Crown Point serves a broad variety of interests, but is generally considered to have even more unrealized potential.
By Michael Virtanen LAKE PLACID _ The annual Adirondack celebration of the abolitionist John Brown is scheduled May 5 at the late firebrand’s gravesite and farm outside Lake Placid. On May 5, Spirit of John Brown Freedom Awards will be given to environmentalist Jen Kretser, poet Martin Espada and to Soffiyah Elijah, attorney and executive director of the Alliance of Families for Justice, which advocates for prison reform. John Brown Lives! _ which sponsors the event _ focus is human rights and education. “We are not a diversity initiative,” said Jeff Jones, one of the organizers. “We are just diverse.” >>More
Book review by Philip Terrie The history of the Adirondacks, as it’s usually presented, is blindingly white. Nearly all of our stories—logging, tourism, the Saranac Lake TB nexus, you name it—have familiar iterations, and they seem to involve only white people. Reading, or hearing, these often-repeated narratives, you might wonder if an African-American ever crossed the Blue Line. Sally Svenson asked herself that very question and set off on a quest through a mountain of primary materials—census and church records, every New York newspaper she could find, a few rare diaries, and a host of other obscure but essential sources—and >>More
In the November/December issue of the Adirondack Explorer, Phil Terrie reviews Sally E. Svenson’s latest book “Blacks in the Adirondacks: A History.” A subject largely unexplored before now, Svenson’s book tells the stories of blacks who settled in or passed through the Adirondack Park in the 100 years between 1850 and 1950. The book includes an Afterword by Alice Paden Green, who grew up in Witherbee, and is the executive director of the Center for Law and Justice in Albany. Listen as Svenson reads from parts of her book.
Guideboat makers carry on a craft born in the Adirondacks in the mid-1800s. By MIKE LYNCH Building a traditional Adirondack guideboat is a complex task, with ribs carved from spruce-tree roots and with thin hull planks held in place with several thousand tiny tacks. It can take many weeks to complete one. “I grew up working with wood one way or another, and these are by far the most complex, demanding things, by a long shot, I’ve ever built,” said Rob Davidson, who started building guideboats a few years ago after moving to the Adirondacks from Oregon. Most builders spend about three >>More
This January morning in Wanakena couldn’t be more different from the day two years ago when a violent turn of nature broke the historic heart of a community. Today, a bracing wind moves over the dry, cold snow that covers the homes, walkways, and riverbed of this former mill town. The Oswegatchie River flashes in the sunlight as it moves swiftly over and around anchored ice, well below its banks. You can see the power that is latent in this stream, but as we stand beside it the conversation is of construction, not destruction. How unlike January 14, 2014. On >>More
Will Madison retraced the 1883 paddle of his great-great-great grandfather George W. Sears. By Mike Lynch The nineteenth-century writings of George W. Sears—best known as Nessmuk—have inspired countless Adirondack paddlers. Among the most recent is his great-great-great-grandson Will Madison. In September, the twenty-two-year-old St. Lawrence University graduate retraced much of Nessmuk’s 1883 canoe trip from the Old Forge area to Paul Smiths and back. “I’ve known about the family connection for a long time, but it didn’t really hit me until the past couple of years how cool it was,” Madison said. Nessmuk was a lead writer for Forest and >>More
Forest Ranger Scott Van Laer tracks down the remains—and the stories— of aircraft that crashed in the Adirondacks over the years. By Kenneth Aaron As I made my way up Seward Mountain with Scott Van Laer last October, trying to find the wreckage of a Piper Cherokee that slammed into the peak in 1970, I kept thinking that the search would go pretty quickly. After all, a plane, even a single-engine model like the Cherokee, is big. It does not belong in the forest. How couldn’t we find it? Van Laer was pretty confident in our chances, too. He’s done this before, having tracked down about twenty of these wrecks throughout the >>More
Adopted fifty years ago, the Wilderness Act reflects the nation’s growing appreciation of unspoiled lands. By Philip Terrie On a warm September day in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed what is now recognized as one of the most significant legislative acts in American environmental history. This was the national Wilderness Act. Before then, federal lands, even those protected as national parks or national forests were expected to serve a variety of functions. The national forests, for example, permitted logging, mining, and grazing. The national parks were often centered on opulent hotels and other all-too-civilized amenities. The idea of setting aside >>More
By Fred LeBrun AS I WRITE THIS, the debate is continuing to rage over how much motorized access should be allowed on former Finch, Pruyn lands sold to the state, but regardless of the decision, the age of private hunting and fishing clubs on those lands is quietly drawing to a close. We’re in the middle of a ten-year slide to oblivion for the iconic Gooley Club, the Polaris Mountain Club, and others, but this is a significant year in that slide. As of a year ago, there were thirty-three clubs leasing land from the Nature Conservancy, which bought the >>More