Monday, May 30, 2011

WWPP Update and Chat with the Executive Director

One of the great things about living in the Saratoga / Glens Falls region is the easy access to outdoor recreation. The Adirondacks are just stone's throw away, but there are some amazing outdoor resources literally out the back door. If you live in or near Saratoga and don't already know about the Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park, its outdoor recreation opportunities and interesting ecology, you need to get introduced. The lupine is in bloom and the first hatch of Karner blue butterflies are emerging, so now is a great time to visit.

WWPP has been featured in several news stories recently, including pieces in The Saratogian and the Times Union about the restored fire tower that was dedicated recently, and a pair of pieces I wrote for Spirit of Saratoga (a monthly magazine published by The Saratogian) last month. The Spirit of Saratoga pieces don't link well, so they're reprinted below:

Oasis for Butterflies, Wildlife, People

Many area residents are familiar with the Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park for its recreational opportunities, but some may not realize that those protected lands and open spaces owe their existence to the presence of a small, but strikingly beautiful, endangered butterfly. The Karner blue butterfly once inhabited a broad geographic range from Maine to Minnesota and north into Canada, but now exists in just a few locations in the northeast. In the mid-1990s, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Town of Wilton partnered to form the Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park (WWPP) with the goal of not only preserving habitat for the Karner blue butterfly, but also providing recreational and educational opportunities for people. Since that time, approximately 2400 acres of land has been protected with 14 miles of trails for recreational use, and WWPP now supports the largest population of Karner blues in the northeast.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On Distance Running

Last night I ran a 12-miler, my final long run before the Covered Bridges Half Marathon on June 5. It's been nearly a decade since I ran that far, but having run a marathon each year from 1995 to 2001, I found myself in familiar territory. Make no mistake, there’s a world of difference between training for a half marathon and a marathon: the training commitment for a marathon is easily 3 to 4 times what’s required for a half. But at 13.1 miles, the half is long enough to require long training runs, and it’s those long runs that develop physical and mental toughness.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mountain Coaster and Zip Line planned for West Mountain this summer

West Mountain received approval from the Queensbury Planning Board earlier this week to construct and operate a mountain coaster and zip line. This afternoon I spoke with Mike Barbone, owner and General Manager of West Mountain, about the plans.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mohonk Preserve: 05/13/2011

Late afternoon sun while climbing in the Gunks

It looked as though our week-long stretch of beautiful weather was going to close out with a rainy weekend, so Beth made quick arrangements for us to meet up with friends in the Gunks on Friday for our first day of climbing this season.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's May and yes, there's still skiing

Wanna ski this weekend? You can. As of this writing, Jay Peak expects to re-open for Saturday and Sunday, May 7 and 8. Go to their website for more information, including lift ticket and lodging deals. For a first-hand, skis-on-snow account of last weekend's conditions at Jay, check out this trip report from May 1.

Photo credit: Jay Peak Resort, April 30, 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Upcoming Lake George Land Conservancy Events

The Lake George Land Conservancy is a land trust dedicated to preserving the natural, scenic and recreational resources of the Lake George region. Among the parcels LGLC has protected is the Cat and Thomas Mountain Preserve near Bolton Landing, one of my favorite local hiking spots. There will be a spring cleanup at Cat Mountain on Saturday, May 28, from 9-11am, and LGLC is looking for volunteers to help out.

Readers might also consider LGLC's Dine for the Lake event this Thursday, May 5 at the Adirondack Pub and Brewery, where 20% of the evening's dinner proceeds will go to LGLC. For more information on either event, contact the LGLC at

photo credit: LGLC