Decide what park will be

If a tree falls in the Adirondacks, will anyone be around to hear it? In the future, the answer may be “no.”

A recent study by the Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Project noted the population of the Adirondack State Park is aging and falling.

This should shock no one. The trend has been ongoing in the park for quite a while.

Even less of a surprise: Some local officials blamed the lack of growth on state regulations that limit development and the jobs people need to live in the park.

In many parts of New York state, excessive state regulations often are among the reasons cited for a lack of development. This is certainly true of the Adirondack Park.

However, the idea behind the 6-million-acre park, which the state created in 1892, is to keep it a publicly protected area. While some regulations in the park may be too restrictive, the park will remain off-limits to much development as long as the state continues to protect it.

Some who have an interest in the Adirondacks love the park as it is; others want to see changes to make it easier for business and industry to operate in the Adirondacks.

Can there be a middle ground to satisfy both groups? We’d like to see the land and wildlife preserved, but a 6-million-acre chunk of New York should not be an economic void.

Ultimately, it will be up to the state’s residents to decide what they want the Adirondacks to be. There will be no easy solution.