Posted on January 29th, 2010 1 comment - Add a comment >>
Ever dream of mountain biking in the French Alps, rowing across the Atlantic, or jumping off a cliff?
Probably not. But other people have, and you can watch their adventures at the Banff Film Festival at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, starting at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
In all, eight films will be shown, ranging from four to forty-six minutes in length. Advance tickets are available for $18 at High Peaks Cyclery or the arts center. If tickets are still available on the night of the show, they will be sold for $21 at the box office.
High Peaks Cyclery also plans to screen films from past Banff Film Festivals from 4-6 p.m. Saturday. The free event (including free beer) will be held at the Adirondack Mountain Guide House & Museum next-door to the store on Main Street in Lake Placid.
Besides High Peaks Cyclery, local sponsors of the film festival are the Mirror Lake Inn, Olympic Regional Development Authority, and the Whiteface ski center.
Posted on January 28th, 2010 3 comments Add a comment >>
We received the e-mail below this afternoon. Since I have never camped at Slant Rock, I cannot help the writer. Does anyone know the answer?
“I was hiking in the Adirondacks with several friends two weeks ago. We stayed two nights at Slant Rock lean to on the trail from the garden trailhead in Keene Valley past Johns Brook Lodge toward Basin Mountain. During and after the hike we were and are all engaged in a raging debate about which way the front of the Slant Rock Lean-to faces and what mountain it looks directly across at. Can you clear this up for me?”
Posted on January 27th, 2010 1 comment - Add a comment >>
This afternoon I went up Baker Mountain, a small peak outside Saranac Lake, to test a pair of crampons (Black Diamond’s Sabretooths, pictured here). I thought the crampons would be overkill on the trail, but it turned out I needed them.
Thanks to all the rain on Monday, followed by subfreezing temperatures, parts of the trail were sheer ice. I encountered a couple of snowshoers and a guy wearing Kahtoola MicroSpikes, and all were having a much harder time than I was. (I like MicroSpikes, but they were overmatched by today’s ice.)
Monday’s storm also brought strong winds. I saw the evidence on my hike: several trees and countless branches had fallen on the trail.
When I got back to the office, I called David Winchell at the state Department of Environmental Conservation to ask about trails elsewhere in the Adirondacks. After checking with folks in the field, he reported back: “Expect blowdown and icy conditions under whatever fresh snow we’ve got. That’s pretty much the case across the Adirondacks.”
Winchell said the blowdown is not so bad that DEC needs to send in crews to clear trails.
Posted on January 26th, 2010 1 comment - Add a comment >>
Some of you may know that I also contribute to Adirondack Almanack, a compendium of blogs, news, and links created by John Warren, a writer and journalist with a strong interest in local history. If you like Outtakes, I think you’ll enjoy Adirondack Almanack as well. I post every Monday afternoon. Following are links to my recent posts:
Posted on January 21st, 2010 1 comment - Add a comment >>
State wildlife biologists experimented for years with different methods to keep bears from stealing campers’ food in the High Peaks Wilderness. Finally, the state decided to require all campers in the eastern High Peaks to store food in bear-resistant canisters.
This not a problem unique to the Adirondacks. The latest issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management includes a study conducted in California’s Sequoia National Park of the various ways people try to scare away “problem” bears: yelling at them, spraying them with pepper, throwing things at them, shooting them with rubber bullets, etc.
“Aversive conditioning was most effective when applied quickly after a bear’s first contact with human food. Shooting bears with rubber slugs from a 12-gauge shotgun was found to be slightly more effective than any other method,” according to a news release from the journal.
“Overall, aversive conditioning reduced but did not eliminate incidents of bears entering developed areas to forage for food,” the news release said. “The study noted that in areas where bears require access to critical habitats, it may be best to seasonally exclude people rather than bears.”
Incidentally, Mary Thill wrote a story about Adirondack bears in our September/October issue. And if you’re interested in bears, you’ll be interested in our earlier post about Yellow-Yellow, the bear that learned how to open food canisters.
Click here to read the California study.
Click the link below to read the news release.
Posted on January 20th, 2010 2 comments Add a comment >>
Governor David Paterson has proposed shutting the two VICs, located in Paul Smiths and Newcomb, to save money. They would close by next January.
The college leases to the state the land occupied by the Paul Smiths VIC—more than 2,700 acres. “We recognize the importance of the VIC to the community,” said Kenneth Aaron, a college spokesman, “and we want to find a way to keep it open.”
He acknowledged that the college would have to pay an extra $7,000 or so in annual property taxes if the VIC were to close.
Run by the Adirondack Park Agency, both VICs house natural-history exhibits and offer trails for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
Asked what would happen to the Paul Smiths trails if the VIC closes, Aaron replied: “That’s a good question. It’s up in the air.” He added that the college cannot afford to keep the VIC open on its own.
Among those invited to the meeting are the region’s state legislators and representatives from the Adirondack Park Agency and environmental organizations.
The meeting , which is not open to the public, will be held on campus on the afternoon of Thursday, January 28.
Posted on January 19th, 2010 5 comments Add a comment >>
In his proposed 2010-11 budget, Governor David Paterson has recommended a moratorium on land acquisition and closure of the Adirondack Park Agency’s two Visitor Interpretive Centers.
“This is an all-out attack on the environment by the governor. This threatens to destroy the Environmental Protection Fund,” said John Sheehan, a spokesman for the Adirondack Council.
The EPF is used to pay for a variety of environmental initiatives, including land acquisition and preservation. The fund was allocated $255 million in the last fiscal year and $212 million in the current year. Paterson proposes cutting it to $143 million.
The Executive Budget Briefing Book states: “Recommendations include a moratorium on forest preserve and open space land acquisition.”
The big question is what this will mean for the Finch, Pruyn lands acquired in 2007 by the Adirondack Nature Conservancy. Paul Hartman, a lobbyist for the conservancy, said the organzation hoped to begin selling some of the 161,000 acres to the state in the next fiscal year, which begins April 1. Hartman said it’s now unclear whether that will happen.
Paterson wants to close the APA’s Visitor Interpretive Centers in Paul Smiths and Newcomb. The VICs house exhibits on the Park’s natural history and offer trails for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. The number of funded positions at the APA would be reduced from sixty-nine to fifty-nine, according to Sheehan.
Sheehan said fifty-four positions would be cut at the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which now employs 3,314. If the budget passes, he added, “the average forester will covering three hundred thousand acres–alone.”
Sheehan said the council and other groups will lobby state legislators to restore funding for land and the environment.
Paterson also plans to shut down two state prisons in the Adirondacks in 2011: the Moriah Shock Facility in Essex County and Lyon Mountain Correctional Facility in Clinton County.
Posted on January 18th, 2010 Add a comment >>
The Fund for Lake George is opposing boathouse regulations proposed by the Adirondack Park Agency, saying they will do nothing to benefit water quality of Lake George and might prove counterproductive.
Among other things, the regulations would outlaw roofed docks, which are popular around Lake George.“Decks on roofed docks will be transferred to the shoreline, which will frustrate efforts to encourage robust shoreline vegetated buffers, smaller lawn and impervious areas, decreases in the use of seawalls, and improved stormwater management,” Peter Bauer, the fund’s executive director, wrote the APA in a letter dated January 17. “A deck over a roofed dock now enables the opportunity for a landowner to improve land use practices that protect water quality. The elimination of the roof deck dock or creation of a variance process, for this type of boathouse/dock creates an impediment to improving shoreline water quality protection practices.”
Bauer also said the APA Act fails to adequately address other threats to the lake, such as stormwater runoff, leaking septic systems, shoreline cutting, and hillside development. ”The weakness of the APA Act to provide adequate water quality protections is one of a number of factors that has contributed to the steady decline in the water quality of Lake George,” Bauer wrote.
Click the links below to read the letter to the APA and the fund’s news release.
Posted on January 18th, 2010 Add a comment >>
Last weekend, I saw a slide show in Keene Valley given by Steve House, one of the best mountaineers in the world. He’s an entertaining speaker, self-deprecating and down to earth despite his penchant for high places.
Unfortunately, I missed the slide show given the the night before by Eric Weihenmayer, a blind climber who has ascended the highest summit on each of the seven continents–including, of course, Mount Everest. I heard it was a great show.
Both men were guests of the Adirondack International Mountainfest, which is put on each year by the Mountaineer in Keene Valley. The Mountainfest, which offers clinics in ice climbing, winter mountaineering, and avalanche safety, has raised $70,000 for local charities over the years.
For a full report on the Mountainfest, read Mike Lynch’s story in the the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
Posted on January 13th, 2010 4 comments Add a comment >>
This YouTube link takes you to my second attempt at making a short backcountry ski video. For this one, I strapped my camera–an Olympus 1030SW–to my chest and skied down a small peak outside Saranac Lake. The clip is only a few minutes long. Unfortunately, when I converted it to QuickTime for the Web it lost a lot of resolution. That’s why the titles at the start are blurry. I’m still learning. I hope to post more in the future.