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Adirondack Explorer

Adirondack Explorer September/October 2018

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.

United States
Adirondack Explorer
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4 min.
state seeks rail-line closure

The state is moving forward with plans to petition the federal government to declare abandoned the Tahawus rail line where a railroad company had been storing empty tank cars. In mid-August, the state attorney general’s office notified the federal Surface Transportation Board, which adjudicates railroad disputes, that it intended to file its petition near the end of the month. The “Notice of Intent to Abandon Service” cites three reasons for abandoning the line: its lack of use; the lack of prospects for future use; and “the prospect for beneficial non-rail use”—such as a recreational trail. The thirty-mile rail line runs from North Creek north to a now-closed mine in Tahawus, cutting through the state Forest Preserve. The federal government created the line in the 1940s to transport titanium ore needed during World War…

3 min.
apa oks ump

The Adirondack Park Agency has approved extensive changes to the High Peaks unit management plan (UMP), including proposals for trails and parking areas in the Boreas Ponds region. The UMP will allow the state Department of Environmental Conservation to build two new parking areas for Boreas Ponds visitors—roughly a tenth of a mile and a mile away. The closer parking area will be accessible only by permit. Critics say the proximity of motor vehicles to the water will detract from the wildness of the ponds. DEC hopes to build the new parking areas by the end of the year. For the most part, the final UMP differs little from the draft version described in detail in the July/August issue of the Explorer. Earlier in the year, the APA added Boreas Ponds and the Dix…

1 min.
josh and clair bovee

Ages: 34 and 31. Birthplaces: Groton, CT, and Syracuse. Residence: Saranac Lake. Occupation: Owners of ADK CAVU Café at the Adirondack Regional Airport, Lake Clear. Accomplishments: “As small business owners, we think our greatest accomplishments are those moments we carve out in between work and more work to be with our children enjoying this beautiful place we live in. Whether it be an evening trip to Lake Clear Beach, a bike ride around town, or a walk on the Bloomingdale Bog Trail, that’s when we feel most successful.” Favorite paddle: “Meacham Lake! We were engaged during a paddle on a camping trip there, so it holds special meaning for us. Meacham always seems to be a nice place to watch birds and smell camp smoke drifting out over the water.” Favorite view: “Looking out towards St.…

11 min.
mine’s jobs promise lags

“The whole thing makes me mad. Big company didn’t look out for little community.”—Peter Goodwin, Former NYCO CEO Five years ago voters changed the New York Constitution to give an Adirondack mining business the right to dig in the state Forest Preserve, in part to save local jobs. So far, it hasn’t worked out that way. Since the 2013 vote, NYCO Minerals has sold its operations and assets to an industrial-minerals conglomerate called Imerys. This Paris-based company has not taken advantage of the opportunity afforded by the constitutional amendment and instead has laid off or reassigned workers at its mine in the town of Lewis, angered union representatives, and irked people concerned about the economic vibrancy of the region. “The whole thing makes me mad,” said Peter Goodwin, NYCO’s former president and CEO. “Big…

10 min.
going low in the high peaks

At about 8 a.m. on a sunny Saturday in November, Kevin “MudRat” MacKenzie and I headed off from the Upper Works parking lot toward Indian Pass in the High Peaks. Most people who head to this narrow defile are rock climbers looking to gain the lofty heights of Wallface, New York’s tallest cliff. We had something more subterranean in mind. We were following in the footsteps of a man named Robert “Bob” Carroll Jr., unknown to most of the world but a giant in the secretive world of northeastern caving. Carroll, who died in 2005, was obsessed with underground exploration. For decades, he traveled all over the Adirondacks, mostly by himself, seeking out caves that had not yet been discovered. For this he would pore over topographical maps, looking for rock…

14 min.
mysteries of the forest

Red Tavern Road cuts through the forest of the northwest Adirondacks, with privately owned timberlands governed by a conservation easement on one side and the state-owned Debar Mountain Wild Forest on the other side. The contrast is striking. On the south side, the green wall of maple, beech, birch, and balsam is thick and dark, giving way only in the treetops to blue sky above the East Branch of the St. Regis River. This is part of the Forest Preserve, guaranteed by the state constitution to remain “forever wild.” On the north side, a narrow strip of hardwoods along the road hardly conceals the thinned-out woods behind. At one spot is a large clear-cut—a field of bleached wood chips, with a few stumps and a pile of short, thick leftover logs in the landing…