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.


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.


Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Is APA review the equivalent of an Environmental Impact Statement? No.

Over the course of time, the Adirondack Park Agency’s permit practice has drifted too far away from what the 1973 Agency Act and the State Environmental Quality Review Act require.

The State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) requires any State or local agency that undertakes, funds, or approves a project to evaluate the actual or potential environmental impacts of the project prior to taking final action. SEQRA clearly sets forth the state’s policy that adverse environmental impacts of proposed actions be fully considered and either minimized or avoided.

An agency must identify all areas of relevant environmental concern with respect to the project, take a hard look at them, and provide a reasoned elaboration for its determination as to whether the action may have a significant adverse impact on the environment. The agency must require preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) if the proposed action may have any significant environmental impacts.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, February 18, 2022

The Voluntary Professionals Behind the Adirondack Research Library

Many organizations introduce their work with the words “were it not for the volunteers, we could not…” That can be justifiably said of the Adirondack Research Library (ARL), formerly part of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks (AfPA).

This largest Adirondack collection outside of the Adirondacks launched in 1979 as part of Union College’s Schaeffer library. It then moved and in 1985, courtesy of then Museum Director Bill Verner (formerly curator with the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake) occupied a corner of the Schenectady Museum. In 1988, ARL became a committee of the nonprofit Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks (1901-2010). Following the untimely and sad death of Bill Verner, in 1989 the Schenectady Museum’s next director told us we had to move out. So, for the next 15 years the AfPA and ARL rented space below a dental laboratory in Schenectady. Suffice it to say, that situation was less than ideal. We made the best of it but dreamed of better opportunities. Much better opportunities.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 3, 2022

Budget Winners and Losers

ranger rescue

As one who paused this week to listen to the Environmental Budget hearing in the State Legislature’s Ways and Means and Finance Committees, one could not help but notice the budget winners and losers. In a year when state revenues are up and available resources seem bottomless, just staying even appears as a loss.

Climate: Few members of the State Legislature asked probing questions of state officials. Most of the day was spent in testimony related to meeting the goals, objectives and specific greenhouse gas emission reduction targets of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019. Now that the enormous scope of work to meet the state’s 2030 and 2040 emission reduction targets has just been drafted and released for public comment, will there be enough DEC and NYSERDA staff to implement the Act?  Good question.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The next APA executive director – a lot at stake for Kathy Hochul, John Ernst and the rest of us

terry martino

After a dozen years, Terry Martino is retiring as the executive director of the NYS Adirondack Park Agency. Terry is an admirable person who has had a difficult job of balancing the pressures from APA applicants, staff, members and the Cuomo administration – and much else.

But for more than a decade she – like many others – loyally saluted as a member of Team Cuomo, the Governor who:

  • put up those banners in Ray Brook that the Park was Open for Business;
  • weakened both the Private Land Use and State Land Plans;
  • weakened the APA and was satisfied with token environmentalism on its board;
  • steered APA further off course from its mission as a planning agency in an era when climate change accelerates the urgent need for better land use planning.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 5, 2022

In Adirondack Common Cause

Coalition

Adirondack Wild and I have been among those who heralded the NYS Court of Appeals ruling in May that the only way for the Department of Environmental Conservation to construct snowmobile community connector trails in the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve was through a constitutional amendment.

» Continue Reading.



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