A botanist by training, Michael Kudish was a long-time Professor in the Division of Forestry at Paul Smith's College; he is now retired.
He received his PhD at the New York State College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry at Syracuse. His dissertation, Vegetational History of the Catskill High Peaks, was the beginning of a lifelong study of the vegetational development of the Catskills and the Adirondacks since the end of the Ice Age. He wrote a number of articles on their forest history, as well as three books on the vegetation of the Adirondacks: Paul Smith's Flora I (1975), Paul Smith's Flora II (1981), and Adirondack Upland Flora: An Ecological Perspective (The Chauncy Press, 1992), which describe in detail the plant-soil relations and the forest history of the north-central Adirondacks.
When Kudish arrived in the Adirondacks in 1971 to teach at Paul Smith's College, he found no single, handy reference which could help him locate all the regional railroad grades and adjacent industries. As railroad history was useful in reconstructing the history of lumbering and regrowth of forests, he decided to compile such a work for himself. That book, entitled Where Did the Tracks Go: Following Railroad Grades in the Adirondacks (The Chauncy Press, 1985), is now out of print. Railroads of the Adirondacks: A History (Fleischmanns, N.Y.: Purple Mountain Press, 1996) included three times the detail and more lines and branches treated than in Tracks. In addition, more than 200 meticulously drawn maps were included along with historic and contemporary photographs. The author shared his 25-year study with others interested in the Adirondacks, its history, forestry, mining, hotels and railroads.
His most recent version of Where Did The Tracks Go is in three volumes, covering the Western, Central, and Eastern Adirondacks, and a fourth volume covering railroads in the Catskills. For more, see catskill.net, Mountain Railroads
See also Forest Fires for a newspaper account of Kudish's work.