Julia Randall, A recent graduate from Williams College has designed a multi-media “StoryMap” which explains the overuse issues which face the Adirondack Park in a simple, easy-to-digest way.
Consisting of easy vocabulary, interactive maps, info-graphics, video and audio clips, and viewer-manipulated photographs, the map (available for viewing here) was designed as a special project following Randall’s post-graduation internship in the Adirondack Council’s Elizabethtown office.
The StoryMap starts off by showcasing what overuse looks like, then goes into explaining the various types and patterns of use that exist presently. It then describes the progress which the state has made to date. It explains the 2050 Vision project, and talks about ow comprehensive planning works, and the best management practices needed to overcome the necessary obstacles. Some of these solutions include outreach and education, front-country infrastructure (such as parking, trails into communities, restrooms); back-country infrastructure (sustainable trails, lean-tos, campsites) and limits on use (such as parking, shuttles, reservations, etc.) and an increase in money and personnel (rangers, planners, conservation police, engineers, trail crews, interpreters, etc.)
Randall is currently a writing tutor and essay coach, and studied English, environmental science, and music at Williams College. Adirondack Council Communications Director John Sheehan, and Adirondack Council Vision 2050 Director Julia Goren (respectively) had the following to say about the story map.
“This is a tremendously easy and entertaining way to understand what is at stake when too many people crowd into the Adirondack Park’s most popular destinations, everything you could hope to know about the problem –how it started, where it is worst, how to fix it –are all explained. You can examine the facts you care about most in minute detail, or breeze through the entire presentation like it was a movie.”
“Overuse and poorly designed trails are causing harm to water quality, wildlife and forest health all over the Adirondack Park. It’s hard for a newspaper or television news item to convey the full extent of the problem and its effects. The StoryMap helps the audience understand this complex issue on a visceral level. Julia’s work is a really effective way to understand the many facets of this issue.”
Randall herself had the following to say: “Like climate change, overuse is really difficult to
and understand — it’s a complicated, multifaceted issue happening in slow-motion over decades. Although there’s physical evidence proving its existence, some people don’t believe in it or refuse to acknowledge that it’s an issue. The overuse conversation also raises some big questions — what should wilderness be? To ensure that everyone can enjoy it, do we have to limit access to it? With this StoryMap, I wanted to show that the conversation on overuse must be data-driven.”