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February, 2018

Police: Whiteface skier doesn’t recall last 6 days

missing whiteface skier

A skier who vanished from Whiteface Mountain and somehow ended up in California doesn’t recall what happened in the six days he went missing, according to New York State Police. “We ask no one to jump to any conclusions,” said Major John Tibbitts at a news conference in Ray Brook Wednesday afternoon. Constantinos “Danny” Filippidos, a forty-nine-year-old firefighter from Toronto, had been skiing on Wednesday, February 7, when he told friends he wanted to take one last run. When he failed to return by the time the resort closed, his companions alerted authorities. His car was still in the Whiteface >>More


February, 2018

APA approves Boreas Ponds classification

After years of public debate, the Adirondack Park Agency voted 8-1 on Friday morning to approve a classification for the Boreas Ponds Tract that splits it into two main categories, Wilderness and Wild Forest. Most environmental groups applauded the decision, characterizing it as a compromise that will protect the ponds, streams, wetlands, and mountain slopes on the 20,543-acre tract while giving the public reasonable access. Under the proposal, the lands north of two former logging roads—all told, 11,412 acres—will be Wilderness. The lands south of the roads, 9,118 acres, will be Wild Forest. The main difference between the two classifications >>More


February, 2018

State to merge High Peaks and Dix Wilderness Areas

Boreas Ponds

The state plans to combine the High Peaks Wilderness and Dix Mountain Wilderness after the Adirondack Park Agency classifies the Boreas Ponds Tract and other nearby lands. Kathy Regan, the APA’s deputy director, told the agency’s board Thursday that the expanded High Peaks Wilderness would encompass 274,000 acres, making it by far the largest Wilderness Area in the Northeast. The expansion is possible as a result of the state’s acquisition of the Boreas Ponds Tract, MacIntyre East Tract, MacIntyre West Tract, and Casey Brook Tract. The last tract provides a crucial link between the existing High Peaks Wilderness and Dix >>More


January, 2018

Green groups laud APA proposal for Boreas Ponds

Boreas Ponds Proposal

Several environmental groups are applauding a recommendation by the Adirondack Park Agency staff to classify most of the 20,543-acre Boreas Ponds Tract as motor-free Wilderness. The APA board is expected to begin discussing the recommendation at its meeting next Thursday and vote on it the next day. The agency’s staff considered five classification schemes. The preferred alternative, called 2B, would classify 11,412 acres as Wilderness, 9,118 acres as Wild Forest, and eleven acres as Primitive. It’s expected that the Wilderness acres will be added to the High Peaks Wilderness. Boreas Ponds themselves—an impoundment of three ponds—would be Wilderness under the >>More


January, 2018

Schumer joins fight against tank cars on Adirondack rail line

Tank cars

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has written a letter to a federal agency condemning the storage of empty tanker cars on a rail line in the central Adirondacks. “The Adirondack Park is a uniquely valuable and vulnerable natural resource, and is protected by the New York State Constitution as ‘forever wild,’ and is just about the worst place one can imagine for a junk yard of old railcars,” Schumer wrote the Surface Transportation Board, which regulates railroad disputes. In the fall, Iowa Pacific Holdings moved about seventy-five tank cars for storage to its rail line, which extends from North Creek to >>More


January, 2018

Appeals court hears Old Mountain Road case

Old Mountain Road in the Sentinel Range Wilderness has been the subject of legal battles for more than a decade. The state says it was long ago abandoned, but Jim McCulley, president of the Lake Placid Snowmobile Club, contends it remains a town road and should be open to motor vehicles. The “road” is part of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail. On Wednesday, legal arguments were heard by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Albany. Following is a news release from the Adirondack Council, which is a party to the case. ALBANY, N.Y. — The Adirondack Council was in >>More


January, 2018

Bolted climbing routes common in other places

As mentioned in an earlier post, I recently toured Andalusia in southern Spain with my girlfriend and daughter. On my last two days, I went rock climbing, the first day in El Chorro, one of Spain’s premier climbing destinations, the second day at two nearby locales. I hired a guide, Victoria Foxwell of the Rock Climbing Company, who showed me a number of climbing routes. All of them were bolted. I mention this because bolting has become an issue in the Adirondacks. An article in the current issue of the Adirondack Explorer notes that the state Department of Environmental Conservation >>More


December, 2017

OSI deal helps Adirondack rock climbers

rock climbers

The Open Space Institute has acquired a 1,285-acre property that will facilitate access to Huckleberry Mountain, a crag in the southeastern Adirondacks with great views and dozens of rock-climbing routes. Katharine Petronis, OSI’s northern program manager, said the non-profit organization will sell the property to the state for inclusion in the public Forest Preserve. That could happen within three years, she said. For now, the tract remains closed to the public. Petronis said she didn’t know if OSI will open it before the transfer to the state. The acquisition is good news for Adirondack rock climbers. The guidebook Adirondack Rock lists >>More


December, 2017

Adirondack snowmobile-trail lawsuit dismissed

snowmobile trail

A state judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Department of Environmental Conservation’s construction of “community connector” snowmobile trails in the Forest Preserve. Protect the Adirondacks argued that the trails—up to twelve feet wide on curves and graded smooth—violated Article 14 of the state constitution, which declares that the Preserve “shall be forever kept as wild forest lands.” Protect contended that the snowmobile trails detracted from the wild-forest character of the Preserve and required the cutting of an unconstitutional number of trees. In a decision dated December 1, acting State Supreme Court Justice Gerald W. Connolly disagreed with both arguments. >>More


November, 2017

DEC to take down Thomas Mountain cabin

Thomas Mountain cabin

In October I hiked up Thomas Mountain and Cat Mountain overlooking Lake George. I went up Thomas first, via old logging roads. Near the summit is a cabin built before the state bought the property in 2013. Inside the cabin were a sofa, table, lantern, a few foodstuffs, even some music speakers. Cabins are not ordinarily found in the Forest Preserve. The exceptions are the ranger cabins at Lake Colden and a few other places. In fact, voters have rejected attempts to amend the state constitution to allow closed cabins—as opposed to lean-tos—in the forever-wild Preserve. On the day of >>More


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