Opinion and commentary: Paris attacks, Syrian refugees and Adirondack land use

On the Paris terror attacks:

On Friday six near-simultaneous terror attacks left more than 100 dead and hundreds more injured in Paris. The manhunt for surviving members of the ISIS plot has kept parts of the city locked down in response to what the French president has called an “act of war.” That response includes a dangerous and bloody seige earlier in the day today in the Paris suburb of St. Denis, an ongoing campaign of French air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria and a heavy military presence throughout Paris. French President Hollande has requested changes to the constitution and stronger powers for the government to conduct its investigation into last week’s attack. The conflict raises the question of whether France’s tradition of open democracy is compatible with security and safety in the face of this kind of threat.

Cartoonist Marquil raises the same question:


More Marquil cartoons


On Syrian refugee settlement in the U.S.:

Women and children registering for the Fort Ontario Refugee Camp, August 1944. Photo: National Archives

Women and children registering for the Fort Ontario Refugee Camp, August 1944. Photo: National Archives

The Paris terror attacks have complicated an already thorny issue, how the U.S. should respond to the longstanding refugee crisis caused by the Syrian civil war and now many, if any, of the refugees should be resettled in the U.S. The question has become a political football, with many conservative state political leaders wanting to keep Syrian refugees out over security concerns and many liberal political leaders saying we should do more to help in the unfolding humanitarian disaster. The governors of New York and Vermont want to do more, but other NY lawmakers wants to keep Syrian refugees out.

The Washington Post said this is not the first time the U.S. has felt threatened by an influx of refugees from war. A poll published in Fortune magazine in July 1938 showed more than two-thirds of American respondents wanted to keep out refugees from Nazi oppression. In fact, only one camp was ever opened in the U.S. for Jewish refugees from the Holocaust. It was nearly in our back yard, at Port Ontario in Oswego County, NY. NCPR produced an hour-long documentary, Haven from the Holocaust, nearly 30 years ago telling that story.


On Adirondack land use issues:

This week’s meeting of the Adirondack Park Agency had two items on the agenda that have kept NCPR listeners and readers clicking “post” on our listener comment features. The agency began looking at a plan to divide the Adirondack rail corridor that runs from Utica to Lake Placid into two parts. The state has proposed removing the rails between Tupper Lake to Lake Placid in order to accommodate a multi-use recreational trail. Train advocates remain up in arms. That story has accrued a record 241 comments since being published.

From the Deer Pond shoreline in the Essex Chain Lakes tract. Photo: Roy Saplin, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

From the Deer Pond shoreline in the Essex Chain Lakes tract. Photo: Roy Saplin, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

The second land use item was a management plan for the Essex Chain Lakes that would establish snowmobile and other recreational trails there, including bridges, in a way that opponents say violates both the State Land Master Plan and the Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act. The APA approved the plan by an 8 to 2 vote. Here is a sample of some of the comments about the controversy:

Brcf said “Taking working timberland out of production and locking it up as “forever wild” is a step backwards. If all that can now be done with that land to enhance the economy is recreation, then restricting recreational activities that are proven to bring in lots of tourism dollars is another slap in the face to the local communities.”

Dave said: “There are long running (10+ years) tourism impact studies done that conclusively, year after year, show that most people visit the Adirondacks to engage in outdoor recreation, and of them, a huge majority (85%) say they come to engage in hiking. Of those who come to enjoy our waters, a majority (55%) say they come to paddle. . . . By contrast, snowmobilers make up only 8% of visitors, and hunters another 8%.”

Paul said: “I think that money for these trails should start coming from user fees. That includes making hikers and paddlers start paying like hunters, fishermen, snowmobilers, and motor boaters do. I hike and paddle and I think I should be paying more – directly into a fund that supports that activity. No more free rides for particular special interest groups.”

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3 Comments on “Opinion and commentary: Paris attacks, Syrian refugees and Adirondack land use”

  1. Pete Klein says:

    Doesn’t Marquil know it is Politically Incorrect to show someone smoking a cigarette in a cartoon?
    Some students will soon start launching protests at NCPR while others will want to move to France where there are more freedoms than in this country.

  2. Edward Low says:

    It is interesting how people view things, via a perspective (dare I say a filter).

    A terrorist attack… is that any different than a ‘Mass Shooting’ or ‘School Shooting’

    In America… we would have a big argument about owning guns, but easily give up our privacy and freedoms, which it seems like what France is going to do.

    I wonder if France know of the quote below of one of their favorite American Statesmen (Ben Franklin):

    “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

  3. jeff says:

    Regarding hiking and paddling. When was the survey made? Where was it made? They hike and paddle because that is what is allowed. There are few snowmobile trails in the eastern ADKs. But go to Old Forge and Lowville and Brantingham in the winter and you’ll find snowmobilers. Snowmobiles have to buy a license, hikers don’t. Tax hiking boots! Of course Lowville is outside of the park but some travel into the park. For the most part one has to get out of the car to see anything in the Adirondacks. The roads are mostly tunnels providing only a glimpse here and there of a distant view, unless, like at the golf course east of Placid there are not trees to block the view. I expect snowmobilers spend more per capita than hikers. I like rail-trails, bicycles are quiet. Wilderness is a renewable resource.

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