This November’s election may be an offyear, but it’s an important one for New Yorkers. The ballot will include the question of whether to hold a convention to make changes to the New York State Constitution, a chance that comes along once every twenty years. New York State residents with ties to the Adirondacks should be conflicted: on the one hand, their state constitution is in desperate need of revision—punctuated by a string of corruption convictions against state leaders in recent years. The changes needed to fix this problem aren’t likely to come from lawmakers themselves through constitutional amendment. But >>More
The Adirondack Explorer joins the largest Adirondack environmental groups in saying “no” to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s conceptual proposal to classify a small area of the Boreas Ponds as Intensive Use for the purpose of putting seasonal lodging and dining facilities there to continue the hut-to- hut system linking trails to community amenities. We haven’t seen any details—nor has the public. What we know we’ve learned from environmental groups, whose opinions were tested a few months ago by representatives for the governor. In fact, more than six months after the last public hearings concluded and the deadline for comments to the >>More
By Tracy Ormsbee In early April, twelve more businesses in the vicinity of the former Finch, Pruyn lands received a total of $500,000 in Upper Hudson Recreation Hub Microenterprise grants backed by the Nature Conservancy. The money pays for businesses to capitalize on recreational opportunities, such as hiking, rafting, canoeing, and fishing, on the newly protected lands, including the Essex Chain Lakes, Boreas Ponds, stretches of the upper Hudson River, and the two MacIntyre Tracts near Tahawus. The state acquired the Finch, Pruyn lands—sixty-five thousand acres, in all—from the conservancy over the past several years. There is a long history >>More
Even as debate over how the state should classify newly acquired lands continues, creative ideas from state and local officials point to exciting ways for local communities and the Park as a whole to benefit from the expansion of the Forest Preserve. The state’s phased purchase of sixty-five thousand acres of former Finch, Pruyn and Company timberlands over the past five years has held out the promise of sustainable economic development from the start. As spectacular natural attractions like OK Slip Falls, the Essex Chain Lakes, and Boreas Ponds are open to the public for the first time, they should >>More
What to do when as a nation we are preparing to inaugurate as president a divisive figure whose campaign behavior has invigorated the kind of bigotry and intolerance that we should have put to rest long ago? Whose policies are hard to discern amid a torrent of tweets, threats, and campaign-promise reversals?
When Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the state’s purchase of Boreas Ponds and the surrounding land for the Forest Preserve it was an occasion for lofty rhetoric.
“Once in a rare while,” he said, “. . . you get a chance to do something that makes a difference forever. Forever. That literally leaves our children a place that is a better place than we inherited.”
As stirring as those words were, they will sound empty if the state doesn’t rise to the occasion and commit to using these lands in a way that truly preserves their natural wonder for the next generations.
By Tom Woodman Reporting in this edition of the Explorer shows the challenges facing the state as it tries to keep up with recreational pressures in parts of the Adirondacks. It also points to strategies that can help us preserve the natural character of the region and still serve the hundreds of thousands of visitors the Park attracts each year. Driving both the problems and the innovative responses are financial constraints. Overall, the story is at once disheartening and encouraging. Staffing at the state Department of Environmental Conservation has not recovered to adequate levels following cutbacks from 2008 through 2010. >>More
Since its creation in 1971 the Adirondack Park Agency has borne the responsibility of shaping the character of the Adirondack Park. Its decisions on how to manage state Forest Preserve and regulate the use of private lands set priorities and chart a future course. Its actions provide the answers to big questions: Will we value our critical natural areas? Will we respect a legal framework that consistently applies principles of preservation across the Park? Or will we substitute political opportunism and expedience and weaken laws designed to safeguard a vulnerable region for generations to come? Too often in recent years the APA has failed to take the firm, politically courageous stands that effective stewardship demands. >>More
By Tom Woodman With this issue, Explorer writer Mike Lynch completes a yearlong series on the impact of climate change on the Adirondacks—its wildlife and ecosystems as well as its human communities. One of the lessons we can draw from his work is that when we study climate change in a particular region like the Adirondacks we find great complexity. The intricate interaction of species and ecosystems requires extensive research to understand and is affected by numerous factors. One inquiry leads to another; historical data can be in short supply; and particularly when it comes to forecasting the future there >>More
By Tom Woodman The Adirondack Park is a vast area, and proper stewardship of its sensitive and interconnected regions—from High Peaks to wild rivers to boreal wetlands—requires us to think and act on a landscape scale. If regulators approach important Park management questions on a piecemeal, case-by-case basis, they abandon the broad perspective and bedrock principles that should govern their actions. Instead, they favor opportunism and convenience. Sadly, shortsighted maneuvering by state officials has too often taken the place of big-picture wisdom in recent years. As a result the legal protections created to preserve the Park for future generations have >>More