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. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘economics’
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 laid out in the two previous commentaries in this series: common ground exists to a far greater extent than the usual rhetoric would have you believe and we waste time, effort and good will by playing politics when reasoned discussion and a rational process can get us to consensus far more often than not. So be ready, because I’m going to come back at any and all objections with direct challenges. » 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, pollution is pollution.” That quote, from the Strengthening the APA Conference held at the end of September came from an environmental advocate some would consider strongly anti-development. Then there’s this: “Policies that protect the most appealing and beautiful parts of the land we’re developing, like clustering, make sense to me. I want strong land value.” That one is from a developer and contractor in the park, said to me over coffee a few weeks ago. Or how about these vicious salvos (paraphrased as I didn’t write down the exact words): “We should always be doing that sort of thing” (conservation design) and “I never understood why the APA allows houses that big to be built; there should be a restriction on size.” Those two are from a real estate developer and realtor I know. » Continue Reading.
This summer, a Canadian company called Scotia Investments has been auctioning off parts of the old Newton Falls Paper Mill in the northwestern Adirondacks. It’s the latest painful chapter for a region of the Adirondack Park that has fought for years to maintain its old industrial economy.“It’s tough, it’s really tough,” said Sherman Craig, an Adirondack Park Agency commissioner who owns a woodworking shop in Newton Falls and lives in nearby Wanakena. “After they cut up the paper-making equipment, it’s just a shell.”
Craig joined a half-dozen men in late July in the lobby of the mill’s mostly empty main headquarters for a public auction of roughly four thousand acres of timberland owned by Scotia. The company has declined to say whether the property found a buyer. That means more uncertainty for Terrance Roberts of Canton, president of the Trail’s End hunting club on paper-mill land for decades. “It’s a heartbreak,” he said. “My brother worked here for thirty-something years.” » Continue Reading.
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 of this approach because they fear that efforts to find “balance” or “compromise” will lead to the abandonment of principles that should never be compromised. That skepticism is unfortunate: negotiations to achieve consensus around common interests, when done correctly, are never about compromise of principles. Rather they are about avoiding black and white thinking, absolutist rhetoric and the disingenuous politics that so easily proceeds from strident declamations of rightness (for an object lesson, see the tragic rhetoric over this issue). » Continue Reading.
The 2012 American Camper Report provides detailed data and analysis on camping trends throughout the United States. The report presents information on overall participation, preferences, buying behavior and the future of camping.
The report makes a broad definition of camping to include everything from ‘Glam Cabin Camping’ to sleeping overnight in the backyard with your kids, but it has some interesting data none-the-less. » Continue Reading.
Community leaders and elected officials have been invited to attend a Rural Communities Broadband Roundtable at The Wild Center on Thursday, Oct. 24. It is co-hosted by AdkAction.org, which initiated the event; the New York State Broadband Program Office; the United States Department of Agriculture/Rural Development Agency, which provides extensive funding for broadband services in rural locales; and The Wild Center.
The objective of the event is to assist towns and communities in the North Country to better understand how broadband can revitalize their communities and how they can best pursue universal access to broadband. » Continue Reading.
It was a bold decision that resulted, by some accounts, in the removal of over 1,400 billboards. In the Adirondack Park this law largely prevented an assault of rooftop and roadside billboards that dominate broad stretches of the U.S. – the cluttered strips of Anywhere USA. » Continue Reading.
Today I conclude my series on Adirondac the the McIntyre Mines. The deserted village of and the remains of the operation at Upper Works make for an evocative Adirondack destination. Though this abandoned settlement’s historically significant mining heritage is known among locals, history buffs, and High Peaks backpackers who use the Upper Works trailhead, it is by no means widely known, or even somewhat known. There are great benefits to be had if this fact changes.
When the Open Space Institute purchased the Tahawus Tract from NL Industries they put a terrific plan in place to designate the area containing Adirondac and the 1854 blast furnace as a historic district. Work began some years ago to stabilize and preserve the furnace, the one original village building, McMartin House (or MacNaughton Cottage) and the cemetery. However the work has taken years and I hear through the grapevine that funding is an obstacle. As a result the implementation of the historic district has been slow. » Continue Reading.
In May 1973, Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed two controversial laws that would change life in the Adirondacks. The Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan, which the governor pushed through the state legislature, established new zoning rules for private land that aimed to protect open space and limit residential development. The other law set minimum prison sentences for drug users and pushers.
“I have one goal and one objective, and that is to stop the pushing of drugs and to protect the innocent victim,” the governor insisted, promising that the harsh new penalties would stem the epidemic of cocaine and heroin addiction in New York City.
As it turned out, the Rockefeller drug laws—which also included tough penalties for marijuana use—would rival the land-use regulations in their impact on the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.
When I started as the Council’s executive director on May 1, friends in the Park said “welcome home.” I had worked here for the Adirondack Mountain Club for close to 10 years after graduating from St. Lawrence University with a degree in Economics and Environmental studies back in 1985.
That led to work with The Nature Conservancy, the Hudson River Greenway Council and – for the past six years – as a Regional Director for the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in the Hudson Valley/Catskills region. I continued to visit the park when time allowed and kept myself current on park issues, hoping that someday I would get a chance to return to this special place. » Continue Reading.
I write today to urge you to support a Wilderness Classification for the former Finch Pruyn lands surrounding the Hudson River and the Essex Chain of Lakes. After a comment period and series of public hearings that has given the citizens of New York an opportunity to voice their opinion, the decision lies in the hands of the Adirondack Park Agency. But the final approval is yours alone. More important, the chance to lead on an issue of national importance that lies at the heart of our journey into the future as New Yorkers and Americans is yours alone as well. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) have announced that they will hold four public meetings in September about the management of the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor, a 119-mile nineteenth-century rail line in the western Adirondacks.
A bitter debate has raged in the Adirondacks over the past several years after rail-trail advocates began pushing to have the historic railroad tracks torn-up. In 2011, an organization calling themselves Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates began calling for the outser of the tourist railroad operation and for conversion of the rail bed to a multi-use trail. More than 10,000 people have signed-on to a petition calling for the removal of the tracks. The trail advocates’ call for a reassessment of the corridor’s management plan has resulted in this round of public hearings. » Continue Reading.
New federal healthcare law will soon change the way businesses and employees obtain health insurance. To help farmers, small business owners and individuals learn about the Affordable Care Act, the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Associations of Northern New York will hold free workshops at six regional sites in September.
The CCE workshops will address a wide range of questions including those about the Individual Exchange for sole proprietors and individuals and the Small Business Health Options Exchange. Employers with more than 50 full-time equivalent employees will be mandated to provide workers with health insurance by 2015. Before the end of 2013, employers of all sizes must explain how to obtain health insurance to their employees. Every individual in the U.S. will be required to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. » Continue Reading.
Eggs vary in price and nutrition, but are a delicious locally grown food across Northern New York. I’m fairly passionate about eggs. On our small family farm, we raise our own. Our hens feed on plenty of grass, seeds, and other herbaceous material around the farm, plus insects and kitchen scraps. We supplement with some commercial feed. The coop is enclosed in a spacious fenced-in yard that’s half grassy, half forested, but our clever birds regularly escape and truly free-range around the farm.
We are addicted to our fresh eggs, rich with flavor and yolks so deeply orange the hue is startling to the uninitiated. I am a firm believer in the benefits of consuming eggs from true free-range laying hens. Take note: commercial claims of “free-range” do not guarantee access to the natural smorgasbord listed above (although the hens likely have more space and your conscience can relax about the “humane” treatment). » Continue Reading.
One senses some good energy in the Catskill Mountains these days, and interesting initiatives are underway there, including an attempt to quantify visitation to the Catskill’s protected public and private lands and waters, and resulting economic value added to the Catskill economy.
It would make sense if the same evaluation study method were applied to the Adirondack Park. » Continue Reading.
What follows is a guest essay by Connie Prickett, Director of Communications for The Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter. The Nature Conservancy is using $500,000 to create a new grant opportunity for recreation-based development in local communities.
When The Nature Conservancy in 2007 took on its largest single land conservation project in the Adirondacks, we knew success was only going to happen through collaboration. Recent steps by the Conservancy to establish a $500,000 grant opportunity ensures that community involvement continues to be an integral part of the conservation equation and a key element to the project’s overall success. The aim is to help communities position themselves to capitalize on new outdoor recreation opportunities being created through this project. » Continue Reading.
Each year, millions of dollars are wasted in uncashed food assistance program checks representing dollars that could be benefiting low-income consumers, local farmers and the physical and economic health of our communities. These lost opportunities make it very important to effectively communicate information about these programs to consumers and farmers.
Four government programs offer payment options beyond the usual cash, check or credit card to eligible low-income consumers at farmers’ markets. Those options are: » Continue Reading.
It costs 6 times as much to find a new customer as it does to retain an existing customer (Understanding Customers by Ruby Newell-Legner). And according to Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, but the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%.
I’ve written previously about the ongoing efforts of tourism marketing professionals to promote the Adirondack region as a destination. From the I Love New York program to the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council to each County’s designated Tourism Promotion Agent (TPA), there are ongoing, comprehensive marketing strategies being implemented, with measurable results that are utilized to inform future efforts.
I’m sure it’s consistent in the other Adirondack counties, but as the accredited destination marketing organization for Essex County, we hear from individual businesses asking us to help them with marketing all of the time. And we do. Of course, we also develop programs and mechanisms for individual businesses to promote themselves within the framework of our overall regional marketing strategies. » Continue Reading.
Remember the hit song, “Sixteen Tons,” recorded by several artists and taken to #1 by Tennessee Ernie Ford many decades ago? Whether or not you’re a fan of that type of music, most people are familiar with the famous line, “St. Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go, I owe my soul to the Company Store,” meaning, “Hey, I can’t die … I’ve got bills to pay.”
The line referred to Company Towns of the coal-mining industry, where the company owned everything: coal, land, and houses. Workers were paid with scrip―coupons redeemable only at the Company Store, where prices were artificially inflated. » Continue Reading.