February 28, 2011 Adirondack Daily Enterprise

To the editor:

Last week’s resolution of the Tupper Lake town board and recent Guest Commentaries in this newspaper, attacking the environmental organizations that are questioning the proposed Adirondack Club and Resort and personally attacking some of their leaders, sadly miss the point in several ways. Instead of ensuring a healthy and open review process, as set forth by law, these actions create an atmosphere that increases the misinformation circulating around the ACR project and distorts the critical role that environmental organizations have played in the Park for well over 100 years.

The ACR project is a highly speculative scheme perpetrated on the people of Tupper Lake as well as the state of New York. New York, New England and other parts of America are littered with the ruins of hundreds of abandoned ski areas. The approved but still unbuilt Front Street condominium project in North Creek is but the most recent of these failed developments. The country is not yet out of a recession caused by these real estate scams. The developer buys undervalued land at a low price, has attractive drawings made and promises to sell these dreams to unknown people from Boston, Montreal, New York and other places.

At the same time these same people are cutting back on their real estate investments, that pattern is repeating itself in Tupper Lake. While the developer will invest only minimally, the town of Tupper Lake will inherit much of the infrastructure. When the building lots and condos don’t sell, the project will sit vacant, at great cost to local taxpayers. At the same time, there are clear environmental costs that may well remain forever.

Since the Adirondack Park was created more than 120 years ago, there has been a heated debate between many environmental groups and other interests, including local communities and corporations. This is not going to go away because the town board adopts a resolution. This is the heart of a democratic process. Tupper Lake and every other community in the Park benefits substantially from the tourist traffic and permanent and seasonal residents who come here, attracted by the Park itself. They come because the Park is a world-class natural environment, full of recreational opportunities, protected for generations yet to come. Every single environmental organization in the Adirondacks has a broad-based membership, drawn from Park residents as well as outsiders, and all are welcome to share this vision of the Park.

The ongoing ACR permitting process is just one more place where this healthy discussion is happening. To attack those who are engaged in the process personally, as well as organizationally, does not advance this discussion in any way. The environmental organizations and their membership care deeply about the Park. We need to be able to work together toward a common vision of healthy communities co-existing with this natural environment.

This is not what the ACR project is going to contribute. The nation is full of shoddy, abandoned and run-down real estate schemes, and we are all paying for it. Our unique Adirondack environment demands more careful development than that. Participation in the ACR permitting process by Protect the Adirondacks! and other environmental organizations will help to ensure that.

Lorraine Duvall
Co-chair, Protect the Adirondacks!

Bob Harrison
Co-chair, Protect the Adirondacks!
Horican and Tupper Lake