Can the Adirondack Park be a welcoming place to all visitors?

April, 2019

New York's new state budget includes $250,000 from the Environmental Protection Fund to support the Adirondack Diversity Initiative. 

Part of the money will go to hire a full-time staff person, with the goal of making the Adirondack Park and its tourist towns more welcoming to minorities and people of color. Activists say it won't be easy.

A people's park, where not everyone feels at home

Talk to Aaron Mair, former president of the Sierra Club’s national board of directors, and his love for the Adirondack Park is obvious and passionate. "This is a historic recreational asset created by New York taxpayers, a treasure and a national wonder and asset that is open to all visitors," he said.

Then comes the gut punch: "Except if you're a person of color," Mair added in an interview with NCPR.

In 2016, Mair himself faced racist taunts on the Schroon River, when a group of boaters started yelling at him, using the N-word. 

Mair thinks it’s actually getting harder for people of color to recreate in parts of rural America like the North Country that are overwhelmingly white.


Read or listen to the full story on North Country Public Radio.