August, 2010

Disabled sue for wilderness access

Six men filed suit in federal court this week to force the state to allow the disabled to fly into wild lakes by floatplane or helicopter. The plaintiffs contend that banning aircraft from tracts of Forest Preserve classified as Wilderness, Primitive or Canoe violates the federal Americans With Disabilities Act. Before the adoption of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan in the early 1970s, floatplanes regularly flew in and out of lakes where they are now banned. The plan prohibits nearly all motorized use in Wilderness, Primitive, and Canoe Areas. The Explorer will run a story on the lawsuit >>More


August, 2010

Rock climber killed in fall

A rock climber from Lake Placid fell to his death yesterday evening at the Upper Washbowl  Cliff in the Giant Mountain Wilderness. Dennis Murphy, who was thirty-five, slipped while walking along the top of the cliff after ascending Hesitation, a classic route on the popular climbing cliff. Murphy and his partner, Dustin Ulrich, planned to rappel from an anchor at the top of another climbing route called Partition, according to State Police Lt. Scott Heggelke. The trooper said Ulrich was setting up the rappel when Murphy lost his footing and fell more than two hundred feet onto the rocks below. >>More


August, 2010

Case against Ausable Chasm paddlers dropped

No charges will be pursued against three kayakers who paddled through Ausable Chasm in June, the Explorer has learned. The Ausable Chasm Company complained that the three trespassed on the company’s land on the first weekend that the river was declared open (against the company’s wishes) to whitewater paddlers. Based on the company’s complaints, state troopers filed “a request for a criminal summons” in the Chesterfield Town Court, according to State Police Captain Brent Gillam. However, Gillam said it was up to the town judge to decide whether to press charges. Today, Gillam said troopers ended up making no arrests >>More


August, 2010

McKibben is hotter than hell

Bill McKibben wrote much of his pathbreaking book The End of Nature from his home in the Adirondacks, so even though he now lives in Vermont, we like to think of him as an Adirondacker. In truth, though, McKibben is a citizen of the world, a guy who has been fighting to save the planet from climate change for more than two decades. But he hasn’t succeeded. McKibben says it’s now time to take off the gloves. In an online article, he vents his anger against politicians who fiddle while the earth burns. He’s not happy with environmentalists, either. Here’s >>More


August, 2010

Take the panther poll

Earlier this week, I posted on Adirondack Almanack an article about mountain lions. It includes a photo of a plaster cast of a paw print sent me by Don Leadley, a veteran outdoorsman. Leadley says he tracked the beast for about a mile near his home in Lake Pleasant. Do mountain lions exist in the Adirondacks? That’s the question raised by the article. It’s also the question raised in a new website created by the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. The Wild Center’s site, which goes live today, includes video from two motorists who saw a mountain lion in Russell, >>More


August, 2010

Name these flowers

I paddled the Jessup and Kunjamuk rivers near Speculator this weekend and saw lots of wildflowers on the banks and in the water, including cardinal flowers, pickerelweed, buttonbush, and pond lilies. I need some help identifying the flowers shown here. The purplish flower was photographed on the Kunjamuk in a marsh above Elm Lake. I saw it frequently on both rivers. I think I know what it is, but I want to be sure (and don’t want to prejudice anyone with my speculation). The white flowers to the right also were a frequent sight along the river’s edge, often mingled with >>More


July, 2010

Harassing loons

The common loon is an icon of the North Woods, a symbol of wilderness, and sometimes the object of harassment. On June 12, two teenage boys frightened a loon off its nest on Sixth Lake, in Inlet, and struck the nest with a canoe paddle, breaking an egg, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. DEC  ticketed the boys’ guardian for destroying the nest of a protected bird—on the theory that the guardian must answer for the boys’ actions. The maximum penalty is a $250 fine and fifteen days in jail. The good news is that the remaining egg >>More


July, 2010

The school of hard rocks

Although you can’t learn rock climbing from a book, you’ll find a lot of rock-climbing manuals at EMS in Lake Placid, the Mountaineer in Keene Valley, and other outdoors stores. These books are no substitute for experience, but they do reinforce lessons you’re likely to hear from professional guides and veteran climbers. I own several such books. One of my favorites was written by Lake Placid’s own Don Mellor: A Trailside Guide: Rock Climbing, published by W.W. Norton & Co. Recently, I finished a classic of the genre, Basic Rockcraft by Royal Robbins, from way back in 1971. Royal Robbins >>More


July, 2010

Encounter with a timber rattler

Crown Point photographer Seth Lang was driving on Lake Shore Road between Wesport and Essex yesterday when he spotted a large timber rattlesnake in the road. Timber rattlers are a threatened species in New York State. This specimen was all black. “It was stretched across the lane as I swerved around it,” Seth e-mailed me. “I realized it was a snake.  I threw it in reverse, and it coiled up and stayed coiled up while I photographed it.  Very large, bigger around than my arm, and I’d guess five to six feet long.  It did kinda keep puffing up like >>More


July, 2010

Paddling 740 miles in a day

You’re invited to help celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail this weekend. Although the party will take place in Rangley, Maine, you can take part in the celebration right here in the Adirondacks. The NFCT is asking canoeists and kayakers to paddle any portion of the water trail on Saturday, July 24, and report their mileage (and upload photos, if possible) by 5 p.m. The 740-mile trail begins in Old Forge and ends in Fort Kent, Maine. The Adirondack leg includes the Fulton Chain of Lakes, Raquette Lake and part of the Raquette River, the Saranac >>More


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