Tom Ortmeyer, 315-265-8219
Most of us have heard the story of the elephant and the blind men. The first blind man comes upon the elephant, reaches out, and feels a leg. “The elephant is a pillar!” he proclaims. “No, the elephant is like a thick tree branch,” said the second, who had reached out and felt the trunk. Similarly, the other 4 felt different parts of the elephant and came to wildly different conclusions as just what this elephant is.
I attended my first ADK Board meeting in March, and it occurred to me that the Adirondack Mountain Club is much like this elephant. My first “touch” with ADK was on a Laurentian Chapter outing led by Betsy Tisdale. Later, I reached out and touched the club through its National Trails Day events, seasonal outings, and of course visiting the Adirondac Loj at Heart Lake. But at the board meeting, I learned of many more of the club’s activities. These activities include Conservation, Advocacy, Recreation, Education and Stewardship. To my mind, this makes the Adirondack Mountain Club the broadest and most effective of the conservation groups that focus on the Adirondack Mountains.
The Advocacy report was a highlight of the meeting. The description of hiking and paddling opportunities in the newly acquired Essex Chain of Lakes made me want to head right over, even in March. ADK has been one of the key partners over many years in protecting these lands and opening them for appropriate recreational use. A second key item is a new one - concern over the increasing level of train traffic carrying crude oil along the Lake Champlain shoreline. This is an issue first raised by the Northwoods Chapter, and ADK’s Public Affairs Office quickly took on studying the issue and working to raise awareness of this issue. This remains very much a work in progress, and is a part of a much larger national discussion. Clearly, any large oil spill is a matter of great concern. However, there is no doubt that the consequences of such a spill on the shores and wetlands of Lake Champlain would have significantly higher potential for damage relative to most other locations, and will require additional care in preparing and implementing a plan for protecting the lake.
I came away from the meeting pleased that my membership in Adirondack Mountain Club is supporting these important activities.
For more information on oil transport, see adkmtnclub.blogspot.com/2014/03/canadianpacific-rail-line-carries.html.