Chair Tom Wheeler
I believe that the wilderness experience is one that is transforming for both body and mind. One can see this in our Adirondack literature. Fortunately, Adirondack literature of the past is far more accessible today than ever before. As just a few examples, Verplanck Colvin’s narratives of his experiences in our mountains, culled from his annual reports of the Topographical Surveys are now anthologized in Paul Schaefer’s Adirondack Explorations, Nature Writings of Verplanck Colvin; Bob Marshall’s explorations are gathered in Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, edited by Phil Brown. Our own late Paul Jamieson wrote vividly of his experiences in his book Adirondack Pilgrimage. Many older books are even accessible as e-books. One of my favorites is Charles Dudley Warner’s essays In the Wilderness, first published in 1878. This includes “A Character Study”, an essay providing a vivid picture of Old Mountain Phelps. The sketch illuminates Phelps’ love of the Adirondack mountains and paints for us a philosophical portrait of the man who inspired many others.
One theme that runs through our chapter activities is to make that experience available today. Our outings program provides opportunities to explore the outdoors from many perspectives. Our conservation program seeks to protect and preserve the wild areas that enthrall us. We provide opportunities for experiences in the outdoors for young people of all ages. We do this for college students through our EAP program, for high school and younger students through sponsorship of Volunteer Trails program participation and camper sponsorship, and for younger members through our sponsorship of the Kids on the Trail challenge.
We hope that our actions also make this experience available to each of you.
Take the time this spring to experience the Adirondacks.