I wanted to share a great chain reaction that I’ve witnessed now popping up in three different locations across the Northern Forest. We think it was inspired by the Northern Forest Regional Symposium, hosted by The Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund and the Northern Forest Center a year ago.

The Symposium put special emphasis on showcasing initiatives and ideas that had traction. So, Clyde Rabideau, mayor of Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks showcased a hiking challenge to bag all 6 peaks in the area, the Saranac 6ers. Finishers get the satisfaction of ringing the bell in town and getting a badge. Saranac Lake can use the initiative as a tool to promote and market the area.

Cycle ADK Long Saranac

Can bike tourism help reinvigorate Adirondack communities? That is the question I asked myself as I represented the Center at a top-notch cycling tour through the Adirondacks sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The ride represented so much of what we care about. It showcased community spirit, the outstanding landscape, and conservation science, all while exposing cyclists from across the country to a resilient, beautiful part of the Northern Forest.

It’s a fair question to ask: Why would a group of relative strangers set off on a 250-mile, 16-day canoe trip through the heart of the Maine Woods eight days after “ice out” and right at the start of the infamous black fly season?