When my oldest daughter left for college in New York City several years ago, I knew she was in for culture shock. She had been born and raised in the small town life of the Adirondacks. Fresh out of high school, she was beginning a whole new life in the ultra-zone of the world's greatest metropolis. I knew the congestion, pace and population would be overwhelming, yet exciting at the same time.
She was moving from a region with a population density of only 5-9 people per square mile to an island with 66,173 people per square mile. The Adirondack land mass could easily encompass over 3,142 Manhattan Islands and the student population of New York University alone, comprised nearly half the population year round Park residents.
Within a week of constant exposure to the routines of city life, her complaints were not with the people, rather, she had issues with her surroundings. The major shock was environmental not cultural.
"There are few trees, Dad. And almost no grass," she explained. "And my legs really hurt! Everywhere I walk, it's hard pavement, tile or cement. I never realized how soft walking on grass is."
"And," she continued, "There is absolutely no silence. It's always busy with people, sirens or something. Even in my dorm room, there's always some sort of background noise. You just can never tune it out!"
"There's no fresh air either," she continued, "No gentle breeze. It's always stale or smells like something, even down by the river. And when the wind blows, it's usually full of grit."
The Adirondack Park offers a wealth of natural resources spread across an abundance of public lands. If you enjoy the outdoors, entertainment is cheap due to the ease of access to wild lands. Unfortunately, many residents take such nearby treasures for granted. Most of us never realize how good we've got it.