Chair John Barron
The Laurentian Chapter has many links with other organizations, and they have generated much of the news this season. The theme got established early, on May 3, when I attended a meet-and-greet of the Raquette River Blueway Corridor project (RRBC) at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. The RRBC is a diverse group of people and organizations interested in promoting the Raquette’s value as an outdoor destination, hence leading to improved enjoyment by residents and visitors and perhaps even generating a bit of extra tourism revenue as well. Fifty or so people came, representing towns, schools and universities, arts organizations, utilities, tourist lodges, and in my case the chapter. Many useful ideas were exchanged on how we could cooperate to advance common goals. The chapter always runs trips near the Raquette, and this summer we’ll be going to special effort to appreciate and promote it. The RRBC has designated July 31 to August 8 as Raquette River Awareness Week, with special events occurring over the whole length of the river; the chapter is contributing several events, indicated on the outing schedule.
In late May I went to ADK’s Black Fly Affair fund-raising event in Lake George. It was an elegant— well, somewhat elegant— formal ball for which the dress code was black tie optional, hiking boots mandatory. Some guests wore evening gowns and tuxes; some wore the top of a tux and hiking short bottoms; one came dressed as a black fly; there were bug hats; and everyone, indeed, wore hiking boots. There was excellent food and free beer and wine provided by sponsors. The activity, apart from dancing, focused on an auction of donated items to raise money for ADK. There was a vast selec- tion of items, rising to exclusive time-share vacations and a Hornbeck canoe. Much enthusiasm surrounded the traditional chapter baskets – collections of small mementoes representing each chapter of ADK. Our theme for the Laurentian Chapter basket was “The Friendly Border,” and the collection included many items from St. Lawrence County, Ontario, and Quebec. It generated a lot of excited discussion and a fine little bidding war, selling for quite a good price. Blair and Marg Madore deserve much credit for finding sponsors, contributing items themselves, and organizing the basket.
On the last Saturday in May the chapter launched what we hope will become a series of joint projects with the DEC to improve recreational access to wild lands. The plan on this day was to build or refurbish four bridges on the path beside the Grasse River below Lampson Falls. A crew of about a dozen chapter members, as well as DEC Senior Forester John Wood, arrived before 8:00 in the morning and unloaded an impressive quantity of construction materials, supplies, and tools at the top of the handicapped access trail. By 10 a.m. the whole array had been carried to the bridge sites, and before noon the four bridges were fully assembled and installed. Joan and Dick Kepes then hosted the hungry workers with snacks and beverages on their deck. A round of applause is due to John Omohundro, Cliff & Gloria Daly and their expert crew, as well as to John Wood and his colleagues at the DEC.