By Katie Muller
Dr. Marianne Patinelli-Dubay, the Environmental Philosophy Program coordinator at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, visited the LIU campus to host a lecture about the wonders of the breathtaking parks in the Adirondacks, on Feb. 25. Patinelli-Dubay was invited by Dr. Arthur Lothstein, professor of Philosophy to speak to his class about the beauty found in nature.
Patinelli-Dubay educated students in operated facilities located in the Adirondack Park about many different topics, such as Adirondack Land-Use Ethics, Eco-Phenomenology, Philosophy of Science, Social and Environmental Justice and American Forest seminars.
“My work lies at the philosophical intersections of nature, culture, science and ethics in Adirondack Park, NY. I work with primary through college-aged students, the general public, prisoners, government and non-government agency officials, and employees in the region,” Patinell-Dubay stated on the college’s website, www.esf.edu.
She began her lecture with two poems, Gary Snyder’s “Call of the Wild” from the Turtle Beach collection, and Carl Sandburg’s “Wilderness.” After the poems, she presented maps on a PowerPoint to show us the location and vast size of the Adirondack Park. “Start big and go small,” said Patinelli-Dubay, as the maps first showed all of the United States, then continued to zoom into a topography map of the northern New York State area, where the park is located.
She then spoke about the park’s history and how the Adirondacks came to be through the Conservation movement. The Conversation movement originated in the 19th century and was a political, environmental, and social movement where people sought to protect natural resources and habitats for the future.
In 1892, the Adirondack Park was created by the state of New York after concerns arose for the water and timber resources in the region. She then shared some information about the Adirondacks.
The Adirondacks is “the largest park in the continental United States,” according to Patinelli-Dubay. It consists of six million acres of land. This is enough land to cover the national parks of Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier and the Great Smokey Mountains combined, along with the Catskill Mountains. It’s also the “least fragmented, most intact habitat in the eastern United States.” The Adirondacks, despite being a wilderness and biosphere, contains residents. In fact, there are “130,000 year round residents, one million seasonal residents and ten million annual visitors,” she said. “The park is supposed to function to include people as a part of the wilderness.”
Patinelli-Dubay encouraged questions from students after her presentation. The questions ranged from philosophy-based, such as how can there be a “tamed wilderness,” to general inquires, like, “how do you keep the animals contained?” Patinelli-Dubay stated that you must tame a wilderness “by degrees” and cannot tame a large wilderness all at once. As for the animals, she playfully stated, “If you go into a wilderness area, its all on you.” She then clarified by explaining that one has to be smart in the wilderness, and she never has had any personal experiences with animals that weren’t “lovely.”
The Adirondack Park is both a national historical landmark and a publically protected area. It has “no fees to enter, no gates that close at night, just wilderness and the promise of adventure,” as stated on the official Adirondack’s tourism website, visitadirondacks.com.
The park welcomes visitors to camp and explore the beauty of its land. Many travel to the Adirondacks to cross-country ski, hike on the 2,000 miles of trails, snowmobile, and participate in extreme winter experiences, such as mountaineering and ice climbing Agharta Wall, Alcatraz, Ampersand Mountain and countless other areas.
There are also a plethora of mountain biking trails for beginners to advanced bikers. For those who aren’t interested in sports, the Adirondacks contains music festivals, museums, and heritage sights that take place in the 103 towns and villages that thrive within the park.
There are also craft fairs, restaurants and bistros, the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail, and countless other attractions to enjoy.