Friday, October 9, 2020

A few words from a young City Visitor (Also Your Neighbor)

By Vanessa Banti

Awake! Open your eyes, my friend from that small Adirondack town. Do you hear the distant sound of my car exiting the Northway? It’s me, the young city dweller! I am coming to visit. 

My Subaru is stuffed with gear, and I’m listening to a liberal podcast. I’ve started driving at 4AM to snag trailhead parking. I’m coming to AirBnB, to regular BnB, to hammock, to hike, to paddle, to leaf peep, to mountain bike, (even to take Instagram photos!) and to generally hang around in your wilderness. Yes, I know, because a lot of people remind me: it’s your wilderness, and I am but a visitor. 

But perhaps you don’t think that last bit is quite right. Since I’ve woken you up, my headlights strafing past your window, I think the least I owe you is an explanation. 

For you have probably never claimed that the wilderness of the great Adirondack park is yours, surely. You’d remember saying something as outlandish as that. We younger people, we can be pretty quick to get self-righteous, and put words in other people’s mouths. 

Perhaps you’re a first, second, or even a fifth generation resident of your Adirondack town. You have endured the brutal winters, weathered the seasonal economy, and embraced the precariousness that is married to independence; the slow pace that is married to isolation. After all you’ve gone through, after all  the experience you have with this land, this space, this unique culture, surely you have a perspective that a mere visitor can never truly understand.

I understand that. In fact, I respect it a lot! It is out of this sense of respect, that I’m going to do something a little forward, pardon me! (We both know the Garden trailhead is already full anyway.) I’d like to pull up a chair, continue to interrupt your breakfast, and just maybe, maybe cause a bit of controversy as I claim in my self-righteous fashion: 

Dear friend, not only does your beloved Adirondacks also belong to me, a transient city-dwelling visitor, but this beautiful land isn’t even wilderness. 

It is not wild here. 

I claim this land as much as you do.

I  brandish my pumpkin-spice latte on the summit of Cascade Mountain (but then pack it out!) and hereby claim from Tupper Lake to the Ausable Chasm, from Tahawus to the Marcy Dam: no one “owns” or singularly creates Adirondack culture, and that thinking of the park as “rugged wilderness” will, in fact, plant the seeds of its demise. 

Oh my, I can see your face at this comment. You seem to really disagree. It is kind of a bold thing to say, isn’t it? 

Well, why don’t you come on a walk with me after breakfast. I hear we’re supposed to be sticking to trails less traveled, after all. I think there’s a nice short loop, just down the street. We may not reach the summit of a great peak, but maybe we’ll reach a place of understanding. That seems more challenging these days than even a really tough hike.

Humble beginnings

As we strike out onto the trail, let’s consider the history of the park. Humans have roamed these mountains since 9000 BC , and they too loved, hated, shivered in the cold and sat delighted under the warm sun. For thousands of years the land was shared by diverse groups of people speaking different languages. They had democratically controlled government before America even existed. Some historians even call them socialists!

In the 17th century, these old-timers received some visitors. It was too early for Subarus or Instagram, but the visitors brought along something that today we feel suddenly quite familiar with: deadly disease. 

Between failing to socially distance and failing to convince the visitors that local lives mattered, the locals couldn’t stay on their beloved land. These same mountains that we see in the distance – those mountains that had provided everything the locals needed became last-ditch shelters from annihilation. But escaping to the mountains didn’t work for the locals. They were forced to leave, because in the century we’re referring to here, it was the new folks in town that brought all of the guns. 

Between all of that conflict and scraping for survival, I’m not sure anyone thought of the park as “wilderness” in terms of our modern use of the word. Was the land abandoned? Not really. Uncultivated? Nope, can’t check that one either. In fact, after the visitors settled in, they got to cultivating the land pretty quickly! By the late 19th century everything was getting a bit wrecked. Trees were chopped down, and ore was mined. 

Enter the city slickers

I heard about this one visitor, a kid named Verplanck Colvin. He was a real upstart out of Albany. He was the beneficiary of a fancy private education and recipient of a law degree (talk about an elitist!). At age 23, during one of his camping trips, he had the audacity to think critically about all of that job-creating industry that dominated the park. He wrote a pamphlet aiming to remedy the overuse of the natural resources of the region. Among other things, he suggested: 

“…the creation of an Adirondack Park or timber preserve, under charge of a forest warden and deputies… The officers of the law might be supported per capita tax, upon sportsmen, artists, and tourists visiting the region; a tax which they would willingly pay if the game should be protected from unlawful slaughter, and the grand primeval forest be saved from ruthless desolation.”

Cool idea, eh? I bet that today, we wouldn’t be so sure about that government regulation, and new taxes! But at the time, a lot of folks thought this kid was onto something. I hear they named a mountain after him. Not bad for a city tourist

And thus, the blue line was drawn. All of this damaged land became protected and “forever wild.” By the time we arrive in the 20th century, was the park left to turn back into “grand primeval forest”? Surely, by the power of a constitution, a true wilderness could be born. 

Well, perhaps. Trees were still chopped down to create luxurious great camps. The Olympic venues were built, bringing visitors from around the world. Politics kept grinding onward, as politics does. The Northway was finished in the ’60s, and in 1971, the city-dwellers again decided to bless us all with their big ideas and create the (pardon my cough) controversial organization called the Adirondack Park Agency.

In 1984, yet another part-time visitor named Bill McKibben, a then writer for The New Yorker, wrote a book that he had the audacity to call The End of Nature. Imagine that! Spending so much time in these splendid woods, and then writing a book telling us all that nature itself is ending. Can you believe this guy? 

My friend, I can. Mr. McKibben got a lot of people thinking. Over thirty years after he published this book, millions of people across the planet now recognize that all of the land, every acre of it, is irrevocably changing. Many of us know now that if we do not completely re-organize our societies and our cultures, there may not be any woods to walk in, pretty much anywhere. Never mind these Adirondack woods that you and I both love. 

The park today

So although for the last hundred years, you can walk in a quiet Adirondack forest and see no one, you can paddle an secluded stream, listen at night and hear only the hoot of a distant owl, and look up at the Milky Way from end to end in the sky, a true wilderness where there is no human influence hasn’t been around for a long while. We may never leave the Earth enough alone to achieve one, either. Not unless some big changes happen.

Those big changes will involve all of us. Which is why I’ve come to visit, and will keep coming to visit. I love these woods just as much as you do, and cherish them too much to see them neglected and and destroyed. 

It matters very little if I am a self-righteous city-dweller, a hippie, an obnoxious kid, an activist – my claim to this land is grounded in love, and recognition that it is vitally important to all of us. If we truly want to see the Adirondacks unharmed by human influence, it will take everyone – city and rural dweller alike – to make it happen. 

I think we’ve arrived at the end of our walk. I’m not sure if you agree with everything that I’ve said, but that’s OK! It may take more than a few hikes for all the different types of folks that explore these woods to see eye to eye. But until then, I bet we’ll be seeing each other around. Next time I am driving through town, I will be sure to give you a wave. After all, that’s what good neighbors do.  

Vanessa Banti is a millennial city-dweller who loves the Adirondacks, and hopes to live there someday as a wonderful neighbor. After hanging out in the comments section of the Almanack, she decided to write her own essay instead of commenting on others’. In her professional life, she is a librarian that works with copyright and intellectual property, and in her personal life, she is outside under the pines as often as possible. 

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The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional guest essays from Adirondack residents, visitors, and those with an interest in the Adirondack Park. Submissions should be directed to Almanack editor Melissa Hart at

68 Responses

  1. adkDreamer says:

    I couldn’t agree more with the fact that the Adirondacks are essentially a manufactured wilderness, however, these natural preserves do serve well as an effective substitute. Dismissing local residents as well as lumping all of us into a mono-culture for the purpose of self ingratiating identity politics serves no one. Please, spare us all the oversimplified history lesson with which we are all too familiar. Nothing new here with the exception of your mountain top barista dreams.

  2. ADKresident says:

    Your perspective would be well-considered and thought provoking, if not for the cleverly masked condescending and sarcastic undertones. Not the best way to reach out to your future neighbors. We are not as monolithic as you think.

  3. Sympathetic Outsider says:

    Interesting ideas wrapped in an immature tone. Keep at it, and you might get less insufferable over time and actually make the impact you’re aiming to make.

  4. M.P. Heller says:

    I’m wondering if something is trying to be communicated in this essay or if its just a ramble through the author’s own thoughts as they try to justify their own behaviors.

    Nothing new or particularly interesting in this piece. People have been packing their vehicles in the wee hours and driving to the Adirondacks for a very long time. Not all that have engaged in this popular activity have had the use of the Northway, came from “downstate”, nor flashed their headlights through my windows in the early morning, but they certainly found a way to get here from all over. I expect that many did not have the luxury of a Subaru nor did they opine to the public on the topic of what they may have listened to on their journey here as a way to signal their self perceived virtuosity.

    Kudos to you Vanessa for having the opportunity and desire to visit the Adirondacks and enjoy your cup of pumpkin spiced latte on a summit. We welcome you and hope you continue to return and enjoy the landscape for many seasons to come. Leave the thinly veiled snark and conceit at home though. You definitely aren’t welcome at breakfast in my house until you can rid yourself of that.

    I’m glad we had this little talk. Mmmkay?

  5. Patty Gremaux says:

    OMGosh, I love the 3 comments to this article. I’ve never read this paper, but just stumbled onto the article. I agree, quite snarkily written. I don’t understand what point the writer is trying to prove. She thinks you who live there don’t take proper care of what you have? I doubt that!

    I’ve only been once to the Adirondacks (being from IN I admit I am more of a Great Lakes gal) and they were beautiful!

  6. Harv Sibley says:

    Well, nearly lost my breakfast with this long winded, boring diatribe. Thanks.
    I am a downstater whose family has been secondary residents of the Adks since 1974.
    We don’t claim anything. We love the Adks and the people, all the people. We live and learn with the residents. We accept them, we respect them, all of them and all of their views, even when we disagree.
    This writer needs to be a bit more respectful and stop lecturing. Yes, you may know history, but you don’t understand the people of the Adks, you never will until you stop spewing and start listening.

    If that simple rule does not sit well with you, then pour yourself another latte and stay home.

  7. Robert DiMarco says:

    Sure the article was a little in your face. But what i see as the point and which i agree with totally is, locals of any area have no more right or say in how that area is maintained used etc. Compared to other citizens of ny state. I.E. A ny city dweller vs. A saranac lake resident

    • Boreas says:


      You made your point with one, clearly-stated sentence. This article reads like someone lecturing a 7 year-old. It isn’t the message that is unclear, it is the style in which it was delivered.

    • John D Marona says:

      Oh, but we pay the local property taxes, school taxes and highway taxes, thank you.

  8. ADKresident says:

    Are you kidding me? Absolutely, locals have more say. This may not be “our” wilderness but it is our home. Wherever you choose to put down roots, you are partly responsible for the stewardship of the environment and area you choose to call home as a tax contrributing, law abiding citizen of that area . Imagine, getting in your latte-free “pickup”, driving downstate to a townhouse community or city park you love to visit and arrogantly assume you have authority to dictate its culture and/or environment without properly respecting and listening to the residents? (The attitude should be the other way around!) How would that go over? Not too well.

    Sympathetic Outsider nailed the essence of the thought process, however self-righteously and well-intended: “immature”.

  9. Tim-Brunswick says:

    SERIOUSLY….I THOUGHT SHE DID A GREAT JOB !……..without question she validated all the NEGATIVE attitudes almost everyone upstate (North of the Catskills) has abt. the visitors from Downstate, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO THEIR SUPERIOR ATTITUDE, ARROGANCE AND TOTAL LACK OF UNDERSTANDING ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO LIVE/GROW UP IN A RURAL/OUTDOORS ENVIRONMENT!

    Sounds like an eight grader trying to be a “grown-up”……

    • Lee says:

      As a long visitor from n.j. I have never encountered a bad attitude towards me in the lake george region, warrensburg where my grandfather had 110 acres.
      All the locals where super nice and still are. MAYBE the problem is not them but other judgements put onto them from city folk.

    • Lee says:

      I personally can comment on all of this article as I and my family have been going to warrensburg and lake george since the 1950’s. MY grandfather had 110 acres that I grew up going to every weekend.
      LATER on, my father built a house on lake george.
      I never had a bad encounter with any local ever!
      Neither has anyone in our family! We are respectful of them and appreciate them. We spend time asking questions and listening to them! There are many agencies that over see the area up there. The Adirondack park agency is just one.

      Many locals do not like the laws, as they are preventing the area from being more populous and growing. Some of them love the laws as that is why they live there.

      Protecting the area does bring in revenue for the area by the way of tourism and locals understand that as well. Some do not mind it as others do. It is like when people go to the shore and the locals call the tourist bennies and some do not like the tourist. You get that everywhere.
      I also have a Subaru, if you see a grey crosstrek with a Thule cargo carrier on it make sure you are not in the fast lane for no reason!!!!!!

      Keep right unless passing! I just drove back from Chestertown today . I looked at a 13 acre property and all the traffic is from idiots that do not keep right. The left lane is for passing only!!!!!!!!!!!!! When some one high beams you and you are in the left lane, move the f over!!!!!!!!! I am not saying the author of this does that but she probably does and for any one else that does it not you know why you are getting high beamed

  10. Joan Grabe says:

    Stop, people ! This was a joke, satire whatever ! Guaranteed to get a rise out of residents like you who really don’t like “visitors “ to our trails, our mountains or even our roads ! Let us all lighten up here ! Please !

    • ADKresident says:

      Oh, ok. I get it. Thanks for that clarification!
      Poke the residents with a snide, creative essay in order to provoke the reaction that confirms the writer’s already preconceived judgements.
      Too funny.

  11. Native01 says:

    Just what the Park needs – another wannabe transplant with a superitority complex….

  12. EFK says:

    Typical smug, unappreciative, self important, pseudo intellectual who’s condescending tone I didn’t care for.

  13. Bill Ott says:

    I find the comments much more interesting and readable than the article.

  14. Jackie Gamble says:

    While I agree with everything said, I felt the essay written was argumentative. I don’t understand the need to be always saying, listen to me. Your point of view does matter, but yours is not the only one.

    I am very pleased you are advocating for the Adirondack Park. Maybe the history lesson aimed at the residents is just a little too “Millennial preachy”. I can say this because my educated Millennial daughter is an environmental scientists, who like yourself has many opinions. Like her opinions, yours seemed, to forget to be sensitive to other people opinions. They matter too.

  15. Boreasfisher says:

    As a lifelong professional editor I might have suggested some minor changes in word choice and tone here and there, but not in any way to alter the voice. I don’t hear enough from the group she seems to represent, and I for one am delighted to read it here. May more voices join in. I think we can all recognize that too many of us today look for opportunities to ignore what we do not want to hear…to fall back on our notions of the world. What I found most hopeful in this is the second to last paragraph, a recognition that preserving what is special about the Adirondacks will require the creative energies of all of us. Thank you Vanessa for sharing your thoughts.

    • A resident adk'er says:

      A Thank You from me also, Boreasfisher. Keep chatting, Vanessa…as young as you are, we need your voice. A little rough around the edges? Perhaps, but you’ll grow into it. And Joan Grabe caught the spirit of Vanessa’s article: rather Walt Whitman-esque, i’d say…?.

    • LAWRENCE KEEFE says:

      I agree Boreasfisher. Nice to hear her thoughts, even in that voice. Vanessa clearly touched some nerves with locals which was her goal, she wanted to generate thought. The conversation is important.

  16. Patrick Munn says:

    Thank you Boreasfisher…

  17. sandor says:

    Maybe she should resolve the inner city lib/dem issues in tax paper leechville before trying to bait us ADK residents into biting the hook on lattes,Subaru’s, litter and headlights.I have no desire to infiltrate NYC with my narrow views on homelessness, crime,antifa,diversity, and be woke! Lol….living here is a choice and a way of life,amen!! She probably has never been in the ADKS because she is so fake and a plagiaristic fool looking for attention.

    • mrdale14424 says:

      You forgot your Confederate flag emoji to complete your tirade.

      • Tabethesaurus Vexed says:

        I didn’t see that coming, and it made me laugh so hard, I snarfed pumpkin spice latte all over my Galaxy Note 10+ smartphone, triggering the front-facing camera to snap a selfie which has been auto added to my Insta. And I’m three years too old to be a millenial!

  18. Jim S. says:

    People are extremely proud of their devotion to the Adirondacks.

  19. Cristine Meixner says:

    I think Ms. Banti’s essay is well-intentioned, but it aroused my pet peeves. If you are concerned about the environment, why are you driving here as often as you can (emissions)? I rarely travel, because of emissions. I hope you are at least from a city fairly nearby, and not four + hours away as Mr. McKibben was. Some day you hope to have a home here; I hope it will be your only home and not a second home (unnecessary use of resources). And lastly I hope you either bear no or only one child, as I did. That is the one thing that has the most impact on saving the environment.

  20. TomC says:

    The article had some interesting things to say. However, the basic premise that in general people who live in the Adirondacks don’t like outsiders is false in my view. I’ve been coming here since I was very young, in the 1960s. I’ve rarely had that feeling, and recently I was fortunate enough to buy a vacation place in Indian Lake and never have felt anything other than welcome. Sure, some people feel negatively about outsiders anywhere you may be whether it’s in Speculator or it’s a neighborhood on 110th Street in Manhattan. But to paint an us against them picture may make a good story but I don’t see the reality. I’ll add that as others here have said the people who live here have a right have a say what happens where they live. If others take that as an affront it’s misguided.

  21. Michelle says:

    AA’s comments are usually pretty good. But these…

    Why does everyone want to slag someone like this? The author doesn’t seem malicious nor mean-spirited. She seems to be one of the people who the region depends on and is quite well-intentioned. She doesn’t call anyone out. But that is the response from the commenters.

    If the author isn’t your “cup of tea” why take the time to write a post to make a point of it? The author made a big effort to contribute something in her own way. And it seems that people feel threatened by that.

    The region is hurting economically and needs “new blood” and more open discussion on how to help everyone. The author tried in her own way to open that door. And 30 people have slammed it in her face.

    • Lee says:

      I do not think I slammed her. I just explained my experience in the lake george region.

      • Michelle says:

        “..move the f over!!!!!!!!! I am not saying the author of this does that but she probably does…”

        You started out kinda respectful but then went off the rails…

  22. Jack says:

    Based on some of the comments here, (not all) I believe the author made her point.

    • JohnL says:

      Which was…….what??

      • Jack says:

        Well John I believe her point was the Adirondacks belong to all the tax paying residents of NYS, state owned land of course. Maybe she is frustrated by the negative comments made in previous articles. Maybe she is frustrated by being stereotyped as one of the slobs who wreck, litter, and disrespect our beautiful mountains while she is not one of them. I also don’t live within the blue line but I have been a constant visitor since 1958, 3 to 4 times a year. The exception was this year due to COVID, out of respect to the true residents as requested. I’m frustrated too……

  23. M.P. Heller says:

    Stop making excuses for this young lady. She knew what she wrote when she wrote it and published it none the less. She had absolutely no compunction about casting overt aspersions on local residents. She continually used divisive stereotypes about the residents of the Park and also to describe herself in a very self depreciating manner which ostensibly was included to draw sympathy from a certain portion of the readership. (Read: divide people for the purpose of my ego rant.)

    Totally inappropriate piece that should have been returned for heavy editing before publication. Melissa Hart needs to do better here. This should have not been printed as submitted IMHO.

    • A resident adk'er says:

      …but other than that, Vanessa, we’re a pretty friendly people. Remember that Dylan tune? “…look out kids, you’re gonna get hit…”

    • Boreasfisher says:

      Please…If you believe the airwaves must be free from even the mildest of criticisms you are living in the wrong country.

      • Boreas says:

        As long as we always keep in mind that criticism can go both ways.

        • Boreasfisher says:

          Indeed. The Almanac has published opinion pieces in the past that are sardonic or even fabulist, a la Twain. This isn’t that, but this young librarian who does intellectual property work clearly has a good understanding of rhetoric. I think we have all become more literal these days with less psychic space left for divergences from the expected. That’s too damned bad. I think the Almanac understands this too. We need more diverse opinions, well expressed, please.

          • A resident adk'er says:

            Her opening lines, “Awake, my friend…yes, you up there asleep in your piney hollow (lol)…i have come to visit you, to visit and celebrate both you and myself…” have a strong connection and tenor to Whitman’s “Song of Myself”. I loved Vanessa’s essay and hope for others to follow. Perhaps she could become a regular contributor as her voice is greatly needed here in the din. I’m in total agreement with you, Boreasfisher, and your respectful comments are fresh and incisive…

  24. Charlie S says:

    Patty Gremaux says: “I don’t understand what point the writer is trying to prove.”

    I do! She is trying to stir us to think and does a pretty good job of it evidently. Of course I don’t agree with all of what she says but them I’m not supposed to, but she got me to think a little on these matters which is always a good thing….to think that is!

  25. Charlie S says:

    “Verplanck Colvin. He was a real upstart out of Albany. He was the beneficiary of a fancy private education and recipient of a law degree (talk about an elitist!).”

    Elitist? Not even close Vanessa, even if he did come from money. If you go through some of his topographical surveys, which are not easy to find, you will have a different take on this man. His 1879 & 1874 surveys especially, are his better ones as he incorporated entries from his private journals into these. His first survey (1872 I believe) even has some of his journal entries incorporated within. He was an intelligent man who had a lot of foresight. An extremely interesting man and most certainly not an elitist!

    • Zephyr says:

      Vanessa’s story sure poked a stick into the “get off my lawn” crowd. I personally enjoyed her perspective and tone, and the many nasty comments illustrate perfectly the subtext of the story–the Adirondack people are not very welcoming unless you fit into their vision of what an Adirondacker should look and act like. However, along with climate change, the old guard will not be able to stop the gradual demographic glacier moving slowly but inevitably into the mountains. I see encouraging signs of this movement in peripheral areas where many people of color, various languages, and lots of younger folk are now hiking. They are the future, whether or not you want to get out of your Adirondack chair and welcome them.

      • A resident adk'er says:

        “…and you’d better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone, for the time’s they are a changin’…??

  26. Charlie S says:

    Lee says: “I never had a bad encounter with any local ever!”

    This doesn’t mean that other people haven’t Lee! People are people no matter where you go, and while we may not, or cannot, all share the same experience as others, we can be sure the ego and arrogance of society is never far away. That’s been my experience anyway!

  27. Charlie S says:

    EFK says: “Typical smug, unappreciative, self important, pseudo intellectual who’s condescending tone I didn’t care for.”

    Funny how we, us insecure humans, all read into things different!

  28. Charlie S says:

    Boreasfisher says: “too many of us today look for opportunities to ignore what we do not want to hear…”

    > Yeppahuh! I very early-on detected the sarcastic wit in this essay while reading it. Some of us like to stir up others so as to satisfy whatever it is in us that needs appeasing.

    Jackie Gamble says: “Your point of view does matter”

    > Yes it does!

  29. Charlie S says:

    Sandor says: “Maybe she should resolve the inner city lib/dem issues”

    Just imagine what this society would be like if there were no ‘lib/dem’s’. There’d be no art, no good music, boring, stiff automatons, religious fervor, women would have no rights………….etc! We’d be like those right-wing countries the other side of the world whose people have been getting fed up with all of the suppression from their right wing leaders…..

    Sorry I just had to get that out! Thank you for allowing me and correct me if I’m wrong!

    • JohnL says:

      Wow, Charlie. We political conservatives better get going because apparently we’ve contributed absolutely NOTHING to the society you enjoy. My life has purpose now.

      • Charlie S says:

        I would never suggest such nonsense JohnL! I’m just speaking what apparently is. Haven’t you been reading about all of the upsrisings these past some years on the other side of the world? The mass migrations because? The high death tolls? The people revolting because they’ve had enough? Just an observance is all.

  30. Charlie S says:

    Michelle says: “The author made a big effort to contribute something in her own way. And it seems that people feel threatened by that.”

    Smart author here. A progressive! Not a bad thing! We need more of these!

  31. Charlie S says:

    JohnL says: “I have trouble recognizing sarcasm and snark. I’m old and need all the help I can get.”

    You have humor too JohnL! That matters a lot!

  32. Charlie S says:

    M.P. Heller spurts: “Totally inappropriate piece that should have been returned for heavy editing before publication.”

    The above is what a closed mind will induce in some. Is what you get in third world countries which is what America is seemingly heading towards.

  33. Sympathetic Outsider says:

    I know it’s probably too much to ask people to not get triggered by the over-the-top rhetoric and style of this post, but what I will comment on is that the author of this post got exactly what she (and the website) want: a ton of comment board activity (in corporate marketing, it’s called “engagement”), proving that this over-the-top style pays off.

    • ADKresident says:

      Very good point! Nothing fuels our culture nowadays more than fanning the flames of opposing views with the exploitation of differing opinions, Instead of finding common ground, extremes are magnified causing civil discord which is quite profitable!. Unfortunately, good, healthy debate has been overtaken by hateful rhetoric and character assassinations on all sides, particularly online. But as neighbors, face to face, I have found, you will find much kinder dialog as you view people as people and not identify them by their ideology. JMO

  34. Jesse says:

    I liked the article.

    The tone is intentional, as evidenced by the penultimate paragraph’s confession: “It matters very little if I am a self-righteous city-dweller, a hippie, an obnoxious kid, an activist.”

    If you allowed the tone to distract you from the underlying point, then you’ve missed the forest for the trees.

    Many of the Adirondacks’ wonderful residents and loving visitors have different tones. That will never change. But these different people can still share a common goal of maintaining the ADK’s beauty.

  35. justahiker says:

    Nice write up. A perspective that we don’t hear much about. A lot can be learned by “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes”. Sympathy is rarely attained by those who never suffer. The ones who have suffered are the most sympathetic. (analogy). We do hear you and most of us do respect you. But sometimes we are envious and jealous of your wealth and things like that. You are absolutely correct in that you have just as much of a right to access this land as we do. And a lot of us want to see you here and visit with you! Don’t be put off by those that don’t, but at the same time, try not to be condescending to us. We are all one big family that loves this land, and we need to make this overcrowding situation work, by letting our voice be heard regarding all of the parking issues and trail erosion, littering, etc. In my mind, it’s the State Government that needs to step up and do a much better job by hiring more rangers and other resources, granting much more parking access, and rebuilding the entire trail system. I think that is the only solution to all of the problems we are seeing. Hope to see you on the mountains!

  36. Charlie S says:

    “the author of this post got exactly what she (and the website) want: a ton of comment board activity (in corporate marketing, it’s called “engagement”), proving that this over-the-top style pays off.”

    “Unfortunately, good, healthy debate has been overtaken by hateful rhetoric and character assassinations on all sides.”

    > Any writing is better than no writing! Generally speaking of course. Should we discourage others from writing down what ‘they’ think just because we think different? We’re not going to like every thing but geez…we need as many writers and thinkers as possible nowadays, especially so with all of the disregard for any thing that makes us think, or enriches the spirit, or is intellectual….. we’re a surface sort-of society, hardly anything deep from anyone. It’s very sad how much ignorance there is, and what we are becoming because.

    Keep on writing Vanessa Banti you millennial city-dweller you!

  37. Worth Gretter says:

    Maybe people are taking this a little too seriously! I take it as a light hearted view of the differences between locals and visitors.

    But it is also a reminder that all NY citizens are owners of the Adirondack Park. We are thus free to enjoy it, but also bear the responsibility for its protection.

    • A resident adk'er says:

      Yes, Worth, you have it right; peeps are taking Vanessa’s essay way too seriously. So many of the comments had nothing to do with the article as written, with some ranting, it seemed, simply for the sake of it. I live smack in the heart of the Park (born & raised), but as you have pointed out (along with Vanessa), these mountains don’t belong to me…i share them with the rest of New Yorker’s. We are all invested with the responsibilty to love and care for our community property. You summed up Vanessa’s article beautifuly(!)…

  38. John Marona says:

    Taxes, yes , we hunters and fishermen pay a “Tax” as in hunting and fishing licenses and permits, as well as an excise tax of 10% on all fishing equipment and 11% on all hunting equipment before the sales tax , yes a tax on a tax. These fees pay for the state boat launches around the state and many beneficial land purchases etc. that benefit all wildlife and that all the people benefit from.

    • John Marona says:

      This includes hunters and fishermen from around the state , and non-residents thant buy licenses, permits and gear here. Thank you all very much.