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Adirondack Explorer

August, 2009

Climbing the Whiteface slide

Last weekend, I climbed the Lake Placid slide on Whiteface Mountain with Sue Bibeau, who designs the Explorer, and her husband, Jeff Oehler. We paddled across the lake, went up the hiking trail for two miles, and bushwhacked up Whiteface Brook to the slide. The round trip took ten and a half hours, including a stop for refreshments in the summit restaurant. The mountain takes its name from this slide, which exposes the white rock (anorthosite) that constitutes the peak. At least, that’s the explanation I found in Peaks and People of the Adirondacks, by Russell M.L. Carson (1926). Carson >>More

July, 2009

Top trails for your top dog

If you read the Adirondack Explorer, you’re familiar with the work of Susan Bibeau. She designs our publication, and that’s lucky for us. In recent months, Sue has been designing another publication: Dog Hikes in the Adirondacks: 20 Trails to Enjoy with Your Best Friend, a compilation of canine hikes by a variety of regional writers. We just received a copy, and it looks great. The book includes more than twenty black-and-white photos of dogs lolling on mountaintops, splashing in ponds, and doing other doggy things. Most were taken by Nancie Battaglia. One of my favorites is of a dog >>More

July, 2009

The road to Pine Pond

Last Sunday, two friends and I paddled from Second Pond on the Saranac River to Oseetah Lake and then walked to the beach at Pine Pond for a swim. Although the weather was iffy throughout the afternoon (we got rained on twice, albeit briefly), the sun came out just as we returned to our canoes on Oseetah. Pine Pond is a beautiful body of water that lies just inside the High Peaks Wilderness, where motorized recreation is forbidden. We were somewhat surprised to find an all-terrain vehicle and a golf cart at the pond. But only somewhat surprised. The High >>More

July, 2009

Extra hearing on Lows Lake

The Adirondack Park Agency has scheduled an extra hearing on the controversial proposal to classify Lows Lake and adjacent lands as Wilderness. The proposal encompasses 12,545 acres, including the bed of the nine-mile-long lake. The agency already has held hearings in Long Lake, Wanakena, and Albany. The additional hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, August 10, at the APA headquarters in Ray Brook. The hearing will be broadcast on the agency’s Web site. Opponents of the proposal argue that Lows Lake, which is an impoundment of the Bog River, doesn’t qualify as Wilderness, which is the most restrictive of >>More

July, 2009

The life of Bob Marshall

After coming to the Adirondack Explorer a decade ago, I developed an interest in Bob Marshall, the legendary hiker and wilderness conservationist. Bob, whose family had a summer camp on Lower Saranac Lake, was the first to climb the forty-six High Peaks (accompanied by his brother, George, and their guide, Herb Clark), and today one of those peaks, Mount Marshall, is named after him. Bob later went on to help found and finance the Wilderness Society. He did a lot of other interesting stuff, such as explore and map arctic Alaska, compile a catalog of the nation’s largest roadless areas, >>More

July, 2009

APA loses court fight

A state appellate court has ruled against the Adirondack  Park Agency in its battle with an Essex farmer who constructed worker homes on his property without an APA permit. The APA had levied a $50,000 fine against Lewis Family Farm, owned by Salim “Sandy” and Barbara Lewis. The Lewises contend that farmworker houses are exempt from APA regulations that apply to other single-family homes. On Thursday, the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court ruled 5-0 in the farm’s favor. The court noted that the state constitution and various state laws reflect an intent to encourage agriculture. “Nothing in any of >>More

July, 2009

Lows Lake proposal meets opposition

On Monday, the Adirondack Park Agency held the first two hearings on classifying Lows Lake as Wilderness, and as expected, there was a lot of local opposition. Both hearings took place inside the Park: at the town hall in Long Lake and at the state Ranger School in Wanakena. The opposition was stronger in Long Lake. APA spokesman Keith McKeever said only eight people attended the Wanakena hearing, and their views were “split down the middle.” Eighteen showed up at Long Lake, where “there more people opposed to the classification than were for it,” McKeever said. Following are newspaper accounts >>More

July, 2009

Climbing without a rope

A month ago, I went rock climbing with Mark Meschinelli at Poke-O-Moonshine. One of the Adirondacks’ most experienced climbers, Mark led a friend and me up an easy (but classic) route called Catharsis. Mark went first and belayed us at the end of each pitch, drawing in rope as we ascended. If we had slipped, we would not have fallen far, if at all. But Mark climbed the cliff without a belay, meaning if he had fallen, he could have died or at least got badly banged up. Usually, the lead climber is belayed from below, but Mark finds Catharsis >>More

July, 2009

A rare sighting

Sometimes it seems like half the people in the Adirondacks have seen a panther. Heck, I thought I saw one myself last year. But a spruce-grouse sighting–now that’s a real rarity. As reported in the Explorer this year, the spruce grouse is one of the most endangered birds in the Adirondack Park (and the state). The birds live in patches of boreal habitat more characteristic of northern Canada than northern New York. Over the past two decades, the number of “birding blocks” in the Park where the bird has been sighted has dropped 26 percent, from twenty-seven to a mere >>More

July, 2009

Green groups OK merger

The members of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks and the Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks voted overwhelmingly last weekend to merge into a new organization called Protect the Adirondacks. The association’s members voted 83-0 and the RCPA’s members voted 111-2 in favor of the consolidation. Protect the Adirondacks will use the association’s headquarters in Niskayuna, a suburb of Schenectady, as its administrative office but will keep the RCPA’s office in Saranac Lake. David Gibson, executive director of the association, will lead Protect the Adirondacks. As reported in anearlier blog, Michael Washburn, the RCPA’s executive director, plans >>More

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