Over 200 people will gather in Lake Placid Wednesday to discuss the Adirondacks. This is the 13th year the Common Ground Alliance will bring stakeholders from across the park together to take collective action on park issues.
It’s a diverse group that represents environmental, business, community, non-profit, and government interests. Every year they gather to discuss and make recommendations on issues of common concern.
Eleven topics have been chosen for this year’s daylong discussion including communications infrastructure, clean water, road salt, invasive species and transportation. The results will be included in an annual “Blueprint for the Blue Line” report, which outlines shared policy priorities.
A Core Team coordinates the Alliance and its objectives. Adirondack North Country Association Regional Advocacy Coordinator Jacob Vennie-Vollrath is a member. “The issues that are identified at the forum are brought forward by the people of the Adirondacks. There’s a survey that goes out every spring that people can vote on and choose and add issues that should be talked about at the forum. And then what happens is the top issues get discussed. This year we have eleven issues. The day of you know we get into the groups we discuss issues and lead to some outcomes whether it’s policy changes whether it’s things that we can do as communities here in the Adirondacks.”
Adirondack Foundation Executive Director Cali Brooks says early meetings focused on easier issues. Thirteen years later she says they are much more complex. “The range of topics continues to get more and more diverse and more more the issues that people who are living here and visiting here are facing. And they’re also getting in some cases a little bit more complicated. And so it really takes a group of 250 and more people to come together and think about solutions and strategies for addressing these issues that will be with us for many years. But I think together we have a greater chance of success than we do individually.”
Brooks points to a move seven years ago when the Alliance brought in two consultants to help create a unified vision as key to the success of the Common Ground Alliance. “Back in 2012 outside consultants helped to take the Common Ground Alliance work to the next level by helping people with different backgrounds and perspectives identify a common vision for the future of the Adirondacks. This was a real game changer for how much common ground there really was. Dave Mason and Jim Herman were the two consultants that helped take us to the next level. They worked for a number of years to bring people throughout the Adirondacks together to really identify a future, an Adirondack Futures, that we all could agree on. They are tracking our progress towards this collective vision. We are making good steady progress in that 20 year vision.”
The Adirondack Common Ground Alliance will meet Wednesday at the Lake Placid Club Golf House from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.