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Adirondack Explorer

September, 2011

Several trails remain closed

A month after Tropical Storm Irene blew through the region, several hiking trails in the High Peaks remain closed. David Winchell, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said no new trails would reopen this weekend. The following are still closed: Southside Trail from the Garden in Keene Valley to the ranger outpost on Johns Brook. The Deer Brook Trail from Route 73 to Snow Mountain. Cold Brook Trail between Lake Colden and Indian Pass. The trail from Elk Lake to Panther Gorge. The trail over the Colvin Range from Blake Peak to Pinnacle and beyond. Most trails >>More


September, 2011

Climbing the Cascade Mountain slide

People driving between Keene and Lake Placid can see dramatic evidence of Tropical Storm Irene: a slide scar in the drainage between the two Cascade Lakes. The large waterfall in this drainage has always been visible—it accounts for the lakes’ name—but it is now much more conspicuous. The rains of Irene stripped the sides of the brook of trees and soil, leaving a wide swath of bedrock. Because the slide is easily accessible, it’s sure to attract more than its share of hikers and skiers. Indeed, when I climbed it Sunday afternoon I met Kevin MacKenzie, a passionate slide climber, >>More


September, 2011

DEC reopens more routes to High Peaks

Just in time for the weekend, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has reopened a number of trails that will give hikers easier access to several High Peaks. All had been closed since August 29, the day after Tropical Storm Irene passed though the region. The newly opened routes include the Ore Bed Brook Trail, which was partly buried by a landslide during the storm. The trail leads to the col between Saddleback and Gothics in the Great Range, providing the shortest route to Saddleback. It also allows hikers to travel in a loop starting at Johns Brook Lodge and >>More


September, 2011

Critics say Irene cleanup bad for streams

The Adirondack Council and Ausable River Association contend that highway crews intent on rechanneling streams after Tropical Storm Irene are destroying trout habitat and creating conditions that could worsen flooding in the future. Several mountain streams jumped their banks during Irene, flooding and damaging buildings and roadways. Since then, bulldozers have been used to divert the streams back into their original channels. But Carol Treadwell, executive director of the Ausable River Association, said the bulldozers are also straightening the streams, removing boulders, lining the shores with rock, and smoothing streambeds. Treadwell said the altered streams are poor habitat for trout, >>More


September, 2011

New slide on Seward?

By now, many hikers have heard that Tropical Storm Irene triggered numerous slides in the eastern High Peaks, most notably in the Great Range and the MacIntyre Range and on Mount Colden. The western High Peaks did not receive as much rain, and so they survived the storm relatively unchanged. This morning, however, I flew over the western High Peaks region with Jim Knowles, a volunteer pilot with LightHawk, which provides flights for nonprofit organizations (the Explorer is a nonprofit), and noticed what appeared to be a fresh scar on the south side of Seward Mountain. We were flying over >>More


September, 2011

New Adirondack slide is challenging

Hikers going to Avalanche Lake might be tempted to explore the new slide in Avalanche Pass. It starts right off the trail, ascends for a full mile, and offers wide vistas that take in a dozen or so High Peaks. However, it is considerably more dangerous than your average slide and should not be undertaken unless you have plenty of experience on slides or in rock climbing. I first visited the slide a week ago and saw how steep it is. I returned on Saturday with rock-climbing shoes and ascended the whole thing, then bushwhacked to the beautiful summit of >>More


September, 2011

Nippletop trails reopen

The Lake Road in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve has reopened to the public to give hikers access to trails to the summits of Nippletop and Dial Mountain, two of the High Peaks, in the Dix Mountain Wilderness. However, trails to the Colvin Range and most other AMR trails, including those leading to the Great Range, remain closed, according to David Winchell, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. “We’re pretty well set with what’s going to be open this weekend,” Winchell said. “We won’t have any more trails open until next week.” As a result of the latest decision, >>More


September, 2011

DEC ponders options to replace Marcy Dam bridge

The state will either reconstruct the bridge at Marcy Dam or build a new one nearby, but the project likely won’t be done before winter, according to Tom Martin, regional forester for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Martin said DEC plans to have an engineer look at the dam to determine if it makes sense to replace the original bridge. The alternative would be to build a bridge across Marcy Brook upstream or downstream of the dam. “We do intend to look at all the options, but we’ll have some kind of crossing,” Martin told the Explorer after briefing >>More


September, 2011

DEC clears 130 miles of trails

The state Department of Environmental Conservation and its volunteers have cleared about 130 miles of trails since Irene blew through the High Peaks region two and a half weeks ago. DEC spokesman David Winchell said crews are still working on trails in the High Peaks Wilderness and Dix Mountain Wilderness that remain closed. The Adirondack Mountain Club, Adirondack Forty-Sixers, and Student Conservation Association have all provided volunteer. “DEC has more than thirty staff working on five crews clearing blowdown, rerouting trails, repairing and rebuilding bridges, and other work to rehabilitate the trails,” Winchell said. In the above map, trails that >>More


September, 2011

Should the Duck Hole dam be rebuilt?

By coincidence, the current issue of the Adirondack Explorer contains a debate on whether the Duck Hole dam should be repaired. Some might argue that since the dam has been breached by the floods of Hurricane Irene, the question has been settled, but that’s not the case. Tom Wemett, who wrote in favor of fixing the dam, is now mounting a campaign to have it rebuilt. “Pretty much anybody who paddles or hikes to Duck Hole experiences the same thing: it’s just a magical place,” Wemett told me after Irene. Bill Ingersoll, the author of the Discover the Adirondacks guidebooks, >>More




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