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Adirondack Explorer

January, 2011

Board seeks to block land deals

The Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board this week passed a resolution urging the state not to go forward with plans to purchase Follensby Pond and some sixty thousand acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands. The resolution, adopted Wednesday, argues that the purchases would violate the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, hurt the local economy, and burden state taxpayers. “In these dire financial times, with the state facing bankruptcy . . .  the priorities of the state should not include buying any more land,” the board declares. It estimates that the deals will cost the region 165 jobs. The >>More


January, 2011

Editorial on Shingle Shanty

The Times Union ran an editorial this morning on the navigation-rights lawsuit filed against me by the Brandreth Park Association and the Friends of Thayer Lake. “Is it, and should it be, against the law to paddle through what’s posted as private property?” the editorial asks. “Or should centuries-old common law prevail, and with it the notion that waterways are just like highways?” The editorial points out that the state Department of Environmental Conservation agrees with us that the waterways in dispute—Mud Pond, Mud Pond Outlet, and a private stretch of Shingle Shanty Brook—are open to the public under the common-law >>More


January, 2011

DEC move called risky

The state Department of Environmental Conservation’s plan to move its Adirondack emergency dispatchers from the Lake Placid region to Albany is creating quite a stir. Critics contend the move will make the public less safe. The argument is that dispatchers in Albany will be less familiar with the Adirondack—and its bewildering nomenclature—and this could slow the response time of search-and-rescue crews. State Senator Betty Little, who represents the North Country, is among those questioning the change. “Obviously, the state is looking at ways to be more efficient all the time,” she told the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, “but in the Adirondacks, >>More


January, 2011

New twist in McCulley case

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has granted a request by its own staff to clarify an agency decision that the Old Mountain Road in Keene—now part of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail—had never been legally abandoned and therefore could be open to motorized use. The decision by DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis in 2009 raised questions about the status of other old woods roads in the Forest Preserve.  Many such roads are now foot trails and closed to vehicles. DEC attorney Randall Young had filed a motion for clarification, contending that Grannis misinterpreted the law and that the decision could lead >>More


January, 2011

Explorer answers paddling lawsuit

The Adirondack Explorer has filed an answer to the lawsuit accusing me of trespass for paddling through private property on my way to Lake Lila in May 2009. Essentially, we argue that the waterways in question—Mud Pond, Mud Pond Outlet, and a stretch of Shingle Shanty Brook—are open to the public under the state’s common law. The common law, inherited from old England, allows the public to travel any inland waterway deemed “navigable in fact.” But what makes a waterway navigable in fact? The complainants—the Friends of Thayer Lake and the Brandreth Park Association—contend that the common law applies only >>More


January, 2011

Ski video: Powder to the people

I shoveled my driveway four times in twenty-four hours, and I am a happy man. If you’re a backcountry skier, you understand. Saranac Lake got more than a foot of snow in this week’s storm—enough, I imagine, to render skiable most of the backcountry trails in the area. Yesterday, my son and some friends skied a part of the Jackrabbit Trail west of Lake Placid, which includes a mile-long downhill, and found the trail in great shape. Before work today, I climbed most of the way up a small mountain and skied down through the woods. The conditions were superb, >>More


January, 2011

Politics and preservation

A coalition of environmental groups has issued a list of policy recommendations to Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature. Among them is beefing up the Environmental Protection Fund, the primary mechanism for funding land preservation, water-quality protection, and other green objectives. The coalition—which includes the Adirondack Council, the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the Nature Conservancy—notes that the EPF has been reduced from $255 million to $134 million since 2008. In addition, the state over the years has diverted about $500 million in EPF monies to the state’s general fund. In “Green Memos to the Governor and State Legislature,” the >>More


January, 2011

Adirondack Mountainfest this weekend

The fifteenth annual Adirondack International Mountaineering Festival comes to Keene this weekend. As usual, the Mountaineer and Rock and River have attracted elite climbers to the event and are offering a variety of classes for those who want to learn or polish mountaineering skills. Most of the classes are full, but there are still openings for classes in ice climbing, slide climbing, snowshoe mountaineering, and avalanche training. Check the Mountainfest website for updates. A variety of sponsors, including Black Diamond, Outdoor Research, Patagonia, and La Sportiva, will have gear available for testing in the field. In addition to the classes, >>More


December, 2010

Ranger Report for November/December

Region 5 of the state Department of Environmental Conservation released today its Ranger Activity Report for November and December. The region covers the eastern two-thirds of the Adirondack Park. The report follows verbatim. Clinton County Town of Champlain, Private Lands On Thursday, November 4, at approximately 11:45am, State Police in Plattsburgh requested DEC Forest Rangers to assist in a search for Francine Marcel, 56, of Morrisonville, NY.  Ms. Marcel was last seen at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 2, just before leaving her home to close her camp on Point AuRoche on near the shores of Lake Champlain. She was >>More


December, 2010

Holiday ski tours

I’ve done several ski trips in the Saranac Lake region with my daughter Martha over the past week. Conditions are excellent if you choose the right trail. Two that I can recommend are the Hays Brook Truck Trail in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest and the Fish Pond Truck Trail in the St. Regis Canoe Area. Despite a few hills, both are suitable for novice skiers. Martha and I skied the Hays Brook trail the day after Christmas. I also did this trip earlier in the month for an Explorer story, which will be posted online next week. I’m happy >>More


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