the High Peaks region, prompting DEC to close not only the eastern High Peaks Wilderness >>More


September, 2011

ADK plans to reopen Loj on Thursday

The Adirondack Mountain Club plans to reopen Adirondak Loj on Thursday and expects  that some trails in the eastern High Peaks Wilderneness will be available for hiking by then. Meantime, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation said on Tuesday that the department is evaluating which trails may be reopened. “It will most likely be tomorrow before we have completed that task and can provide a list of open trails,” David Winchell told me. Adirondak Loj and the trails in the eastern High Peaks were closed after Hurricane Irene. Raging floodwaters collapsed a section of the road leading >>More


September, 2011

Good news for Keene Valley

Governor Cuomo came to the Adirondacks on Labor Day and delivered good news for the beleaguered community of Keene Valley: Route 73 will be reopened by September 15. Since Route 73 is the only way in and out of Keene Valley, its closure after Hurricane Irene meant that local stores saw little traffic in what is ordinarily one of the most lucrative weeks of the year. As I reported last week, business owners wanted the state to reopen the highway before Columbus Day weekend in October. Having seen the extent of damage to the road, I was skeptical that this >>More


September, 2011

Keene Valley wants its lifeline back

No community identifies with the High Peaks as much as Keene Valley. State Route 73, the only way in or out, snakes through the same mountains that attract tens of thousands of hikers to the hamlet every year. Now the High Peaks are closed and Route 73 is barricaded to the north and south—a double-whammy to a local economy that relies on tourist traffic. The state Department of Environmental Conservation may start opening some trails in the High Peaks as early as next week, but it’s uncertain when the highway will reopen. During Tropical Storm Irene, raging brooks washed out >>More


September, 2011

DEC stationed at trailheads

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is preparing to deal with an influx of hikers on Labor Day weekend who may be confused about where they can and cannot hike. Forest rangers and environmental conservation officers will be stationed at trailheads for the eastern High Peaks Wilderness, Giant Mountain Wilderness, and Dix Mountain Wilderness, according to DEC spokesman David Winchell. As a result of damage to trails from Tropical Storm Irene, DEC has closed all three areas indefinitely. Winchell said DEC employees will direct hikers and backpackers to nearby Forest Preserve tracts that remain open. “We also will be patrolling >>More


September, 2011

ADK hopes some trails can reopen next week

The Adirondack Mountain Club hopes that the state will reopen some trails in the eastern High Peaks early next week. “We’re aware of a number of trails that can be safely hiked at this point,” said Neil Woodworth, ADK’s executive director. Woodworth refused to identify specific trails, saying it’s up to the state Department of Environmental Conservation to determine which trails should be reopened. “We’re hoping that the closure order of the eastern High Peaks can be lifted,” he said. Woodworth said ADK and other “interested stakeholders” have urged DEC to keep closed only trails that pose a hazard or >>More


September, 2011

A thousand words

  By now, many of you have seen the pictures of the Keene fire station: it lost two bays when Gulf Brook overflowed and undercut the structure. Half of its roof fell off and lies partly in the water. Yesterday while driving through the hamlet I noticed the firefighters’ uniforms drying on the railings outside the town hall. Though not as dramatic as the photos of the storm damage, it tells the story.


August, 2011

Aerial photos of Duck Hole draining

In the current issue of the Adirondack Explorer, we ran a debate on whether the state should fix the dam at Duck Hole in the High Peaks Wilderness. Now that the dam has been breached, the debate is whether the state should rebuild it. This afternoon, we obtained several aerial photos taken after the rains of Hurricane Irene broke the dam. They were shot Monday by Kris Alberga, a forester with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The top photo shows Duck Hole as one looks southeast toward Preston Ponds. Much of the water has drained, exposing numerous mudflats. The >>More


August, 2011

31 guests stranded at Adirondak Loj

Since Hurricane Irene drenched the High Peaks region, more than thirty guests have been stranded at Adirondak Loj, unable to leave due to a washout on the only road to the rustic inn. The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), which owns the Loj, hopes that the road will open in a day or two, but with so much devastation around the region, nothing is certain. Neil Woodworth, executive director of the ADK, said a few guests opted to walk out, but most are waiting for the road to be repaired enough to allow them to take their cars. As of today, >>More


August, 2011

After Irene, where can you hike?

With the most popular Wilderness Areas in the Adirondacks closed, many people are wondering where they can hike this Labor Day weekend. Forest rangers have yet to reconnoiter all of the backcountry, but it’s believed that the central and western Adirondacks largely escaped the wrath of Irene. Yesterday the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced that the eastern High Peaks Wilderness, the Dix Mountain Wilderness, and the Giant Mountain Wilderness would all be closed during the holiday weekend. The three areas probably encompass more than 175,000 acres. The western High Peaks—which constitutes more than half of the High Peaks Wilderness—remains >>More