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January, 2018

DEC razes cabin on Thomas Mountain

Back in November, I posted an article that the state planned to remove a cabin near the summit of Thomas Mountain overlooking Lake George. Many people commented that they’d like the cabin to remain. It has since been taken down. Here is an updated story that appears in the January/February issue of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine. Despite public opposition, the state Department of Environmental Conservation in December razed a cabin near the summit of Thomas Mountain overlooking Lake George. The cabin was built before DEC bought the property from the Lake George Land Conservancy in 2013. From the front porch, hikers enjoyed >>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

Cuomo challenges storage of tank cars in Adirondacks

Tank cars

Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to file a petition with the federal Surface Transportation Board to force a rail company to remove empty oil-tanker cars stored on tracks in the central Adirondacks. “The Adirondack Park is home to some of the world’s most pristine forest lands, which powers its tourism economy, and we will not stand by and allow it to be used as a commercial dumping ground,” Cuomo said in a news release. Iowa Pacific Holdings, which operates the rail line, has brought in about seventy-five tank cars since mid-October. They are stored on sidings near the Boreas River in >>More


December, 2017

Rock gym the fruit of Adirondack climber’s passion

Rocksport gym

Tom Rosecrans is one of the most prolific rock climbers in the Adirondacks. The authors of the guidebook Adirondack Rock credit him with taking part in the first ascents of 122 climbing routes. On most of those, he was the leader, assuming the lion’s share of the risk. One of his routes, TR at the Spider’s Web in Keene Valley, is featured on Adirondack Rock’s slip cover. Rosecrans put up the route in 1973 with Paul Laskey. TR is rated 5.10a in the Yosemite Decimal System scale of difficulty, meaning it’s suitable only for expert climbers. Several years ago, I >>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

NCPR chief reflects on Garrison Keillor ouster

Ellen Rocco

Ellen Rocco has been at North Country Public Radio since 1980 and its station manager since 1985. That’s to say, she has been in public radio nearly as long as Garrison Keillor. She doesn’t know Garrison Keillor well. She spent the better part of an evening with him when he broadcast an episode of The Prairie Home Companion from Potsdam in 1998, and she interviewed him on the air for NCPR’s Readers & Writers show in 2002. Other than that, they may have exchanged a few words at large gatherings. Rocco never heard any rumors concerning sexual misconduct, so the >>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


November, 2017

No more ‘Writer’s Almanac’ on NCPR

Garrison Keillor

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is turn on North Country Public Radio. I leave it on as I eat breakfast and get ready for work. And so I’ve become quite familiar with The Writer’s Almanac, which had aired daily. In light of Wednesday’s news about Garrison Keillor, the show’s creator, we wondered if we would ever hear it again. Evidently, the answer is no. On Wednesday, we asked Ellen Rocco, NCPR’s station manager, if she planned to pull the popular feature from the air. We also asked for her reaction to the news. Here’s her >>More


November, 2017

Thaw thwarts Adirondack backcountry skier

McKenzie Range

How things changed in a day for backcountry skiers. On Monday, I enjoyed a cruise through fresh powder on the Bloomingdale Bog Trail. It was nice and cold. On Tuesday, it warmed considerably, so I figured I’d try the trail to Moose Pond, another early-season favorite. Because it’s in the woods, I hoped the trail would keep the snow from the day before. It proved to be a fool’s errand. The trail is an old woods road that doesn’t need a lot of snow to be skiable. But it does need more than the inch or two that survived the >>More


November, 2017

An early-season ski in the Adirondacks

Bloomingdale Bog Trail

We got three to four inches of snow Sunday night, just enough to lure me out of the office for a backcountry ski on my lunch hour on Monday afternoon. I went to the Bloomingdale Bog Trail, an old railroad bed that needs only a few inches to be skiable. The base was thin, but overall the skiing was quite good. The trail starts off Route 86 outside Saranac Lake and extends about eight miles to Onchiota. On Monday, I skied about two miles up the trail, just far enough to get a good view of the bog, and then >>More


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