Posted on March 12th, 2013 2 comments Add a comment >>
After State Supreme Court Justice Richard Aulisi handed down his decision on navigation rights a few weeks ago, several media outlets wrote about the case.
As the defendant in the lawsuit, I tracked the news coverage closely. Given the public interest in the case, I thought I’d share the articles that I found.
The news about Aulisi’s decision was first reported by the Associated Press and the Adirondack Almanack (which is owned by the Explorer). The AP must have put the story on its national wire, since the first link is to a version that appeared on the Washington Post website.
Two daily newspapers that cover the Adirondack Park, the Glens Falls Post-Star and the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, published their own versions of the story.
The Daily Gazette, based in Schenectady, also produced a local version of the story. Incidentally, the Gazette’s writer was the only newspaper reporter who attended the oral arguments back in November.
Brian Mann of North Country Public Radio interviewed me and aired a story a few days after the ruling. He included parts of a story on the issue of navigation rights that ran earlier on NCPR.
The Albany Times Union wrote an editorial praising the decision.
The New York League of Conservation Voters also praised the decision.
Will Doolittle, a columnist for the Glens Falls Post-Star, wrote a piece criticizing environmental activists who cheered the ruling, accusing them of hypocrisy.
Peter Bauer, the executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, wrote a long piece responding to Doolittle’s column, accusing him of getting his facts wrong.
Canoe & Kayak Magazine had written about the case before and followed up with an article on its website.
Outside Magazine published a short item on its website, with links to longer stories.
If you’d like to read the decision yourself, click the link below (PDF file).
Posted on February 12th, 2013 Add a comment >>
I got out of the office this afternoon to take a short ski on the Jackrabbit Trail in the Saranac Lake, curious to see how Monday’s mini-thaw changed conditions.
The official start of the trail is at North Country Community College. From there you ski up the railroad tracks to a beautiful pine forest. However, I approached the forest from the opposite direction, starting where the tracks cross Route 86 on the outskirts of the village.
The amount of snow on the tracks was ideal for skiing. Before last week’s snowfall, I had occasionally scraped a piece of gravel while skiing on the tracks. Not today. After yesterday’s warm temperature and drizzle, that was a good sign.
After a half-mile or so, I turned into the forest. With any evergreen forest, a certain amount of the snow that falls from the sky gets hung up on the leafy branches and never makes it to the ground. So in low-snow times–as after a thaw–the cover can be thin. However, I skied all the way to McKenzie Pond Road, the start of the next section of the Jackrabbit, and didn’t see any bare spots. The few inches of snow we had after yesterday’s rain certainly helped.
Conditions were not perfect. The trail was bumpy, and fluffy powder left by last week’s storm is now dense and compact. You can make a pretty good snowball with it. This makes it harder to control your skis outside the narrow track formed by earlier skiers. With more snow and/or use, conditions should improve.
Note: the photo above was taken on earlier trip, but that’s pretty much how the forest looked today, with snow clinging to the trees.
Posted on February 11th, 2013 Add a comment >>
I did two classic ski trips after last week’s snowstorm. Although we didn’t get as much snow as some had predicted, the conditions were pretty darn good.
Conditions have already changed. It warmed up enough on Monday to produce a bit of rain, but it’s supposed to snow again this week. With those caveats, here is a short trip report.
On Saturday, I skied the Jackrabbit Trail from McKenzie Pond Road to the top of the pass between Haystack Mountain and McKenzie Mountain. The big question was whether the long hill after McKenzie Pond (a 1.5-mile ascent) would have enough cover for a safe descent. Happily, it did, though there were a few thin spots easily avoided. The trail between the pond and the road also had adequate cover.
Incidentally, this was the case even though I did the trip in late afternoon, after many others had skied the same route.
On Sunday, I skied from Adirondak Loj through Avalanche Pass to Lake Colden. The snow on the trail from the Loj to Marcy Dam was often too thin to cover roots and rocks. It was still skiable, with caution. Above Marcy Dam, the conditions were very good on the trails. Wind had scoured the snow on Avalanche Lake, leaving much of the lake glare ice. Likewise, the cover on Lake Colden was thin or non-existent.
As I write, I don’t think we’ve lost too much of last week’s snow, though it won’t be as powdery as it was this past weekend. With luck, we’ll get some new powder by the end of the week.
Posted on January 29th, 2013 Add a comment >>
It’s not often that little Baker Mountain (elevation, 2,452 feet) in Saranac Lake rises above the clouds, but it did this morning. I took this picture a little after 9 a.m. A rolling ocean of clouds filled the valleys. In the distance are the High Peaks, with Mount Marcy and Algonquin Peak especially prominent. To the right of the tree in the foreground is the scar on Scarface Mountain. We got a wonderful dump of powder yesterday. Unfortunately, they’re predicting freezing drizzle today and rain tomorrow. However, there is snow in the forecast later in the week. Keep your fingers crossed.
Posted on January 24th, 2013 Add a comment >>
I recently posted on Adirondack Almanack an account of the state’s plans for managing and classifying the former Finch, Pruyn & Company lands. For those who just want to view the maps, I am posting them here as well. As you scroll down, you will see three maps.The first includes the Essex Chain Tract, Indian River Confluence Tract, and OK Slip Falls Tract. The second shows the Boreas Ponds Tract. The third shows the MacIntyre Tracts near Tahawus. The Finch lands are outlined in yellow. Blue represents Wilderness; green, Wild Forest. The colored lands outside the Finch tracts are already in the Forest Preserve. The maps include proposals for hiking and snowmobile trails, parking areas, and put-ins.
Posted on January 21st, 2013 Add a comment >>
Oseetah Marsh just outside Saranac Lake is the destination of one of my regular lunch-hour ski trips. It’s short, easy, and scenic, with views of the McKenzie Range, the Sawtooth Range, and nearby Scarface Mountain.
Today I did the trip for the first time this winter. Why did I wait so long? To get to the marsh, I follow a snowmobile trail through a beautiful pine forest. Until this afternoon, every time I reached the edge of the marsh I found a small pool of black water, bordered by very thin ice.
I tried to ski the marsh as recently as late last week. Given the cold weather since then, I decided to try again today, and I’m glad I did. The ice was solid, with no slush. I did a short loop, taking in the views, and then returned to the office.
Nevertheless, we could use the frigid weather this week (it’s supposed to get to 20 below on Tuesday night) to solidify the ice on lakes, ponds, and stream crossings. The ice has been unusually thin this winter. In fact, the state issued a news release a week and a half ago warning people.
On a ski trip on Saturday, I found running water and wet spots in a few places on the Jackrabbit Trail. Let’s hope these get frozen as well.
In what has become an annual rite, I skied the 24-mile Jackrabbit from Saranac Lake to Keene to attend Mountainfest. I met Mike Lynch, the outdoors reporter for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, at Rock and River Lodge. We went to the spaghetti dinner hosted by the Keene Fire Department and then watched a slide show by Freddie Wilkinson, a professional rock and ice climber. I’ll link to Mike’s story about the Mountainfest when it appears online.
Since many people ski the Jackrabbit, I thought I’d share my observations of the conditions, section by section. The bottom line is that the snow cover was often thin, but the whole trail was skiable, if marginal in places.
North Country Community College to McKenzie Pond Road: The one wet spot, before the wooden bridge, is easily avoided and may be frozen by now.
McKenzie Pond Road to Whiteface Club: Extreme caution is advised on the hills on either side of McKenzie Pass (especially on the west side). I encountered small rivulets, exposed rocks, and patches of open ground. The cover improves the higher you go.
Whiteface Club to Lake Placid Club: No problems on the Whiteface Club’s golf course or on the Brewster Peninsula Trails. When I got to Howard Johnson’s in Lake Placid, I deviated from the Jackrabbit. Instead of following the trail through residential neighborhoods on the outskirts of the village, I walked to Mirror Lake, skied across the lake, and picked up the Jackrabbit again at the Lake Placid Club and Resort. I find this more enjoyable and more scenic. Incidentally, a dogsled operator told me the ice was eight inches thick. People were playing hockey and skiing on the lake as well as riding dogsleds.
Lake Placid Club to Cascade Cross-Country Ski Center: Due to wind, the coverage on the golf course was variable, but this posed no problems. The trails at Cascade were in fine shape.
Cascade to Rock and River in Keene: The long climb up the plowed Old Mountain Road is no fun, especially after a long day. I found enough snow on the side of the road or on the banks so I didn’t have to take off my skis. Ice climbers had post-holed the first half-mile or so of trail to reach the cliffs on Pitchoff Mountain. I was more worried about the long downhill on the other side of the pass. For the most part, it proved to be in decent shape except for one exposed patch that I rode over.
A FEW CAVEATS: Often the larger problem on my trek was not a shortage of snow, but the nature of the snow. The trail was rough and frozen, usually with a hard crust on the sides of the ski track. If we get a snowfall on top of this solid base, conditions will improve greatly. Also, on my ski to Oseetah Marsh, I discovered that Sunday’s high winds left the trail littered with pine needles, twigs, and small branches. Presumably, similar debris will be found on the Jackrabbit and other trails. It’s also possible that trees were blown over.
Posted on January 11th, 2013 1 comment - Add a comment >>
Starting this spring, paddlers will be able to travel down the Hudson River from Newcomb and take out on lands newly acquired by the state.
The best takeout probably will be near the confluence of the Goodnow River, based on my reading of a map released today by the state Department of Environmental Conservation suggests that. From the town beach in Newcomb it’s roughly seven miles to the mouth of the Goodnow.
The stretch includes several mild rapids. The significance of the takeout is that it will open the Hudson to paddlers who don’t have the skills or inclination to continue downriver through the heavy whitewater of the Hudson Gorge.
What’s unknown is whether DEC will keep open a dirt road leading to the confluence. In talks with environmental activists, however, the department has indicated that it will keep the road open, in part because forest rangers want to be able to reach the river for rescues. If the road is closed, paddlers would face a carry of up to three miles.
All told, the state acquired eighteen thousand acres of former Finch, Pruyn & Company land from the Nature Conservancy in December. Most of the land—including the Essex Chain of Lakes, the centerpiece of the tract—is leased to a private hunting club and will not be open to the public until next fall.
As shown in the map above, two swaths of land will be open in the spring. The northern parcel includes the Goodnow River. The southern parcel includes the Cedar River and Pine Lake. Given the lack of trails, access to the southern parcel will be difficult. In theory, one could paddle down the Cedar River from the hamlet of Indian Lake, but I don’t know how navigable it is. Also, once you reached the Hudson, you wouldn’t have a legal takeout, so you’d have to continue through the gorge.
Eventually, the state intends to acquire another tract of former Finch lands that includes a takeout at the confluence of the Indian and Hudson rivers. When this is done, the Cedar River trip will be more practical—assuming it’s practical at all. Also, paddlers will be able to undertake a thirteen-mile trip from the Newcomb town beach.
Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, said the longer Hudson trip and the Essex Chain of Lakes will be major draws once the necessary are acquired. In the meantime, he’s looking forward to paddling the Hudson to the Goodnow. “If that’s open, it’s going to be high on my list to do,” he said.
Posted on January 11th, 2013 Add a comment >>
Following is the state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 5′s report of searches and rescues from August and September. Region 5 includes the eastern two-thirds of the Adirondack Park.
Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area On Tuesday, August 14, 2012, at approximately 9:53 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from a hiker at Adirondack Mountain Club*s Adirondack Loj reporting that his hiking partner had gotten ahead of him after the bridge over Marcy Brook. When the hiker arrived at the trailhead he could not locate Ja.m.es Mateyka, 43, of Rochester, NY anywhere in the area. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and searched the trails until 3:00a.m. A few hours later, four additional Forest Rangers responded and continued searching the area. At 9:45a.m., Mr. Mateyka was located on the Algonquin Trail near the junction with the Whales Tail Trail by the Algonquin Summit Steward. He reported that he followed an old trail from the junction of the VanHovenberg Trail and the Algonquin Trail to MacIntyre Brook, where he spent the night. At first light, Mr. Mateyka followed the brook to MacIntyre Falls and located the main Algonquin Trail. He was heading back to the trailhead when he was located. DEC Forest Rangers provided him a ride back to his ca.m.psite at the DEC Rollins Pond Ca.m.pground. Stay together when hiking in groups and know the location of all group members at all times.
Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area On Saturday, August 18, 2012, at approximately 11:45 p.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a call reporting two overdue hikers. The caller’s family members, David Smith, 46, and Peggy Smith, 45, both of Central Square, NY, had begun a hike up Mt. Marcy at 9:00 a.m. with a group of other hikers from the Adirondack Loj Trailhead. Mr. and Mrs. Smith had contacted their family member at 5:00 p.m. stating they were at Indian Falls along the VanHovenberg Trail. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and located the Smiths on the VanHovenberg Trail and escorted them out to the trailhead and their vehicle. Mrs. Smith had fallen and injured her knee, which slowed the couple’s progress. Stay together when hiking in groups and know the location of all group members at all times.
Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area On Saturday, August 25, 2012, at approximately 1:30 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a 17-year-old male hiker needing medical attention. The hiker had been stung by a bee on the trail to Cascade Mountain and was suffering from hives and shivering. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and met the teenager on the trail. His condition had improved and he was able to walk out. The Forest Rangers escorted the teenager to the trailhead where he signed off on medical attention. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.
Town of North Elba, Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area On Monday, August 27, 2012, at approximately 12:55 a.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a call from State Police reporting an overdue hiker. Elizabeth Elliott, 29, of Albany, NY, had planned to hike Mt. Marcy, Skylight and Gray but had not yet returned home. One DEC Forest Ranger responded and located Ms. Elliott at 1:48 a.m.. Ms. Elliott was hiking with her dog, which had difficulty with the terrain and had to be carried for parts of the trip. The Forest Ranger provided Ms. Elliott with food and water and escorted her out to her vehicle. Know your abilities and the abilities of your hiking partner, including pets; be sure that all are capable of any planned hikes.
Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area On Wednesday, August 29, 2012, at approximately 11:00 a.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an injured hiker. Shelby Lorman, 18, of Los Angeles, CA, was hiking with a group near McIntyre Falls when she fell and hit her head. She was able to get up and walk, however she was having problems with her vision. One DEC Forest Ranger responded and met Ms. Lorman on the trail. She was escorted out of the woods by the Forest Ranger and group leaders. Ms.Lorman refused medical attention on scene but was driven by private vehicle to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid for further care. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.
Town of Jay, Jay Mountain Wilderness Area On Wednesday, August, 29, 2012, at approximately 8:15 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call transferred from Essex County 911 reporting a lost hiker. Doug March, 62, of Bloomingdale, NY, was hiking on Jay Mountain when he lost the trail. Mr. March reported that he did not have a map, compass or light. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and used cell phone coordinates obtained from Essex County 911 to begin their search. Mr. March was located around midnight in good health. The Forest Rangers escorted him back to his vehicle at 1:20 a.m. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries.
Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area On Saturday, September 1, 2012, at approximately 2:00 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report of a hiker needing assistance. James Ayala, 39, of Buffalo, NY, was hiking Mt. Marcy when he started having difficulty breathing. A DEC Assistant Forest Ranger assisted Mr. Ayala down towards Marcy Da.m.. One DEC Forest Ranger responded, assessed Mr.Ayala and then transported him from Marcy Dam to the South Meadow Trailhead via UTV. Lake Placid A.m.bulance transported Mr. Ayala to Adirondack Medical Center in Lake Placid for further evaluation. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike.
Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area On Sunday, September 2, 2012, at approximately 12:00 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report of an injured hiker. Sue Sung, 19, of Holmdel, NJ, was hiking on the shoreline of Lake Colden when she fell and injured her ankle. She continued on to the Lake Colden Outpost where a DEC Assistant Forest Ranger splinted her ankle and assisted Ms. Sung to Marcy Dam. One DEC Forest Ranger responded and used a UTV to transport Ms. Sung from Marcy Dam to the Adirondack Loj Trailhead. Ms. Sung sought medical attention on her own. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.
Town of Keene, High Peaks Wilderness Area On Wednesday, September 12, 2012, at approximately 12:55 a.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a call reporting an overdue hiker. Eberhard Burkowski, 78, of Bolton Landing, NY, was had gone hiking for the day from the Garden Trailhead but had not yet returned home. One DEC Forest Ranger responded and began searching the trails. The Forest Ranger noticed a campfire on the Bear Brook Drainage off the Phelps Trail. Mr. Burkowski was found at the campfire in good conditions at approximately 2:55 a.m. While hiking it had become dark and his headlamp was too dim to follow the trail. He began following the Bear Brook drainage. Upon realizing he was lost he stopped and started a fire. The Forest Ranger escorted Mr. Burkowski back out to the trailhead. Always inform someone of your itinerary including an expected return time. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries.
Town of North Elba, Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area On Saturday, September 15, 2012, at approximately 2:49 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a report of a hiker needing medical attention. Marco Berdecia, 36, of Goshen, NY, was hiking Mt. Marcy when he became distressed about half a mile below the summit. Due to the seriousness of Mr. Berdecia’s condition and the remoteness of his location, nine DEC Forest Rangers, three Assistant Forest Rangers, the Marcy Summit Steward along with volunteers from Adirondack Backcountry Rescue and Search & Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks (SARNAK) responded to the incident. High winds prevented the State Police Aviation Unit helicopter from hoisting Mr. Berdecia out that afternoon. Several Forest Rangers and volunteers stabilized Mr. Berdecia and spent the night on Mt. Marcy monitoring and caring for him. Weather conditions were suitable in the morning and at 7:56 a.m. Mr. Berdecia was hoisted into the helicopter and transported to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake for treatment. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.
McKenzie Mountain Wilderness Area On Sunday, September 16, 2012, at approximately 4:35 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a lost hiker. Sharon Stevens, 49, of Saranac Lake, NY, was hiking with her family on Baker Mountain when she was separated from her family on the trail. Three DEC Forest Rangers and one Saranac Lake Police Department Officer responded to the area and began searching the mountain from different sides. At 6:30 p.m., the searchers made voice contact with Ms. Stevens on the back side of the mountain. At 7:15 p.m. she was out of the woods and with the searchers. Ms. Stevens was reunited with her family at the Baker Mountain trailhead at 7:45 p.m. Stay together when hiking in groups and know the location of all group members at all times.
Town of North Elba, High Peaks Wilderness Area On Monday, September 17, 2012, at approximately 11:00 a.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a hiker in need of assistance. Thomas Blackford, 59, of Morrisville, NY, was hiking the Northville-Placid trail when he slipped and fell. Mr. Blackford called his wife and reported that he was having difficulties. Two DEC Forest Rangers and one DEC Environmental Conservation Officer headed down the trail and located Mr. Blackford. He was transported out via ATV to the Averyville trailhead at 3:30 p.m., where his wife met him and brought him to seek private medical attention. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.
Town of Westport, Split Rock Wild Forest On Sunday, September 23, 2012, at approximately 7:55 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a missing biker. A 16-year-old male from Chazy, NY was out mountain biking with his fa.m.ily on the Split Rock Mountain trails when he beca.m.e separated from the group. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and began searching the trails. At 9:10 p.m., the teenagert was located and returned to his fa.m.ily. He reported that he took a wrong trail and then was overtaken by darkness. Stay together when hiking or biking in groups and know the location of all group members at all times.
Town of Schroon, Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area On Sunday, September 23, 2012, at approximately 3:50 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a hiker needing medical assistance. Samantha Spears, 25, of Saratoga Springs, NY, was hiking up Severance Hill when she became distressed. Six DEC Forest Rangers and members of the Schroon Lake Rescue, Schroon Lake Volunteer Fire Department and Pottersville Volunteer Fire Department responded. Ms. Spears was carried out to the trailhead and transported to the Glens Falls Hospital by Schroon Lake Rescue for medical treatment. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.
Town of Schroon, Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area On Tuesday, September 25, 2012, at approximately 7:30 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a pair of overdue hikers. David Stillwell, 64, and John Story, 63, both of Clifton Park, NY, were hiking Pharaoh Mountain but had not returned home. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded and began searching the large trail system. Voice contact was made with the two men at 12:08a.m. Forest Rangers located them shortly afterwards at a lean-to on Crane Pond. Mr. Stillwell and Mr. Story had become very tired, so it was decided that they would spend the night and walk out at first daylight. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike.
Town of Harrietstown, Saranac Lake Islands Ca.m.pground On Wednesday, August 15, 2012, at approximately 9:21 a.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting a 17-year-old male from Ballston Lake, NY, missing from a campsite at the DEC Saranac Lake Islands Campground on Lower Saranac Lake. The teenager had left the campsite at 8:00 a.m. to go for a walk, without notifying his family. Three DEC Forest Rangers and an Assistant Forest Ranger responded to the water access only campsite. At 11:10 a.m. the teenager was located by family members along the lake shore about 1/2 mile from his campsite. He returned to his campsite in good condition. Always inform someone of your itinerary.
Town of Harrietstown, High Peaks Wilderness Area On Saturday, September 22, 2012, at approximately 3:45 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Franklin County 911 reporting a lost hiker in the Seward Range near Donaldson Mountain. Bernard Hyatt, 43, of Latham, NY, was able to text with Franklin County 911 to give them a general idea of his location. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded and established where Mr. Hyatt had started hiking though the trail registry. At 9:50 p.m., the Forest Rangers heard Mr. Hyatt*s whistle and located him at 10:20 p.m. Mr. Hyatt reported that he had become lost when his cell phone died as he used it to navigate up the trail-less peak on Donaldson Mountain. Mr. Hyatt made a shelter and was prepared to spend the night when he was found. Forest Rangers escorted him back to his vehicle at 12:45 a.m. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries.
Town of Arietta, West Canada Wilderness Area On Friday, August 10, 2012, at approximately 12:05 a.m., DEC Central Dispatch received a call from the Hamilton County Sheriff*s Office reporting three lost hikers on the Mill Stream. Trail. Maximilia Cervelli, 20, of Glen Gardiner, NJ; Christian Lierena, 19, of Freehold, NJ; and Mark Normanvin, 21, of Robinsville, NJ, were making phone calls to report that they were lost, but the calls were short due to bad reception. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded to the area, located the three hikers and escorted them out of the woods by 6:45a.m. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.
Town of Indian Lake, Moose River Plains Wild Forest On Wednesday, August 15, 2012, at approximately 9:56 a.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from State Police regarding two overdue hikers. Williams Harkins, 65, of Ilion, NY and Mark Reardun, 56, of Mohawk, NY, were hiking the old snowmobile trails near Little Moose Lake on the previous day and had not returned. One DEC Forest Ranger responded and located the two men in good health on the trail about two miles in. Mr. Harkins and Mr. Reardun reported that they had made a wrong turn during the night and headed south toward Lost Pond. Once they ran out of daylight, they camped on the trail near Lost Pond. They were given water and nourishment and then escorted back to their vehicles. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries.
Town of Arietta, Ferris Lake Wild Forest On Tuesday, August 14, 2012, at approximately 8:53 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting an overdue hiker. Karen Leiner, 57, of Brooklyn, NY, had left her camp in Piseco to hike either Sand Lake Trail or Fawn Lake Trail. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded and located Ms. Leiner*s vehicle at the Sand Lake Trailhead. The Forest Rangers were able to make voice contact with her but had to take cover while a strong storm passed through the area. Ms. Leiner was located about one hour later cold and wet. Forest Rangers escorted her to the trailhead where they were met by the Piseco Volunteer Ambulance. Ms. Leiner was evaluated and released. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Be prepared for all weather conditions.
Town of Inlet, Limekiln State Campground On Friday, August 24, 2012, at approximately 7:49 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Herkimer County 911 reporting four lost hikers behind the Limekiln State Campground. Four girls, age 13 to 15, from Central Square, NY, had mistakenly entered the 9- mile trail system between Third Lake Creek and the campground. A DEC Forest Ranger responded and entered the trail system from one side, while a DEC Environmental Conservation Officer and Town of Webb Police Department Officers entered from another side. At about 9:30p.m., the Webb Police Officers reached the four girls and advised DEC Dispatch that one of them had a minor ankle injury. The Forest Ranger reached the subject shortly after that and with the help of the Old Forge Rescue, used a UTV to evacuate all of the girls. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.
Town of Lake George Wild Forest. On Tuesday, August 21, 2012, at approximately 8:59 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Washington County 911 advising of a lost hiker. Francis Stevens, 74, of Diamond Point, NY, had left Commission Point at 4 p.m. to hike in the direction of Black Mountain and was now overdue. Three DEC Forest Rangers responded. One Forest Ranger took a boat from Green Island to Commission Point to interview the family. Two DEC Forest Rangers searched via the Knapp Estate. At 1:30 a.m., voice contact was made with Mr. Stevens and he was located soon after. The Forest Rangers transported Mr. Stevens by boat to Commission Point where he was reunited with his family by 2:15 a.m. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them.
Town of Bolton, Lake George Wild Forest. On Sunday, August 5, 2012, at approximately 9:51 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from a hiking party on the Tongue Mountain Range requesting assistance. Adam Doin, 20, of Ballston Lake, NY; Zachary Hommel, 21, of Malta, NY; and Abigail Marine, 22, of Hudson Falls, NY, were hiking on the Northwest Bay of Lake George but did not have any flashlights. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded, located the group and escorted them back to the trailhead. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries.
Town of Lake George, Lake George Wild Forest On Sunday, August 12, 2012, at approximately 12:26 p.m., one DEC Forest Ranger responded to a report of an injured hiker on Prospect Mountain. Four other DEC Forest Rangers responded to provide assistance. Cathy Sims, 53, of Allen, TX, had fell backwards off a rock and sustained injuries to her head and shoulder and bruises and lacerations to the legs and head. Ms. Sims was carried out to Lake George Emergency Squad ambulance and transported to Glens Falls hospital. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.
Town of Lake George, Prospect Mountain. On Friday, August 24, 2012, at approximately 9:00 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call reporting two lost hikers on Prospect Mountain. Moira Reilly, 35, of New York, NY and Michael Traubman, 35, of Forest Hills, NY were hiking on Prospect Mountain when they got lost on the trails and lost daylight. One DEC Forest Ranger responded and, with help from cell phone coordinates obtained from Warren County 911, was able to quickly locate the two hikers. Ms. Reilly and Mr. Traubman were returned to the village of Lake George at 10:15 p.m. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries.
Town of Bolton, Lake George Wild Forest On Saturday, September 1, 2012, at approximately 6:23 p.m., DEC Dispatch in Ray Brook received a call from Warren County 911 reporting lost hikers on Tongue Mountain. Jeremy Shiff was hiking with his girlfriend on a trail, however they didn’t know what trail they were on and they didn’t have any gear or flashlights with them. Two DEC Forest Rangers and searched the trail system eventually locating the two lost hikers. Forest Rangers escorted them to Montcalm Point and transported to Green Island via boat. They were taken by boat from there to their vehicle. Know your abilities and the area you plan to hike. Always carry a map and compass, and know how to use them. Always carry a flashlight or headlamp and extra batteries.
Town of Johnsburg, Private Land. On Sunday, September 2, 2012, at approximately 2:21 p.m., three DEC Forest Rangers responded to a report of an injured swimmer. A 13 year old male from Brant Lake, NY, had injured his knee on private lands in an area that is a popular swimming site near a steep cliff. The Forest Rangers assisted Riverside and North Creek Fire Departments and Johnsburg Emergency Squad personnel with a low-angle technical rope rescue to evacuate the teenager. He was then transported by ambulance to the Glens Falls Hospital. Accidents can happen. Always carry a first aid kit and contact the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-891-0235 in backcountry emergencies.
Posted on January 10th, 2013 Add a comment >>
The Adirondack Park Agency has hired James Townsend, one of its former board members, to serve as the agency’s counsel. He will replace John Banta, who retired last year.
A Rochester lawyer, Townsend sat on the APA board from 1999 to 2010. He left when he wasn’t reappointed by Governor David Paterson.
APA Chairwoman Lani Ulrich made the announcement today. “For more than a decade, Mr. Townsend worked tirelessly on complicated Park issues and has a proven track record of accomplishments on behalf of the Adirondacks,” she said in a prepared statement.
Environmental activists also voiced support for the appointment.
“He has a rare combination of legal expertise and skills, as well as experience in Adirondack issues and a strong conservation ethic,” said John Sheehan, spokesman for the Adirondack Council.
Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, praised Townsend for possessing “a deep passion for the Adirondack Park.”
“He will quickly establish leadership within an institution recently rocked by substandard legal and administrative review work.” Bauer said. “Protect is also hopeful that Jim Townsend can help to rebuild the APA’s role as an agency that provides independent oversight of the Forest Preserve, rather than acting as an agency subservient to the positions of the Department of Environmental Conservation.”
Bob Glennon, a former APA counsel, expressed a similar hope. “The agency is dismasted, rudderless, and, sadly, heading for the rocks,” he said. “It has simply lost sight of the mission assigned it by the legislature. May Jim recognize that and may his love for the Adirondacks translate into the aggressive environmental and preservationist leadership it sorely lacks. I wish him all the best in his new position.”
Townsend’s appointment will take effect on January 29. Click the link below to read the APA’s news release (PDF file).
Posted on January 3rd, 2013 1 comment - Add a comment >>
The temperature fell to 24 below early Thursday. Most people would not see that as good news, but backcountry skiers should.
Despite the two feet of snow we received last week, we still lack midwinter conditions. On ski trips since the snowstorm, I have encountered a number of open brooks and seeping drainages. Also, slush in places. You’d think 24 below would solve that problem.
To test my theory, I skied to Oseetah Lake on my lunch hour today. Starting at the Route 86 railroad crossing in Saranac Lake, I followed a snowmobile trail for a half-mile through a beautiful snowy forest. Stepping onto the frozen lake, I made a few strides, looked behind, and notice the telltale gray tracks—the dreaded sign of slush. I immediately got back on land, but the snow had built up a few inches thick on my ski bottoms. I scraped it off on a balsam tree and continued on my way.
The takeaway: despite the deep freeze, you may still encounter slush on frozen lakes and ponds.
Click here to see my report on backcountry ski conditions. You’ll also find a photo of a skier’s precarious attempt to cross an unfrozen brook.