Tupper Lake awaits a land development project that has the potential to save Big Tupper ski resort for future generations.
The rise, decline, and survivability of small roadside amusement parks in the Adirondacks.
Trekking through the rugged Adirondack Mountains can be done by car, truck, and motorcycle, and often by foot, but what about by train?
With the exception of Amtrak’s Adirondack and the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, which promotes Adirondack tourism by rail, many of the railroads that once steamed through the region are now defunct.
Railroading was a popular means of getting from point to point from the late-19th century until the early decades of the 20th century with lines such as the New York Central running through Northeastern New York from New York City to Buffalo, NY.
According to Ken Kinlock, publisher of Railroads in the Adirondacks, independent railroad companies such as the Mohawk & Malone, the Carthage & Adirondack, and the Gouverneur & Oswegatchie merged with the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad in 1913; by 1914, the New York Central & Hudson River became New York Central Railroad, and then became New York Central Lines.
By 1916, Americans love of the railroad reached a peak when over 254 thousand miles of rail were laid across the United States. And The New York Central ran a successful business enterprise well into the 1940s.
However, by the 1950s, the New York Central Lines began struggling to stay afloat and abandoned its rail lines starting in 1949 with the abandonment of the Sackett’s Harbor to Watertown line.
By the late 1960s, the once mighty New York Central merged with the Pennsylvania Railroad and eventually became Penn Central Transportation.
Currently less than 170,000 miles of railways remain in the United States, but railroads still have a place in our economy and in our hearts.
For instance, today 40 percent of the world’s freight cargo is transported via trains, and that number continues to grow with each year.
As for passenger travel, trains are one of the most eco-friendly means of traveling. According to ecosalon.com, train travel releases ten times fewer greenhouse gases per average passenger journey than flying.
So when traveling for work or for vacation, why not go the old-fashioned way and take the Adirondack Scenic Railroad or Amtrak’s Adirondack, rated as one of the top ten most scenic train rides in the world, which travels between New York City to Montreal.
New York City typically comes out as one of the top five places to visit in the world. As a matter of fact, the number one tourist destination is New York City’s Times Square which brought in 39.2 million tourists from around the world in 2011 alone, according to a survey conducted by Travel and Leisure magazine. The number two destination was New York City’s Central Park with 38 million visitors.
One thing that the Adirondacks have that the Big Apple doesn’t is plenty woods, lakes, and streams; and with this ecology, a diverse plant and animal life exists in the Adirondacks.
The International Ecotourism Society suggests that this kind of natural vibrancy supports local communities by driving sustainable tourism to the region.
Tourism is now the world’s largest service industry, surpassing one billion tourists in 2012 and has grown by four percent since 2011. [Source: World Tourism Organization]. Nature tourism, or ecotourism, is the fastest growing segment of this industry.
The World Conservation Union defines ecotourism as:
“Environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples.”
Paradoxically, according to the Nature Conservancy, our fastest growing industry may pose a danger to the fragile Adirondack ecosystem while at the same time creating significant opportunities for both conservation and development of local communities from revenue not otherwise present.
To bring in tourism and tourist dollars, many Adirondack resorts market themselves as eco-friendly for ecotourism including the Water’s Edge Inn & Conference Center in Old Forge, Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort in Lake Placid, and Hohmeyer’s Lake Clear Lodge in Saranac Lake
With the potential of producing significant local revenue, many Adirondack communities are working to create flourishing ecotourism areas such as nature trails and research centers.
Community planners and local residents in the Adirondack Town of Webb recently proposed developing a residential research center. Another idea was establishing an environmental trail connecting the Town of Webb with other Adirondack tourist locations, such as The Wild Center in Tupper Lake and the Environmental School of Forestry in Newcomb.
Given the benefits of ecotourism to conservation and education, instead of a taxi or subway ride to crowded bustling Times Square, consider the quiet tranquility of the Adirondacks.
Who’s got my golden arm? Who’s got my golden arm??
YOU’VE GOT IT!
The Adirondacks in my youth was a memorable time of my life when I used to sit around the campfire with other children and listen to ghost stories like the classic Who has my Golden Arm?
Today, summer youth camps are dotted in the Adirondack landscape as a means of escaping from the cares of school and, incidentally, to give a much needed break for the children’s parents.
The Adirondacks began as a social experiment for children as city folk began vacationing in the region as a means of escaping the heat and pollution of an industrializing 19th century America.
According to the American Camp Association, youth camps were first established in and around the Adirondacks’ biggest lakes – Lake George and Lake Champlain – in the eastern part of the state park.
One of the earliest youth camps in the country was and remains Camp Dudly, established by its founder Sumner Dudly. In 1885, Dudly took a group of boys from the Newburgh, New York, branch of the YMCA for a week’s camping on a nearby lake where they fished, went boating, and spent several hours a day in Bible study. Dudley found it such a valuable experience for the boys that it became an annual affair.
By 1891, he had a summer youth camp to a site on Lake Champlain where it remains today near Westport, New York, and according to the American Camp Association, it flourishes as the oldest continuously operating children’s camp in the country.
Since then, nearly 300 children’s camps have been founded in the Adirondacks, of which approximately 70 exist today. This is a testament to the vitality of the region in regards to outdoor recreation. The location of the Adirondack region is ideally situated near major industrialized cities like Boston and New York. The term vacation was coined in the 19th century when New Yorkers and Bostonians would vacate the cities for the Adirondack Mountain summer resorts.
For further information about children and youth camps, visit www.acacamps.org.
It is one great purpose of the Park to supply to the hundreds of thousands of tired workers, who have no opportunity to spend their summers in the country, a specimen of God’s handiwork that shall be to them, inexpensively, what a month of two in the White Mountains or the Adirondacks is, at great cost, to those in easier circumstances.
Frederick Law Olmsted on designing New York City’s Central Park.