Adirondack Explorer

Adirondack Explorer May/June 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.

Tupper Lakers seek outdoor recreational makeover By James M. Odato Tupper Lake residents are working on a plan to become an outdoor-recreation mecca. Last year a dozen villagers laid maps over folding tables and marked new paths for cross-country skiing, mountain biking, snowmobiling, golfing and downhill expansion. “We want Tupper Lake to be Trail Town USA,” said Mark Moeller, a local banker. The group wants government officials to embrace a series of projects, with acquiring Big Tupper at the top of the list. The alpine ski center has been dormant for two decades and could be on the auction block later this year. Called the Tupper Lake Business Group, Moeller and a few collaborators drew up a plan for $2.3 million in town spending. That spurred a letter from Tupper Lake Supervisor Patricia Littlefield informing…

1 min.
brief bio

BRIEF BIO: JAIME PARSLOW Age: 34. Originally from: Ohio, N.Y. Residence: Piseco. Occupation: I work for Hamilton County Soil and Water as a conservation technician. I oversee the district’s lake monitoring program, among other things. Our lake monitoring program is quite unique. Since 1993, the district has been collecting data from 21 lakes in Hamilton County, resulting in a robust data set that is publicly owned. Accomplishments: I feel pretty proud that I have been able to make a home in the Adirondacks with my family. Raising children while following a fulfilling career path is hard anywhere, but living in the Adirondacks adds a few extra challenges. Favorite outdoor adventure: Any adventure is my favorite adventure! But rafting on the Hudson is probably one of the best. Favorite view: Any sunset over any lake. Best thing about Hamilton…

4 min.
corralling the hiker surge

Hiking some iconic Adirondack High Peaks trails will require a free reservation this summer for those heading out across the 7,000-acre Adirondack Mountain Reserve near Keene Valley, reserve owners and state conservation officials announced. The system affects popular routes to places such as Indian Head, Rainbow Falls, Noon-mark Mountain and Round Mountain. That news followed the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s release of a state-appointed advisory group’s report with recommendations for handling an increase in visitors to the High Peaks. One of those recommendations, though short and buried in the 55-page report, included a pilot permit system. HIKING RESERVATIONS:WHAT WE KNOW That is coming to fruition at the AMR, where parking in its lot will require a reservation May 1-Oct. 31. Hikers, whether parking a vehicle, getting dropped off or arriving on a bicycle,…

9 min.
the last patrol

Scott van Laer’s sled was empty on the snowshoe trek from the Garden parking lot to the Johns Brook outpost in Keene. It wouldn’t stay empty for long. It was March 7, and the hike was one of the last van Laer would make in uniform as a forest ranger with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. After 25 years of service, he was retiring. He headed toward the outpost to collect his things. “I feel a little sad about it,” van Laer said, a small laugh bubbling up, then sinking. “A lot of good memories.” In some ways it was like any other day, which is to say there is no typical day in the life of a ranger. Van Laer was running on little sleep. Just hours before he had driven home…

6 min.
a real lifesaver

When Julie Harjung arrived in the Adirondacks to help clear roads after a devastating 1998 ice storm, the Catskills-based forest ranger with the state Department of Environmental Conservation fell in love with the giant state park. It was a good thing she did. Harjung’s medical expertise in her tenure at Region 5 in the Adirondacks has since helped save the lives of many hikers, whose injuries were some of the worst documented in recent memory. But like her ranger colleague, Scott van Laer, Harjung is now retiring from her post. In her time with DEC Harjung, 60, has broken the corps’ glass ceiling. She is the first female forest ranger to retire with 25 years of service, and she said she is the first female lieutenant in the state. “I will miss much…

4 min.
champlain’s wild card

Long after wild salmon and lake trout disappeared from Lake Champlain, government officials around the lake began to dump hundreds of thousands of fish into the lake each year. Most died naturally. Others were caught by anglers. Few, if any, reproduced. If there were going to be trout or salmon, it seemed, they were going to come from one of the government-run hatcheries near the lake in Vermont or New York. Now, though, nature seems to be taking over, at least a bit. In 2015, Ellen Marsden, a researcher from the University of Vermont, went out to count how many trout in the lake were hatchery-bred, and how many were born wild in the lake. Past samples showed all the trout had clipped fins, the sign they were reared by humans. This time, something had…