HISTORY IS COOL: 45 years ago

July 29, 1976

Wilderness permits?

The Department of Environmental Conservation is taking the first step down a trail that may lead to a permit system for backpacking in the Adirondacks.

DEC Commissioner Peter A. A. Berle, addressing the Adirondack Park Agency last Friday during its meeting in Elk Lake, described that first step — a hiker survey. It will begin in September. Answering a question about it, Mr. Berle said, “We know there’s a problem of overuse of some areas. This survey will tell us how much of a problem there is. It could lead us to setting up a permit system for using the wilderness.”

Volunteers or DEC forest rangers will be stationed at popular trail entrances to survey hikers. The hikers will be asked where they are going, how long they will be hiking and questions about their equipment. The rangers will suggest routes to hikers who ask advice and recommend camping sites based on the hiker’s equipment.

CMDA changes

The Lake Placid Center for Music, Drama and Art is in the throes of change. The Board of Directors has asked Managing Director Joan Frank to resign. Acting Association President James Rogers III said:

“Whether her departure is friendly or unfriendly, she will not be there after Oct. 1.”

Ms. Frank will be replaced at that time if she does not resign earlier.

“I’m not going to resign,” Ms. Frank said. “I have no reason for resigning. I’m here doing my work every day. I’m working right along, keeping things in order.”

Ms. Frank said she had an understood contract, implicit in the minutes of board meetings “that doesn’t terminate until Sept. 19, 1977.”

The CMDA, founded by Mrs. W. Alton Jones and dedicated in December 1972, institutionalized earlier efforts in the arts, including Ms. Frank’s summer stock playhouse on Signal Hill.

The CMDA and Lake Placid School of Art, located on the Sara-Placid Road, now include a 400-seat theater, an art gallery, studios for art classes and, most recently, a library.

Wilmington ball park

The long-standing debate over a second ball park for the town of Wilmington has finally been laid to rest.

Although seemingly doomed from the start, the project was slow in expiring. The field on the old school property off Springfield Road began under a shadow.

The Town Board started its construction without obtaining a special permit required under the town’s zoning ordinance. As a result, work was suspended on June 14, and the bulldozed field remained unfinished throughout July.

At a special July 14 joint meeting of the Town Board, Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals, the majority expressed second thoughts about the project.

The ZBA read the death notice at a July 19 public hearing. The board denied the special permit to the town for the construction of a ball field. The consensus was that the town had not proven the need for a second ball park.