Adirondack Park: Older and poorer, but still beautiful

In the park, "environmental advocacy" can be considered an industry due to the wide range of preservation/protection groups and organizations based in the park.

The Adirondack Nature Conservancy in Keene Valley and The Adirondack Council in Elizabethtown are both considered major employers in their respective communities.

The Saranac Lake based, Adirondack Wildlife Conservation Society employs six full-time and 10 part-time staffers.

The Adirondack Mountain Cub has a multi-million dollar economic impact in the park, with a substantial payroll in Lake George where it is headquartered and at Adirondac Loj on Heart Lake near Lake Placid.

The national trend of a growing detachment of youth from the outdoors is further exasperated in the Adirondacks due to an out-migration of area youth that was detailed in the recently released, Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Report.

The report, which examined the "state of community," profiling the 103 municipalities that comprise the Adirondack Park. The report detailed a significant decline in the number of young people living in the park.

The park will be a special place for our children only of they have the opportunity to enjoy it. If youth of the region do not possess the skills and resources to utilize the park's natural resources, they are strangers in their own land.

Rural areas across the country suffer from the same situation which has been labeled as a 'brain drain' or 'bright flight.' It's a situation that occurs when many of the best and the brightest students leave town for college and never look back.

As the 'wired generation' continues to tighten their bonds to the virtual world, our children will likely spend less time in the local world of forests and streams. If they don't use the land for pleasure and recreation, they may not develop the strong bonds to the land that their parents or grandparents possessed. As a result, the land will not have a hold on them and it will be easier for them to leave.

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