What's with the defeatist attitude anyway? I guess that's what I just don't understand as I sit in all of these governmental meetings of local power-brokers.
Maybe I haven't been around long enough, but it seems to me that everyone - including the establishment - is far too willing to accept the dogma.
Every time someone talks about local growth, it is always within a conceptual framework of tourism.
We need to bring more tourists in, give them things to do, , things to see - we need to serve them.
Please don't misinterpret my statements as being either provincial or xenophobic, I am just annoyed by the all encompassing, utterly limiting rhetoric that defines local and regional debate.
This dogma is resulting in a brain-drain and an exodus on the part of those who love the park with all of their hearts. Their only hope is that maybe someday, they can retire here, but the thought of making a living inside the blue-line is rarely even considered.
Is tourism all we can really have in the Adirondacks? If so, is it really a good thing for the hard working, year around residents who do scrape-out a living here?
Granted, the park is one of the most highly regulated entities in the nation. Nowhere else is a population so disenfranchised and at such a disadvantage relative to their in-state counterparts outside of the blue-line. But does that require us to have a fundamental dependency on outside money and products?
The tourism industry is a great addition to a larger, more vibrant economic framework - it in itself is not a framework at all - it only creates a beaten down people without the ability to pursue their dreams.
Due to the marriage to tourism by local governmental entities, most Adirondack residents are forced to rely on the generosity of visitors.
A tourism dominated economy results in a second class population - without the efficacy or agency to pursue the American dream.
Property values sky-rocket as people buy summer lodges. And the poor saps who actually live here are being priced out of the market.
Aspen has become the model for the 'ski town', but has anyone actually looked at what has happened to the local residents?
Tent villages continually grow as the local citizens - the perpetual servant class - can no longer even afford rent.
These are people who work hard, but the influx of second and third homeowners makes it impossible for the locals to compete.
We are here to enhance the experience of others - nothing more, nothing less and I have a problem with that.
Every day I meet interesting, well read, insightful individuals who choose to live here because it is home - many of them waiting tables or cleaning hotel rooms - spending their lives serving.
Is that all we are?Are we simply a collection of individuals allowed to live here to enhance the enjoyment of the local communities and geography for those who come for a week or two?
Are we simply just another exhibit in the Adirondack wildlife museum?
If we can build great halls to host extravagant parties, then there is no reason we can't pursue more viable, more rewarding, less dependent means of subsistence.
Why not a small liberal arts college in Johnsburg, a green energy company in Minerva, a biological research facility in Long Lake?
These are the types of institutions which provide high paying jobs, which will keep some of the younger generations around. These jobs give the citizens agency instead of dependency.
The nation is at the cusp of a cultural revolution and the Adirondack Park could be the model. Maybe the APA is an agency ahead of its time, instead of the evil oppressor which we tend to portray them as.
With this coming revolution, the park is poised to be a test-case in ecologically neutral, economically viable business development. And this is how the pitch needs to be made.
Until our local leaders realize that we deserve better - that they should be courting real eco-friendly business, we as a people will remain as we have been for generations - at your service.
Jon Alexander is editor of the News Enterprise. He can be reached at email@example.com