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A voice rises from the wilderness: Keep the towers!

In the early 1970s, a group of lawyers, legislators and environmentalists gathered in Albany. They came to define an array of aesthetic ideals to determine how to best 'protect the park' in the future.

For a template, they used standards, terminology and language adapted from the Wilderness Act, which President Lyndon B. Johnson had signed on Sept. 3, 1964, to create the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Unfortunately for residents of the region, the cartel was composed of a group primarily of enthusiastic protectionists and energetic armchair outdoorsmen, whose boots had rarely mucked the mud of an Adirondack trail. Utilizing standards that had been developed for the federal legislation, the group devised a plan that exhibited little concern for the people that lived within the borders of the Blueline and professed even less regard for their traditions.

Soon after, the brain trust decided to modernize the venerable, old Conservation Department by renaming it the Department of Environmental Conservation. In short order, the agency became known locally as the 'Department of Eternal Consternation,' but the folks in Albany didn't seem to mind because "the times they were a' changing."

Nearly 40 years later, common sense finally collided with common ground in Ray Brook when environmental activists and local yokels, commissioners and common folk, lawyers and laymen finally stepped back and took notice of the nearly 4o years of blunders.

Fortunately, they all came together at a meeting of the Adirondack Park Agency and resolved that the long string of blunders should not be allowed to continue.

Park Agency Commissioners listened intently to the public's opinion and eventually came to the conclusion that two, historic fire towers, survivors of a vast network of sentinels that once stood guard over the land, should remain looming over the vast forests that they had once protected.

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