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Special Feature: The Adirondack Park: The Next Twenty-Five Years

Healthy Communities and Ecosystems Thriving Together in a Protected and Unique Landscape

The following piece is by Dave Mason and Jim Herman, Co-Directors ADK Futures, a Project for the Adirondack Common Ground Alliance.

The local parts of the strategy increase spending within the Park on local food, energy, forest products and other regionally produced goods, so we send less of our wealth outside the Park. By increasing the use of biomass from private forests, we reinforce the self-reliance that has traditionally been part of this region’s character, lowering our use of fossil fuels.

The global parts of the strategy include:

  • Nearly ubiquitous broadband Internet to enable students to learn faster, residents to participate in the global knowledge economy and to attract new families here, working remotely or in new online startups
  • Attracting globally diverse visitors to enjoy and learn from our Park and expert guides

We strengthen our communities, centered in hamlets and villages that work collaboratively across the Park and are more dynamic and welcoming of new comers. Part-time and full-time residents work together to enrich hamlet life. Our small, networked, high quality schools give students a strong understanding of this unique place where they are growing up. A vibrant visual and performing arts scene further enriches the quality of life here for visitors and residents. We attract young families and active retirees to settle here and further diversify our population. Living in the hamlets and being part of an active community is in again.

We maintain strong protections for the Forest Preserve and complementary private land regulation. The State and environmental NGOs purchase additional forest and farm easements and use transferable development rights to keep our land productive and preserve open space. Community groups, land and lake-owner associations, NGOs and the State collaborate to protect water quality. We manage the forest using science-based stewardship that helps to protect it against threats of climate change and invasive species. We protect our large wilderness areas and natural corridors across the landscape. We overcome the stalemate that has prevented significant change to Forest Preserve policies and address some of the unintended constitutional limitations we face in helping our communities prosper.

We upgrade and expand our visitor amenities in a sustainable manner that does not degrade the Forest Preserve and strengthens the regional economy. We participate in the manufacturing revival around the edges of the Park and attract light high-tech manufacturing and prototyping within the Blue Line. We are leaders in New York State’s switch to renewable energy sources. We focus on attracting visitors that are interested in our protected environment and cultural heritage. By introducing the Park through our promotions to new and more diverse types of visitors, we continue to maintain a base of support among the next generation of voters of New York State.

 

 

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