To the editor:
You called for our ideas in an editorial in follow up to the governor's visit last week. Here are a few thoughts.
I think events are important, and they help support many businesses. I don't, however, think they alone are the answer. We need to build up our recreation infrastructure. The recreation infrastructure not only helps us draw tourists, but it also improves our quality of life and encourages people and businesses to move here. The trails that I have proposed in my recent blog series, "10 Trails We Should Build Before We Worry about Converting Rails to Trails" (http://bit.ly/WY9EyB), is the type of infrastructure I'm talking about. More trails - many more trails - better trailheads, better parking lots, more rangers, more education about the Forest Preserve (e.g., www.facebook.com/adirondackoutdoors). These are the types of things we need in the Saranac Lake area and Park-wide. If the governor really wants to help, help improve our recreation infrastructure, not just create more events.
One of the concepts I talk about in my blog is what I call "50 in 2." What I propose here is that any community in the Park that wants should be able to have 50 miles of trails (hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling) with trailheads within 2 miles of the center of town (preferably closer). We should be trying to link all the trails within the Park to each other and our communities.
I appreciate the governor's interest in the Adirondack Park, and I think more events is one thing that will help. What will help even better is a more robust recreation infrastructure. Develop a program to support that, and our future will be much brighter.
Jack K. Drury