Adirondack Wilderness Experience
The Adirondack Park is the birthplace of the American concept of wilderness and land conservation. It is the second oldest park in the U.S. and the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States, larger than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon parks combined. Today, it is on the cutting edge of how to turn the abstract principles of environmental sustainability into a set of feasible political, economic, and ecological principles. This class will examine the natural setting of the park, the environmental impact of humans on the park, the evolution of popular views of the wilderness, the attempts to balance development and preservation, the prospects of bio-regional level governance, and the major challenges to ecological, social, and economic success in the Adirondack Park.
The emphasis in this class will be in experiential learning. The course will draw on practitioners and scholars who have created and managed the Park while at the same time debating its merits. We have recruited individuals for their depth of understanding of the issues and the divergence of their perspectives. Moreover, we will also go into the wilderness itself in various hikes and/or canoe trips. Ebenezer Emmons, the director of the State Survey of the Adirondacks in 1836, wrote, “It is not however by description that the scenery of this region can be made to pass before the eye of the imagination. It must be witnessed; the solitary summits in the distance, the cedars and firs which clothe the rock and shore, must be seen; the solitude must be felt.”
Students will be able to:
Schneider, Paul. The Adirondacks: A History of America’s First Wilderness.
Jenkins, Jerry. The Adirondack Atlas: A Geographic Portrait of the Adirondack Park.
Reading Packet of articles, to be provided
Day Long Field Trip, Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area (see above)
June 6 Settlement and Industry
Adirondack Atlas: p. 14-18, 69-77; 80–83, 99-111,
June 7 The Arrival of Tourists
William Murray, from Adventures in the Wilderness, 1869
J.T. Headley, from The Adirondacks: Or, Life in the Woods, 1864
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Adirondacks” and Nature
Terrie: 20–43; 106–113.
Schneider 21–23; Atlas: 88-91.
Reading Essay 1 due
June 8 and 9 Overnight Field Trip
June 8, Tour Adirondack Museum, Presentations by Museum Staff
Stay overnight at Great Camp Sagamore, Raquette Lake
June 9, Trip to Paul Smiths Hamline Pond Wilderness Restoration Project
Reflection Essay 2 Due
Section II. Governance of the Adirondack Park
June 13 Creation of Adirondack Forest Preserve and the Forever Wild Clause
Verplanck Colvin, from Adirondack Explorations, 1997: pp, 87–97, 98–110
Terrie 6 and 7
Schneider 25: 287-304.
June 14 The Creation of the Adirondack Park Agency and Land Use Conflict
Catherine Henshaw Knott, from Living with the Adirondack Forest, 1998: Chaps. 7
Schneider 26–28: 305–334; Atlas: 205-7.
Reading Essay 2 due
June 15 Field Work- Ascent of a High Peak to be determined
Isachsen et al., Geology of New York, 1991: Chaps. 3–4, 11–12
Review DEC High Peaks Regulations http://internal/website/dlf/publands/adk/hpwa/index.html
Stay at Adirondack Loj-- http://www.adk.org/ad_wilderness/rates.aspx
June 16 Competing Views on the Future of the Adirondacks
Ross Whaley, Chairman, Adirondack Park Agency (APA)
John Sheehan of the Adirondack Council,
Peter Litchfield of the Blue Line Council,
Virginia Brandreth of the Adirondack Landowners Association,
J.R. Risley, Supervisor of the Town of Inlet and member of the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages
Reflection Essay 3 Due
June 20 Economic and Ecological Challenges Facing the Adirondack Park
Is Industrial Logging Better Than Vacation Homes
Schneider 17–18: 197–217
Knott 7: 153–215.
June 21 Competing Recreational Visions --Motorized Vehicle Use in the Adirondack Park
David Gibson, Exec. Director, Assoc. for the Protection of the Adirondacks
Reading Essay 3 due
June 22 Field Trip to Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation
Guest Speaker Karen Roy, Scientist, Adirondack Lakes Survey Corp.
Hubbard Brook Research Foundation, Acid Rain Revisited, 2004. http://www.hbrook.sr.unh.edu/hbfound/report.pdf
Volker Mohnen, “The Challenge of Acid Rain,” Scientific American 259(2):30–38
Reflection Essay 4 Due
June 27 The Proposed Oswagatchie Wilderness Area
Proposed Guest Speakers
Wilderness Coordinator, Atlantic Chapter, Sierra Club\
Andy Keal, GIS Coordinator, Wildlife Conservation Society
Tom Martin, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
June 28-29 Overnight Canoe Camping Trip on the Oswagatchie River
Reflection Essay 5 Due