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Adirondack Explorer

June, 2012

Will boathouse have to be torn down?

A man who built a boathouse on Lake Placid in defiance of the local code-enforcement officer could be forced to tear it down. The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that William Grimditch should have obtained a permit from the town of North Elba before building the boathouse in 2010. Grimditch was rushing to build the boathouse before stricter boathouse regulations adopted by the Adirondack Park Agency went into effect. His children built a smaller boathouse on adjoining property, also without a town permit. Last August, State Supreme Court Justice Richard Meyer ruled that the Grimditches did >>More


June, 2012

Houseal to leave Adirondack Council

Brian Houseal leaving Adirondack Council

Brian Houseal will step down as executive director of the Adirondack Council when his contract runs out this fall. Houseal told the Explorer he is pursuing other work in conservation but plans to continue to live in Westport. Asked why he was leaving the council, he replied: “I’ve been in this position ten years. It’s time.” He noted that his second five-year contract with the council will expire in late October. Houseal counts among his achievements the successful lobbying for acid-rain and clean-air legislation and the launching of the Common Ground Alliance, which he co-founded. As its name suggests, the >>More


June, 2012

Ranger report for spring 2012

Following is the Forest Ranger report for late winter and spring from the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Region 5.   ESSEX COUNTY Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness On Saturday, March 10, at about 3:30 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report from a DEC Forest Ranger regarding an injured woman at the Calamity Brook Lean-to. Shauna DeSantis, 57, of Glens Falls, NY, injured her knee and ankle and was unable to walk on her own. A New York State Police Aviation Unit helicopter was requested and dispatched to the area. The Lake Colden caretaker and another >>More


June, 2012

Landowner closes road to Madawaska Flow

Madawaska Flow in the Adirondacks.

The logging road to Madawaska Flow and Quebec Brook, waterways acquired by the state in 1998, is closed to the public, the Adirondack Explorer has learned. I intended to drive to Madawaska on Sunday to take photos for a paddling guidebook and was surprised to find the gate locked. A sign indicated that the road was closed on June 4 and that public access was prohibited. The road provides the only motorized access to Madawaska Flow, the centerpiece of a 5,800-acre tract known as the Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area. The area is used by birders, paddlers, and hunters. Dave >>More


June, 2012

Land trust sells wild tract to private buyer

For the May/June issue of the Explorer, Brian Mann wrote a piece about the difficulty of getting state funding for smaller land deals in the Adirondacks. That’s because all the attention is on the acquisition of former Finch, Pruyn lands and Follensby Pond–roughly 80,000 acres in all. As a result, Mann reported, the Adirondack Land Trust planned to sell land abutting the Pigeon Lake Wilderness to a private buyer rather than the state. Today the Land Trust announced that it has indeed sold the 340-acre property to a private buyer for $1.3 million. Known as the Mays Pond Tract, it >>More


May, 2012

Hikers urinate on each other to keep warm

Just when you’ve thought you heard it all: five hikers from Florida who got lost in the High Peaks reportedly urinated on each other to keep warm. The Albany Times Union first reported this tidbit earlier this week, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation confirms that this is what the hikers told forest rangers. DEC spokesman David Winchell advises against this practice. “No matter what, getting wet in cool or cold weather hastens the loss of body heat,” he said. Winchell said the hikers were woefully unprepared. They didn’t bring a map, compass, or other essential gear and seemed >>More


May, 2012

For Ron Kon, it was a good winter

ron konowitz skis mount marcy

Now we know spring is here: Ron Konowitz has stopped skiing. Most skiers probably think last winter was a lousy one, but not for Ron Kon. He skied 161 days, all in the Adirondacks. That’s every day for more than five months. “I had a good year,” Konowitz said today. “I definitely didn’t get into the backcountry as much as usual.” Konowitz did a lot of his skiing at the state-run downhill center on Whiteface Mountain. “The snowmakers did an amazing job,” he said. After Whiteface closed for the season, Konowitz would hike up the mountain and ski down the >>More


April, 2012

No ‘Classic Hikes’ in Adirondacks?

Classic Hikes of North America

This summer W.W. Norton plans to publish Classic Hikes of North America: 25 Breathtaking Treks in the United States and Canada. Judging by the publicity materials, it should be a magnificent-looking book, with detailed maps and more than two hundred color photos. Adirondack hikers may be disappointed to learn that no hikes in the Park made the cut. In fact, only four of the twenty-five hikes are east of the Mississippi. The hike closest to the Adirondacks is the Presidential Range Traverse in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The other eastern hikes are the Art Loeb Trail in North >>More


April, 2012

DEC confirms falcon nesting

Peregrine falcon

Notice to rock climbers: the state Department of Environmental Conservation has confirmed that peregrine falcons are nesting on Upper Washbowl Cliff near Chapel Pond and on the Nose on the main face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain. The nesting location of falcons on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch has not been determined. To protect the nest sites, all climbing routes on Upper Washbowl, Moss Cliff , and Labor Day Wall and fifty-four routes on Poke-o will remain closed until further notice. Routes on Lower Washbowl and all other routes at Poke-o will reopen on Friday. Following routes are the closed routes at >>More


April, 2012

Good news for bats

Little brown bats in hibernation.

Little brown bats were once the most widespread .bat species in New York State, but its population has declined about 90 percent since the discovery of white-nose syndrome in a cave south of Albany several years ago. Now there may be a bit of good news: the latest survey of caves in the Albany region detected an increase .in the number of little browns. “While we remain cautiously optimistic of encouraging trends for some species seen more recently, it will likely take several years before we fully know how to interpret this,” said Kathleen Moser, assistant commissioner of natural resources >>More