WANAKENA WEEKLY #55 - 02/18/21 - 02/24/21

Happy Thursday!

– First, true THAW of Winter ‘20/’21. We hit 40! Some weird rain, too. Not enough of a thaw to make a dent, though. GOOD! Someone called asking about High Falls Loop. Would have been PERFECT for cross country skiing last weekend (and the weekend before, and the weekend before, etc...) but Wednesday it got up around 40 degrees and rainy. Big, old snow mumps falling off boughs Wednesday afternoon in the rain. This past weekend was cold-ish, though, 20s by day and sunny and clear. Monday into Tuesday it snowed, enough to plow and make mess. Community Bank in Star Lake re-opened itss lobby to the public this past week. Carol sees a cute ermine over around her place. A saw-whet owl spotted in a tree right here in the village. NCPR ran a story about a multi-state community development corporation which has its eyes on the Adirondacks; the headline read: ADIRONDACKS OVERUN BY RETIREES. You can read that article HERE. You can read the most recent Cranberry Lake Boat Club Newsletter HERE. Here’s a link to the most recent town board meeting minutes (02/10/21): HERE 

– Up at Little Falls Monday. Where the river narrows through steep hills and splits around an island and round boulders. Barely ANY flow up here. Or rather, there’s flow… but it’s buried. DEEP. As you’ll see in the photograph below there is only a single fifteen-ish foot stretch of open, running water. This is a good indicator as to how much snow and ice is piled up over the rapids though the course of the winter. If there is an ice jam – it could be trouble. Hopefully there is a slow and steady thaw through the spring. Currently the ICE JAM DANGER remains LOW. We’ll keep our eyes on it this weekend as Wanakena is poised to experience another THAW.

– After Wednesday’s 40 degree thaw, daytime temps will drop back into the 20s and single digits at night. Warm Weekend ahead – 40s and maybe some rain. Is there going to be a Spring Fling this year? This weather forecast is brought to you by Wanakena’s own PATTIJACKNAN weather team – a Wanakener garage-pole-mounted weather station and crew. THANKS, TEAM! This weather station can be found at: https://www.wunderground.com/weather/us/ny/wanakena/KNYWANAK8 Also, always beautiful photography at the Wanakena Tracks facebook page 

– Wanakener Jean S. submitted this video her son had uncovered on the internet recently. The YouTube video shows a couple of gentlemen hauling-via-sled a TON of gear out to campsite #37 on Cranberry Lake. In this video you’ll see first-hand what the SLUSH on Cranberry Lake we have been reporting about looks like. You’ll also see first-hand what a wilderness experience looks like when you bring practically your whole house out into the woods.

– Snow removal crew out last Thursday minimizing the mounds. Large excavating equipment scooped and dumped a bunch of the mounds around town. You’ll see in the photo below the pile on River Street nearly tripled in size! Well, we’ll have a nice big stash of slush for springtime Margaritas. Thanks Town of Fine!!! 

– Have you heard? Clifton-Fine Central School is looking to hire an ART TEACHER?! Did you also know Clifton-Fine Central School is looking to hire a MUSIC TEACHER!? Also, did you know… The Clifton Community is looking for members to join the board!? Tell a friend or few. There was a 30-something Cranberry Lake 50 hiker in Otto’s this past summer saying he wanted to teach music here. Somebody find him. Or someone else. Either way, great and important opportunities. 

– We’re gearing up for our next open-call, community group exhibition! Putting the final touches on the “call for art” and should have it out to the Public by next weeks’ Wanakena Weekly. If you’re anxious to hear what the show will be about and can’t wait to sink your teeth into it, here’s something to chew on: The exhibition will be celebrating and investigating the JUNK DRAWER. That is all for now. We’ve got plenty of groceries here in the shop to help you throw together breakfast lunch and or dinner. Also, books, maps, knickknacks, snacks, drinks, gifts, necessities and more. Hot coffee, too!

- In honor of out FIFTH BIRTHDAY we released a brand-new book ("zine")! This publication - debuting on Otto's Abode's fifth anniversary - seeks to provide a glimpse into the nuts and bolts of our process. Packed with writing, photography, illustration, mission statements, art exhibitions and descriptions, local information and more! Black and white, 34 pages, 5.5"x8.5". LET US KNOW IF YOU WANT ONE AND WE’LL MAIL ONE TO YOU!!!!! Or, c’mon down to the shop and pick one up for $5. Also, don’t forget to check out our grocery section! You may go home with breakfast lunch and/or dinner. ALSO Claude and Ola stopped by this past weekend and dropped off a few copies of their BRAND NEW CD!

– In preparation for our upcoming group exhibition, we’ve relocated the Judy James Exhibition over by the coffee bar. The paintings are still on view and still for sale. C’mon down and check out the work of this Keene Valley, NY painter! We met her this past fall when she was doing the fifty. She had on THREE HATS!

– This past weekend the course was in the BEST shape so-far of the season. And we’ll have you know… the whole winter season has been spectacular for snow croquet. We were able to dig out a couple nice tunnels though the hand-piled snow mounds. The Course played well, banked turns firmed-up and rollin’ nice! We could tell you more about it, or you can come down and check it out for yourself. Though, it has deteriorated since the thaw a little bit. Someone commented: "If you've got time to build igloos you've got too much time on your hands." We then turned to our igloo building companion and said: "We thought you said you grandma was cool...."

- IS OPEN AND HAS ANNOUNCED: Due to C19 and warm winter trends, we will have 2 separate schedules. #1 IF THE SNOWMOBILE TRAILS ARE DECENTLY RIDABLE: we will be open regular days and hours (T, W, Th 8am-3pm. Fri & Sat 8am-7pm. Closed Sunday & Monday). #2 IF THE TRAILS ARE NOT DECENTLY RIDABLE, we will only be open Th 8am-3pm. Fri & Sat 8am-7pm. ***Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we encourage take-out - and WILL NOT let in more than we are allowed. If the door is locked, we are at capacity. But if you’d still like a meal to go, order online and it will be prepared in the order received - or - think ahead and schedule a pickup time. Come in smaller groups. CHECK OUT THEIR TRAIL CAM: https://www.gotsnowcams.com/gotsnowcams.htm 

WANAKENA HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION – The Wanakena Walking Tour is “closed” for the winter… but deep in the bowels somewhere, some folks are hard at work actualizing the WANAKENA HISTORY CENTER. Here is a message from their website: Five equal partners (made up of groups of families and friends) are forming an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) each pledging $25,000 for a total of $125,000 to own, renovate and restore one of the original Rich Lumber Company houses at 21 Second Street to its original facade. Their dream and intent are to provide a location for a Wanakena History Center where the WHA can continue its mission to encourage greater knowledge of the history and to display and make available for study: artifacts, relics, books, manuscripts, papers, photographs, and other records and materials relating to the history of the State of New York and particularly of Wanakena and the surrounding area. 

RANGER SCHOOL - RANGER SCHOOL IS IN SESSION FOR THE 2020/21 SCHOOLYEAR, BUT THE CAMPUS IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC!!! Here’s a message from the Ranger School: The Ranger School's James F. Dubuar Memorial Forest will be closed to the public for an indefinite amount of time beginning Saturday, August 15, 2020. The Cranberry Lake 50 trail, which passes in front of the school, will remain open. This action is necessary to protect students and staff as they begin a new academic year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but it is a critical precaution as we work to ensure the health and success of the Class of 2021. Thank you for your cooperation. Here’s a story about it all: https://www.nny360.com/news/stlawrencecounty/property-sales/article_eeec3094-901a-531a-8a18-ab1b991b3a79.html CHECK OUT THEIR TRAIL CAM: https://www.esf.edu/rangerschool/webcam.htm 

WANAKENA CHURCH - CLOSED FOR WINTER! WESTERN ADIRONDACK PRESBATYRIAN CHUCH zoom-zooms every Sunday at 10:45 using meeting #6663654813 and every morning at 9am for a Morning Prayer. WANAKENA CEMETERY ASSOCIATION announced that Cremation Remains burial has gone up from $150 to $250. Also, there is no longer a backhoe charge for cremation burial because they don’t use a backhoe for cremation burials any longer. 

NEW CAR BRIDGE - AS OF 11/25/20 THE NEW WANAKENA CAR BRIDGE IS OPEN FOR PUBLIC USE!!!! AS OF 12/22/20 THE TEMPORARY BRIDGE IS FULLY DISMANTLED!!! And as they’ve been saying around Wanakena: WE’LL BE DRIVING OVER THAT NEW BRIDGE IN NO TIME!!!!! And ALAS! WE DO! Now that the bridge is WIDE OPEN, watch out for speedsters!!!


: Stone Manor Diner and Motel is OPEN! The Clifton Community Library will return to curbside service on WEDNESDAY'S ONLY. Tooley Pond Duck Decoy Showroom in Cranberry Lake is OPEN (call first)!!!!!!! John Dragun NEON ARTWORK and MORE down in Windfall… OPEN! Check out the Cranberry Lake Boat Club and The North Shore Hub on Facebook. The Cranberry Lake Fire Department will NOT be checking and facebook-reporting the ice thickness as in years prior: FISH AT YOUR OWN RISK! LAKESIDE GENERAL STORE IN CRANBERRY LAKE IS CLOSED FOR THE LONG WINTER SEASON. 

OUT WEST: AMERICAN LEGION has been WIDE OPEN! Todd Hardware, Adirondack Pharmacy and Circle K in Star Lake are OPEN! Though we heard Circle K no longer sells beer! YIKES! UB’s, and Adirondack Rustics in Oswegatchie are OPEN! Community Bank in Star open! Mountain Gate Redemption near Benson Mines is open FOR PORCH SERVICE ONLY. There will be NO ICE SKATING AT THE AREANA this winter – cause, ya know: covid. Bargain Hunter says The Town of Fine Offices are CLOSED to the public ‘cause of COVID-19. Coffee Fever IS COVID-CLOSED. Both Twin Lakes and SOS in Star Lake got a fresh paint job but remain temporarily closed since March 2020. The following is copy-pasted from the Fine Town Board Meeting hours from Wednesday 11/11/2020: Jeremy wanted the board to be aware that the Dollar General is looking into putting a store at the former Great American site. This would not be required to go to site plan review since it is not a change of use. HERE IS A RECENT ADIRONDACK ENTERPRISE ARTICLE ABOUT A DOLLAR GENERAL IN WILLMINGTON, NY (NEAR WHITEFACE MOUNTAIN) https://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com/news/local-news/2021/02/plans-submitted-for-wilmington-dollar-general/

KIM AND THOMS LOST DOG REPORT: As of today, there are NO lost dogs in Wanakena.


Any questions, comments, concerns, trail condition inquiries, legends, jokes, animal sightings, cartoons, etc… Feel free to email otto@ottosabode.org or call 3158483008 or pop-in the shop! Wanakena Weekly archive here: http://www.ottosabode.org/p/wanakena-weekly.html Also, we probably wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to publish your submission! 

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every manis a piece of the continent, part of the main… any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
-John Donne (1624) 

A MESSAGE FROM THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Wanakena’s Logo is “Gateway to Wilderness”. And it certainly is so, with our community at the intersect of several miles of river which flow through forest preserve and the navigable waters of Cranberry Lake. This location brings so many opportunities for recreation of all sorts, a day fishing to a week in the back county. Regardless of which pursuit an individual is seeking, what the experience has in common is the expanse of forest which is developing without regular intervention from humans….or is it. We can all agree (I hope) that our trails, camping, boats, motors, etc. have some impact. Whether you think this is good or bad, I’ll not go there. Your call. My topic of concern on this front is the potential for invasive plants, insects and aquatic life to become established in the wilderness and waterways adjacent to Wanakena. At the headwaters of Cranberry Lake, there is an incoming current from Oswegatchie River which can carry invasive plants out on to the lake proper. As an example, a broken segment of Japanese knotweed can flow down river, land on shore and become established. All it takes is one little piece. With two trail heads located near the hamlet, the boots of folks (and their pets), from who knows where, can carry plant, microbe or fungal material in to the wilderness areas which can then become established. That said, for many of the invasive species we know of, birds are just as likely to be the distribution vector. It gets daunting to review the list of invasives – seems there are more and more each month. As a forester I have seen forest stands so completely inundated with honeysuckle and buckthorn that there was absolutely NO chance of successfully recruiting young trees. It’s sad and it is reality. Once established these populations become expensive and labor intensive to remove, if not impossible. There is a lot we cannot control on this front. However, we know there is Japanese knotweed and honeysuckle in the area. Wanakena is the gateway. I ask that each of us be vigilant for invasive species and when found eradicate them before they can be carried out in to our beautiful back yard. These populations are still manageable. There are several great resources available to assist with identification and control methods.

Here are a few links if you would like to learn more:



I am willing to help with any eradiation projects in Wanakena! Thanks for your time.

Bitsy (Wanakena, NY)