Thursday, February 3, 2022

Oral history project will promote western Warren County’s “First Wilderness” 

first wilderness oral history projectThe Warren County Department of Planning and Community Development has launched a  collaboration with Cliff & Redfield Interactive (CRI), a Saratoga Springs-based rich-media communications organization, for a year-long campaign to promote community development  and heritage tourism in the First Wilderness Heritage Corridor of western Warren County. 

Running from Stony Creek to North Creek, the First Wilderness unites the communities of the  Upper Hudson River and Schroon River corridors, communities that share a common bond in  the settlement of the region. It includes the towns of Stony Creek, Thurman, Warrensburg,  Chester, Johnsburg, Lake Luzerne/Hadley, and Horicon. 

The Warren County Board of Supervisors recently approved the agreement, through which CRI  will bring together experts and student writers in Zoom for 60-minute “civic conversations”  focused on the history of western Warren County and issues related to its community  development. Serving as “cohost/reporters,” students will use a powerful speech-to-text  transcriber to process the recorded interviews and publish articles on a platform that the  county and CRI are developing at

The conversations will be live-streamed to the public on the Stories from Open Space YouTube channel.

The first civic conversation is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. Friday, February 4, featuring Warren County Planning Department staff members Wayne LaMothe, Ethan Gaddy, and Sara  Frankenfeld. Additional sessions will be announced in the near future. 

All of the CRI resources devoted to the project, including the time and expertise of CRI founder  and editor Dan Forbush and managing director Bill Walker, are being provided without cost to  Warren County. 

Among specific project goals are to: 

  • Engage storytellers and experts in describing the unique character of western Warren  County in Stories from Open Space
  • Add rich content through which the county can draw audiences to its web platforms; Create for area college and high school students professional experiences in  communications and opportunities for networking with leaders and experts in areas of  potential career interest; 
  • Produce for the Warren County Historical Society a manuscript that contributes to the  body of historical knowledge of Warren County and the surrounding region. 

Students may participate as credit-earning interns or volunteers. Further information for  students and teachers can be found at  

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4 Responses

  1. Ryan says:

    Interesting initiative. Hopefully the “civic conversations” will highlight the self-dealing and abuse of Stony Creek taxpayers by the Livingston Lake Club over the last 125 years.

  2. Jim Schaefer says:

    This is going to be an incredible source of information especially as visits with “old-timers’ living in the corridor are contacted for their stories. I hope old maps are used to help the recollection by natives regarding places and names/renames. In addition, I hope the area music, poetry and art are part of the effort. Perhaps the most important contribution is if young folks get out to do the initial contacts and interviews, so they appreciate the rugged nature of rural survival. To say nothing of the beauty of the countryside.

  3. JB says:

    I agree with Jim. There can be no good-faith community development without first considering the history of the community, and there is no heritage tourism without historic preservation. Also, I saw no mention (other than by Jim above) of Kanienʼkehá꞉ka (Mohawk people)–essential to any serious heritage-based endeavor.

  4. Sara Frankenfeld says:

    Here is the draft outline of upcoming topics for our Civic Conversations:

    Topic suggestions are welcome, as is participation of resident experts. There’s a contact form on the page linked above if you’d like to get in touch.

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