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May, 2012

Guidebook for Adirondack trail runners

By Phil Brown The Adirondack Park has more than two thousand miles of hiking trails. In theory, this means it has more than two thousand miles of trails for running, too, though you aren’t likely to encounter people jogging up Gothics, say, or Basin Mountain. What trails are suitable for running will depend on the runner’s strength and ability, but if you’re looking for suggestions, you’ll find plenty in a new guidebook by Spencer Morrissey and Corenne Black. It’s the only book of its kind for the Adirondacks. Adirondack Trail Runner describes more than ninety routes that the authors have >>More


May, 2012

Hikers urinate on each other to keep warm

Just when you’ve thought you heard it all: five hikers from Florida who got lost in the High Peaks reportedly urinated on each other to keep warm. The Albany Times Union first reported this tidbit earlier this week, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation confirms that this is what the hikers told forest rangers. DEC spokesman David Winchell advises against this practice. “No matter what, getting wet in cool or cold weather hastens the loss of body heat,” he said. Winchell said the hikers were woefully unprepared. They didn’t bring a map, compass, or other essential gear and seemed >>More


May, 2012

For Ron Kon, it was a good winter

ron konowitz skis mount marcy

Now we know spring is here: Ron Konowitz has stopped skiing. Most skiers probably think last winter was a lousy one, but not for Ron Kon. He skied 161 days, all in the Adirondacks. That’s every day for more than five months. “I had a good year,” Konowitz said today. “I definitely didn’t get into the backcountry as much as usual.” Konowitz did a lot of his skiing at the state-run downhill center on Whiteface Mountain. “The snowmakers did an amazing job,” he said. After Whiteface closed for the season, Konowitz would hike up the mountain and ski down the >>More


May, 2012

Bauer to lead Protect the Adirondacks

Peter Bauer appointed by Protect the Adirondacks

Peter Bauer, a longtime environmental activist, has been named executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, an organization formed in 2010 with the merger of two green groups, one of which Bauer ran. In an interview with the Explorer, Bauer said he was drawn to Protect by the strength of its board of directors. “It was the right job at the right time with the right group of people,” he remarked. Bauer will start his new job in early September. He is currently executive director of the Fund for Lake George, where he delved deeply into water-quality issues. Bauer went to >>More


April, 2012

Schumer backs Tahawus rail line

  U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has come out in favor of reopening the rail line between North Creek and Tahawus, which some environmentalists argue would violate the forever-wild clause of the state constitution. In a letter to the Federal Surface Transportation Board, Schumer said the line would provide “much needed economic development and jobs in the Adirondack Region.” Iowa Pacific Holdings bought the line last year from NL Industries and wants to use it to transport waste rock from the closed NL mine in Tahawus at the foot of the High Peaks. The green group Protect the Adirondacks contends that >>More


April, 2012

Worst winter ever for Jackrabbit skiers

Jackrabbit Ski Trail in Lake Placid

  How bad was this winter for backcountry skiers? It ranks as one of the worst, according to the Adirondack Ski Touring Council, which maintains the twenty-four-mile Jackrabbit Trail between Saranac Lake and Keene. Tony Goodwin, the group’s executive director, says the entire Jackrabbit was skiable for only twenty-five days this winter—by far the worst season since the trail was created in the 1980s. Previously, the worst season was 1989, when the full Jackrabbit was skiable for forty-eight days. “Our best season was 1998 when the Jackrabbit Trail was covered for 132 days,” Goodwin writes in the ASTC’s spring newsletter. >>More


April, 2012

No ‘Classic Hikes’ in Adirondacks?

Classic Hikes of North America

This summer W.W. Norton plans to publish Classic Hikes of North America: 25 Breathtaking Treks in the United States and Canada. Judging by the publicity materials, it should be a magnificent-looking book, with detailed maps and more than two hundred color photos. Adirondack hikers may be disappointed to learn that no hikes in the Park made the cut. In fact, only four of the twenty-five hikes are east of the Mississippi. The hike closest to the Adirondacks is the Presidential Range Traverse in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The other eastern hikes are the Art Loeb Trail in North >>More


April, 2012

DEC confirms falcon nesting

Peregrine falcon

Notice to rock climbers: the state Department of Environmental Conservation has confirmed that peregrine falcons are nesting on Upper Washbowl Cliff near Chapel Pond and on the Nose on the main face of Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain. The nesting location of falcons on Moss Cliff in Wilmington Notch has not been determined. To protect the nest sites, all climbing routes on Upper Washbowl, Moss Cliff , and Labor Day Wall and fifty-four routes on Poke-o will remain closed until further notice. Routes on Lower Washbowl and all other routes at Poke-o will reopen on Friday. Following routes are the closed routes at >>More


April, 2012

Good news for bats

Little brown bats in hibernation.

Little brown bats were once the most widespread .bat species in New York State, but its population has declined about 90 percent since the discovery of white-nose syndrome in a cave south of Albany several years ago. Now there may be a bit of good news: the latest survey of caves in the Albany region detected an increase .in the number of little browns. “While we remain cautiously optimistic of encouraging trends for some species seen more recently, it will likely take several years before we fully know how to interpret this,” said Kathleen Moser, assistant commissioner of natural resources >>More


March, 2012

Camps to stay on former Champion lands

  After years of negotiation and some controversy, the state has finalized an agreement that will allow more than two hundred hunting camps to remain on timberlands formerly owned by Champion International. In 1998, the state entered an agreement with Champion to purchase 29,000 acres in the Adirondacks and preserve another 110,000 with conservation easements that allow public access. Under the original agreement, the hunting camps on the easement lands were to be removed by 2014, but following an outcry, the state Department of Environmental Conservation renegotiated the agreement to permit them to stay. In return, the new landowner, Heartwood >>More


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