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.

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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.


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Forever Wild And The Word “Timber”

Protect the Adirondacks recently won a major victory in its lawsuit to enforce Article 14, Section 1 of the state Constitution, the well-known forever wild clause. The case challenged the excessive tree cutting undertaken by state agencies to build a vast network of Class II Community Connector snowmobile trails in the Adirondack Forest Preserve.

The case began in 2013 and this result has been six years in the making. Previously, the Appellate Division, Third Department, of the state Supreme Court had issued a preliminary injunction against this tree cutting in 2016 after the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Adirondack Park Agency (APA) had constructed or roughed out over 20 miles of new trails.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Questions Surround New Frontier Town Campground Trail System

The new Frontier Town state campground was opened to great fanfare just before the July 4th holiday this year. The campground is now fully developed with campsites, trails, and amenities such as showers, playgrounds, horse stalls, pavilions, and scenic lookouts on the banks of the Schroon River, among other features. Construction of the new Paradox Brewery is well underway.

The Frontier Town Campground is designed to pay homage to the western themes of the old Frontier Town wild west amusement park that was in its heyday in the decades after the Second World War. The amusement park had become dilapidated over the years and the new campground was a State intervention to help restore the site to some form of commercial use. The main gate has a western design and many of the shower and bathroom buildings have western saloon facades. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 14, 2019

It’s Time to Build and Staff a High Peaks Information Center

I recently visited the rest areas on Northway that have been hyped as information hubs for the Adirondack Park as a tourism destination and as locations that will guide the public about hiking in the Forest Preserve, especially the High Peaks.  These facilities are newly built and function adequately as typical rest areas with bathrooms, vending machines, and places to stretch your legs.

Unfortunately, there is scant information about hiking in the High Peaks or the Forest Preserve. As they stand now, these centers, especially the Northway northbound “High Peaks Center” between exits 29 and 30, and the major new tourism information center on the Northway northbound lane between exits 17 and 18, are major missed opportunities. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 7, 2019

Generation X Population Trends In The Adirondacks and Rural America

One way to understand Adirondack population trends is to look at the major changes in the experiences of different age groups. In this article we look at the experiences of the Late Baby Boomers, those born between 1956-1965, and the Generation Xers, those born 1966-1975.

Across Rural America these age groups saw major population losses by 2010, even as the U.S. population grew due to immigration from abroad.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Local Government Club at the Adirondack Park Agency

APA Building in Ray Brook NYThe State Senate gaveled-out its historic 2019 Legislative Session on June 21st without acting on any of the four people that Governor Cuomo had nominated for the Board of the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). These were among dozens of nominees to various state boards that were left unconfirmed, but the message from the State Senate was clear: changes were needed in many of the individuals and slates of nominees submitted by the Governor. » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 24, 2019

The Experiences of Age Groups Born from 1936-1955 in the Adirondacks

A further examination of Adirondack Park population trends brings us to age group analysis. The two previous population articles looked at long-term trends from 1970-2010 and short-term trends from 2000-2010. U.S. Census data have shown that the population in 61 Adirondack Park Towns 100% within the Blue Line grew at a higher rate than that of New York State, though it lagged behind most other similar rural areas.

While these comparisons to state and national trends are useful, they do not tell the full story about what’s happening inside Adirondack population trends. The full story is revealed by studying the experiences of different age groups.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Short-Term Population Loss in the Adirondacks and Rural America

One way to dig deeper into the population dynamics at play in the Adirondack Park is to examine short-term population changes. The last article in this series looked long-term at total population rates where from 1970 to 2010 Adirondack communities grew at 10.6%, a rate that exceeded the 6.2% rate of New York State in these years.

In our report The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010 we examined population trends in a number of ways. One of the most interesting was our analysis of short-term changes in total population of Adirondack communities from 2000 to 2010 because it revealed the points at which the area lost and gained population.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, June 17, 2019

Population Trends in the Adirondacks and Rural America

The first major population indicator that was examined in The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010 was changes in total population.

Population growth or loss is a key indicator for measuring community and regional vitality. From 1970 to 2010, the overall U.S. population increased by nearly 52%, from 201.2 million to over 305.6 million people. In these years, New York State experienced a modest 6.2% increase, growing from 18.2 million to 19.3 million, a rate of growth that lagged far behind national growth.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

40 Years of Self-Employment Trends in the Adirondacks and Rural America

The fifth major economic indicator examined in The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010 was changes in the self-employment rate. In 2010, the self-employment rate of the population 16 years and older in New York State stood at 5.6%, which was the same as the rate in the U.S. The U.S. Census tracks self-employment rates of the population that are incorporated and those that are non-incorporated. This study focused on the non-incorporated because the data was available going back to 1970.

In this report we aggregated the data of the 61 Adirondack Park Towns that are 100% within the Blue Line in order to compare Adirondack communities with other areas in the U.S. The purpose was to see if Adirondack communities stood out in any way from other places by studying trends of leading economic and population indicators from 1970 to 2010. In 2010, the 61 Park Towns had just over 100,000 residents, 77.4% of the Park’s estimated population of 130,000.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 9, 2019

40 Years of Employment Trends in the Adirondacks

The fourth major economic indicator that was examined in The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010 was changes in the employment rate. In 2010, the employment rate of the population 16 years and older in New York State stood at 57.7% and in the U.S. it was 57.6%.

The U.S. Census data used does not separate full-time and part-time jobs, nor does it provide information on the quality of these jobs, benefits or health insurance, among other things. The data is for people in a given geography 16 years and older who are employed at the time of the decennial census.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

40 Years of Poverty Rate Trends in Rural America

The third major economic indicator that was examined in The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010 was changes in the poverty rate. In 2010, a family of four with an annual income of $22,050 or less was considered to be living in poverty. The poverty rate of a region is a key indicator of overall economic health.

From 1970 to 2010, the overall poverty rate rose significantly in New York State from 8.0% to 14.9%. Across the U.S., the poverty rate rose from 10.4% to 14.9%. All Americans should be alarmed about the increase in poverty rates across the country in 2010 and about the state of a country where almost one out of every six people lives in poverty.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 2, 2019

40 Years of Per Capita Income Trends in Rural America

The second major economic indicator that was examined in The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010 was per capita income.

An analysis of per capita income trends was useful for evaluating differences between regions, especially when analyzed with a range of other economic indicators. Per capita income is the average income earned of a person within a specific geographic area, such as a city, town or state.

When adjusted for inflation, per capita income is an important measurement, though not as good as median household income, because it can be skewed by a few individuals with extremely high incomes in low population areas.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, May 27, 2019

40 Years of Household Income Trends in Rural America

One of the best measurements of the overall economic performance of a region is median household income of its residents. Household income is the combined gross income of all members in a household. Median household income is the median of all households in a region. A comparison of median household income is a good way to study the economic experiences of different regions.

In the new report The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010 (2nd edition) we made a series of comparisons of long-term economic and population trends between Adirondack communities and other areas across New York, the U.S. and Rural America from 1970 to 2010. The U.S. Census provides median household income data as a standard field in its surveys. We only had to adjust the data for inflation.

» Continue Reading.