There has been a tendency among some Park leaders to think of the blue-line as a noose that constricts the economic growth of Adirondack communities. In particular, the 2009 Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Program (a statistical analysis of the Adirondack economy) has been interpreted by some officials to reinforce the theory that Park regulations and public ownership trends are to blame for rising unemployment and poverty, declining school enrollments and an aging population.
PROTECT has released a comprehensive analysis of the APRAP report that demonstrates why the “blame the park” interpretation is flawed.
First, it reveals that Adirondack communities are fairing quite well in comparison to similar towns outside of the blue-line. Second, it finds that the Park’s economic problems are a symptom of a macroeconomic shift common to rural areas throughout the Northeastern United States.
PROTECT’s report shows that, instead of hurting the economy, the unique environmental protections in the Adirondacks have ensured that development and commercial use are harmonized with the Park’s scenic beauty.
As a result, a steadily growing tourism industry has buoyed the Park’s economy even as mining, agricultural and forest products industries faded from the Northeast. Above all, the APRAP report reinforces PROTECT’s commitment to partnering with communities on projects that maintain the Park’s wild integrity while building on its economic benefits.