Of utmost importance is an unwavering personal commitment and concern for the natural resources that will continue to provide us with future angling opportunities. Believe it or not, we all live downstream. It was the jet stream that brought us acid rain, mercury and a host of other toxins that nearly destroyed the region’s fisheries. These threats are certain to continue in the future and without constant vigilance, we may not always be as fortunate as we have been to date.
Today, public use of trails and rivers is growing steadily. For every person hiking on a trail in 1960, there are more than three people now putting down tracks.
It is a well-known fact that travelers distribute themselves unevenly across wild places. Most of the use is concentrated in a few specific places located in a few popular wilderness areas. The Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area offers a prime example of such concentrated use patterns.
In fact, over half of all wilderness use occurs in a mere 10 percent of State-designated wilderness land, and the vast majority of that use occurs on only about 10 percent of the total trail miles.
Similar patterns of use play out on most of the region’s lakes, rivers, ponds and streams, where an estimated 90 percent of all anglers concentrate their efforts on less than 10 percent of the available waters. We all want to feel like we’re the first to find a special place, to experience something ‘beyond remote.’ Many believe that this lust for wandering is in our blood, and it spawns an undeniable curiosity to find out what lies beyond the far horizon. We are all born with an innate drive toward discovery, an inexplicable need to explore our environment. However, there are only a fortunate few who still seek an opportunity to scratch this inborn itch. Most others are simply satisfied with roadside adventures.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.