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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

The eastern cougar is extinct, but did it ever exist?

Cougar

It’s official: the eastern cougar is extinct. That’s what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decreed this week. And since it doesn’t exist, the eastern cougar was removed from the federal list of endangered and threatened species. The odd thing, though, is that the eastern cougar per se may never have existed. The ruling was not unexpected. It is a reaffirmation of a tentative conclusion that FWS reached a few years ago. The decision is unlikely to end the debate over whether cougars live in the Adirondacks. There have been dozens of sightings over the years, and many people believe >>More


January, 2018

Skiing the Jackrabbit Trail to McKenzie Pond

Jackrabbit Ski Trail

On Saturday I set out to ski the two miles to McKenzie Pond on the popular Jackrabbit Trail. However, the sign at the trail warned that a bridge over McKenzie Brook was “flooded and impassable.” I knew that the bridge had been a few feet underwater after a recent thaw, but that was a week ago. I wanted to see for myself if the bridge was still impassable. So I stuck with my plan. Earlier in the week, I had skied a few times at Dewey Mountain and enjoyed down-mountain runs in dry powder. On Saturday, alas, the temperature had >>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


January, 2018

Backcountry-ski conditions about to deteriorate

backcountry skiing

I just got back from touring the Andalusia region of southern Spain with Carol Fox and my daughter Martha. On one day we took a wonderful hike into the Sierra Nevada where we saw goats roaming the treeless hills. Although the mountains are not far from the Mediterranean Sea, they are snow-capped. The highest top 10,000 feet. I wore a T-shirt on that hike. I felt a little guilty about soaking up the sun while friends back home, especially in the Adirondacks, were suffering through below-zero days. OK, so I didn’t feel guilty. However, as I perused posts on Facebook, >>More


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