Here at the bureau, our main goal is to attract visitors to Lake Placid and the Adirondacks and generally encourage travel to our area. There is one group we would like to keep out of the Park entirely, but unfortunately some are already hereAquatic Nuisance Species (ANS). According to the Adirondack Park Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan, an aquatic nuisance species is a non-indigenous species that threatens the diversity or abundance of native species or the ecological stability of infested waters, or commercial, agricultural, or recreational activities dependent on such waters. Wow, thats a mouthful. Simply put, ANS are aquatic plants or animals that are not native to the Adirondacks, but have somehow found their way here, are multiplying, running the native species out of town, and disrupting swimming, boating and fishing in the bodies of water they occupy.
So why is this an important issue from a tourism perspective? Because water is our greatest resource and one of the biggest draws that brings people to our area. The Adirondack Park contains over 30,000 miles of streams and rivers, about 3,000 lakes and ponds, 12 major watersheds, including the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, and is bordered on the eastern side by the sixth largest freshwater lake in the country. According to the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council, over 85 percent of visitors desire waterside lodging and about 70 percent plan on swimming, fishing or boating during their stay in the Adirondacks. Clearly, water is a huge part of the tourism package that attracts visitors to our area. I would be willing to bet that more people take a dip in a lake on their summer vacation than hike a high peak.
Our remoteness offers us some protection against ANS invasions; the waters of the Adirondacks are not as badly infested as the surrounding regions. 160 ANS are known to exist in the Great Lakes, 87 have been found in the St. Lawrence River and 113 are listed in the Hudson River. Although a complete list of invasive species has not yet been catalogued for the Adirondack Park, it can be safely assumed that the number is lower than these surrounding regions. The fact that Adirondack aquatic ecosystems are fortunately still largely unaffected by this problem, presents an opportunity to make sure they stay that way.