Thursday, April 16, 2015

ADK Announces New Development Director

By Neil Woodworth

I am very pleased to announce the hiring of Catherine Forbes as Director of Development.  Ms. Forbes holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Seattle University with a concentration in non-profit management.  She is currently the Director of Development for the Dutchess County SPCA and a member of the Board of Directors of Grace Smith House domestic violence shelter in Poughkeepsie, NY.

As Dutchess County SPCA’s Development Director, Ms. Forbes worked closely with board members, staff and volunteers to raise funds to meet a $1.8 million annual budget and to complete a $4.7 million capital campaign.  She oversaw special events including a golf tournament, cocktail parties, and an annual holiday gala.  Ms. Forbes previously worked for the United Way of Dutchess County where she was responsible for managing a staff of three and grants of $1.1 million.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hurricane Trail Re-route: A Herculean and Timely Effort

Hurricane Mt. Firetower

By Christine Bourjade

Many times, 3694-foot Hurricane Mountain has been in the news due to demolition threats to its 35-foot fire tower (built in 1919 and closed in 1979). No more: 2015 will see the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) restore the historic structure to full public access and provide interpretive materials related to the tower’s history.

This long-awaited turn of events will likely draw even more climbers to “Old Hurricane, a sharp cone on which the sun seems to hang as it bids the valley good night. (…) one of the finest high views to be obtained in the Adirondacks, said to some to be second only to that of Whiteface,” wrote Seneca Ray Stoddard in his 1874 edition of “Adirondack Illustrated”.

According to the history section of the area’s Unit Management Plan, the name Hurricane derives not from the weather but from a Native American name for the mountain, No-do-ne-yo, which means “hill of the wind.” The current Jay Mountain Road over its north shoulder was in use as early as 1790. The Old Military Road, which followed the approximate path of the current NY Route 9N, was started at the turn of the 19th century, providing a means for settlers to enter the area, and for local products to be transported to markets on Lake Champlain and beyond.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Forest Pest Training

By Paul Gallery

March 28th started off like any other Saturday at the Adirondak Loj in winter. A soft layer of snow coated the landscape and caused tree limbs to encroach upon the trails, as if seeking the warmth of passing hikers. There was a quiet in the forest that only occurs after fresh snow.

It is a good silence. Not the unnatural silence that results after a forest  has been decimated by invasive insects. It is difficult to imagine Adirondack forests without hemlock, ash, maple or spruce trees; however, that will likely be the new reality unless action is taken now.

Action is just what the twenty-seven volunteers who attended the forest pest training that day intend to take. The all-day training was broken into a morning session where participants were educated on  how to identify various forest pests that pose a significant threat to Adirondack forests, such as the emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, and hemlock wooly adelgid. An afternoon session  got volunteers into the field surveying trees for the signs and symptoms of these pests. The overarching goal of the training was to increase  awareness among backcountry hikers regarding the threats posed by forest invaders as well as the number of eyes  looking for the telltale signs of these detrimental insects.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Press Statement on Renewal of National Fuel Gas Supply Gas Storage Lease in Allegany State Park

By Neil Woodworth

The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) strongly supports the decision by the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) to reject the proposed expansion of the National Fuel Gas (NFG) storage facility in Allegany State Park. ADK also strongly supports OPRHP’s decision to reduce the lease agreement to 15 years and to reduce the size of the underground storage area.

“We strongly support OPRHP’s decision to oppose any change in capacity or manner of operation which would increase the environmental impact of the Limestone gas storage facilities to Allegany State Park," said Neil Woodworth, Executive Director and Counsel of the Adirondack Mountain Club. “ADK calls upon Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Rose Harvey to ensure that at the end of this lease renewal period, NFG will cease use of the Limestone gas storage facility, vacate the park entirely and remove all facilities and infrastructure from within Allegany State Park.”

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Skiing Mt. Marcy for Sunrise

Sunrise from Mt. Marcy

By Seth Jones

I first heard about people skiing Mt. Marcy while I was a High Peaks Summit Steward in 2008 and ever since then the thought of being able to ski all the way down New York’s tallest summit has intrigued me.   I made it to the Hopkin’s junction last year, just 1.2 miles away from the summit of Marcy, but the 18” of fresh snow that my group broke trail through completely exhausted us so we decided to turn around.

There was another opportunity this past Tuesday (March 10) to ski Mt. Marcy for sunrise with my friend Brendan Wiltse.  We figured the warmer temperatures, good snow cover and a later sunrise with daylight savings time would make for a perfect opportunity to attempt a ski to the summit of Mt. Marcy. With an early morning start, the miles slid by in a mild haze as we methodically skied up to the summit of Mt. Marcy.  We caught sunrise just above the Phelps junction.  Energized by the early morning light we continued up to the summit after taking a few photos of the sun peeking through the clouds.  Brendan and I were surprised when we were not the only ones taking in the sunrise – an American Marten was traversing the summit with us. 

I was definitely nervous about the ski down.  This is not an easy ski and one that should only be attempted by intermediate-advanced skiers.  I knew I was going to be challenged but being able to take in the early morning light spilling across the mountains was well worth it.  I hope you enjoy the photos from the adventure.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Maegan E. Spindler Education Scholarship

By Mark Gocke

By Seth Jones

On March 1st my friend Maegan Spindler should have been celebrating her 27th birthday.  Tragically, she was killed on July 8th, 2013, when a drunk driver hit her and her supervisor in a parking lot in Pickstown, SD. Maegan and her team were researching the recovery of the endangered Pallid Sturgeon in the Missouri River. Together with Maegan’s family and her many friends, I am celebrating her life and her work through a new education scholarship.
Maegan did so many of her outdoor “firsts” in the Adirondacks.  She went camping, hiking, mountain climbing,  fishing, canoeing and snowshoeing for the first time in the Adirondacks.   She also spent a summer at the Cranberry Lake Biological Station while she was working on her B.S. degree in Wildlife Science at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.  Maegan had her first paid field biology job in the Adirondacks. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

ADK's Volunteer Trail Work 2014 Accomplishments

NTD volunteers heading to work in the Silver Lake Wilderness
by Seth Jones

By Field Programs Department

Over 240 volunteers participated in various ADK Supervised Volunteer trail projects & workshops in 2014. First year crew leaders Jacob Faber and Jacob Veilleux did an excellent job and each brought a unique skill set to the program. Along with the training sessions with the Professional Trails Program, both volunteer leaders visited the Blue Mountain Lake Museum and participated in a two day Leave No Trace trainer course.

Trail Steward Workshops
This season, three trail steward workshops were held for aspiring ADK trail stewards. The trail steward workshop is intended to give trail maintainers an understanding of basic trail maintenance concepts and standards. This training is necessary to become an official trail steward under ADK’s volunteer agreement with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Upon completion of the workshop, participants are supplied with a copy of ADK’s Basic Trail Maintenance Manual. On May10, the first workshop was held on the trail to Mt. Arab which is positioned just west of Tupper Lake.  On June 21, the second one-day workshop took place on the trail to Severance Hill located nearby Schroon Lake. The third workshop was conducted in Blue Mountain on October 11th. Five volunteers on Mt. Arab, ten volunteers on Severance Hill, and five volunteers on Blue Mountain learned the principles of cleaning drainage, blow-down removal, side-cutting, and trail marking.

NTD Volunteers
By Seth Jones

National Trails Day®
ADK celebrated National Trails Day® on June 7th in the Village of Northville.  The 90th anniversary of the completion of the Northville-Placid Trail (N-PT) was the theme of the event. Trail projects focused on the last two major reroutes of the N-PT. 5 volunteer trail projects including a guided hike took place on the 7.5 mile reroute in the Silver Lake Wilderness Area that was completed by ADK during the 2013 field season. In addition, 35 volunteers installed 30 square feet of rock retaining walls, three rock steps, eight square feet of barricade rocks, and completed over a half mile of re-routes on the newly completed section of the NP-T in the Silver Lake Wilderness.  In the Shaker Mountain Wild Forest, 30 volunteers worked alongside the Pro crew to grub close to a mile of that N-PT reroute that is anticipated to be completed by 2016. While trail projects were underway, over 30 vendors and artisans were set up in Waterfront Park which is located in the center of the Northville. A dedication ceremony was held at the end of the day that commemorated Waterfront Park as the new start or finish of the N-PT. Free camping was available to all trail volunteers at DEC’s Northhampton Beach Campground. The volunteer recognition dinner was provided by the Old Time Tavern which is located next door to Waterfront Park.