Have a Little Faith in the Forest Preserve

The Forest Preserve has been and will continue to be the best tool we have in the Adirondacks to keep land – and the community of life it supports – in a “forever wild” state. Now is not the time to lose faith, nor to indulge in the conceit that nature is static and can be kept unchanged under a glass bubble. The Follensby Pond Tract needs to be added to the cultural and natural heritage we call the Forest Preserve, and the public needs to be invested in its future.

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The Glory of Fall in the Adirondacks

If there is one time of the year that I wish would last much longer, it’s the period from mid-September through mid-October. The lack of bugs, the cool days and cooler nights, the brilliant sunshine and the crisp moonlit forests — these are all the things that form the roots of life’s deepest pleasures.

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This Land Is Your Land

What made these new lands different from most others, though, was undoubtedly the fact they were already occupied by hundreds of hunting camps. This was not simply opening up vast acreages of forest that had been previously denied to the public-at-large, but driving out the leaseholders who were already there. One can rightly argue that as public lands they will serve more people and provide all sorts of wilderness-based benefits, but I’m sure it still stings for the minority who find themselves at the losing end of the equation.

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So Much Work to Be Done

Part 4 of 4 I believe that it is important to know the history of Adirondack trails in order to participate in the public process of creating plans for the units of the park. So, I have written this to give perspective to those who will do the planning.

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An Advocate for Trails

Part 3 of 4 Here this account takes on a new perspective, because I view what happened during the past quarter century as one who was actively involved. In the early 70s I completed my graduate work, started hiking again, and became an advocate for trails. As an advocate for dispersing hikers throughout the Park, I was frustrated from the start in ways I never expected.

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Trails in the Mountain Pleasure Grounds

Part 2 of 4 The Laws of 1895 authorized the state to lay out paths in the newly created Adirondack Park. There is little evidence that anything was done at that time. In 1909 Governor Hughes advocated trails and roads to give greater access to the “mountain pleasure grounds.” As it turned out, recreational trail building by the state began a few years later, not because of Hughes’ plans, but in a rather circuitous way.

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A Short History of Adirondack Trail Building

Part 1 of 4 Hindsight is wonderful! With what we know about the Adirondacks today and what we know about building trails, we could devise the most wonderful trail network, one that would protect the fragile slopes of the High Peaks, take hikers to mountaintops all around the Park, and ameliorate problems of overuse and under-use.

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A Message to the Adirondack Wilderness Community

When I moved to Upstate New York in 2013, acquaintances kept telling me about the Adirondacks, how magical they are, with their steep-sided mountains and layers of forest, mirror-calm lakes and clear-flowing creeks; bears, moose, loons. Having lived most of my adult life in the West and coming to New York from interior Alaska, I was skeptical, but hopeful. Could there really be such a large protected area in the Eastern U.S.?

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