Is there really common ground in the Adirondacks?

There’s a reason why historian and part-time Long Lake resident Phil Terrie called his history of the Adirondacks “Contested Terrain.”

For a couple of centuries now, people have seen the Adirondacks through very different lenses:  as a storehouse of rich natural resources, as a free land far from the hassles of civilization and government, and as a glorious nature preserve.

That divide persists, despite good faith efforts by groups like the Adirondack Common Ground Alliance to seek out areas of unity and collaboration.

At this week’s Alliance meeting in Long Lake, there was general agreement that the Park faces some dire threats.

The recession is hurting retail businesses, causing government job lay-offs, and hindering New York state’s ability to manage public lands effectively.

But different factions see the underlying dangers behind these trends very differently.

In his comments, Tupper Lake businessman Jim LaValley — whose non-profit ARISE group helped reopen Big Tupper Ski Area last winter — laid a big chunk of the blame on government over-regulation and bureaucracy.

He referenced last year’s widely-discussed APRAP report, which suggested that communities in the Park face a dire future.  Summing up the mood of local business owners, LaValley said, “They’re scared.”

But others, including ANCA’s Kate Fish, pointed to evidence that the Park itself — with its open space and regulated development — is an asset that can help attract visitors, second home-owners, and businesses.

After listening to all the conversation and debate, I came away from the Common Ground meeting with three basic questions swirling around in my head.

First, it seems long overdue to come up with a shared vision for what the Park of the future should look like — not a vision generated in Albany, but one created by in-Park groups like the Alliance.

Ideally, what should our year-round population be? We’re currently at around 130,000.  Should the goal be to hold steady, to grow a little — what?

Meanwhile, should we expect all the tiny far-flung hamlets to continue to survive and thrive, or should we begin moving toward a hub-system where grocery stores, school districts, and government services are concentrated in core towns?

Also key to this vision, obviously, is how much public land should be part of the mix.  Do we have enough now?  Too much?

And what role will Albany play in the future — and how much of the Park’s operations will need to be taken over by non-profits, businesses and local governments?

These are big, thorny questions, but perhaps it’s time to begin addressing them head-on and creating a sketch of what future success might look like.

Second, and a bit more concretely, I think it’s time to reassess what the second-home boom means (and should mean in the future) to the Adirondack economy.

Over the last couple of decades we’ve seen a remarkable capitalization of our towns and hamlets, with outside investment pouring in at the rate of hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

In pure business terms, that’s a remarkable success.  Because of the beauty of our Park and its communities, outsiders have decided to invest billions of dollars here.

But in many areas of the Adirondacks, we have failed to translate that investment into more steady jobs and a more robust retail economy.

In Long Lake, where the Alliance meeting was held, new mansions go up every year, but school enrollment is dwindling fast and the grocery store no longer stays open year-round.

That disconnect is something we need to understand and — if possible — begin to remedy.

Finally, the Common Ground gathering in Long Lake was long on non-profit groups and government leaders and short on businesses.

We have some strong community banks in the Park and some thriving entrepreneurs.  We need a heck of a lot more if we hope to survive into the future.

I wonder why we can’t bring more of those voices and thinkers to the table at sessions like this one?

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24 Responses to “Is there really common ground in the Adirondacks?”

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  1. In a sense the Adirondacks are a microcosm of the overall problem with our economy. To “thrive” we must have endless growth but endless growth eventually destroys the environment. Somehow we need to differentiate between need and desire with the aim of reaching a more sustainable economic model.

    As an aside Brian I wonder why you pulled your “Why we need to keep talking about George W. Bush” post yesterday.

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  2. verplanck says:

    I’m not sure what the land that is public could do for the adirondacks as private land. it seems second homes are the major economic driver, not forest products, mining, or any other traditional manufacturing.

    People need to keep in mind that the economy sucks because of national factors. Drastically changing local taxes/regulation could have little effect on revenues.

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  3. hilary leblanc says:

    well if frankenpines are oky for the cell towers and satisfy the apa and the tree hugging zealots, maybe frankenbusinesses would also satisfy them, businesses fronts disguised as cute little motels and cabins and campgrounds that visually hide small businesses behind them that employ working people that offend the tree hugging zealots…

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  4. Pete Klein says:

    No, there weren’t many from the business community there but I think that is to be expected. This is their busy time of the year and they were too busy working to attend.
    As far as common ground is concerned, I think there is common ground in the sense that most who live here want to live here and want to continue to live here. So everyone agrees on the problem but how do you solve it?
    Perhaps the core problem when facing the question – why and how do you manage to live here? – comes from different answers to the question. The reasons are many and the answers are obviously different. This is where common ground breaks apart.
    As an aside, I have long felt the number one protector of the Adirondacks is the Adirondacks itself. For most people the weather is too cold for too long a period. When it is warm there are too many bugs. If you are young, there is little in terms of a social life that would attract the young. If you want to attract the young to stay or move, you need not have affordable housing what you need is decent and affordable rentals. Feel free to add to the list of why most people don’t think of the Adirondacks as someplace they want to move to. And of course, there is the nagging job opportunities problem, made worse by the recession.

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  5. dave says:

    “Should the goal be to hold steady, to grow a little — what? Meanwhile, should we expect all the tiny far-flung hamlets to continue to survive and thrive”

    Since moving here, and following these conversations more closely, this question – or some form of it – has often been on my mind. Yet it doesn’t seem to get raised nearly as much as I thought it would. I have sort of considered it one of the unspoken issues of the park. Glad to see you mention it.

    Rationally, I see no reason why small towns need to thrive (or even exist) indefinitely. Just because a community reached certain levels of growth at one point in time, does not mean it must remain that way forever… or that it must continually strive to reach/surpass those levels. I see nothing wrong with communities scaling down or consolidating if that is their current reality. In fact, this makes a lot more sense to me than constantly expecting every main street to be bustling.

    As an example, I grew up in an old mill town that was way past its prime. I long felt that instead of beating the drums of growth and always looking for that next “mill replacement” – an outlook which arguably led them to further economic problems – they should have owned up to the reality of their situation. The area could no longer support itself at levels it once did. Far better, it seemed to me, would be to scale things down and focus on what might actually work given the new reality.

    Emotionally, though, I can understand how this is tough for people to face.

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  6. Paul says:

    “But others, including ANCA’s Kate Fish, pointed to evidence that the Park itself — with its open space and regulated development — is an asset that can help attract visitors, second home-owners, and businesses.”

    Brian it sounds like Kate Fish and Jim LaValley pretty much see eye to eye in some respects. The development project that ARISE supports is just what she describes here. It is a regulated project with a mix of open space. It will include second homes and businesses that will attract visitors. Sounds like they are both pretty much on the same page.

    It may or may not be successful. I was on Lake Placid a few weeks back and the development on that Lake was clearly having a very positive effect on the economy in that part of the park. Most of the development is also very well done and blends well with the environment. What we need is more of that. To grow the “economy” of the park people are going to have to get used to some big changes if they want to see economic prosperity in the park.

    Folks in Tupper are scared because they are not yet able to develop their town the way Lake Placid is doing it. Large scale development of the tourism industry in the Adirondacks is the only way to capitalize on the “assets” that Kate describes.

    Dave, why suggest that we “scale things down”? The Adirondacks is surrounded by millions and millions of people. The trick is getting them to come. Some towns are making it happen others can also. Many folks in and outside the park want it to remain undeveloped. Often the reasoning is somewhat selfish. For example they own a second home there, or they come and hike there, and they don’t want to share.

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  7. dave says:

    Paul, it is not realistic for many towns to use Lake Placid as a model, or to expect to continually grow or to strive to maintain some point they may have achieved in the past. Although I can see why developers would like it to be that way.

    This isn’t just a commentary on Adirondack towns either, but I do find it especially applicable here. It is just reality that situations are different from town to town and that they change over time. And some areas have a lower ceiling. Ignoring this, and constantly beating the drum of “let’s be more like Lake Placid” is not only unrealistic (and in my opinion undesirable) for these places, but this approach can actually be counter productive. Instead of making decisions geared toward being a viable and successful smaller community, they maintain a state of a failed wanna-be larger one.

    I agree that increasing the tourism industry is a key to enhancing the communities in the park. However, large scale development is NOT the only way to achieve this. Unless, of course, your vision of tourism and a viable Adirondack community begins and ends with large resorts and time shares.

    Far better, it seems to me, is for these towns to recalibrate their outlook and target their efforts toward more realistic goals. Such as supporting smaller businesses, revitalizing their down town areas, etc. I fail to see the tragedy in smaller Adirondack communities that can better sustain themselves.

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  8. Paul says:

    Dave,

    I think that many towns like Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake can market and sell themselves as resort towns. They (along with many others) have in the past as we know, and I don’t think it is unrealistic to think that they could do it again. Admittedly it is going to take a lot of work and require many people to change their views of the area. I grew up in the Adirondacks, have family there, and own property there. Like many others I prefer that the area remain as it is now, or even revert to a more wild character. However that is only my somewhat selfish view.

    If the basis of the economy is going to be tourism than it has to be done in way that will generate real tourism revenue. Lake Placid has what the deep pocket tourists want. Lakeside lodging, restaurants, shops etc. Other towns can do it. There isn’t a single (save one) lakeside condo or “real” resort on the whole Saranac Chain of lakes. I don’t really see it as a “failed wann-be” attitude but one that is required if you want to grow the area. Since you say that this approach is NOT the only way to go, what IS the way to go? For years we have been trying the “add more Wilderness land and hope that we become some thriving back country destination” thing. It just isn’t working. It is bringing in some people, but it isn’t bringing in much revenue.

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  9. Dave says:

    Great conversation and this is where it begins. I have been to the Common Ground meets before and have found it quite beneficial. I completely agree that we have something very special here in the Adirondacks and something that many people would like to take advantage of. A common saying comes to mind when dealing with this type of problem that many people have probably heard before, “Don’t tell me why it can’t be done, come up with the solution to get it done”.

    An area where I feel is extremely important is the education of our youth. The recent report indicating our enrollment decline should be disturbing to many people. This is one statistic that certainly tells us that today’s young people are not staying in the area. Why Not? We have great school systems that provide a terrific education, offer a non-violent and safe environment, and offer many opportunities for involvement in a variety of activities. This is where I believe that the issue of Broadband is a key area for any Adirondack community. I am not only speaking of Broadband for schools, but for people from any area to move here to do business via telecommunications. Some already do this, but we need better infrastructure and the physical spaces to do this. I know this is being worked on and in some cases communities are already providing areas for people to work and do business while they are vacationing here. I see people every day outside of the local libraries using the wireless access. This also opens up the conversation about cell phone access, which seems to becoming more and more promising in communities.

    I had the choice of going elsewhere after college, but my wife and I decided to move back to the Adirondacks so our furtue kids could benefit from a small school education, which I must say has been one of the best decisions we ever made. I guess I am assuming there are more people out there that would like to do the same. However, with the lack of employment opportunities, this becomes impossible. Let’s provide them with the opportunity to do this and market it. Kind of like that “if you build it, they will come” kind of attitude and then let the business cycle take over.

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  10. Mike says:

    Just a side note Regarding Mr Lavalleys comments. The APRAP report he refers to was done by the LA Group, the same LA Group that is working for Mr Foxman on the Adirondack Club and Resort project. Talking to many businesses in Tupper Lake I don’t get the impression “They’re scared”. What many are fearful of is the negligence of the Town Board to watch out for the fiscal security of the existing taxpayers in Tupper if this proposed ACR project gets a PILOT program. If the rosy fiscal projections put forth by the develpoer pan out Tupper would be OK. What bothers me most is that there have been no other fiscal scenarios presented. Humor us, give us a few “What if” scenarios. What if only a third of the homes sell, what if the selling prices are 20, 30, 40% below your rosy projections, what if there is not enough $ from the PILOT to pay the bond?? If this project is not econmically viable without a PILOT program then the developer needs to go back to the drawing board. I can’t imagine the town board would even consider a PILOT program in these economic times. But given the recent comptrollers audit and DA investigation of the towns’ finances I guess it’s not surprising. Taxpayers should be very concerned.

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  11. dave says:

    So much of this conversation seems to revolve around the assumption that growth is necessary, which naturally also leads to the assumption that resorts towns are the way to achieve it.

    I don’t think either of those assumptions have to be true. In fact, for many areas, I feel that this thinking can do more harm than good. It stifles more achievable opportunities. If you assume being more like Lake Placid is the goal for towns in the park, then of course that leads you to also assume the answer is more development and deep pocket tourists. Focusing your policies and resources on that comes at the expense of potentially smaller, more sustainable efforts…. efforts which, over time, are healthier for many of these given towns anyway. Such as attracting and supporting smaller businesses and helping those that are currently there.

    Paul, I see nothing selfish in your view that the Adirondacks stay the same or revert to a more wild character. Care to explain why you characterize it as such? On the other hand, I think a pretty solid argument could be made that altering a place like the Adirondacks for profit is a selfish act.

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  12. Paul says:

    “I see nothing selfish in your view that the Adirondacks stay the same or revert to a more wild character. Care to explain why you characterize it as such?” Sure it’s pretty simple. As a second home owner in the Adirondacks, and someone who comes to the area to recreate, and I want to limit any new neighbors spoiling my view of slowing my trip on Friday night, I benefit from less prosperity in the area. If there are fewer businesses and fewer employment opportunities than the only homes and land that will continue to gain in value are the second hand waterfront homes. Remember a very large percentage of the average American’s net worth comes from their home. A continuation in the current real estate market trends in the Adirondacks (or at least some parts) will continue to harm the economic outlook of many Adirondack residents and continue to help others outside the area. To want that to continue, or to facilitate that, is somewhat selfish in my opinion. For example you can facilitate that by helping environmental groups create more and more public land (much of that waterfront) which further increases the value of the remaining finite private waterfront land. You may not do it for that reason but it could be an unintended (or for some intended) outcome.

    These selfish motives are not a new thing, although folks usually don’t want to admit it when they do it. Why do you think that many large landowners as part of the Adirondack Council supported the adoption of the Forest Preserve in the 1800’s? Because NYC needed the water? Because they wanted to be sure that the average Joe had a place to paddle his guide boat? Of course not. They supported it because it greatly increased the value of their timberlands when state land could be taken out of commercial production permanently. Less private land always leads to an increase in the value of the remaining private land, it is simple economics. It was done for selfish reasons then, and some decisions we make today can also be done for selfish reasons. I am not saying that it is wrong but there is a long history of it in these mountains. People that are trying to live here and make a living are often the victims of other peoples selfish ideas. Dave, it may not hurt you based on what you do to make a living, but it obviously could hurt other folks opportunities. There is always a give and take at work.

    Dave, explain to me how you can sustain the economy in the Adirondacks or anywhere else without growth?

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  13. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    I think there is a lot of merit to many of the opinions expressed here and I think many of them can intertwine. I run my own business with most of my work coming from within the Park. There is no lack of business for me but I cater to very wealthy clientele and I have little competition.

    I am conflicted in that I would like to see more public access to the lakes and rivers that my wealthy customers buy up and make secure compounds out of. On the other hand many of these people allow public access through their property. I think public access is important because it helps the quality of life here and that is what the Park offers to entrepreneurs who may wish to live and work here.

    I invite everyone to visit http://www.etsy.org to see just one of many internet sites that offer a way for small business people to put their wares in front of a world wide clientele. For this sort of business model to work good internet access is extremely important.

    Also, affordable health-care would help many people make the switch from paycheck slavery to free-market warrior.

    The old way of thinking is that we need to bring businesses into the Park that will employ dozens of people. I think a better way would be to bring (or keep) creative, hard working mom and pop businesses, but highly specialized and unique businesses into our small communities. These type of people develop their own market and bring money into a community, money that then can circulate locally. I guarantee that 10 or 15 cottage type businesses would change the business climate in any Adirondack hamlet.

    Finally, (I know I’m long winded) I see many encouraging signs as I drive around the Park this summer. It seems there are plenty of tourists many of them out biking, hiking, swimming, fishing and having a great time. These are our people.

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  14. CGA 14 July > A view from the cheap seats

    ‘Skewering a Skewed Q & A’

    or, How Asking the Wrong Question (Almost) Always Guarantees ‘Wrongheaded’ Answers – A Tragedy (Averted?) in Two Acts

    Act I – The Question

    To wit, the (‘wrong’) ‘question’:

    ‘Is there really common ground in the Adirondacks?’

    And, the engendered (wrongheaded) ‘answer’:

    “Large scale development of the tourism industry in the Adirondacks is the only way to capitalize on the “assets” that Kate describes.”

    Paul, I couldn’t disagree more. You’re suggesting an ADK development version (nightmare) of the George Carlin routine about ‘stuff’?

    http://j.mp/more_stuff_isnt_the_answer

    I’m not trying to ‘beat up’ on Paul here folks. After all, HE didn’t ‘ask’ the question, that was Brian, the reporter. Paul, just answered it.

    To be fair, he just happened to offer up what actually may be the consensus opinion in many/most lake/pond ‘blue line’ communities where skyrocketing taxes, decreasing services, and dwindling options has locals ‘painted into a corner’ where the only viable option seems to be to ‘sell out’ (if the APA can/would be persuaded) and ‘knock out’ the walls, build some decks, pave the lawn(s), add a few stories to the building height restrictions, lure a representative selection of fast food ‘hairnet & name tag’ career path providers and, floodlight it with LOTS of night sky polluting outdoor lighting.

    Cha-Ching! SOLD to highest bidder, the (no longer) ‘affordable’ charm and so ‘last century’ quaintness of our quiet little ADK communities so that (sub)urbanites can surround themselves w/city ‘stuff’.

    (Stage direction) No fade to black here, all that night sky light pollution won’t allow it.) And, btw, say ‘buh-bye’ to the July-August Milky Way too, you’ll have to take a drive to somewhere they haven’t (yet) surrendered to:

    “Large scale development of the tourism industry in the Adirondacks (as) the only way to capitalize on the “assets” that Kate describes.”

    For the record I also attended the Common Ground Meeting on 14 July and I’m happy to report that there was/is virtually unanimous (99%) common ground consensus (99%) around one key issue…jobs, the need for.

    Act II – The Answer

    (or at least ‘an’ answer… tomorrow (07.16.10)

    now, I’m taking the pups for an end-of-day cooling swim at a local NYS/ADK boat launch w/o a so much as a single light (save the ‘yellow’ bug light @ the rest rooms facilities) where they are going to cool off and I’m going to enjoy a (light) pollution free Milky Way ‘presentation’.

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  15. dave says:

    “Dave, explain to me how you can sustain the economy in the Adirondacks or anywhere else without growth?”

    Again, your question appears to come from the assumption that Adirondack economies must maintain their current levels, or grow. What I’m saying – and I really don’t know how I can break this down further for you – is that this assumption does not have be true. That it doesn’t have to be the automatic starting point for these conversations.

    Brian’s question, which my comments have been addressing, seems like a much more appropriate starting point to me: “should we expect all the tiny far-flung hamlets to continue to survive and thrive” And my answer to that is no, we probably shouldn’t. That this should not be an automatic expectation. Towns that can not maintain their current economies, let alone larger ones, shouldn’t. Continue to try to do so, at the expense of more realistic and sustainable efforts, strikes me as counter productive.

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  16. scratchy says:

    The APA needs to be more reasonable. I was listening to the NCPR story on new boathouse regulations. There was an interesting exchange between Commissioners Lussi and Curt Stiles. Lussi said it was hypocritical for Stiles to build a boat that would violate the new regulations prior to voting in favor of those regulations. Stiles did not seem to see that there was anything wrong with it. This is the sort of thing that makes people cynical towards the APA.

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  17. SV says:

    I think it is really important to have a much more substantial discussion within some of these communities about what they really want. And to be realistic about the kinds of economic development that are possible and what the consequences might be. Take Tupper and the Adirondack Club and Resort, for instance. I was living there when the project was first proposed and for several years afterward. I heard lots of people complaining about how the community would be affected by second-home owners. They feared it becoming like Lake Placid. Many there are now apparently in favor of the project but do they now want a year-round tourist economy? They want the jobs, the ski area open, and the tax revenue (which the PILOT will deny them) from second homes, but do they fear the community being “overrun” by wealthy folks from the outside. Can they really have it both ways? Can you just map out lots, put in infrastructure and build houses and be successful? Will that be enough to make the project successful? Will “outsiders” feel welcome and want to spend time there? And if you succeed, will you condemn locals to the second-class status that many Adirondack locals have lamented throughout history. Does Tupper really want to be a place where the wealthy come to play on the weekends? This also really cuts to the heart of the question of the size of this development. It won’t be big just in terms of the environment, it will be big economically and socially. This development would transform the town. It would be the biggest thing to happened to it since logging. According to the press reporting, proponents seem to be doing a good job convincing locals this development is critical to the future of the town (those folks are the ones already involved in real estate (LaValley) and tourism (Dew)). But what will this future hold for the community of Tupper Lake that exists today? Has there been any public discussion of this? More generally this case raises the question of if people want to preserve the communities that they have or simply have a certain number of people living in certain places? Should the number of businesses and their profitability really be the measure of success? Or is some broaden definition of success, one that is developed with meaningful input from the community, warranted. This it seems to me would be the best path for finding common ground. You see this kind of “vision” work done in larger cities, e.g. working to attract certain kinds of business, redeveloping neighborhoods, etc. Are there models for small communities that won’t just turn them into profit centers for outsiders and a few local businesses? Brian, I would love to hear more about what year-round residents expect from this development. How widespread is support? Why do they support it? What do they expect?

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  18. Paul says:

    “I’m not trying to ‘beat up’ on Paul here folks.” Ken, beat away. I would disagree that what I have suggested is necessarily the “consensus opinion” inside the ‘blue line’ lake/pond communities. (For the record I don’t liven anywhere near the ‘blue line’.) As an example I think that you will find that many folks in a town like Saranac Lake oppose the kind of development that would boost the tourist economy in the area. I just think that we have “common ground” on one issue, that tourism is the key economic driver of the Adirondack economy. How to make that work for the benefit of the residents of those towns is the real issue. If “jobs” are what folks want (you said 99% saw this as the key issue), and tourism is the key to the economy, I only see one way to get what everyone wants. Please explain to me where the jobs will come from if we don’t kick start the economy through tourism. Ken once you have the things that you seem to despise to some extent (“city stuff” as you call it) then you may even start to lure some other businesses to the area. Then you have a real chance to create jobs that will keep kids in the area. I know this growth is what you (and perhaps I) don’t want, but I think it is what lots of others are looking for. Everyone here seems tom be very good and criticizing what I have suggested, and that is fine, but why not try and come up with an alternative suggestion. Dave, even if we consolidate into some larger communities what will be the answer in those areas? As far as letting some communities “die” that is already happening so I think that is not really much of an issue.

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  19. NCPR, submit seems to be getting ‘clipped’ one more time:

    for Paul: jeez, talk about your instant revisionism and/or need for enrollment in a summer RIF program. I promised an ‘answer’, try (real hard) and follow along this time, ok? OK then…

    for any/everyone else: ACT II The ‘Answer’

    It’s not ‘complicated’ (and, Paul… it’s NOT tourism), it’s ‘simple’

    First, you ask the ‘right’ v the ‘wrong’ ['Is there really common ground...'] question(s), then you thoughtfully answer those questions.

    The ‘right’ questions were posed by > Brian L. Houseal, executive director of the Adirondack Council, the Park’s largest environmental organization in the 10 July ADK piece announcing the 14 July meeting

    http://j.mp/ask_an_expert_get_excellent_questions

    THESE are the ‘right’ questions:

    “How to take economic advantage of the natural wonders outside that exist just a few blocks from Main Street?”

    “How do our communities reap the economic benefits for having constitutionally protected Forest Preserve in them?”

    “What businesses would thrive near the entrance to a huge wilderness?”

    “How do we use our clean air and abundant clean water to our best advantage?”

    See the difference? The ‘right’ questions, REAL questions, designed to promote thoughtful debate v the slanted headlining rhetoric designed to confirm ‘common wisdom’/established ‘battle lines’ and draw ‘eyeballs’. BIG difference, but, in a age of digitally reinforced ADD, most journalists can be forgiven the (forced) temptation to head ‘south’ to a lower common denominator v an arduous ‘climb’ towards that quaint ‘old school’ journalistic ideal/ethos*: ‘Seek the truth and report it.’

    Society of Professional Journalists — http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

    The Answer

    I don’t think it could be more obvious. But, I’ve spent decades living FAR outside the ‘forest’ (making it MUCH easier to see it v the ‘trees’), years ensconced in an ‘alternative universe’ where sustainable, blue/green, family-wage jobs aren’t just a hope/dream, they are a reality, and I’ve spent months of research on how to ‘replicate’ that reality.

    Almost ‘there’. One more ‘question’, then, my ‘answer’.

    We’ve successfully restocked trout & salmon fisheries in the ADKs (the West Fork of the Ausable is world famous) why not do the same for our light manufacturing base?

    The ‘Blue Line’ communities of the ADKs should be ‘restocked’ with clean, sustainable, & (blue)/green light manufacturing that will:

    - thrive near the entrance to a huge wilderness

    - by taking economic advantage of the natural wonders by

    - using our clean air and abundant clean water to our best advantage

    - thereby reaping the economic benefits for having constitutionally protected Forest Preserve

    via ‘planting’ the ‘seeds’ of a manufacturing niche that leverages to our ‘best advantage’ our ‘constitutionally protected clean water’ so we can reap the economic and social benefits of reestablishing a clean, sustainable, light manufacturing base that has been enjoying double-digit YOY (year-over-year) growth for more than a decade EVEN during the current ‘Great [what's so 'great' about it?!] Recession:

    Craft (beer) Brewing (You can google the details, it’s real.)

    I’m not ‘alone’ in the putting forth the concept, see the 09 July WAPO article re: Senator Kerry’s (MA) & Senator Wyden’s (OR) efforts on reducing the Fed Excise Tax on ‘craft’ brewers:

    Can Beer Stimulus Hop Up the Economy? > http://j.mp/Beer_Stimulus http://j.mp/Billions-and-Jobs though they’re spending BILLIONS weekly on blowing folks up half way round the world (been there done that seen how it comes out [Vietnam '72-'73] it won’t be ‘pretty’, believe me) they aren’t going to peel off a ‘lousy’ $100 million or so for 132,000 ‘Dackers’.

    State Govt > upside down by billion(s), no budget (still), NOT very likely
    (and, there’s that 132,000 souls thing, again. there are that many folks in one block on the Upper West Side in NYC, folks. I don’t care how much you/we ‘squeak’, the ‘grease’ of government ($$$) is still going to go towards ‘votes’, eg NOT the ‘woods’.

    The ‘seed money’ is going to come from…China.

    What…? Don’t look so surprised.

    They’ve vacuumed more than a TRILLION+ $$$ from us with the help of: NAFTA, Walton’s grandkids (Wal-Mart) & unrestrained deficit ‘lending’ via the US Treasury ‘begging’ for the $$$ to pay for a tax cut for the top 1%, 2 wars & a Prescription Drug program all on ‘the cuff’ thanks to Dick & ‘W’. The Chinese? They’re ‘flush’.

    ‘Why’ & ‘How’ should be instant ‘follow up’ questions.

    WHY should/would the Chinese put money into the ADKs? – & – HOW do we get it?

    ‘Why’ is easy. ‘Citizenship’ There are 875,000 Chinese millionaires

    > http://j.mp/Red_Chinese_w_Greenbacks <

    "The number of millionaires in China has increased by 6.1 percent from last year to 875,000, a report shows. In the 2010 Wealth Report released last Thursday by the Hurun Research Institute, a millionaire is a person with assets of at least 10 million yuan (US$1.47 million)."

    And, a growing number of them want 'out' and they don't care 'where' they invest in the US; CA, TX, NYC or the ADKs. Doesn't matter to them.

    Enter the USCIS (US Customs & Immigration Service) EB-5 program that can serve as the capital 'well spring' of non-governmental 'investment' (not loans) for a 'Blue Line' Regional Center just like it has for VT's Jay Peak ($125M to date).

    The Chinese investment(s) $500K/$1M MUST help create 10 jobs w/i 5 years and… 'bing'! A US green card is theirs.

    All we need to do now is:

    - create & empower an ADK Regional Center to centralize funding request from counties, towns, and munis within (or adjoining) the 'Blue Line' of the ADK Park.

    - 'recruit' US & International craft brewers (and/or 'grow' some of our own brewers) to 'add value' to our ADK 'blue gold'

    - invite the Chinese to cut as many $500K/$1M checks as we can find brewers to put to work. (VT has pulled $125M for jay Peak)

    All we have to do is take our 'cue' from the likes of Oregon, Colorado, and Vermont and taking some of the TRILLIONS of gallons of water flowing out of the ADKs every year, add some value by crafting world class beer, and 'grow' ourselves some sustainable blue/green jobs.

    I told you it wasn't 'complicated'.

    Thanks for listening and, DO let NY-20, Murphy & NY-23 Owens the you'd like them to carefully consider supporting HR 4278. Same-same, Senators Schumer & Gillibrand re: Sen 3339.

    btw, I've got a:

    - a 'short list' of US/Intl brewers looking/needing to move, grow, expand.

    - a Sino-US EB-5 specialist that has 'captured' $150M for US Eb-5 Regional Centers around the US in just the last five months).

    - time

    Well? Tick-Tock…Time's a wasting. Dollars are going elsewhere and jobs ARE being created, just not here. Are 'we' gonna do this, or what?

    and, Paul? THAT, my friend, is 'an answer'/alternative, and THIS is 'criticism': RIF & understanding is essential. Can't have one without the other.

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  20. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Tourism is and has been for over a century, one of, if not the largest business in the Park. Tourism will remain after we are all dead and gone.

    We are living in a New Golden Age but with about 3 times the population of the last Golden Age. My fear is for the future of what we build today. During the last GA the very rich (and developers) built the Great Camps. Many of those fell into disrepair or were abandoned within a generation or two. Many of those buildings fared reasonably well because they had little indoor plumbing. What will happen to the Great Camps of today after a couple of generations? Think of the waste in heating oil alone on all these behemoths. All that has to happen is for the heating system to fail for one night in February and there can be hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. Will future generations want these ostentatious places?

    Alternatively there is the example of the great hotels and resorts of the past where people of different classes came, mingled, could enjoy the amenities without having to own them, maintain them, pay the taxes and lock up the real estate from the use by the general public.

    We have, unfortunately, a Real Estate industrial complex that has radically changed the landscape of the Adirondacks in a very short time for personal gain. Hey, I’m a part of it, but I would be happy to change my business to meet a different vision of the Park.

    There is a place for extractive industry in the Park. Specifically logging as I don’t see mining as being viable to any great extent for a long time, though I exclude small sand-pits or stone quarries which I don’t have a problem with if carefully planned. Adirondack timber is a great resource but we must get more out of that resource than just shipping out logs. We need to have sawmills adn accompanying businesses that bring more money into the economy from those logs. Rustic furniture builders, guide boat builders and such are great, but we need more ways of adding value to wood products.

    But the real future is in small businesses of many kinds, people who can work from home. People who can work anywhere they want who choose to live here. Because they love the place they improve it. I will point to Jim Mandle in Lake Luzerne who recently established the Adirondack Folk School.

    Another example might be Brian Mann. I bet Brian could get a job somewhere else.

    All that said, we need to constantly improve our schools, our public services like libraries, and our work force. We need to have fewer knee-jerk dumb-asses. I say that as someone who has a lot of friends who are dumb-asses, I have been one myself at times. But we have to stop it! Don’t just cry in your beer in your fishing shanty because you can’t get a job. Get a hobby that may be productive. Plant a garden. Read a book. Study to be a certified guide. Stop feeling superior to flat-landers because they wear lycra. Do something and stop complaining.

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  21. Pete Klein says:

    It wasn’t the Golden Age. It was the Gilded Age, a term coined by Mark Twain for a very good and sneaky reason.
    Gilded as Twain used it was to point out a thin coating of gold paint applied to cheap wood to make it look pretty.
    Twain was thinking of the pretty prosperity of the Robber Barons who made their money on the backs of and at the expense of the average worker.

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  22. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Did I say Golden Age? Ooops, you’re right. My mistake.

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  23. frank says:

    people like stiles are obstructionists…..he and his actions make people fear organizations like his….justifiably so!

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  24. I am not sure but think people like this ground in the Adirondacks. May you get good feedback…..?

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