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Adirondack Explorer

November, 2009

Land swap approved

Voters overwhelmingly ratified on Tuesday a constitutional amendment to allow the state and National Grid to swap parcels of land in the northwestern Adirondacks. The amendment retroactively approves the construction of a power line in a two-mile strip of Forest Preserve along Route 56. The state will receive forty-three acres from National Grid in exchange for six acres of the Preserve. With 95% of districts reporting, nearly 67% of the voters favored the amendment, according to the state Board of Elections. About 1.2 million people voted on the measure. For more details on the land swap, see this earlier post.

October, 2009

Land swap on ballot

On Tuesday, voters will be asked to approve the construction of a power line that’s already been built—through the forever-wild Forest Preserve in the northwestern Adirondacks. If Ballot Proposal One is approved, the state will cede to National Grid a two-mile strip, totaling six acres, along Route 56 where the line was built last year. In exchange, National Grid will give the state a forty-three-acre parcel along the South Branch of the Grass River. John Sheehan of the Adirondack Council says it’s a good deal for the state. If the line were not built along the road, Sheehan said, National >>More

October, 2009

ADK honors ‘Explorer’

I went to Albany this past weekend to attend the Adirondack Mountain Club’s annual Presidents’ Dinner and pick up an award for the Adirondack Explorer.   ADK gave me the Eleanor F. Brown  Communication Award, which is named after its first recipient, who several years ago published a marvelous reference work titled The Forest Preserve of New York State: A Handbook for Conservationists. Although my name appears on the plaque, the award is a tribute to everyone at the Explorer, starting with Dick Beamish, the founder, and his wife, Rachel Rice; Tom Woodman, who last year succeeded Dick as publisher; >>More

October, 2009

Our wolflike coyote

Scientists have recognized for a while that Adirondack coyotes are bigger than western coyotes, but there has been debate over whether the cause is genetic or environmental. A recent study led by Roland Kays, mammal curator at the New York State Museum, comes down squarely on the side of genetics: the Adirondack coyote is part wolf. Although scientists have suspected a wolf connection, Kays said the study proved it. “One of the big results was to show this in a systematic way,” he said. Kays and two colleagues, Abigail Curtis and Jeremy Kirchman, tested the DNA from 686 coyotes and >>More

October, 2009

Goodbye, Nellie

The Adirondacks and sportsmen everywhere lost a friend this week when Nellie Staves passed away at ninety-two. We liked to think of Nellie as our friend, too. In 2000, Ed Kanze wrote a nice profile of Nellie that we published in the Explorer. After that, she often stopped in the office when she was passing through Saranac Lake. She was ever  talkative and cheerful. Nellie was a legend in her hometown of Tupper Lake. When the village held a Nellie Staves Day several years ago, more than four hundred people took part. She was born in 1917 in the Northeast >>More

October, 2009

Skiers prepare for winter

Six of us turned out Saturday to trim and clear the Wright Peak Ski Trail. We started where last year’s crew left off and worked our way up almost to the ridgeline. Thus, nearly all of the steep part of the trail should be in good shape this winter. We also cut out sections of two large trees that had fallen across the trail that leads from the Old Marcy Dam Trail to the Algonquin hiking trail (see photo above). This shortcut is used by skiers going to and from Wright Peak. Although the Wright Peak Ski Trail is closed to >>More

October, 2009

Adirondack Climbing Film Festival

It may have snowed in Lake Placid this week, but it’s not time yet to put away those sticky-soled shoes and get out the crampons. High Peaks Cyclery is offering free rock-climbing clinics as part of the second annual Adirondack Climbing Film Festivalin Lake Placid this weekend. The festivities will kick off with a presentation by Adirondack photographer Carl Heilman II. His slide show will run from 7-9 p.m. in the High Peaks Mountain Guide House, which is located next-door to High Peaks Cyclery on Main Street in Lake Placid. Beer and cheese will be served. High Peaks Cyclery is >>More

September, 2009

Free ADK guidebook supplement

The Adirondack Mountain Club has issued a supplement to its Adirondack Trails: Eastern Region guidebook that can be downloaded for free from its Web site. The supplement describes twelve additional hiking trails in ten locations within the region, which includes Lake George and the Champlain Valley. Perhaps the most exciting addition is the 2.6-mile trail connecting the scenic summits of Thomas and Cat mountains on the west side of Lake George. Both mountains belong to a preserve owned by the Lake George Land Conservancy. Other additions include the new trail up Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain and trails at five Wildlife Management Areas, Noblewood >>More

September, 2009

Backcountry skiers wanted

If you like to ski the backcountry, the Adirondack Ski Touring Council wants your help maintaining trails for skiing. The council will be trimming brush and branches on the Van Hoevenberg Trail to Mount Marcy this Saturday. Volunteers are to meet at the High Peaks Information Center at Heart Lake at 8 a.m. Tools will be available, but if you have either a pair of long-handled clippers or a pole saw, bring it. Next Saturday, ASTC volunteers will perform similar duty on the Wright Peak Ski Trail. Meet at the same time, same place. Plans also are in the works >>More

September, 2009

Fran Betters

Many of you may have heard about the recent death of Fran Betters, the legendary fly fisherman from Wilmington. He is usually associated with his beloved Ausable River, but he fished many other places in the Adirondacks as well. Years ago, for example, he wrote a nice piece for the Explorer about the fishing opportunities on the North Branch of the Saranac. Fran created the Haystack fly, used to catch trout in turbulent rivers like the Ausable. His wife says he could tie a complicated fly in just three minutes. Those of you who would like to know more about >>More