The bridge is still out, but the forest remains

In an article published in the November 1925 issue of Outdoor Life magazine, the renowned naturalist Aldo Leopold wrote, "Our remnants of wilderness will yield bigger values to the nation's character and health than they will to its pocketbook, and to destroy them will be to admit that the latter are the only values that interest us."

Leopold's article, "A Plea for Wilderness Hunting Grounds, Outdoor Life," written nearly a century ago, detailed the importance of preserving the wild character of public lands.

However, it remains as topical in the current day as it was in 1925. Despite massive state budget cuts, the curtailment of numerous programs, an exodus of DEC's most experienced staffers, and the continued downturn in the national economy; the North Country's economy has faired fairly well.

The doom and gloom scenarios that many forecasters had predicted did not strike our region as drastically as it has impacted many others.

Maybe all of our snow created a barrier that served to insulate the region from the severe economic swings that struck states such as Michigan and California.

Last winter, about this time of year, a decision was made to replace the Crown Point Bridge. Following the ensuing explosion, which destroyed the structure, came predictions that the national economy would continue on a downward spiral. In many respects, the forecasts have proven true.

New Yorkers have had to cope with the closures of numerous parks and campgrounds, as school aid decreased dramatically, and roads, bridges and other important infrastructure was allowed to deteriorate.

But despite the economic downturn and possibly, even because of it, evidence indicates that travelers continue to gravitate to natural areas where the opportunities for recreation are inexpensive, readily available and easily accessible.

From a market perspective, this is very good news for the North Country. The Adirondacks, and the dreams of wild places that the name conjures up, have helped the region survive the nation's economic turmoil to a large extent.

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