Wildlife and Wilderness
Wildlife and Wilderness: A History of Adirondack Mammals
By Phillip G. Terrie
The focus of this book is cultural and humanistic. That is, in addition to observing changes in circumstances and populations, I have attempted to trace the evolution of human attitudes toward the wild animals of the Adirondacks. How did people feel about the wild animals they trapped and shot? What did wildlife mean to Indians? the first whites? the modern Adirondack hunter? the urban or suburban backpacker? From our attitudes toward animals we kill and those we save we can learn a great deal about what we think about ourselves and our world.
The character of wildlife in the Adirondacks is different today from what it was when white men first penetrated the region. Nor was the animal community at that time necessarily static or "balanced". Modern ecologists understand nature as a dynamic, constantly changing system- with or without human interference. Yet Euro-Americans have shown a remarkable proclivity for making nature's fluctuations or deviations from a balance much more severe. They have continually altered the environment to suit often temporary needs- sometimes intentionally, sometimes without understanding the consequences of their actions.