"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s
peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms
their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."

— John Muir


Results of our Community Forum in Keene Valley
By Dave Gibson, Managing Partner Adirondack Wild

George Dr. Michael W. Klemens presenting Pathways to a Connected Adirondack Park. Photo © Ken Rimany.

Adirondack Wild had a great day in Keene and Keene Valley on Sept. 5. Our purpose was to engage in community discussion and dialogue about the strategies we're promoting in Pathways to a Connected Adirondack Park – Practical Steps to Better Land Use Decisions (2017 by Adirondack Wild).  These strategies are directed at all local governments and community leaders throughout the Park. By invitation, we're visiting selected communities to initiate what we see as necessary dialogue to test the levels of local interest and relevance of our recommendations and strategies. 

Our landscape conservation advisor, Dr. Michael Klemens, joined us in the afternoon as we met with local government representatives from Keene, including Town Supervisor Joe Pete Wilson, and with Bill Farber, past president of the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages. Michael Klemens reviewed the ten strategies in Pathways and shared his 20 years of experience of how they work together to enhance land use planning and conservation development in regions outside of the Adirondacks. He feels that the Adirondack Park as a whole and its 103 units of local government stand ready to benefit when these strategies are embraced and applied – not solely for reasons of protection of natural resources,  but because local communities matter so much in this great park. The strategies are as much about meeting people’s needs as the environment’s. Fostering public involvement in planning using science, procedural reforms and assurances that stakeholder's needs are met through early dialogue are all critical to successful land use plans, Klemens explained.  Discussion turned quickly to the relevance of these recommendations to Keene and surrounding communities. Keene's Supervisor said that he likes the idea of employing these planning strategies and seeks help in turning our vision into new planning documents for Keene, a process he hopes could also become a model for other communities.

Community guests listening to Dr. Klemens' Pathways presentation at the Keene Valley Congregational Church.
Photo © Ken Rimany

That evening, we enjoyed the warm hospitality and sanctuary of the Keene Valley Congregational Church to open up this dialogue to the entire community. More than thirty folks from Keene and neighboring towns gathered for our forum to hear from Dr. Klemens as he presented Pathways to a Connected Adirondack Park in slide format. Residents engaged in questions and discussion. A number of folks spoke up or asked questions which we tried to write down. For example,

  • Does AW plan to address these Pathways strategies with the Keene Planning Board - because Keene's site plan ordinance, etc. is very outdated? Answer was  “Yes.”
  • Does AW plan to post its Pathways slide presentation online so others around the world can benefit from it? Yes, we will get to that. Several folks felt it was a very helpful slide presentation for communities all over;
  • Can the state rally to do more to establish effective wildlife crossings of I-87 Northway? The old "deer tunnels" put in when I-87 was constructed are not what conservation science would advise engineers to do today. We could learn from what Parks Canada has done;
  • How can affordable housing initiatives intersect with Conservation Design? Nothing here is mutually exclusive, in fact Michael stressed these can be very mutually supportive goals;
  • How do towns like ours raise money for conservation design and the underlying resource studies so we "know our resources" and design well before we build? Michael stressed that such studies are very inexpensive relative to the subdivision/real property values and that much of the field work can involve well trained motivated volunteers working within standard protocols;
  • Town by town grassroots effort is great, but where is the state/parkwide commitment to conservation design? Can the grassroots effort spur state/APA to act? Yes. We reviewed the proposed amendment to the APA Act now under study within a working group, the commitments of State Assemblyman Steve Englebright, and felt that grassroots pressure could be very helpful.

Dan Plumley summarizing Pathways, and the evening of sharing. Photo © Ken Rimany

To cap off the week, Dan Plumley spoke to the entire Keene Planning Board about the strategies outlined in Pathways. He provided each member with a copy of the guidebook. He commited support to the Town’s efforts to consider our strategies for updating natural resource information, site plan review, and related procedures of local planning.

Our thanks to Dan for organizing the week’s events in his community of Keene and Keene Valley, to the Keene Valley Congregational Church for hosting us, to the Adirondack Nature Conservancy for loaning us note pads for the forum, to all those who participated and to Dr. Michael Klemens for sharing his rich experience around the world of integrating complex ecological information into land use planning.

We also continue to thank all donors and foundations supporting our Pathways to a Connected Park project.

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Archived Educating Field Notes

2018 - Click Here for Archives


12/12/17 - Remembering Maurice Hinchey, 1992 Adirondack Park Centennial read more >
09/29/17 - Vote Yes on Proposal #3 on November 7
read more >

09/14/17 - Results of our Community Forum in Keene Valley read more >
07/24/17 - An Environmental Salute to George Canon read more >
06/28/17 - John Collins’ Stewardship, Friendship, Respect, and Mentorship read more >
06/17/17 - Hadley Mountain Firetower Marking 100 Years read more >
05/13/17 - On The People’s Climate March read more >
04/04/17 - Embracing Swamps read more >
03/01/17 Rachel Carson, Richard Nixon, and Judith Enck read more >

2016 - Click Here for Archives

2015 - Click Here for Archives

2014 - Click Here for Archives
2013 - Click Here for Archives
2012 - Click Here for Archives
2011 - Click Here for Archives

2010 - Click Here for Archives

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ADK ALMANACK - Writings by David Gibson

Wilderness 50th

The mission of Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve is to advance New York’s ‘Forever Wild’ legacy and Forest Preserve policies in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, and promote public and private land stewardship that is consistent with wild land values through education, advocacy and research.

Top left, Autumn © Ken Rimany; Maple Leaves and Lichen ©Ken Rimany

Peter Brinkley, Honorary Chair
Daniel R. Plumley, Partner
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