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Adirondack Explorer

January, 2018

Schumer joins fight against tank cars on Adirondack rail line

Tank cars

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has written a letter to a federal agency condemning the storage of empty tanker cars on a rail line in the central Adirondacks. “The Adirondack Park is a uniquely valuable and vulnerable natural resource, and is protected by the New York State Constitution as ‘forever wild,’ and is just about the worst place one can imagine for a junk yard of old railcars,” Schumer wrote the Surface Transportation Board, which regulates railroad disputes. In the fall, Iowa Pacific Holdings moved about seventy-five tank cars for storage to its rail line, which extends from North Creek to >>More


January, 2018

Appeals court hears Old Mountain Road case

Old Mountain Road in the Sentinel Range Wilderness has been the subject of legal battles for more than a decade. The state says it was long ago abandoned, but Jim McCulley, president of the Lake Placid Snowmobile Club, contends it remains a town road and should be open to motor vehicles. The “road” is part of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail. On Wednesday, legal arguments were heard by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Albany. Following is a news release from the Adirondack Council, which is a party to the case. ALBANY, N.Y. — The Adirondack Council was in >>More


January, 2018

Bolted climbing routes common in other places

As mentioned in an earlier post, I recently toured Andalusia in southern Spain with my girlfriend and daughter. On my last two days, I went rock climbing, the first day in El Chorro, one of Spain’s premier climbing destinations, the second day at two nearby locales. I hired a guide, Victoria Foxwell of the Rock Climbing Company, who showed me a number of climbing routes. All of them were bolted. I mention this because bolting has become an issue in the Adirondacks. An article in the current issue of the Adirondack Explorer notes that the state Department of Environmental Conservation >>More


January, 2018

Backcountry-ski conditions about to deteriorate

backcountry skiing

I just got back from touring the Andalusia region of southern Spain with Carol Fox and my daughter Martha. On one day we took a wonderful hike into the Sierra Nevada where we saw goats roaming the treeless hills. Although the mountains are not far from the Mediterranean Sea, they are snow-capped. The highest top 10,000 feet. I wore a T-shirt on that hike. I felt a little guilty about soaking up the sun while friends back home, especially in the Adirondacks, were suffering through below-zero days. OK, so I didn’t feel guilty. However, as I perused posts on Facebook, >>More


January, 2018

DEC razes cabin on Thomas Mountain

Back in November, I posted an article that the state planned to remove a cabin near the summit of Thomas Mountain overlooking Lake George. Many people commented that they’d like the cabin to remain. It has since been taken down. Here is an updated story that appears in the January/February issue of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine. Despite public opposition, the state Department of Environmental Conservation in December razed a cabin near the summit of Thomas Mountain overlooking Lake George. The cabin was built before DEC bought the property from the Lake George Land Conservancy in 2013. From the front porch, hikers enjoyed >>More


December, 2017

OSI deal helps Adirondack rock climbers

rock climbers

The Open Space Institute has acquired a 1,285-acre property that will facilitate access to Huckleberry Mountain, a crag in the southeastern Adirondacks with great views and dozens of rock-climbing routes. Katharine Petronis, OSI’s northern program manager, said the non-profit organization will sell the property to the state for inclusion in the public Forest Preserve. That could happen within three years, she said. For now, the tract remains closed to the public. Petronis said she didn’t know if OSI will open it before the transfer to the state. The acquisition is good news for Adirondack rock climbers. The guidebook Adirondack Rock lists >>More


December, 2017

Cuomo challenges storage of tank cars in Adirondacks

Tank cars

Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to file a petition with the federal Surface Transportation Board to force a rail company to remove empty oil-tanker cars stored on tracks in the central Adirondacks. “The Adirondack Park is home to some of the world’s most pristine forest lands, which powers its tourism economy, and we will not stand by and allow it to be used as a commercial dumping ground,” Cuomo said in a news release. Iowa Pacific Holdings, which operates the rail line, has brought in about seventy-five tank cars since mid-October. They are stored on sidings near the Boreas River in >>More


December, 2017

Rock gym the fruit of Adirondack climber’s passion

Rocksport gym

Tom Rosecrans is one of the most prolific rock climbers in the Adirondacks. The authors of the guidebook Adirondack Rock credit him with taking part in the first ascents of 122 climbing routes. On most of those, he was the leader, assuming the lion’s share of the risk. One of his routes, TR at the Spider’s Web in Keene Valley, is featured on Adirondack Rock’s slip cover. Rosecrans put up the route in 1973 with Paul Laskey. TR is rated 5.10a in the Yosemite Decimal System scale of difficulty, meaning it’s suitable only for expert climbers. Several years ago, I >>More


December, 2017

Adirondack snowmobile-trail lawsuit dismissed

snowmobile trail

A state judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Department of Environmental Conservation’s construction of “community connector” snowmobile trails in the Forest Preserve. Protect the Adirondacks argued that the trails—up to twelve feet wide on curves and graded smooth—violated Article 14 of the state constitution, which declares that the Preserve “shall be forever kept as wild forest lands.” Protect contended that the snowmobile trails detracted from the wild-forest character of the Preserve and required the cutting of an unconstitutional number of trees. In a decision dated December 1, acting State Supreme Court Justice Gerald W. Connolly disagreed with both arguments. >>More


November, 2017

NCPR chief reflects on Garrison Keillor ouster

Ellen Rocco

Ellen Rocco has been at North Country Public Radio since 1980 and its station manager since 1985. That’s to say, she has been in public radio nearly as long as Garrison Keillor. She doesn’t know Garrison Keillor well. She spent the better part of an evening with him when he broadcast an episode of The Prairie Home Companion from Potsdam in 1998, and she interviewed him on the air for NCPR’s Readers & Writers show in 2002. Other than that, they may have exchanged a few words at large gatherings. Rocco never heard any rumors concerning sexual misconduct, so the >>More


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