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. He also worked at 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, enjoys a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities throughout the Adirondacks, and is a member of the Blue Mountain Lake volunteer fire department.

Follow Protect the Adirondacks on Facebook and Twitter.


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

First Major Test at Adirondack Park Agency for Gov. Hochul, Chairman Ernst

Will the new boss be the same as the old boss?

We’ll know the answer to this question when the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) meets on January 13-14th. On its agenda is a draft permit for a new granite quarry in White Lake in the town of Forestport in the western Adirondacks. This project is widely opposed by neighboring landowners, residents, and property owners in the general area. There have been very few private land development projects in the last two decades that have engendered such a high level of public involvement and concern.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 23, 2021

DEC Organizes Working Group For Forest Preserve Trails Stewardship

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has organized a working group to assist the department in revising and amending a series of policies for Forest Preserve trails stewardship. The DEC organized this working group through the membership of the longstanding Forest Preserve Advisory Committee (FPAC). The working group includes members from trails building organizations, local government, and the environmental community. DEC stressed that this is a unified management effort for the entire Forest Preserve, and the working group includes members from the Adirondack and Catskill Parks.

DEC is embarking upon this effort largely in response to losing an 8-year lawsuit with Protect the Adirondacks where both the Appellate Division, Third Department and the Court of Appeals, New York ‘s highest court, ruled that the DEC violated Article 14, Section 1, of the State Constitution, the famed “forever wild” clause. The Court of Appeals ruled in early May, and the DEC spent the summer obstinately denying the reality and substance of the Court’s decision. Calls by Protect the Adirondacks, and others, for Forest Preserve management reforms at the DEC were resisted and unheeded for months.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 8, 2021

NYSDEC’s Management Fiasco in the High Peaks Wilderness Area

A very strange thing happened this fall in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) worked for weeks in 2021 with heavy machinery to rebuild an old logging road in the Dudley Brook area of the MacIntyre East section of the High Peaks Wilderness. This is the same area where the DEC had worked for months in 2019 and 2020 to tear apart old logging roads. However, the DEC says they’re not rebuilding the road; they say they’re simply correcting a massive mistake that somehow its leaders in Albany had failed to notice for the last two years.

This is one of the strangest things I’ve seen in Forest Preserve management at the DEC in the last two decades.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 11, 2021

How Team Cuomo Subverted Basic Norms at the Adirondack Park Agency

Gov. Andrew CuomoOne big change that the Andrew Cuomo years brought to the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) was that the senior staff and the APA Board refused to send a single development project to a formal adjudicatory public hearing. This defies logic in many ways. Based on information from a Freedom of Information request, from 1973 through 2010 there were 151 projects in APA history sent to a formal adjudicatory public hearing. Yet, somehow, during the Cuomo years, the Governor’s staff that managed the APA, and the APA senior staff, never allowed a single formal adjudicatory public hearing.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The Adirondack Park Agency Should Embrace Transparency

Recently, we saw news that Governor Kathy Hochul has instructed state agencies to develop and submit plans for greater transparency. As I wrote in a related piece, this is good news and welcome news. I’ve watched over the decades as state agencies have restricted more and more of what was once basic and easily accessible public information.

In a related piece I wrote about how the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) could improve its work and embrace openness and transparency. I provided a list of suggestions for ways to change its Forest Preserve work and other items relating to the Adirondack Park. These ideas would make meaningful and important reforms and should be included in the DEC’s “Transparency Plan” that it is soon to submit to Governor Hochul.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 30, 2021

The NYSDEC Should Embrace Openness And Transparency

Last week, we saw news that Governor Kathy Hochul instructed state agencies to develop and submit plans for greater transparency. This is good news and welcome news. I’ve watched over the decades as state agencies have restricted more and more of what was once basic and easily accessible public information. 

The administration of former Governor Andrew Cuomo was the worst from a public information standpoint, and state agencies, which were often managed by his political appointees in the image and temperament of the former Governor, shared the former Governor’s desire to control all public information. Under Cuomo, state agencies required Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests for just about everything, and then they dragged out the response time for these requests like no other.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Most NYS School Districts Saw Student Enrollment Drops From 2010-2020

It’s back to school time in the Adirondacks and New York State. One of the things that always happens at this time is reports about school district enrollments year-over-year in a particular area. These stories are useful and interesting, but they usually lack context.

With the beginning of the release of 2020 US Census data in August, Protect the Adirondacks is starting an update of its study The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010. The 2020 US Census will enable us to look at a 50-year trend line.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

New model sustainable hiking trail on Mt. Van Hoevenberg nears completion

The new sustainable hiking trail under construction to the summit of Mount Van Hoevenberg is expected to be completed in the early fall. This project has been a priority of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). This project started in 2018 and marked a completely different approach to hiking trail building in the Forest Preserve and the High Peaks Wilderness.

For the first time, the DEC committed to a multi-year effort to showcase new sustainable trail design and trail building techniques for the Forest Preserve. In many ways, this trail marks a new beginning for the state’s approach to hiking trail building in the Adirondack Park.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

2020 US Census: More Than Half of All US Counties Lost Population

Among Adirondack Park leaders, blaming the Park, the Forest Preserve, environmental protections, and environmental groups, is fashionable. Population trends are often cited, along with things like school district trends, to substantiate this narrative. Hardly ever do local leaders attempt to place Adirondack population or school district trends in a statewide or national context.

The US Census allows us to assess what’s going on in the Adirondack Park in a statewide and national context. The US Census just released its first cut of the 2020 decennial census. This data is very informative, though we’ll know more in late September when town-level data is released, and we’ll learn even more in 2022 when age and race data along with economic data is released.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

2020 US Census: Saratoga, Hamilton, And Warren Counties All Post Population Gains

The US Census released its first cut at the 2020 decennial census last week. This data is limited, delivered for the purpose of redistricting for statewide and federal elected representatives. Much more detailed data will be released to the public at the end of September with population data at the town and county level. In 2022, we’ll get more data on age and race as well as economic data.

The big news is that New York State gained population at a rate of 4.2% from 2010 to 2020, topping 20 million residents for the first time in the state’s history. In 2020, New York State residents totaled 20,201,249, up from 19,378,102 in 2010, a gain of 823,147 new residents.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 3, 2021

12 Ways Indian Lake Supervisor Brian Wells Gets Historic Forever Wild Decision Wrong

connector trail

In an op-ed run in the Albany Times Union on August 1, 2021 and in the Adirondack Almanack, Town of Indian Lake Supervisor Brian Wells got many things wrong about the recent historic forever wild court decision. He makes serious accusations, yet he twists, bends, and distorts reality to fit his narrative. The one thing that he got right was that “Class II Community Connector Snowmobile Trails” were struck down by New York’s highest court because they violated Article 14, Section 1, of the State Constitution, the forever wild clause.

Here are a dozen ways that Brian Wells plays fast and loose with the truth.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, July 16, 2021

DEC And APA Have A Big Task To Get Back On The Right Side Of Forever Wild

tree cutting lawsuit

The May 4, 2021, decision by the New York Court of Appeals ruled that Class II Community Connector Snowmobile Trails violated Article 14, Section 1, of the New York Constitution. This ruling capped an 8-year legal challenge by Protect the Adirondacks against the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Adirondack Park Agency (APA). In the end, eight of the twelve judges who looked at the evidence found that Class II trails were unconstitutional.

For two decades, Protect the Adirondacks, its predecessor organizations, and many others, took the position that Class II trails, or anything like them, violated Article 14, Section 1, the forever wild clause of the State Constitution. Few at these state agencies heeded our concerns.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 3, 2021

A review of the AMR permit system

Three days before Memorial Day Weekend, a partly cloudy, but warm Tuesday, I decided to check out the new hiking reservation system put together by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR). This new permit system, a few weeks old at this point, is set to run into the fall of 2021. It was greeted with concerns about limitations on public access and lots of speculation about how the program would or would not work.

 

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 22, 2021

Dreaming About The New Tri-Lakes Public Multi Use Recreation Trail

I recently walked the stretch of the Remsen to Lake Placid Railroad corridor from where it crosses the Old Military Road near the firehouse in Lake Placid to where the Scarface Mountain hiking trail crosses the tracks. It’s a bit over four miles. The rails have been removed, and there were small piles of them stacked on the rail side, and many of the ties were loose. There were steel plates that held the rails to the ties and lots of railroad spikes were strewn on the disheveled ties. The removal of the steel rails is the first stage of the transformation of this long-defunct railroad into a public multi-use recreation trail.

The railroad corridor is thickly forested, mostly typical northern upland forest at the Lake Placid end, but cuts through boreal habitat and wetlands with some stands dominated by red pines. The rail corridor shares space in this stretch with the utility lines to Lake Placid. The poles have all been recently rebuilt and the new fiber optic line hangs on them.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, May 14, 2021

OPINION: For Elise Stefanik, Lying Pays Off

In the days before the riots at our nation’s Capital that temporarily stopped certification of Joe Biden’s election as President, I wrote a piece for the Almanack detailing all the ways that our Adirondack and North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik had lied to her constituents about the 2020 election. Then, after the rioters were cleared from the Capitol on January 6th, which included dead bodies, Elise Stefanik took to the floor of the House of Representatives and lied some more.

» Continue Reading.



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