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Adirondack Common Ground Alliance Reviews Annual Summer Forum

Cascade Lake in the Adirondacks
Pat Bradley
Cascade Lake in the Adirondacks

The Adirondack Common Ground Alliance held its annual forum in July and held a follow up virtual meeting to review and summarize the findings of breakout sessions on issues facing the Adirondack Park.

Nearly 100 people attended the virtual webinar for updates on topics that include climate change mitigation and adaptation; housing in Adirondack Communities; community based recreation and how to foster a vibrant economy in the Park.

Common Ground Alliance Co-chair and Adirondack Foundation President & CEO Cali Brooks said the alliance efforts are critical for the integrity of the region.

“More than 100 small towns as well as the largest collection of protected wildlands and waters in the contiguous United States make up this place we call home. Because there’s no one government entity or one group that represents all of the interests it’s up to us, the Common Ground Alliance a network of dedicated people representing a broad diversity of stakeholders, to address the issues that affect the Adirondack Park and its communities. This effort is more important than ever.”

Alliance Core Team member and Chester Town Supervisor Craig Leggett began the meeting with a summary of the July forum.

“We heard voices from young people on how they’re building welcoming communities. The heart of the forum was when participants chose one of four topics and joined a series of breakout discussions. Today’s session is an opportunity for representatives from these groups to report out and put forth some ideas for further action at the local and state level.”

A summary of each of the breakout group topics discussed in July was presented along with ideas for practical solutions. Northern Forest Center Adirondack Project manager Leslie Karasin noted the overall theme of the annual forum was making Adirondack communities more welcoming.

“What you see here are ideas about who we want our communities to be more welcoming to. Who can and should and needs to be involved in driving this conversation forward and taking action around the idea of creating welcoming communities. Some ideas of how we do this work. I would encourage you all to dig in and think about ways that you can move these issues forward.”

Alliance member Town of Keene Supervisor Joe Pete Wilson reviewed the discussions on Adirondack Park housing issues.

“The housing group was very lively. Our overarching goal was to develop ideas that support the effort to create welcoming communities," said Wilson. "So our group really looked at creative ideas, partnerships and then some of the more concrete aspects of gathering data, the importance of zoning, and then came back to the need to have broad participation to affect change.”

Alliance Core Team member and Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Farber says it’s time to expand their Blueprint for the Blue Line report that has provided post-forum guidance.

“I think we’re coming into an exciting period of time here where we will, as traditionally done, finalize a Blueprint for the Blue Line. That will be our ask to the state," said Farber. "And we anticipate really continuing to foster the work of these work groups so that we can expand that and build on this enthusiasm. Because frankly there have been few times in our history where the need for common ground was more profound than it is today.”

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