‘For the benefit and enjoyment of the people’
To the editor:
I have read with some interest the various articles that appeared in many publications across New York with regard to development in the Adirondack Park since the state decided to acquire more than 60,000 additional acres. One article that caught my interest appeared in the Albany Times Union on Sept. 2, written by Rick Karlin, “APA urged to take time.” The article had a quote from Neil Woodworth, executive director and counsel for the Adirondack Mountain Club, representing a consortium of parties which includes a group called Protect the Adirondacks. His quote was quite telling: “The APA should not try to make this (land-use) decision at its September meeting.” Effectively, what Mr. Woodworth is saying is, “Delay, delay, delay,” which is basically, do nothing so we can have our own way.
If I recall properly, Protect the Adirondacks currently is taking the Adirondack Park Agency, and thus the state of New York, to court questioning the APA and the state of New York’s authority to essentially make any decisions with regard to the Adirondack Park (law.justia.com/cases/new-york/other-courts/2013/2013-ny-slip-op-50393-u.html). This relates to an incredibly creative project in Tupper Lake, the Adirondack Club and Resort. This ambitious project has been approved by the APA and is ready to start; however, now it is hung up with litigation from, you guessed it, Protect the Adirondacks. Conservative estimates say the project will employ well over 550 people in an area that desperately needs the jobs.
The litigation is still pending, yet it has not slowed this group down from continuing to limit development within the Park.
As the article correctly points out, these groups are advocating that the newly acquired state land should “be maintained as wilderness, with limited access to powerboats, motor vehicles, ATVs and even bicycles.”
As both a land owner and a business owner in the Adirondack Park, I have witnessed firsthand the impact of such thinking. Unemployment continues to be unacceptable throughout most of the Park. (In Hamilton County in winter it is 12.5 percent and expected to get worse, and is about the same in Franklin County.) In addition, the year-round population is aging quickly in these counties as young families move out to pursue more enriching careers since businesses find it so difficult to grow and expand.
In the end, Governor Cuomo says it best.
“Some don’t want the Park well-publicized, arguing that what is special is the isolation,” he said. “That’s true. But it’s also true that the economy has to be sustained, and you need tourism to sustain it. That’s the tension of the Park. Finding a balance is very important.”
It is this balance that we must achieve. At the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park is a great quote found in the archway that leads you in. It is from when President Theodore Roosevelt visited the park:
“FOR THE BENEFIT AND ENJOYMENT OF THE PEOPLE.”
It is this quote that should be our beacon and our great reminder of what the Adirondack Park is all about.