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Adirondack Explorer

November, 2009

Enck appointed to EPA

Judith Enck, the governor’s deputy secretary for the environment, has been named a regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She will oversee EPA’s Region 2, which includes New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She is expected to assume the job in about a month. Enck was a longtime green activist before then-Governor Eliot Spitzer named her to her current post in 2007. That spring, the Explorer ran a profile of her headlined “The ultimate insider.” After Spitzer resigned, she remained in the job under Governor David Paterson. A native of the Catskills, Enck >>More


November, 2009

Land swap approved

Voters overwhelmingly ratified on Tuesday a constitutional amendment to allow the state and National Grid to swap parcels of land in the northwestern Adirondacks. The amendment retroactively approves the construction of a power line in a two-mile strip of Forest Preserve along Route 56. The state will receive forty-three acres from National Grid in exchange for six acres of the Preserve. With 95% of districts reporting, nearly 67% of the voters favored the amendment, according to the state Board of Elections. About 1.2 million people voted on the measure. For more details on the land swap, see this earlier post.


November, 2009

Soloing Chapel Pond Slab

After days of cold rain, we received some sunshine in Saranac Lake on Sunday. On the spur of the moment, I decided to solo Chapel Pond Slab, perhaps my last rock climb of the season. By solo, I mean I climbed it without a partner and without ropes or protection. I did wear a helmet, and I let a friend know what I was doing. Some people see soloing as foolhardy, but if you stay within your comfort level, it’s not as big a risk as it might seem to a non-climber. In my case, I combined two easy routes. >>More


October, 2009

Land swap on ballot

On Tuesday, voters will be asked to approve the construction of a power line that’s already been built—through the forever-wild Forest Preserve in the northwestern Adirondacks. If Ballot Proposal One is approved, the state will cede to National Grid a two-mile strip, totaling six acres, along Route 56 where the line was built last year. In exchange, National Grid will give the state a forty-three-acre parcel along the South Branch of the Grass River. John Sheehan of the Adirondack Council says it’s a good deal for the state. If the line were not built along the road, Sheehan said, National >>More


October, 2009

ADK honors ‘Explorer’

I went to Albany this past weekend to attend the Adirondack Mountain Club’s annual Presidents’ Dinner and pick up an award for the Adirondack Explorer.   ADK gave me the Eleanor F. Brown  Communication Award, which is named after its first recipient, who several years ago published a marvelous reference work titled The Forest Preserve of New York State: A Handbook for Conservationists. Although my name appears on the plaque, the award is a tribute to everyone at the Explorer, starting with Dick Beamish, the founder, and his wife, Rachel Rice; Tom Woodman, who last year succeeded Dick as publisher; >>More


October, 2009

Prepare for winter

There’s snow in the High Peaks now, so if you plan on hiking to a summit, you’d be smart to pack a pair of Yaktrax, MicroSpikes, or similar grippers for your feet. On Sunday, my daughter Martha and I encountered snow and ice on the trail from Crow Clearing in Keene to Hurricane Mountain, which at 3,694 is not even a High Peak. This trail ascends the north side of the mountain, so it doesn’t get much sun. Hikers who came up the trail from Route 9N to the south told us they did not find snow until just below >>More


October, 2009

Our wolflike coyote

Scientists have recognized for a while that Adirondack coyotes are bigger than western coyotes, but there has been debate over whether the cause is genetic or environmental. A recent study led by Roland Kays, mammal curator at the New York State Museum, comes down squarely on the side of genetics: the Adirondack coyote is part wolf. Although scientists have suspected a wolf connection, Kays said the study proved it. “One of the big results was to show this in a systematic way,” he said. Kays and two colleagues, Abigail Curtis and Jeremy Kirchman, tested the DNA from 686 coyotes and >>More


October, 2009

A taste of winter

We awoke in Saranac Lake this morning to find an inch of snow on the ground. We’ve seen flurries a few times in the past two weeks, but this was the first accumulation at lower elevations. It won’t be long now before people are skiing the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway. The highway has had enough snow to ski before this, but it was plowed by the Olympic Regional Development Authority. Starting today, that won’t be an issue. ORDA keeps the toll road open for tourists only through Columbus Day, which was yesterday. For many Adirondack skiers, winter starts with a >>More


October, 2009

Goodbye, Nellie

The Adirondacks and sportsmen everywhere lost a friend this week when Nellie Staves passed away at ninety-two. We liked to think of Nellie as our friend, too. In 2000, Ed Kanze wrote a nice profile of Nellie that we published in the Explorer. After that, she often stopped in the office when she was passing through Saranac Lake. She was ever  talkative and cheerful. Nellie was a legend in her hometown of Tupper Lake. When the village held a Nellie Staves Day several years ago, more than four hundred people took part. She was born in 1917 in the Northeast >>More


October, 2009

Skiers prepare for winter

Six of us turned out Saturday to trim and clear the Wright Peak Ski Trail. We started where last year’s crew left off and worked our way up almost to the ridgeline. Thus, nearly all of the steep part of the trail should be in good shape this winter. We also cut out sections of two large trees that had fallen across the trail that leads from the Old Marcy Dam Trail to the Algonquin hiking trail (see photo above). This shortcut is used by skiers going to and from Wright Peak. Although the Wright Peak Ski Trail is closed to >>More


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