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Adirondackers getting poorer, older - and offspring are leaving

Local governments continue to be the primary sources of employment.

"There are regions in the central part of the park where basically no residents can qualify for a mortgage because property values are so high and income is so low," Johnsburg Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed said this week. "The whole report presents a pretty dismal picture of the park."

Nearly 70 percent of home-sales in Hamilton county are to second-home buyers.

The study consists of 15 "modules" which assess quality of life indicators like potential employment, population age, land use and the availability of public services.

"The differential between median income and housing cost was the most striking," Farber said. "This area is defined by second-home buyers, so the property values are not defined by median income like they are in most areas."

The two-year study has been conducted by the LA Group of Saratoga.

"Newcomb is one of the demographically oldest towns in the state," Goodspeed said.

For local politicians, finding a balance between environmental conservation and economic viability is the key for the survival of area communities and the Adirondack culture.

"We have to find a way to make these forests working forests," Farber said. "I think the environmental organizations have had some success attracting youth to the park through internships - this is something we should be looking into."

When completed, the study will include town by town information of each of the 103 participant communities, officials said.

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