Adirondack AchangelsAfter more than a quarter-century of protecting New York State’s alpine zone, the acclaimed Adirondack High Peaks Summit Stewardship Program is being recognized once again owing to a new publication. Adirondack Archangels: Guardians of the High Peaks, published by the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), is a newly released collection of essays by and about individuals who have worked to protect the Adirondack Park and its highest peaks. The writers and subjects are people whose life trajectories and sense of adventure have bound them to the park, ultimately casting them as guardians of this unique resource.

The collection is a tribute to the late Edwin H. “Ketch” Ketchledge, Ph.D., who in 1989 led the creation of the Summit Stewardship Program. It comprises thirty-nine essays and includes a foreword by celebrated writer Bill McKibben and over 250 photographs.

The essays were contributed by a range of writers, including Phil Brown, Tony Goodwin, Mary Thill, Carl Heilman II, Neil Woodworth, Pete Biesemeyer, John Sheehan, Terry Martino, William Jay O’Hern, Julia Goren, Tim Barnett, and Joseph Martens. Photographs were contributed by Nancie Battaglia, Carl Heilman II, and Brendan Wiltse, among others.
All proceeds from Adirondack Archangels go to support the Summit Stewardship Program. A portion will be used for annual expenses and a portion will be placed in the #507 Fund for the Summit Stewardship Program, an endowment fund through the Adirondack Foundation. Production costs of this title were underwritten by an anonymous donor. Paper for the printing was donated by Domtar Corporation.

The Summit Stewardship Program, one of the most successful environmental programs in the Northeast, focuses on educating hikers, protecting and monitoring the alpine summits, and training the next generation of environmental stewards. Since the program’s inception in 1989, Summit Stewards have spoken with more than 410,000 hikers on the summits of Mounts Marcy and Colden, Algonquin and Wright Peaks, Cascade Mountain, and the fifteen other High Peaks that host alpine vegetation. During the same period, one hundred twenty-one individuals have served as stewards. The program is a partnership of the Adirondack Mountain Club, the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Ketchledge, who died in June 2010, was a botanist, hiker, devoted teacher and steward, and professor emeritus of the State University of New York–Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF). He also was a World War II veteran, an experience central to his adult identity, as described by his son James Ketchledge in the book’s opening essay. Ketch’s dedication, resourcefulness, and passion led him to intervene in the protection process for the High Peaks at a critical time.

Adirondack Archangels is 304 pages, 6″ x 9″, and includes over 250 color and black and white photos, some of which are archival images. It is available in softcover for $24.95 at book and outdoor supply stores, at ADK stores in Lake George and Lake Placid, through mail order by calling (800) 395-8080, or online at

The Adirondack Mountain Club, founded in 1922, is a 30,000-member nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the New York State Forest Preserve and other parks, wild lands, and waters through conservation and advocacy, environmental education, and responsible recreation. ADK publishes twenty titles, including outdoor recreation guides and maps and armchair traveler books, and conducts extensive trails, education, conservation, and natural history programs. Profits from the sale of ADK publications help underwrite the cost of these programs.

For more information, contact ADK, 814 Goggins Road, Lake George, NY 12845; (518) 668-4447; or visit ADK’s website at

Thus we continue the work that Ketch started: preserving the last vestige of New York State’s alpine heritage.
—Julia Goren, ADK Education Director & Summit Steward Coordinator

If you’re a veteran of the Adirondack Park, then you’ll enjoy reading about friends of yours. If you’re a newcomer to the Blue Line, then this is a handy guide to some of the people who make this place so special.
—Bill McKibben