Of all the invasive species in our pristine Adirondacks, the fine people from Downstate New York, New Jerseyites and Long Islanders are "the worst." That's the conclusion of Post-Star editor Ken Tingley, in a commentary he penned in Sunday's Local Region section.
In a rant about the newest invasive to be identified in the 'dacks -- the spiny water flea -- Mr. Tngley compares the above group to the zebra mussels, Asian clams and black flies. He writes:
"But the worst of all invasive species -- if you do not make your living in the tourism trade -- is the Downstater, the New Jerseyite and the Long Islander with the rude manners and tailgating ways.
We've been dealing with those invasive species for years, clogging our roads, taking up spots on our beaches and making Adirondack life way too noisy. Comparatively speaking, the water flea is no big deal".
(Somehow folks from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Connecticut are a different breed)
We sincerely hope that Mr. Tingley had his tongue firmly planted in cheek when he tapped out that purple prose.
Because the reality is, Downstaters, New Jerseyites and Long Islanders, significantly add to the quality of life here in the 'dacks, and in particular our little hamlet of Schroon Lake.
We ran into a New Jerseyite yesterday, a second home owner here, who was fuming after reading about her new status as an invasive species.
This woman and her husband are very active here in Schroon, contributing their time and talents to several volunteer organizations, including the Community Church, the Schroon Lake Association and the Friends of Schroon Lake Library. Quite frankly, the woman was very offended -- and rightly so.
And we know first hand of a dozen more folks from the new invasive species list, that are hands on give back to the community types, helping local organizations by volunteering at the Seagle Music Colony, the Schroon Lake Fish and Game Club, the Schroon North Hudson Historical Society, and the Schroon Lake Food Bank, just to name a few. Their contributions enhance the quality of life here in many ways for many folks.
But what is totally lost on Mr. Tingley is that he brushes aside the enormous economic impact that "the worst invasives" play in the Adirondacks. Again, I will use Schroon as an example. By several accounts, the population of Schroon grows from about1800 year 'round residents, to more than 20,000 plus in season. That group of visitors includes second homeowners, campers, RVers, renters, families who stay in local inns, motels and B & Bs, as well as day trippers.
One can assume that a great deal of those folks are from the "worst invasive group". It goes without saying Schroon's many businesses -- from the marina, shops, bars, restaurants, gas stations, inns and B and Bs -- wouldn't be as successful if it wasn't for that influx. And let's not forget the jobs created at those businesses by the dollars spent by "worst group" or how they contribute to various fund-raisers in town.
And we find it slightly amusing that many full time residents of the 'dacks were at one time members of "the worst".
Mr. Tingley complains the worst group take up spots on our beaches. And who pays for those beaches to be maintained? Answer: Property taxes from both locals and Schroon's large group of second home owners, taxes which also go towards funding the school and other town services.
As for the noise, tailgating and rude manners Mr. Tingley complains about, we haven't witnessed any extremes.
If it was the author's intent to highlight the water flea as a new invasive, he failed. If he wants to learn more about the invasive group he detests, maybe he should plan a trip to Schroon and meet the enemy.
Is Mr. Tingley on target? Tell us what you think in comments.