To the editor:
Nine years ago, I was introduced to a family from Tupper Lake. Since then, these people have become a part of my own family and have shown me Tupper Lake and the surrounding Adirondacks. Having grown up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, I thought the two areas would be similar. I was wrong.
Through regular visits to Tupper and annual vacations on Mount Arab Lake, I have discovered that while the Adirondacks and White Mountains share an astounding natural beauty, the sociological and economic landscapes of the two regions are dramatically different.
In New Hampshire, I saw businesses grow and small ski towns like Waterville Valley flourish through careful planning and an awareness that the environment and the White Mountains were an integral part of their success. It wasn't always perfect, but in the end, the White Mountain region has managed to strike an appropriate balance between respect for the environment and respect for economic development.
Unfortunately, such a balance is getting further from possible in the Adirondacks. Despite the thoughtful and environmentally responsible efforts of the developers of the Adirondack Club and Resort (I've read the plans - I base my statement on information, not hearsay), the Sierra Club and Protect the Adirondacks are doing all they can to ensure there is absolutely no balance between economic growth and environmental responsibility. Both groups appear hell-bent on having it their way, ensuring that the land is closed to any and all development.
Their arguments might seem logical if only wild creatures lived in Tupper Lake. But in reality, human beings - people with families to feed and bills to pay - also live in Tupper. They have as much a right to survive as the wild animals in the woods. The Sierra Club and Protect the Adirondacks seem to have lost sight of this. Human needs, it seems, aren't that important.
Even more egregious, the groups suggest that Tupper Lakers (not to mention the Adirondack Park Agency) don't get it. Tupper Lakers do get it. Whenever they drive by the empty storefronts and vacant hotels, Tupper Lakers understand what is at stake - the very future of their community. No resort will solve everything, but it's a start. And Tupper Lakers deserve the right to make their own decisions about whether or not to go forward with this. No outsider, myself included, should dictate the development decisions of this town.
Reading this, it might be easy to label me "anti-environment," but this is untrue, I wholeheartedly believe in conservation and environmental respect. However, I also believe in reason and logic. The plans for creating the Adirondack Club and Resort are logical and reasonable.
The Sierra Club and Protect the Adirondacks should be ashamed for using litigation in an attempt to upend this community's chance at economic redevelopment, ashamed of their transparent attempts to bankrupt the developers in case they lose their lawsuit, and ashamed for assuming they have any right to determine Tupper's future.
Robert C. Whitehouse
New York City