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July 17, 2013

Park progress through collaboration eyed

NEWCOMB — The Adirondack Common Ground Alliance will highlight the progress of several projects at its seventh-annual forum, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday at Newcomb Central School.

This year’s forum will feature a recap of the alliance’s work to date, as well as reports on projects that were developed through its collaborations.

Bob Bendick, director of government relations for the Nature Conservancy and former deputy commissioner for natural resources at the State Department of Environmental Conservation, will deliver the keynote address, discussing the broader significance of the alliance’s success.

Jim Herman and Dave Mason, leaders of the ADK Futures project, will provide a comparison of what the scenarios projected and what has happened over the past year, including a recap of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council awards.

“The Adirondack Common Ground Alliance is the only forum that looks at the whole park,” Herman said in a news release.

“This year’s forum continues the work of connecting different groups and motivated individuals from all corners of the park so that they can make more progress together.”

SET OF SYSTEMS

Mason said the first wave of Common Ground Alliance work moved people to think about the park more holistically. The next step, he said, is to start thinking about the park as a set of systems.

“The Forest Preserve and the larger environment are one system,” he said. “There is an emerging regional food farming and distribution system.

“The idea of a local energy system is beginning to take hold. Broadband systems are being built and/or extended.

“Local governments and schools are seeing benefits and savings from viewing their operations as a bigger system, instead of islands each on their own.

“Some systems, like education and health care, need work, and they are caught up in national or statewide changes, as well as dealing with their local issues.”

Mason hopes the tourism industry can view the whole park as a system that moves people around the region.

He said some challenging work lies ahead.

“These overlapping systems are what make the region actually work,” he said in the release. “We have made some progress with environmental systems and Forest Preserve. Now, the human systems need some attention.”

For more information, visit Adirondack North Country Association’s website: www.adirondack.org/CGA2013.

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