Noted author Barbara McMartin delivered a lecture, "The Adirondacks: Public Activism and Political Rigidity," on Feb. 27 in the Fillius Events Barn. McMartin, a resident of the Adirondacks, is the author of Adirondack guidebooks and other books on the forest preserve.
In her talk sponsored by the Environmental Studies program, McMartin spoke about the role of public activism and political rigidity in the history of the Adirondacks. McMartin presented cases where attempts to enhance appreciation of the wilderness have been skewed or hindered by disagreements or ineffective governance. She offered the example of the state position in charge of governing the Adirondacks as evidence. This posistion experiences turnover so frequently that the person holding the office spends the entire term learning about the history of the park, and consequently no time developing new plans.
McMartin noted that the major success of the Adirondacks is the involvement of the people living within the park boundaries in local wilderness issues. She said, "You must realize that you are a part of nature. You have the right to get out there and enjoy it. I think more people should know how to navigate themselves through nature." Answering a question about overcrowding of the park, McMartin said, "Only a small part of the park is over-used. If the other parts were exploited for hiking, camping, etc. there would be more places for people to go and fewer outdoors enthusiasts in the currently developed ones."