Perspectives on the Adirondacks:
Public activism vs. Political rigidity: the untold story behind the battle for the environment in New York State's magnificent Adirondacks.
Slightly over a third of the six million acres in New York's magnificent Adirondack State Park are constitutionally protected Forest Preserve. This is perhaps land preservation at its best, but divergent needs of residential settlement and commercial forestry have created a landscape of conflict.
Barbara McMartin presents an in-depth narrative of the history of Adirondack environmental policy beginning with the 1970 formation of the Adirondack Park Agency, whose purpose was to regulate private development and the planning of public terrain. Although hailed as the most innovative land-use legislation of its time, it ignited a wildfire of controversy. Park residents protested. Government stood firm. Numerous groups, pro and con, swung into action. Attempts to better the Agency produced the Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century, but reactions to its work were extraordinary and often violent.
Over the decades, disparate groups have tried to shape and effective program for Adirondack wildland protection but cannot seem to work together. This is the first comprehensive account of that ongoing drama: a stirring story of state environmental movement, public action, and government failure and success.
"Some of the players in this thirty-year saga -- those who have fled from the fray -- have reminded me that this is a very small world we are talking about, the home of only 130,000 people. That number is so small it is easy to se how those in power statewide could ignore such a politically marginal pool of voters. I want readers to remember that this is the largest state park in the nation, the largest wilderness conglomerate outside Alaska. Its very importance elevates concerns for the lives of its residents to the level of its natural stature. These issues and concerns have significance worldwide, for most of the world's natural parks and biosphere reserves, many of which are inhabited like the park, are similarly complex.
-- Barbara McMartin
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