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August, 2011

Aerial photos of Duck Hole draining

In the current issue of the Adirondack Explorer, we ran a debate on whether the state should fix the dam at Duck Hole in the High Peaks Wilderness. Now that the dam has been breached, the debate is whether the state should rebuild it. This afternoon, we obtained several aerial photos taken after the rains of Hurricane Irene broke the dam. They were shot Monday by Kris Alberga, a forester with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The top photo shows Duck Hole as one looks southeast toward Preston Ponds. Much of the water has drained, exposing numerous mudflats. The >>More

August, 2011

31 guests stranded at Adirondak Loj

Since Hurricane Irene drenched the High Peaks region, more than thirty guests have been stranded at Adirondak Loj, unable to leave due to a washout on the only road to the rustic inn. The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), which owns the Loj, hopes that the road will open in a day or two, but with so much devastation around the region, nothing is certain. Neil Woodworth, executive director of the ADK, said a few guests opted to walk out, but most are waiting for the road to be repaired enough to allow them to take their cars. As of today, >>More

August, 2011

Bad news for the backcountry

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is starting to get assessments of storm damage in the backcountry in the High Peaks region, and the news is not good. “Every place we’ve looked bridges are gone, trails are eroded, and there’s lots of blowdown,” said Tom Martin, the department’s regional forester. And eroded may be an understatement. When DEC workers headed up the Van Hoevenberg Trail above Marcy Dam, Martin said, they found “a three-foot gorge where the trail used to be—it’s just gone.” The Van Hoevenberg is the most popular route up Mount Marcy, the state’s highest summit. Likewise, the >>More

August, 2011

After Irene, where can you hike?

With the most popular Wilderness Areas in the Adirondacks closed, many people are wondering where they can hike this Labor Day weekend. Forest rangers have yet to reconnoiter all of the backcountry, but it’s believed that the central and western Adirondacks largely escaped the wrath of Irene. Yesterday the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced that the eastern High Peaks Wilderness, the Dix Mountain Wilderness, and the Giant Mountain Wilderness would all be closed during the holiday weekend. The three areas probably encompass more than 175,000 acres. The western High Peaks—which constitutes more than half of the High Peaks Wilderness—remains >>More

August, 2011

DEC closes High Peaks trails

With Labor Day weekend approaching, the long-range forecast calls for sunny skies, but that will be of little consolation to people who hoped to hike in the High Peaks. Because of damage caused by Irene to trails and backcountry infrastructure, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has closed the eastern High Peaks Wilderness, Dix Mountain Wilderness, and Giant Mountain Wilderness through the weekend. The eastern High Peaks Wilderness and the other two Wilderness Areas contain some of the Adirondack Parks’ most spectacular scenery and the majority of the forty-six High Peaks. In addition, the roads to the most popular High >>More

August, 2011

Marcy Dam bridge washed away

The rains from Irene washed away the bridge over Marcy Dam, one of the most well-traveled crossings in the High Peaks Wilderness, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. DEC spokesman David Winchell said the crossing is now impassable. He does not know when the bridge will be replaced. The bridge is used by hikers who access the High Peaks, including Mount Marcy, from Adirondak Loj via the highly popular Van Hoevenberg Trail. It crosses Marcy Brook as it spills out of Marcy Dam Pond. The Van Hoevenberg Trail reaches Marcy Dam after 2.3 miles. Hikers can still get to >>More

August, 2011

Raising the Champlain bridge

Sightseers gathered in Crown Point today to watch the installation of the arch for the new bridge connecting New York State and Vermont. The arch was still being slowly hoisted this afternoon. Crown Point photographer Seth Lang took these photos of the massive structure–which is about eight stories high–being moved into place by barges. The original bridge was closed in 2009 because of structural damage, causing economic hardship to towns on the both side of Lake Champlain. The new one is scheduled to open this fall, according to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. Updates on the bridge construction, including photos, are >>More

August, 2011

Ranger Report: Death and other misfortunes

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has released its midsummer Ranger Report. It includes the deaths of two hikers in the High Peaks. The victims were middle-aged men who suffered a heart attack on the trail. Also notable is the ordeal of two young men who set out on a canoe trip from Henderson Lake to Tupper Lake. When their canoe capsized in the Cold River, they lost all their gear and their food. Apparently, they had to walk to Long Lake without shoes. Following is the report verbatim. Essex County Town of Newcomb, High Peaks Wilderness On Monday, June >>More

August, 2011

Wild cougar passed through Adirondacks

The wild cougar that journeyed some 1,800 miles from South Dakota to Connecticut passed through the Adirondacks in 2010, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Cindy Eggleston spotted a cougar in her backyard in the town of Lake George on December 16. The next day, her husband, David Eggleston, who is a retired DEC colonel, and Environmental Conservation Officer Louis Gerrain followed the animal’s tracks and collected hair samples from what appeared to be a bedding site. DNA analysis of the hairs indicated that they came from the same cougar that was killed by a car on a >>More

July, 2011

Cougar migrated from South Dakota

You may have read about the cougar that was killed when struck by a car in Milford, Connecticut, in June. There was a lot of speculation about where it came from. Was it a wild cougar? Was it an escaped or released pet? The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced today that a genetic analysis revealed that the cat likely came from a wild population in South Dakota. DNA samples also revealed that it was the same animal whose movements were tracked in Minnesota and Wisconsin in 2009 and 2010. Several years ago, in The Beast in the >>More

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