“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Wilderness isn’t a commodity to be traded. It’s an idea of raw and organic landscapes unscarred by human machination. When the word wilderness is spoken our minds picture dense forests and open savannahs that evoke a sense of mystery and a desire to explore. It is a glimpse of the world without anthropomorphic disruption. It is freedom incarnate. True wilderness is perhaps impossible to attain in an age of human pervasiveness but that is all the more reason to pursue it tenaciously.
Sadly it is quickly becoming a foreign concept. It is disappearing at a rate of 38 football fields per minute. However, the concept of wilderness is essential and inseparable from the idea of a place being called Forever Wild.
Few places in the world represent wilderness like the Adirondack Park. When gazing out on the landscape from a summit within a Wilderness area you are met with a landscape unlike anything else in the world, a rolling sea of intertwined canopies unbroken by the jarring gashes of human development. The protection provided by the Wilderness land classification in New York is unique and complete. Few lands are afforded this type of protection and the opportunity to add more should not be passed up.
With the addition of the Boreas land purchase to the High Peaks Wilderness Area the Adirondack Park would have 280,000 contiguous acres of Wilderness north of the Newcomb area. An area that large rivals the National Parks and makes the Adirondack Park nationally significant for those seeking non-motorized outdoor recreation. In a time where forest destruction can be measured by the minute, New Yorkers must act to preserve some of the world’s most magnificent landscapes right in their backyard. This plan for wilderness will create one of the largest intact chunks of wild lands protected from development and motorized use which is imperative for the healthy existence of New York’s wildlife and forests.
The Adirondack Forest Preserve has always been one of the country’s most significant parks and has received international attention for how it is managed. The concept of wilderness is intertwined in New York’s legacy of establishing and protecting the Adirondack Park and other state forests for future generations. New York can again be a leader in keeping the spirit of wilderness alive, by adding the 35,000 acres of the Boreas lands to the High Peaks Wilderness Area.
When people think of wilderness and are overcome with the desire to adventure, to feel the tug of a backpack filled with camping and hiking supplies on their backs, to feel the harsh bite of the elements or the gentle warmth of a bright sun, to see a world unmarred by technology, engines and industry they should be imagining New York’s own Adirondack Park.