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.


Thursday, July 2, 2020

Cathead Mountain Amendment Would be Complicated and Difficult

This is the fourth article in a series that looks at three possible NYS constitutional amendments to Article 14, Section 1 (the “Forever Wild” clause) that are being debated in 2020. This article looks at the issue of utilizing Forest Preserve lands around Cathead Mountain, in the south edge of the Silver Lake Wilderness area, to locate a new emergency communications tower, similar to such towers on Blue Mountain and East Mountain.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, June 29, 2020

Amendment needed to transfer state ownership of Camp Gabriels

Protect the Adirondacks has reviewed the options for the future of the Camp Gabriels complex, a former state prison in the Town of Brighton in Franklin County in the northern Adirondack Park. The site is located between Saranac Lake and Paul Smith’s just outside of Gabriels. The land that the prison complex was built upon is Forest Preserve, protected under NYS Constitution Article 14, Section 1. The prison complex was part of a state purchase in 1982 of over 224 acres. This facility has been dormant since 2009 when the state closed the prison camp.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Blurred lines surround Mt. Van Hoevenberg sports complex

Editor’s note: This is Part 2 in a five-part series that will run over the next few weeks, exploring amendments to the “Forever Wild” clause of the NYS constitution.

Protect the Adirondacks has long believed that an amendment to Article 14, Section 1 is needed for the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Winter Olympic Sports Complex currently managed by the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA). At Mt. Van Hoevenberg, ORDA currently manages 1,220 acres +/- of Forest Preserve classified as Intensive Use by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). Abutting these lands is 319 acres of lands owned by the Town of North Elba. This complex houses the Olympic bobsled and luge track, cross-country skiing and biathlon trails, and associated facilities.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, June 22, 2020

The paths to Past and Present Constitutional Changes to the Forest Preserve

Editor’s note: This is Part 1 in a five-part series that will run over the next few weeks.

Article 14, Section 1, of the New York Constitution, the famed “Forever Wild” provision, has been amended 16 times since 1938. It has been amended five times since 2007, making this period the most active and intensive in Forest Preserve history for amendments.

Several Article 14, Section 1 proposed amendments are being drafted and organized by the Department of Environmental Conservation and Cuomo Administration that focus on bringing the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Winter Sports Complex (pictured here) into compliance with Article 14, removing the former Camp Gabriels prison complex from the Forest Preserve, and for locating an emergency communications tower on, and possibly providing public access, to Cathead Mountain in southern Hamilton County, which would involve neighboring Forest Preserve.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

Before the Flood

Memorial Day weekend is shaping up as a grand, celebratory reopening across the Adirondacks and North Country. If initial trends that I’ve seen this month of steady business at local trailheads and parking areas are any indication, I expect to see the Adirondacks flooded with visitors this weekend. I expect this trend to continue throughout the summer. Will hikers stay locally in hotels, once they’re allowed to open, I don’t know, but I’ve seen people regularly at lean-tos and campsites I frequently pass by in hikes throughout Hamilton County and the central Adirondacks that are hardly ever used or are usually empty this time of year. I think that many folk see camping in Adirondacks as a safe, low-risk activity.

As New York slowly claws its way back towards normal American life, there’s a great deal of uncertainty about what lies ahead. It’s too soon to tell, given the length of time it takes for a person to fall ill from COVID-19, what the experience is in other parts of the U.S. that started opening back up for social and commercial activities in early May. Initial reports of COVID-19 outbreaks throughout the south are troubling as this region was the first in the U.S. to try reopening. New York is only just beginning the reopening process.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, March 23, 2020

Cancel Your Hiking Trip to the Adirondacks

coronavirusAt 8 pm on Sunday evening, March 22, 2020, the State of New York began its official “pause” of most commercial and public activities in an attempt to halt the spread of COVID-19.

Under the Governor’s executive order, all non-essential businesses are to close, and all state residents are to remain in their homes. Click here for a list of “essential businesses.” » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Viewpoint: State Facilitating Unlimited Access to High Peaks

It seems pretty clear at this point that the state agencies that manage the High Peaks Wilderness Area, and adjacent Wilderness areas, are not interested in limiting public use.

The state is investing in new parking areas, new hiking trails, and a new hiker transportation system that are all designed to facilitate ever-higher levels of public use in the High Peaks, not limit it.

Consider the change underway at Cascade Mountain.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 2, 2020

Statewide, Adirondack School Enrollment Declines

Student enrollment in public schools is falling in every county in New York outside of New York City, except for one. School enrollments in 57 of New York’s 63 counties from Suffolk to Erie, Orange to Oswego, experienced declines in school enrollments in the last decade, from 2011 to 2019.

The only county outside of New York City to experience student enrollment growth was Saratoga County.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, January 12, 2020

Viewpoint: Convert Hudson River Rails to Multi-Use Trail

Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates riding an area near Lake Colby in 2013

Yes, build the Hudson River bike trail from North Creek to Saratoga Springs. Build it, and they will come. They did not come for the ill-fated commuter trains, snow train, tourist trains or rail service that was going to haul millions of tons of aggregate from the Tahawus Mine in Newcomb. A groundswell of support is emerging for the transition of the dormant 55-mile-long Saratoga and North Creek Railway to the new Hudson River bike trail.

A new public trail from Saratoga Springs to North Creek would connect dozens of small communities such as Corinth, Lake Luzerne, Hadley, Stony Creek, Thurman, Athol, The Glen, Warrensburg, and Riparius among other hamlets and businesses along the rail line. Such a trail would be very popular and heavily used. As we’ve seen with the Warren County Bike Trail between Lake George and Glens Falls, businesses would gravitate to the trail. » Continue Reading.


Friday, January 10, 2020

Cuomo’s $3B Restore Mother Nature Bond Act Is A Big Deal

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2020 State of the State speech included two big pieces of good news for the Adirondack Park.

The first major highlight was his proposal for a $3 Billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act that will support a variety of pressing environmental and climate change challenges across New York. This proposal is the first listed in the 2020 State of the State book that accompanied the speech.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, January 6, 2020

Downstate Adds Population, Upstate Loses, 2010-2018

The 2018 population estimates by U.S. Census are out, which look at changes since 2010. The Census reports that New York’s population in these years is estimated to have grown by around 142,000 people. However, this growth has not been uniform throughout state.

The ten counties of Downstate New York (the three lower Hudson Valley counties of Orange, Rockland and Westchester; the two Long Island counties of Suffolk and Nassau; and the five New York City counties of Richmond, Bronx, New York, Kings and Queens) saw a collective gain of over 250,000 people. All Downstate counties posted gains, with the exception of Suffolk on outer Long Island, which was down by over 13,000 people.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, October 21, 2019

Forever Wild And Cutting Small Diameter Trees

In the July 2019 legal decision in favor of Protect the Adirondacks, regarding the constitutionality of excessive tree cutting by state agencies to build a network of Class II community connector snowmobile trails in the Adirondack Forest Preserve, the Appellate Division, Third Department, ruled that the cutting of over 25,000 trees to build these trails violated Article 14, Section 1, of the state Constitution, the famed “forever wild” provision.

This article looks at the meaning of Article 14, Section 1, in light of this new ruling. (A related article dealt with use of the word “timber” in Article 14 of the state Constitution). This article looks at how small diameter trees have long been protected in Forest Preserve legal practice. Article 14 reads: “The lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed.”

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Assessing A New Model For High Peaks Hiking Trail Construction

By the metric of public use the High Peaks Wilderness Area, and nearby Giant, Hurricane and Sentinel Range Wilderness areas, are major successes. The crowds hiking in the High Peaks are at an all-time high. The current dismal state of many of the hiking trails does not seem to be a major deterrent to the throngs of people eager to hike one of the High Peaks.

For many people hiking a mountain like a High Peak is no sure thing and is, and should be, a challenge. There are plenty of highly used and popular smaller mountains throughout the Adirondacks that provide stunning views, but the allure of hiking a High Peak is immense.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, September 30, 2019

Battles Over Boreas Ponds Brought Access to Wild Lands

four corners parking area sign provided by peter bauerJust after Labor Day weekend this year, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) completed its work to fully open up public access to the Boreas Ponds, in the southern High Peaks Wilderness Area. These beautiful ponds are now easily accessible for people to either canoe or to hike.

New state facilities were constructed over the past two years to rehabilitate the six-mile-long Gulf Brook Road, build parking lots, public education kiosks, a canoe carry and canoe launches to make this extraordinary natural wonder fully accessible to the public.

The reconstructed road and new access points opens a new southern gateway to the High Peaks Wilderness Area and makes easily reachable one of the most scenic and visually dramatic areas in the Adirondacks. Paddling through the network of three inter-connected waterways gives one the sensation of paddling through mountaintops. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 9, 2019

Joe Mahay, An Adirondack Park Activist, 1946-2019

Longtime grassroots Adirondack Park environmental activist Joe Mahay died in early August at home with his family.  Joe and his wife Naomi Tannen had been living in Florence, Massachusetts, where for the past year and a half Joe had dealt with metastatic cancer and chemotherapy.

Joe was one of the founders of the Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks and twice served as its Chair, tactfully leading the organization through its formative years and a raucous debate over the future of the Adirondack Park in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Joe had a long career as an administrator at a non-profit agency working with people with developmental disabilities in Essex County and poured his volunteer time for many years into the protection of the Forest Preserve and Adirondack Park.

» Continue Reading.



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