Last week, I retreated from the ice and snow to spend a few days inside at the monthly meeting of the Adirondack Park Agency’s Board of Commissioners.
January’s monthly meeting was the agency’s first meeting of the New Year, and the first to be presided over by Leilani Ulrich, the APA’s new chairwoman of the board. The meeting also offered the promise of a decision regarding the fate of the Adirondack Club and Resort development, which had first been proposed in 2004.
I’ve attended numerous meetings at the APA’s headquarters in Ray Brook over the years. While most of them have been rather benign affairs, many were rowdy, rancorous events, with insults, recriminations and criticisms being hurled in all directions. Typically, there’s been a group of protesters, equipped with standard, ‘Abolish the APA’ signs, awaiting attendees, and there always seemed to be an adequate supply of scowls, scorn and scandal to go around. APA meetings are not just simple, dull, bureaucratic affairs, they can be entertaining events, regardless of which side you’re on.
I came of age in the early days of the APA, and I’ve watched the agency grow. I’ve listened to many stories, concerning the agency’s actions, both good and bad. The battle-song, “Someone mentioned the APA, how much land did you steal today?” still reverberates in my head. It was written and recorded by my old friend, Matt McCabe, who now owns a guitar shop in Saratoga Springs.
After the eventual approval of the project, Jim LaValley, a Tupper Lake businessman who organized local efforts to support the project, claimed a new tune was in his head, “What a long, strange trip it’s been,” by the Greatful Dead.
My intention in attending the meetings was not to analyze the arguments, or to scrutinize the board’s final deliberations concerning the largest development proposal ever to be presented to the APA. I simply wanted to observe the entire affair, from a ‘fly on the wall’ perspective. I wanted to take it all in, without judgment or prejudice, with no personal opinions or preconceived notions.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.