Forever Adirondacks Campaign

Forever Adirondacks Campaign

New York’s Adirondack Park is a national treasure we must preserve now and for future generations. 

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The "Forever Adirondacks" campaign will raise awareness of the need to fund clean water, jobs, and wilderness protection in the Adirondack Park. The Adirondack Council has hired Aaron Mair as Campaign Director, to lead an Adirondack Wilderness, Water, and Jobs Coalition, and appeal to state and federal officials for funding and policy changes that will benefit these three program areas. Click HERE to read our press release, "National Wilderness Advocate Aaron Mair to Direct "Forever Adirondacks" Campaign to Protect Adirondack Clean Water, Jobs & Wilderness"

Three Priorities - Clean Water, Jobs, and Wilderness

Clean Water

Adirondack trees and forests filter our water and air, so we have clean water to drink, clean air to breathe.

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Drinking Water Park communities need safe water for 130,000-plus year-round residents, twice as many seasonal residents, and 12-million visitors. Road salt, storm-water runoff, and invasive species can all impact drinking water purity. 

Waste-water Treatment – Communities need help building and improving waste-water treatment facilities, and homeowners need help with on-site treatment (septic) systems.  These projects are costly but essential to maintaining clean lakes and rivers, and they generate jobs and clean water.

Public Health – New York has a duty to provide safe water to Park residents and visitors. But this is bigger than just an internal Adirondack issue. With 11,000 lakes, ponds, and wetlands that feed nearly all of the state’s major rivers and the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, and Hudson River Basin watersheds, the Park protects clean water for nearly all New Yorkers – and much of the Northeast. 

Jobs

The Adirondack Park needs investment to upgrade green infrastructure, put people to work, and foster more vibrant communities.

Saranac Lake

Forest Rangers & Other State Management Jobs – The Park needs more year-round Forest Rangers, engineers, planners, wildlife biologists, trail crews, parking attendants, land managers, and educators, all of whom would benefit from training in the principles of diversity, justice, and inclusion, as well as support teaching of Leave No Trace outdoor ethics.

Communications Infrastructure Implementation of universal broadband coverage and improved cell and communications infrastructure inside the Park would be an economic boon. High-speed internet and streaming services are needed by visitors and businesses. Constructing and maintaining this infrastructure generates good-paying jobs.

Diversity and Inclusion – Providing training to Adirondack businesses, institutions, government agencies, and hospitality facilities would help grow the appeal of the region to new residents, improve economic performance in resort communities and help encourage a more diverse year-round population. The Park is already seen as a refuge from COVID. Growth may also come from those seeking refuge from coastal flooding and other impacts of a warming climate. An urban-to-park migration would bring new people from parts of the state that are more racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse than the Park’s current demographics.

Hamlet-Centered Development & Expanded Housing Options – Better management of visitors to the Forest Preserve would help make more “winners” just from the overflow that current “big winners” can’t possibly accommodate. Keene and Lake Placid, for one example, would actually benefit from sending some of their summer/weekend throngs to Newcomb (Boreas Ponds) or Indian Lake (Essex Chain Lakes), where local businesses had been on a steady decline since the Great Recession. Hamlets also would benefit from community-based solar development. The North Country's hydropower plants and wind turbines produce two-thirds of New York’s renewable energy, but most is exported to the rest of the state. More solar power, at an appropriate scale, could provide green local alternatives and allow residents to invest in community-owned renewable power generation. More long-term rental housing is needed to help provide affordable living spaces to new and younger residents.

Wilderness

The Adirondack Park is home to irreplaceable wildlife and natural places that should be managed and enjoyed responsibly.

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Coping with Crowds – Overuse of public lands (high use that exceeds Wilderness resource capacity) threatens visitor safety, harms the natural resources, degrades the wilderness experience, and undermines efforts to grow safe, sustainable recreation and foster vibrant communities. The sense of isolation and remoteness available in the Adirondacks are important factors in the wilderness experience so many hikers, campers, paddlers, and climbers come to enjoy. Hiring more Rangers and other staff, building new trails, expanding education, expanding public lands, and implementing better visitor management will help preserve irreplaceable wilderness.

Wilderness for Wildlife – Wilderness is where the state’s rarest and most sensitive wildlife has its best chances of survival and sustainability. Among those missing from the Park’s native wildlife landscape are a robust, sustainable population of moose. Other native wildlife, including native fish species, need room to expand or relocate their homes as the world’s climate changes. That will mean connecting wild spaces and waters inside the Adirondacks and connecting the Park to wild places and waters around it.

Key Protections – The Whitney Estate and Follensby Pond together represent close to 50,000 acres in need of public/private partnership protection and stewardship to benefit wilderness and communities.  Both contain special features that may be better protected under some arrangement other than wholesale induction into the Forest Preserve. Landscape-scale planning integrating public and private protection plans can help achieve big ideas, such as alpine summit protection, a thriving 600,000-acre Bob Marshall Wild Lands Complex, and the Boreal Heritage Reserve.

19-20 Accomplishments

20-21 Accomplishments

Achieved with partners, grassroots advocacy,
and YOUR support! 

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for the Adirondacks!

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