“I Will Lift Up My Eyes to the Mountains”

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The largest publicly-protected area in the lower 48 states is in an unlikely location — the state of New York. In 1892 the state legislature set aside the Adirondack Forest Preserve, stating that it would be “forever kept as wild forest lands.” In his 1917 publication, The Adirondacks, T. Morris Longstreth wrote that two years later a popular vote in the state “set it aside for the use of all the people forever.”

Today Adirondack Park covers 2.5 million acres, an area larger than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon National Parks combined. Any change in how the area is protected requires the approval of a majority of New York state voters, plus the approval of two consecutive legislatures. Private land is scattered within the park, but even that private land has restrictions on how its owners can use it.

Malone, New York, is a northern gateway to Adirondack Park. Ray and I left Malone early on a Wednesday evening and drove into the park’s pristine wilderness. We drove mile after mile through the forests of the Adirondack Mountains.

We wanted to see historic sites the next day, so we decided to enjoy the beauties of the park until it got dark. Around dusk, we found a motor court by the side of the road. We stopped for the night, deciding to get up early the next day and see more of the Adirondacks in daylight. Brian and Renée Burns — he a former policeman and she a former school librarian — welcomed us to their cluster of nine cottages, built around the 1930s.

Brian and Renee Burns, Proprietor and Proprietess. I'm sorry I got you with your eyes closed, Brian.
Brian and Renee Burns, Proprietor and Proprietress. I’m sorry I got you with your eyes closed, Brian.

They gave us Cottage 8.

Ray at Cottage 8
Ray at Cottage 8

We enjoyed visiting with Brian and Renée so much that their newly-restored neon sign by the road looked like this by the time we got settled in.

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Psalm 121 tells of lifting up our eyes to the mountains. I’d like to illustrate it with what we had seen earlier that evening on our drive through the Adirondacks.

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I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?

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My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

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He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.

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Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.

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The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade on your right hand.

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The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

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The Lord will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.

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 The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.
Psalm 121

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