Thursday, May 2, 2013

Profile: New Adirondack Council Leader Willie Janeway

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn his first day on the new job, Willie Janeway said he has no big changes in mind at the Adirondack Council—at least, not right away.

Janeway, who is forty-nine, resigned this year as a regional director for the state Department of Environmental Conservation to become executive director of the council.

“I get to be an ambassador for the Adirondack Park. What a great thing to sell—the Adirondacks,” Janeway said Wednesday in an interview with the Adirondack Explorer and Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

Janeway describes himself as a “pragmatic optimist.” As a former state employee, he believes government can play a positive role in the Park, but he understands that it operates under political and financial constraints.

The council, too, must be willing to engage in dialogue with various stakeholders and at times give something to get something.

“Some would criticize that as compromising, but I don’t see it as that. I see it as realistic,” he said.

Asked how he differs from his predecessor, Brian Houseal, Janeway replied, “We may be more similar than different.”

He praised Houseal for helping to found the Common Ground Alliance, which seeks to bridge the differences between environmental and local leaders.

Janeway said the council has a fourfold mission:

  • Fighting for clean air and clean water and against climate change.
  • Preserving large wild landscapes and the diversity of plants and animals.
  • Encouraging good stewardship of the Park’s private lands.
  • Helping to make the Park’s communities economically vibrant.

Janeway, who plans to live in Keene Valley, has deep roots in the Adirondacks. His ancestors were among the founders of the Ausable Club and Adirondack Mountain Reserve. His family has a summer home at the club and a cabin on Upper Ausable Lake.

He attended St. Lawrence University in part so he could be close to the Adirondacks. He has climbed all forty-six of the High Peaks and is an avid backcountry skier. He also is a fly-fisherman. Not surprisingly, he is excited to be living full time in the Adirondacks.

“I intend to get out and enjoy the Park,” he said. “It recharges me.”

Photo by Phil Brown: Adirondack Council spokesman John Sheehan, left, and Willie Janeway in the Adirondack Explorer offices.

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Phil Brown is the former Editor of Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues, the same topics he writes about here at Adirondack Almanack. Phil is also an energetic outdoorsman whose job and personal interests often find him hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, trail running, and backcountry skiing. He is the author of Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures, which he co-published with the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the editor of Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, an anthology of Marshall’s writings.Visit Lost Pond Press for more information.

2 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    “His ancestors were among the founders of the Ausable Club and Adirondack Mountain Reserve. His family has a summer home at the club and a cabin on Upper Ausable Lake.”

    There are cabins on Upper Ausable lake? Sweet!

  2. Paul says:

    Given that his ancestors were involved with building a resort and golf course in one of the most beautiful parts of the Adirondacks while also preserving some of the most beautiful landscape in the park could help give him a balanced view as he manages the councils affairs.

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