An excellent pair of articles published here recently by Mike Lynch (Beyond Peak Capacity and Group of 67 People Ticketed on Algonquin) resurrected some memories from the 1970s and ’80s, when avid (or zealous, rabid, insatiable … just pick one) hikers like me lived in constant fear that access to the mountains would soon be restricted. That anxiety was based on frequent newspaper headlines touting plans to alleviate trail damage attributed to hordes of newcomers to the Adirondacks.
Like now, the problems back then were intensified by successful efforts aimed at raising public awareness about the wonders within the mountains, and thus boost the region’s tourism-based economy. The result: more people, more spending, and greater profits, but also more boots on the ground, more worn trails, and more poop in the woods. The problems intensified so quickly that organizations and politicians offered all sorts of solutions, most of which left hikers fearful that the freedom to roam would be restricted. Continue reading
The Adirondack Preservation Society, operator of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, has announced the award of a $99,000 grant from The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties for a new repair facility.
This grant will supplement a $791,000 grant awarded by the New York State Department of Transportation, and help the Railroad leverage their “matching funds” obligation. Continue reading
A recent National Park Service (NPS) report shows that visitors have spent $16.9 billion at NPS lands in 2015.
The report shows the $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent). This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally; 252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion. Continue reading
Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) and the Canalway Trails Association New York (CTANY) have released their sixth annual report – Closing the Gaps: A Progress Report on the Erie Canalway Trail 2015 – detailing progress made in completing the statewide Erie Canalway Trail as a continuous, off-road route. With 288 of 360 miles open to the public, the Canalway Trail is 80% complete and well on its way to becoming the longest trail of its kind in the United States, and a significant tourist destination for Upstate New York.
The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor generates $307.7 million in economic impact to upstate New York’s economy, according to a newly released analysis of the economic impact of national heritage areas conducted by consulting firm Tripp Umbach. Erie Canalway supports 3,240 jobs and generates $34.9 million in tax revenue the study found. Continue reading
November is New York State History Month. The goal of this initiative certainly is a worthy one. Naturally as historians, a primary source document such as a press release invites a close reading of the text. That’s what historians do and government publications are not exempt from such scrutiny. The exercise is quite productive and one can learn a lot from doing it.
In 1997, the New York State Legislature established November as New York State History Month “to celebrate the history of New York state and recognize the contributions of the state and local historians.” The celebration has been mostly ignored since 2002.
In 2014, the New York State Museum launched a New York State History Month page on its website, which included links to state-wide and regional history resources and a listing of museum events. This year, there is a more comprehensive History Events web calendar. Continue reading
In early October, the New York Cultural Heritage Tourism Network under the leadership of Spike Herzig, a member of the Tourism Advisory Council, hosted a meeting in Seneca Falls for the Women’s Suffrage Centennial.
There were about 85 attendees, mainly from the central New York region. The purpose was to meet, learn, and plan for the upcoming centennials of women gaining the right to vote in New York State (2017) and the United States (2020). The event’s agenda was abandoned as members of the history community began to air their frustrations over Empire State Development’s role in heritage tourism. Continue reading
New York State has heritage areas – 19, scattered around the state.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (NYSOPRHP) defines these areas on its website: Continue reading
Once upon a time, as all good fairy tales begin, there was a New York State Path through History Taskforce. Some of you may even remember it. August 28, 2015, marked the three-year anniversary of the failed project and since the NYS Historian who was a member of that taskforce has resigned, it is beneficial to examine the fate of this taskforce for the lessons it teaches about what happened. Will we learn from the past or are we condemned to repeat it?
At the kickoff event for the Path project, attendees received two glossy, multicolored booklets. One had a list of the “iconic highway signage” which was to be produced; the other had the conference agenda, a description of the regions with a listing of the selected sites, and the taskforce bios. Continue reading