"The report lays it out in spades," he said. "It's our peril if we don't take action."
A prevailing lack of economic opportunity is driving out people in their 20s, 30s and 40s, McGovern said, and it is leading to the erosion of community life.
"We should be scared to death," he said.
Forester: timber industry needs legislative boost
Jim Cappelliano, a forester, also disagreed with Duvall's assertion that the Adirondacks' economic decline was shared by rural America. He said park agency restrictions were hampering the economy, as state land acquisition meant a lot of timber was now off-limits for harvesting.
"We're operating with one hand shackled behind our backs," he said.
Kevin Bartlett, a paper mill worker from Ticonderoga, echoed the point.
"Paper mills are the last bastion of good-paying work for high school graduates," he said. "Regulations are being rammed down our throats, and bureaucracies hamstring us," he said.
Carol Gregson, 83, of Olmstedville also said that development of the lumber and timber business made sense.
"Lumbering is natural and sustainable," she said.
Residents: cut bureaucracy, taxes
Kathie Ferullo of Warrensburg told the legislators hosting the meeting that high taxes were a primary cause of the migration of youth.
"You have to really work on property taxes and make sure young people can stay here," she said.
Mark Hall, supervisor of the Town of Fine (St. Lawrence County) said state legislative support was needed for boosting industry. He cited the success of reviving a paper mill that had closed down. Now it employs 120 people, although decades ago it hosted 400 to 500 workers, he said.
But more help is needed from legislators to create or retain vital jobs, he said. A former industrial site in his town, now contaminated, needs to be cleaned up with the help of the state so a proposed biomass plant with 100 or so jobs can be built, he said.