The Adirondack Park takes up a massive chunk of New York state, and it takes a lot of careful work to balance tourism with protecting precious and rare natural resources.

When it comes to those efforts, Justin Levine, communications associate for the Adirondack Council, says it was a good legislative session for the Adirondack Park, located several miles up the Northway from Albany. 

“There was funding in the state budget for some really important programs,” he said.

That includes money for things like the Timbuctoo Institute, the Adirondack Diversity Initiative and the Environmental Protection Fund.

On the legislative side, a bill was introduced to regulate road salt, and the Wildlife Crossings Act was passed.

“That directs the DEC to find places in New York where wildlife crossings would be good for both animals and people,” Levine said.

Not so great, he said, was a lack of appointments to the Adirondack Park Agency board, which oversees land use and wilderness and water quality management.

He told Spectrum News 1 there are vacant, or soon to be vacant, positions, as well as expired appointments with members serving temporarily, and only at the discretion of the governor.

“It’s unfortunate that we have such an integral state agency with so few appropriately appointed board members sitting on it,” he said.

When asked for an update on the appointments, a spokesperson for Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement that the search is a work in progress.

“Governor Hochul’s Administration is continuing its search for the best possible candidates to serve New York State at the Adirondack Park Agency,” the statement read.

Part of the work to be done focuses on addressing the risk of overcrowding.

That includes a pilot parking permit system, as well as a study being conducted by an Oregon-based firm Otak, in conjunction with the DEC, to come up with a Visitor Use Management system.

Levine argued it’s necessary to protect the natural resources that draw people to the area, including sensitive Alpine vegetation rare to the region.

“We need to somewhat limit the number of people that can be in a particular place at a particular time, and this is the sort of thing where one slip by a hiker could wipe out 100 years of plant growth,” he said.

Also experiencing the impact of crowds are the towns and villages nestled within the peaks and lakes.

Art Devlin, mayor of Lake Placid, said for the most part, the crowding issue has yet to spiral out of control.

“It’s something that we believe has to be managed, and I believe the DEC is working on that,” he said.

Something that he stressed is impacting places like Lake Placid is a surge in short-term rentals in recent years.

Lake Placid itself has changed its regulations to protect residents from experiencing negative impacts as a result of the surge in services like Airbnb.

Devlin said applauds the state Legislature for voting to approve a statewide short-term rental registry that would, in part, require those rentals to pay the sales and occupancy required of hotels and motels.

“I’ve got to believe it is an unbelievable amount of revenue that the state desperately needs right now, and it really isn’t fair to the other hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts that have to pay those to have someone competing against them that isn’t competing on a level playing field,” he said.