Officials and wildlife specialists speak to Old Forge crowd on Wednesday
Representatives of The Adirondack Council and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation gathered at the Town of Webb Board Meeting Room in Old Forge on Wednesday, June 29 to announce the promotion of the Bob Marshall Wild Lands Complex, a new cooperative effort to help increase eco-tourism in 24 historic Adirondack communities.
Brian Houseal, executive director of the Adirondack Council, described these communities as the natural gateways to the largest wild lands area in the eastern United States, and believes that “all New Yorkers should be proud that this Forest Preserve is unique in the world.”
The desigated area of the Bob Marshall Complex edges the Old Forge, Cranberry Lake, Tupper Lake, Blue Mountain Lake areas, and at its interior includes the communities of Big Moose, Conifer, Stillwater and Beaver River.
“The Bob” complex includes over 100,000 acres of never-logged, old growth, public Forest Preserve; more that 440 large lakes and over 1,000 ponds as well as hundreds of rivers, and over 400 hiking trails.
Named after American forester, writer and wilderness activist, Robert “Bob” Marshall, the complex was designated as a wildlands area in an attempt to effectively market the wide range of recreational experiences that are available in the area, as well as to work in conjunction with multiple Adirondack communities to build stronger and more sustainable economy.
Town of Webb Supervisor Robert Moore said the natural resources of our area is our greatest asset, and tourism-especially eco-tourism-is the Adirondack region’s only major industry.
“What we have here in the Adirondacks is a lifetime’s worth of adventure in our own backyards. By identifying and promoting what we have, we are taking the initiative in sustaining that which we cherish. We are saying loud and clear, ‘Come Explore!'” Moore said.
The creation and distribution of the Bob Marshall Wild Lands Complex Trail Map and Guide, which are now available locally, highlights these assets and brings to light all of the great and exciting things these 24 communities have to offer to a larger and more diverse audience.
The Adirondack Park is the largest park in the contiguous United States consisting of a unique mix of public and private lands and a collective community of 135,000 year round residents.
Adirondack Park Agency (APA) Chairman Kurt Stiles said the map is more than a brochure.
“The trail map and guide offers an opportunity to better utilize the very asset we have-the community of the Adirondack Park-in addition to the park itself.
“The value of the land and these communities is becoming more important than it has ever been and the only way we can increase economic development and create a sustainable economy is to advocate for the communities,” he said.
By highlighting the communities as “Gateways to Public Lands”, the Adirondack Council is able to market and connect the communities to the economic development of the wildlife areas thereby strengthening the connections it has to the communities as a whole.
Town of Webb Publicity Director Mike Farmer said he believes that the Bob Marshall Wild Lands Complex and map is a tremendous asset for the community, the state of New York, and all of the people across the globe who come to visit The Adirondacks.
He feels the waterproof map to be a nice package with a great presentation that gives the Adirondack community an opportunity to get information out to people who are hungry for these kind of assets.
“People are looking for natural recreation and that’s who we are. And it’s more than what we do-it’s our whole economy. This map draws good people-the type of people that we’d like to expose to this kind of asset,” Farmer said.
Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environ-mental Conservation (DEC) Joe Martens agrees with the Adirondack Council’s plan to increase eco-tourism in the Adirondack Park.
“I commend them for their efforts to showcase the connections between communities and the surrounding lands in their beautiful and informative new map. The DEC recognizes our responsibility to provide access to our lands in a manor that supports local tourism, respects the livelihood of the Park and the economy of this great region,” Martens said.