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Adirondack Explorer

January, 2019

Thoughts on wilderness


These two short videos on wilderness were made with the January-February issue in mind. In this edition, several writers explore ideas related to wilderness in the Adirondack Park. In the first video below, writer Phil Brown talks about potential wilderness areas that could be added to the park. In the second video, hikers James Hopson and Spencer Morrissey discuss what wilderness means to them.  


October, 2018

Rebirth at Flat Rock Forest (photo gallery and video)


Jack pines are dependent upon fires. Their cones remain closed until they are exposed to the heat of a forest fire. Walking around the forest, I noticed hundreds of small jack pine trees had already began to grow as a result of the fire. Two other plants – huckleberries and blueberries – were also sprouting up from the darkened forest floor.


August, 2018

Crews work to remove Rome Dam (photo gallery and video)


Located less than two miles upstream of Ausable Forks, the Jay town board voted in March of 2017 to remove the Rome Dam after an engineering study found that it posed a threat to residents downstream because of its potential to fail. The engineering study found that it was structurally unsound and would be especially vulnerable during a flood.


August, 2018

Rome Dam on the West Branch of the Ausable River (photo gallery)


Photos of the Rome Dam in May 2017 on a rainy day. The dam is currently being removed because it was found to be structurally unsound in an engineering study. The removal started in August and is expected to be completed by mid-November. 


August, 2018

Logging operations on the Santa Clara Tract (photo gallery)


In early August, staff writer Mike Virtanen and I visited the Santa Clara Tract with the Molpus Woodlands Group. The visit was part of the research Mike was doing for an in-depth story about Adirondack conservation easements for the September issue of the Explorer. Below are links to those articles. 


July, 2018

State announces initiatives to address overuse


The state announced several initiatives today to address issues related to overuse in the High Peaks. The High Peaks, Dix, Giant and Hurricane Wildernesses, Baxter Mountain, and the Saranac Lake 6’er peaks are attracting an unprecedented number of users, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The increase in hikers, climbers and campers has resulted in dangerous driving conditions along the state Route 73 corridor from Chapel Pond to Cascade Mountain during peak days in the summer and fall. That’s because parking lots overflow and people park alongside the state highway. In addition, trails have become eroded, garbage has >>More


June, 2018

Crews clean up contaminated soil at Lake Flower Superfund site


The state Department of Environmental Conservation is currently removing contaminated sediment from Lake Flower in Saranac Lake. The sediment is located in Pontiac Bay and is contaminated with coal tar, coke, and ash from a gas plant in the village. Other pollutants include volatile organic compounds such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes. Starting in the late 1800s, the Saranac Lake Gas Company used a coal-gasification process to manufacture gas for lighting. The site of the plant on Payeville Road is also contaminated. It is a now vacant lot. The plant also contaminated Brandy Brook, which carried pollutants to Pontiac >>More


May, 2018

Wildlife Conservation Society to end Adirondack program


Zoe Smith

Wildlife Conservation Society has decided to close its Adirondack program after more than two decades.  “I think the best way I can describe it is we are all kind of sad,” said Zoe Smith, WCS’s Director of Programs for the Adirondacks. “What we built for so many years is changing. There is some optimism the work will be continuing.” Smith, Director of Science Michale Glennon, and Office manager Carrianne Pershy will lose their jobs as of Sept. 30, Smith said. Livelihoods and Conservation Coordinator Heidi Kretser will continue working on national and international projects. Established in 1994, the Adirondack program >>More


May, 2018

Mirror Lake continues to have dissolved oxygen issues


Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake didn’t experience its natural spring turnover for the second consecutive year due to its high concentration of road salt, according to the Ausable River Association. Spring turnover occurs when top and bottom water levels mix after ice out. The mixing  causes a distribution of nutrients and oxygen throughout the water column. This turnover generally occurs in both the spring and fall when water temperatures become more uniform throughout the lake. The lake then settles into layers during the summer months. “We’re not re-oxygening at the beginning of the spring when the lake would take a big deep breath >>More


May, 2018

Controversial road work near Long Lake almost done


Work on a controversial road project along state Route 30 between Tupper Lake and Long Lake is scheduled to wrap up by the end of the week, reopening the busy road. The State Department of Transportation closed a section of the road eight miles north of Long Lake several weeks ago in order to replace a culvert. A DOT spokesman said an announcement about the road reopening is scheduled for Wednesday and the road could open again Thursday. DOT said from the beginning the road would be open by this weekend.  The project raised the concern of wildlife advocates, who >>More