Almanack Contributor Peter Bauer

Peter Bauer

Peter Bauer is the Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks.

He has been working in various capacities on Adirondack Park environmental issues since the mid-1980s, including stints as the Executive Director of the Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks and FUND for Lake George as well as on the staff of the Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century and Adirondack Life Magazine. He served as Chair of the Town of Lake George Zoning Board of Appeals and has served on numerous advisory boards for management of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve. Peter lives in Blue Mountain Lake with his wife and two children and enjoys a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities throughout the Adirondacks and is a member of the Blue Mountain Lake volunteer fie department.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Cuomo Searches for New Chair of the Adirondack Park Agency

APA Building in Ray Brook NYThe Cuomo Administration is searching for a new Chair for the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). The Governor appointed Karen Feldman, an attorney from Columbia County, who also has a home on Schroon Lake, as a Temporary Chair in July at the time the APA Chair Sherman Craig (Wanakena) resigned. Feldman is campaigning for her temporary status to be made permanent and she is currently Team Cuomo’s top candidate for the job.

The APA Chair is one of eight appointed Board seats where an individual is nominated by the Governor and approved by the State Senate. Under state law, five APA Board members must be full-time Park residents and three must reside in counties outside the Adirondack Park Blue Line. There can only be a maximum of five Board members from one political party and Board members serve 4 year terms, two of which expire each year and run in a continuous cycle. Under NYS law Board members can continue to serve in “expired” terms. New Board members are often appointed to partial terms. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Bauer: Poorly Designed Subdivision Proposed in Southern Adirondacks

Woodward Lake DevelopmentA new major subdivision project is under review by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). It’s the first to use the new application process developed by the APA earlier this year for large-scale subdivisions.

The project is shaping up as an important test drive of both the new review process and to see if the APA can convince a major developer that has undertaken a series of conventional checkerboard subdivision projects across New York to do business in the Adirondacks differently by utilizing land use development practices that protect open space and natural resources. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

20 Years After Canoe-In for Wilderness at Little Tupper Lake

Motorless lakes protest courtesy Nancie BattagliaWednesday marks the 20th anniversary of the Canoe-In for Wilderness on Little Tupper Lake. On August 15, 1998, over 300 people in over 200 canoes, kayaks, guide-boats, rowboats, and one small sailboat, rallied on the sloping lawns of the Whitney Headquarters on the shore of Little Tupper Lake and then paddled out onto the lake in a massive flotilla in the Canoe-In for Wilderness at Little Tupper Lake.

This event was the biggest environmental rally in a very challenging and divisive time in Adirondack Park history. Those who gathered that day were unabashed in their support for a Wilderness classification for the newly purchased Little Tupper Lake. A number of important motorless waters were created in the years after the Canoe-In for Wilderness. In 1998, there had not been a major piece of land classified as Wilderness since the late 1980s when the Blue Ridge and West Canada Lake Wilderness Areas were expanded around Cedar River Flow. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

National Changes Across Rural America Shape the Adirondacks

misleading county election mapOne of the most striking maps coming out of the 2016 Presidential election is the red-blue county map. Despite Clinton winning the popular vote by 3 million, the county map shows a sea of red across the U.S. as Trump won 2,632 counties and the country is flecked with blue dots in the interior and on the coasts where Hillary Clinton won 489 counties. In our part of New York, Trump swept everything north of the Mohawk River with the lone exception of Clinton County. He won Lewis, Hamilton, Fulton, and Herkimer counties by wide margins. Having poured over maps of Rural and Urban America in the last few years, the interesting thing to me is that the 2016 Trump victory map tracks closely to the rural-urban divide in the U.S. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Buildings on the Forest Preserve: Public Lodging Facilities

Buildings on the Forest Preserve are limited by state laws, regulations and policies to administrative and historic preservation purposes. The biggest looming threat to the Forest Preserve is the proposal to expand allowable buildings to include public lodging structures through some kind of formal hut-to-hut system.

The final report issued by Adirondack Community-based Trails and Lodging recommends four instances where Forest Preserve lands were included for “hut” locations as necessary stops for one of their proposed 59 hut-to-hut trips. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Buildings on the Forest Preserve: The Historic Classification

The management of historic buildings on the Forest Preserve has been a vexing issue for decades. State management has evolved over the years from a position of building removal to now accommodating historic buildings on the Forest Preserve through the creation of a “Historic” area classification.

The state has since built a policy of retaining buildings for public educational and historic preservation purposes. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 8, 2018

Bauer: Buildings on the Forest Preserve

The pressure by local governments and historic preservation groups on the state to keep the inner Gooley Club buildings shows some of the challenges the state has had in organizing a coherent management program for buildings on the Forest Preserve. This is not a new issue.

It’s been a struggle for decades. Different administrations have dealt with the issue in different ways over the decades; some making ad hoc choices with long-term implications for Forest Preserve law and policy, and others trying to sort out durable long-term solutions. This is the first of three articles that look in depth at the issue of buildings on the Forest Preserve. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Local Railroad CEO Seeks $5M Payday

In March 2016, Ed Ellis stood before the Warren County Board of Supervisors and said that there would be no oil tanker railcars stored in the Adirondacks.

He said it again and again as he pushed county leaders to authorize a new five-year contract to operate the Saratoga and North Creek Railroad (SNCRR). He gave the Supervisors his “word.” » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

2017 Census Estimates Show Population Losses Upstate

Population-2010-2017-NYSThe US Census 2017 population estimates are out and 11 of the 12 Adirondack counties lost population. These estimates are based on samples and are not the comprehensive decennial censuses based on extensive surveys and counts. The next one is 2020. Nevertheless, the estimates are useful and in 2017 they show that 11 Adirondack counties are estimated to have lost a total of 16,263 people. These 11 counties started 2010 with a combined population of around 800,000 and dropped 16,000 to 784,000.

When we add Saratoga County to the mix of Adirondack counties, the results change somewhat. Saratoga was the only one of the 12 Adirondack counties projected to have grown, jumping by over 9,000, from 220,000 to 229,000 in those years. When we look at the total population of the 12 Adirondack counties, we see a net drop of over 6,000, from 1.02 million to 1.014 million. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Peter Bauer: Sporting Clubs, Hinchey Law, And The Forest Preserve

The State of New York continues to face the challenge of managing buildings on the Forest Preserve in the Adirondack Park.

This has been an issue for decades and is now an even bigger issue at the inner Gooley Club, a complex of more than a dozen buildings, on Third Lake in the heart of the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive area. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

50 Years of Forest Preserve Purchases and Classifications

In thinking about the final decisions in early February by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on the recent Forest Preserve classification package, which included the Boreas Ponds, I took a look back at Forest Preserve acquisition and classification over the years. This led me to dig back and look at how the Forest Preserve has changed in the modern era of the Adirondack Park, a period of nearly 50 years.

I went back to 1970, to the technical reports of the Temporary Study Commission on the Future of the Adirondacks. The main Forest Preserve data is provided in the private and public lands set of reports. All of the Temporary Study Commission reports are important historical markers. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Bauer: Empire Forests of the Future Initiative Worthy of Support

NYS capital buildingA major new program in Governor Andrew’s Cuomo’s 2018-19 state budget is the Empire Forests of the Future Initiative, referred to as “EFFI.”

This new program seeks to overhaul and modernize two longstanding “Preferential Forest Tax Law Programs” known by the shorthands “480” and “480a” for their respective parts of the Real Property Tax Law. These programs provide tax exemptions for forestland owners who enroll their lands and manage them for long-term for forestry purposes. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

State Land Tax Cap Could Cost Adirondack Communities

NYS capital buildingThe Cuomo Administration has proposed to cap Forest Preserve property tax assessments and change state law from the current system of locally assessed property taxes to a system of Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs) with a rate set by the State Comptroller.

The state is doing this to save money because Forest Preserve assessments and the PILOT for tax payments would be centrally controlled. This proposal raises issues about a likely decrease in state lands tax payments over time and subsequent tax shift to private lands in Forest Preserve communities in the Adirondacks and Catskills. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Bauer: Making The Boreas Ponds Compromise

News about the state’s decision on the classification of the 21,000-acre Boreas Ponds tract, part of a larger 54,000-acre classification package released by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA), has been met with a spectrum of cheers and some jeers.

The decision is clearly a compromise, and as with any good compromise there was give and take, with things in it that people both support and oppose. As we evaluate this historic turn of events in the days before the APA takes up deliberations on February 1st and 2nd, it’s worth taking stock of the making of this compromise. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Bauer: Boreas Decision Will Bring Mountain Bikes To Wilderness

It is unlikely that there will be a decision on the classification of the Boreas Ponds at the January 2018 meeting of the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). The APA will reportedly take up this work at its February meeting.

The APA has received the preferred option for the classification of the Boreas Ponds from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which is still awaiting the final check off from Governor Cuomo, but the APA is taking this as a done deal. The DEC’s preferred option enjoys the support of APA Chairman Sherman Craig, long a proponent for mountainbike use in Wilderness areas. » Continue Reading.