LOCALadk Magazine

LOCALadk Winter 2018

LOCALadk Magazine

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Page 21 of 71

22 Winter 2018 LOCALadk Magazine LOCALadk The Adirondack Park was formed to protect the incredible water resources that exist here. As forests were cleared for timber, tanning, farming, and development early conser va- tionists recognized the incredible threat these unsustainable practices posed to the water ways in the park. Just as impor- tantly, they recognized the connection between healthy riv- ers, lakes, and streams and healthy communities. The forests of the Adirondack Mountains provided an incredible ser vice to downstream communities, abundant clean drinking water. Thankfully, the Forest Preser ve was established, and the forests of the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains have recovered. Since that time, there have been other threats to water quality in the Adirondacks. Most notably, acid rain had devastating effects, particularly on lakes and streams in the southwestern portion of the park. Decades of scientific re- search documented the decline in the health of Adirondack lakes as the result of acidification from industrial pollution in the Midwest. That work led to the 1990 Clean Air Act amend- ments, and we've seen a dramatic chemical recover y of Ad- irondack waters since then. Today, despite this histor y of conser vation success, Ad- irondack lakes and rivers face new threats. For decades we have been applying road salt (sodium chloride) to Adirondack roads to maintain safe passage through the harshest Adiron- dack winters. Nationally, there has been more than a 100 - fold increase in the amount of salt applied to our roads on an annual basis from 1940 to the present. While road salt may seem like a cheap and effective way to maintain our roads free of snow and ice, there are many hidden costs. Anyone that lives in a northern state knows firsthand the effect road salt has on our vehicles. The Federal Highway Administration estimates that road salt costs U.S. citizens $23.4 billion per year nationwide in investments in corrosion resistant materials, additional repairs and maintenance, and vehicle depreciation. Our vehicles aren't the only things cor- roded by salt—highway department vehicles, bridges, and Road Salt: Story and photos By Brandon Wiltse

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