About Tim Rowland

Tim Rowland is a columnist, author and outdoors writer living in Jay.

Reader Interactions


  1. Boreas says

    Sad statistics on affordable housing. Trends will likely continue until there are sufficient incentives for developers to build affordable housing instead of or addition to McMansions for the wealthy. Perhaps counties requiring 3 affordable units built for every luxury residence built before an application is granted.

    • Thomas Pondysh says

      Housing and people are sparse…and that’s the way we like it. We know our way to Syracuse but most of us don’t go any more often than we have to, so don’t try to draw the masses here. We neither want nor need them. You know what else is sparse here? Roads and cars. Many towns have no traffic lights. I graduated from the local k-12 central school in the largest graduating class ever. 42 kids graduated that year. I knew all of them, many of their parents and some of their grandparents. Life is good.

  2. adkresident says

    Yes we need “affordable housing”, definitely section eight, it will bring in the best and brightest people to contribute.

    How about all the people who believe in “affordable housing” donate theirs
    so these people have a cheap place to live.

    “The numbers also show a general dearth of children in the Adirondacks. While nationally, a quarter of the population is under the age of 18, the number of children in the Adirondacks is 17%. In parts of Hamilton County, nearly 90% of the population is adult.”

    Yea if you include places like the Harlem or the Bronx you would have a higher number of children.

    This is a filler article that does not provide any real data.

  3. Kierin Bell says

    I watched the meeting on Webex specifically to watch the population count presentation. Barge’s methodology for estimating Park population is very innovative: many census blocks that are adjacent to the Blue Line –the lowest level of granularity in the public census dataset–are divided into halves by it. To deal with this, my understanding is that Barge has been using NYS Parcel Centroid Data since at least the 2010 Census, calculating the percentage of occupied units inside of the Blue Line versus outside of it based on these centroids and then dividing up the population tabulations for those blocks using the resulting proportions.

    Although I don’t know the extent to which the total population count has been affected, I have serious questions as to the veracity of this methodology with the latest census data, which utilizes a new method of obfuscation to protect privacy known as differential privacy. Experts have raised serious concerns that this new technique will cause important calculations that use the data to be inaccurate (https://apnews.com/article/business-census-2020-technology-e701e313e841674be6396321343b7e49); and this in fact has happened, as populations in certain blocks have been demonstrably and grossly misrepresented in the data (https://apnews.com/article/religion-wisconsin-new-york-tampa-florida-68c96e7eb701da74ae7c8df3c3476705). Even Dr. Ron Jarmin, the acting director of the Census Bureau, himself warns against relying upon the granularity of census block data, such as in the way outlined above: “Noise in the block-level data will require a shift in how some data users typically approach using these census data. Instead of looking for precision in an individual block, we strongly encourage data users to aggregate, or group, blocks together.” (https://www.census.gov/newsroom/blogs/director/2021/07/redistricting-data.html)

    We at least need to look towards this latest population data with skepticism, even when only considering it as a snapshot of population on the census reference data of April 1st, 2020. Better yet, an in depth statistical analysis of population changes in these contested blocks should be performed to look for red flags (I have a few ideas…). And ideally–if APA and NYS are going to utilize this data in shaping policy–the Census Bureau, since they are unlikely to change all blocks to exactly follow the Blue Line, should probably be providing APA with a specially tailored dataset for internal use by APA.

    All of this highlights the huge challenges faced by the APA GIS staff and their hard work to constantly improve the tools needed by the APA to carry out their mission. It is possible that these concerns may be overblown on my part, and that Barge’s experience with the data may give him good reason to be more confident. But a few remarks that he made has led me to believe that he himself noticed some discrepancies vis a vis the peripheral blocks. Lastly, Jerry Delaney’s comment on overlooked private easement lands I found particularly insightful; the PROP_CLASS (9**) of the NYS Parcel Centroid Data may provide for an easy way of gaining more insight into this.

    • John Barge says

      Kierin, Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear in my presentation. I used my methodology applying the ratio of residential parcel centroids for blocks straddling the park boundary in 2000 and 2010.

      Due to advocacy of the APA, the Governor’s office, and others in NYS demographic and economic work, the US Census Bureau DID AGREE to break all census blocks at the park boundary for the 2020 Decennial Census and for future census enumeration. This is significant for park analysis!

      I just added all NYS census blocks to my Park Census application referenced in the article. Previously it only had the in-park blocks. Now, if you zoom in to the neighborhood level along the edge of the park, you can see how the blocks no longer straddle the park boundary. Also, click on any of these blocks and the pop-up will show aggregate population, housing, and race information with the adjacent blocks.
      – Regards, John Barge

      • Kierin Bell says

        John Barge, I’m glad my comment made its way to you. Thanks for the additional information! Not needing to perform interpolation on peripheral census blocks, along with a baked-in ability for the public to easily analyse aggregate populations of adjacent blocks, is huge! (That was definitely part of the confusion.) However, I did not explain my full concern very well in my initial comment. My real question relates to the extent of the noisiness introduced by differential privacy–more the effects of splitting towns rather than those of “splitting” blocks. Since total demographics for towns split by the Blue Line are essentially tabulations for ad hoc aggregations of blocks–not officially recognized and targeted by the Bureau’s algorithms as “noise-proof” (as far as I know)–what is the probability that splitting towns produces inaccuracies? …I.e., for towns straddling the Blue Line, could noise from blocks on the outside of the Blue Line affect blocks, even distant ones, on the inside?

        …At first glance, it doesn’t look like any red flags are jumping out. …But, in the absence of an official specification on differential privacy (I have never heard about one), some geospatial analysis to test these effects may be worthwhile. …Even if it may be smaller issue in light of the whole picture.

        • Donald Hibbs says

          The exchange between Mr Bell and Barge got a bit technical.

          Could one or both of you explain the implications of your comments to ordinary folks living ordinary lives in the Adirondacks ?

  4. Nancy Murphy says

    The article says that”nearly half the houses in the park are . . .unavailable to people seeking residences.” This is based on the statistic that 55 %% of the housing units are owner-occupied. Surely those who rent are Adirondackers! In Essex County about a quarter of occupied units are rentals, about 15% of the total housing stock. Units occupied by people whose usual residence is elsewhere are considered “vacant” by the Census. There is a very high vacancy rate in the Park, which includes units available for rent or sale, under construction or repair, abandoned (but not clearly destined for demolition), or held off the market for legal reasons, etc.

  5. Vic Putman says

    Another insidious product of the Census Bureau which adversely impacts residents of the Adirondack Park and other small marginalized communities involves the Median Household Income (MHI) data sets illustrated through the American Communities Survey(ACS). The ACS data sets are compiled by the census as a statistically valid indication of community household wealth utilized by state and federal agencies in awarding grant and loan packages for water and sewer infrastructure. The data sets are broken down by Municipality so every town, village, city has an MHI based not on a complete data base of all the residents but by statistical samples from a very small population (>10%) in the relevant community. Small Towns in the AP where seasonal residents and waterfront properties are located project a much higher MHI than what exists in the hamlets where water and sewer infrastructure exists. Meanwhile the entire towns’ MHI is used to determine grant and loan packages based on the ACS data not the real income of those within the improvement district. Federal agencies such as the Dept. Of Agriculture’s’ Farmers Home Administration and State Agencies of the Department of Health and NYS DEC by deferment to the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) annually administer Clean Water and Drinking Water Revolving Funds supporting infrastructure through the annually modified Intended Use Plan (IUP).
    The population dynamics in the AP are working to marginalize communities in the Catskill and Adirondack communities that must compete with other communities with much larger populations, more resilient economies of scale and without similar geologic constraints. The EFC’s threshold for small communities incorporates populations below 300,000. The vast majority of AP water and sewer districts have under 300 users and many have under 150, some are under 50. Construction of water and sewer infrastructure requires blasting of bedrock making for more costly installations. Many hamlets were founded along water courses the historically significant highways of pre-industrialization and the hamlets are concentrated in those areas with small lot sizes high groundwater and sparse populations making development of infrastructure less affordable.
    This subject is more complex than noted here and requires systemic review and improvement. One such avenue would provide additional priority on the IUP for those communities inside the respective Catskill and Adirondack Park as an investment by the state in Clean Water infrastructure and the communities which struggle to be caretakers and stewards of the garden.

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