FacebookTwitterInstagram Youtube
Adirondack Explorer

November, 2009

First ski of the season

Well, we didn’t get the 4 to 7 inches of snow in the forecast, but we did get a few inches–enough to make the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway skiable from top to bottom over the weekend. I did the road on Sunday with Ron Konowitz, one of Keene’s more prominent ski bums. When we got to the tollhouse about 10 a.m., there already were a half-dozen cars parked on the road’s shoulder. Locals often run into old friends and acquaintances on early-season ski trips up the highway, as usually there’s nowhere else to ski. On Sunday, Ron and I stopped >>More


November, 2009

Finishing the 46

You might think climbing the forty-six High Peaks is no big deal. After all, more than 6,200 hikers have done it. But I’ve got news for you: those peaks are as big as they were when Bob and George Marshall and their guide, Herb Clark, climbed them. The Marshall brothers and Clark completed the first round of the forty-six in 1925, inaugurating an Adirondack tradition. What’s more, no matter how many people preceded you, when you climb the High Peaks for the first time, you see the mountains fresh, just as the Marshalls and Clark did. I was reminded of >>More


November, 2009

How big is the Forest Preserve?

Local officials in the Adirondack Park have long complained about the amount of land owned by the state in the Park. The state constitution decrees that this land, the Forest Preserve, “shall be forever kept as wild forest lands.” In other words, no development. The critics see this as bad for the region’s economy. Environmentalists, however, argue that the Preserve attracts tourists and boosts the economy. This debate shows no signs of letting up. During the Pataki administration, the state started saving vast tracts of timberlands not by acquiring them for the Preserve, but by purchasing conservation easements. Such easements >>More


November, 2009

A bad night out

Jack Drury, a wilderness-skills educator from Saranac Lake, posted a link on Facebook to a fascinating account of a man and his elderly mother who became benighted while descending Round Mountain in Keene Valley. He encourages all hikers to read it and learn from it. Even if you’re on a day hike, you should carry the ten essentials. Things could have turned out worse for this pair.  


November, 2009

Lyon Mountain: Wilderness or Wild Forest?

The Adirondack Park Agency is poised to classify Lyon Mountain as Wild Forest—a decision that would run into opposition from the Adirondack Council, one of the Park’s leading environmental organizations. Brian Houseal, the council’s executive director, said he would like to see the Lyon Mountain tract classified as Primitive, with an eye toward eventually classifying it as Wilderness, the strictest of the APA’s nine state-land zoning categories. “There’s no Wilderness now in that sector of the Park,” Houseal said after the APA’s meeting last week. Located in the northeastern Adirondacks, west of Plattsburgh, 3,830-foot Lyon is one of the Park’s >>More


November, 2009

Snowmobile guidelines OK’d

The Adirondack Park Agency voted 10-1 Friday to approve snowmobile-trail guidelines despite objections by environmental groups that they violate the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. The executive directors of the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, and Protect the Adirondacks say the guidelines would permit trails that fail to meet the master plan’s mandate that snowmobile trails have “essentially the same character as a foot trail.” They also say the guidelines would unlawfully permit the use of grooming machines on the Forest Preserve. On Thursday, all three said they would consider suing the APA if the guidelines were approved. After Friday’s vote, >>More


November, 2009

APA snowmobile plan called illegal

The Adirondack Park Agency could face legal action if, as appears likely, it approves new snowmobile-trail guidelines at its meeting on Friday. The APA’s State Land Committee voted this afternoon (Thursday) to permit the agency’s full board to consider the guidelines at its Friday meeting. Afterward, the executive directors of the Park’s three major environmental groups—the Adirondack Council, the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), and Protect the Adirondacks—argued that the proposed guidelines violate the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. Their objections pertain to the character and maintenance of a new class of trails known as “community connectors,” intended to link >>More


November, 2009

Farmer still angry at APA

This week I was forwarded some heated e-mails written by Sandy Lewis, the outspoken owner of a large farm in Essex County, and his antagonist at the Adirondack Park Agency, lawyer Paul Van Cott. Lewis has been vociferous in his disdain for the APA. He sued them and won after the agency contended he needed a permit to build worker housing on his organic farm in the Champlain Valley. In one e-mail, Lewis says the APA needs an overhaul and questions Van Cott’s competency. In a reply, Van Cott writes. among other things: “Mr. Lewis, you are a sociopath. Please >>More


November, 2009

Youth Climate Summit

The Wild Center in Tupper Lake will host 170 students from high schools and colleges throughout the Adirondacks next week for its first Adirondack Youth Climate Summit. Each school will send a team of students, educators, and school administrators who will develop plans to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions.  They also will learn how global warming is expected to affect the Adirondacks. The conference was the brainchild of Zachary Berger, a graduate of Lake Placid High School. Inspired by the museum’s climate-change conference in 2008, he suggested a similar conference targeted toward youth. “We know that progress can’t be >>More


November, 2009

Enck appointed to EPA

Judith Enck, the governor’s deputy secretary for the environment, has been named a regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She will oversee EPA’s Region 2, which includes New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She is expected to assume the job in about a month. Enck was a longtime green activist before then-Governor Eliot Spitzer named her to her current post in 2007. That spring, the Explorer ran a profile of her headlined “The ultimate insider.” After Spitzer resigned, she remained in the job under Governor David Paterson. A native of the Catskills, Enck >>More