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The Adirondack Explorer is a nonprofit magazine covering the Adirondack Park's environment, recreation and communities.

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  1. louis curth says

    As a young ranger back in the 1960s, I think I first heard the name “Clarence Petty” during lunchtime conversations with more senior rangers who were suspicious about why Clarence had been seen traveling around in the interior of THEIR ranger districts? The Conservation Department was less than forthcoming to the rangers about what was going on, so none of us knew that this former district ranger was on a special assignment to prepare for something in the works called a “state land master plan”.

    As the years passed, I came to know much more about Clarence as a person and about the work he dedicated himself to, and my respect for him grew. For a white man like me, his was the quintessential American story that I grew up with – rising from a squatter’s cabin to become a visionary and respected conservation leader.

    As the Adirondack region passes on to a new generation of leaders, Clarence would probably wonder what the future holds for the Adirondacks? Issues like overcrowding, politicization of the APA, changing racial diversity and episodes of police misconduct are all daunting and must be addressed.

    Our future Adirondack leaders are likely to be far more diverse, and they probably won’t start out in a squatter’s cabin as Clarence did. The challenge for the rest of us, who live here and love this region, will be to look past their differences and give new people, who may be different from us, a fair chance to become the leaders of tomorrow who will help the Adirondacks to thrive. I think Clarence might agree with that.

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