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Adirondack Council offers a preview of annual State of the Park report

Adirondack Park sign
Pat Bradley/WAMC
Adirondack Park sign

The Adirondack Council issues an annual report assessing how federal, state and local policies have impacted the Adirondack Park over the past year. The organization will release the full report next week, but WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley got a preview.

The annual State of the Park report this year is themed Stressed and Challenged. Adirondack Council Executive Director Willie Janeway says they are previewing the report because both the good and bad impacting the people and ecosystem of the Park have risen to a new level.

“This is such a critical time. We wanted to elevate the degree to which we can celebrate some of the great successes over the last year and also elevate the recognition for how the natural and human communities of the Park are really stressed and challenged because millions of people need the Adirondacks more than ever now.”

Report author and Adirondack Council spokesman John Sheehan explains it rates more than 100 decisions made by local, state and federal officials that have affected the people and the nature of the Adirondack Park.

“We wanted to give a sense of the breadth of the report because there’s a lot in there. The Adirondacks have a large number of people coming to the Park that has overtaxed the recreational resources and at the same time we’re dealing with climate change and the lingering effects of acid rain which we need to get some help from the federal government on. And happily some of that’s been happening lately. But we have a lot of progress to make in the future.”

Three issues were chosen to preview the full report. A park-wide mandatory boat inspection program was implemented; $500,000 was allocated by the state legislature for a new survey of lakes in the Adirondacks to assess the impacts of air pollution and climate change; and the Timbuctoo Summer Climate and Careers Institute was launched to promote diversity within the Blue Line. Janeway says the trio represents how collective actions help preserve and protect the Adirondacks.

“We wanted to give an early review of those three because they really, each by itself and collectively, show how people are coming together to fund a new Timbuctoo Summer Climate Careers pipeline, the funding for science, the implementation of the mandatory boat washing. Those are things that are equally important actions because without the follow through we don’t successfully preserve the Adirondacks and each of those three helps preserve the Adirondacks for future generations. We wanted to highlight them because they’re important and so many partners helped to make them happen.”

While he wouldn’t reveal more about the full report, Janeway says it will contain more about how decisions that have been made are impacting the Adirondacks.

“You will see a lot more detail on how over the last few years the Adirondack Park has become a refuge for millions more people. And that is great that this park and this resource is good for the communities, more money, more jobs. But it also stresses the people, stresses the natural systems incredibly. And so there are good things being done and there are steps that are not being taken or steps that are being taken backwards. And we’ll detail that next week.”

This will be the 30th edition of the State of the Park and Sheehan believes it does make an impact on elected officials.

“Because we don’t accept government contributions it allows us to speak our mind frankly and it’s a very honest and forthright account of what happened over the past year. So we believe it’s an excellent chronicle about the progress that the Park has made and the progress that New York has made in protecting it.”

The full State of the Park Report will be released on the Adirondack Council’s website and in print on September 6th.

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