Adirondack Explorer

Adirondack Explorer January/February 2021

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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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5 min.
suny-esf's foundation sells newcomb mansion

The Masten House has been sold and will be a private residence, according to an attorney for the buyer. The Newcomb mansion, previously owned by the State University of New York’s Environmental Science and Forestry College Foundation, was sold at the end of November for $1 million to a private corporation called Upper Works LLC. The listing price was $1.45 million. Records show the LLC was created on Nov. 17 and its contact is attorney Timothy Smith, based out of Lake Placid. Smith said the new owners wished to remain private. The intended use for the property, Smith added, was as a private, single-family residence. The news dashes hopes that some had for a gateway visitor center to the southern Adirondack High Peaks and marks the end of educational programming there. The Adirondack…

1 min.
brief bio: alice halloran

Birthplace: Minerva Residence: Minerva Occupation: District manager, Essex County Soil and Water Conservation District, and volunteer ski patroller. Favorite hike or other Adirondack adventure: I’m bad at favorites! The High Peaks, nearby fire towers, and some great ponds and blueberry patches. Favorite view: There are endless great views, but some that are special to me are in Irishtown. I love the morning sunshine on fresh snow on the face of Moxham. What to know about Adirondack soil and water: I think we all know that our lands and waters are our greatest resource and we should continue to be good stewards. Advice for Adirondack gardeners/farmers: I learn more from them than they do from me. But our office does have resources available to them, and resources we can connect them with. We’re always interested in hearing…

5 min.
dawson resigns from apa board

Chad Dawson wanted more deliberation. The wilderness expert who taught resource management classes at the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry resigned from the Adirondack Park Agency board in December. He announced his decision at the end of a meeting in which he objected to two projects that advanced without the scrutiny he favored. It’s a position he has staked out since Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed him as an out-of-park board member from Onondaga County in 2016. For instance, in early 2018 he was the lone member to vote against splitting the Boreas Ponds Tract between wilderness and wild forest designations. His reasoning: The agency hadn’t vetted an all-wilderness option first. Dawson told the Adirondack Explorer that he hopes his resignation will force others to ask hard questions…

9 min.
daybreak on the mountain

Hiking through the pitch-black forest, I noticed the dirt trail had disappeared and leaves covered the forest floor beneath me. Had I lost the trail? I raised my headlamp and lit up the trees around me. I was only a few feet off the path, so I got back on it and continued climbing. It was late November, and I was hiking the relatively steep 1.8-mile Ranger Trail to the 2,162-foot summit of Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain to catch a sunrise. The hike was quiet except for the occasional sound of a passing vehicle on the nearby Northway. This was notable because on other sunrise hikes I had done during the fall, sounds seemed to stand out before the light emerged. As I hiked through the dark on Baker Mountain in Saranac Lake, I could…

9 min.
kicking a 40-year habit

Ahead of the 1980 Winter Olympics, local officials decided they had to fight one of the very things drawing people to Lake Placid from around the world—the snow. To ease the commute through the Adirondacks, they kept roadways clear by dumping unprecedented amounts of salt on them. The Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee’s plan called for about six times as much salt to be used that winter as in winters past. Olympic organizers knew this could be a problem, but they expected the salting to be a one-and-done thing. Clear the roads for the tens of thousands of people traveling here for the first time, then go back to the way things used to be. Ironically, the snow never came. A snow drought struck in 1980. Artificial snow was used for the first time…

11 min.
operation adirondack thunder

Jerry Delaney Sr. thought his skidder was blowing apart. The heavy-duty transporter for felled trees was shaking. The noise was so loud that he shut it off and jumped. Then he saw it, a military jet screaming overhead, level with the treetops. Delaney, who was working a logging operation near Franklin Falls, got back on the skidder and continued his work. Another time, he was buzzed by a couple of military jets while climbing Mount Arab near Tupper Lake. The aircraft had done a tight circle around the mountain, he said, before flying back toward Fort Drum. “It’s like, damn,” Delaney said and chuckled. “I think it’s a comforting sight.” Other hikers report mistaking military aircraft for thunder. The mountainous, remote terrain of the Adirondack Park is a paradoxical proving ground, where people seek solace…