Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The ‘Forever Wild’ fight


A couple of years ago we started kicking around some ideas for sharing with readers the story of the people who fought to create the Adirondack Park Agency: their fervor and idealism, their mapping and lobbying, and the pushback they encountered then and for years to come.

We had only started to discuss how we might go about assembling such a narrative, and who might be best to write it, when Ithaca journalist and author Brad Edmondson wrote us an unsolicited email suggesting that we might have a use for a bunch of interviews he had conducted with the same characters — both APA proponents and opponents — over the years. He had taped some of them with the understanding that he wouldn’t print anything until after they had died, and now that time had arrived.


We encouraged him to tell the story for us, and he accepted. But as he got going, he realized he had more than a magazine story, and so he also found a book publisher. His book, “A Wild Idea,” comes out soon, just in time for the APA’s 50th anniversary this summer.

Meantime, we’ve been rolling out the story he wrote for us in serial form this week, and will continue to do so next week. Parts onetwo, three and four are online now. The series will continue into the following week, to be capped off with a forward-looking piece by a former APA board member. We hope you’ll check it out online, and see some of the short video clips giving voice to these conservation pioneers.

But if you’d prefer to read the whole story at once, you can look for it in our upcoming May/June issue. Click here to subscribe.

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Brandon’s weekly “Explore More” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

Photo: Senator Bernard C. Smith stands at right above Governor Nelson Rockefeller as the governor signs the Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan in 1973. Photo by Paul Schaefer/Almanack archive

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Brandon Loomis is a former Adirondack Explorer editor.

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