Landmark Conservation Deal Offers A First Glimpse Of New Wilderness Once closed to the public, adventure seekers can now explore a wild stretch of New York state's Hudson and Opalescent Rivers.
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Landmark Conservation Deal Offers A First Glimpse Of New Wilderness

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Landmark Conservation Deal Offers A First Glimpse Of New Wilderness

Landmark Conservation Deal Offers A First Glimpse Of New Wilderness

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A section of the Hudson River in New York's Adirondack Mountains is open to people in canoes for the first time in decades. When deciding how to cover this news, North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann knew there was only one thing to do.

BRIAN MANN, BYLINE: We've been paddling a couple of hours when Phil Brown and I reach a long stretch of golden, sun-struck water. The Hudson River is curtained here by bright green cedars. In the distance rises a sweeping line of mountains still dotted with snow.

PHIL BROWN: We can see the sheer cliffs of Wallface. I mean, the terrain here, even though we're surrounded by mountains, this valley that we're in is pretty broad. And so the river's broad, and there's a lot of, you know, marshy grasses. It's very placid.

MANN: Phil and I have been paddling and hiking together for 16 years. He's written some of the definitive guide books for the Adirondacks, and he's always showing me cool places to go. On this day, we're exploring a stretch of the Hudson River just purchased a few weeks ago by New York State. Until now, you could paddle short sections, but you couldn't go ashore. You couldn't stop to fish or camp or have a picnic. We turn from the Hudson and paddle up one of its tributaries, a winding mountain stream call the Opalescent.

So I'm paddling upstream now and really working against the current of the Opalescent. And what that means is that I'm also sort of winding deeper up into the wilderness here.

The idea that this same wild water will eventually flow down the Hudson River to New York City seems impossible. After paddling hard for an hour, we stop on a sandbar to rest our backs and eat lunch.

I have a bag of figs.

BROWN: That's a lot of work for a bag of figs.

MANN: That was kind of a lot of work in that last stretch.

BROWN: Yeah, it's getting - the current is definitely - you feel it.

MANN: When I ask Phil why he makes trips like this, working really hard to reach the middle of nowhere, he grins and shrugs.

BROWN: I just love exploring places like this. I mean, it's a beautiful day. It's a beautiful river, and it's just a nice way to spend some time.

MANN: We set off again and let the current take us home. It sweeps us effortlessly down through thick forests, through marshy bogs busy with spring peepers. For NPR News, I'm Brian Mann in New York's Adirondack Mountains.

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