Preservation Magazine online, published by The National Trust for Historic Preservation, recently reported on the Adirondack Park Agency’s vote to reclassify the land around two Adirondack Fire Towers as “historic”.
The article (found here) includes one of our photos. Yay us!
Hurricane Mountain was one of the first hikes we did after moving here, and that photo is one of my favorites from last winter. I think it really captures how unique and interesting it can be to experience a fire tower on top of an Adirondack summit.
However, I am still not sure where I ultimately stand on this issue. I get very uneasy when we start talking about altering or making exceptions to the Land Master Plan. This is the plan that helps define and protect the Adirondack Forest Preserve, and I worry about the precedent that “spot zoning” can set.
If there is one thing that has been painfully obvious since I’ve become more familiar with Adirondack politics, it is that exceptions to rules quickly become entitlements. Absent air tight regulations, someone will always try to push the limit of what is and is not allowed on land within the Park.
Bending the rules in this way tends to have a cumulative affect whereby the exception is used as a benchmark for later decisions, instead of the original rule. One look no further than recent boathouse or upland development debates to see this in action.
That said, if ever a reasonable “case-by-case” exception were possible in the Park – without having larger implications – I think this could be it. Or I should say, I hope this is it.
Fire towers definitely are a fun, unique, and yes, historic part of the Park. It would be really nice if we could keep them were they are, without compromising the integrity of the Forest Preserve.
Of course, my opinion on this subject is admittedly tainted with emotion since discovering that I can see Hurricane Tower from our yard. There is no denying it, I would miss it if it were removed.