Adirondack Explorer

Adirondack Explorer November/December 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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United States
Adirondack Explorer
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5 min.

Low numbers could help moose thrive Most large mammal ecologists might shudder at an entire animal population of just 700. When it comes to saving Adirondack moose from winter ticks, though, such a small and fragmented herd might actually be a good thing. For years, winter ticks have threatened moose populations across the Northeast, particularly in “hot spots” like northern New Hampshire and western Maine. Some scientists are worried that climate change is drawing winter tick populations into the Adirondack Park, endangering the already elusive native moose populations. The size of the 6 million-acre park’s current population can be disconcerting. While Maine has 60,000-70,000 moose, researchers estimate that there are only 600-800 in the Adirondacks, putting the species at risk if disease ever swept the herd. But in the case of winter ticks, this low…

2 min.
brief bio

BRIEF BIO: Jeffrey Gibson Allott Age: 61 Occupation: Mechanical/materials engineer by education. Accomplishments: Things I am most proud of? Building my own home, creating quite a few local jobs for families inside the park—by co-founding and running a manufacturing company here for over 20 years, raising three wonderful kids in the same small town that I grew up in, helping to keep free-heel skiing alive through Otis Mountain’s operation, and (co-owning) Solace Cycles! Favorite biking route: Joel’s Trail—named after a close friend of mine who passed too early—in the Blueberry Trail System, Elizabethtown. Favorite view: From “California” looking west towards Giant, Otis Mountain Trail System, Elizabethtown. What the Adirondacks offer mountain bikers: A more personal, wild and rustic experience than you can find in most other places in the country. Work/life balance advice: Consider nontraditional sources of…

15 min.
barriers to renewal

Jeff Snyder was in his happy place, fly fishing the Saranac River near the foot of Franklin Falls Dam on a lazy summer day. He was at a loss to name anything wrong with the river. But something was missing. The Saranac flows from headwaters around Upper Saranac Lake, in the heart of the Adirondacks, and winds some 81 miles to the northeast, dropping nearly 1,500 feet before spilling into Lake Champlain. Snyder, who lives in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, has fished it for 35 years and keeps coming back. To him, the Saranac is ideal. It’s scenic and winding. Most important on this July day, though, it was alive with fallfish. “They put up a good fight,” Snyder said of the trout-size minnow. “They’re fun to catch and they’re easy to catch because they…

8 min.
a river’s promise

According to popular legend, local anglers send tourists to the Ausable River whenever they inquire about the North Country’s best fishing. When fishing themselves, though, they head for the Saranac. As cover stories go, it scarcely seems necessary. When fishing for land-locked salmon, the uninitiated would naturally imagine bubbling waters racing through thick green forests and towering mountain majesties. Who would think that for some of the best salmon fishing on the west side of Lake Champlain, anglers head straight into the heart of the City of Plattsburgh? Three rivers flow from the Adirondacks into Lake Champlain. From north to south: Saranac, Ausable and Boquet. Of the three, the Saranac and Boquet are the most acclaimed for landlocked salmon, similar to seagoing Atlantic salmon, though smaller. The Saranac, while a popular salmon-fishing destination near its…

7 min.
rewilding a run

The story repeats itself around the country: Salmon vs. dams, dams vs. salmon. Dams usually win. But what happened in the eastern Adirondack Park town of Willsboro is remarkable, a sign of how quickly the balance can change. The old Saw Mill Dam stood in the middle of town decades after the mill there had closed. It stood for something about the town and what it had been, but it also stood in the way of what had been there, swimming in the Boquet River, long before there was a town. There used to be a lot of salmon in the Boquet—so many that one early account of the river says 500 were caught there in a single afternoon. But intense fishing like that, along with pollution and dams like the one in Willsboro,…

6 min.
forgotten waters

From Lake Flower Dam in the northern Adirondacks, the Saranac River drops roughly 1,500 feet before it empties into Lake Champlain. Along the way, it meanders through the mountains, rushes through canyons and spreads out into ponds and lakes behind dams. That variety of terrain can cause headaches for people trying to paddle the entire river in one journey, but it offers plenty of options for day-trippers. Permanent Rapids in Bloomingdale is popular in spring among whitewater enthusiasts. So are stretches downstream in Plattsburgh. Flatwater paddlers have plenty of routes they can explore. Near Saranac Lake, the river winds through forests and wetlands and offers spectacular mountain views. A little farther downstream, the waterway backs up at dams at Franklin and Union Falls ponds, offering up lake-style paddling in a place that is…