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


September, 2011

The latest on Adirondack trail conditions

With the reopening of Route 73 and the Dix Mountain Wilderness, this seems like an appropriate time for an update on what’s open and what’s still closed. High Peaks Wilderness. All trails are open except the Southside Trail, Orebed Brook Trail, Cold Brook Pass Trail, Deer Brook Trail, and the trail from Elk Lake to Panther Gorge. Also, the Great Range trails cannot be accessed via the Ausable Club’s Lake Road, which is closed. The Southside and Orebed Brook trails were partly buried by landslides. “I can’t say for sure they’ll be open by the end of the week, but >>More


September, 2011

Climbing the new slide on Wright Peak

In 1999, Hurricane Floyd created two slides on Wright Peak that have proved popular with hikers and skiers. Irene has created a third—and much longer—slide next to those two, providing easy access to the others as well a new skiing/hiking route. Josh Wilson and I climbed the slide from top to bottom on Sunday. It’s almost exactly a mile long. Finding the slide was quick and easy. From the Memorial Lean-to (named in honor of Ed Hudowalski, an early Forty-Sixer) near Marcy Dam, we bushwhacked a quarter-mile, heading south of west, and came out on the base of the slide. >>More


September, 2011

Route 73, Dix Wilderness reopened

Route 73 south of Keene Valley and the Dix Mountain Areas were reopened today ahead of schedule. “Route 73 is a vital highway connecting residents and businesses in the North Country and today’s reopening is an important step in our recovery from Hurricane Irene,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. Cuomo initially pledged that one lane of the road would be reopened September 15 and both lanes by September 25. Instead, both lanes were reopened today. Cuomo’s office said workers logged about 2,700 hours and used about 150,000 tons of stone to fix the road. Click here to read the governor’s news >>More


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