Environmentalist wrong to pick on hamlets

To the editor:

Peter Bauer, the executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, is now attacking hamlet development within the Adirondack Park – the very places where development is supposed to be happening in the Adirondacks – and by doing so, he exposes his very dark agenda: eliminating “people” from the Park, as evidenced by his recent writings in the online blog, Adirondack Almanack, dated March 31.

In his commentary, Bauer opines on “what is right for growth” in the hamlets of Lake George and Saranac Lake, apparently not having enough to do in the millions of acres of private and Forest Preserve lands in the Park outside of hamlets.

The Adirondack Park is a great legislative experiment that uniquely combines public and private lands in a 6-million-acre expanse intended to blend care and protection of nature’s bounty and beauty with the well-being and welfare of the people who choose to live here and love this place. In the creation of the Adirondack Park, “hamlets” were meant to be the places where communities would thrive and growth would predominately occur, leaving the other 99 percent of those 6 million acres for less intensive development on private lands and “forever wild” protection on public lands. Without thriving hamlets – hosting jobs, sustainable economies and people who live and visit here – our Park would fail the vision of its founders and lose its soul.

Bauer and his organization, Protect the Adirondacks, would be well advised to respect the legislative purposes for hamlets in the Adirondack Park. We in local government are the primary stewards of hamlets. We serve because we love our communities and believe in their potential to achieve the Adirondack vision for hamlets set by the Park’s founders. We are well equipped to deal with stormwater runoff issues, water and sewer treatment capacity (of which we have large excess), traffic concerns and other planning matters related to urban development. And we work closely with the very competent professionals at the Adirondack Park Agency on significant development that concerns us both.

With his commentary, Bauer crossed the line of respect for hamlets and their keepers, undermining his own and his group’s credibility, and demonstrating deep disrespect for the laws and people of this great Park. He shows us all what he and his organization are truly trying to make happen: to drive the people out of the Park.

I call on Mr. Bauer and his organization to reconsider their position on hamlet development and to actively assist us in growing our Adirondack communities – and to thereby help protect the precious soul of the Adirondacks: its people.

Clyde Rabideau

Mayor

Saranac Lake