The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the finalization of an updated management plan that will continue public recreational access and protect natural resources within the Edinburgh and Corinth Conservation Easement Tracts in Saratoga County. [Read more…] about Edinburgh, Corinth Tracts Recreation Plan Complete
The overhaul of these nearly 50-year-old regulations are hoped by DEC to lessen the administrative burden on participating forest landowners, help the Department promote compliance with requirements in place, and maintain and improve sustainable timber management on enrolled lands. [Read more…] about DEC Proposes Changes to NYS Forest Tax Law Program
Recent pieces in the Adirondack Explorer (see here and here) have attempted to assess the implications of the decision by New York State’s highest court in Protect the Adirondacks v Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency.
The Court of Appeals found that these state agencies violated the state constitution in their efforts to build a network of new extra-wide snowmobile trails in the Adirondack Forest Preserve. These commenters have derided the decision because they say it’s focused on tree cutting, which they argue is a poor standard to evaluate the constitutionality of management actions by state agencies under Article 14, Section 1, the Forever Wild Clause. [Read more…] about Forest Preserve Decision Has Far-Reaching Implications Beyond Tree Cutting
My uncle Frank Sherry taught my brother Tom and I orienteering, using a map and compass to navigate through the woods and find a remote pond or other location. We were teenagers and it was an exciting way to spend a Saturday.
On one of these adventures we were in search of Silver Dollar Pond to the east of Twitchell Lake in Northern Herkimer County,when we stumbled on our first lumber camp. The telltale signs were pieces of metal hanging from a tree and protruding from the ground, with old bottles half-buried in the forest floor. We made note of the location on our map, a half-mile from Twitchell, and returned to explore it. It wasn’t long before we located the camp dump, from which we dug up the items pictured here.
These and other objects triggered an active discussion on the date of this old camp, with an imaginative re-creation of what life might have been like for a lumberjacks living and working there. [Read more…] about An Adirondack Lumber Camp at Twitchell Lake, 1860-80
One of the most satisfying pastimes for me at our summer home on Twitchell Lake in Big Moose in the Adirondacks in Northern Herkimer County), was taking the camp guide boat out for a spin. That privilege was earned by passing the family test, a solo swim across the lake, about the distance of a football field.
Weighing just over 30 pounds, this unique 14-foot wooden craft sped through the water powered by two oars. A cabin shelf still displays several awards for winning the annual guide boat race. I fondly remember the one-mile hikes to neighboring Oswego Pond, trailing my older brother Burt carrying that guide boat on his shoulders using a hand-carved yoke, my father in the lead bearing the oars and fishing gear. [Read more…] about Logging the Adirondack Interior, Spurring Preservation (1840-60)
In the 1820s the State of New York encouraged Adirondack exploration and settlement, benefiting from the land sales and taxes (when they were paid). Lewis County newspapers were abuzz with praise for the 1825 completion of the Erie Canal, and in less than a year, the Black River Gazette launched a discussion on “improving” the Black River as a connection between the canal and the St. Lawrence River, anticipating the economic benefit Adirondack timber would bring when this opened a commercial route to the rest of the world:
“The quantity of lumber which might be drawn from those vast forests, now covering a soil which would anticipate the desires of a husbandman are beyond all calculation. For it is a fact admitted by all who have the least acquaintance with this section of country, that a greater quantity of wood, timber, lath, staves, boards, shingles, masts and spars might be drawn from this northern triangle, by means of a Canal, than any other district or county in the state.” [Read more…] about Up Every River: Logging The Adirondacks (1820-40)
In the nineteenth century Lewis County settlements east of the Black River were just getting established; most of these included at least one saw mill. By 1820 these settlements were beginning to push their way up the rivers into the Adirondacks, and new mills were being built along their courses. A Copenhagen, NY farmer on Tug Hill, viewing the Adirondack panorama spread out to his east, wrote the following in a Journal & Republican article titled “North Woods Wonder:”
“All the wilderness is strewn with lakes as if some great mirror had been shattered by an Almighty hand, and scattered through the forests for Nature to make her toilet by … And how the rivers meander the woods as the veins of a human hand. There are Beaver, Moose, and Indian, Bog, Grass and Racket… And how rough and shaggy the wilderness is with mountains … Let them pass unnamed.”
One of these “shattered” gems was Twitchell Lake. [Read more…] about Logging The Adirondacks From The West (1800-1820)
One of the best memories I carry from my vacations at our camp on Twitchell Lake in Herkimer County in the Adirondacks is the white pine that marks the western border of our lake-shore property. It’s massive base peaks with twin tops that tower above all the other trees on our shoreline. Peering up into its heights ignited my boyhood imagination, picturing myself atop the Crow’s Nest of some fast clipper ship, scouting for pirates.
There have been several hurricanes and microbursts that have wreaked havoc with the four plus miles of our lake’s shoreline, but my white pine stands firm still, its roots anchored deep in the ancient glacial fill. Even to this day, my brother Tom and I muse about an observation tower roped between those twin tops where we are poised, binoculars in hand, eye-to-eye with the bald eagles that visit the lake, and the loons that daily jet by. This giant stands well over 150 feet tall. [Read more…] about The Great North Woods Before Logging: Twitchell Lake’s Virgin Timber
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the addition of 219 acres of land formally belonging to Camp Boyhaven to the Middle Grove State Forest in the town of Milton, Saratoga County.
Camp Boyhaven was established in 1924 as one of the longest operating Boy Scout camps in New York State, serving scouts from Schenectady County and the greater Capital District. [Read more…] about Camp Boyhaven Property Added To Middle Grove State Forest
Typically, “tree aging” is done by counting annual growth rings, either on a stump or on a sample core taken by a special tool. But the phrase can also refer to veteranization, a process whereby trees are prematurely aged through targeted injury and stress in order to create specialized habitats. It’s much like the ageing of parents, a treatment administered by one’s children to produce worry lines, grey hairs, and character.
We humans whistle past the cemetery, as it were, with refrains like “50 is the new 40,” apparently hoping to trick death into giving us a free decade somewhere along the line. For trees, there is no single definition of old. A mountain-ash is decrepit by fifty, while a bur oak of that age is a mere adolescent. Every species has a lifespan range beyond which no amount of wishful thinking or supplements can help. [Read more…] about Old Trees Play A Unique And Essential Role