If they are disconnected from nature, they will become strangers in their own land, and they will remain so. They will suffer, and the community will be all the poorer as a result. If they don't use it, the place will never carry any value.
I fear this may be the first generation of rural "indoor children", detached and largely disconnected from the abundance of natural pleasures readily available in their own backyard.
It should be obvious, but local youth must come to recognize the Adirondack Park is a very special place. There is a reason the region continues to attract over ten million travelers every year, and they must understand.
We must learn to put aside the negative rhetoric, and all the sorry, old, anti- enviro-maniac nonsense that has plagued the region since the 1880's. I know, I'll take a lot of flack for saying so; but isn't it about time to move on and to recognize what a truly incredible place we've got. Need a reminder? Take a trip of 100 miles in any direction, you'll be happy to return home.
An old saying sums the mentality up pretty well, "A man is not without honor, lest it be in his own hometown". I believe similar sentiments holds true in the commonly voiced, local view of the Adirondacks, "A Park is not without honor, lest it be in your own backyard."
If this type of mindset is ever to be overcome, there must be a more concerted effort, on a local community level, to instill our local youth with a greater appreciation for their surroundings. We learn to love what we enjoy, but only if and when we have the means to enjoy it.
I believe the most effective method to ensure the long-term vitality of our communities is to provide our youth with the means and methodology to fully enjoy their surroundings.