Do these lands indeed furnish the vast, contiguous expanse of wild forests, solitary ponds and savage waters that are to be expected of an authentic wilderness or are they a 'reclaimed wilderness,' fashioned by regulations, restrictions and zoning?
Does the intrusion of an airplane overhead, a fire tower above or the evidence of a long forgotten foundation along a trail diminish the wilderness character of the land?
And what about people? When a community of campers crops up in an otherwise desolate location, are they any less invasive than the sound or sight of manmade appliances or structures? Is wilderness simply a state of mind?
Despite the inherent drawbacks of design, the Adirondack Park remains an outstanding example of what can be accomplished when wild lands are afforded protection from the "hands of man."
Although the park may be considered an imperfect wilderness on a number of levels, it is still a place where it is possible to find oneself immersed in the middle of nowhere. And I must agree with Steve McQueen who once said, "I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth."
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org