Adirondack Explorer

Adirondack Explorer March/April 2020

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Seven issues a year devoted to the enjoyment and protection of the Adirondack Park. In-depth writing and vivid photography bring the Adirondacks to life in tales of recreational adventure, coverage of environmental and policy issues and exploration of the communities that make up this unique six-million acre park.

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Adirondack Explorer
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6 min.

90-Miler canoe race to change hands By Mike Lynch The three-day, 90-mile Adirondack Canoe Classic, one of the most popular events in the Adirondack Park, is set to come under new ownership by the 2021 paddling season. The nonprofit Northern Forest Canoe Trail signed a letter of intent in January to purchase the race from Brian and Grace McDonnell, who have owned and managed it for more than 20 years. The $90,000 purchase would also include the Adirondack Watershed Alliance, the organization through which the McDonnells organize their paddlesport events, and three paddling races: ’Round the Mountain and the Celebrate Paddling Invitational in Saranac Lake, and the Long Lake Long Boat Regatta. NFCT Executive Director Karrie Thomas said the nonprofit is buying the 90-Miler because it lines up with the group’s mission. “Our purpose is…

2 min.
brief bio: jake o’connell

Age: 27. Birthplace: Syracuse. Residence: Newcomb. Occupation: Outreach program manager at the Newcomb Campus, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Accomplishments: I recently took the Wilderness First Responder (WFR) class, and that was pretty rewarding. I feel a lot more prepared when I’m out and about in the Adirondacks now. Favorite hike or adventure: Because of proximity I’m quite partial to Goodnow Mountain—I’m up there almost every week. I haven’t done this in a few years but one of my favorite paddles is down Hatch Brook and the Salmon River from Porcaville to Chasm Falls. Favorite view: I love the view from the Mount Adams fire tower, specifically looking down on Upper Works and the old titanium mine. What the Adirondacks can teach college students: The Adirondacks are a fantastic classroom for all students, K-12 and…

12 min.
guardians in the woods

For Joan Renaud, Oct. 5, 2019 was less about the journey up Mount Marshall and more about the descent. By then Marshall was the final mountain to check off on her hiking list of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks, but she was no stranger to its summit. She had been there once before, on Sept. 12, 2018, but hadn’t left the mountain in the conventional way. She had been airlifted by helicopter off the mountainside without hiking down—technically not a qualifying hike for an ADK 46er patch. It had been a rainy and cloudy day. Renaud and her friend, Brenda Tirrell, were on their “Adirondack Attack.” The two New Hampshire residents had already hiked their home state’s 48 big mountains and were now working on New York’s prized peaks. At the summit of…

9 min.
hey, siri, i need help

On Columbus Day weekend a couple decided to climb Whiteface Mountain. They started the hike on the Connery Pond side, sometime between 1 and 2 in the afternoon. By the time they reached the top, it was raining, and, wearing only cotton clothing, they were cold. They also mistakenly thought they could get a ride down the mountain’s road. “The only useful item they really had was a cellphone,” says forest ranger Scott van Laer, who has participated in some 600 search-and-rescue missions in his 24-year career. “No headlamps, no map or even proper clothing.” Stories like these show up almost weekly in the Department of Environmental Conservation’s ranger report roundups. People regularly head into the High Peaks wearing only sneakers and T-shirts, the only map the one they’ve got on their…

5 min.
on the dawn patrol

MORE PHOTOS Standing in the dark behind his truck on a January morning, Will Madison slipped into his ski boots at Whiteface Mountain. It was just after 6 a.m. and the chairlifts wouldn't start running until 8:30. But Madison was getting an early start so he could ski up the mountain and get some turns in before the crowds arrived. "I like to get in the woods, but when you don’t have enough snow to get into the backcountry this is a really good place to go," said Madison, assistant director for St. Lawrence University's Adirondack Program. After a few minutes, Madison's friend arrived and the pair wandered off to the ski patroller's office, in a back corner of the ski resort’s main lodge. Here, they showed their uphill skiing passes, signed in and…

6 min.
from eurasia via buffalo

When humans plumbed upstate New York with 500 miles of canals for shipping, they connected the Great Lakes, the Hudson River and Lake Champlain. Their goal was to easily move goods. The plan worked—spectacularly at the time. But the builders of the 19th century gave little thought to the bad things that happen when fish and plants move through canals and end up in places they don’t belong. READ MORE The answer is damaging invasions—insatiable foreigner fish that crowd out native fish, non-native weeds that cover acres of water, and colonizing mollusks that cling to concrete and clog pipes. Now, long after trains and trucks took business away from barges, officials are turning their attention to stopping invasive species, perhaps even at the expense of boats passing easily through the canals. In and around the…