Saturday, August 29, 2015

Pete Nelson: Make Newcomb A Hub Of Ecotourism

Newcomb ViewThere has been a long-held belief  about Newcomb among many Adirondackers visitors and residents alike – there’s nothing there.  I’ve heard this about Newcomb on and off for thirty years. It’s Nonsense!

Sure, I don’t deny that the Newcomb area could benefit from more places to dine and stay the night. But I can’t think of any place better equipped to appeal to one class of tourist the Adirondack region has so far mostly ignored: ecotourism.

Ecotourism is a high value, high income travel sector that requires a combination of things that are right up Newcomb’s alley. I’m convinced Newcomb could make it happen as well or better than any community in the Adirondack Park.

To see why that is so, take a closer look at what ecotourism is. Jim Herman and Dave Mason of the Adirondack Futures Project already have, in this blog entry on their web site.  They participated in one of the world’s most developed ecotourism adventures in Costa Rica. Their experience provides a good idea of what successful ecotourism is like.

Jim and Dave’s experience highlights that there are specific and important aspects that distinguish ecotourism from generic tourism. The International Ecotourism Society provides this definition: “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.”

In other words, ecotourism is meant to be an educational experience uniting local communities and visitors to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of an area. It’s an active, engaged, committed, form of tourism that necessarily relies upon local experts – guides, educators, artists, craftspeople, historians – to create and lead an immersive adventure. It’s not just taking a hike or staying in a motel.  Seen in that light,  it’s obvious why Newcomb is such an ideal ecotourism hub.

First, every model “green” Adirondack adventure reaches its zenith in the area: the best of the High Peaks (with a far less crowded access point at the Upper Works), outstanding rock climbing, great lake recreation (Henderson Lake, the Essex Chain), world-class whitewater, extensive flatwater paddling, and backcountry forest adventures of every description from bushwhacking to biking to guided tours to horse-and-carriage excursions.

In Newcomb all of these opportunities occur alongside an educational infrastructure second to none. Newcomb has strong, established guide services, an excellent, innovative and diverse local school system, annual educational programs at Camp Santanoni, and the world-class resources of the SUNY-ESF Northern Forest Institute, with its Huntington Wildlife Forest and Adirondack Interpretive Center. All of these elements could be leveraged to provide an integral component of an active ecotourism program.

Then there are the fabulous historical and cultural amenities, another essential component of ecotourism. With all due respect to Sagamore, the most interesting and impressive example of the “great camp” era, so important in Adirondack history, is the Santanoni Preserve. Its existing interpretation, its remoteness and non-motorized access and its extensive acreage practically scream ecotourism. It would be a change to existing plans and regulations, but imagine Camp Santatoni re-purposed to support ecotourism with green, sustainable lodging, superb dining with locally sourced foods, visitor services and enhanced access (perhaps 100% solar electric vehicles). A more functional, indulgent, yet green Camp Santanoni visitor experience would be very much in keeping with the historic spirit of the place.

Then there is Adirondac and the McIntyre Iron Works, an important American cultural artifact and a fascinating and valuable historic site that is newly interpreted but woefully underutilized. Adirondac has two bang-for-the-buck features that ought to make it an ecotourism “can’t miss” destination: it retains its remote ghost-town allure, irresistible to the curious, and it is a mother lode of amazing stories from its history, just waiting to be told around a fire or at an outdoor lecture.

I think there is also a big opportunity right in the Newcomb area to tell some part of the woefully ignored story of the Native American history in the region. The Algonquin-speaking nations and the Haudenosaunee are both a vital part of the American cultural fabric, and were both present in the area. The stories of these Native American nations provide a terrific opportunity for curious ecotourists to indulge their desire for indigenous education.

Some will say there is nothing new about an interest in promoting ecotourism in the Adirondacks. Indeed, it has been said that that basic idea originated here. But while that may be true, the modern conception of ecotourism is paid little better than lip service . It is treated as a flashy catch-word or term, not a sustained strategy. For example, the I♥NY web site has an ecotourism web page, here.  But while it uses the term, it offers little concrete help, plus the Adirondack draw gets diluted by the need to highlight all of the state’s regions. The “Leave it to the Experts” link for the Adirondacks takes you to VisitAdirondacks.com, which is a really good web site, but has no mention of Ecotourism at all. Inlet produced a video promoting ecotourism. A few hotels reference the idea in their literature. That’s not enough.

The very nature of ecotourism requires a sustained, integrated, intentional strategy, not a compilation of buzzwords. It requires a conscious and active marriage of education, cultural and historical interpretation, high-touch service, and a shared commitment among tourists and local communities they visit.

What better place than Newcomb?

Photo: High Peaks Overlook, Newcomb


Pete Nelson

Pete Nelson is a teacher, writer, essayist and activist whose work has appeared in a variety of Adirondack publications, and regularly in the Adirondack Almanack since 2005. Pete is also a founder and current Coordinator of the Adirondack Diversity Advisory Council, which is working to make the Park more welcoming and inclusive.

When not writing or teaching mathematics at North Country Community College, Pete can be found in the back country, making music or even walking on stilts, which he and his wife Amy have done professionally throughout the United States for nearly two decades.

Pete is a proud resident of Keene, and along with Amy and his dog Henderson owns Lost Brook Tract, a forty-acre inholding deep in the High Peaks Wilderness.




31 Responses

  1. Pete Nelson Pete Nelson says:

    A few peripheral additions to this commentary:

    Oil Cars

    I regularly condemn the errant the divide between the aspiration to give the highest protection possible to protect the Adirondack region as a fundamentally wild place, and the desire for an economically robust Park. I think a key reason the debate is so often foolish is that there are a plethora of intelligent decisions about both the protection of wilderness and the support of Adirondack communities that are there to be made. We must continue to make those kinds of decisions and avoid fictional and unnecessary conflicts that put the best interests of the Park and all New Yorkers against the best interests of the Park’s communities.

    In that spirit I can’t imagine any party interested in the welfare of Newcomb to register anything less than strong opposition to the plan by Chicago-based Iowa Pacific Holdings, which owns the Saratoga-North Creek Railway, to store defunct oil cars on the area’s railroad tracks. This is exactly the kind of proposal that is not an intelligent direction for the Adirondacks. It puts private economic gain in front of the well-being of local communities – and most of all, it violates the common vision of New Yorkers for an unspoiled paradise that belongs all. It certainly is anathema to any serious notion of ecotourism in the region: “Come see our mountains and oil cars!” That’s an economic issue as much as it is an environmental one.

    Adirondac

    I have been drawn by the fascination of Adirondac and the McIntyre Works for three decades. I mentioned its potential as an ecotourism draw above but I recognize the complexities in maximizing its potential. I know there are ongoing conversations about how to do this and I think they are very important. Adirondac is undervalued. Educational guided tours and interpretation could be a perfect piece of a Newcomb-area ecotourism strategy.

    Two things could make an immediate difference. One would be to great a more cohesive identity for the entire complex. I wrote in to OSI years ago and suggested that a facsimile of the charging bridge be rebuilt, providing a dramatic entrance to the “Adirondac Historic District.” The other would be to put signage in North Hudson – even on 87 but certainly at the junction of the Blue Ridge Road, and signage in Newcomb and along 28N. Few people even know such an amazing place is even there.

    Lodging

    One hopes that a burgeoning ecotourism industry in the Newcomb area would lead to the development of lodging facilities. Of course there is a classic chicken and egg dynamic to this problem. However, there is a lodging facility close enough to anchor ecotourism activities right now: Elk Lake Lodge. While it is not in Newcomb, it’s just about perfect for the job. Long Lake is close enough to provide options as well. My thoughts about Santanoni may never come to pass, but the idea intrigues me.

    Transportation

    To my mind this is the tough nut to crack AdkAction and others have looked at this problem. ADAC is going to look at this problem. But access to Newcomb and the ability to move people through and around it to these various venues is a significant problem. My own pet idea is a fleet of electric vehicles and charging stations. The stations wouldn’t cost much. The vehicles would, of course. Ideas are welcome!

    • Paul says:

      On Oil Cars – why did they classify that corridor as Industrial use if they did not want it to contain industrial type use? Don’t think it is a good idea either but it is what it is not what we may want it to be now.

      Funny some of the draws here are based on failed economic projects. A ghost town and a mine. Probably can find that old miner guy like in the Brady Bunch. That was the eco-tourism episode to the grand canyon.

  2. Matt sisti says:

    Pete

    Well thought out concept. I have a home in Newcomb and couldn’t agree more with your idea. I’d love to explore further and have some things that might be interesting to consider. If you’d like, email me at m.sisti@coventya.com

    Regards
    Matt

  3. Curt Austin says:

    Newcomb bills itself as the Heart of the Adirondacks, and it’s true. I took a trip through there just yesterday on my motorcycle to check out the scene of the bicycle tour camped out at Long Lake. On the way back, I went into the new access point for the Essex Chain of Lakes, where bicycling on the dirt roads is permitted – I shall certainly return with bicycle and canoe. I stopped at what I call the “Campground Diner”, where I always have an interesting discussion with the owners and their customers. This time, I spoke with an English gentleman who had just grazed a deer with his Mini on Blue Ridge Highway. I bought a book on the history of Tahawus there; it was quite a town during its brief history – they even had a community band.

    The Tahawus area is the most magical part of Adirondacks. Source of the Hudson, fascinating history, industrial archeology, the broad valley among the High Peaks. I’ve done the bike-canoe thing along Upper Works Road. Stumbled home on death marches from the Santanoni’s and from Allen. Calamity Brook encapsulates a true story that sounds like fiction. I have a special fascination for the old iron furnace, being an old metallurgist. A friend flew me up there a few weeks ago, and we circled the Mt. Adams fire tower in the mountain mist.

    My sense is that Iowa Pacific will find the APA to be a formidable opponent, that local officials will put a brake to this desperate save-the-train idea. My hope is that they’ll leave the scene entirely so that instead of a junkyard for oily tank cars and a sputtering tourist train, we can have a spectacular rail trail, Saratoga to Tahawus.

  4. Bruce says:

    Pete,

    Perhaps I’m wrong, but my perception of ecotourism is a closed group of participants engaging in various activities more or less together, which brings up a question:

    Do these ecotours close off areas to other tourists when they are in town so they can maintain their group integrity, or do they work around whatever else is going on? Camp Santanoni for example. Is this what you mean by changing plans and regulations?

    I only have a limited time each year to visit the Adirondacks, and I would hate to drive up to Santanoni and see a closed sign because of an ecotour in progress.

  5. Hawthorn says:

    You spelled out the one big problem with Newcomb–getting there and then getting around will be too big a hurdle for just ecotourism to support. Ecotourists tend to be high-income and older for the most part, and they want non-stop flights, luxury accommodations, luxury dining (even if it is “locally sourced”), and then they want to be able to use their smartphones and laptops back at the hotel. There are exceptions of course, but add up these numerous hurdles and it would take a very large investment to make Newcomb an ecotourism hotspot. For inspiration take a close look at the what the Adirondack Loj is doing with regard to this–some success, but still a struggle to make it work due to transportation difficulties, lack of luxury, lack of Internet, and tight limits on the type of development because they are in the middle of the Adirondacks.

  6. Bruce says:

    This is an exaggeration, but I can just envision Newcomb with 5 or 6 big tour buses loaded with ecotourists or any tourists for that matter, during peak season. Somehow it seems to me the logistics of interior Adirondack hamlets would be woefully inadequate which is after all, part of the charm for us.

    In my business travel days, my stomach tightened when I pulled up to a hotel or restaurant and one or more tour buses were parked in front, right at the time folks usually eat or check in.

  7. Betsy Comeau says:

    Enjoyed reading this article! Newcomb is a beautiful wilderness area brimming with incredible history! This little town is a hidden gem in the Adirondacks and yes, it is off the beaten path, thankfully. While Lake Placid and other communities promote tourism and feature all sorts of options for the traveler from luxury to rustic, Newcomb is pristine and not developed. This is exactly why the very location and lack of luxury amenities make it a more authentic Adirondack experience. I would like to respectfully disagree with the previous comment regarding Ecotourists desiring luxury accommodations, luxury dining, instant communication access etc. as this type of mindset does not reflect what ecotourism promotes. According to the Nature Conservancy the definition of ecotourism is a type of tourism focusing on responsible travel, conscientious treatment of the environment , low impact to the environment and decision making/ working with the community involved. Building luxury accommodations and restaurants are not low impact actions. There is a beautiful bed and breakfast establishment; the Hoot Owl Lodge in Newcomb, a great school with innovative ideas such as the International Student Program, Round Table Discussions, a therapy dog, annual Student Research Thesis presentations, (all of the HS teachers are certified as Adjunct Professors so that students may take courses for college credit), a small diner and private campground, a fabric shop, a canoe-kayak rental business, along with Huntington -SUNY ESF, a beautiful interpretive center with trails and programs, a State Park on Lake Harris with campgrounds, a fitness trail, Santanoni, Tahawus and the Ironworks and the most spectacular scenery that remains in peaceful splendor untouched by development …what more could an ecotourist ask for?

    • Bruce says:

      “According to the Nature Conservancy the definition of ecotourism is a type of tourism focusing on responsible travel, conscientious treatment of the environment , low impact to the environment and decision making/ working with the community involved.”

      A textbook exercise in the art of the politically correct statement, and like political correctness, the reality is often very different.

      Oh BTW, have you priced any ecotours lately? They’re not for the faint of wallet, and I don’t picture their idea of rustic as meaning a week or 10 nights in a mosquito infested Adirondack lean-to, with a pit toilet out back, and taking meals around a campfire to maintain the low impact idea.

  8. Betsy Comeau says:

    Forgot to mention that Cycle Adirondack just completed a 7 day trip through various towns and wilderness areas in the Adirondacks. They exemplify what true ecotourism reflects. Check out their website online for further information. The meticulous planning involved each town where cyclists spent the night with the community benefitting and all activities at the campsites included the townsfolk. It was a wonderful joint venture with low impact on the environment. Ecotourism would not exclude individuals or other groups wanting to visit highlights such as Santanoni.
    Also Newcomb features Teddy Roosevelt Weekend each year in September with an incredible list of programs and activities designed to feature this town and its ties with Roosevelt. Folks camp or make day trips to experience the festivities which include Santanoni and Tahawus.

  9. Bruce says:

    The following link, and others out there for the looking, compares the upside and downside of ecotourism. It’s possible that Newcomb might see a significant level of prosperity, it’s also possible the ecosystem will be changed in ways we won’t recognize as harmful until it’s too late. It’s not like the region is an untapped rain forest just begging for this kind of prosperity.

    http://hir.harvard.edu/archives/10430

  10. Hawthorn says:

    I love to travel, and I like to think I leave a small footprint when I do so, but we have to realize that tourism by its very nature is not eco-friendly no matter what we do to lessen the impacts. Eco-tourism in Newcomb will mean buses, traffic, hotels, sewage treatment, water treatment, energy use, a real gas station, restaurants burning energy and spewing smoke, etc. Eco-tourism is really just a way to make tourism less impactful to the environment, but it will always be a negative environmentally.

  11. Greg says:

    Pete, you make some great points here. As a recent visitor of Costa Rica, I also believe the country sets a strong example for sustainable ecotourism which employs local residents, educates and engages students from local grade schools, and is consistent with regional conservation goals. Much like the Adirondacks, especially in the Monteverde region, it is a vast and diverse landscape with a lot to offer.

    One of the things I noticed in CR was that the people working the ecotourism jobs were overwhelmingly young adults (ages 20 – 30). Even the managerial positions, owners and operators were young adults. Maybe these types of jobs appeal more to young people. Considering the Adirondack’s problem with our young people moving outside the blue line to pursue jobs, I wonder if Jim and Dave anticipated ecotourism as a potential solution to that issue in the ADK’s.

  12. Paul says:

    “There has been a long-held belief about Newcomb among many Adirondackers visitors and residents alike – there’s nothing there.”

    You are right this is nonsense. This area has been a mecca for hunters – local and non-local – for a very long time. It will be interesting to see if there are more hunters using the area or fewer given the changes.

    Note: Pete, you have a typo in the first sentence.

  13. joe says:

    Buses, vans, a real gas station, hotel(s), a restaurant. Oh My! We can’t have that!

    OK, I’ll go with this reasoning that tourism could be such a smash success that it would be terrible for Newcomb. Suits would be up the whole town, displace everyone and have their ill-founded eco-way with it, ruining what’s there. Check. So, next….

    So far at least, tourism related to the new Forest Preserve has been, um, weak. Handfuls of people.

    The idea of moving rock out of the old mine failed.

    The whole train thing is gasping for air heading toward being storage for old oil tank cars, never to see a moving train again. Or a moving anything, not even a rail trail.

    The school will struggle again, with the strong dollar shrinking the foreign student population here.

    At the moment, Newcomb is almost entirely dependent upon the government. The SUNY jobs. State taxes for the school, the road crew. Social Security. Medicaid. Welfare. This does not strike me as a stable situation.

    So if tourism (eco or other) isn’t it, then what are your alternative suggestions for Newcomb to get on it’s feet, become viable, not dependent upon NYS. Or perhaps that shouldn’t be the goal, just live on in dependency?

    Bruce, Hawthorn, Merry, et al, what are your suggestions for Newcomb, without tourism in the mix. (By tourism I mean something more than a couple of parking lots at trail heads and a few boat launches.)

    • Bruce says:

      Joe,

      I guess we are tourists in a sense, renting a camp at Inlet where there is at least enough local business available to keep us going for the two weeks.

      As pointed out, tourists (not all, but most) generally like their amenities, and it’s these amenities which tend to be problematic. I think the first question we must ask is, do we want Newcomb to retain it’s essential character, or do we want it to become another Blue Mountain Lake, Inlet, or Old Forge?

      If the former, then it seems hiking, backcountry camping, hunting, and fishing would be the least likely to cause a serious change. That brings us to boat launches, trailhead parking, and perhaps an outfitter or two. Oh, a reasonably priced place to stay a good, but reasonable eatery and gas. Something I just thought of…Yellowstone has snowmobile safaris in winter.

      Costa Rica has what most of us have never seen, a rain forest as an attraction. Africa has huge herds of wild animals to photograph. What does Newcomb have? As someone pointed out, it’s a largely do it yourself kind of place.

  14. Paul says:

    People that are going to pay the big bucks for this type of activity and infuse real capital into the area are not the type (like most of us) that want to hump it into a Wilderness area. They want to ride on the back of a land cruiser across the savanna and eat fancy meals before retiring to their tents (or lodges). They want to float down the river and get served gourmet meals on the banks of the river. Let’s face it the Hudson is a cool river but it aint the Colorado flowing through the Grand Canyon. The new Essex Chain Wilderness is also cool but it aint the plains of East Africa or the rain forests of Costa Rica. The Adirondacks is a do-it-yourself wilderness that is the charm. We had the guided age and the great camps and the guides. That was then this is now.

  15. Woody says:

    These are Newcomb’s fundamental issues:

    (1) The majority of it’s tax base is supported by a very small number of large land owners: NYS, the trustees of SUNY ESF, and which ever TIMO bought the Finch Pruyn forestry lands. Sure there are a few dozen small land owners (small camps, residents, etc etc) but the three biggies are propping up the tax base for the entire town, including a school district populated mostly with foreign exchange students.

    (2) The town of Newcomb has a miniscule resident population, only 436 people as of the 2010 census. So where is all that state tax money going?

    (3) Newcomb has very little infrastructure: One highway, one gas pump(yes I did find it; the aboveground tank behind the pump looks like it would be sucked dry if 3 SUV’s stopped by and filled up on the same day); no cellphone connection that I can pick up.

    So all the clever essays aside, Newcomb doesn’t need busloads of ecotourists to turn itself around. It needs busloads of business people who can figure out to employ 100’s of people in a place with no broadband internet connection.

    Otherwise the town of Newcomb exists only to collect tax revenue from the state and put a few of its residents on the town payroll. This my friends is municipal welfare.

    NO ONE is saying that all the houses in Newcomb should be bulldozed and all the people resettled somewhere else. I’m ONLY saying that Newcomb as a municipality has outlived its purpose. The only solution is dissolution. Merge Newcomb, North Hudson, and Minerva into one large town that could make better use of public funds.

    And let’s stop drinking the “more access roads and snowmobile trails in the Essex Lakes will save Newcomb’s economy” kool-aid. That’s just a whole lot of bullpucky. DEC is up to its eyeballs in it though.

    • Tom Payne says:

      The only thing that the NYSDEC and APA are up to their eyeballs in is the collusion between them and the environmental lobby in Albany.

      • John Warren John Warren says:

        Tom Payne is a fake name being used by a paid member of the snowmobile lobby.

        • Bruce says:

          John,

          Maybe he thinks he’s a latter day Thomas Paine who wrote “Common Sense” prior to the Revolution. I wonder if Tom Payne is willing to bet his life on the veracity of his statements, as did Thomas Paine whose political views rankled the Crown.

          • Tom Payne says:

            Lobbyist tag? Lame. And yes it is time to throw some much needed light on the back door deals and collusion going on between the NYSDEC, APA and the Environmental Lobby in Albany. Bruce, do I take that as a threat? What next black bags in the middle of the night by the Crown in Albany? See you in back in court. Oh that’s right the law means very little to the NYSDEC, APA or the Environmental lobby.

            • Bruce says:

              I read the Land Use and Development Master Plan (the law), and saw little indicating the APA is not trying to follow its provisions. If you have a beef it’s with the law itself; what would you suggest as a rewrite, open all DEC and APA lands to free and unfettered use?

              Please, bring the “back door deals” you referred to out into the light so we can all see what they are, using verifiable facts.

  16. Larry says:

    Was there for a week, paddling, biking, etc. Wouldn’t spend any $ in a town that flew a Confederate flag anyways but NOT A THING there – not even gas! Too many options with somewhat of an economic base. Newcomb is a future ghost town.

    • Curt Austin says:

      The good folks of Newcomb got that straightened out, so it would be appropriate to reward them.

      [Off topic] Meanwhile, I am sorry to report, there are at least two Confederate flags flying in my town. Not so prominently and not by businesses, but the good folks of Chester have taken no action, as far as I know. Both within a few miles of Adirondack Almanack Headquarters. John?

      • Bruce says:

        Curt,

        Are these Confederate flags on private property? If so, there’s nothing for the “good folks of Chester” to do. If they bother you personally, you certainly aren’t required to look at them. Don’t get caught up in the hysteria concerning Confederate symbols and monuments, because that’s all it is.

  17. Lorraine Duvall Lorraine Duvall says:

    Barbara McMartin writes about ecotourism in the 2000 March/April issue of Adirondack Life, illustrating how it already exists in the Adirondacks, citing the examples of the Lake Paradox Club, Garnet Hill Lodge, the Adirondack Rock and River, St. Regis Canoe Outfitters, and the Hungry Trout with its fly fishing business. Our excursion last september to the Essex Chain (written about in the Almanack), supported by Cloudsplitters of Newcomb, was ecotourism. As McMartin said, “The word implies both ecology for relationships within the natural world and economics, the business of a region.”

    • Dave Mason says:

      Thanks Lorraine. These are good examples. I like that they are about a variety of activities. They are also at different price points, lengths of time, and so on. I am sure there are more examples out there. The ADK Heart Lake complex also has a fairly large offering of these sorts of activities at very reasonable prices.

      An interesting approach would be to move visitors around the Park to have different experiences (like the ones you mention) instead of having them locate in an single place for their entire visit. This sort of bundling of a number of places to visit and things to do is another approach to the tourism business here. The ‘multiple place’ approach might be more attractive to new visitors to the region.

      People who come often, or are residents, know what they like, have favorite places and so on. That’s my thought to share on the eco-tourism idea. We already have lots of it, but we don’t market it as such. And moving people around might be something not currently offered.

    • Paul says:

      Pete already mentioned Elk Lake Lodge. That is Ecotourism and what can be done on private land with a conservation easement.

  18. Mike says:

    So, some interesting viewpoints have been expressed here about Newcomb…based on one individual’s idea that it should be turned into a “hub of ecotourism” and here’s mine…. we don’t want busloads of tourists, and hotels and restaurants, and we are grateful gas stations in minerva and Long Lake are apparently too far away to make you feel uncomfortable visiting Newcomb. Gosh, you could run out of gas!! The horror. Yet those of us that spend a lot of time here, never do, how can that be? As an aside aren’t you folks supposed to be driving environmentally sound electric cars? But I digress. Appreciate Newcomb for what it is…a wonderful, remote town with few amenities, lots of outdoor recreation,a great community of friendly people, without crowds, lines, trash, or hassles of any kind, it’s a way of life and a welcome respite from pretty much anywhere else in the crowded northeast. Newcomb doesn’t need schemes for ecotourism, supermarkets, gas stations, hotels. We do not aspire to become the next Lake George or Lake Placid. And to Woody, for some reason Newcomb has been on your hit list, not sure why but I dare say you might find a more significant case of municipal welfare, in larger areas, how about you take a look at the welfare in Albany, Buffalo or in NYC, and the surrounding environs, and perhaps focus your efforts there if you are such a wonderful reformer, and not on the 436 people living in Newcomb.

  19. Wally Elton Wally Elton says:

    I was away when this was posted – visiting Mid-coast Maine. There I found a new and very popular attraction that made me think about the Adirondacks: the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden. Seems like something that would work in the Adirondacks. The Maine one is quite large and preserved most of a property that had been scheduled for development of the more typical sort, while now attracting many visitors and local residents alike while educating people about the local environment. It is now the number one regional attraction in the region. Could something similar work in or near the Adirondacks?