About Cayte Bosler

Cayte Bosler is an investigative journalist covering the intersections of climate change, wildlife and community resilience in the Adirondack wilderness. Throughout her career, she has researched ecology and wildlife biology in protected areas in the Bolivian Amazon and in Cuba, trekked to an extreme altitude ecosystem in the Peruvian Andes, and boated through the mangrove-filled estuaries of Guatemala — all to chronicle solutions for conserving the natural world. She holds a master of science from Columbia University’s sustainability program and is a fellow of the Explorer’s Club.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Nathan says

    The Adk is under severe attack, degrading the enviroment and the APA is a leading issue. They are ignoring local residents, not having public discussions, selling out to rich entities and opening Quarries, mines, huge rv parks, marinas, building developements on edges of water shed areas. Not dealing with huge issues like 2-stroke snowmobiles, outboards, emitting CO, smoke,massive noise and oil sheens on lakes. not restricting petrol outboards on small lakes or limiting out board size, resulting in huge wakes destroying shorelines, shore nesting birds, excessive noise pollution, smoke and oil. there should be a ban on gasoline boats on most lakes, allowing canoing and electric trolling motors.
    why jerks feel like they should bring 150 hp bass boat to tiny ponds and blast across with huge wakes and think its funny to swamp people. chase off the loons and animals.

    • Boreas says

      No, a phrase won’t protect the Park from climate change. But wild places have always changed as climates changed. That doesn’t mean they aren’t still wild. The Adirondack-type biome is moving northward. Southern biomes are moving in to replace it. But we need to stay out of the way of climate change and let Nature take care of the details. Species diversity will definitely change, and a healthy Forest Preserve will encourage this diversity.

      The key to the Forest Preserve is that the more species diversity it has now, the more gradual and healthy the transition to a different climate(s) will be. There is nothing we can do to help it really, other than trying to keep invasive non-native species from damaging the Park too quickly. A healthy Park now will likely lead to a healthy – albeit different – Park in the future.

  2. Kierin Bell says

    I’m happy to see this article in the Explorer, and the NatureServe research recently covered by the New York Times is impressively thorough and monumentally important. However, as acknowledged by the authors of that study, there are caveats for using the data to draw local conclusions. Nowhere is this more pertinent than in the Adirondack Park.

    Firstly, the study is heavily skewed towards range-restricted species–specifically globally-rare species (rank G1 & G2). And while this is a reasonable approach for guiding nationwide conservation planning, such species are severely underrepresented in the Adirondacks and heavily represented in the “endemic zones” of the American South and West. There are numerous known occurrences of species within the Adirondack Park that are rare locally or regionally, but not globally, and many of these are even vulnerably located on roadsides and trailsides. This type of biodiversity is by and large not considered in the study.

    Second, the study methodology dictates that the vast majority of Forest Preserve lands are automatically green-lit as completely protected against biodiversity threats (as Gap Status 2 management areas), when in fact this is not necessarily the case. For example, the accompanying map by NatureServe for “Protection-weighted Range-size Rarity of Imperiled Species in the United States” (reproduced at the top of this article) highlights the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center Intensive Use Area (Gap Status 4) as one of the Adirondacks’ sole areas of unprotected biodiversity importance (AUBIs), presumably due to the documented presence there of a population of a globally-rare (G2) alpine plant species. As per above, the adjacent Wilderness Areas (Gap Status 2) are automatically eliminated from consideration as AUBIs. And yet, not only do the alpine summits of these areas essentially contain the remaining populations of globally-rare plant species known from anywhere within the Park, but those populations face the notorious threat of extirpation by hiker trampling!

    And lastly, all of this taken out of context is missing the point. Selective preservation may be ideally suited to protection of range-limited species, but as a larger conservation strategy, it should be viewed as a last resort. The most effective environmental stategy is land management that averts the need for widespread ecological interventionism in the first place. And even if it may appear that we are long past the point of no return, this milestone is a moving target. Many of the rare and extinct species of today were commonplace in the not-so-distant past. If there is anything that history should teach us, it is that the most valuable aspects of our environment–and the greatest threats–are those that we aren’t thinking about right now. Without a holistic strategy, we’re going to be plugging holes in the ecological barrel until there is little left.

    “Many ask, where are the rarest, the best, the most threatened species? But the Adirondack Park does not have a high proportion of extremely rare plant species… Suppose we decided to protect those highest levels of uniqueness. We would be protecting only tiny amounts of the habitat–wonderful, special places–but we would have excluded the entire ecological mainstream! So, the most inclusive approach is to consider animals and plants that are not rare everywhere, that are very common here, but are not common anywhere else… These plants contain messages about what makes the region special, and even unique.” –Jerry Jenkins (“Looking for Answers: From Bog Sedges and Yellow Bellied Flycatchers to Alpine Azalea and Lynx: An Exploration of Biodiversity in the Adirondack Park”, The Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, 1994).

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