New Book: Can the Adirondacks Include People and Still be Wild?
Release Date: 03-16-2010
The Adirondack Park provides more than a nice place to hike and a vast supply of clean water for New York City. Since 1885, the park's "forever wild" status has been viewed as the strongest land protection law in the world. But, in recent decades, the park has become a six-million-acre question mark in a global debate: can big wilderness areas have people living in them?
UVM professor Jon Erickson and his co-authors in a new book, The Great Experiment in Conservation: Voices from the Adirondack Park, trace the park's evolution -- its natural and human history -- seeking an answer.
Erickson, associate professor in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, and one of his two co-editors, Ross Whaley, former chairman of the Adirondack Park Agency, will discuss their new book, and the future of the Adirondacks, on Thursday March 18, 6:30 p.m., at the offices of the Lake Champlain Basin Program, 54 West Shore Road in Grand Isle, Vt.
This event is free and open to the public.
Keep people in the wilderness
"A lesson of our book is that, yes, we can protect large landscapes with people in them," says Erickson. Though not perfect, he says, the Adirondack Park can continue to be a model to land planners from Africa to Iceland about how to include settlements and businesses within a park's boundaries -- and still protect its ecological and natural resources.
"It doesn't work to draw a circle on a map and then kick everyone out," he says, "we need to think hard about the best ways to have people in the circle if we want to protect these landscapes over the long run."
But the numerous contributors to this book show just how complex and challenging this has been -- and will continue to be. Timber extraction, second home development, climate change and numerous other forces are pushing the park toward an uncertain future: these and other issues are explored in 34 essays making the 700-page volume highly readable and diverse.
The new book has been receiving significant regional news coverage including on North Country Public Radio, Vermont Public Radio, in Adirondack Explorer magazine, and Burlington's Seven Days newspaper.
More information about the presentation and discussion is available from the Lake Champlain Basin Program, (802)-372-3213.