Super Bowl XXIV. Reagan-Mondale '84. Custer's Last Stand. These are some of the greatest blowouts in American history.
The Adirondack Park Agency public meeting at Indian Lake last week became the scene of a similar blowout. Indian Lake Town Supervisor Brian Wells; Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Farber; and other town and county officials, residents, outdoorsmen and snowmobilers gave powerful and convincing testimony as to why the entire Chain Lakes and Indian River tracts should be classified as Wild Forest, not Wilderness.
Unfortunately, none of APA's presented alternative plans call for this option. Even though Chain Lakes Road will serve as the southern gateway into this new state land, Indian Lake residents and visitors would be denied direct full year-round recreational access under any option APA presented at the meeting.
The few advocates of Wilderness classification conceded the Chain Lakes and Indian River tracts do not fit the state's criteria for Wilderness zoning. Their vision would be to allow this land to revert back into a "pristine" wilderness in 150 years.
I'm for long-term planning, but 150 years is beyond reason. My family and I will be long dead and forgotten by then. My future grandchildren would be dead or way too old to hike and paddle in 150 years.
The towns of the central Adirondacks desperately need a solution that will help us now and for the decades to follow.
The underlying purpose of our government is to do right for the greatest number people for the longest amount of time. Wild Forest classification would allow the greatest variety of recreational access under the full protection of the Forever Wild clause. Wilderness classification would restrict recreational access, continuing the economic and demographic erosion that our towns have endured for decades.
Look at the empty storefronts and the answer becomes clear. We have until July 19 to tell the Adirondack Park Agency to protect this land for the people, not from the people. Governor Cuomo promised full recreational access to this land. We need to tell him, too.
Darrin W. Harr
Indian Lake, NY