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Adirondack Explorer

April, 2013

Editorial: Bring on the broadband

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Back in the 1930s as the United States was struggling through the Great Depression, rural parts of the country were at an even greater disadvantage. Many areas had little hope of creating jobs, and homes lacked the basic comforts that urban areas offered, because they had no electric service. As part of the New Deal, President Franklin Roosevelt, who had expanded electric service as New York governor, signed the Rural Electrification Act. He said: Yes, electricity is a modern necessity of life, not a luxury. That necessity ought to be found in every village, in every home and on every >>More


March, 2013

Save our small schools

Few institutions are as important to the quality of small-town life as the local school. The public school does far more than prepare the next generation for success—as essential as that mission is. It can be the social center of a community, a major employer, and an economic driver—a key factor in whether families choose to move into a community and remain through the years they raise their children. When the local school is in trouble the well-being of everyone around it is at risk. And throughout the Adirondacks, schools face challenges so daunting they call into question their future >>More


January, 2013

There’s still work to do

Two years ago Andrew Cuomo moved into the governor’s mansion at a time when issues of concern to the Adirondacks were languishing amid financial crisis and political neglect. Governor David Paterson showed no understanding of or interest in the Park; political turmoil had incapacitated the legislature, and budget austerity fell particularly hard on programs important to the well-being of the Adirondacks, including the Environmental Protection Fund, the Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Adirondack Park Agency. Now, midway through Cuomo’s term, the political environment, at least as it pertains to the Adirondacks, is improved, and he can point to important >>More


November, 2012

Look to the hamlets

When it comes to protecting the Adirondack Park for future generations we naturally turn first to preserving wilderness and natural wonders. Everything else flows from this first principle enshrined in Article 14 of the state constitution and other legislation. But safeguarding the well-being of the human communities within the Park is also essential. And despite the rhetorical excesses of some pro-development groups, these mandates are not mutually exclusive. Being in favor of preserving open lands does not mean being opposed to development—it means favoring smart development, done right and in the right places. What places? Villages and hamlets. For both >>More


September, 2012

A great day for the Park

One of the most exciting acquisitions of land for the Forest Preserve in years has been expected since the Nature Conservancy bought 161,000 acres of land from Finch Paper in 2007. But as the state government fell into financial crisis and opposition to the purchase grew even among previous supporters, questions lingered. Would the state fulfill its promise to buy sixty-five thousand acres of the Finch land for preservation and public use as Forest Preserve? (The Nature Conservancy sold nearly all of the remaining lands with conservation easements to private timber interests.) Doubts vanished in early August when Governor Andrew >>More


September, 2012

Work together for our future

The Adirondack Park has a reputation for being a place where policy debates can become bruising, bare-knuckle affairs. Those who lived through the turbulent years following the creation of the Adirondack Park Agency in 1971 can recall a time when even the most optimistic might despair of ever finding a subject on which constructive conversation was possible. As former APA Chairman Ross Whaley famously quipped (or lamented), it seems that the Adirondacks is a place “where people would rather fight than win.” In some ways, this shouldn’t be surprising. In trying to shape the future of a rare and precious >>More


July, 2012

Spare the bobcat

The bobcat, an elusive and beautiful Adirondack neighbor, has managed to do what the wolf and the cougar could not. It has held its own against the trophy hunters, fur traders, and those who through fear or misplaced sense of sport take aim at the wild predator. In the Adirondack Park and other regions of the state bobcats continue to pad through the forest. We should celebrate this victory of wild nature over senseless destruction and do what we can to extend the bobcat’s reign. Instead, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed expanding the hunting and trapping of >>More


May, 2012

Step up invasives campaign

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From Asian clams to Eurasian watermilfoil, from zebra mussels to water chestnut, invaders threaten Adirondack waterways. Aquatic invasives can foul boats, clog water systems, and choke once-clear waters, spoiling both the natural character and recreational opportunities of the Park’s lakes. If we are to defend the wild waters that are at the heart of the Park’s character, we can’t be passive in defense of our lakes, rivers, and streams. Volunteer efforts and the honor system for keeping boats from spreading contamination have helped slow invasive species, but now it’s time to raise the level of alert and take the offensive. >>More


March, 2012

Weak law permits bad plan

On January 20, seven years after it was first proposed, an application for a misbegotten sprawl of a development in Tupper Lake known as the Adirondack Club and Resort won approval from the Adirondack Park Agency. The project became marginally less bad during a process that included more than a year of failed mediation, hearings that produced 4,500 pages of transcripts, and a series of three APA commission meetings. But less bad is not good, and the ACR, a $500 million, 6,200-acre development with 660 residential units and recreational amenities, remains financially dubious and environmentally flawed. It still does not >>More


January, 2012

Pass up the salt please

Anyone who drives in the Adirondacks in winter understands the need to reduce ice on the roadways. We have to keep our roads open and safe both for the sake of our drivers and an economy that depends on transportation. At the same time, anyone who considers the environmental and financial cost of strewing road salt as profligately as we do in the Park can see that there are better ways to keep our roads passable. Study after study has traced environmental damage to the sodium chloride spread on state and local roads. Similarly they have documented the financial toll >>More