Almanack Contributor John Sheehan

John Sheehan

Before John Sheehan joined the Adirondack Council's staff in 1990, he was the managing editor of the Malone Evening Telegram, and previously worked as a journalist for the Troy Record, (Schenectady) Daily Gazette, Watertown Daily Times and Newsday. For the past 20 years, John has been the voice of the Adirondack Council on radio and television, and on the pages of local, regional and national media.


Sunday, September 29, 2019

2019 State of the Adirondack Park

2019 state of the parkThe Adirondack Council’s 2019-20 State of the Park report is subtitled “Challenged by Success,” noting that the success of state tourism campaigns is straining the park’s lands and waters, as record numbers of hikers climb the state’s tallest mountains and as recreational boating and off-road vehicles gain popularity.

The challenge is especially noticeable in the High Peaks Wilderness Area, but can be seen in popular locations throughout the park, the report notes. State of the Park is the organization’s annual comprehensive assessment of the actions of local, state and federal government officials. This 38th edition rates 106 separate government actions. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 2, 2019

A Call For Mandatory Boat Washing

The Adirondack Council is urging the NYS Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to protect the park’s priceless rivers and lakes from harmful invasive species by renewing the law that forbids the spread of non-native plants and animals from one lake or river to another.

The Council is also urging lawmakers to add a provision requiring that all boats be decontaminated before they are launched in Adirondack waters. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 11, 2019

John Sheehan: Adirondacks and the NYS Budget

NYS CapitolConservationists had much to applaud after Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature passed a State Budget that will protect clean water, buy new park land, resist invasive species, build more resilient trails and make the park more welcoming place for all state residents.

Conservationist also had a right to wonder why the budget included no additional staff at key agencies, and why the state didn’t pass comprehensive legislation requiring the state to meet new carbon emissions goals. The budget did include funding for some climate initiatives. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 31, 2019

John Sheehan: Oppose Changes to Federal Mercury Rule

adirondack council new logoLast month, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler proposed an amendment to the federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and the Clean Air Act “risk and review” process that should worry everyone who cares about the Adirondacks and public health.

On the surface, the change looks like a routine adjustment of technical language about the way EPA calculates “side benefits” from proposed air pollution rules. That’s how EPA is describing it. As a result, few people have paid attention to the proposal. But if approved, it would have far-reaching effects that strike at the heart of some of the most important public health and environmental protections. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 24, 2019

John Sheehan On The Adirondack Council’s Budget Priorities

adirondack council new logoWhile applauding the state’s efforts to boost tourism, protect clean water and fight climate change, on Wednesday the Adirondack Council called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature to protect the Adirondack Forest Preserve against overuse, all-terrain vehicle trespass and other threats. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Acid Rain Controls Near Finish Line, Obstacles Remain

Dead Red Spruce GothicsAs the nation mourns the passing of George H. W. Bush, the President who signed the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 creating America’s first acid rain program – a conference of scientists and advocates has concluded that the fight to stop acid rain is nearly won. Sadly, victory is now in doubt due to the Trump administration’s proposed pollution rule changes.

It feels like we are a marathon runner who has been tripped with the finish line in sight. In 1990, President Bush understood that the United States was supposed to set an example for the rest of the world when it comes to protecting the environment. The current Environmental Protection Agency is pushing hard in the other direction, imposing reductions to environmental protections that took a generation to enact. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Sheehan: Kavanaugh Nomination Bad News for Park

West face of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington DCAt the conclusion of his visit to Bear Pond in the St. Regis Canoe Area on August 10, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer answered questions from press and local residents who were worried about Federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Senator Schumer confirmed that Kavanaugh would be bad news for clean air, clean water and public health in the Adirondack Park.

The Senator had come to celebrate Bear Pond’s recovery from acid rain and to warn federal officials not to backslide on clean air rules. The Senate Minority Leader said he was opposed to Kavanaugh’s confirmation. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 29, 2018

John Sheehan: EPA’s Budget, Acid Rain Research

dead spruce trees

The Adirondack Council on Wednesday praised New York’s Congressional delegation for its efforts to secure approval of a $1.3-trillion federal appropriations agreement that eliminated significant cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Congress has approved and President Donald Trump has signed a resolution continuing the current funding plan for the federal government through the end of FY2018. The plan increases EPA’s budget, while providing funds for other important environmental and public health priorities. » Continue Reading.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Lonesome No: Chad Dawson And His Boreas Ponds Vote

On February 2nd, as the Adirondack Park Agency’s board was listening to its staff’s proposal for a final agency recommendation to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the classification of Boreas Ponds and the 20,500-acre parcel surrounding the ponds, board member Chad Dawson asked some tough questions of his fellow board members.

Dawson is a professor at the State University of NY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and an internationally recognized expert on recreation, natural resources and wilderness management. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Testimony on Proposed Repeal of Clean Power Plan

Navajo Generating Station emitting flue gas emissions near Page, Arizona, United StatesOn January 9, Adirondack Council Chairman Robert Kafin called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to drop its proposal to repeal the federal Clean Power Plan, calling the notion “illegal and unreasonable.” He urged the EPA to instead begin enforcing the plan.

His comments were part of his testimony on the impacts that the proposed repeal would have on the Adirondack Park’s environment and communities. He presented his testimony during a hearing held in Manhattan by NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. Schneiderman and DeBlasio. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sheehan: Comptroller’s Letter Helped Move Rail Cars

stored tanker carsAll those who applauded Berkshire Hathaway’s recent decision to remove its derelict oil tank cars from a junkyard along the Boreas River should also applaud NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, whose unheralded Dec. 12 letter to CEO Warren Buffett helped to persuade the company to act.

It turns out that New York has a large stake in Berkshire Hathaway. New York’s Common Retirement Fund (CRF) owns 5.7 million shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock. DiNapoli administers the CRF. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 16, 2017

John Sheehan: Adirondack Land Bank Amendment Results

Article 14, Section 1 New York State Constitution Forever Wild clauseAdirondack Park local government officials and conservation organizations both spent a nervous few hours after the polls closed on Election Day this year, worrying that Proposal Three – the community health and safety land bank – would be defeated. It passed by a slim 52 percent to 47 percent margin (about 100,000 votes out of 3.1 million cast).

As Adirondackers from across the political spectrum look towards working together in 2018 and beyond, there are important lessons to learn from this close vote. The park’s continued success depends on our understanding the state’s voters. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Glamping Catches On Alongside The Forest Preserve

adirondack safari glampingWith New York State officials contemplating new ways to induce economic development in the Adirondack Park, the idea of connecting communities more directly to the surrounding Forest Preserve makes plenty of sense.

As Governor Cuomo said at the 2017 Adirondack Challenge this summer:

“You want to develop the asset (the Adirondack Park) because we need jobs, we need the economy, we need tourism. It has to be done in a way that doesn’t disrupt or deteriorate the asset. Because the Adirondack Park is not just an economic asset, it’s not just a state park, it really is a gift from God. I believe that. There is a spirituality to the Adirondack[s] … that is undeniable. And the last thing we would want to do is diminish that asset. Our goal is to leave it even better than before for our children.” » Continue Reading.


Friday, June 23, 2017

John Sheehan: Land Bank Constitutional Amendment Not Finished, Yet

NYS CapitolA bi-partisan team of NYS Legislators reached a tentative agreement on an amendment to the “Forever Wild” clause of the State Constitution Wednesday night, but were unable to get the final bills approved before members of both houses returned to their districts.

Sponsors were hopeful today that the final agreement could be approved by both houses before the legislative session ends for the year. Neither house had declared its session to be formally ended when both houses sent their members home shortly before midnight Wednesday. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

John Sheehan: Adirondack Highlights of Proposed State Budget

NYS CapitolGov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal for FY2017/18 includes a $300-million appropriation for the Environmental Protection Fund.  This is complemented by a five-year, $2-billion dollar commitment to clean water infrastructure grants; a $50-million “AdventureNY” proposal for recreational infrastructure; $32 million in public and private funds to establish the former Frontier Town in North Hudson as a new High Peaks gateway; and, $153 million for an “Empire State Trail” that would include a leg through the Adirondacks, near Lake Champlain.  The Adirondack Council and others have been enthusiastic about these proposals. » Continue Reading.