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Adirondack Explorer

April, 2015

DEC Proposes Trail, Lean-to In Pepperbox Wilderness

The 22,560-acre Pepperbox in the western Adirondacks is one of the smaller Wilderness Areas in the Park, but it also is one of the wildest. It has no lean-tos and only two miles of foot trails. The State Land Master Plan observes that the lack of a trail system “offers an opportunity to retain a portion of the Adirondack landscape in a state that even a purist might call wilderness.” Now the state Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing to create a 1.3-mile trail to Gregg Lake and build a lean-to at a primitive campsite on the lake. The trail >>More

April, 2015

Yes, It’s April, But Don’t Put Away Skis Yet

It may be April, but there’s still skiing to be had in the backcountry. On Tuesday morning I skied to the top of Dewey Mountain outside Saranac Lake and enjoyed a fun run down in virtually midwinter conditions. Last weekend, Carol MacKinnon Fox and I skied over the summit of Mount Van Hoevenberg and found plenty of snow on the descent. There also was plenty of snow last weekend on the Mr. Van Trail in the High Peaks Wilderness. I hear the conditions at higher elevations were fantastic. The Adirondack Ski Touring Council reports there is still five to six >>More

March, 2015

DEC Closes Rock-Climbing Cliffs For Falcons

You know winter is coming to an end when the state Department of Environmental Conservation closes rock-climbing cliffs where peregrine falcons are known to breed. Peregrines are on the state’s endangered-species list, and so each spring DEC closes cliffs to protect their nesting sites. Cliffs will be reopened if no nesting occurs on them. Those cliffs used for nesting will be reopened in the summer after the chicks fledge. Click here to read about the cliff-closure policy. Click here for updates on cliff closures. This week, DEC announced that effective April 1, the following rock-climbing routes will be closed: Moss >>More

March, 2015

Skiing Up Marcy Trail Is Great Even If You Fall Short

This has been a great winter for powder skiing in the backcountry, thanks to a two-month-plus stretch of cold weather without a serious thaw. Alas, that stretch ended last week, leaving me a bit apprehensive about ski conditions. On Sunday, I skied Mount Marcy with my neighbor, Tim Peartree, starting from Adirondak Loj. As it turned out, the trail was in great shape for skiing. The first good sign was that there was an inch or two of fresh powder over a packed base. The second good sign was that there were no exposed rocks on the way to Marcy >>More

January, 2015

Backcountry-Ski Conditions Still Getting Better

On Friday afternoon I checked out the cross-country trails at Dewey Mountain in Saranac Lake. As expected, the groomed trails were in fine shape, but I was more interested in the ungroomed, rougher trails that lead to the top of the mountain as they more closely mirror conditions likely to be found on many backcountry trails. I hadn’t been on Dewey’s ungroomed trails in several weeks due to a dearth of snow. In the past week, however, we had a few light snowfalls (including two or three inches in the past 24 hours), so I figured they’d be skiable. And >>More

January, 2015

Skiing Isn’t Bad If You Know Where To Go

It’s late January, but we’re still waiting for midwinter ski conditions. That said, you can find good skiing if you pick the right spots. At lower elevations, you want to stick to smoother trails—such as truck trails and old woods roads—as there might not be enough snow to cover big rocks and roots. At higher elevations, this is less of a problem. Tony Goodwin reports on the Jackrabbit Trail website that there is 26 inches of snow at Lake Colden and three to four feet above the 4,000-foot contour. The Jackrabbit itself, which stretches 24 miles from Saranac Lake to >>More

January, 2015

The Backcountry Skiing Is Improving

Backcountry skiing has improved in the Adirondacks since the Great Thaw in late December, but we still don’t have as much snow as we’d like for mid-January. Shortly after Christmas, Carol Fox and I “skied” the hill above Whiteface Inn Lane on the Jackrabbit Trail. There were so many exposed rocks and so much open drainage that Carol removed her skis for much of the descent. I kept mine on, but not without inflicting a few scratches on my boards. When I skied the same hill on Tuesday afternoon, it was fully covered, with a few inches of fresh powder >>More

January, 2015

Green Groups Weigh NYCO Appeal

Environmental groups are threatening to take to a higher court their battle against a mining company’s plan to drill for wollastonite in the Jay Mountain Wilderness. On Thursday, Earthjustice filed a notice of appeal with the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, a step that preserves its right to appeal the dismissal of a lawsuit against NYCO Minerals, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Adirondack Park Agency. “The agencies’ determinations here really were illegal and null and void, and they shouldn’t be allowed to go forward,” said Hannah Chang, an attorney for Earthjustice, a nonprofit organization that specializes >>More

December, 2014

Molpus Now The Park’s Largest Landowner

A Mississippi company has purchased 112,200 acres of timberlands in the northern Adirondacks, making it the largest landowner in the Adirondack Park. Molpus Woodlands Group bought the land in December, greatly expanding its holdings in the Park. It now owns about 273,000 acres in the Adirondacks. Lyme Timber Company owns 239,500 acres, according to Managing Director Peter Stein. Lyme has sold 121,000 acres in recent years. The 112,200 acres, located largely in Franklin, St. Lawrence, and Lewis counties, were bought from the Forestland Group. The land was previously owned by Champion International. As a result of a deal with Champion >>More

July, 2014

2 New Maps From St. Regis Canoe Outfitters

St. Regis Canoe Outfitters has published two new waterproof maps for paddlers, one covering the three Saranac Lakes, the other covering the St. Regis Canoe Area. The color maps cover some of the same territory as the Adirondack Paddler’s Map, also published by St. Regis Canoe Outfitters, but the new maps are more detailed and, being smaller, easier to handle. They’re also less expensive: $9.95 versus $19.95 for the Adirondack Paddler’s Map (which is four times as large). “Many first-time visitors are going to grab a $10 map before they grab a $20 map,” said Dave Cilley, owner of St. >>More

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