Current IssuesChad Dawson

By David Gibson, Managing Partner, Adirondack Wild

Outdoor Recreation Collaboration With Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center

Visitors sitting in a circle

Chad leads Visitor Use Management discussion at Paul Smith’s VIC. Photo by Dave Gibson

Dr. Chad Dawson is spearheading a low key collaborative effort at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC), using the Visitor Use Management (VUM) framework to show its practical utility.

Across the Park, there is a demand to expand various kinds of outdoor recreation and equipment compatible and consistent with environmental and wild forest goals and objectives.

Careful compilation of existing field information, documenting current conditions, articulating desired conditions and monitoring of changes over time are essential to VUM, a set of steps to assess the carrying capacity of wild lands and waters.

Two people hiking in the woods

Michale Glennon and Scott VanLaer study our route, Paul Smith’s VIC. Photo by Dave Gibson

DEC has assumed responsibility for VUM on Forest Preserve but has been slow to demonstrate how it all works together.

So, Chad and Paul Smith’s College VIC director Scott VanLaer are inviting Adirondack Wild and other partners to participate on a small scale at Jenkins Mt. on the private lands of Paul Smith’s College.

Our focused group objective is to use VUM methods in establishing an open glade downhill ski area on Jenkins Mountain, a former ski area on College land, including an uphill trail for climbing up on skis.

It’s early days, but we hope this may become a solid demonstration project using the VUM framework to show its utility on a larger scale within the Adirondack Park.

view from mountain summit

St. Regis Mtn and U St Regis Lake from Jenkins Mt.. Photo by Dave Gibson

Dr. Dawson is a Professor Emeritus of Recreation Resources Management and former Chair of the faculty of Forest and Natural Resources  Management at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forest in Syracuse, NY.  He worked in teaching and research related to the visitor management and wilderness management at SUNY-ESF from 1989 to 2011. He served as an appointed Board member for over four years with the Adirondack Park Agency (July 2016-Dec. 2020). Dr. Dawson is the former Managing Editor of the International Journal of Wilderness. Chad joined the Board of Directors of Adirondack Wild earlier this year.

By David Gibson, Managing Partner, Adirondack Wild