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Adirondack Explorer

February, 2013

Skiing the Jackrabbit in Saranac Lake

I got out of the office this afternoon to take a short ski on the Jackrabbit Trail in the Saranac Lake, curious to see how Monday’s mini-thaw changed conditions. The official start of the trail is at North Country Community College. From there you ski up the railroad tracks to a beautiful pine forest. However, I approached the forest from the opposite direction, starting where the tracks cross Route 86 on the outskirts of the village. The amount of snow on the tracks was ideal for skiing. Before last week’s snowfall, I had occasionally scraped a piece of gravel while >>More


February, 2013

Good skiing after the storm

I did two classic ski trips after last week’s snowstorm. Although we didn’t get as much snow as some had predicted, the conditions were pretty darn good. Conditions have already changed. It warmed up enough on Monday to produce a bit of rain, but it’s supposed to snow again this week. With those caveats, here is a short trip report. On Saturday, I skied the Jackrabbit Trail from McKenzie Pond Road to the top of the pass between Haystack Mountain and McKenzie Mountain. The big question was whether the long hill after McKenzie Pond (a 1.5-mile ascent) would have enough >>More


January, 2013

Recreation maps for Finch, Pruyn lands

I recently posted on Adirondack Almanack an account of the state’s plans for managing and classifying the former Finch, Pruyn & Company lands. For those who just want to view the maps, I am posting them here as well. As you scroll down, you will see three maps.The first includes the Essex Chain Tract, Indian River Confluence Tract, and OK Slip Falls Tract. The second shows the Boreas Ponds Tract. The third shows the MacIntyre Tracts near Tahawus. The Finch lands are outlined in yellow. Blue represents Wilderness; green, Wild Forest. The colored lands outside the Finch tracts are already >>More


January, 2013

Skiing on Oseetah Marsh and the Jackrabbit Trail

Oseetah Marsh in winter

Oseetah Marsh just outside Saranac Lake is the destination of one of my regular lunch-hour ski trips. It’s short, easy, and scenic, with views of the McKenzie Range, the Sawtooth Range, and nearby Scarface Mountain. Today I did the trip for the first time this winter. Why did I wait so long? To get to the marsh, I follow a snowmobile trail through a beautiful pine forest. Until this afternoon, every time I reached the edge of the marsh I found a small pool of black water, bordered by very thin ice. I tried to ski the marsh as recently >>More


January, 2013

Stretch of the Hudson to open this spring

Starting this spring, paddlers will be able to travel down the Hudson River from Newcomb and take out on lands newly acquired by the state. The best takeout probably will be near the confluence of the Goodnow River, based on my reading of a map released today by the state Department of Environmental Conservation suggests that. From the town beach in Newcomb it’s roughly seven miles to the mouth of the Goodnow. The stretch includes several mild rapids. The significance of the takeout is that it will open the Hudson to paddlers who don’t have the skills or inclination to >>More


January, 2013

Rescue report for August and September

Following is the state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 5’s report of searches and rescues from August and September. Region 5 includes the eastern two-thirds of the Adirondack Park. Essex County Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area On Tuesday, August 14, 2012, at approximately 9:53 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from a hiker at Adirondack Mountain Club*s Adirondack Loj reporting that his hiking partner had gotten ahead of him after the bridge over Marcy Brook. When the hiker arrived at the trailhead he could not locate Ja.m.es Mateyka, 43, of Rochester, NY anywhere in >>More


January, 2013

APA hires ex-commissioner as counsel

The Adirondack Park Agency has hired James Townsend, one of its former board members, to serve as the agency’s counsel. He will replace John Banta, who retired last year. A Rochester lawyer, Townsend sat on the APA board from 1999 to 2010. He left when he wasn’t reappointed by Governor David Paterson. APA Chairwoman Lani Ulrich made the announcement today. “For more than a decade, Mr. Townsend worked tirelessly on complicated Park issues and has a proven track record of accomplishments on behalf of the Adirondacks,” she said in a prepared statement. Environmental activists also voiced support for the appointment. >>More


January, 2013

Cold no cure for slush

The temperature fell to 24 below early Thursday. Most people would not see that as good news, but backcountry skiers should. Despite the two feet of snow we received last week, we still lack midwinter conditions. On ski trips since the snowstorm, I have encountered a number of open brooks and seeping drainages. Also, slush in places. You’d think 24 below would solve that problem. To test my theory, I skied to Oseetah Lake on my lunch hour today. Starting at the Route 86 railroad crossing in Saranac Lake, I followed a snowmobile trail for a half-mile through a beautiful >>More


December, 2012

Protect opposes change in clear-cutting policy

Protect the Adirondacks contends that a change in regulations proposed by the Adirondack Park Agency will lead to more clear-cutting. The APA is seeking public comment on the change in policy, which the agency’s board approved in November. “PROTECT believes that a decision by the APA to significantly loosen clearcutting rules will have wide ranging implications for long-term forest management in the Adirondack Park as well as seriously undermine public support for the state conservation easement program, among other negative consequences. ‘The Adirondack Park has largely avoided the clearcutting controversy that raged over policy for National Forest lands, in Maine >>More


November, 2012

Getting psyched for the ski season

It’s starting to look a lot like winter on Baker Mountain, the little peak on the outskirts of Saranac Lake. I took the photo above a few days ago while hiking on my lunch hour. I’m already dreaming of cross-country skiing. We don’t have enough snow yet, but we should soon. One trail I’m eager to check out is the Mr. Van Ski Trail, which connects Adirondak Loj and the cross-country-ski center on Mount Van Hoevenberg. The 4.7-mile trail has been around for years, but it had become overgrown and fell into disuse. This fall, the Adirondack Ski Touring Council >>More