It sounds like an impossible feat: getting environmental groups, landowners, local government and state representatives, and business interests to agree on anything, besides agreeing to disagree. Last week, though, the 9th Adirondack Common Ground Alliance Forum took place in Long Lake, and these “oil-and-water” groups wound up mixing better than you’d think.
Photo Credit: Lynn Sochurek Ammirato via Adirondack.net’s Facebook Page
According to the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA), The Common Ground Alliance Forum “meets annually to work on a shared vision for the Adirondacks, find solutions to our region’s current issues, and chart a path forward.” This opportunity for collaboration is extremely unique, and those involved say it seems to be working effectively.
Denton Publications, Inc. reported that some of the topics discussed at last week’s forum included “funding wastewater infrastructure, combating climate change, creating trail-town initiatives, attracting investment, maintaining attractive and livable hamlets, keeping schools open, cultivating communities through local food, and elevating the status of working families.” This may seem like a lot to figure out in just one day, but it is the open discussions that are more important than the finalization of solutions at this stage.
Past forums have helped push certain issues, like battling invasive species, all the way up the ladder where they’ve garnered state-wide attention and funding. All ideas proposed and issues raised during the forum are summarized and sent to state lawmakers in Albany to help them understand what’s important to the people in the Adirondacks.
Contrary to what you may think, the opposing groups that attended the forum were able to put aside their differences and openly discuss issues without getting heated. Denton quoted Hamilton County Chair Bill Farber as saying, “We’re working together to find solutions rather than fighting over the petty differences that separate us.”
While there are still bound to be conflicts any time new changes are proposed, the Common Ground Alliance Forum is a step in the right direction toward a united, thriving Adirondack Park.