Almanack Contributor David Gibson

David Gibson

Dave Gibson, who writes about issues of wilderness, wild lands, public policy, and more, has been involved in Adirondack conservation for over 30 years as executive director of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks and currently as managing partner with Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve

During Dave's tenure at the Association, the organization completed the Center for the Forest Preserve including the Adirondack Research Library at Paul Schaefer’s home. The library has the finest Adirondack collection outside the Blue Line, specializing in Adirondack conservation and recreation history.

Currently, Dave is managing partner in the nonprofit organization launched in 2010, Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.


Wednesday, January 4, 2023

DEC Lands and Forests – Should It Still Do More with Less?

DEC discussing future accessible trail to Boreas Pond lean-to

Governor Kathy Hochul has signed the “30:30 by 2030” state legislation whose objective is, in line with national goals, to bring New York State’s percentage of protected lands and waters up to 30 percent by 2030.

The eminent, late biologist and ecologist E.O. Wilson urged that the nations of the world protect 50% of the lands, freshwaters and oceans under their jurisdiction in order to slow the loss of habitats and species dependent on them, including humans whose livelihoods completely depend on the health of fisheries, forest products and other natural ecosystems. At the same time, E.O. Wilson’s goal would accelerate carbon sequestration within the rich, but shrinking carbon sinks of coastal eelgrass beds, mangrove swamps, ocean surfaces and inland forests. Habitat protection and climate mitigation are inextricably linked, he taught us.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 11, 2022

Raising Standards at the Adirondack Park Agency

A few items captured my attention about the November 2022 meeting of the Adirondack Park Agency.

First are the public privilege comments of Park resident and retired APA deputy counsel Barbara Rottier. She spoke to the Agency of prior, 1996 written decisions of the APA staff that would shed light on the agency’s current deliberations about whether there has been a material increase in the mileage of roads and snowmobile trails open to motorized use by the public in wild forest areas since 1972. » Continue Reading.


Friday, November 25, 2022

The Sagacious White-Tail: Memories of Paul Schaefer

Paul Shaefer

Paul Schaefer in his early 70s in the Siamese Ponds Wilderness during deer season, perhaps around 1980.

I think of Adirondack conservationist and forever wild advocate Paul Schaefer (1908-1996) during deer season, actually in any season, but particularly in deer season at his Adirondack cabin. From 1921 on, over a century now, Paul Schaefer and his family, friends and hunting club comrades in the Cataract Club ventured into the wilderness from cabins in the Adirondack mountains. Some of them stayed in deer camp during big game season, others came and remained in the area for a lifetime. Physically, Paul frequently came and went for 75 years, but his spirit lingered in the mountains and cabin country, as he called it. Friends my age and I only knew him in his final decade. I wish that I could have known him as his family, Adirondack neighbors and hunting companions knew him, in full vigor, ever alert, loping, climbing and watching through the big woods, hills and ledges of the Siamese Ponds Wilderness, searching for the “sagacious and graceful” white-tailed deer.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Dialogue for the Wild – Forest Preserve Lakes

adirondack waters

At Adirondack Wild’s  October meeting at the Paul Smith’s Visitor Interpretive Center, lakes and ponds came under the spotlight in a panel discussion about Cooperative Stewardship of Adirondack Lakes. Of particular interest was a given lake’s classification and subsequent comprehensive study, planning and management. If Adirondack waterbodies are considered part of the Forest Preserve, and for the last fifty years the State Land Master Plan talks about incorporating both land and water, then the law requires that lakes and ponds be classified, just as forests are. That raises important questions.

Classification leads to…If the lakes are classified, then they are subject to unit management planning, just as trails, trailheads and mountain summits are. The classification sets the basic guidelines and legally required outcomes. If lakes and ponds are subject to UMPs, then their carrying capacity, or ability of lakes and ponds in the Forest Preserve to withstand a variety of present and anticipated future uses, must be evaluated, like the requirement to measure and assess actual and projected public use on our forest’s trails and summits. I am not suggesting such assessments are an easy or inexpensive thing to do. Under the APA Act, however, it is a legal requirement, however often left untried or unfinished.  And the state legislature just appropriated a lot more money than DEC has ever had before for wilderness protection and management.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, October 22, 2022

Adirondack Wild Honors Park Stewards and Champions

adirondack explorer team gets adirondack wild awardThe nonprofit advocate Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve presented its annual awards at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022. The award ceremony was part of Adirondack Wild’s 12th Annual Members Meeting.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, September 23, 2022

Another large resort subdivision. Still no conservation design.

jay subdivision

I just skimmed through Eric Stackman’s recent replies to the Adirondack Park Agency. See the APA website, apa.ny.gov, large-scale subdivisions. Mr. Stackman, a Miami, Florida developer, wants to construct a 120-lot resort subdivision in Jay, Essex County, above the East Branch of the Ausable River, apparently within sightlines near Whiteface Mountain, Asgaard Farm and many other viewing locations

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Making waves for clean water: A look back to 1972

clean water act anniversary

An influential film highlighted Adirondack rivers

As the Adirondacks celebrates the 50th anniversary of the nation’s Clean Water Act (1972-2022), I thought to thumb through a set of old reports to find out what the nonprofit advocate Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks was doing or thinking about at the origins of the Clean Water Act during 1972.

So much of a groundbreaking environmental nature was happening in 1972 that shared the spotlight with the national Clean Water Act. Here is a small sampling from the Association’s 1972 report, authored by its president at the time Arthur Crocker, and by its vice president Paul Schaefer:

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 3, 2022

From the Mountain They Call Thunder’s Nest: An Adirondack poet

crane mountain summit

Throughout our region author Sandra Weber appears in the summer to tell tales of Remarkable Women of the Adirondacks. One of the remarkable women she features is the “poet Jeanne Robert Foster.”

Eileen Mach has similarly studied and expertly performed Jeanne Robert Foster many times in our area, including her production of Voice of the Mountains: Jeanne Robert Foster, an Adirondack Legacy.

Noel Riedinger-Johnson edited Adirondack Portraits – A Piece of Time (1986, Syracuse University Press). The jacket cover reads:

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 5, 2022

More misinformation about APA formal hearings

white lake quarry

Reporter Megan Plete Postol reported on a recent judicial proceeding in Oneida County Supreme Court brought by Adirondack White Lake Association. The lawsuit was brought by neighbors of Red Rock Quarry, a proposed new granite quarry to be located very close to White Lake in Forestport.

The legal challenge was filed this spring because the Adirondack Park Agency in Ray Brook failed to conduct an adjudicatory public hearing that could have, through sworn expert testimony and cross examination, uncovered facts about noise, ground, surface water and other information needed for the APA to render a determination of no undue adverse impact “upon the natural, scenic, aesthetic, ecological, wildlife, historic, recreational or open space resources of the park.”

No hearing about the granite quarry was held by the APA which, after staff review, issued the proposed granite quarry a permit to operate earlier this year.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 8, 2022

A Conversation with Wilderness Champion Paul Schaefer

paul schaefer

A 1993 conversation between Friends of the Forest Preserve founder and 20th century Adirondack wilderness coalition leader Paul Schaefer (1908-1996) and Kathy Hargis is one of the best, short interviews Schaefer ever gave. Just 25 minutes long, the interview is accessed at www.adirondackwild.org/media/videos and scrolling down to Adirondack Wild: A Conversation with Paul Schaefer.

Between 1931 and 1996, Paul Schaefer substantively influenced the Adirondack attitudes and actions of nine New York Governors, all their conservation commissioners, and many state legislative leaders.  Governors Nelson Rockefeller (1966) and Mario Cuomo (1994) personally attended ceremonies to recognize Paul’s many Adirondack achievements.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 29, 2022

Wild Forest roads: “No Material Increase” needs context

wild forest roads

Fifty-one years ago (1971) the newly created Adirondack Park Agency was granted the authority to draft, revise, and interpret the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, or APSLMP. That plan was signed by the Governor in 1972 and revised by many Governors since. The NYS courts have found that the APSLMP has the force and effect of law.

No Material Increase: This past week, the APA sent the public notice that we have 60 days to comment in order to “inform the APA Board’s interpretation of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan’s Wild Forest Basic Guideline No. 4 – no material increase of road mileage on lands classified as Wild Forest.” The rest of APA’s press release consists of seemingly arcane questions and alternatives that presumes public awareness and understanding of the past and how it relates today.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 3, 2022

It’s Mud Season Again. Past Time to Close those Gates

ruts in the road

It’s mud season again in the Adirondacks. During mud season, we are all warned by our NYS DEC to stay off designated hiking trails in or near the High Peaks or Giant Mountain Wildernesses at this time of the year because the scarce, thin, organic soil at higher elevations so easily comes off on our boots and leaves nothing on the former trail but boot holes and pools of water. Save our vulnerable soils, plants and trails. Come back later in May or June, we are asked, when conditions are drier. The request makes plenty of sense.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Cost to Lake George of Not Holding APA Hearings

lake georgeThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA) last held an adjudicatory public hearing in 2011 – the kind of hearing that involves sworn testimony and cross-examination of evidence before a law judge, followed by a full hearing record on which to base a judicious, carefully examined, evidence-based decision. That 2011 hearing was for the proposed Adirondack Club and Resort subdivision and development near Tupper Lake. In the eleven years since, and despite the many hundreds of permits issued by the APA since, including many large, regional projects, not a single adjudicatory public hearing has been convened by the APA.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 7, 2022

Adirondack Park within NYS Climate Strategies – Barely Mentioned

adirondacks climate

It is in Chapter 19 of the NYS Climate Action Council’s Draft Scoping Plan, the chapter on “Land Use,” that I expected the words “Adirondack” or “Adirondack Park” or “Adirondack Park Agency” to get some focused attention. I was disappointed to see that the word “Adirondack” is cited in just four places within the 340-page climate scoping report, all perfunctorily.

The Climate Action Scoping Plan is the result of two years of work by the Climate Action Council, established by state law in 2019 to “establishes the path forward for New York to achieve 70% renewable energy by 2030, 100% zero-emission electricity by 2040, a 40% reduction in statewide GHG emissions by 2030, an 85% reduction in statewide GHG emissions by 2050, and net zero emissions statewide by 2050. The paths to 2030 and 2050 require a comprehensive vision and integrated approach to build new programs while significantly expanding existing efforts. Each economic sector discussed in this Plan establishes a vision for 2030 and 2050 in an effort to paint the picture of the future and show the direction the State must head.”

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Paul Schaefer and the making of an Adirondack map

The Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks had hired me the previous winter. It was now the spring of 1987. Windows and doors were again opening to the hope and then the reality of spring’s warmth. The director of the Schenectady Museum William (Bill) Verner had given me, practically rent free, a desk and telephone from which to begin work as the Association’s first executive director in over 60 years.

It helped that Bill was a member of my board of trustees, and that his knowledge and love for the Adirondacks and Adirondack history from a home base in Long Lake was long and deep.

» Continue Reading.



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