#10 The Wilderness Trail Race Debate – For the second straight year The Mountaineer, a sporting goods store in Keene Valley, held the Great Adirondack Trail Run – the results were way too many people using wilderness area trails as a race course.
#8 More Adirondack Landmarks Burn – Most notably, in Warren County where the Pottersville Episcopal Church, the Brant Lake General Store, and a block of Lake George businesses all fell to the flames.
#7 Convention Centers – It seemed that everywhere in our region local business people and the politicos in their pockets have plans for ill conceived convention center boondoggles. Plans floated this year included Lake George, Lake Placid, Plattsburgh, Glens Falls, and Saratoga Springs.
#6 Snowmobile Trail Debate – When the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation released its long-awaited report on Adirondack snowmobile trails it included the expansion of the trail system, the movement of some trails from interior wilderness areas, and the establishment of better connector trails for Adirondack communities along existing transportation routes.
#5 Adirondack Wind Energy – The first wind farm in the Adirondack Park was a subject of major debate this year. The results? Even the staunchest supporters of the environment stand divided.
#4 New Adirondack Species – Moose are on the rise, although no one seemed to notice until this year when Adirondackers started running into them in record numbers with their cars. As important to Adirondack diversity, was the discovery (by Heather Root) of several new species in Newcomb.
#3 Adirondack Media in Transformation – Everywhere in the Adirondacks media has begun to transform itself. New Adirondack blogs have emerged (notably, Adirondack Base Camp, Adirondack Attic, Adirondack Boys, and Adirondack Wal-Mart) but old Adirondack online forums have closed, and newspapers such as the more than 50 year old North Creek News Enterprise and the Plattsburgh Press Republican have been turned over to corporate buyers – oh, and the Ticonderoga Sentinel has risen from the dead.
#2 Development, Development, Development – Particularly in Tupper Lake and North Creek, where large housing developments seem to be inevitable. There was, however, also the defeat of the Tupper Lake Wal-Mart, and the failure to stop a Lowe’s in Ticonderoga from running rough-shod over the Adirondack Park Agency.
#1 Congressman John Sweeney Melts Down – In one of the most surprising turns of Election 2006 – with no-doubt dramatic consequences for the coming years – Republican John Sweeney loses to Democrat Kristin Gillibrand in a heavily Republican district that stretches into Essex County. Sweeney then melts down, refusing to concede and congratulate, to support the transition to our new representative, or to attend to the people’s business more generally – oh, and he complains of a bug in his brain.