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Troubles in camp

Notes from the North Woods

Introducing newcomers to the joys of outdoor travel is a primary responsibility of all outdoor travelers. Travel upon towering mountains and down wild rivers has a unique way of making men out of boys, and boys out of men. Pictured are Alex and Dillon Weatherup.

Introducing newcomers to the joys of outdoor travel is a primary responsibility of all outdoor travelers. Travel upon towering mountains and down wild rivers has a unique way of making men out of boys, and boys out of men. Pictured are Alex and Dillon Weatherup. Photo by Joe Hackett.

For those of us who were fortunate enough to have settled within the borders of one of the world’s finest parks, it appears we made a wise decision.

Due to the fact that we are surrounded by over five million acres of forested lands, and connected by a watery web of lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, Adirondack residents possess a unique capability to remain in touch with nature.

It is everywhere, and so are the opportunities to enjoy it. In many communities, the outdoors is the only recreational venue available. Sadly, there are few movie theaters, recreation centers, bowling alleys or similar places for kids to hangout in the Adirondacks.

If local youth do not possess the skills and knowledge, and have access to the necessary equipment to enjoy the outdoors, they are at a severe disadvantage.

In urban areas, there are typically a wide range of recreational options, from malls to movies theaters, organized sports leagues to sports centers, and museums to concert halls. There is always something happening for youth.

Such is not the case ‘Up North’, where kids usually have to make their own fun, and find their own entertainment. Speaking from experience, when there are not any positive recreational outlets available, kids will usually look for and eventually find, a wide range of negative recreational outlets.

I’d prefer to know my kid was in the bow seat of a canoe headed down river, rather than off somewhere in the back seat of a car, parked in the pines.

Tough times for campers

It appears there is a significant problem with camping these days, however it’s not what most folks would expect. It has nothing to do with leaky tents, hungry bears, the notorious boogieman or any of the usual suspects, such as stinky skunks, bad food, wet wood or a sleeping bag that simply won’t zip up.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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