Another year for watchdog journalism
This past year, the Explorer expanded its full-time investigative reporting to bring readers coverage of the Adirondacks they cannot find anywhere else. We dug deeply into two issues of significant importance to the Adirondacks: A plan in the works to build a power line from Quebec, Canada to Queens, New York; and an accounting of the spending of the $1.7 billion borrowed in 1996 for New York State’s Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act.
Here are some of the big stories we will be keeping an eye on in 2023:
- Managing the park: We plan deeper watchdog reporting on the state agencies responsible for protecting and allowing development within the park.
- Climate change: We’ve added a climate reporter, who will look at how warmer temperatures are impacting the park’s plants and wildlife, our communities, our local farms, and our recreation-based economy through a lens of solutions.
- Housing: We will continue to follow ideas and solutions being applied throughout the park to the workforce-suppressing lack of housing.
- Dams: The Explorer will follow the much-needed upgrades to dams in the Adirondacks, including some of the park’s most iconic.
- Rail trail: We will follow the progress of the Adirondack Rail Trail. The first phase of this long-time project is expected to be completed this fall. We’ll track the trail’s impacts on the economy and infrastructure of surrounding communities.
- Broadband: We’ll look at what’s being done to close the gaps in essential internet and communications access throughout the park.
- Carrying capacity: The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan calls for decisions around land use in the Adirondacks to be based on science and data. The Explorer will look at how this data is being collected and how it will be used by the Adirondack Park Agency to decide on development projects.
- High Peaks use: The High Peaks Strategic Planning Advisory Group has issued its final report. From that, a pilot permit system at the Adirondack Mountain Reserve wrapped its second year. Which of the other recommendations have been implemented? We’ll explore.
- Road salt: The Adirondack Road Salt Task Force has finished a draft of its final report. Now it waits to be finalized. We’ll bring you the latest on this long-awaited plan.
- Paul Smith’s College merger with Fedcap: As Paul Smith’s College awaits approvals of a merger with Fedcap, a Manhattan-based job training enterprise, we’ll continue to report on what this will mean for students and communities who rely on the Adirondack Park’s only four-year college.
— Tracy Ormsbee