Posts Tagged ‘economics’

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New Report Quantifies Invasive Species Impacts

APIPP 2014 ReportA new report—The Actual and Potential Economic Impact of Invasive Species on the Adirondack Park: A Preliminary Assessment—explores the economic impacts of invasive species on specific sectors of the Adirondack Park’s economy. This first-of-its-kind assessment for the Adirondacks analyzes actual and potential impacts of eight invasive species, summarizes expenditures across sectors, species and strategies, and recommends strategic investments in prevention and control.

The potential direct economic impact from eight species evaluated in the study is estimated to be $468 to $893 million, with the greatest projected impacts on property value, recreation, and tourism. The species highlighted include five that are known to be present in the Park (Eurasian watermilfoil, Asian clam, spiny waterflea, Japanese knotweed, spotted drosophila) and three that are in close proximity (hydrilla, emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle). » Continue Reading.



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Voices From The Diversity Symposium

image001(4)It has been nearly a year since I began a series of columns on diversity in the Adirondacks. Much has happened since then, most notably a challenging, motivating and well-received symposium held in August, “Toward a More Diverse Adirondacks.”

The symposium was a good start to addressing the important challenges in making the Adirondack Park more welcoming and inclusive, thereby increasing the Park’s role in the betterment of the lives of all New Yorkers and giving it a richer, more robustly supported future. But if a good day of conversation was all we accomplished it would amount to very little. So a number of initiatives are underway to the further the work. It is our sincere wish to make diversity part of the cultural DNA of the Adirondacks, as surely for human beings as it is for the natural world. » Continue Reading.



Monday, September 22, 2014

Laurie Davis: 2014 Farm Bill Funding

adirondack harvest logoEvery 5 years the United States reviews and signs into law a new Farm Bill. We were due for a new bill starting in 2012, but it took until this past February for Congress to sort through what didn’t work in the past, add new things for the future, and generally agree enough on everything to have the President sign the bill into law.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a column about the intricacies of government legislation, but the Farm Bill is something we all should pay attention to because it largely governs our food systems. I’ve always thought that it should be called the “Farm and Food Bill” – then maybe we would take more of an interest. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, September 20, 2014

Commentary: Adirondack Electric Cars Future

VoltIn my final column on Electric Cars in the Adirondacks I’d like to pose two questions. Is driving an electric car in the park actually beneficial to the environment? If so, how can the Adirondack region evolve to better support electric cars?

As seems true with any subject these days, there is plenty of criticism of electric cars, with many making the argument that their supposed environmental benefits are non-existent or negligible at best. With a park that is and ought to be a standard-bearer for environmental health, yet which faces devastating consequences from climate change, this becomes an important question. We need to put our efforts where they’ll do proven good. So are the critics right about electric cars? The simple answer is no. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Laurie Davis: The Farm Bill, Local Foods, And You

adirondack harvest logoIt’s been a few months now since President Obama signed into law the Agricultural Act of 2014. You probably remember hearing about it under another name: the (long overdue) Farm Bill. There was much hoopla in the press when, after a delay of over a year, it finally became a law. OK, I can sense your eyes glazing over or darting to the next article. But wait! Just bear with me.

The Farm Bill (as we shall refer to it from here on out) is chock full of some good news for the local food movement and, whether or not you realize it, many parts of this legislation will affect you. I’m going to break this article up into two parts to address all the positives that will be supported by this Farm Bill, so let’s begin part 1! » Continue Reading.



Saturday, September 13, 2014

Review: Driving an Electric Car in the Adirondacks

VoltLast week I discussed the general concept of electric cars in the Adirondacks and the possible types of electric car one might choose. I suggested that a pure electric car – that is, one with no gas engine backup – would not yet be practical in the park because the odds that one would use up their range and be potentially stranded are too high. But an electric car with gas backup is completely workable – and considerably better in terms of fossil fuel use than a hybrid.

This week I’d like to report on our experience driving a Chevy Volt in the Adirondacks. The Volt is an electric car with a gas engine that acts as a backup generator as needed, giving a total range comparable to typical internal combustion cars. As before, I do not endorse the Volt; it simply happens to be the car I own. However many of its features and the issues attendant to driving it in a vast, mountainous park would be common to any electric car. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

State Argues NYCO Foes Thwarting Will Of Voters

plumley lot 8Environmental activists seeking to prevent NYCO Minerals from drilling in the Jay Mountain Wilderness are trying to thwart the will of the electorate, according to court papers filed by the state attorney general’s office.

Assistant Attorney General Susan Taylor argues that NYCO should be allowed to drill for wollastonite in the state-owned Forest Preserve despite a lawsuit filed by Adirondack Wild, Protect the Adirondacks, Sierra Club, and Atlantic States Legal Foundation.

In November 2013, voters approved an amendment to Article 14 of the state constitution to permit NYCO to acquire a 200-acre parcel known as Lot 8 in the Jay Mountain Wilderness in exchange for land of equal or greater value. Known as Proposition 5, the amendment authorized NYCO to conduct test bores to ensure that Lot 8 contains enough wollastonite—a mineral used in plastics and ceramics—to make the land swap worthwhile. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Commentary: Electric Cars in the Adirondacks

VoltOur most recent time in the Adirondacks had an interesting dimension for Amy and me. In early August, right at the height of our busy performing season – during which we are almost constantly on the road – our beloved Subaru WRX blew its engine. Thrillingly for us it was just out of warranty, guaranteeing that the curve to fix it, both in time and money, would be a long and brutal one. Having an immediate need to hit the highway for several weeks straight, we were faced with three choices: rent (ouch), buy a used car and hope for the best, or buy a new car.

The only sure option was the last one and although it was a financial obligation we’d rather not have taken, it presented us with an opportunity to take the plunge a few years earlier than planned on a long-term dream we have harbored: to own an electric car. So we did our research, selected a brand, test drove a demo, measured the trunk length with the seats down (very important for professional stilt walkers), miraculously secured credit approval and bought ourselves a Chevy Volt. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, August 2, 2014

Commentary: Toward a More Diverse Adirondacks

PrintSeveral months ago I wrote a series of columns on socioeconomic and racial diversity and the Adirondacks. The reception to these columns was even stronger than I expected. Much of it was thoughtful. Some of it was controversial. Some of it was ugly. But in total the columns and the reaction validated my point that for most people diversity in the Adirondacks is an under-the-radar issue even though it is arguably the most important issue facing the future of the park.

Since then the conversation has grown and led to action. Many stakeholders in the park recognize that human diversity – my new descriptor, for indeed the issue is bigger than just racial or socioeconomic problems – is just as important to the Adirondacks as plant and animal diversity is to a healthy Forest Preserve. » Continue Reading.



Friday, August 1, 2014

Will Fixing The Tracks Cost $15M or $44M?

Adirondack Scenic Railroad -Nancie BattagliaIf you’ve been following the debate over the Old Forge-to-Lake Placid rail corridor (and who hasn’t?), you probably have seen the widely disparate estimates on how much it would cost to restore rail service over the entire line.

The Adirondack Scenic Railroad says reconstructing the unused portion of the tracks—some sixty-eight miles—would cost about $15 million. Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA), which is pushing the state to replace the tracks with a multi-use trail, puts that figure at around $44 million.

Which figure is correct?

They both are.

» Continue Reading.



Saturday, July 26, 2014

NYCO Commentary: How Much Wollastonite Is There?

WollastoniteLast week, as a part of a larger effort to document the aftermath of Proposition 5 – the so-called NYCO Amendment – I wrote a column comparing claims made about NYCO in support of the amendment to the factual record.

I listed the following five claims we’ve heard repeatedly (remember, not all claims are NYCO’s responsibility; some claims were made by others):

Claim One: NYCO is a local company headquartered in Willsboro. It has been there for more than fifty years and employs about a hundred people. » Continue Reading.



Monday, July 21, 2014

State Opens Trail To OK Slip Falls

OKSlip-600x719The state has opened a three-mile hiking trail to OK Slip Falls in the recently established Hudson Gorge Wilderness.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the opening of the trail today in news release in which he also touted funding for equestrian trails in the central Adirondacks and for the repair of the Lake Abanakee Dam in Indian Lake.

The state acquired OK Slip Falls—one of the tallest cascades in the Adirondack Park—from the Nature Conservancy in 2013. Since then, people have been hiking to the falls along informal trails or bushwhacking.

The official trail starts on the north side of Route 28, at the same trailhead for a pre-existing trail that leads to Ross, Whortleberry, and Big Bad Luck ponds. The parking area is on the south side of the highway, about 7.5 miles east of the hamlet of Indian Lake and 0.2 miles west of the trailhead.

» Continue Reading.



Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pete Nelson: Who is NYCO?

WollastoniteA month ago I wrote a column advocating that we create and maintain a regional memory of the NYCO amendment process and all that comes from it. My argument is that by doing so we will be better able to prevail in future battles against amendments that propose to take from the Forest Preserve for private gain. At the end of that column I said my starting point would be to ask who NYCO really is, in contrast to the picture of NYCO given by its own claims, by pro-amendment advocates and by popular assumption.

At the moment we need no assistance recalling the amendment controversy since NYCO is once again all over the regional news. With the dual stories that NYCO is seeking to expand its two existing mines and that environmental groups have sued to stop test drilling on Lot 8, any profile of NYCO is not only important in chronicling the amendment process, it is relevant right now. NYCO is making certain claims, environmental groups are making others and the state of New York still others. That means the question I pose today matters, today: who is NYCO? » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Brian Mann: Adirondack Tourism Lifts Some Boats

Lake_PlacidDrive through Lake George, and you can see evidence that tourism is booming. Traffic is heavy, especially in summer when Lake George runs full-throttle. There are plans for a major hotel and a reinvention of downtown that includes an easing of building-height restrictions. A wave of construction is underway, with new shops, outlet malls, restaurants, and attractions.

“We’re extremely fortunate in the Adirondacks that our principal industry is tourism,” says Lake George Mayor Robert Blais. “No smokestacks, no getting up in the morning and reading the paper and finding out [the major employer] is going to close in six months. We’re part of the picture I think of the great Adirondack Park where families can come and find so many things to do.”

Lake George isn’t alone. Other thriving tourism towns, such as Lake Placid and Old Forge, have seen an increase in visitors, often drawing travelers year-round. In addition, a second tier of resort communities, including Inlet, Keene, North Creek, Saranac Lake, and Schroon Lake, seem to be enjoying the fruits of a visitor-based economy.

Economic data for specific towns are hard to come by, but a 2012 state report found that tourism accounts for roughly 12.4 percent of jobs inside the Adirondack Park, roughly thirteen thousand positions altogether. And in a 2013 progress report, the North Country Regional Economic Development Council says Essex County experienced an increase of 9 percent in visitors from 2012.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has made tourism development in the region one of his top priorities, launching a new ad campaign—including TV and radio spots and banners on New York City buses—while also establishing a new $2 million revolving loan fund to foster investment inside the Blue Line. “It’s not just about fun,” Cuomo said during a visit to the Adirondacks in March. “It’s about economic development and jobs.”

The question remains, though: is tourism enough? » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Report: Adirondack Living Easier Than Most Places

NY Times Easy Living ReportRecent pieces (here and here) in the Adirondack Almanack stressed the importance of placing the Adirondack Park experience and condition in a national context, especially with the rest of rural America. National context is important when trying to ascertain trends in Adirondack Park demographics, economics or land use.

This past weekend, The New York Times data-crunching blog The Upshot published an interactive map that ranked the 3,135 counties in the U.S. by how hard or easy these places are to live. The indicators they chose to create this ease or hardship ranking were median income, unemployment, percent of population with a college degree, disability rate, obesity and life expectancy. The Upshot said these metrics were selected due to the availability of county level data across the U.S., which provided a profile of economic and public health conditions. Disability was not used as a health indicator, but as a data point for the non-working adult population, which was used in conjunction with unemployment. » Continue Reading.



Monday, June 30, 2014

Commentary: A Utility Land Bank Amendment

Burtons Peak and Utility LinesWe just went through an election season that featured not one, but two Adirondack-related amendments to the New York State Constitution. One was complicated and one controversial. Both were the subject of intense local debate and media coverage. The controversial one is still in the news.

The Adirondack region could be forgiven for having a little amendment fatigue. Yet I think we ought to do it again and as soon as possible. So do a number of people who have been working hard to do just that: to give us another proposed amendment to ponder. What could they possibly be thinking? Allow me to explain. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

NYS Legislation Sought To Combat Invasive Species

Number of known aquatic non-native and invasive speciesAs the summer boating and tourism season begins, advocates for local lakes and rivers are calling on state lawmakers to make a major new commitment to fighting the spread of invasive species that are already impacting the lakes, rivers and forests of the Adirondack Park and beyond.

Proposed legislation (A. 7273/S. 9619) aims to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) by requiring the removal of visible vegetation and animals from boats as well as removing all areas of standing water in the engine, hulls, and live wells, when using any public or private boat launching facility in New York. This legislation prohibits the launching of boats that have any visible plant and animal matter on any surface of the boat or trailer or contains any standing water. Boats should be clean, drained and dry. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Philip Terrie On The Regional Assessment Project Update

APRAP Update CoverIn 2009, the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages sponsored a report, the Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Project (APRAP), full of important, often-distressing data on the demographics of all 103 towns and villages in the Park. In May of 2014, a five-year update was released, with a spurious—if not downright deceptive—explanation for why our towns are in trouble.

Let’s get the problems on the table first, for they are indeed real and pressing. The overall population of the Park is declining. More important, as the report correctly observes, the population of young families with children is declining even more rapidly than is the overall population, while the median age is rising (and rising faster than the state average).

Because the number of young families with children is declining, school populations are falling off to the point where some districts may not be viable. » Continue Reading.



Monday, May 5, 2014

The New State Lands And Tourism

Boreas-600x343Two years ago, when Governor Andrew Cuomo revived the massive Finch, Pruyn land deal, first engineered by the Adirondack Nature Conservancy in 2007, he shifted the terms of a long-running debate over big land-conservation projects in the Park. Funding for open-space conservation had been under attack in Albany for years, including a moratorium on new spending. Even many Democrats were questioning the value to taxpayers of protecting more “forever wild” land in the Park.

The governor turned that debate on its head, arguing that vast tracts of new public lands would be a boon to the state’s tourism economy—rather than a costly burden—and would give struggling Adirondack towns a long-needed boost. “Today’s agreement will make the Adirondack Park one of the most sought-after destinations for paddlers, hikers, hunters, sportspeople, and snowmobilers,” Cuomo declared in August 2012 as he committed the state to spending $47 million on sixty-nine thousand acres of timberlands over five years.

Cuomo pointed to “extraordinary new outdoor recreational opportunities” that he asserted would spark investment and help revitalize the tourism economy in struggling mountain towns. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Will The Finch, Pruyn Deal Help Local Towns?

May June 2014After the state agreed to buy 65,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn land from the Nature Conservancy, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the deal would be an economic boon to local towns.

The premise is that the new state lands will attract more tourists. In the May/June issue of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine, Brian Mann takes a hard look at this notion.

Mann talked to regional politicians, local business owners, environmentalists, and economic researchers, among others. The consensus is that the Finch, Pruyn acquisition does present an opportunity, but economic growth won’t happen on its own. Like any tourist destination, the Finch, Pruyn lands must be marketed and well maintained.

If the lands are not properly marketed, it’s possible that they will simply “cannibalize” other parts of the Adirondack Park. In other words, all we’d be doing is shuffling the same tourist dollars around.

We’ll post Brian’s full story soon on Adirondack Almanack.

» Continue Reading.



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