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Adirondack Explorer

March, 2018

Court: Old Mountain Road not legally abandoned

Old Mountain Road Lake Placid

  A state court handed down another decision Thursday in the fifteen-year battle over the status of the Old Mountain Road section of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail, declaring that the road was not legally abandoned. In its 5-0 decision, the Appellate Division overturned an administrative decision issued in 2015 by state Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens. In his decision, Martens had vacated a 2009 ruling by an earlier commissioner, Pete Grannis, who found the popular ski trail was still a town road under the law. Grannis, in turn, was upholding a decision by an administrative law judge in the state >>More


March, 2018

Outfit your trail-running shoes for winter trails

Screw shoes

There isn’t much skiing left around Lake Placid, so on my lunch hour Wednesday I went for a run on the loop trail at Henry’s Woods. I found what I expected to find: glare ice and very hard packed snow. The good news is that the trail will be skiable again with a little bit of snow. The bad news is that, until we get more snow, trail running can be treacherous unless you have traction devices on your shoes. MicroSpikes or Yaktrx Pro are two possibilities, but they cost money. There is another option for cheapskates like me. Several >>More


February, 2018

New winter-recreation map for Lake Placid

Lake Placid winter map

If winter returns, I’ll be ready. Green Goat Maps has just published a Winter Trails Map for the Saranac Lake/Lake Placid region. The full-color topographical map shows trails suitable for cross-country skiing (shown in red), snowshoeing (green), and riding fat bikes (indicated by icons). The long-distance Jackrabbit Ski Trail, which extends from Paul Smiths to Keene, gets its own color (orange). The Barkeater Trails Alliance, which maintains the Jackrabbit, helped develop the map. The map also uses colors to differentiate Forest Preserve classifications: dark green for motor- and bike-free Wilderness, lighter green for less-restrictive Wild Forest, and dark green with >>More


February, 2018

DEC wins round in fight over tank cars

Tank cars

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has won a preliminary round in its fight to remove empty tank cars stored on a rail line in the central Adirondacks. In a decision Tuesday, the federal Surface Transportation Board granted DEC’s request to waive certain requirements in the department’s forthcoming application to declare the rail line abandoned. As a result, DEC can now move forward with its application. The rail line runs thirty miles from North Creek to a closed mine in Tahawus. Saratoga & North Creek Railway acquired the tracks in 2011, with the intention of transporting rock tailings from the >>More


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


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