John Warren has been exploring the woods and waters of the Adirondacks for almost 50 years. After a career as a print journalist and documentary television producer he founded Adirondack Almanack in 2005 and co-founded the geolocation services company Adirondack Atlas in 2015.
John remains active in traditional media. His Adirondack Outdoors Conditions Report can be heard Friday mornings across the region on the stations of North Country Public Radio and on 93.3 / 102.1 The Mix. Since 2008, John has been a media specialist on the staff of the New York State Writers Institute.
John is also a professional researcher and historian with a M.A. in Public History. He edits The New York History Blog and is the author of two books of regional history. As a Grant Consultant for the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, he has reviewed hundreds of historic roadside marker grant applications from around New York State for historical accuracy.
There was a scary revelation in Sunday’s Glens Falls Post Star by Warren County Sheriff Larry Cleveland in a story about Adirondack hermit Alan Como. According to Cleveland, his department has access to your tax records, they know who your relatives are, if you hold any licenses, and your prior addresses – all pretty well expected, but they apparently have ANOTHER 20 PAGES of your life stored away somewhere as well. 20 pages… that’s a lot of info.
“We used one of our global (background) searches on [Alan Como] and found almost nothing — no prior addresses, no relatives, no taxes, licenses, nothing,” Cleveland said. “When you do a search like that on most people, you get back 20 pages. With him we got three. We all looked at it and said, ‘Wow, that’s it?’ There’s nothing there.”
No wonder it takes them so long to.. ahem… “run your license.”
This week news broke of a plan for a Aquarium of the Adirondacks – described in their mission statement as a “unique interdisciplinary attraction as the only aquarium facility of its kind to feature species of the Adirondack Region in addition to aquatic exhibits from around the world.”
In smartly keeping one eye on the Adirondack region, the Aquarium hopes to “foster stewardship by merging culture, history and science to promote learning and understanding of the incredible depth of the Adirondack landscape and a broader appreciation and respect for the global world of water.”
Sure the earth is two-thirds water, but only recently has the underwater world around us been truly explored. Only recently, for instance, have we even discovered that America’s Oldest Intact Warship was laying in the south basin of Lake George.
The most important draw we have in the Adirondacks is our natural environment. Developing the Adirondacks as the premier location to experience the natural world is a good idea – the Adirondacks has the potential to be the greatest living natural history center in the east – that’s a sustainable and laudable environmental and economic goal.
Just stumbled on a note from one of our regular readers, christyanthemum (check out her blog, and her online bookstore), pointing us to old versions of North Country Public Radio’s web page. The Internet Archive’s Way Back Machine lets you look up old versions of web sites going back to 1996 (85 billion so far).
The Internet Archive also houses an incredible collection of moving images, live concerts, audio, and texts. Some Adirondack related examples include:
A circa 1936 educational film from the National Tuberculosis Association (founded by Edward Livingston Trudeau, described as the man who introduced “the modern method” of treating TB) entitled On The Firing Line.
A live recording of the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey at the Adirondack Mountain Music Festival at the Moose River Campground in Lyons Falls on May 31, 2003.
UPDATED 1/18/07: Ellen Rocco, Station Manager for NCPR, writes to us with this comment:
As for our website, aw, c’mon, this reminds me of the question I’m often asked about our former studio space in Payson Hall on the SLU campus: “Don’t you miss that charming old building with the double open staircase and 100-year old woodwork?”
My unequivocal answer: No!
It may have appeared charming to the casual visitor, but for those of us who used the space, charming was not the way we described the cramped quarters, wall paint chips on documents and tape, noise issues–including having to stop recording when trucks passed on the street outside or someone flushed the toilet over the production studio, etc. As with the old building, I have zero nostalgia for the old website. Now, users can find thousands of archived news stories and features, 22 topical series (I know the number because Dale Hobson, our web guru, just counted them yesterday) on things like rural homelessness, land-use, the justice system…, playlists and reading lists, blogs, regional concert hall and art gallery, links to all kinds of great websites, national/international news sources and on and on.
But it’s nice to know people are visiting ncpr.org…keep coming.
Randomly organized links to ideas for making life in the Adirondacks just a little bit easier – technology tools and tips, do-it-yourself projects, and anything else that offers a more interesting, more convenient, or healthier way of life in our region.
If it wasn’t painfully obvious before, weather for this early January week that stretched into the sunny 60’s at some Adirondack locations should serve as a reminder that global warming is going to have serious impacts on the Adirondack region. Unfortunately, few here in the mountains seem to understand the gravity of the situation for our local economies.
Our friends working at Gore Mountain Ski Resort have been hardly working at all and consequently spending a lot less on dinners out, winter gear, and even beer and other important winter supplies. The few trails open on Gore are so crowded (with even the small crowd that’s there) that the die-hards refuse to make runs for fear of being run-over. Whiteface in Lake Placid has been forced to cancel its annual World Cup Freestyle competition (now being held at Deer Valley, Utah) and has virtually no beginner trails open.
Meanwhile, two of the largest developments in Adirondack history are expected to be rammed through the Adirondack Park Agency by pro-development George Pataki appointees. The most bizarre part of these projects is that they, believe it or not, have relied on development of two area ski resorts to appease locals and persuade some that the good they’ll provide for the local economy by way of skiing will outweigh the damage to the park.
[Tupper Lake project] developer Michael Foxman’s mega-vision to create the high-end Adirondack Club and Resort, which would include 700 expensive units on 6,400 acres, much of it in back country, has been highly controversial since it was proposed three years ago. Part of the plan, a sop to the locals, is reopening Big Tupper Ski Center as an economic engine.
In North Creek (Warren County), local politicos and real estate agents are pushing (with the help of newly appointed APA member, Warren County Board of Supervisors Chair, and Johnsburg Town Supervisor Bill Thomas) a project called – get this – Ski Bowl Village at Gore Mountain that would include exclusive trailside housing, an equestrian facility, retail shops and restaurants, a major hotel, two smaller inns, a spa, a private ski lodge, and a 9-hole golf course, on 430 acres, some of which on what was a town-owned park and before that the historic North Creek Ski Bowl where downhill skiing an early start in New York State.
Folks – skiing in the Adirondacks in the future will be all but dead. If there hasn’t been a proper ski season for Adirondack resorts in at least four years, and the experts agree that the coming year will be the warmest on record (again), it’s time to see the forest for the trees – no project tied to the ski season has a hope of being successful on that basis in the long run.
In the Northeast, the climate may be changing even more rapidly, particularly in winter. Compared to 1970, there are now 15 to 30 fewer days of snow on the ground in the Northeast, one study found. Some regional models also show an increase in average temperatures of 1.4 degrees over 102 years, but a spike of 2 to 4 degrees over the past 30 years.
“Climate has always been changing, so we can’t talk about climate change as something new,” said Art DeGaetano, director of the Northeast Climate Data Center at Cornell University. “Clearly, the temperatures we’re seeing today … are much warmer than we’ve seen for the last 1,000 years. Clearly, there’s warming almost everywhere.
“Climate change is upon us,” he said. “Climate is going to warm, so we do have to act and we do have to prepare.”
If there are any segments of the Adirondack economy that you can count on to take a nose dive in the next 20 years it’s winter sports. It doesn’t take a genius to understand “15 to 30 fewer days of snow on the ground” means that investing hundreds of millions in Adirondack skiing and snowmobiling industries is not a good idea. Despite the ignorant claim by Mike Halpert, head of forecast operations at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center that there is “No cause for alarm. Enjoy it while you have it,” you might also forget large investments in ice fishing shanties and winter carnival concessions in case you needed to be told.
So why – oh please tell us why – are state and local governments spending so much money on these debacles?
The [Tupper Lake] developer is calling for the Franklin County Industrial Development Agency to come up with $50 million to $60 million for infrastructure costs. In essence, that would require the county taxpayers to guarantee the bonds for his private venture. That is a stupefying request. Even more mind-boggling is that there are those in the town and county who are ready to go along with the developer.
And add a dose of misguided Republican cronyism:
Gov. George Pataki, down to his final weeks in office, announced plans Friday for a $7 million expansion of the state-run Gore Mountain Ski Center that will enable the Johnsburg attraction to boast having the eighth-largest vertical drop in the eastern United States.
The state will spend an additional $3 million to complete the railroad line connection between [Republican] Saratoga Springs and [Republican] North Creek.
Skiers from Saratoga Springs, as well as the Albany and New York City areas, will be able to take the train to North Creek and leave their personal vehicles at home, Pataki said.
“You’re not going to have the traffic; you’re not going to have the pollution, and you’re not going to have the congestion. But you are going to have the economic growth,” he said during a press conference at the North Creek train station.
Bill “Snow Is All We Have” Thomas:
When completed, skiers from New York City and elsewhere could take a train up to North Creek, delivered within a half-mile of the ski bowl area, Thomas said. “It’s very important to tourism in Johnsburg,” Thomas said of the resort plans. “I see it as a big catalyst for Main Street businesses.”
“Gore Mountain is a tremendous asset for the state and for our region. All of us here today share the desire and realize the importance of making an already great skiing experience at Gore Mountain even better. That requires sizable investments by New York State.”
Ahhh… Betty… New York State doesn’t make “sizable investments,” the people of New York State do.
Since 1995, the state has poured $70 million into the Olympic Regional Development Authority. If we assume about 100,000 year-round residents, that’s $700 per person! And that doesn’t count state and local tax discounts, increased costs of services for local communities serving ski resorts, the higher costs of goods and services priced for the tourist market, county funds (like the Tupper Lake 50 or 60 million), and who knows what else. According to NCPR, “This year, Lake Placid’s sports and tourism venues received more than $40 million in state subsidies. That’s roughly $15 thousand for every man, woman and child living inside the village limits.”
Developers, local politicians, ill-informing media – go outside! See, that there is no snow, and not likely to be regular snow at anything near historic levels in our lifetimes. Stop pushing fantasies that hide your real motive – unlimited development of the last great wilderness area east of the Rockies.
And while we’re at it – we received an e-mail from Bill McKibben today announcing a “a day of demonstrations for April 14” – a great idea (info at Stepitup2007.org).
It’s going to be an unusual day. People will be rallying in many of America’s most iconic places: on the levees in New Orleans, on top of the melting ice sheets on Mt. Hood and in Glacier National Park, even underwater on the endangered coral reefs off Key West and Hawaii. But we need hundreds of rallies outside churches, and in city parks, and in rural fields. It’s not a huge task — assemble as many folks as possible, hoist a banner, take a picture. We’ll link pictures of the protests together electronically via the web—before the day is out, we’ll have a cascade of images to show both local and national media that Americans don’t consider this a secondary issue. That instead they want serious action now.
If you are planning to organize an event, please let us know – we’ll list events as they’re organized – wouldn’t events at local closed ski resorts be something?
UPDATE: Pam Mandrel, over at BlogHer, has linked to this post and included some other posts about global warming’s impact on the American ski industry. Thanks Pam for a great follow-up.
From behind the blue line of the Adirondacks, the rest of the world sometimes seems amazing, and at other times, well, just strange. So continuing our new, New Year tradition of Lists to just one more, we decided to post a little tour of 2006 by way of the of the amazing and weird from the internets, Adirondack and otherwise, and include some of the best lists of 2006.
Prepare to be amazed hearty reader for the 2006 tour via internet link awaits!
You could start with the Wikipedia 2006 (year of the dog) page – but be prepared to spend some time. Definitely check out the 2006 Deaths, and while you are at it, the much smaller 2006 Births. Now that many local Adirondack newspapers have begun charging for obituary listings, maybe 2007 could emerge as the year of the public wikibituary.
Even if 2007 doesn’t emerge as the year the mainstream old media figures out Web 2.0, one thing for sure – media will be increasingly central to the Adirondack experience. During the next 12 months, according to Jeff Haig, from the University of Vermont, “Americans are projected to average more than 9 1/2 hours a day with the media.” While you are at it, check out Jeff’s recent pieces on the death of the American newspaper (1, 2). According to Forbes Magazine, the best papers will learn to be online.
From May of this year, PC World’s Top 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time – AOL (America Online) deserves its number one ranking for sure, but they’ve also got WebTV, Iomega Zip Drives, Internet Explorer, and products from Disney, Priceline, Macintosh, Gateway, Compaq, IBM, and more. If you still use one of these products, you should consider just giving up on the whole tech thing and just go back to snail-mail.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for contributing your e-mailed comments, and for supporting the Almanack through purchases from the Almanack Store and the suggested reading links.
And while we’re at it – we’d like to thank the top five referring Internet denizens – these folks sent more readers our way than any other spots on the net (save for the search engines). Thanks for the links and we wish you well in the coming year!
#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.
#9 Northway Bus Crash – Five passengers on a Greyhound Bus are killed when a tire blows out to cause one of the deadliest accidents in Adirondack history on the Northway near Exit 31 (Elizabethtown).
#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.
#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.
This holiday season we’ve decided to offer a list of books that every Adirondack fan should have – remember that if you buy through the Adirondack Almanack a small portion of the sale supports the blog.
David Haelvarg ($12.92) Local Politics: Provides the first full accounting of the extremist right wing “property rights” movement in the Adirondacks. Implicated in a rash of arson, physical attacks, death threats, and more, and connected to organizations like the John Birch Society, organizations like the Citizens Council of the Adirondacks (CCA) and the Adirondack Solidarity Alliance (ASA) waged a battle against environmentalist, locals who supported zoning, and the APA.
Philip Terrie ($14.56) Local Politics : We’re lucky to have Terrie as a regular reader of the Adirondack Almanack. This book on the politics of the park and the struggle over the land is a seminal piece of Adirondack scholarship and a great follow-up to Terrie’s Forever Wild: A Cultural History of Wilderness in the Adirondacks.
John Wagner ($10.61) How-To: Get out to the woodshed and produce some of< your own locally inspired furniture. Geared for beginners, this book include drawings, photos, and diagrams to help even the most amateur wood worker build classic Adirondack designs.
Barbara McMartin ($12.74) Local Guides: The late Adirondack historian’s perennial favorite – a great book for the Adirondack newbie, visitor, or that person who has been doing a lot of talking about finally doing some hiking.
Alan Bessette, William Chapman ($16.95) Local Guides: Over 200 species of birds are categorized into the eight basic groups. Also includes sections on feeding, attracting, and photographing along with a checklist and place for field notes.
Donald R. Williams ($15.59) History: Part of the Images of America series, this Adirondack picture book is a must have that provides amazing photographs taken from all kinds of sources. A nice, affordable photo history of the Adirondacks.
We just received this press release from the Adirondack Council and thought it was worth sharing, in light of our last post. Also, Adirondack Base camp has an interesting post on the APA and what needs to be done.
Timing of Pataki APA Appointments to Park Agency Could Boost Chances of 800-lot Tupper Lake Subdivision
Governor Pataki has appointed (and the Senate confirmed at 2:15 p.m. today) two Adirondack Town Supervisors to serve on the 11-member Adirondack Park Agency Board of Commissioners. The board has regulatory authority over all major development projects in the six-million-acre Adirondack Park.
The Adirondack Council is disappointed by these two appointments at this time, for two related reasons. First, both gentlemen are being asked to serve two masters. Both are the chief financial officers for their towns, as well as being representatives of their towns on their respective County Board of Supervisors. How, then, can they be impartial judges of development projects that might bring needed revenue into their communities, but would also harm the environment?
Worse, the two are from Warren and Hamilton counties, which together comprise more than one-third of the entire Adirondack Park, making a conflict of interest more likely. The Park Agency has no formal rules or guidelines to clarify what commissioners should do when faced with such conflicts. In some cases, commissioners have recused themselves, while in others they have not.
More curious is the timing of the appointments, one day before the Adirondack Park Agency is set to rule on whether it will accept as complete the application of failed savings & loan executive Michael Foxman for a sprawling 800-lot subdivision on the slopes around Big Tupper Ski Center. We are very much opposed to the project. However, the co-applicant for the project is the Town of Tupper Lake, causing us some worry that the appointments were made to grease the skids for the Tupper mega-development.
The appointees are Frank Mezzano, Supervisor of the Town of Lake Pleasant, Hamilton County, and Bill Thomas, Supervisor of the Town of Johnsburg (North Creek is the biggest community) in Warren County.
There are two more interesting twists here. One: We and many other environmental advocates think Bill Thomas will, over time, be a good commissioner. He’s a smart guy and a dedicated public servant. We had suggested his name to the next administration, but cautioned that they wait until his tenure as Town Supervisor had ended in January 2007 (to avoid pressure and conflicts as commissioner). His appointment fills the seat vacated by Deanne Rehm of Bolton, who resigned at the end of her term this summer. Thomas’s term will run until 2010.
Two: Frank Mezzano resigned from the APA Board of Commissioners in the summer of this year, stating he would not serve out his term. He said some bitter things about the APA and the way commissioners made decisions. Yet, here he is again. He has been appointed to fill the vacancy left by his own resignation. This appointment is good only until June.
Thus, our suspicion that the Pataki Administration is scrambling to pack the APA board of commissioners prior to the Thursday/Friday vote to determine the fate of the Tupper mega-development. If the APA says the application is complete and sets a date for the first public hearing, the entire project could be ready for a final decision on the permit before June.
Keep in mind that Governor-elect Spitzer will have the authority to appoint his own chairman of the APA board, but cannot remove a sitting commissioner without just cause (proof of malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance). He will have to await new vacancies to appoint his own commissioners.
John F. Sheehan Communications Director The Adirondack Council
Lame duck Representative John Sweeney has gone over the edge, into debt, and apparently, on vacation from the rest of the duties Adirondack voters once hired him to carry out. Rumors are also circulating at the Times Union’s Capitol Confidential blog that his house is for sale and he’s moving to DC – meanwhile, he has apparently never called Gillibrand to concede the race or to assist in the transition.
In North Creek, the bar owned by Sweeney spokesperson Maureen Donovan (Casey’s North), is up for sale. Donovan is now a two-time loser. She was let go from the Warren County Economic Development Corporation last January but landed on her feet as Sweeney spokesperson. We wonder if they’re both headed to the K Street lobbyists, for their next bite of our pie.
All of this saddens the North Creek New Enterprise. The NCNE was once a great little paper that was published in North Creek – was that is, until it was taken over by Denton Publications entitled “Local leaders hope for the best with this summer and became a mouthpiece for the Sweeney crowd. There was a funny article after the election on November 18thGillibrand.” Here’s a great quote:
Bill Thomas, Chair of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, said the election showed that people felt they wanted a new direction.
“I was very, very satisfied with everything John Sweeney did for us,” he said. “He was a great Representative for me, the Town of Johnsburg and Warren County, and I hope this new person will do the same.”
You “hope this new person will do the same”? Bill – her name is the Right Honorable Representative from New York, Kirsten Gillibrand. I mean, come on, you can’t even say her name? And how proud are you of Sweeney now that you know he intends to blow off the rest of the job we hired him for because he’s a sore loser?
And speaking of North Creek and Bill Thomas. The Press Republican (now also under new owners) is reporting that Thomas (who has also served as Johnsburg Town Supervisor for-ever) will be appointed to the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) in a flurry of last minute Republican appointments by George Pataki. Thomas has been a major proponent of the Gore Mountain – North Creek Ski Bowl connection – he says he’ll recuse himself.
The Ski Bowl Village at Gore Mountain is planning upscale trailside housing, an equestrian facility, retail shops and restaurants, a major hotel, two smaller inns, a spa, a private lodge, and a 9-hole golf course, all on 430 acres adjacent to the town’s Historic Ski Bowl Park, the original site of skiing in North Creek (and one of the first in the nation). The proposal has drawn tremendous opposition from locals who resent the Johnsburg Town board’s (led by Bill Thomas) turning over part of Ski Bowl Park to sweeten the developer’s deal (they’re from Connecticut).
The Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) – the state authority that operates Gore Mountain – has recently come under fire from some local business people (including Bill Donovan, Maureen Donovan’s husband) who objected to a 20-year contract that gave ORDA the rights to the Ski Bowl Park Base Lodge’s concessions, and use of a new lodge in winter – the Donovans apparently think that money from the sale of soda pop at the Ski Bowl should have went to them.
Which brings us to the Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks (RCPA), which has filed suit opposing the way the whole Gore-Ski Bowl-Private Development plan is being carried out (much to the dismay, no doubt, of local real estate guy and Johnsburg Planning Board member, Mark Bergman). Peter Bauer, Executive Director of the organization since 1994, to us some time ago that the plan to connect Little Gore and Big Gore was considered separately from the rest of the Ski Bowl development plans rather than as one interconnecting large-scale development as the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) requires.
And that brings us back to the newly Republican North Creek News Enterprise. This week they are reporting (in screaming HUGE HEADLINES) that “local officials wary of RCPA recommendations” – turns out that Peter Bauer has been named to Eliot Spitzer’s transition team and that apparently upsets the powers that be at the paper and their friend – you guessed it – Bill Thomas.
Of course we don’t take much stock in what the NCNE has to say anymore – back on November they were telling us that Hudson Headwaters Health Network guru John Rugge was “looking a little nervously at the future” – but he’s just been named to Spitzer’s transition team as well.
Keep up the (ahem) good work News Enterprise.
Oh yeah… the reward for the NCNE’s support for Bill Thomas and his crew? The paper gets to be named the official paper for legal notices, something Thomas and the Johnsburg board had refused to do when Denton first took over.
UPDATE 12/17/06: One local resident reports that MARK Bergman (thanks for the first name correction) is not the only real estate agent on the Johnsburg Planning Board. Our tipster also reports that Bill Donovan is on the Planning Board and is using the Front Street (Gore Mountain Village) project as a selling point for Casey’s North. Tipster also reports that the Donovan’s home in Wevertown is also up for sale “for $350,000… about twice what they paid for it a couple of years ago.” And…
I have known Bill Thomas for 20 years and I have a great deal of hope (okay, some hope…) that he will be relatively fair as an APA Commissioner. Especially as he is not running for re-election next year. He does much better when personal political considerations are not on the table… And, I can assure you that Bill Thomas is not at all displeased with Sweeneys departure. He immediately reached out to Gillibrand and I think they will have a good working relationship.
Regarding the NCNE [the North Creek News Enterprise]… they ran no less than 6 pro-Sweeney stories in the months before the election. When Kirsten came to town in September, they ran the story 3 weeks later in the form of a picture caption buried in the middle of the “paper”.
I also have a source deep within the republican party who tells me that Sweeney is in despair because he has no real prospects for his future. K Street likely doesn’t want him. He’s damaged goods with no where to go. Boo freakin‘ hoo!
Thanks tipster… and thanks for reading the Almanack.
Jim Muller of Holland Patent has been backpacking since the 1960s, but about nine years ago he and a few friends (age 20 to 50) began camping in the Adirondacks in the winter months – no bears, no black flies, no mosquitoes. “We have done a wide range of trips, from simple hikes to lean-tos while pulling a plastic sled to backpacking trips and multi-day dog sledding adventures,” Muller told the Adirondack Almanack in a recent e-mail.
We think that winter camping has advantages over summer camping: You can reach areas that are too wet or overgrown during other seasons, and the clear and open view is unparalleled. Winter camping provides solitude and a feeling of exploration; even heavily traveled trails seem like virgin territory when covered by a fresh blanket of snow. Camping in the winter inspires a feeling of independence and gives people confidence in their survival skills.
From John Sheehan, Communications Director for The Adirondack Council, we recently recieved the Council’s 21st annual State of the Park Report. You can view and download a low-resolution version from their website at www.adirondackcouncil.org.
According to Sheehan:
State of the Park is a non-partisan report card on the political decisions and actions that had the greatest impact — good or bad — on the health and well-being of the six-million-acre Adirondack Park over the past 12 months. You will find that State of the Park is the most detailed and comprehensive annual environmental review produced for any park in the United States. However, it is written for a general audience, not scientists, making it a useful tool for environmentally minded voters.
The Adirondack Park comprises 20 percent of New York State’s total land area. It has only 130,000 permanent residents, but hosts nearly 10 million visitors a year. The park contains 90 percent of all roadless Wilderness from Maine to the Everglades.
In furtherance of the Adirondack Council’s goal of holding public officials accountable for their actions, the Council doesn’t accept public grants or taxpayer-funded donations of any kind.
We know the Council has had its absolutley crazy moments – like when it supported Bush’s “Clear Skies” b-shit early in his first term.
Remember this, from Bush’s visit to help clearcut Whiteface?
I also call for new clear skies legislation, to set new tough standards to reduce air pollution. For decades, New Yorkers have been fighting acid rain. The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments helped reduce the problem. And now we should do more at the Federal level. Some of the biggest sources of air pollution are the powerplants, which send tons of emissions into our air. Therefore we have set a goal: With clear skies legislation, America will do more to reduce powerplant emissions than ever before in our Nation’s history.
Another in our occasional feature of Adirondack Hacks which offer randomly organized links to make life in the Adirondacks easier – technology tools and tips, do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, and anything else that offers a better, more convenient, or healthier way of life in our region.
As I enter the seventh decade of life, my most enduring recollections are of people toiling in Third World nations. As a young Marine in Vietnam, I watched three men ploughing a field like beasts of burden in the scorching heat. Two were yoked to a plough while the third stood on the blade. After about 60 slow yards of muscle-aching drudgery, they stopped. The men rotated positions upon completing a row with each man getting a much-needed rest every third pull.
The rest is even more powerful. A quick search for Bryjak’s work turned up a lot of material including an excellent piece entitled “Outsourcing the American Dream” in Z Magazine from 2004 on the threat of out-sourcing jobs. A sample:
A study of 400 of the nation’s top 1,000 companies concluded that by 2006, between 35 and 45 percent of current full-time IT jobs will be sent overseas. Using Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Bardhan and Kroll estimate that of the almost 128 million workers in the U.S., 11 percent—or just over 14 million individuals—are at risk of having their jobs outsourced.
IT positions will follow the millions of manufacturing jobs already lost, only at a more rapid pace. As Matthew Slaughter of Dartmouth College notes, “IT work will move faster because it is easier to ship work across phone lines and put consultants on airplanes than it is to ship bulky raw materials across borders and build factories.”
Significantly lower labor costs are the primary rationale for this job exodus. While telephone operators in the U.S. earn an average of $12.57 an hour, in India they make less than $1.00 Payroll clerks take home less than $2.00 an hour whereas their counterparts in the U.S. average $15.17 an hour. Business Week reports, “Soon, offshore accountants may do everything but on-site audits.” Medical billing may become the first occupational category to all but disappear.
We wonder – how did that estimate of 35 to 45 percent of IT jobs being outsourced by 2006 actually work out?