Generations of Love for the Adirondacks | 4 Things You Can do to Help the ADKs

By: Kara DuPlessis - guest contributor
Wednesday, February 28, 2018

As a frequent visitor to the Adirondack Mountains, I often think about the connection I have to the Park and what compels me to return again and again. Like so many who visit, I was not born in the Adirondacks and I have never been a resident. Still, I grew up every summer at my favorite pond, and it feels like home. It is that sense of belonging and the connection to this place that fills me with pride and a sense of responsibility to take care of and give back to a place that has given me so much throughout my life.

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A Lifetime of Adirondack Memories

I started coming to the Adirondacks when I was about 8 years old. My brother and I would anxiously await the Park’s signature tall narrow pines and the brown and yellow blue line sign on the trip up from Syracuse. Those things let us know swimming, canoeing, campfires and smores were just around the corner. My family would camp at Rollins Pond every summer, and oh how sweet those canoe trips through Floodwood Pond and Fish Creek were. We would stop to check out the islands throughout Floodwood and then pick one where we would enjoy a picnic lunch. Then there were always slow drifts through the creeks to watch the sunfish race our canoe. The ultimate treat was a little pit stop at the camp store for ice cream before the return paddle to camp. We never ventured far from our campsite with the boat rentals nearby and the baked goods and ice cream cart rolling through the campground. Days were long and the sunsets were phenomenal.

Sunday road trips to Old Forge became a tradition as we got older. We would climb Bald Mountain, brave the height of the Rondaxe fire tower and check out the infamous Old Forge Hardware Store. Occasionally we could talk my dad into a day at Enchanted Forest.

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Sharing Adirondack Traditions with My Children

Interest in our family trips to the Adirondacks waned through my teenage years, but was renewed once I had a family of my own. It was important to me to show my children how special this place is through camping trips, kayaking and hiking adventures throughout six-million acres of pristine forest, ponds, mountains and streams. It was equally important to teach them that we are stewards of this land. Leave No Trace principles were, and still are, a part of every trip into the Park. My children are grown now, and I hope they will one day return to the Adirondacks to make new memories in a park that remains unspoiled and  “Forever Wild.”

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These days I can be found on the Adirondack trails just about every weekend. If I am not on the trails, I can be found camping and kayaking with my partner and four of our pups. Together we have completed the Fire Tower Challenge, Saranac Six, Tupper Lake Triad, Fulton Chain Trifecta and are now working toward the 46 High Peaks.  With so much time spent in the Park throughout the years, I have come to realize how much the Adirondack Mountains have given me, so it makes sense to give back in any way I can, and there are so many easy ways to pay it forward to the Adirondack Park.

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4 Things You Can Do to Help The Adirondack Park

Follow Leave No Trace

I am a huge advocate of the principles of Leave No Trace.  The easiest thing to do when you visit the park to canoe, backpack or just hike a trail with your dog is pack it in and pack it out. If you see trash left behind by others, carry it out. It is simple, cheap and leaves the park with the wild and peaceful beauty that you came for. Become educated in Leave No Trace principles and pass the knowledge on to everyone you know.  

Volunteer & Recreate Responsibly

If you are an avid hiker, lending a hand for a day on a trail maintenance crew is an excellent way to give back to the Adirondack Mountains. Thousands of hikers make the trek through the trails of the park every year causing erosion and trail degradation. Professional trail crews are tasked with clean up, drainage maintenance and clearing out blowdown. Volunteers can sign up to be a part of a trail crew through the Adirondack Mountain Club or the Department of  Environmental Conservation. If you’re not interested in manual labor, donations to Adirondack organizations also aid trail crews, fund public education, and support efforts that advocate and litigate for the Adirondack Park. Or simply do your part and help prevent erosion by giving the trails a break during mud season and picking trails less traveled.

Make Your Voice Heard

Each person visiting the Adirondack Park should be as vested in its future as those living there. The Forever Wild clause of Article 14 of the New York State Constitution protects the park from inappropriate commercial ventures, and it is this protection of the Forest Preserve that makes the Adirondacks so special and unique. Land classifications are important to Adirondack wilderness as evidenced by the recent debate over the Boreas Pond Tract. When it comes to decisions pertaining to the Park, we all need to speak up. Attend an Adirondack Park Agency monthly meeting in Ray Brook, call or write a letter to your elected officials regularly on issues that are important to you.

Stay Informed

Whether you come here to hike, camp, backpack, ski, hunt, fish or spend time perusing the tourist-friendly towns of the Adirondack Park, become informed about issues facing the park such as the land classifications and acid rain and smog rolling in from the midwest.  Take the time to learn how you can help preserve the Adirondack Park, not only for yourself and your family, but for future generations to enjoy as well. Subscribe to receive information and news straight from the source, so you can do your own research on topics that impact the places you love. Sign up for email updates, mail lists, and follow Adirondack organizations and agencies on social media. Sign up for alerts from the NYSDEC and NYSAPA. Sign up for the US EPA email notifications to learn about legislation and national issues that could impact the Adirondack Park too.


About the Author

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Kara DuPlessis resides with her family in the Syracuse, NY area and is an avid hiker, paddler and camper.  On weekends, she can be found anywhere from the gorges in Ithaca to a summit in the Adirondacks.   She is a big advocate of Leave No Trace principles and enjoys the peace and quiet of the Adirondack backcountry. 

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