The Mini Pearl: News from our Friends at ESSLA


Clean Water & Air

Clean water is without a doubt the most important ecological and economic resource in the Adirondack Park. Our many ponds, lakes, rivers and streams provide for habitat, drinking water and recreation. Property values are intrinsically tied to the water bodies they border.  Acidification from air pollution has for long wreaked havoc on Adirondack waters.  Climate change poses many threats to native species, our winter economy and property damage due to heavy rains and flooding.  Perhaps the greatest threats to our water quality today are invasive species and salinization from road salt.

Increasing acidity levels in many of our Adirondack lakes make for an inhospitable environment to fish populations.  Toxic levels of Mercury break free from rock and soil because of acidic water, making Adirondack fish unhealthy to eat.  Additionally, sewage leakage from aging septic systems add nutrients to water bodies that not only contaminate swimming areas but also creates a suitable environment for aquatic nuisances, such as milfoil and algae blooms.  Road salt in the north country results in elevated salt concentrations in lakes, reducing water circulation and severely affecting drinking water supplies, harming fish and other aquatic life. 

Addressing these major threats to our water quality is no simple task.  In part because of the multi-front assault on our air and water, mitigation requires multiple and varied solutions. Fortunately in the Adirondack Park (READ MORE HERE)



In 1876 Dr. Edward Trudeau moved to the Adirondacks to find respite from the tuberculosis he was suffering from. The illness was sweeping the nation and had already claimed his brother's life. He loved the beauty of the Adirondacks and decided he would live out his last days there.  Amazingly, rest and fresh, crisp mountain air brought renewed vigor and health and a complete healing of the tuberculosis!  The first "cure cottage" was opened by Dr. Trudeau in Saranac Lake as a place for tuberculosis sufferers to heal. The ill people were prescribed rest and plenty of fresh mountain air. It quickly grew to a world renowned health resort for those coming to "take the cure" right here in the Adirondacks. Both patients and physicians reported the benefit of the forest air. Indeed, benefits seemed to be enhanced when the forest air trapped moisture. Speculation among the physicians at that time was that pine trees secreted a healing balm into the air. Truth be told, rest and fresh mountain air are health-inducing remedies to live by even today!  

Burn Ban in Effect Until May 14!

With warmer temperatures and dry conditions, the DEC has issued a burn ban on residential brush burning in all of the Adirondack Park. Without  snow cover and very little rain, the Adirondacks are at a high risk for wild fires in the coming weeks.
Here in Warren and Essex Counties it's been a busy week for the local volunteer fire departments.  There have been many multiple-alarm brush and wildfires.  Smoke could be seen from the East Shore as firefighters and helicopters battled a forest fire on Hoffman Mountain.  
Violators of the state burning regulation are subject to both criminal and civil enforcement actions, with a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense.  To report environmental law violations call 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332) or report online at DEC's website. Please remember to support our local volunteer fire departments in Pottersville and Horicon.  


June 5, 2016 -- Save the date!  This year ESSLA celebrates 50 years of service in preserving and protecting Schroon Lake and River. We will kick off our Golden Year with a family-style dinner at Jimbo's -- the anti-Pasta Dinner.  So many of you have joined us over the years, and we look forward to an even larger turnout this year.  So mark your calendars and come celebrate with us. Be sure to RSVP as seating is limited. You can pay in advance or at the door.  $35 per person for a fabulous meal. We'll also have our traditional basket raffle.  Doors open at 5:00 p.m. 



May 14, 2016 - 9:00 a.m.  ESSLA will hold its 3rd Annual Steward Training Program for new and returning Lake Stewards for the 2016 season. Paul Smith’s College staff together with Lake Association staff will conduct the full day session which will be held at the Horicon Community Center in Brant Lake.  Contact Rich Nawrot if you'd like to participate


Looking to lend a helping hand this season while doing something you enjoy?  ESSLA has many committees that would benefit with a few more hands.  That old proverb, "many hands make light work" are words to live by in an active non-profit organization. Below are ESSLA's standing committees. Even if you only have 2 hours to spare a month, your time would be very much appreciated. Contact us at to help make a difference!

ALAP - Water Testing
Newsletter - The Pearl and Mini Pearl
Scouts - Milfoil surveillance
Terrestrial Invasives
Stewards - Boat Launch and Decon
Website & Social Media
Ambassadors - Outreach & Education


Maple Sugaring in the Adirondacks

Spring 2016

As winter gives way to thaw, maple sugaring season comes alive in the Adirondacks. Groves of "sugar bushes" or maple trees are sporting taps with pails or plastic lines to collect the sweet sap. The Sugar Maple is New York's "official tree," so it's no wonder that New York is the second largest producer of maple syrup in the country. The Adirondacks accounts for nearly a third of the state's production, with sugar bushes dotting much of the Adirondack Park.

Legend has it that an Iroquois woman, the wife of Chief Woksis, was the first to make maple syrup.  When the village chief set out on his hunt one day, he yanked his tomahawk from the tree where he'd thrown it the night before.  The day turned quite warm, causing sap to run from the tree and collect in a vessel that happened to be sitting at its trunk. Noticing the vessel full of "water" the woman used it in preparation for the evening's meal. The boiling that ensued turned sap into syrup, flavoring the meal as never before.  Thus began the tradition of making maple syrup.

Maple syrup has been around for hundreds of years, and there is a certain nostalgia surrounding this tradition that has continued for generations. Nothing spells comfort more than fresh maple syrup on a warm stack of buttermilk pancakes. A far cry from the corn syrup laden grocery store brands, real Grade A or B maple syrup has a taste all its own. Organic by nature, the sap flows from hundred-year old trees when the temperature is just right, late winter, early spring when the temps hit 40 degrees, right around the time of the "sugar moon" (the first full moon in spring).  It takes about 5-1/2 days to collect about 40 gallons of sap, which will make one gallon of syrup. It's a short season, lasting only a few weeks, sometimes beginning in February and other times lasting well into April.  

Once collected, the sap flows into an evaporator, where it is boiled down over many hours to a thick liquid gold syrup.  It is then strained and packed hot into containers and sealed and graded. Grade B syrup was always the secret favorite of connoiseurs, dark amber in color and robust in flavor, but has now mysteriously disappeared from the shelves.  Last year a new grading system was adopted using only Grade A but now with four sub categories, with the favored Grade B now labeled Grade A: Dark Color & Robust Flavor.

Now to the really good news...maple syrup sports numerous health benefits.  It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, especially manganese and zinc. The sap flows from the tree, whose roots garner nourishment directly from the earth in old-growth forests.  Many studies have espoused its anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties because of high levels of polyphenol antioxidants.  It's a better alternative sweetener for digestive health and less likely to cause a sugar crash. 

Maple syrup isn't just for pancakes.  Drizzle it over yogurt or ice cream, add it to roasted vegetables, sweeten drinks. Try it in an Old Fashioned or a maple-flavored milkshake. Then check out these local farms to get your fix of this year's batch:

  • Hidden Hollow Maple Farm Inc. in Warrensburg
  • Toad Hill Maple Farm in Thurman
  • Valley Road Maple Farm in Thurman


   (A Short Story)
Nestled in the woods of an old growth maple woods sets a shack made of tin and lumber.  It is quite some distance from the main road, and past the rutted tractor path, that in years past guided a team of horses. [Read more.] 

Ice Out in March!

March heralds in the ineffable end to our winter here in the 'dacks. Let us not be too boisterous in our joy, for we have mud season looming and still the threat of a snowstorm or three. But  with wildly swinging temps, brooks begin babbling, water dripping and lake ice becoming porous and melting away the last of winter's freeze.  Our clear blue lake on a sunny day is surely a joy to behold. Happy Spring! 


Schroon Lake has a special place in the hearts of so many, including the Hodges family. Lois Levey and David Hodges both grew up camping and visiting relatives on the east shore of Schroon Lake. When they married and were raising their three daughters, the family often rented private camps on Schroon Lake during their summer vacation from Scotia-Glenville schools and General Electric, where Lois worked as a secretary and David as a microwave tube engineer and manager. 
In the early 1970s Lois and David built a seasonal camp at Schroon Lake on "the Narrows". In the late 1980s they built a year-round retirement home on East Shore Drive where family, neighbors and friends often gathered. Forever cherished family memories include swims, boat rides and campfires together on the east shore of Schroon Lake.
Lois and David were dedicated to ESSLA as well, believing in its mission and serving as officers during the mid 1990s. Today, Lois and David's daughters Debbie Karl, Kathy Hoskinson and Carol Molino are also each on Schroon Lake's east shore where they hope to pass onto successive generations their parents' legacy of lifelong love for Schroon Lake and the Adirondack Mountains.
David died in 2007. When Lois passed in December 2015, her daughters felt that donations to ESSLA would be a most fitting memorial tribute to their mother. They are grateful to everyone who has honored Lois' memory in this special way.



ESSLA will have several Board of Directors positions open as of June 2016. We are looking for interested ESSLA members to self-nominate to become a Board member. Our Board consists of individuals who are committed to preserving our Schroon Lake and River environment. ESSLA's dedicated Board of Directors enjoy participation in an interesting and active working Board, with alliances among many other Adirondack lake and environmental groups, as well as interaction with many local and state entities.
The Board meets monthly, except for December. Some of the projects ESSLA is involved in include the steward and boat wash station at the boat launch, scout program for invasive species, asian clam program and terrestrial invasive program.  In addition, we are involved in a number of educational programs including presence at local events with educational materials, outreach to area schools and our floating classroom program.
We also have an active Ambassador Program, website. and social media presence. Other skillsets we are looking for include marketing, grant writing and fundraising.
If you are interested in dedicating some of your time to a worthy cause, or know of someone who might be, please email a brief statement about your interest and skills to Mike Purdy, Chair of Nominations Committee:

Mailing Address:

ESSLA, P.O. Box 206, Adirondack, NY