October, 2010

Did you say free beer?

Free pizza, free beer, and free movies. Have we got your attention? High Peaks Cyclery will show a series of climbing films tonight at its High Peaks Mountain Guides House in Lake Placid. The doors open at 6 p.m. Scott Arno, the Guides House coordinator, said the films’ topics include ice climbing, bouldering, base jumping, and death in the mountains. He expects the screenings will start from 6:30-7 p.m. There is no admission charge. Again, free pizza, snacks, and beer will be served. On Saturday night, the Guides House will host a reception and show a trailer for Ride the Divide, >>More


October, 2010

State answers floatplane suit

The November/December issue of the Explorer will contain an article and a debate on a lawsuit filed against the state by five military veterans who contend that the state’s ban on floatplanes in Wilderness Areas violates the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Today, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed an answer to the suit. Most of the document is filled with standard legalese (“Deny knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief …”), but it provides insight into the state’s defense. Assistant Attorney General Susan Taylor contends in the answer that the federal law does not require the state to provide >>More


October, 2010

Reaction to Grannis ouster

The ouster of Pete Grannis as the state’s environmental conservation commissioner has shocked and outraged green groups. A former Manhattan assemblyman, Grannis was seen as a friend of the environment long before he was appointed by Governor Eliot Spitzer to head the Department of Environmental Conservation. Grannis’s biography and photo were removed from DEC’s website this morning. The Albany Times Union reported that Grannis was fired Thursday after the leak of a DEC memo protesting Governor David Paterson’s demand that the department lay off 209 employees by the end of the year. In the memo, DEC says the department has >>More


October, 2010

Revisiting the Beaver River

Our latest story about Shingle Shanty Brook has attracted some attention in the blogosphere and elsewhere. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has determined that the disputed stretch through private land is open to the public under the common law right of navigation. Click here to read the online version. The print version in our November/October issue will have a few more details. There’s a chance the dispute will wind up in court. If DEC prevails, it could be a big win for paddlers. Presumably, a ruling in DEC’s favor would affirm that waterways suitable for recreational paddling are subject >>More


October, 2010

APA votes to preserve towers

After years of debate and delay, the Adirondack Park Agency voted today to authorize the rehabilitation of dormant fire towers on St. Regis and Hurricane mountains. The APA board voted 9-0 to reclassify a half-acre under each tower as a Historic Area—an action that critics denounced as “spot zoning,” warning that it sets a bad precedent. The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan had called for removing the towers, but in the face of a public outcry, the APA agreed to amend the master plan to allow the towers to stay. The APA board expects that citizens groups will raise >>More


September, 2010

Moose population rises to 800

The number of moose in New York State has risen to about eight hundred, an increase of three hundred from just three years ago, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. About a decade ago, there were just fifty to a hundred moose in the state. “The return of the moose has been one of New York’s environmental success stories,” DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis said in a news release. “In the last four decades, moose, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, ravens and ospreys have established themselves in the North Country after long absences. … It’s wonderful to see the progress >>More


September, 2010

Eagle Slide video

Anybody who pays attention to the photo credits in the Adirondack Explorer knows how much we rely on the work of Carl Heilman II to enliven our pages. In our next issue, we plan to run Carl’s photos of the Eagle Slide on Giant Mountain–which many people regard as the most spectacular slide in the Adirondacks. I climbed the Eagle last month with Carl and Eli Bickford, a twelve-year-old boy who loves slides. Besides taking photos, Carl shot the video embedded below. The short clip shows me ascending a crack near the top of the slide. I advise those wondering >>More


September, 2010

Your age in mountains per day

For all you strong hikers out there … I don’t know how old you are, but the ageless mountains can figure this out for me. First, tell us how many High Peaks you can climb in a day. Any strong hiker can climb one, and we won’t believe you if you say you can climb ten. So your answer must be between 2 and 9. Now follow these steps: Multiply this number by 2. Add 5. Multiply the result by 50. If you’ve already had your birthday this year, add 1760. If you haven’t, add 1759. Now subtract the four-digit >>More


September, 2010

The debate that won’t die

The Adirondack Park Agency’s recommendation to keep the fire towers on St. Regis and Hurricane mountains but prohibit volunteer groups from fixing them up is unlikely to please either side in this long-running debate. Dan Plumley of Adirondack Wild, a new environmental organization, argues that it merely ensures that the debate will continue indefinitely. “The agency is taking a weak, muddling position,” Plumley said. “For the most part they’re choosing to punt the question.” Plumley argues that the towers should be moved from the mountaintops to locations within nearby communities. He said the towers could become a tourist attraction. “Many >>More


September, 2010

The case against cairns

Earlier this week, I wrote a short item for Adirondack Almanack on cairns. Many people are fascinated by these heaps of stone often found on bare ridges and summits. Tom Woodman, our publisher, wrote about cairns in a column in the Explorer last year. Adirondack Life ran a photo feature on cairns last year. And Mary Thill wrote about cairns in an earlier Adirondack Almanack piece. Not everyone, though, likes cairns. I discovered this after posting my piece. As one reader commented, “The last thing I want to see on public land is someone else’s form of personal expression, whether >>More


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