My last column in this APA series was a proposed new land use policy organized around a consensus-driven process with a development plan and ecological assessment as the primary inputs and a design that maximizes both ecological protection and the profitability of the project as the desired output. I expected a number of less-than-receptive comments but instead I received a lot of good ones including some questions and challenges that I hope are at least partly answered this week.
I have been experiencing potent daydreams over the last week. Really they are little flashes of transference, brief moments where my conscious self is in a different place than I am. It is less than an out of body experience – a concept which my reason will not allow – but it is much more than simply thinking about or remembering or longing to be somewhere. Everyone has had similar experiences, when all of a sudden another place or time from memory, or even a fiction from imagination, floods into one’s head so strongly that the smell, sound and feel of it is palpable.
My daydream is no fiction: it is a small glade » Continue Reading.
Get out your torches and pitchforks, kids. Here comes a nice fat target to shoot at. I’m going to propose an updated land use policy and permitting process for the Adirondack Park Agency. I’m not going to go into a detailed explanation of it since I imagine that I will have ample opportunity to do that in response to the numerous comments I hope to receive.
Consider this a straw man that you can light on fire or eviscerate as desired. I don’t suggest for a moment that I have the one best answer or anything remotely definitive. But I aim to have something to talk about which I can defend on the basis » Continue Reading.
As I began to think about my series on the Adirondack Park Agency, my discussions with people elicited a wide variety of comments. My topic over the next two weeks, land use policy, generated some skepticism from people who have been around the proverbial block on this issue. “If you want to be buried in angry commentary, write about zoning,” went one. “Private land use is the third rail of Adirondack politics,” went another. These sentiments are not news to anyone.
But there are other comments I have heard over the last month. Here’s one: “I’m not opposed to development; I’m opposed to pollution. Development is development, » Continue Reading.
Deep in the heart of the Adirondacks lies a special spot. Unassuming at first glance, possessing neither towering heights nor glittering finery, it nonetheless, like so many places in the park, harbors intimate secrets. This is a place of near perfection, of pleasures nonpariel. Elsewhere will you find it loftier, thicker; elsewhere will you find it more scenic. But nowhere – I mean nowhere – will you find it better.
And it comes in only medium and large.
I’ve been following the debate over the proposed amendment to the New York State Constitution to allow NYCO Minerals, Inc. to conduct exploratory drilling on 200 acres of Forest Preserve in the Jay Mountain Wilderness. The basic framework for this proposal is that whatever land NYCO disturbs by their drilling and mining must be exchanged for land of equal or greater value and acreage that NYCO donates to the Forest Preserve.
Please remember as you read this commentary that I have repeatedly and consistently positioned myself as an advocate for finding common ground and seeking consensus around the most controversial issues in the park. There are plenty of people who are wary » Continue Reading.
I’ve been thinking about my father lately as my interest in Adirondack history has grown in its personal impact. The palpable feel of the history in the park, the physical sense of it, is the result of a sensibility I owe my parents, especially my father. His life and values tied me directly to a different time, to a different world that is always echoed in the wilderness, in places that connect all of us to a sense of the primitive and to bygone lives.
Ray Nelson lived part of his youth as a frontier » Continue Reading.
At the end of September I attended the “Strengthening the APA” conference organized by our sister publication the Adirondack Explorer and held at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center. The day’s events, the roles and reactions of the various players in attendance have spurred me to write a series on various aspects of the Adirondack Park Agency and its ongoing role in the Adirondacks.
I invite Almanack readers to read the series of articles on the APA which have been published in the Adirondack Explorer over the last year (this one, by Phil Terrie, is the last in that initial series). This is important work and part of a larger » Continue Reading.
One hundred years ago this September the Keene Valley faced the second massive fire to threaten it from the south since the dawn of the young century. The irrepressible artist Harold Weston, then a young man of nineteen, was on the front lines along with his family; his father, secretary of Adirondack Trail Improvement Society (ATIS) at the time, was chief adviser to the Army platoon that President Woodrow Wilson had sent to help fight the fires.
In his collection Freedom in the Wilds Weston recounts the progress of the fire up the ridge of Noonmark and over the southern part of Round Mountain to Chapel Pond as crews » Continue Reading.
A year ago last April I wrote about the Spring 1903 fire season during which nearly half a million acres burned in multiple fires throughout the Adirondacks. The largest fires were in Keene and North Elba; these had a personal relevance to me as they ringed Lost Brook Tract. The one sweeping into the heart of the High Peaks from the north came within six minutes of consuming the entire tract before drenching rains stopped it.
Thanks to meteorological luck as much as the brave and exhausting work by men and women fighting their advance, the 1903 fires did » Continue Reading.